Fostex HP-A3

General Information

32bit D/A Converter
USB Bus power without using unwanted AC adapter
Works with up to 24bit/96kHz audio source
High quality analog headphone amp to drive any type of headphones
Equipped with high-grade AKM 32bit DAC AK4390

Latest reviews

Pros: Is a all rounder talent , easy and sharp, Powerfull in Music, mountage fast and quick,
Cons: Output jack is not so powerfull with the Time
What should one say about the Fostex HpA3?
Who takes him directly as a beginner deflowered his ears at a level never heard there.
Starting with a Dt 770 per 32 ohms, it sounds very good.
Unfortunately, the DT 770 pushes the bass bad in the foreground the bit the details on the upper and middle end of the synergy away takes. Unfortunately, this is due to headphones.
Otherwise, you look at the Hp A3 to the Fostex Th X 00 mahogany infects.
Uff you have to say because it is almost the other way around the heights and in the middle are much better than the bass, he is there but a little reserved.You could have more of it.
Otherwise, it looks again when the whole thing to a Schiit Loki and Magni.
Where you have more freedom. And finally what comes out of the Magni is indescribable.
The Hp A3 is already out of the pack quite rich in detail, and it is still richer in details about a Magni.Justisage on the Loki.
Why can I explain myself only because the Magni simply brings the better power output with home. And coupled together of the two units you get a satisfactory result.
Since the power output of the Fostex is still a bit weak, you only notice with time, not at first.
Especially because one really greed for the Hp A3, you really want to hear more and more.
Also because he sounds very very warm, full and precise in all musical genres.
To cut a long story short, it's a piece of Japanese masterpiece of a Katana sword.
The reason is simple. You have had enough to eat something else, buy something else, and ask yourself what did you do?
Where is this and that?
Lay the headphones away for a few days. Or better go ahead, this will save you money.
You will once again resort to the Masterful Sword.
That's how I feel.
He's just out of the pack, an all-rounder, for the money.
Unpacking infected. No annoying Windows driver with annoying asiatic stories.
Together with the Magni and Loki, a weapon that leaves a lot behind.
With a Vali 2 where my test is still pending because on the way to me after the cleared bush fires in LA, I would like to give the setup a personal end note. What sounds like an adventure, but why not.
For the Hp A4 BL singelended output, I had only briefly in the hand.
Was not recorded, and was felt the opposite of the HP A3 in the composition. He left the house quite quickly, but I did not know the Schiit products for my defense before.
My tip does not buy a dac that costs several hundred dollars. Access to the HP A3 and Magni. (Maybe a Vali 2 for the end note, but that's more for enthusiasts) And then the headphones. Because of me, you're going into a good one Hi-fi business with the devices and listen to rehearsal. Hear the counter sample with the "high end" stuff on the shelf. So you can hear and see how close the set-up is. With the rest of the money, treat yourself to good RCA cables, then the seller And the feeling has helped them :) Something like Audioquest Goldengate zbs, and a decent Usb A / B cable.
Already one is also freed from the hifi voodoo in terms of current influences.
Pros: DAC in this unit sounds fantastic, simple clean aesthetics, solid build, USB option connectivity, 24/96 sample rate, nice volume pot
Cons: DAC in this unit is in a different class than the amplifier, can be pricey a lof of units sold directly from Japan
 So, where to I begin... I am newer to owning and reviewing audio equipment of above the normal consumer caliber. I have come from a AMB Gamma 1 lite for desktop us, an Fiio E7 for portable, with a couple a of different sub 100$ portable amps. So I am limited when it comes to multi hundred dollar DACs and headphone amplifiers and I just want people, in this community, to keep that in their thoughts when and if reading this review. 
  I first saw this unit from the classified section of this community and the head-fi website, and I immediately thought this was a good price for a all in one unit for someone such as myself who was running  the Gamma 1(Lite usb only version) as my main audio DAC in my home setting. Something to note about me I have a large variety of different tastes, whether that is a positive and or negative some could argue either way. I like minimal and solid peripherals of all types, from mechanical keyboards, to speakers, to my chassis of my pc being a more simple but aesthetically pleasing look to me. I contacted the seller of this unit with inquiries on both the price and the sound, he took a while to get back to me originally and when he did was very understanding and laid back, which was much appreciated at the time. I tried for around 3-4 weeks to get the necessary funds to purchase this unit from him. I cannot say for certain why this review stuck out to me compared to maybe a used ODAC/O2 unit or a Modi/Magni unit. I just know after reading the few reviews I could actually find I was pretty much set. Now, most of the reviews said the same things regarding this DAC/amp combo, and from my experience that usually is good thing when you are looking to being informed about a potential purchase.
I eventually was not able to buy the unit from my fellow head-fi member due to a towing my god awful car, but soon after my girl found it for relatively cheap brand new on a sale and bought it as anniversary gift. I got it the day later which was awesome, and my impatient self got to hooking it up to the pc. Now, this is a usb powered DAC/amp where there is not wallwart or anything else but your device charging the unit. I was a little worried because I have read that with certain measures put in place it could lead to distortion or interference, but thankfully for the past week of breaking in this unit I can say I have not had a single hiccup so far. The HP-A3 sounded very different right out of the box compared to the Gamma 1 with the WS 1.2 bluebird amp I was using, and it was both a good and bad thing to me. Where this unit was more competent with that the Gamma 1 was sound stage, details, a bit more neutrality, and overall sound coming from the much more pricey unit was to my ears a better DAC. Now, that is not to say the Gamma 1 Lite is not a bad unit if anything at the initial listen I actually preferred it, it had more warmth and more body down in the bass section(not boomy & muddy more body) So I can say I definitely did not have the placebo effect going for me at the time of first impressions, but I also new it had a integrated amp which probably needed to burn in, so what I did was to compare it directly out of the box I used the RCA out and connected it to the amp I was using with the y1. Honestly it made a difference and the detail of the Fostex was not lost if anything it sounded better being there but with more of a smoothness to the texture, I happened to like it very much. So, I decided to let the unit burn in for a bit using Foobar2000 playing all types of music from anything such as 16/44 files to 24/96khz files.     
 I went back about 30 hours in, and really did some long period listening with just the unit, and it definitely did make a difference for the amp section, now do I feel as though this amp is on par with the Ak4390 chip and however it was placed in the Fostex? No, I do not and I believe they had focused a bit more on the amp section keeping the DAC they would have had an even nice item here. I can say that the sound stage is nice probably one of the better than the anything I have listened to along with separation. I feel as though I know where each instrument is coming at all times but it still feels immersive and musical. I definitely like the lower end with it's control and tight and quick impact, because I feel like it really gives a nice contrast for perhaps the more intimate mid section of this unit. That being said I also feel like the lowers are a little to lean at times even though they still are enjoyable it does take away from some very bass heavy music. I really thought that if I could bring a third party amplifier in here with maybe a little more body and warmth it would do wonders for this DAC. I had the Schiit Vali on the way and I was looking forwarding to seeing how this combo would sound together. 
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Firstly after listening to the HP-A3 with the Schiit Vali I can say it sounds just right, not overly warm and I still feel like the music that is accurate and not over exaggerated. I really like how well these two paired together as a combo and honestly I think if you have the Vali and are looking for a DAC then this would definitely be a good option. I still think the HP-A3 is worth 300$ to use as a unit by itself, but I am also using DT990 headphones and the warmth and sound that comes from the combination of HP-A3 paired with the Vali is perfect for myself in this desk setting. 
I still think people that opt to go with the Modi/Magni(or Vali for my preferences) which is the cheapest solution when comparing them to the ODAC/O2 or the Fostex A3 is a solid choice that I believe 95% of beginners would be happy with depending on situation and headphone being used. Do I believe the HP-A3 is worth the difference between them, honestly I cannot say being that I have never owned the Modi, but I think that I would agree it was, because I prefer the Fostex's DAC over the CDAC+(still getting use to the difference of the CDAC+ which is essentially a improved upon ODAC) I will eventually be doing a comparison between the CDAC+ and Vali against the HP-A3 and Vali to see if I prefer one or the other and if I believe there are benefits from either setup.
I will be reviewing that unit shortly and doing my comparisons somewhere at the end. I hope that people reading this, if there are any, will perhaps give the Fostex a listen. I think it does an exceptional job at this price point, but from what I have read that the newer A4 is even nice with a better implemented amp in that unit...just something to consider when buying.
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Must say I felt the same thing. Coming from lower end dac/amps (like FiiO E10) and reading/watching a lot of reviews this Fostex was the one that stuck.
Could buy it new for € 209,- and with my DT990 Pro and DT770 Pro it runs very fine.
Thanks for your review.


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