Oppo HA-1 Impressions Thread
Jan 9, 2018 at 10:49 AM Post #5,146 of 5,332

LarryMagoo

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I love my HA-1, Class A amp, Great display, many hookup options.....Huge improvement though when added to a R2R DAC as the ESS Sabre 9018 (latest ESS DAC is a Sabre 9038) is a Delta Sigma style DAC. I never thought is sounded harsh either until I tried a Ladder DAC or better known as a R2R.....huge change....Try it and you will hear what I mean....

Oppo quit making the HA-1....probably too good of a deal...it will be with me sometime, if not for the duration will I ever part with mine...
 
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Jan 9, 2018 at 1:52 PM Post #5,149 of 5,332

LarryMagoo

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Do you mean that a R2R DAC sounds less harsh?


Yes I do!...very big difference if your setup has some nice resolution to it....gets closer to the music (like they say Vinyl does)...it has allowed me to get excited by Music again....Add a great R2R DAC to Roon and you're all set!
 
Jan 9, 2018 at 4:01 PM Post #5,151 of 5,332

LarryMagoo

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Any of the Multi-Bit DAC's from Schiit Audio will outperform the Oppo's Delta Sigma DAC in the HA-1....they are a real value based on performance to dollar ratio. I personally use their TOTL Yggy....which has definitely got my Musical enjoyment on track again.
 
Jan 12, 2018 at 8:44 AM Post #5,152 of 5,332
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I’ve owned the PM-1 for three years and have recently completed an (expensive) exercise of researching higher-priced options including Utopia, LCD-4, SR-009. I may not have used the best amps with each of them but I believe I have heard enough to assess their overall signatures.
Anyway, while each has some areas of excellence (IMO), I have found nothing as satisfying as my trusty PM-1s. I have just added an HA-1, purchased from Oppo Digital UK, which they classed as B-stock, although to me it’s as new.
Wow. I am so happy with this setup. Very musical, intimate and involving. I think this is where I stop. I’m using Hugo 2 into the HA-1 and Moon Silver Dragon headphone cable (single-ended at the moment). While I’ve wasted money during this journey and now have some expensive items to part with, overall I think it was worth it. For me at least, this may be end-game for desktop use. It’s nice to no longer be constantly planning what to try next.
Very impressed with Oppo gear. It’s superbly designed and built (unlike some other manufacturers!).
Tony

Tony,

I really appreciate guys like you, who open their wallets and do such expensive comparison tests. Your opinion is just one opinion, of course, but it's a well-developed opinion. :wink:

You can still look forward to a 4x increase in power output (see the GIFs, below) from the HA-1, when you go to a balanced cable with the PM-1, but yes, the HA-1's amp section works wonderfully well with planar magnetic headphones and, frankly, its DAC section is better-suited to planar magnetics as well, in my opinion, as I find its DAC to be intolerably fatiguing with the likes of HD 800, for example.

The Hugo 2 + HA-1 amp + PM-1 must be astonishing. Well done!

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The non-linear curves I've plotted reveal that the HA-1's amp section is actually throttled back when driving lower impedance headphones. This is done to keep it from overheating, but there's no denying it is still offering lots of power, even into 32 Ohms. The HA-1 is allowed to run at full throttle with 600-Ohm loads, however, where "affordable" headphones like the 600-Ohm version of the Beyerdynamic DT 880 can sound their best.

There aren't many headphone amps out there that can deliver 800 mW into 600 Ohms. That's a lot of motion-controlling power - yielding tighter bass and better dynamics. I have a pair of DT 880 600-Ohm, modified for balanced cables (Toxic Cables - Silver Poison), that sound amazingly good on the HA-1 - better than the HD 800, for sure - almost as detailed, but without the fatiguing, brittle treble and with much more bass energy, very tightly controlled, thanks to the 800 mW offered by the HA-1's 4-pin XLR jack. The DT 880 bass energy can be further improved by using Beyer's pleather pads instead of the velour pads - for a better seal. The result is not excessive bass energy - it's just right, in my opinion.

Of course, the DT 880 600-ohm is a far cry from the finesse and transparency offered by the PM-1 on balanced cables with the HA-1 - that's my best sounding desktop rig, too - hands down. But still, I thought it worth a mention for people who have an HA-1 and want to hear what it can do to transform an "affordable" headphone into something special - taking advantage of that 800mW into 600-Ohm power. (I had the DT880 balanced mod done by BTG-Audio.)

Long live the HA-1's that are still in use. I really don't understand why they were discontinued.

Mike
 
Jan 12, 2018 at 9:41 AM Post #5,153 of 5,332

LarryMagoo

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Mike,

Thanks for your write up. I really love my HA-1 even the performance of their DAC has long been passed even by ESS themselves. Once I changed DAC's to a R2R type DAC, the HA-1' whole presentation changed....Class A power baby!

HA-1 + Yggy + HD800S + Roon = my Nirvana!.....Lookin forward to hearing the HD 820.....

Cheers,
Larry
 
Jan 12, 2018 at 1:18 PM Post #5,154 of 5,332

tonyl59

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Mike,
Thanks for your post. My admiration for the HA-1 continues to grow; everything sounds so full-bodied and natural. I’ve noticed that live recordings are sounding very natural. When I close my eyes I can really imagine “being there”.
Of course, I realise I’m waxing lyrical about something I’ve owned only for a few days. I generally try to avoid making early assessments because so often in the past that feeling has diminished over time. However, I’ve done a lot of listening even in this short time....
I’ve promised myself that I need to sell some stuff before I buy anything else, so I’ll save the balanced cable for another day. It would great if it improved the sound even further. I need to get a longer silver cable anyway, as my Silver Dragon is only 4ft long (good for portable use, though).
I, too, can’t understand why Oppo stopped selling this fine amp...
Cheers,
Tony
 
Jan 12, 2018 at 1:28 PM Post #5,155 of 5,332

MRC001

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The HA-1's balanced output does improve the headphone sound quality. I've noticed this with my Audeze LCD-2 and Sennheiser HD-580s. Though I find it a subtle improvement, noticeable only on top quality recordings. To me, it's worth the $50 or whatever it costs to get a balanced cable for the headphone. When it comes to cables, I believe in getting something well designed (low reactance, properly wired, high quality connectors) and you should be good to go. I recommend Blue Jeans cable in Seattle. If they don't have what you want in stock, call them up and they'll build one for you custom. They'll build it from top quality parts and it will be cheaper than the fancy expensive stuff.
I don't work for them, just a happy customer for the past 15 years who lives in the same town they do. I've visited and met them, great bunch of folks.
 
Jan 12, 2018 at 1:32 PM Post #5,156 of 5,332

LarryMagoo

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I made my 20 footer balanced cable from DH Labs Silver Sonic cable.....sounds excellent, never tangles since I finished it with a nice braided sleeve.....https://silversonic.com

Though they make cables themselves, they will sell HP-1 Headphone cable in bulk....
 
Jan 14, 2018 at 5:01 AM Post #5,157 of 5,332

Hooster

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The non-linear curves I've plotted reveal that the HA-1's amp section is actually throttled back when driving lower impedance headphones. This is done to keep it from overheating, but there's no denying it is still offering lots of power, even into 32 Ohms. The HA-1 is allowed to run at full throttle with 600-Ohm loads, however, where "affordable" headphones like the 600-Ohm version of the Beyerdynamic DT 880 can sound their best.

Mike

All they reveal is the non linear power delivery of an amplifier into various impedances according to Ohms law. It is not "throttled back in any way".

"Ideally an amplifier should be a constant voltage source. That is, for a given input signal, the amplifier should produce a constant voltage across the speaker terminals whatever the load. For example, if the amplifier is producing 20 Volts at the output terminals, Ohms law (R=V/I) tells us that there are 50 watts being fed into an 8 Ohm speaker (watts equal voltage squared divided by impedance). If we connect a 4 Ohm speaker, halving the original load, the same 20 Volts would now produce 100"

https://www.gcaudio.com/tips-tricks/the-interrelationship-of-speakers-and-amplifiers/
 
Jan 14, 2018 at 5:17 AM Post #5,158 of 5,332
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All they reveal is the non linear power delivery of an amplifier into various impedances according to Ohms law. It is not "throttled back in any way".

"Ideally an amplifier should be a constant voltage source. That is, for a given input signal, the amplifier should produce a constant voltage across the speaker terminals whatever the load. For example, if the amplifier is producing 20 Volts at the output terminals, Ohms law (R=V/I) tells us that there are 50 watts being fed into an 8 Ohm speaker (watts equal voltage squared divided by impedance). If we connect a 4 Ohm speaker, halving the original load, the same 20 Volts would now produce 100"

https://www.gcaudio.com/tips-tricks/the-interrelationship-of-speakers-and-amplifiers/

I don't doubt your knowledge of Ohm's Law and its application in this context, but during beta testing of the HA-1, I was told by an Oppo engineer that they tapered the output of the amp going into lower-impedance loads, to prevent it from overheating. I'm surely paraphrasing from memory, but that's what I was told - whether my non-linear curves, above, support that statement or not.
 
Jan 30, 2018 at 9:49 AM Post #5,159 of 5,332

Canadian411

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Depends on the headphone, but the HA-1 balanced out is superb and has enough power to drive *anything* well. With the HD 650, HD 660S, and AEON Flow Open, the difference between the balanced and single-ended outputs is not subtle at all. Balanced is where it's at.

Except HE6, barely driving it but it depends what level you are listening to.
 
Jan 30, 2018 at 10:12 AM Post #5,160 of 5,332

Cartma

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I been trying to find one of these to buy forever.
PM me if you got one to sell.
 
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