Oppo HA-2 Review
Oct 25, 2015 at 10:22 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 62

RockStar2005

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I just recently came across the eye-catching Oppo HA-2 portable amp/DAC. I eventually purchased the device and was really blown away by it in every respect. 
 
The box & packaging: The Oppo HA-2 comes in a nice looking box with very simple inside packaging too. All the necessary cables are included, even a rapid charger wall outlet & charging cable, in case you thought regular charging just wasn't good enough! lol Also supplied are the manuals, warranty, and rubber straps, which keep the HA-2 nicely attached to your phone as one "stacked" unit. The only 2 things missing were really more "optional" I guess, so I don't fault Oppo at all for not including them. These include an extra 3-4' OTG (On-The-Go) male-to-female Micro USB extension cable for Android (so you can set the HA-2 next to you on the couch or table while you are sitting and using your smartphone), which I had already bought on my own here for my previous portable amp/DAC, and also a short (around 5") USB-to-Micro USB cable for using the HA-2's battery pack feature to charge my smartphone (more on that below). I just got a good one though here, so now I'm truly set. 
 
Looks/Design/Features/Ease of Use: The HA-2 comes wrapped in a genuine stitched leather casing, so you really don't need a case for it (which is good because there doesn't seem to be one available anyway lol). The stitching is top-notch, which only adds to the aesthetic appeal. It also features a really beautiful sleek body (making it easy to hold) and what appears to be all metallic parts, including a gorgeous simplistic clean design, and a sweet metallic volume dial that actually reminds me a lot of the coveted Astell & Kern line of DAPs, which are of course awesome and need no introduction. The HA-2 comes (top-side) with a line-out port for speakers, and of course a headphone port as well. On the right side are a battery & charging level indicator, which includes a button that when pressed briefly tells you the battery level status, and also when pressed for about 5-10 seconds, enables the HA-2's unique battery charging feature. One thing a lot of people don't know which I confirmed WITH OPPO (via e-mail) is that the battery pack feature can only be used at the same time that the HA-2 is being utilized to play music when the source device is running on iOS. So essentially Apple device owners have an advantage here of "having your cake and eating it too", so to speak. Android and Windows phone/device owners however have to choose either/or. Not a big deal for me though being an Android owner, but still good to know if I'm recommending the device to a friend who loves Apple. 
 
Below there is a Bass Boost option, which I don't really ever use, but still cool to have, and also a Low/High Gain switch, which is important because different listening devices require different levels of power. IEMs/earphones are best suited for Low Gain, where most if not all headphones will benefit the most from High Gain. On the bottom you got your USB port for both Apple (lightning to USB) devices, as well as a Micro USB port which is used for connecting to Android & Windows devices, as well as for charging the HA-2. An "A-B-C" labeled switch on the left side of the bottom helps control which input device is being connected to the HA-2 at any given time. I found all the switches & dials, including the rotary volume dial, to be very easy to use and very well-made. No cheap materials here!
 
Sound Quality: I tested the HA-2 using my Sony Xperia Z3 smartphone and the Poweramp music playing app, which IMO are both fantastic and the best in their own arenas. The headphones I used were of course my brand new Oppo PM-3 planar magnetic headphones, which I recently reviewed on here as well. The songs played to test out the HA-2 consisted of about 95% Hi-Res, and 5% CD-Quality FLAC/ALAC and some higher-quality (320 kbps) mp3s as well. My songs are mainly rock, both soft and hard.
 
No matter what I played though, the HA-2 always handled every track like a true champion! The sound was rich, lavish, full of life, with plenty of widespread soundstage, and the clarity was all there too! Using the High Gain setting with Bass Boost turned off, the HA-2 got PLENTY loud at around the 2-3 volume setting (max volume is 5). So the amp was definitely on key there. The DAC and its supporting technology made every track sound truly impressive, and I never once felt like it was taking anything away from the music. Really more the opposite actually! The "hiss" sound that any track which happened to have this in it was minimized as much as possible by the HA-2 (and PM-3s), but this was of course the track's fault and not the HA-2. I really wish all Hi-Res tracks had less hiss, though fortunately most DO have less, a small number of them have more hiss vs. lesser versions like mp3. Fact is, they still sound better than the other versions do (with exception to Hi-Res DSD ((or simply DSD)) of course, and I listened to some of those too).
 
Conclusion: I am very happy with how my HA-2 performs and looks, and plan on keeping it for many years to come! I would highly recommend the Oppo HA-2 to anyone. For the cost of $299, you get a hell of a great device! The extra features like the battery pack option, genuine leather casing, and the Low/High Gain switch really make it worth buying. 
 
Optional: For those interested in having a setup like mine consisting of an Android phone using Poweramp and the Oppo PM-3 headphones, included here are PowerAmp screenshots I took of my custom made EQ settings, which are based on various research I've done on EQ settings and the "Rock" EQ preset in Poweramp as well. These are the settings I currently use which I've found to give me the BEST sound quality in every respect. There's a standard one I use which I call "Oppo PM-3", and also a reduced bass one I entitled "Oppo Bass Reducer" (click on pics to enlarge them). I use the "Bass Reducer" version on certain songs (which Poweramp lets you set as the default for) where I hear any crackling and/or feel too strong of a bass sound. The bass is lowered JUST enough in "Bass Reducer" on the first 3 bands to lose all that crap without making it sound too weak in the bass spectrum. If you want more bass, you can always raise the 3 bands up too, or simply just use the Bass Boost option as well. 

Oppo PM-3: 
 
 
G8LDln0OAylMEj5Lpt_2f_tX1aDcpBZXmZVoUXyl-ojWQGIEZ9cFgOKxC9yidxc7MaFbYFpOpaPdkgUAh1Fq1LVJ3JAuQGvXgTcogRBdTw3TNEPxLthygWZIbeM2E69SJOUGO3PWqxoeDVmokAD5VCGppwZc67YE8c7JAkLEOLSgchccsW-Avx3gvdeVNZU30sCaejomy52ha-IC1GnqHhW92hcGsbo3A9kANlocYjhGAxxRM3AxfZtZD8PjvwO3v-CJaT5w8NqWI7FbNvl8rA8LrKYwM9TICPHr5PbCOi03wExvgF2QvDujmFjYbAH2buxvK2D4-36z6QSuGW51iP66VVbGcEUq0bL0l7A9Tirc8HCkHnQGYCGWOiByUU4tDpr9gT1Mo2rJS6wmcAZ0TfKzGoTLOaMNtDDiWvYRwm9Haxix5G--YJy95meexz-7DXvSEjYulPmzBviDaytAVYw4T26wuJgdN_7SpzToKkbNW-nKNKb2gZhkrk_tHzeO9q6UAsP025DTwDRbCYOU_lVmH7yNfGzgNt_-fsP0ETd2=w1680-h945-no
 
Oppo Bass Reducer: 
 
 
DFGaxOEyCc_nU2wo7gZ6x0fn6kYw5sU4g4-HIR3IgkJ2fM_InYlAVAAlSx-DkO0ZNU3Gxs_CqTAQMPBTvhvWXxILHioEzYZABc-jd0y-IYYjeTYe4NAM8e6Uyxxz04Csgy1h-txQdcNcBdPaJR2Iof7UZUvqmav4Pdn88y2q62qMjH1W78KaNJ3VnqAThjurHH8tKaYsULdoH19OnzM2JRJZX3ePid4cXPlb34LDZayaA0KFVOsAgIdydlaQMZKCCA8VQvVx08xqL6GmiIiLabQcEE1ibmwrq8uC4uA1hMXDgdR2EbqJFrWgxaBFq7mCpek5UqsNNInodv9KMXzoglJQTN42v5fNfpdrsQN_YTp4GAtX95ZRFkTUbuLwheAzUdIPV3OkPvMUd2FLp8DO97LVnrI0vttoUdq3yPHmW7NC0CZFNbFVbUmzKKBHpEVYYscPZpShDxCSX6aLvdo3Jfn3lvjdSWY6_A4wvhtD9r-lhlcoo0ln1nScmzgTbxvSg3Gsri3H_JzI_tcH4iIThI26O80EHYEpzxNaqTcH4B0R=w1680-h945-no
 
**UPDATE: PLEASE IGNORE THE "OPTIONAL" SECTION ABOVE & THE 2 PICS INCLUDED WITH IT.
 
I HAVE DECIDED TO TURN OFF THE EQ FUNCTION (FOR THE OPPO PM-3 HEADPHONES I NOW HAVE) ON POWERAMP. IT WAS CAUSING STATIC ON RANDOM SONGS, EVEN HI-RES ONES, BUT NOW SINCE DISABLING IT THE STATIC HAS SINCE COMPLETELY VANISHED! THE PM-3s ARE SO CLEAR THAT IT WAS CATCHING TOO MUCH OF THE BAD FROM THAT EQ BEING ON, SO IT HAD TO GO. I DIDN'T HAVE THIS ISSUE WITH PREVIOUS HEADPHONES, BUT THEY COULDN'T DO WHAT THE PM-3s CAN.** 
 
 
Oppo HA-2: 
 
 
Oppo-HA-2-1940x1083.jpg
 
Oct 26, 2015 at 11:46 PM Post #4 of 62

Paskii

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Thanks for the review. $299.99 for a portable amp is a bit pricey for me, but I'm glad to hear that you find that it's worth the price and your happy with the product. I tend to get buyers remorse so I'm researching still. If given the option which other portable amp you would go for?
 
Nov 30, 2015 at 10:55 AM Post #7 of 62

RockStar2005

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hitead, 
 
Thank you! Much appreciated!!
 
I don't think it is normal. I mean, when I go to insert the micro USB connector into the HA-2, it seems to go in pretty easily. If anything, wiggling it would just make it harder. You MAY wanna look into getting a replacement if this is an on-going issue for you. 
 
 
daniel, 
 
Yeah they make some DAMN great products! Their products like the HA-2 and PM-3s offer a very attractive premium look & fantastic build, and more importantly, they deliver excellent sound quality as well! 
 
Nov 30, 2015 at 11:07 AM Post #8 of 62

hitead

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I appreciate the info.  I actually emailed OPPO to clarify this, here's their response
 
"This is normal. We designed the HA-2 to have cable strain relief and to allow for oversized after market cables to work with the HA-2."
 
It doesn't seem to pose any problems with the audio quality so I'm happy with that.  Great customer service on part of Oppo.  
 
Nov 30, 2015 at 11:28 AM Post #9 of 62

RockStar2005

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hitead, 
 
YW!
 
Ahhh ok. That's good that it doesn't pose a problem or affect the sound quality in any way! 
 
Yeah they are great. I've e-mailed them a couple times before and they always respond rather quickly and do a good job with answering my questions in full. 
 
Dec 2, 2015 at 9:26 PM Post #10 of 62

MadAudio

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I have also just bought the Oppo HA-2 and PM-3 (and am totally pleased with the sound quality).  (Am also very happy owner of 3 yrs of Oppo 95 Blu-ray player).
 
My prob is that I will mainly be using the Combo with a large Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2" android tablet.  Need some flexibility with regards to avoiding strain on the micro usb plug in the tablet so want a longer on the go cable, maybe with a right-angle attachment.
 
Also would like to hook a seagate portable 1TB hard drive (with all my music on it) into the equation.
 
Contemplating buying an on the go Hub (pref USB 3) to have something like tablet to hub, hub to HA-2, Hub to Hard Drive.  Figured a connection to the tablet using an on the go usb 3 connecter would be more solid than the micro USB connecter.  A power source into the hub (esp for the HD) would also be very good.
 
Exactly what cables do I need, especially in relation to the connection between hub and HA-2 - does it need to somehow be an on the go cable or does it only need to be say micro usb male to standard USB male?
 
Large part of use will be while driving with the line out from HA-2 to aux stereo in jack of car (no headphones while driving!!) plus general use while away from my wifi connection at home, where the tablet reads from an HD attached to my router (this time with the PM-3s).
 
Am in Australia, where it is harder to find the variety of gadgets, connectors and cables that seem to abound in US and Europe.  Do have an Amazon UK account.
 
Dec 2, 2015 at 10:09 PM Post #11 of 62

RockStar2005

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MadAudio, 
 
Yeah we have the same setup.....very cool! Both devices are fantastic! 
 
Yeah I checked Amazon Australia..........all it has are books and apps?! lol At least you got Amazon UK fortunately. 
 
I had the same issue Mad, and so I bought this OTG (On-The-Go) cable as for Android USB connections to the HA-2, you NEED OTG for it to work on Android. It wasn't easy to find but I did. I am pretty sure (not 100%) this cable on Amazon UK will do the same for you. It's also about 3 feet, so perfect for what yours and my needs. This is for tablet/phone to HA-2 connections. If you want to include the HUB and HD for sure, get this one for connecting tablet to HUB, and same one for HA-2 to HUB (include the supplied HA-2 Android cable in that setup as well). 
 
For the HD, I would go with this one, which seems to be exactly what you're looking for, even the brand name. I just store all my music on my phone, so don't use that, but I know ppl who connect them to their computers. The cable you need to connect to the HUB is included I believe. 
 
For the HUB, check this page. Not exactly sure what you want, but it's probably there. 
 
I think I covered everything. Hope that helps! 
 
P.S. Australia rocks (ESPECIALLY the women! lol)!!! I've never been there, but I'd love to go one day. 
 
Dec 3, 2015 at 9:14 AM Post #12 of 62

MadAudio

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  MadAudio, 
 
Yeah we have the same setup.....very cool! Both devices are fantastic! 
 
Yeah I checked Amazon Australia..........all it has are books and apps?! lol At least you got Amazon UK fortunately. 
 
I had the same issue Mad, and so I bought this OTG (On-The-Go) cable as for Android USB connections to the HA-2, you NEED OTG for it to work on Android. It wasn't easy to find but I did. I am pretty sure (not 100%) this cable on Amazon UK will do the same for you. It's also about 3 feet, so perfect for what yours and my needs. This is for tablet/phone to HA-2 connections. If you want to include the HUB and HD for sure, get this one for connecting tablet to HUB, and same one for HA-2 to HUB (include the supplied HA-2 Android cable in that setup as well). 
 
For the HD, I would go with this one, which seems to be exactly what you're looking for, even the brand name. I just store all my music on my phone, so don't use that, but I know ppl who connect them to their computers. The cable you need to connect to the HUB is included I believe. 
 
For the HUB, check this page. Not exactly sure what you want, but it's probably there. 
 
I think I covered everything. Hope that helps! 
 
P.S. Australia rocks (ESPECIALLY the women! lol)!!! I've never been there, but I'd love to go one day. 

Thanks for the tips, Rockstar. Yeah, the OZ Amazon has a way to go, ho ho!!
 
On the HD, maybe I didn't make myself clear - already got the HD - with stacks of FLAC music files, including some HI-RES 5.1 surround DVD-Audio tracks.  Using UAPP to play.  It down-mixes the 5.1 to two channel, no apparent loss of the surround channels content.  Great sound.  Recently had a 10-hr power blackout here which started during a fairly violent electrical storm at 4:00 in the afternoon.  No TV.  No lights to read by.  So sat down in my recliner arm chair with the Galaxy Note Pro and the HA-2 and the PM-3 until it was time for bed.  Biggest continuous workout the combination has had since I bought them about 3 weeks ago.  Enjoyed every minute of it, playing variations of musical genre from full orchestral, to small Jazz combos to Bob Dylan and even some Rodriguez.
 
One of your links - "If you want to include the HUB and HD for sure, get this one for connecting tablet to HUB" pointed to a whole page of products so wasn't sure which specific cable you were recommending from that page.. 
 
As for the cable from tablet to hub, looking at this from a local store:
 
http://www.cablechick.com.au/cables/15cm-micro-b-usb-30-otg-cable-usb-30-on-the-go-cable.html
 
The tablet end uses both parts of the USB 3 plug in the Note Pro, instead of just the small micro-usb part, and I hope that will give a more secure connection.  Will the HUB itself need to be "on-the-go" as well as all connectors?  Want to make sure I don't lose the special connection that OTG wiring provides through any part of the chain.  I do have an OTG cable to connect to the hard drive, but it also is only a micro-USB, so looking to improve here.  Spare OTG cable won't hurt to have anyway.
 
Would be interested in any further comments from you, or anyone else who has been down the road of playing to a DAC/headphone amp via a hub.
 
Dec 3, 2015 at 12:27 PM Post #13 of 62

RockStar2005

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Mad, 
 
YW! 
 
Oh ok, you have an HD. Yeah you didn't mention that, but ok cool. If you had said "hook MY HD" I would've understood, but "hook a", not so clear. I'm glad you have some Hi-Res tracks. That's really the way to go these days IMO. Over the last year I've purchased SEVERAL tracks and albums in Hi-Res. It really makes a difference, even though the improvement has NOTHING to do with the added resolution, but EVERYTHING to do with that the Hi-Res & DSD albums utilize better masters than CD and especially mp3 releases do. Most people don't know that, which we can thank really "crafty marketing" for. lol I take my Hi-Res tracks and downsample them using dbPoweramp to FLAC, ALAC, or even hi-grade AAC (320 mbps or higher), and I STILL can't tell a difference from their original resolution, and now they take up WAY WAY less space. 
 
That's cool that you had your setup ready to go to get you through that storm. Sounds like a good variety of music there. Not sure if you have it yet or not, but I recently acquired what's probably my favorite Bob Dylan album, "Nashville Skyline" in DSD. (DSD albums typically sound EVEN BETTER THAN HI-RES ALBUMS DO from what I've read ((when comparing the same albums to Hi-Res)), but only a fraction of albums that get Hi-Res releases also get a DSD one.) Man I gotta say, GREAT album! Not just the songs themselves, but the sound quality is fantastic! The album has 2 great hits, "Girl from the North Country" and "Lay Lady Lay", but it also has some really great obscure ones too like "I Threw It All Away" and "Tell Me That It Isn't True", as well as the final track. If you don't own this, buy it from here, or else look elsewhere for it if you can't buy it from where you are (see my review for it too under same name). But it does appear they sell to Australia as well. Enter code "Holiday10" at bottom of checkout page to get 10% off. 
beyersmile.png

 
I have to ask.........does your Samsung tablet NOT have a microSD card slot? lol If it does, then what's the point of having to carry around the HUB and portable HD? You can just install a large capacity card and put all your music on that like I and most people do. If it doesn't, then I understand. lol But if it does, I'd forget or sell the HUB and HD, and buy this 256 GB card or else this 512 GB card. Being in the car especially, having to lug around a HUB and HD sounds like torture to me. I dunno. lol 
 
Yeah I left that one link "open" because I wanted you to choose the right ports for your devices. This cable that I'd posted says USB 3.1 in the title but the pic looks like the male end is 2.0. I dunno man. lol I see your dilemma. That's why I suggested the setup I did. If you were just to connect your tablet to the HA-2, I'd forget about 3.0 b/c to me that doesn't really make any difference (I use 2.0 and it's fine). For that, I'd go with the Resow one in this paragraph, and use the supplied Android OTG HA-2 cable on the female end of this one (same setup I use) to connect to the HA-2. 
 
15cm? Sounds really short to me man, but up to you. Plus it says sold out on that site. Yes, you want ALL the cables to be OTG if it's an Android setup. That is a MUST!
 
That's the best I can do. I hope you consider my MicroSD suggestion. It will be SO much easier for you to carry around just the tablet and HA-2 than another 2 devices as well. Sorry I couldn't do more for the HUB/HD inclusion. It was hard enough to find the cables I use! lol 
 
Bonus: I bought this exact same cable by another maker in the same color. UK Amazon carries it too! You can use it to have your HA-2 charge your tablet (since the HA-2 is also a portable power bank!). It's small, flexible, and gets the job done! I love it. 
 
Good luck brotha! 
 
Dec 3, 2015 at 9:43 PM Post #14 of 62

MadAudio

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........  
I have to ask.........does your Samsung tablet NOT have a microSD card slot? lol If it does, then what's the point of having to carry around the HUB and portable HD? You can just install a large capacity card and put all your music on that like I and most people do. If it doesn't, then I understand. lol But if it does, I'd forget or sell the HUB and HD, and buy this 256 GB card or else this 512 GB card. Being in the car especially, having to lug around a HUB and HD sounds like torture to me. I dunno. lol 
 
Yeah I left that one link "open" because I wanted you to choose the right ports for your devices. This cable that I'd posted says USB 3.1 in the title but the pic looks like the male end is 2.0. I dunno man. lol I see your dilemma. That's why I suggested the setup I did. If you were just to connect your tablet to the HA-2, I'd forget about 3.0 b/c to me that doesn't really make any difference (I use 2.0 and it's fine). For that, I'd go with the Resow one in this paragraph, and use the supplied Android OTG HA-2 cable on the female end of this one (same setup I use) to connect to the HA-2. 
 
15cm? Sounds really short to me man, but up to you. Plus it says sold out on that site. Yes, you want ALL the cables to be OTG if it's an Android setup. That is a MUST!
 
That's the best I can do. I hope you consider my MicroSD suggestion. It will be SO much easier for you to carry around just the tablet and HA-2 than another 2 devices as well. Sorry I couldn't do more for the HUB/HD inclusion. It was hard enough to find the cables I use! lol 
 
Bonus: I bought this exact same cable by another maker in the same color. UK Amazon carries it too! You can use it to have your HA-2 charge your tablet (since the HA-2 is also a portable power bank!). It's small, flexible, and gets the job done! I love it. 
 
Good luck brotha! 

Thanks again, Rockstar.
 
Main reason for wanting the usb 3 connection to the tablet is it is a wider plug than just the micro usb, so hoping that will put less strain on the plug:  In this pic the equivalent of the micro usb is on the left part of the plug.  This plug shape is the same shape as the cable that came with the tablet.
 
 

Re the card slot, yeah the tablet does have, but I also have a lot of videos I want to carry around (mainly NG nature docos, some concert DVD videos) so apart from the exorbitant cost for even a 256GB card, I already own the HD and already have all my stuff on it.
 
An alternative road to go down that I have been contemplating is this gizmo:
 
https://www.iogear.com/product/GWFRSDU/?src=LP
or
http://www.cablechick.com.au/cables/wi-copy-wireless-media-sharing-with-wifi-router-5200mah-power-bank.html
 
This would allow accessing the HD by wifi, and  would also allow accessing videos while connecting my tablet via an mhl cable to a tv or avr HDMI input.  And avoids the hassle of trying to get the right combinations of hubs and cables.  On the other hand, investing in a hub allows the possibility of connecting keyboards, game controllers etc to the tablet.
 
Decisions, decisions, decisions .....
 
Thanks for your time Rockstar.  Will let you know which way I jump and how it pans out.
 

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