Pricing the HA-2 at $299 was the right pitch for Oppo. It gives them a bit of wiggle room and fiscal future proofing in a very rapid and changing digital market. Had this been released this time last year they could have charged double and people would have gobbled it up such was the scarcity of DSD capable convergence devices in the market. The market is evolving very rapidly indeed and even FiiO X3 Gen 2 DAP’s are claiming DSD native playback these days so it is not such as premium as it was even a few months ago. The net result is that, much like Blu-ray players and mobile phones with certain features, the market price is dropping and the competition is getting a lot stronger. I do believe the Companion One from Celsus has a slightly superior more natural sounding output and a few more features to boot such as wireless but you get that at $599 which for many is a premium or hard-core price. $299 puts the HA-2 within reaching distance for a far higher percentage of potential buyers.

An added benefit is the form factor will greatly appeal to Apple and Android users who will want to take advantage of the OTG and direct lightning connectivity not to mention the power bank option which I guess is a bit of “keeping up with the Jones” there days but still a relative useful feature if in a pinch. Placing a modern day smartphone on top of the HA-2 feels very normal and logical. It will also make considerable inroads to those who might have chosen other audiophile convergence devices like the FiiO E18 and the Creative E5 which can’t hold a candle to the HA-2 in terms of audio quality all-round attractiveness physically.

Oppo should really get this into Apple and high end lifestyle stores if possible. The HA-2 would look very much at home there and present a rather respectable level of audiophile credibility in stores where design often edges out everything else.

DSC03915

Price: $299

Links: https://www.oppodigital.com/headphone-amplifier-ha-2/headphone-amplifier-HA-2-Overview.aspx

Technical Specifications

General
Dimensions (W x H x D) 2.7 x 6.2 x 0.5 inches, 68 x 157 x 12 mm
Weight 6.2 oz, 175 grams
Frequency Response 20 Hz – 200 kHz
Audio-in Level 1 Vrms
Line-out Level 1 Vrms
Recommended Headphone Impedance 16 Ohm – 300 Ohm
Maximum Headphone Output Power 300 mW into 16 Ohm
220 mW into 32 Ohm
30 mW into 300 Ohm
Output Jacks 3.5 mm stereo headphone
3.5 mm stereo line-out
Input Ports Analog: 3.5 mm stereo audio-in
Digital: USB A for iPod / iPhone / iPad; USB micro-B for smartphones with USB OTG feature and computers.
DAC Chip ESS Sabre32 Reference ES9018-K2M
Input Format Stereo PCM, Stereo DSD (DoP v1.1 or native)
PCM Sampling Frequencies 44.1 kHz – 384 kHz, 16 / 24 / 32-bit
DSD Sampling Frequencies 2.8224 MHz (DSD64), 5.6448 MHz (DSD128), 11.2896 MHz (DSD256, native mode only)
Profile USB 2.0, USB Audio 2.0
Included Accessories Power Supply Unit (Rapid Charging Charger)
USB A – USB micro-B data and rapid charging cable
USB A – Lightning data cable (for Apple devices)
USB micro-B to micro-B data cable (for Android and other smartphones)
3.5 mm – 3.5 mm stereo audio cable
Silicone rubber band (2 pieces)
User guide and warranty documents
Battery
Built-in Battery type 3000 mAh lithium polymer rechargeable battery
Battery Operation Time Approx. 13 hours for analog source via Audio-in; approx. 7 hours for digital sources via USB
Charging Time Approx. 1 hour 30 minutes
The HA-2 DAC by Oppo
Tonality7.5
Build8.5
Functionality8
Matchability7.5
Value For Money8.5
8Our Score
1 2 3

About The Author

Editor

Founder & Owner of headfonics.com. I first started reviewing in the late 80s (ouch!). Back then it was albums, rock concerts and interviews with a typewriter for the local rag. Now its desktop/portable and digital 2.1 audio on a rather nice laptop. How time flies.

Related Posts

  • Mike

    Hey Marcus, I’m so impressed with your review of the HA-2, ringing true with my own experience, that I want to start reading your reviews regularly. Your comments are dead on, in my opinion – for both the pros and the cons, with various gear. (I was a beta tester for the HA-2, through three prototypes.)

    • headfonics

      Thanks Mike appreciate your feedback and glad you guys picked the version that made it to the market πŸ™‚ good job!

  • money4me247

    great comprehensive review with good analysis on the other options currently available on the market! πŸ™‚

    • headfonics

      It’s getting really crowded at this price point now. You have to offer more than just gain to stand out. Thanks for the feedback πŸ™‚

  • Chmiel

    Great and detailed review, thanks!

    • headfonics

      Thanks buddy πŸ™‚

  • It’s good as a DAC/amp for iPhones, but the old Microstreamer for computers sounds a lot better. It could be the iPhone’s fault if the Apple USB is putting out an inferior digital signal/data.

    • headfonics

      Well its open season once you move to the PC but the mere fact you can move from apple to pc to android is probably the value in itself.

  • Roscoe Trey Nicholson

    Probably worth mentioning that on the low end of the impedance scale, the HA-2 is not well suited to low impedance IEMs or headphones. Their recommended range starts at 16 ohms. SHure 846s for example are 9 ohm IEMs. Oddly, Oppo chooses not to list the output impedance on their specs page. An important detail to note in a review, IMO.

    • SallyMaeSusan

      Aaaah…I was thinking of pairing it with my Shure SE 425’s.

      • Roscoe Trey Nicholson

        Looks like the SE425 impedance is a good deal higher than the 846. At 22 ohms, it should work fine with the HA-2!

        • SallyMaeSusan

          Yay!

      • Don’t worry. The HA-2 is as good at driving any earphone as are many high-current low-Ξ© amps. Roscoe is reading into the spec list rather than anything.

        • Roscoe Trey Nicholson

          Oppo’s recommended impedance is 16, not mine.

          When actual output impedance is stated, I go by the 10:1 rule for headphone : source impedance as I stated in another post.

          No amp is perfect for all headphones, and that is fine.

          • Again, read the specs. 0,5Ξ© output impedance.

    • headfonics

      Interesting detail, how did youo manage to find that out, just curious.

      I dont have anything in the sub 16ohm range I think but will check.

      • Roscoe Trey Nicholson

        Sorry, what are you referring to? How did I manage to find what out?

        I’m guessing not well-suited to low impedance headphones, because if they are fine with low impedance headphones they wouldn’t list a lower limit of 16 ohm. I wish Oppo published their output impedance on this unit, so we could calculate for ourselves how much the device meets general impedance matching rules of thumb (10:1 ratio, source: headphone, IIRC)

        Interestingly, Meridian lowered the output impedance of its Director so that it would be compatible with a wider range of headphones.

        • Quit guessing. Just read the spec. And to be sure, you are right to question. That reviewers can’t answer your question is a problem, but I think you’ll find that your questions are easily answered.

    • Wrong. The HA-2 players perfectly with low-Ξ© earphones. I’ve RMAA’d it all and it doesn’t cough when attached to low-Ξ© earphones. It hisses more than necessary though. The output impedance is low.

      • Roscoe Trey Nicholson

        Um, Oppo themselves recommends a lower limit of 16 ohms. A good deal above the 9 ohms of my Shures. In hopes of selling more units I’d think Oppo would put the lower limit as low as is justifiable.

        So I’d guess that the ratio of source to headphone impedance is such that it would affect the frequency response of low impedance headphones.

        What low impedance headphones did you try with the Oppo? Were they below Oppo’s recommended 16 ohms?

  • SallyMaeSusan

    Excellent and thorough review; thank you.
    How is the leather cover attached to the device and can you see it peeling off with a bit of wear and tear…?

    • headfonics

      I think glue to be honest is my guess and so far not a piece of it has fallen off πŸ™‚

    • As Marcus said, glue. Not the best choice to permanently attach it to the player, but not bad either. Kind of 1990’s Sony business styling.

      • headfonics

        I managed to acquire a PHA-1 recently, Sony had a good idea there with the rubber railings on the top plate.

  • Krzysztof Nowaczyk

    Could you please tell me about a difference (sonically) between HA-2 and iBasso dx90? I’m considering both – which one would you recommend? (given that it will be used mailny with IEMs and price is the same).
    I didn’t like sound signature of X5 but I loved hm901 and now I’m looking for something new.

    • headfonics

      you do know that the HA-2 is not a DAP right? You will still need a DAP or a smart phone to get the HA-2 working.

      • Krzysztof Nowaczyk

        Thanks… Yes I know what a DAC, an AMP or a DAP is… πŸ™‚
        I have a spare smartphone and was thinking of creating a sandwich with it or going for DX90…
        Just wanted to know about the sound

        • headfonics

          Depends on your earphone or headphone. The HA-2 has a more powerful amp IMHO and a little bit more slam potential with the bass boost. It also can pair with mobile phones also. The benefits of course with the DX90 is no stacking but of course it is not a phone.

          If yu have sensitive earphones I do not think you really need the HA-2 and a DX90 will be fine.

          Both exhibit a clean detailed signature with good dynamics just the HA-2 might have a little bit more shine in the lower treble.

          • Krzysztof Nowaczyk

            Thanks, I ordered HA-2 for now.
            Power is not really someting I need – I use mostly IEMs and headphones I own are easy to drive (Viso HP50/Fidelio L2).
            To clarify… if I understand you correctly – I’m not missing anything (sound-wise) by choosing HA-2 over dx90?

          • headfonics

            ah you have the HP50, that was one I tested with the HA-2 and loved it so carry on πŸ™‚

          • Krzysztof Nowaczyk

            Well, you were right. Synergy between HA-2 and Viso HP50 is amazing. It’s the first time I can actually hear why this headphones were so well recieved. And for the first time I like them better than Fidelio L2.
            IEMs sounded pretty good too – for now I briefly tested re600 and Primo 8.
            Pairing HA-2 with Cayin C5 is also very good. All and all very good product and great bulit quality.

          • headfonics

            Glad you got the right pairing and enjoy that Nad combo! πŸ™‚

  • Javier Blanco

    Hi I’m wondering if being rooted and using poweramp i can get the full pcm capabilities? instead of being forced to use the hf player

    • headfonics

      That I am not sure to be honest, stopped rooting years ago and just go stock with Android and since it by passes most of the internals I am usually happy.

  • SallyMaeSusan

    I spent about half an hour with the HA-2 at my local dealer and, sadly, was left rather disappointed.
    It wouldn’t play with the 30 pin out of my trusty iPod Classic; only 3.5 to 3.5. I guess it was now receiving an analogue stream and acting as an amp only. The most I could discern was perhaps a little less treble glare and a wider soundstage but I’m not really sure; it certainly wasn’t obvious.
    Next up, I attached my iPhone 5 with the lightning to Oppo and played a lossless rip of ‘Babylon Sisters’ by Steely Dan. Again I used my Ety HF3’s.
    This time, I could discern zero significant improvement over the feed direct from the phone.
    Now, I had gone into the store wanting to be blown away by this device and was ready to lay down the folding but…it simply wasn’t enough.
    So, do I sell a kidney and plump for Chord’s Hugo…?

    • headfonics

      Not sure it will optmize to the best of its capabilities when doing a double amp out of the ipod. Never had much joy going that route with anything.

      Try the Picollo DAC AMP instead or the Companion One and see how you get on.

    • Erick Victor Munoz

      You should consider making an investment instead in upgrading your headphones.
      Either by moving up to a different model or getting Ety custom earpieces.
      I got them for my HF-2 and theyre great.

  • Roscoe Trey Nicholson

    No need to be disrespectful here. Earlier Oppo did not list the output impedance among their specs, IIRC.

    Whether Oppo labelled recommended impedance for a solid technical reason or just due to convention is something we can only speculate on, in the absence of any word from Oppo themselves.

    And don’t get me wrong, I have been a big fan of the Oppo DVD and Blu-ray players I’ve had.

    But no amp is perfect with all headphones, and the recommendation from Oppo should give folks like myself with sub-16 ohm headphones pause.

  • Ave Deus

    I’m currently thinking about pairing my Ultrasone Ed-8 with JDS C5/C5D, then I just saw this HA-2. Can anyone recommend me which one suits Ed-8 better, I really love the way HA-2 looks.

  • Marcia Penna

    Any comparison to the new Apogee Groove sound wise?

    • headfonics

      We dont have that one actually yet so sorry no comparison as of now.

  • Aladdin Tarakji

    I’m considering getting this HA-2, but I’m concerned about the noise when paired with sensitive IEM’s. budget is around 300, and I use almost exclusively in-ears (like the 2015 q-jays, flare r2pros, bang & olufsen h3), so i need something with minimal noise with sensitive IEM’s. Prefer laid back, fatigue free sound, maybe some bass boost.

    What would you guys recommend?

    • headfonics

      If the majority of your tracks are 16./44 I would have a look at the Cypher Labs Picollo AMP/DAC which is designed for IEM’s with a nice DAC and a great amp that is smooth and rich with a nice bass signature.

  • Decibels

    Hello, I am currently using Senn’s HD700 (home) and HD598 (travel), would the HA-2 be a good match for these? Thank you

    • headfonics

      Honestly I am not sure on the HD700, it has been a long time since I heard them but its possible and power should be ok. HD598 should be fine.

  • lumberjake

    Got the Fiio E18. Honestly gotsick of stacking. Its a huge pita. bulky awkward and I went through connectors like crazy. I really liked the sound though and thankfully now use it for my PC.
    For the money the E18 is hard to beat.
    My portable system is now just a LG V10 which has the ESS Sabre DAC built in. Obviously not the same implementation but a worthy trade off considering the hassle of carrying those stacks.

  • Forrest

    I own an HA-2. I am trying to decide between the Oppo PM-3 and the HiFiMan HE 400i. Without regard for price, with sound quality the overriding factor what would you recommend?

    • headfonics

      This question has given me sleepless night and endless flip flopping. Initially I was all PM-3 given its closed, weighted bass and relatively neutral. It is also more portable and efficient than the HE400i. But the HE400i has a more euphoric sound to me and much more emotive and I find it more fun. Both will drive just fine from the HA-2 by the way. In the end if you want isolation on the go then the closed PM-3 is a better choice and if staying at home the HE400i would edge it on just the musicality aspect.

      • Forrest

        Should I also consider the Audeze Sine?

        • headfonics

          I have not heard it yet but by all accounts it has a thick rich sound signature so it might pair quite well with the HA-2