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Newsflash! Among other things it is. It is a fantastic dac and it amps headphones.
Better than Ha-1? It is still not a desktop solution or offer the versatility offered by HA-1.
There was a firmware 1.4.3 for certain HA-1 models, it only updated the display screen I/O for the slightly different LCD. For most HA-1 owners; the latest and final firmware is 1.3.2.
Have any of you noticed Windows 10 Fall Creator's update supports native ASIO?! Have any of you manged to get the Oppo HA-1 to work with the new Win10 ASIO native support?
Ok, it may be a bit big for some desks, but you must be kidding about the versatility. What does a HA-1 do that a 205 does not? The only think I can think of is that the HA-1 has a balanced headphone output. If you really need that, then I understand. On the other hand, the 205 can do a whole lot of stuff that the HA-1 can not and it sounds significantly better. I know because I have had a HA-1 and now I have a 205. To me there is zero contest, unless space is a huge issue.
There are other differences between the HA-1 and 205.
The 205 has a newer generation Sabre DAC: 9038 vs 9018 in the HA-1.
The HA-1's headphone amp is a magnum opus of engineering. It's more powerful (2,000 mW vs. 590 mW), cleaner (20 dB lower THD+noise), and has both balanced and unbalanced headphone outputs.
The 205 has no analog inputs; the HA-1 has both balanced and unbalanced. This makes it a more flexible preamp than the 205.
How do you like listening to the balanced Class A headphone amp in your 205? They're two products that do some of the same things, but are targeting different markets.
"For a more intimate listening experience, headphones can be connected directly to the UDP-205’s built-in headphone amplifier. The headphone amplifier is connected directly to the ESS SABRE PRO DAC and offers a unique performance advantage over standalone headphone amplifiers. " https://www.oppodigital.com/blu-ray-udp-205/blu-ray-udp-205-Features.aspx " This is a superior solution to the implementation of the HA-1.
I have tried listening to both the HA-1 and the 205. In between the two I spent some time with a Chord Mojo. To me the Mojo was a slightly more pleasing listen than the HA-1, but perhaps more of a step sideways towards a more relaxed presentation than a real step forward. Sound quality wise however the 205 leaves the HA-1 and the Mojo in it's dust, as it should given the superior technology. To me the proof is in the pudding. It simply sounds superb, both via analog outputs and via the headphone output.
I thought the HA-1 had been discontinued? Am I wrong?
I'm not sure what exactly "connected directly to the DAC" means, but if it is the obvious common sense that both are integrated in the same box, that describes the HA-1 too. Also, the HA-1 runs fully balanced from the DAC to the analog output. Being fully balanced is actually superior engineering (even if it doesn't make any audible difference). Thus the statement "This [the Oppo 205] is a superior solution to the implementation of the HA-1" seems incorrect. Yes, Oppo discontinued the HA-1.
From an engineering perspective, it looks like the 205 has a better digital stage while the HA-1 has a better analog stage. Whether that makes any difference at all to the listener is a different question entirely. Subjective impressions often don't align with engineering differences, especially with equipment that is so well engineered and built there are no obvious sonic defects. With top grade equipment like this, most audible differences disappear in level matched A/B/X tests, those that remain are subtle, and can't be tied to specific engineering features (if they could, you'd have corresponding significant differences in measurements).
How well does the 205 drive high impedance headphones and planar magnetics from its single-ended headphone output? Not nearly as well as the Class A amplifier in the HA-1 does balanced, which along with its versatile connectivity is its biggest strength. The HA-1 DAC is serviceable, not the best, but unless I'm missing something is also connected directly to its amplifier. Plus, you can bypass the internal DAC and pair it with any external DAC you'd like. The 205 locks you into using its internal DAC since it has no analog inputs. If you want to use an external amp that's doable, but then you're shooting way above the price of the HA-1.
Yes, the HA-1 has been discontinued, but it can still be found on the used market if you look. People tend to hold onto them though.
So, apples and oranges, truly.
Not to mention subjective personal preference. One man's trash is another man's treasure as the old saying goes.
Is there a replacement planned for HA-1?
I am getting a used one that costs half the cost of UDP-205, surely the DAC on it might be better than HA-1 but I am saving a lot.
I can get a Audeze Deckard at half the cost of HA-1. How does this compare with HA-1 before I take the plunge. Is HA-1 in different league from Deckard? I am planning to begin with LCD-2 and HD800.
Apart from AudioGD NFB-28.38, are there any reasonable cost headphone AMP/DAC options with ES9038 Pro chip?
The only question that I can answer for you is that AFAIK, there is no planned replacement. Apparently Oppo decided to get out of the desktop headphone amp market and gave us the Sonica DAC instead of a successor to the HA-1.
While I love my HA-1, a Deckard at half the price of an HA-1 is worth listening to before making your decision. You can get either used on eBay, if you don't like it you can easily re-sell it for what you bought it for. Both are all well engineered and built and any differences one hears are as likely due to personal preferences as to engineering. The HA-1 may be superior on paper, but past a certain point of design & engineering, just cuz one costs more or has some superior engineering feature doesn't mean it makes any difference to the listener.
That's where the problem is, I am not able to get my hands on Deckard for auditioning. That's why I was relying on all the audiophiles on Head-Fi.