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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. jonstatt
    The power cable provided is obviously different. Sometimes the European version may use slightly different materials (e.g. paint) for EU compliance but in all likelihood all the versions of the actual product are the same. But as Oppo in each country/region operate independently, I would suspect if you were in the UK and bought a US one, in the event of a warranty issue, you would need to send it back to the US for repair.
  2. Maxx134
    One minor thing no one mentioned I think, is how absolutely real the meters look and work (!)
    Hard to believe they are an lcd screen.
  3. jonstatt
    But didn't you notice the sound quality improves when the screen is off? Just kidding..I haven't noticed any change but I am expecting someone to say this :)
  4. twicehelix
    Just joined this forum...great thread!  I have been listing to an Oppo HA-1 through Krell electronics and Thiel 5 speakers. Unfortunately, I do not have headphones. I popped the HA-1 in to the system, in place of my Benchmark DAC-1 USB--this is the older Benchmark (had it for ~3 years). I feed the Oppo files via a Mac lap top running Pure Music. In brief, comparing the Benchmark to the Oppo the sound and musicality I hear  is very ying/yang. I've noticed in my system, using my ears and my wife's that compared to the Benchmark the Oppo provides a much wider and deeper soundstage, cavernous lows and sound that makes me want to tap my toes a lot to the music. I don't want to stop listening. Very addictive kit here. Been trying to analyze why. My guess at this point (2-3 weeks of listening, fortunately not 24/7) is that the Benchmark may be way too detailed for my system. ????????  It has always been difficult to sit and listen to the Benchmark for hours--not the case with the Oppo. The Oppo sports flashes of great detail, but given good recordings just wonderful sounding music emerges in my system. I hear a lot of bloom and detail, but some occasional congestion. And yes, I do hear some small difference with the panel turned off--probably my imagination (took your bait Jonstatt [​IMG]). Still considering the new Benchmark, but my wife will not let me return the Oppo!
    --Concerning heat. I own a Class A power amp that puts out heat rivaling my fireplace, so the Oppo getting warm is no big deal.
    --??? Does anyone know if the XLR outputs also sport Class A amplification, also using discrete devices (transistors vs. opamps)? 
    -I am really enjoying the Oppo and recommend that anyone  curious about the Oppo  to order one to check it out for yourself. I did also audition the Emotiva Dac-1. Nice bit of kit, but notches below the Benchmark.
  5. Jimmyf1312

  6. Maxx134
    Lol no, but I tell you something else...
    Whenever I dim the lights my sense of hearing seems more accentuated. .
    I am thinking this may happen to others. .
  7. HiFiAudio
    I am reminded of how some people on occasion pick some operational mode and say AQ is greatly improved even though functionally there is zero difference.  Not like turning off the display is going to make a class A amp any more pure. [​IMG]
    Just wait i am sure there will be the custom wall plugs and line cord that make a radical AQ difference showing up eventually. [​IMG] 
  8. Maxx134
    I highly doubt you hearing more details.

    I do believe it may be the purer sonics of the oppo that make it more enjoyable.

    Most solid state stuff can sound somewhat hard, harsh and edgy.
    That is what I assume is your predicament with your "Benchmark DAC"

    Also why so many prefer tube sonics with "even order" Harmonic distortion.

    I have had a few tube setups,
    and I can honestly say the HA-1 is one of the few Solid State solutions that can achieve that level of musical enjoyment..
  9. twicehelix
    Dear Maxx-
    Neat to hear that you also enjoy the Oppo.....
    I think you are probably correct, but I do hear more details at the low end of the sonic spectrum through the Oppo--I did not hear such detail through the Benchmark; also, cymbals sounded more realistic giving me some clue that the treble rendition is satisfying......so, do you know how the HA-1 handles signals going to the XLR output?  I'm not an electrical engineer, but given a hefty toroidal transformer and a lot of beefy capacitors it seems like the Oppo might have their act together in the power supply department. I guess this is a necessary component for getting the music right. Didn't want to say it before, but yes, you are also right, the Oppo presentation is tube-like. I sense a after-glow (bloom?) around musical notes and voices--very addicting. Been wondering if this perceived effect is obscuring equally satisfying detail. Wonderful issues to angst about!
    Okay, was just joking about the display, but when I really want to listen closely, I do close my eyes. No, I do not plug my ears, as well![​IMG] 
  10. PerfectHiFi
    Great comments, Newbie, welcome to the HA-1 forum!
    Very interesting question that you put in regarding Class A output stages for XLR and line outputs.
    Perhaps, OPPO can answer to this, they have the schematics ( circuit diagrams)
    Maybe they use some nice low distortion, low noise buffer amps from Analog Devices, such as AD8597 or so?
    Personally, I can imagine that the sound quality may change when turning off the LCD screen.
    However, this would probably lead to an improper design / isolation between analog and digital circuits and/ or ground loop problems, what I
  11. HiFiAudio
    If you contact Oppo they can certainly describe their output stage in greater detail. [​IMG] 

    Review – Oppo HA-1 Headphone Amplifier

    Harris Fogel, with additional reporting by Nancy Burlan, posted 5/29/2014 - MacEditionRadio.com
  12. twicehelix
    Thank you!  Appreciate your comments and this thread.
    Circuit diagrams.....I did write Oppo about how they feed their XLR outputs, I got some canned answer back that didn't address my question:
    "Yes, anything that is fed into the HA-1 will also be fed out of the XLR outputs."
    Are you also listening to a HA-1?  If so, curious to learn about your impressions.
    Was neat to hear that Maxx134 finds the Oppo sounds more like his tube gear.
    Regarding the Benchmark DCA-1 USB: I did move it up to my my office system which comprises a Emotiva XPA-2 amp and Magenpan MMGs--files fed from an iMac via Pure Music 2.0. Here, the Benchmark sounded gorgeous. Beautiful layering, nice dynamics, deep and engaging soundstage and music flowed in a way that made you not want to stop listening. Just fun! Not like my Krell/Thiel/Benchmark system. My previous DAC in that system was a TC Electronics Konnect 6 (Firewire)-- pretty good DAC and inexpensive. Incidentally, how do you guys feel about USB vs. Firewire connections to your DACs? I guess one good way to asses this might be with a Mytek DAC.
    Inclusion of the Oppo into the Krell/Thiel system has finally allowed me to listen for hours and have fun with this system. Heck, my wife, who has pretty good ears, but no audiophile pretensions, just loves it. I value such evaluations, since they don't read the audiophile press.
    I'm also thinking about finally getting in to headphones....I may try out the cheaper Oppo 'phones when they become available. I know the guy who owns Full Compass, he swears by Sennheisers.
  13. twicehelix
    Nice review and read!
  14. Maxx134

    My post must have been misleading...

    I do not find the HA-1 to sound like my past tube gear...

    I do find similar qualities...
    Like large soundstage to fill in my hd800 so as to make it sound like their a match with details.

    I also find a fluid liquidity in the trebles..
    The HA-1 sounds just super clear,
    without the Solid State edge or metallic shine, or hardness or artificialness or coldness that some SS gear can have.

    That was why I went to tubes, for musicality.
    Now I don't need any(!)
  15. akhyar

    Hi Maxx,
    Mind sharing what headphone cable you're using for your HD800?
    My silver unit HA-1 is expected to arrive end of this month, and I'm shopping around for an upgraded balanced cable for my HD800.
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