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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. olegausany
    From Mytek website is not clear if it support native DSD but if you are sure it does it makes it more interesting and tempting but the problem is that as well as with other units you mentioned you have to pay extra $400 or more and often for features you will never use
  2. sbgunn
    I'm very new to this hobby compared to many here so this isn't going to be a groundbreaking review or anything but here goes:

    I wanted the HA-1 because its a jack of all trades, has a remote, and its fully balanced. I have active monitors, a pair of HD800 and quite a few digital sources I wanted to connect in one room. Right now I have everything connected and it sounds great.

    More specifically as it relates to use with headphones - its great for me. My old setup was HD650s with the O2/ODAC combo. I upgraded my headphones 3 weeks ago to the hd800 and I started looking for amps around that time to pair with them - I was almost sure I was going to get a violectric stack but I wanted to go balanced and getting something that I could use as a preamp was becoming a priority. I decided on the HA-1 due to some early feedback and because Opps return policy is generous.

    While I was waiting for the HA-1 to arrive I used my new HD800s with the O2. The first day with the HA-1 I noticed the DAC is much more detailed than the ODAC. I feel like I'm finally getting the full benefit of having such resolving headphones. I wasn't expecting this much of a difference honestly. As for the amp, it seems transparent to my ears but I have limited experience with different amps. Vocals sound more natural and the sound is "smoother" (for lack of a better word) than what I was getting from the O2. Its powerful enough to drive the hd800s to comfortable listening volumes single ended on normal gain. I'm waiting for my balanced cable to arrive now.

    Overall its a huge upgrade from my previous setup sound quality wise and I'm also taking full advantage of the many inputs and outputs. Its exactly what I wanted.
  3. Sonic Defender Contributor
    Thanks for the concrete and useful feedback. I ended up simply ordering an Asgard 2 last night to pair with my Gungnir. As I mentioned I did have the Audiolab CD 8200 with the same Sabre chip in it and it was gorgeous, however there was a slight tilting toward the higher frequencies (at least to my ears). I found the Gungnir to have tons of detail, but it somehow felt more relaxed and quite musical. Last night I was just sitting back listening to some really well engineered and written electronica and the Gungnir was stunning.
    For what it is worth if I did not have the Gungnir without hesitating I would invest in the Oppo as it sounds like a well featured and implemented piece of gear. Very sexy looking unit as well. My brother has an Oppo player and it is fantastic; I always enjoy going to his place and listening to what the Oppo does. I will be keeping up on Oppo as in about a year I will be looking into trying a new sound signature in all likelihood. Cheers.
  4. ogodei
    I am presuming from the context of this remark that it is sarcasms. In any case, I own the Mytek, the Gungnir, and the HA-1.  The Mytek and Gungnir are not "way better", imho.
    On the Mytek, when it came out and we were going through several driver revisions there were differing opinions as to whether the firewire was 'better'.  I used it because of those claims but I never found it to be different than the USB2 interface, presumably because the Mytek's clock seems to deal with any artifacts and timing issues very well.  Anyways, for some reason the firewire input developed a "tick" when using it and after working with Mytek support for a while to try various drivers (one of which did fix the issue), the support guy expressed surprise that people on the boards thought the firewire input was 'better'.
    Anyway, point is that I would not buy a device that had firewire input based only on that fact.  The USB2 inputs on devices are probably just as good or bad based on the design of the device itself.

    According to purrin & crew, yes,
    Mytek supports native, ASIO, DSD64 playback in Windows.  HA 1 supports native, ASIO, DSD256 playback.  The quality difference between DSD64 and DSD256 is 1) very questionable at best, and 2) irrelevant because there few if and DSD256 files available out there.  I am planning a DSD shoot out between the two and an unbalanced Loki unit but in casual listening I have detected no difference in playback.
    The Mytek was my primary DAC and AMP for several months and the amp is very respectable at reasonable listening levels.  As a stand alone unit, it trumps the HA1 for size and form factor; the HA one is really deep at 13 inches and takes up a massive amount of my desk space.  The HA1 has a big screen on the front and more convenience features (IPhone Mobile Audio & charger; Bluetooth Audio; 12 v Trigger in and out, remote control) but I don't need any of those.  Build quality and finish go slightly to the OPPO, as the Mytek has pro-gear roots. The OPPO has a balanced headphone jack, so that could be the tie breaker if you use it as a stand-alone unit.
    However, I don't use the Mytek stand alone anymore, I use it to feed other amps. For that purpose it beats the HA1 for me, primarily because of the unit size (fits in better in my setup) and because I don't want to "waste" the HA1 amp section, which is really good.  I already have several other DACs, I don't need another one this large.
  5. JML
    I just want to point out that Firewire ports are no longer included on new Macs, so regardless of the superiority of Firewire over USB 1.1 and 2.0, it would be misguided to make Firewire the basis for any purchase (other than for legacy purposes).  Current Macs have only Thunderbolt2 and USB 3.0 ports.  You can, however, get adapters and some dock-like peripherals will allow connection of Firewire cables.
  6. ogodei
    Yeah, see my previous post as well: Mytek supports native, ASIO, DSD64 playback in Windows.  HA 1 supports native, ASIO, DSD256 playback.   Agreed on the $ difference.
    Exactly.  If I was looking for a fully stand-alone system this would be a great performer and a great value.  I don't think you are missing much from a lot of the higher tier equipment.  And using active monitors is a perfect way to get extra value out of this unit.
    And welcome to head-fi, by the way! [​IMG]
    I agree with all of this. The Gungnir is newer to me, I'm still kind of in transition over to it full time from my Mytek, and I do notice a difference (good) that I cant quite define yet.  I will be forwarding the oppo to a friend of mine who doesn't have any audio equipment right now because it will do so well as a stand alone unit.
  7. olegausany
    Thanks for info but can you please compare HA-1 amp and Mytek amp driving HD800 using Mytek dac with USB. Also do you know if allows return with money back guarantee?
  8. Cian
    I'm currently trying to find a nice counterpart to my Fostex th-900s and this device has piqued my interest. Other contenders for me include the Yulong da8 which is supposedly a great machine, or getting it's little brother the d200 along with a standalone amp ala a Violectric v200 or Burson Soloist. That's another interesting question if this oppo can stand up to a separate dac and amp.

    Of course comparisons between these amps would be very helpful to members on the forum but it seems taboo for this thread for some reason...only joking of course bit does seem strange. Could be that not enough people have this device yet or for some other reason but other amps have been described and critiqued in their own/other threads but not this as yet. Lastly it has been said that the balanced headphone out has a lot more power than the single ended.My question is does the oppo have enough juice through the single ended if I want death by volume in respect to my Th900s.
  9. giedrys
    Anyone's using Oppo with  HE-560? Impressions?
  10. Shenook

    I am in the same boat. Using a receiver to power my th-900 temporarily and x5 on the go around the house. The long cord is a bit annoying though, I loop it on my belt. I read a mid range comparison thread here and it seems most of the $500-2000 davs sound nearly identical with a few exceptions. I am eyeing the mytek, nad 51, oppo ha1 and benchmark dac 2. Keep in mind the Nad 51 is DAC only and you need an external amp. The Mytek is more clinical in sound it seems, very neutral but if paired with some tubes it's might be a great option. The DAC 2 has the closest options and features that the oppo has minus the apple thing and it will likely have the best resale value if you upgrade.

    I am leaning toward oppo for now cause the th-900 does not need much to drive em. Balanced always has more output but from what I read a balanced th-900 has no effect on them cause they can be driven by mid range amps pretty easily.. So ultimately you don't need hat with th-900's. I plan to augment whatever I buy with a separate amp later. I might choose maybe woo audio wa22 or a cavalli amp to have extra power and different sound. Plus then I can increase my stable of headphones and get some hard to drive open cans.

    I am only a bit concerned with the oppo ha1 heat output. I am really considering paying 800 more for less heat (ala Benchmark DAC2). I don't care for the apple support oppo put in while ignoring android and windows control. I would like to know what you end up with. Oppo has a great blue ray player so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt in regards to reliability.

    One last thing...

    Oppo = chinese designed and made product, oppo digital is in mountain view CA but ultimately is a chinese company from my understanding. Olegaunsany said oppo digital has nothing to do with the chinese company. Interesting....
    Benchmark = Engineered and manufactured in the united states.

    My only issue with going benchmark is price is a bit high. If they were slightly cheaper I would hands down go with the benchmark DAC2 HGC (I want the analog option on that model)
  11. olegausany
    Oppo Digital rep said here that they have nothing to do with Oppo in China
  12. Shenook

    Interesting, I added that to my post with your name associated to that comment.  Not sure how that is possible but I will look into it.  That might sway me to oppo a bit then.
    I found this from 2006
    Oppo Digital is the recently started North American "branch" or "offspring" of BBK Electronics, a large Chinese consumer electronics company.
    and this on wikipedia
    OPPO Digital Inc., is a completely independent operation that has licensed the Oppo brand name. They are based in Mountain View, California United States. It is known for its universal upconverting DVD and Blu-ray Disc players.
    OPPO Digital Inc. was founded in California in 2004.[2] Their first product was the OPPO OPDV971H Up-Converting Universal DVD Player.[3]
    Color me officially interested.  Now to truly compare the Benchmark DAC 2 and Oppo HA1 now....
  13. olegausany
    But if i'm not mistaken Benchmark Dac 2 cost 800 more. But does the difference worth it?
  14. ogodei
    Oppo takes the Th900s up to earbleed levels very easily with the gain set to high.
    Either the Mytek of the Oppo will drive the Th900s equally well.  You would not need a separate amp with either of the units.  Again displaying my ignorance or bad hearing or whatever, i have always been impressed with the SE output on the Mytek for lower impedance phones.  For the The Th900s, I could go with either amp and be happy.
    I am one of the people that mentioned the heat from the unit earlier in the thread. It has never been a real concern to me, I think it was more a factor that I had been running the unit for a few days straight and the ambient temp in the room was in the 80's at the time.  It gets warm but no more than my other amps: the Mytek for instance can run even hotter if I drive the amp for a while.
    All the HE-560s in the wild right now are pre-production as they are redesigning the cans.   Given that, I'd recommend a balanced cable and the High Gain setting on the HA1 to get the moar power you want for these cans.  At high volumes the dynamic range of the cans with the HA1 is somewhat limited compared to my audio-gd, but in the case of these cans that may be a good thing.
    Edited for gammer.
  15. PerfectHiFi
    Thank you for the link, l saw and lost it. Did someone compare the HA-1 with a Model lynx hilo on a HD800? Technically, frequency response appears to have larger bandwidth and better "flatness" on the lynx hilo. I am aware of the higher price of model hilo. Also I do believe that model hilo has less distortion. Am I comparing lemon and orange? How does hilo sound in comparison?
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