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+1 on USB. Oppo 103/105 already has the same Dac as HA-1
Having had the HD800 since December, I have to say that the only amp I've tried (of admittedly very few) that doesn't hold back the HD800 in any way, is the HA-1.
In part because I'm a die hard LCD-2 fan, and thus, prefer the warmer/darker experience, I actually prefer using the warmer Wolfson-based Beresford Bushmaster MkII DAC section with the HA-1's amp section, balanced out to the HD800, to using the HA-1's own ESS9018 DAC with the HD800. I even prefer my recently acquired PCM1792A-based FiiO X5 DAP's Line Out to the HA-1 amp, balanced out to the HD800 - vs. using the HA-1's DAC, which is perfect when using the HA-1 to drive my LCD-2 rev.1, but I like a warmer signal for the HD800. (My tastes.)
In any case, using the DAC of your choice, I'm convinced it's the raw power, plus the neutral and clean transparency of the HA-1's amp that is finally allowing me to hear the HD800 do its thing.
Here's a chart I came up with that shows the HA-1's output from the balanced 4-pin XLR jack, in Watts rms per channel, calculated for various loads, using a simple trend line that runs between the only two published figures in the HA-1 specifications - 2000 mW into 32 Ohms, and 800 mW into 600 Ohms.
The power output for other loads is calculated from the equation for the trendline, as shown - so take these figures with a grain of salt, but they're probably pretty close:
For me, the most interesting thing about the HA-1's power output at various loads is that it is not at all inversely proportional. In other words, you can't assume that because it puts out a whopping 1.4 Watts rms into 300-Ohm - i.e. into the HD800, that it's also going to put out nearly 14 Watts rms (10 times the power) into 32-Ohms (into one tenth the load) - i.e. into the PM-1. An engineer at OPPO explained that this is due to the HA-1's amp section having a current limiter that prevents the amp from overheating with low impedance loads. The end result is that you get a stout 2.0 Watts rms into 32-Ohm loads, while also getting a spectacular 1.4 Watts into 300-Ohm loads - lots of power for either the PM-1 or the HD800 (or almost any other headphone).
Disclaimer: Again, as it says in the attached image, only the figures for 32-Ohm and 600-Ohm loads are taken from OPPO specifications - the intermediate values are not from OPPO specs.
If I can pick your brains for a moment and apologies for asking this in two threads. The Burson Soloist is rated as having 4W per channel into 16Ohms. What I can't find anywhere is if this is max power, RMS power, rated power etc. It has no problems providing the dynamics and volume needed to drive an Audeze LCD 2 or 3. I am trying to correlate this with the HA-1. In particular, Audeze recommend 1W per channel RMS into 50Ohms (LCD-2). For the correlation, I am talking purely about single ended connections (not XLR).
I used to have the Burson Soloist. Here are the Soloist's measured outputs with three different loads (measurements by Tyll Hertsens) with intermediate interpolated values:
See my post from about 11 months ago: http://www.head-fi.org/t/613800/burson-new-soloist-headphone-amp/1020#post_9589169
We should wait for Tyll Hertsens to publish his measurements for the HA-1, but if he comes up with figures that are close to OPPO's published specs for the HA-1, then, comparing only the power output, the Soloist is competitive with the HA-1 when using low-impedance headphones (with 1.79 Watts rms into 50-Ohm from the Soloist vs. 1.96 Watts into 50-Ohm from the HA-1), but not so competitive when using high-impedance headphones (something much less than 0.62 Watts rms into 300-Ohm with the Soloist vs. 1.43 Watts rms into 300-Ohm from the HA-1).
My guestimate is that the Soloist outputs something under 0.5 Watts rms into 300-Ohm loads.
UPDATE: See my post, below, that offers a "better" way to interpolate values not provided by the OPPO HA-1 specifications.
Mike, You might really like the idsd as a DAC feeding the HA-1... it a real nice DAC at a great price...
Tough call for me. I love my Schiit Gungnir, and I was thinking of adding an Asgard 2 as my NAD M3 has no headphone section. Originally I was just going to find a decent preamp or go the dedicated headphone route. Now the dilemma, do I simply get the HA 1 and have my amp DAC in one unit? I wonder how the DAC in the Oppo compares to the Gungnir? I wouldn't really expect much difference, but if anybody has had the opportunity to compare both DACs that would be great. Ultimately the questions becomes if I add an Asgard 2 to my Gungnir, would the Oppo still be considered as an upgrade in sound quality? Frankly much of the added functionality will be wasted on me, I am more concerned with sound quality and don't mind getting up to manually turn the volume knob on an Asgard if need be. Any help/thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Cheers.
Why you need Asgard 2 with such expensive DAC? I perfectly understand you want to save money but i would rather get HA-1 and sell Gungnir and have all in one feature proff setup
Saving money isn't my main concern; however, I don't need to waste money. My main concern is as stated sound quality. There is every reason to believe that the Asgard2 as an amp may perform equally well as the amp section of the HA 1, or in my mind realistically in a blind listening test it would likely be hard to tell the amplifier section of the HA 1 from the Asgard 2. So for me the big question surrounds the DAC. Is the DAC implementation in the HA 1 noticeably better than the Gungnir? I must also consider that the Gungnir can be upgraded whereas the HA1 is a one shot deal, in 2 years we will all be talking about when the DAC section was cutting edge. In theory Schiit could provide quite a bit of enhancement for the Gungnir (whether or not the cost of upgrading in this manner would be worth it or not is another question). I don't mind spending the money through selling my Gungnir, but if the sound quality gain is minimal it begs the question is it worth the effort? That is what I hope one or several of you might answer for me (well give me your opinion I should say). Thanks.
Spoiler: Warning: Spoiler!
Revisiting my chart from above, I've realized that the linear trendline would "run aground" to zero Watts at around 980 Ohms - which is highly improbable.
A logarithmic trendline would be a much better fit, so... In the interest of accuracy, here is a revised table of power output at various loads for the HA-1, using the equation, y = 3.85826-0.536182 log(x), where x is the load in Ohms and y is the power output in Watts rms per channel:
HA-1 power output via the 4-pin XLR jack
32.............1.9999 (matches OPPO specs)
300...........0.7999 (matches OPPO specs)
As I've just proven, these calculations should be taken lightly.
Maybe not the right forum but I am interested in the HA1 as a headphone amp but if I wanted to connect this to my external speakers is there an amp I could buy that will allow me to connect my 2 passive speakers and include a sub?
I had the bifrost Uber and an A2 sitting on top of my beta unit HA-1. Very (and I mean very) slightly different sound signatures, with the HA-1 showing a bit more detail forward, the Schiit stack a bit more "smooth" for lack of a better word. Sound quality was on par between the two. I decided to sell the Schiit gear when I found out that Oppo was giving me an HA-1 as thanks for participating in the beta test (I had purchased it to replace the HA-1 when the beta was over, not expecting Oppo's generosity). On sound quality alone, It was a tough call. Add in the build quality, added connectivity and cool screen, and it gets to be a pretty good fight. The Oppo has the edge in the non-sound quality issues, and you pay about $400 more for those features. The build quality is absolutely premium with the Oppo HA-1, and is absolutely acceptable (and no better) with the Schiit gear. If one judges bang for the buck on sound alone, the Schiit gear would likely win, unless you crave forward details. If bang for the buck weighs build quality and connectivity, for you, the HA-1 would likely win, unless you crave a smooth presentation and cringe with forward details. Note again, the voicing differences are so slight to me, that one would have to have a VERY STRONG feeling one way or the other regarding voicing (I tend to cringe with forward details, and I like the HA-1 voicing just fine). Seriously, absent the other, both sound equally stunning for their prices, and both punch well above - in my opinion. Take my opinion with a grain of salt, as the Schiit and Oppo units are near the top quality level of equipment that I have spent much time with. I've listened further up market, but only at meets. Also remember - I was a beta tester, and have been gifted an HA-1 retail unit. You can bet your bottom dollar that has at least a little influence over my attempts to be unbiased. I hope this helps?
My HA-1 will be here this Friday or Sat, and I will be comparing to a Gungnir and Mjolnar combo, and Valhalla (I am pretty new to this so still figuring out SS vs. tube for which can's ). I will be testing with Roxanne IEMs, LCD-XCs, and Senn HD650's. Roxanne balanced cables aren't available for a few more weeks, and I still haven't ordered my HD650 balanced cable set, so really I will only be testing the XC's in a balanced config at first.
For source I will mainly focus on AK240 and JRiver, everything from 44->DSD128, my ideal is a combo that doesn't expose the lower quality TOO much, yes I know that means I sacrifice transparency, I don't care, looking for what I pick to sound good . Regarding the AK240, I will try SE, balanced, etc. outputs because I want to see how it's DAC stacks up to the others as well given the completely different design.
I plan on comparing the HA-1 to the other two stack's straight up, then mixing and matching the AMP and DAC sections in all combo's possible to see what difference it makes as I continue to search for a sound similar to my Veritas 2.8's with Proceed AMP5/Aragon combo balanced from a XA5400ES, except from headphones . BTW, the ES is going to be replaced by a 105D most likely, so I can get rid of all of my transports except my HD-DVD player... so when that comes I will do some combo reviews with the HA-1 105D stack.
Looks like it'll be a good read. Looking forward to your impressions.
That's great, but it's hardly what "audiophiles" mean when they talking about "burn in", if anything your story illustrates how much their labor is fruitless.
Here is my opinion:
First of all HA-1 Dac/Amp combo cost 1199 while Gungnir as Dac only with USB cost 849 so you getting an amp for just 350 saving some space and no extra connections so saving some money on cables. HA-1 uses well known ESS Sabre32 9018 chip while Gungnir uses AAKM4399 chip nobody talks about. HA-1 supports up to 24/192 over optical connections and up to 32/384 over USB. HA-1 supports DSD in native as well DoP mode while Gungnir doesn't support it at all, yes they may add it in the future but definitely not for free. How many DACs support DSD in native mode? I heard about few, but can't remember their names, but they cost way way more than HA-1. I never heard Gungnir but had an HA-1 for several days and compared it'd DAC to Matrix X-Sabre costing 1099 and using the same chip and heard no difference whatsoever. HA-1 is fully balanced setup and Gungnir as well. But Asgard 2 is single ended amp so you can't connect it to Gungnir using 3 pin XLR cables. HA-1's amp output impedance < 1 ohm while Asgard's < 2. So which setup is feature proff?