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OPPO HA-1 Headphone Amplifier Preview

OPPOs HA-1 Headphone Amplifier is available in black or silver.

OPPO's HA-1 Headphone Amplifier is available in black or silver.


  • Product Name: HA-1
  • Manufacturer: OPPO
  • Review Date: May 23, 2014 08:00
  • MSRP: $1,199
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 10.0 x 4.8 x 12.2 inches
  • Mass: 13.0 lbs, 5.9 kg
  • Power Supply: AC 110-120 V~ / 220-240 V~, 50/60 Hz auto-sensing
  • Power Consumption: 70 W (operation), 0.5 W (standby)
  • Recommended Headphone Impedance: 32 ohm – 600 ohm

Pre-amplifier Performance Specifications

  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 200 kHz (+0/-2 dB)
  •                                           20 Hz – 20 kHz (+0/-0.04 dB)
  • Channel Separation: > 120 dB XLR > 110 dB RCA
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: (A Weight, 20 Hz – 20 kHz) > 110 dB XLR > 105 dB RCA
  • Dynamic Range (1 kHz -60 dB,  A Weight, 20 Hz – 20 kHz)    > 120 dB XLR > 115 dB RCA

DAC Performance Specifications

  • Frequency Response: (Tested with -10 dBFS / 384 kHz) 10 Hz – 170 kHz (+0/-3 dB)
  •                                                                                                       20 Hz – 20 kHz (+0/-0.07 dB)
  • THD+N at 1 kHz (A Weight, 20 Hz – 20 kHz): < 0.00056% (< -105 dB)
  • Channel Separation: > 105 dB
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: (A Weight, 20 Hz – 20 kHz): > 113 dB
  • Dynamic Range: (1 kHz -60 dBFS, A Weight, 20 Hz – 20 kHz) > 113 dB

What’s in a name? That line from Shakespeare has interesting implications for OPPO’s latest creation, the HA-1. Not a company to come up with flashy monikers for their wares, the HA simply denotes that this device is a headphone amplifier. Of course, that’s much like boiling down my smartphone’s functionality into the term “cell phone”. Yes, that’s part of the package, but there’s a lot more. In this case, for $1,199 you get a headphone amplifier, a stereo pre-amplifier, a high end DAC, and a Bluetooth receiver in a pint-sized package. What would we have named it? “Turbo HADAC-Zilla” has a nice ring to it.

The Particulars

So what does Turbo HADAC-Zilla…err the HA-1 bring to the table? First and foremost, it is a headphone amplifier utilizing a discrete, fully balanced Class A topology. 6.35mm and 4 pin balanced outputs are provided, with an impedance range of 32 ohms – 600ohms specified. Frequency response is rated 10Hz-200kHz +0/-1dB with both outputs, and 20Hz-20kHz +0/-0.04dB, which is practically perfect. Output into a 600 ohm load is rated at 800mW and 200mW into balanced and unbalanced outputs respectively, while that rises to 2000mW and 500mW into a 32 ohm load. Signal to noise ratio is rated at >111dB for both outputs, but the balanced output has superior channel separation (>120dB vs >90dB). Overall, the HA-1 looks like a very capable headphone amplifier, and should mate perfectly with OPPO’s 32 ohm PM-1 headphones, as well as most other headphones on the market.

Of course as mentioned, the HA-1 is much more than a headphone amplifier, something a glance at the rear panel will confirm.

HA-1 Rear

In addition to balanced and unbalanced analog inputs and preamplifier outputs, the HA-1 offers coaxial, optical, and AES/EBU digital inputs as well as an asynchronous USB input. Digital to analog conversion is provided courtesy of the ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC, also seen on OPPO’s BDP-105 Blu-ray player. As seen from our review of the BDP-105, the Sabre32 chip truly does offer reference grade quality (technical highlights include a 135dB dynamic range, and THD+N of -120dB), and ensures that your digital sources sound their absolute best.

What about connectivity for mobile devices you ask? The HA-1’s front panel boasts a USB input made specifically for Apple’s iDevices. However, if you’re not an Apple aficionado, you’re not left out in the cold.  The HA-1 also includes a Bluetooth receiver which utilizes the AptX codec for optimal sound quality over wireless. As further evidence that OPPO designed the HA-1 for people in the 21st century, there’s also a smartphone control app to control volume, source selection, etc. Pretty nifty in our books.


If you thought that $1,199 was a lot to ask for a simple headphone amplifier, you might be right. However, this OPPO is much more: the HA-1 is a true 21st century, reference grade stereo preamplifier in a compact chassis which also happens to boast a high quality headphone amplifier. Viewed in that light, the asking price becomes a relative bargain; add a laptop or tablet and a quality set of headphones like the aforementioned PM-1’s, and you’ve got a recipe for audio nirvana. Anybody need one of these bad boys for their setup? Make sure to let us know on the forums.

For more information, go to: http://www.oppodigital.com/headphone-amplifier-ha-1/

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Steve Munz is a “different” addition to Audioholics’ stable of contributors in that he is neither an engineer like Gene, nor has he worked in the industry like Cliff. In fact, Steve’s day job is network administration and accounting.

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