Oppo HA-2 Headphone DAC Review

Nodular

Well-known Member
Can you use the Oppo with a 160gb IPod Classic?
 

buglebum

Banned
This is a really good review in terms of portable music but the review seems to postitive that this could make a decent DAC for a static PC...any chance of a rough comparison Vs the usual suspects in a sentence or two Arcam DACs etc?
 

bertha

Active Member
Very well presented review - first I've read in a while that makes me want to reach for my wallet.

Thank you :)
 

norliss

Well-known Member
Great review, Ed.

I'm currently using a Cowon J3 for portable music but looking to upgrade for a whole host of reasons (usability quirks, capacity).

I've toyed with the idea of buying one of these as they seem like superb pieces of kit. Alas I believe my plans are stymied by the fact that my current phone (HTC One) only has 32GB of non-expandable storage: fine for lossy files but I've been using my Cowon (64GB total) for flac files and I certainly can't drop down in capacity.

My other option is to go for either a Sony NW-ZX2 or Astell & Kern AK100II: considerably more expensive but would give me far greater storage capacity for lossless (and hires) files plus the other benefits of a dedicated device i.e. a single unit, better battery life etc…

Unless anyone can suggest a suitable (and much cheaper) device that could be used as a transport to be used in conjunction with one of these little Oppo gems?
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
Can you use the Oppo with a 160gb IPod Classic?
I think so- I'll try it with my Mum's this weekend to confirm.

This is a really good review in terms of portable music but the review seems to postitive that this could make a decent DAC for a static PC...any chance of a rough comparison Vs the usual suspects in a sentence or two Arcam DACs etc?
The spec is better on the Oppo but the Arcam is a little more forgiving and flexible. Depends what you want really. The AirDAC in particular has a radically different feature set so I can see them appealing to different people.

Unless anyone can suggest a suitable (and much cheaper) device that could be used as a transport to be used in conjunction with one of these little Oppo gems?
Used Galaxy or HTC? Big screen, recent OS, SD slot and probably not that expensive.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
The HA-1 is worth a listen for anyone interested in oppo's home offering though it is a beast
 

McCol

Well-known Member
Nice review.

The HA-2 is a wonderful little piece of kit. I sold my Ibasso DX90 soon after receiving mine. The sound quality was on a par if not better and it's slim profile makes it ideal for pairing with my Note 4.
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
I can't bare background hiss and don't have any if I use my Shure SE846's with iPhone 5S/6 or Note4/S6.

Do you experience any background noise. I can't demo locally and Amazon not selling directly to try/return.

Is it a decent improvement on the Note 4 headphone out?

I did send an email to Oppo:
I see the headphone out has a low impedance of 0.5 Ohm but reading conflicting reviews/opinions regarding noise level (hiss).

I use low impedance Shure SE846 IEM's (9-16 Ohm) and currently get no hiss with iPhone6/Note4/S6 smartphones but have with Xperia Z3 and NWZ-A10 Walkman.

Will I be able to detect hiss with your AMP/DAC connected to PC/Smartphone ??​

Reply:
OPPO Service <[email protected]>

The ability to hear low level hiss is really up to your hearing when using IEMs. Even with the same IEMs, one person to another may hear the hiss, while another will not. Most customers will not be able to hear the low level hiss in the high frequencies due to the extreme sensitivity of the IEMs, but if you hearing is very good, you may be able to detect it.

Best Regards,

Customer Service
OPPO Digital, Inc.
2629B Terminal Blvd.
Mountain View, CA 94043
[email protected]
 
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HariSeldon

Well-known Member
psikey - I use my HA-2 with my Senn ie800 (I sold my 846's before I switched to the ie800 and before I got the HA-2 so can't comment exactly on that) set to low gain and get no hiss at all (I use the high gain setting for the PM3's). It's a beautiful inky-black silence! The difference between the output directly from my 6+ headphone out and the HA-2 is night and day - smoother (but more detailed) top end, superb clarity in the mids and real bottom end weight. There's really very little difference between the HA-2 and the Hugo on the move (so the Hugo is now part of my home setup). I also prefer the 6+/HA-2 to the AK120.
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
There's really very little difference between the HA-2 and the Hugo on the move (so the Hugo is now part of my home setup). I also prefer the 6+/HA-2 to the AK120.
The IE800 look to have a 16 Ohm impedance so not much higher than the SE846's. Considering the massive price increase on your other comparisons (Hugo/AK120), high regard indeed and worth a risk at the price.

Ordered one for Sunday delivery off Amazon from authorised seller Peter Tyson Online.
Can always return under distance selling regs. just covering return postage cost.
 
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HariSeldon

Well-known Member
Yes it really is excellent. I alos bought blind, having been so impressed by my Oppo PM3's. I always found my 846's a bit harsh directly off of the phone, so I suspect the HA-2 will really make them sing.

As the review states the beauty of this approach is that you get the strengths of each device, the phone GUI, Tidal support and hi-res (I use the excellent Onkyo app from the app store) and the amp/dac of the Oppo. I also love the fact that the volume attenuation is analog, so no loss of bitrate.............
 

McCol

Well-known Member
I can't bare background hiss and don't have any if I use my Shure SE846's with iPhone 5S/6 or Note4/S6.

Do you experience any background noise. I can't demo locally and Amazon not selling directly to try/return.

Is it a decent improvement on the Note 4 headphone out?

I did send an email to Oppo:
I see the headphone out has a low impedance of 0.5 Ohm but reading conflicting reviews/opinions regarding noise level (hiss).

I use low impedance Shure SE846 IEM's (9-16 Ohm) and currently get no hiss with iPhone6/Note4/S6 smartphones but have with Xperia Z3 and NWZ-A10 Walkman.

Will I be able to detect hiss with your AMP/DAC connected to PC/Smartphone ??​

Reply:
OPPO Service <[email protected]>

The ability to hear low level hiss is really up to your hearing when using IEMs. Even with the same IEMs, one person to another may hear the hiss, while another will not. Most customers will not be able to hear the low level hiss in the high frequencies due to the extreme sensitivity of the IEMs, but if you hearing is very good, you may be able to detect it.

Best Regards,

Customer Service
OPPO Digital, Inc.
2629B Terminal Blvd.
Mountain View, CA 94043
[email protected]

I use AKG K3003i and Fischer Amps FA4-4E XB earphones with the HA-2 and Note 4. Use them both on low gain. I cant hear any hiss with the Fischers and if i'm being really picky there is maybe some barely audible hiss with the K3003's but most of the time I find this dependant on the track.
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
Yes it really is excellent. I alos bought blind, having been so impressed by my Oppo PM3's. I always found my 846's a bit harsh directly off of the phone, so I suspect the HA-2 will really make them sing.

As the review states the beauty of this approach is that you get the strengths of each device, the phone GUI, Tidal support and hi-res (I use the excellent Onkyo app from the app store) and the amp/dac of the Oppo. I also love the fact that the volume attenuation is analog, so no loss of bitrate.............
Why the Onkyo app over USB Audio Player Pro (or is that Android only).
 

HariSeldon

Well-known Member
Best feature set that I'm aware of
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
Arrived today and had a good test.

There is a background hiss with SE846 but only hear it between tracks, barely noticeable during music (though Note 4 is dead silent).

Using default Android 5 on S6/Note 4 I detected popping noises on the S6 but perfect with Note 4. Just noise/crackle if connected to my Tab S 8.4.

So focusing on the Note 4 (as not good with other two) it sounds stunning with more richness/smoothness to my ears, but the Note 4 output itself is also excellent with the SE846's.

Connecting direct to the Note 4 means I can use my cable controls (volume/skip etc.) which I loose connecting to the HA-2 plus extra connections, bulk/weight etc.

If I had to put my percentage of an improvement I'd say 10%-15% compared to Note 4, so is the improved quality worth loosing supreme portabilty of just the Note 4/SE846 plus extra cost of £259 ??

Now if you want hi-def audio then a resounding yes as Note 4 itself cannot do 24/196 output or DSD. Also if you have demading headphones then its a yes.

Now I can detect improvement of flac CD quality (Tidal) compared to 320 mp3/ogg (Spotify) with the HA-2 but my hearing can't detect any inprovement with hi-def audio having tried 24/96 and 24/192 (with ONKYO Hi def payer or USB player Pro).

I will give it a few days to decide if I'm keeping it and read up why issues with the S6 (maybe 5.0.2 issue).

Its not that I think £259 is expensive for such a fabulous device, its more regarding if I will use it compared to ease of use straight out of Note 4 as I also find audio direct out excellent.
 
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psikey

Distinguished Member
OK, sound is so good I'm keeping it and have set my Note 4 (with 128GB microSD) as my dedicated music player and started using my new S6 as my phone/portable player.

Seeing as the only "safe" way to keep the phone/amp together is with the elastic bands, the Note 4 is actually ideal because you can shrink the screen display so not blocked by the bands (see photo).

I have a cheap remote/mic cable for my Shure SE846's which is excellent for mobile use and to my ears I've not noticed improvement with expensive cables.

Full display shrink and centred to avoid bands.







 
Last edited:

Nodular

Well-known Member
Fancy the Oppo myself which I would pair with my IPod Classic 160GB which I have Rockbox installed on so I can import FLAC/24Bit etc.
 

HariSeldon

Well-known Member
OK, sound is so good I'm keeping it and have set my Note 4 (with 128GB microSD) as my dedicated music player and started using my new S6 as my phone/portable player.

Seeing as the only "safe" way to keep the phone/amp together is with the elastic bands, the Note 4 is actually ideal because you can shrink the screen display so not blocked by the bands (see photo).

I have a cheap remote/mic cable for my Shure SE846's which is excellent for mobile use and to my ears I've not noticed improvement with expensive cables.

Full display shrink and centred to avoid bands.







Good isn't it! ;)

I see your a Gardot fan as well - good taste.

My only suggestion now is to chop the 846s for ie800 which to my ears are a lot better, especially I've now found some snug fitting comply tips to use with them....
 

Alan_Be

Novice Member
I have a Nexus 5 and I thought I had to root it to get OTG to work, it certainly doesn't work out of the box for accessing external storage, I'd be interested to know if you needed to jump through any hoops before the review?
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
Good isn't it! ;)

I see your a Gardot fan as well - good taste.

My only suggestion now is to chop the 846s for ie800 which to my ears are a lot better, especially I've now found some snug fitting comply tips to use with them....
No way! Love my SE846's and won't be spending that kind of money again soon.
 

Steven

Senior Moderator
I have a cheap remote/mic cable for my Shure SE846's which is excellent for mobile use and to my ears I've not noticed improvement with expensive cables
my forza-audioworks cable annoyingly has to be returned for repair as a strand has come loose. Dislike the memory wire on stock cable but better than nothing. Thinking of blind buying the Danish "linum" cable, as also used by ACS
 

Goldorak

Distinguished Member
Excellent review as always ed, thank you for that. Forgive me for asking you some basic questions but need some guidance
1. Any idea how oppo performs with iPhone 5 and above ?
2. Best app to play cd and hi-res material on n iPhone. People mentioned onkyo app
3. Can I kindly ask you to elaborate the process for point 2 and imagine you talk to a beginner here
4. Using it as a dac at home with computer. Do you think it can drive active speakers or act as a pre-amp/dac (doubt it but have to ask). How will you connect it out (line out? Usb? )

Just realised that I am asking a lot but any advice you can give welcome.
 

RichD

Novice Member
Dear Everyone,

I have read all of the above with interest.

Does anybody have experience of the Sony Xperia Z3 with high resolution audio? I currently have a Sony Xperia Z1 compact, which sounds okay (and, I discovered yesterday, much to my surprise is able to play FLAC files; I think the Xperia T which I had previously was not able to play FLAC). However, the volume of the Z1 compact does not go loud enough, and I have read a review saying that the same is true of the (fairly) new Z3.

I was considering buying a Sony NWZA-15 Walkman; however, I wondered whether I might do just as well with an Xperia Z3, a portable headphone amp (such as Oppo) and some better headphones (Philips M1, Sony MDR-1A or similar).

I think my main question is whether the Xperia Z3 (either on its own or used with an Oppo device) would sound as good as the NWZA-15 Walkman. This question is kind of addressed in the review, but I would be very grateful for advice from anybody who has had experience specifically with an Xperia Z3.

Many thanks for your help.

Best wishes.

Rich.
 

Mr X

Distinguished Member
Loving my new Dac but one annoyance is that if I pause my iPhone for a while and then go back to it, although the dac has been powered throughout, the sound defaults back to phone speaker.

Basically means I either have to switch the HA-2 off and on again or if that fails disconnect the lightening cable and reconnect. Then it works fine again. This only happens when I pause for more than several minutes.

I am using ios9 beta on my iPhone 6+. Is my issue by design or a fault?

Thanks
 

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