Oppo HA-1 Impressions Thread
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MRC001

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Amir's measurements (Audio Science Review) of the Oppo HA-1 showed that it has 2 different internal analog stages. The line stage, and the headphone amp. The first is cleaner (lower distortion & noise), while the second is more powerful. The headphone outputs are always driven by the headphone amp, as expected. One might think that if you're using the HA-1's line outs (whether balanced or unbalanced) then you're listening to the line level stage. But that is not how the HA-1 works. When it's in fixed gain (called theater bypass) mode, which bypasses the volume knob, the line level outputs are from the line stage as expected. But only in fixed gain mode. As soon as you enable the volume knob (turn off theater bypass), the line level outputs come from the headphone amp.

Amir's measurements show that the HA-1 is still a great DAC, preamp, and headphone amp. And it delivered about 7 Watts (!?!?) to the balanced headphone output, which is about twice its rated output power. That said, if you want a DAC, headphone amp or preamp with excellent measurements, you can get ones just as good as the HA-1 for a lot less money - let Amir's site be your guide.
 
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JMCIII

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I wonder how many people still find this amp relevant in today’s marketplace?
 
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LarryMagoo

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I wonder how many people still find this amp relevant in today’s marketplace?
Are you kidding? I feel totally lucky to own this high quality HP amp as they are no longer made!! It has plenty of power for my HD 800S and also my Dan Clark AFC's. I do not use the DS-on-board DAC though because my Yggy blows it into the weeds! I use Balanced In and Balanced Out to get the best performance! The remote works great and I can see the lovely monitor screen it has from across the room!!!!
 
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JMCIII

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Are you kidding? I feel totally lucky to own this high quality HP amp as they are no longer made!! It has plenty of power for my HD 800S and also my Dan Clark AFC's. I do not use the DS-on-board DAC though because my Yggy blows it into the weeds! I use Balanced In and Balanced Out to get the best performance! The remote works great and I can see the lovely monitor screen it has from across the room!!!!
I agree. This was my end game headphone amp, and I felt good finding one in near mint shape for a price I could afford (there are some real shysters out there price gouging the hell out of this amp). It drives all my headphones (Audeze, Focal, AudioQuest, Byer Dynamic) to ear splitting levels with good, clean power.
 
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JMCIII

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The HA-1 is still a very good headphone amp but I believe it's dac is a bit outdated.

The DAC is an older Sabre model, yes. But its one still being used today (the Myteck Liberty DAC uses it). It's all in how it's designed. It will still offer great sound (and yes, while you CAN better it, that will come at a cost) for many. But it's what it does as a headphone amp that, to me, makes the HA-1 a great buy even today.
 
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LarryMagoo

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The HA-1 is still a very good headphone amp but I believe it's dac is a bit outdated.
I agree with you, I even think some of the lower priced Multibit DAC's from Schiit would be a great upgrade for that DS that's currently rides inside the HA-1. Really bums me out that Oppo got out of the component business....While I will never own one of their cell phones, a source of their current income, I miss the originality they brought to their audio products. Though 99% of my music listening goes through Roon, I still hang on to my OPPO BDP 105 for occasional Multichannel Blu ray CD or Movie.
 
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Hooster

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I agree with you, I even think some of the lower priced Multibit DAC's from Schiit would be a great upgrade for that DS that's currently rides inside the HA-1. Really bums me out that Oppo got out of the component business....While I will never own one of their cell phones, a source of their current income, I miss the originality they brought to their audio products. Though 99% of my music listening goes through Roon, I still hang on to my OPPO BDP 105 for occasional Multichannel Blu ray CD or Movie.
I have an Oppo BDP-205 that I use as a DAC. The build quality is simply awesome and it sounds pretty nice too.
 
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MRC001

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I wonder how many people still find this amp relevant in today’s marketplace?
I think the HA-1 still holds its own well. It's clean, full-featured and powerful. Last year, Amir ran detailed measurements and published them on ASR. It measured respectably well (though it did show the dreaded Sabre IMD "hump"). And it produced 7 clean watts of power, about twice its rating. It can drive the most inefficient headphones like the HE-6. And it has a ton of features: both balanced and unbalanced, selectable gain, Bluetooth, all kinds of sampling frequencies, both PCM and DSD, and analog inputs.

However, it has some limitations. First, it runs hot and even if you keep it well ventilated, it tends to have 2 kinds of failures develop after a few years. The first is the volume knob (a nice Alps pot) becomes intermittent, which is hard to replace because of the way the HA-1 is built. The second is its protection safety relays gradually deteriorate and start to false trigger, randomly shutting it off. Compounding these is that fact that it's no longer made so it could be hard to get one fixed.

All that said, the HA-1 is a great performer both objectively and subjectively. I think it's still a good deal if you can find one used for $500, just make sure the volume knob & protection relays are OK.
 
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The HA-1 has a special place in my heart, but the idea of me using it as a dac or a HP amp is super unlikely. It is just outclassed by newer equipment I got. (Was it ever that good?)
I never fully like it as headphone amp and i didn't know better about the dac - i had used it mainly in media-bypass to a pre/amp. It was a good friend for years on my desktop. (i'm also a sucker for meters on a display :D)

edit: haha.. i just notice it is still my forum pix :) (this is, oddly, the only thread i follow... )
 
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I still use as DAC and also HP amp.
Although I also have the Sonica built around the newer ess9038 Pro the perceived difference does not worth the hassle.
The perceived sonic difference is minimal to me.
I use it with HD800 S, AKG K812, Focal Elear and LCD2C.
I auditioned some much more expensive stuff but IMO the main difference will be given by the cans and source material not DAC or AMP (at least if these are correctly engineered).
 
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Hello, I've had my HA-1 since launch and have used it almost every day. All features are fully functional. The heat the unit develops is a concern tho. Sometimes it gets really really hot. Almost too hot to even touch for long in the California summers here. I would like to keep it healthy and fit but I don't know how long that's going to be as it ages. I use it as a pre amp now in the BYPASS mode and it still gets hot! My dac of choice is a Schiit Audio Gungnir MB. Still use the internal dac sometimes as well. The HA-1 is the control center and switcher of my system and I want it to last as long as possible. Source switching and the like. All the pre outs and ins are in use (xlr and rca)
Do any of you cool your HA-1? I just started cooling mine and I was wondering if you all have any thoughts on the subject. It really keeps the whole unit cool now. Looks sort of dorky tho but who cares, right?:thermometer_face:
 
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SylvesterH

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Being a pure class A amplifier the heat is normal.
Mine heats up as well and have no issues with it.
I guess it was engineered in such a manner to be able to cope with high temperatures.
 
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