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Ha10 Tube Amp from Custom-Hifi-Cables

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 


I've had a good chance to listen this weekend to both HA10 and HA10se amps and tbh, both are really impressive sounding.
Build quality is absolutely fine, lovely smooth volpots on both good connections on the back and one curiousity, bearing in mind the switch on procedure - a large flip on/off switch on the back of the amp.
The switch on procedure is slightly unusual in that you have to power up the amp first and then power the supply up. If you power the supply followed by the amp (The way I normally switch on) the PSU goes into 'safe' mode and the amp won't come fully on, although lights light up. That is very important to remember or else, (Like me) you'll think there is a fault with the amp.
Bearing that in mind, it would be more natural to have a small switch on the amp so that you leave it alone and a big switch on the PSU, preferably on the front rather than the back. It would then feel more natural.
Both have their switches on the back so if you put them into a rack, you'll be feeling its behind to switch on.
I like the look of the HA10.
Similar in looks to the Slee Solo. A bit smaller with a nice large black volume control. No cage over the valve, but if you want one, I'm sure that Sean would customise it to what you want. He can also do black cases (Which is what I rather fancy myself!!) 
The amp should remain switched on and the power supply should be used to turn on and off.
The back of the amp sports nice gold connections and that big flip switch.
The valve that Sean supplies with the HA10 is different to the one with the HA10se. The se valve has gold pins. I mentioned earlier that the HA10 sounds 'lighter touch' than the HA10se. The circuit is the same with cheaper costing parts but one thing I did overlook was the valve. They can be quite variable and some of the differences that I heard may be due to the valve as well. I tend to tune in very close to valves.
I first tried the HA10 with the cheaper supply:
It's a plastic box with a thicker wire than the Solo wire so more substantial.
I was surprised by how solid the sound was with this. The sound that I remember with the prototype was still there and after the tweaks, it doesn't seem to have massively changed the sound signature.
Round, solid bass. Quite fruity and a clear open treble. The perception of a solid bass from valves comes from the fact that there are additions (distortions that are actually pleasant to the ears) and there could be more down in the bass that lift it somewhat. Frans often refers to the additions that valves make to sound and he is correct, it is that that I am quite attracted to rather than the squeaky clean (K701 like) sounds you can get from something that is technically 'correct.' I'm quite happy to accept the 'valve additions' and this amp shows a wonderful, warm bass that really does hit hard.
If you'd like it to hit harder, then the great thing about valve amps is that you can upgrade the supply and the effects can be quite dramatic. I attached the second supply.
The lead to the amp is really quite nice.
It's much more substantial than the cheap supply. Silent as a mouse and basically does the job well. Any cable can be made to exit from it so it's also highly adaptable.
The back shows normal connection to the mains and a plug for the interchangeable leads. This is the first power supply that I saw from Sean and it delivers. The amp starts to kick ass. The slam in the bass region appears and YELLO, Ozric Tentacles type stuff really does hit hard in the bass region. I'm not sure if I'm imagining it (again  >:() but there also seems to be a tad more openness with the supply attached. 
I would say that the differences between the cheap supply and this one are quite large, but less from this one to the even bigger one:
There is also a big supply that attaches to them. My favourite combo is the DC2 with the HA10se. It kicks hard. It's smooth sounding and is so mellow and smooth up top that it's very tempting to turn up and up. It doesn't turn harsh. It also plays extremely well at low volumes. I find with good amps, the volume levels aren't so touchy in order to get a satisfying sound and both HA10's work well at both high and low levels.
I think my ideal would be a black version of the big psu and amp. This combo hits you. It's big and powerful sounding. There is a slight 'u' shape to the sound, which is not a bad thing as long as it isn't turning into a V. Mid presence is good. Treble is clean and not piercing and bass is wonderfully 'valve' like.
I must admit, I am keen on this amp. I like it a lot and it's not until you go back to what you're used to that you realise just how good this amp is. It doesn't 'scream' listen to me at you, but it has a solidity of sound that a lot of amps struggle with.
I felt that the HD650 was a fantastic match with it and have been listening to it for hours now. No fatique whatsoever. The HD650 seems cleaner via the HA10se and less weighty from the HA10 although this could be a matter of the valve.
It's a really nice amp and worth a listen. Someone wrote to Sean after hearing this amp, he wasn't going to send it back because he wanted it. I fully understand that. It is a really good sounding amp. I missed the prototype when I was forced to send it back ( ???). 
I had it for a couple of months, I think, when I wrote everything that I could think of down for Sean to look at and perhaps modify. He took the lot on the chin and what has come back to me is drop dead gorgeous.
If you like valves, then this really does sound like a good valve amp should and not limited as Bravos are with noise issues and build quality. It's also a lot more extended than the Bravos. I liked the Bravos, warts and all. (and crosstalk!!!) I did notice the roll off in the treble but it didn't worry me that much. 
I'm going to have to start saving for one I think. My wife won't let me spend the last tour stash so I will miss it when it goes. It has a great sound that is truly addictive and makes music come to life for me on headphones, making them sound (to me) much more speaker like.
I will try other headphones if people are interested. All I can say is 'impressive'.  :D

Edited by iancraig10 - 3/18/12 at 11:28am
post #2 of 11

Looks interesting, do you have any specific specs for the amp? Looked quick from the custom cable site and didnt find any.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'll ask Sean (the amp maker).


It has a lovely natural sound. I'm listening to the HA10se at the moment with some orchestral and following rock stuff, which I felt was big and beefy in the bass, I felt that perhaps orchestral would just sound too syrupy. Not so. I can turn it up pretty loud and brass don't give that thin edgy sound that you can get from many amps. Full bodies and involving.


I have two amps on load from Sean to review and both are excellent. I don't want to give them back!!!

post #4 of 11

That would be great. And if you can get your hands on multiple headphones, please test them and post your impressions :)

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm a musician. I have loads of phones!!!!!


Sean sent me this:


PSU:+24VDC @ 500mA (1A or more PSU capacity recommended)
Input impedance: 50K
Output impedance: 10R
Recommended headphone impedance range: 16-600R
Frequency response (to -0.5dB): 2Hz - 100kHz






I'm VERY impressed with this. In fact, I want one now!!!


Need to convince the wife though!!!!!!

post #6 of 11

I have a HA10SE and DC2. I am extremely satisfied with this amplifier! I also have Project Sunrise 2 and Nuforce HAP-100.

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

I must say that I was very impressed with the HA10SE with the larger power supply. I'm surprised that there wasn't a great deal of interest in HF. Sean is still making them.


I also had a Sunrise and now have a Horizon. Solderdude (the designer) and I have a little headphone site that we run together. He writes technical articles and I'm doing Music ones. Javier is writing about digital issues. Only just started up. 'DIY audio Heaven.'

post #8 of 11
Originally Posted by iancraig10 View Post

I must say that I was very impressed with the HA10SE with the larger power supply. I'm surprised that there wasn't a great deal of interest in HF. Sean is still making them.


I also had a Sunrise and now have a Horizon. Solderdude (the designer) and I have a little headphone site that we run together. He writes technical articles and I'm doing Music ones. Javier is writing about digital issues. Only just started up. 'DIY audio Heaven.'


Interesting iancraig10. I am from Norway and are mainly active on a Norwegian hifi-forum. But I do think this amp should have some more attention! I have had it for over 6 month now.

For some strange reasons I have problems with uploading pictures here on head-fi. Here is a picture thou on my setup. http://www.hifisentralen.no/forumet/attachments/hodetelefoner/162949d1351520866-project-sunrise-horizon-og-ember-project-sunrise-version-ii_morpheus_1.jpg


My HA10SE is in a bigger chassis than normal, and is also a preamp with 4 inputs and 1 output.

Edited by Zoza - 4/7/13 at 1:54pm
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Sean is a very helpful guy and will soon appear on my little site in the UK. Solderdude is a genius with electronics and I really love his designs.


With the HA10, do you have to go through switch on/off in a certain order? I know that the one I reviewed for Sean had to be done in a certain order or the protection built in to the amp switched in and you got no sound.


He makes great power supplies too.


Do you use Claus' site in Denmark? Another really friendly forum, but unfortunately for me, they write in Danish!!


I on a little tour at the moment and I took a Fostex T40 that Solderdude has modded for me and added a filter in order to get it as flat as he could. However, I need to get a more powerful amp for it since the one I'm using runs out of steam on peaks.


Solderdude has just finished work on a new design that 'related' to your Sunrise and is appearing now on Jeremy's site in USA. Hopefully, he will also appear on my little forum soon too.


There's a lot of talent out there!!!

post #10 of 11

I have only the best to say about Jeremy, Solderdude and Sean. Very service minded all of them! Actually I read about PS2 and HA10 at Rock Grotto first. My plan was to use the linear PSU (DC2) with my PS2. For some strange reason this didn't turn out to be a success. My PS2 is build by Jeremy, and Sean had a way around the problem witch would lead me to do some modifications on PS2 to get the combo working. Instead I just got the HA10SE and don't regret it one second!


I have no problem with turning on my HA10SE, DC2 combo, but i don't have a power switch on HA10SE since I already had DC2. I just turn on my PSU (DC2)


I am very satisfied with my PS2 also, but wounder if a better PSU would improve it further. I am very curious about the new Ember amp....


Now I use AKG K 550 and Shure 1840, but I am thinking of buying Fostex TH 600 or TH 900 in the near future.


I will check out your site :).

Edited by Zoza - 4/7/13 at 2:25pm
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Yes, the power supply did make a difference to the review one that I had. It was better with the bigger unit. I wrote the review on RG. I had it for a little while after Sean made revisions based on what I felt (and some others) I really liked it a lot actually.


Sean and Jeremy want to join my site and Solderdude, Javier and myself are thinking out how to deal with commercial type things on a forum first, so they're biding their time!! Both really nice guys.


Hope to see you there. It's tiny at the moment but I'm sure it will grow with time.





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