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Oppo HA-1 Impressions Thread

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by aamefford, May 7, 2014.
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  1. elrod-tom
    Just took delivery of mine yesterday...had limited listening so far (at the office with AKG K550's single-ended), but I'm impressed.  More later...
  2. x RELIC x Contributor
    So many impressions on the horizon. :popcorn:
  3. craftyhack
    Indeed the Mytek is a great looking swiss army knife as well, I think between the two (not including any sound differences) it comes down to preferences of the buyer.  Do they want IEEE1394 input (which is awesome idea BTW, HA-1 doesn't have that), do they need 4 pin balanced out (Mytek doesn't have that), do they want a remote (Mytek doesn't have that), which asthetic and level of build quality do they prefer (HA-1 wins that one I think, although I dig the "industrial look" of the Mytek), do they want Bluetooth, etc., etc.  Then there is also the $400 price difference which is a pretty big gap and one of the biggest draws to the Oppo for many, how little you spend relative to what you get.  Once you start spending $1600 then you get to another level of options.  Since they are both 9018, the sound sigs could be similar, I don't know that one, and that would indeed be an interesting comparison, but thank goodness in my case I wanted the features unique to the HA-1, and the $400 makes a difference to me as I will be giving that money to Vinnie at RWA for my AK240 at a minimum (maybe more if there is anything in the Oppo that will improve it affordably, or add an input/output feature I need that I haven't thought of, like firewire :wink:.
    This is probably the biggest con to buying devices like this vs. separates, less flexibility, so you should make sure that the swiss army knife you choose has all of the blades you need/want, because that is what you are gonna get.  The corollary to that is that integrated components are often cheaper due to economies of scale of production, so it may make sense to buy one of these and then add a seperate component to replace one stage.  A very common example of this is in the world of receivers, where you could spend $2-3K on a TOL receiver with balanced pre-outs that was %95 percent as good in the pre-amp/processing department as a $10K pre/pro, and probably had more features to boot where most pre/pros typically didn't have as many bells and whistles (like mp3 decoding, etc.).  You could then add an excellent amp and come out WAY ahead on budget.
    I don't think that we are there yet in the head-fi world as you don't see a proliferation of integrated units (once you see some in Best Buy, we are there!), but Oppo may be one of the companies that help to get us there, as if their product sells well enough, I expect other makers(Sony, Pioneer, Denon, etc.) with integrated units of high quality yet much more affordable than their previous attempts.
    Back on topic, FedEX dropped off my HA-1 10 min ago, I will post my unboxing impressions and pics to the thread in a bit.
  4. craftyhack
    I will have to apologize in advance for the fact that my impressions will take time as I have several other things going on at the moment, but OTOH hopefully the wait will be worth it when it comes to content (words and pics/vids) given as a part time writer I can be prolific with words, I just hope those words are all valuable vs. WOT's :D.
    I used to be a mod/blogger for digitaltheaterforums.com back in the late 90's, but once we crossed the threshold as the number 2 forum behind AVS the owner sold out the dang domain and content out from under us with no warning so we lost all of the work we had done and the knowledge collected there (yes I am still bitter, I literrally lost 1000's of hours of work not to mention the reference material posted by industry greats).  Hopefully my skills have not diminished with time...
    Also, depending on the outcome of my sending my HA-1 and AK240 to Vinnie at RWA, I may have to do and entirely separate set of impressions, and given he will have it probably six weeks, I am looking at a few months of duration to do this :O.
    EDIT:  I just added the HA-1 to the Head-Fi gear pages for folks to post reviews there as well...
  5. ghibliss
    The Mytek does provide professional 3 pin XLR output, has Philips RC-5 remote control capability so it may be used with virtually any universal remote available. That being said the piece is now  bundled with an aluminum remote control as well as Firewire 400/800 USB, RCA cables.  The Mytek does not have a 4 pin headphone jack however I do not see that as a major drawback.  The Oppo does support Bluetooth, again i would likely never use this feature since all of my music is on a server which would be connected to this device.  The Mytek uses the same ESS Sabre 9018 DAC and in the professional version you get the ability to connect a DSD device directly to the DAC which is not available on the Oppo.  I have over 500 DSD audio titles in my collection currently so the DSD is a major selling point.  
    The Oppo has a very nice user interface however the sound is what is most important to all of us in the end.  What I am interested in learning is if anyone has performed a comparison between these products so that one can make an informed purchasing decision as to which one sounds best.  The $400.00 difference is certainly a point which many may consider significant however if the sound quality is better this is a small amount to pay for that performance.  Looks alone are not enough to sway my purchasing decision. 
  6. olegausany
    What do you mean by connectcting DSD device directly to the DAC?
  7. olegausany
    Just checked Mytek website and can't understand what they mean by saying DSD driver for Windows, DSD "DoP over USB" for other player software? It's clear they support DoP but what about native mode which HA-1 supports. Yes they have some high grade capacitors and clock capabilities which makes it very interesting unit but i would rather balanced headphones amp section instead of FireWire
  8. Pier Paolo
    34 pages and no really helpful description of sound quality compared to mayor amps. Very strange. Maybe the soud quality is not on par with the features.
  9. Maxx134
    You Hit The Nail On The Head. .
    The schiit and Mytek are way better than this oppo.

    .. ... ..

    Think about this...

    The oppo sold out the first batch..
    Does anyone know how many sold total so far..??

    Far too many..

    Nobody talking. .

    Just two or three here.

    Hmmm. VERY fishy..

    Something is up.
    Something shocking.
    Something dumbfounding.
    Something jaw dropping.
    Something wonderful. .
    "HAL" thinks so.. ("HAL"="HA-1")

    Buy one.
    TheN join the quiet masses..
    bbfoto likes this.
  10. ghibliss
    You can connect for example a Tascam DV-RA1000HD recorder which provides the user with:
    1. (2) SDIF 3/DSD RAW outputs on BNC jacks
    2. SDIF-3 DSD input and output for external conversion and processing of DSD audio
  11. aamefford
    Sheesh. The HA-1 is not world changing or life changing. It is pretty darned good though. So is a lot of other stuff. Oppo amp section is pretty much indescernable from the Schiit Asgard 2 and the Burson Soloist to my midfi ears. I rate all 3 as good solid state amps. The DAC section is very, very, very slightly more detail forward than the Uberfrost or the NF-DAC I had on hand. Both of those are good dacs.

    Lots of good stuff out there. Including the Oppo. If you need a great all in one box solution with killer build, great sound, great connectivity, you get a good value for the price. If you just want to read that it's a giant killer or that it sucks, with a couple thousand words of beating around the bush thrown in, wait for the "reviews".

    Sorry, cranky today...
  12. ghibliss
    You need to install the USB driver when using the USB 2.0 input as the product is delivered and setup for USB 1.1 out of the box. Firewire is also acknowledged as being a better path than USB for providing less noise artifacts.  As far as balanced headphone output being significantly better than single ended all you gain is 3 db of volume so what is the big deal about this?
  13. ghibliss
    As far as sound quality is concerned I know of several major recording studios using the Mytek and a number of friends that have them connected to music servers in high end systems that rave about the performance.  I am not knocking the Oppo as I have not auditioned it however until someone does a professional review documenting the output with oscilloscope waveforms of the product I would not be inclined to make a purchase of this product.  The price is great and the features are certainly good as well.  These two items do not necessarily make a great sounding product !  I will wait until the verdict is in to see how this product really operates according to the test data.   
  14. bbfoto

    Pier Paolo, the problem is that any description of "sound quality" is COMPLETELY subjective. I could write the most eloquent, adjective-heavy review either all-praising or condemning the HA-1, but it will not matter one bit until YOU listen to it with YOUR sources and YOUR Headphones, IEMs, or other stereo components. :wink:

    Obviously, if something is terribly wrong with the unit technically, such as obvious noise, pops, hiss, distortion, harshness, etc, you will be sure that A LOT of people would post that information. So far, I haven't seen any comments to this effect, or anyone stating outright that it is "bad" in any way, or "doesn't live up to its price point", etc.

    It's an amazing piece of kit (and yes, especially for its price). Don't forget all of the things this unit is capable of (quite amazing really), all while using top-notch, hi-end components. There will always be standalone units that might, or might not, perform any single function better. Most likely, better standalone units that when combined offer better performance will be significantly more expensive.

    I think that you'll just have to bite the bullet and try one for yourself. If you find that the Sound Quality (or anything else) does not live up to your expectations, you can simply return it to OPPO within 30-days. They have a 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed Return Policy here:

    And beyond that, I'm sure that these units will hold their resale value quite well on the used market. But for some reason I doubt that you will be seeing many there. :wink:

    In addition, OPPO's other products are very well known and proven over time to be very high-quality devices with exceptional value. I would think there is little risk in giving the HA-1 a try, though I realize international customers may be a bit hesitant.
  15. craftyhack
    Sorry, I was not knocking the Mytek at all, rather stating that the products have different feature sets so the choice between one or the other depends on each person, what features they want, and their budget.  I won't be able to include the Mytek in my reviews as I don't have one, I missed the remote option on Moons website, sorry about that.  4 pin is important for me because that is how all of my cans are or will be terminated, and do not want to have to spend several hundred more on adapters/alternate cables, 4 pin seems more the standard as most high end cans come with that cable vs. L/R 3 pin XLR cables.  Plus I want my headphone connections on the front because I put my stuff in a cabinet, but that is me.  You are right regarding the price $400 may be a lot to some, may be nothing to others, it is a big deal for me given so little $ to spend relative to all of the options out there :D.  Regarding wave forms, here you go:  http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/headphone-amplifiers/headphone-amplifiers/oppo-ha-1-headphone-amplifier-review/page-4-on-the-bench.html , unless you were looking for some other data.
    And to your main point, yep, it is all about the sound, and everyone's tastes, gear, etc. are different, so the reviews are only a pretty small datapoint anyway unless EVERYONE says it totally stinks :wink:.
    bbfoto likes this.
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