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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. HasturTheYellow
     
    We have some free DSD samples available on our website that you can use to evaluate the DSD performance of your playback software and our HA-1.
     
  2. SpudHarris Contributor
    I downloaded three samples but they are playing as PCM176.4/24

    Don't get me wrong they sound great but DSD is not shown on the status screen. My LIV Zen is fine with DSD files so am I missing something?
     
  3. SpudHarris Contributor
    Scrub that! There was a tick box for DSD over PCM in the squeezebox settings....
     
  4. x RELIC x Contributor

    The HA-1 caught an earlier error on my part and reported exactly what I was feeding it, even though I thought I was feeding it something different (using beta FW).

    I'm confident that it'll display exactly what it receives, bit for bit, and if it doesn't display what is expected then the rest of the chain should be looked at.
     
  5. SpudHarris Contributor

    Thanks for the clarification, that's what I was hoping.

    Listened critically and although I believe there is a difference I would find it very difficult to choose between DSD and 96/24.... To me it's not night and day.
     
  6. music25
    How does the HA-1 compare to the Grace Design m903?  Might the HA-1 have an easier time driving high impedance cans?
     
  7. kawaivpc1

    I'm interested in m903 too.
    I think m903 is designed for mixing engineers, while HA-1 is purely for listening enjoyment.
     
  8. Maxx134
    Sorry but I doubt that tiny m903 could muster up the performance the ha-1 has..
     
  9. kawaivpc1
    http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/m920?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=recording&device=c&network=g&matchtype=&gclid=CNWAv6fA9b8CFa_m7Aodc30AuA
     
    This one can
     
  10. PFKMan23
     
    Well played, but the fact that there's nearly a $900 price difference helps things. The m903 which what the poster aluded to would be a more equitable comparison.
     
  11. Maxx134
  12. kawaivpc1
    This one's made for professional studio monitoring. 
    It has wider sound stage and precision. 
     
    I think HA-1 is for audiophile home users. 
     
  13. Maxx134
    They say hearing is believing...

    One day I will hear...
    :p
    Untill then what I see is higher potential in the dac and also crossed feature but as you have noted the device more for professional usage, thus the features it has..
    Although I still would not put it's amplification higher level than the HA-1..
     
  14. zilch0md
    Having spent seven months with the HA-1 (as a beta tester), here's my list of OPPO HA-1 chains that I most enjoy, tailored for each of the headphones used (all of them with balanced cables), ranked from most favorite to least favorite:
     
    1) Win7 Laptop > Foobar2000 > HA-1 (USB receiver + DAC + amp) > LCD-2 rev. 1 (for all recordings)
     
    2) FiiO X5 Coaxial Out > HA-1 (DAC + amp) > LCD-2 rev. 1 (for all recordings)
     
    3) FiiO X5 Line Out > HA-1 (amp) > HD800 (excluding poor recordings)
     
    4) Win7 Laptop > Foobar2000 > Teradak Teralink X2 USB-to-S/PDIF converter Coaxial Out  (powered by 5V battery or Teralink PSU) > Beresford Bushmaster MkII DAC Line Out > HA-1 (amp) > HD800 (excluding poor recordings, limited to 96/24)
     
    5) Win7 Laptop > Foobar2000 > HA-1 (USB receiver + DAC + amp) > PM-1 (for all recordings)
     
    6) FiiO X5 Coaxial Out > HA-1 (DAC + amp)  > PM-1 (for all recordings)
     
    7) Win7 Laptop > Foobar2000 > HA-1 (USB receiver + DAC + amp) >HD650 (for all recordings)
     
    8) FiiO X5 Coaxial Out > HA-1 (DAC + amp)  > HD650 (for all recordings)
     
    And if I still had the HD600...
     
    9) Win7 Laptop > Foobar2000 > HA-1 (USB receiver + DAC + amp) >HD600 (for all recordings)
     
    10) FiiO X5 Coaxial Out > HA-1 (DAC + amp)  > HD600 (for all recordings)
     
     
    This list of chains might be hard to digest, but let me point out that, for my tastes (subjective), using the HA-1, as a self-contained USB receiver + DAC + amp, works best with the LCD-2 rev. 1, PM-1, HD650, and HD600 (of the headphones with which I've spent a lot of time.)   These headphones allow me to make use of all of the HA-1's features, including remote control of Foobar2000 and the ability to play any file format, including DSD, and PCM sample rates higher then 96kHz -  with my entire library, good recordings and not so good.
     
    Using the FiiO X5 Coaxial Out as a transport is redundant to using the laptop with the HA-1's USB receiver - only for these headphones, which aren't highly resolving, but the X5 Coaxial Out allows me to "escape" staring at a laptop screen - and the FiiO X5 supports all the same formats, including DSD, albeit with a buggy UI, which is improving slowly, via firmware updates.  
     
    For only my better to best recordings, I very much enjoy the HD800.  My best chains for the HD800 would be at the top of the list, but for the fact that a good portion of my library isn't of sufficient quality to satisfy the resolution of the HD800.  Note that the chains I've listed for the HD800 do not include use of the HA-1's ESS9018 DAC section, which is just too neutral (almost cold) for the HD800's signature.  To compensate the HD800's idiosyncrasies, I'm using warm DACs, my favorite of which is the FiiO X5's PCM1792A Line Out, followed by the Beresford Bushmaster MkII Line Out.  
     
    The HA-1's spectacularly transparent amp section, delivering a whopping 1084 mW (est.) into 300 Ohms (balanced out), does things for the HD800 that I haven't heard with any other amp (keep in mind that my experience is very limited) - including, and I don't think I'm imagining this, a lifting of bass energy.  I'm saying that the HD800 really appreciates the awesome power of the HA-1, but the HD800 cannot tolerate the HA-1's very neutral ESS9018 DAC implementation (for my tastes).  That's what the FiiO X5 Line Out does so well - bringing down the highs, adding body and warmth, with all the detail you could possibly want.  The Beresford Bushmaster MkII is almost as good as the FiiO X5 Line Out in this role, if I want to use my laptop as a source, but the Bushmaster MkII is limited to 96/24 sources (as is the Teradak Teralink X2 USB-to-S/PDIF converter that feeds it).
     
    I'll add that I have the Resonessence Concero, but as a USB receiver and ESS9023 DAC, it's redundant to the HA-1's ESS9018 DAC, although I believe the Concero's USB receiver is ever so slightly superior (for detail) when serving as a USB-to-S/PDIF converter (Coaxial Out).
     
    Lastly, if I had ranked the Centrance DACmini CX (with 1-Ohm output impedance mod) along with these OPPO HA-1 chains, it would follow numbers 2, 6, 8 and 10 (using its USB receiver, DAC, and amp sections) - with the LCD-2, PM-1, HD650, or HD600.  For the LCD-2 rev.1, the DACmini CX comes amazingly close to the performance of the first and second chains in my list above.  The additional power of the HA-1 amp (1.8W into 50 Ohms) adds speed and control, with improved dynamics.  For the PM-1, HD650 and HD600, the DACmini CX lacks nothing vs. the HA-1 in sound quality (for my tastes) - as it has plenty of power for these phones, but the HA-1 completely overwhelms the DACmini CX for features (at a higher price, of course).
     
    Mike
     
    JES, NuClear235, SharpEars and 2 others like this.
  15. jonahsfo
    Just had to share the obligatory gear-porn photo.  I just received my HA-1 last week, and have been enjoying it ever since.
     
    The HA-1 does an impressive job driving the HD-800s and HD-650s as well as the LCD-X.  It definitely has a slightly different sonic presentation than the Benchmark DAC2 HGC + Bryston BHA-1 combo that I was using before this arrived.   I need to spend some more time with both setups, but the Oppo seems to sound a bit crisper (or slightly more clinical if you want to use a different word), whereas the Benchmark/Bryston combo has a "smoother" or more analog sound (or possibly less detailed -- I can't really tell).
     
    Also, just as some other reviews had mentioned, the Oppo really does seem slightly larger (physically) than you'd expect if you've just seen it in photos.  But it's a beautifully-built box, and is a great one-box DAC/balanced headphone amp solution for computer-driven audio.  I suspect this will live here in the office, and the other setup will migrate to the living room.
     
    IMG_2249.jpg
     
    gotoma8 and SharpEars like this.
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