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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. JML
    I love those Joseph speakers!  Earlier this spring I was looking at the Parasound pre-amp and power-amps for stand-alone system, unconnected to my desktop and computer, and they're great buys.  The Oppo is phenomenal for a desktop setup, and I can see using them with active speakers, but given the flexibility of the Parasound preamp and the heat of the Oppo, I'd be inclined to go with the Parasound in your system.  After all, they have those other features, and the phono input and bass management for a sub.  The Oppo will let you play DSD, though, unlike the Parasound.
    Of course, you could keep both! [​IMG] 
  2. Tyler J
    Ha ha, I would love to keep both but I value my marriage.

    Yeah, the Joes are special. They were my fathers and he passed away a few years ago. They are a great way to remember him. I thought he was crazy for spending so much for a couple of book shelf speakers, but now I get it.

    I felt a little funny looking at these reasonably priced pres to pair with them but I feel they are a match for the Bryston after listening for awhile.

    I got a few hours of listening in tonight without the wife and kids around. I think the parasound sounds a bit better than the oppo but the differences are subtle. I also figure that the digital technology will continue to evolve and can always add a stand alone DAC to the line ins of the parasound.

    Thanks to all for your input. Thread highjack over.
  3. bluemonkeyflyer
    OPPO recommends waiting at least 30 seconds between On-Off cycles to avoid damage to the circuitry.
    You can buy a switching box for comparing up to 4 headphones with one amp/dac. You just have to determine the SPL settings on the volume pot for each headphone for equal sound level matching. Alternatively, you can hook up the switch box in reverse to compare up to 4 amps/dacs with one set of headphones.
  4. gotoma8
    30 hours?  You mean from turning off then wait 30 hours to turn back on?
    Seems very strange....if that's the case.
  5. rambotan
    30 SECONDS
  6. bluemonkeyflyer

    You misread my post.

    30 Seconds, not 30 Hours. :)
  7. gotoma8
  8. t258jgn
    What you guys normally set for Volume when using the Balanced connection to your Speakers or Amp?
    Normal Gain or High Gain?
  9. Tyler J
    It came from the factory set in high gain mode so that it what I used at first.  I also tried the normal setting.  I noticed no difference in the sound quality through my speakers but it did seem to run cooler in the normal setting. 
  10. Smarty-pants
    High gain does raise the noise floor over the normal gain setting.
    Use the normal gain setting unless your headphones require more power from the high gain setting.

    The HA-1 manual has this to say about the gain setting...
  11. JML
    Isn't it true that the normal and high gain settings shouldn't affect the output level sent via the rear balanced outputs to speakers or amps (i.e., the DAC stage to the output ICs), but only the headphone amp section itself and the front-panel outputs?
  12. Smarty-pants
  13. Maxx134
    It's not any hijack to compare the ha1 with other equipment.

    The problem with the parasound is I believe lesser dac and lesser power supply but better preamp features.
    If you believe the parasound is just a little bit better, then check out the review a few page back here:

    Where using the oppo headphone out into the system line in unleash the full potential or sound, which reviewer noted is substantial because of not using any op amps in input stage..

    This question is flawed as the "normal & high" gain setting is for the headphone out, not the balanced out...

    That is a general statement.
    That does not apply to the oppo headphone out.

    Also, the oppo statement is just a general statement as well,
    So I must assume it is regarding sensitive cans like IEM'S or some portables.

    Who uses normal gain?
    I don't want my volume control way over the halfway point!

    Anyway You don't loose anything or have "noise floor" issues on the oppo headphone out.
    Tested high gain at max volume gave me zero noise floor.

    Using high gain the he560 sounds better.
    Using high gain the hd800 sounds better.
    Using high gain the th600 sounds better.
    How? Mainly I was able to go louder more easily and dynamics are more noticeable when you have volume on tap.

    Anyway there is another more noticeable point that is another issue when listening and it is akin to like having an upgrade. .

    Using balanced output..
    On the hd800 & he560 it gives more authority even at low volumes.

    You will want access the difference & beauty, & full potential that power makes to the XLR headphone out sound.

    You will want to use the balanced outs.
    You will never regret going balanced. .
    You will never look back to anything less after this

    I will also say that I believe this HA-1 is really really dam good and the real deal..
    In time as more own it, this unit will be realised as holding it's own amongst the best gear out there..
  14. Smarty-pants
    ^ Being a general statement that does not cater to what you would have it be in specifics does not make it wrong,
    it just makes it not what you want to hear.
    If there were no difference between the high and normal gain, Oppo would not have made them both available. :wink:
    Your cans sound better (to you) with high gain. Fair enough. That does not mean that all cans sound better or need to use high gain.
    I use normal gain and it works just fine for me, with plenty of headroom too. :smile:
  15. x RELIC x Contributor
    I just can't listen to my XC's on high gain and balanced headphone out. I'd have to have the volume at one notch above minimum (which I don't like) else it would be too loud in the long term. On low gain the XC's play nice at 9:00 to 12:00 depending on the mastering levels.

    On my LCD-2 I do use high gain with balanced headphone out at around the same volume range. I agree about the dynamics, but it depends on the headphone being used.

    Also agree on not being able to go back after listening with a balanced headphone out. The clarity and dynamics are simply that much better.

    I'm appreciating the HA-1 more now than ever and I wonder when the honeymoon is gonna end. It's been a looooong honeymoon with this gear. :D
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