Following the recent release of its strikingly gorgeous new line of planar magnetic headphones, the PM-1 and PM-2, Oppo announced today that its spanking new HA-1 headphone amplifier, intended to work in tandem with the new cans, is ready for duty.
The HA-1 is essentially an all-in-one DAC/amplifier, pulling its circuit design from Oppo’s lauded line of audiophile-level Blu-ray players, the BDP-95 and BDP-105. The device combines what Oppo calls an “uncompromising analog audio section with the latest in technology in digital audio.” To that end, the HA-1 employs a bawdy collection of analog components, including a large toroidal power transformer, a motor-driven volume knob for superb precision, and an old-school Class A amplifier that is fully-balanced for a clear burst of low-distortion power.
On the digital end, the HA-1 sports an ESS 9018 Sabre USB DAC, a lauded digital to analog converter that also makes its home in the aforementioned Oppo audiophile Blu-ray players. The chip supports a ridiculous level of high resolution digital audio, including PCM files up to 384kHz (double the sample rate you’ll find on most HD audio files) and up to 32-bit resolution. As for DSD files, Oppo says the chip can handle “up to 256x the CD sample rate,” making the HA-1 a veritable master of the digital audio realm.
Inputs for the HA-1 include digital coaxial, optical, and balanced AES/EBU ports, as well as the USB DAC connection. The unit also includes Line level analog inputs and ouptuts, with both RCA and balanced XLR ports, as well as 4-pin and quarter-inch jacks for headphones. In addition, users can use the amp as an external DAC for iPhones and iPads, and can also stream music from mobile devices and PCs via Bluetooth, with the aptX codec for CD quality sound.
The HA-1’s wide swath of talents, from headphone amplification to digital clocking for mobile devices, helps to soften the blow of its $1,200 price point, as does the unit’s sexy aluminum chassis. The digital display can sport a VU meter, a “modern digital spectrum,” or tech specs of the audio signal. And there’s even an inclued remote and smart app to control the unit wirelessly.
With a plethora of premium audio components, and plenty of digital prowess, the HA-1 looks to be a serious contender for those eyeing a device that performs a host of audiophilic tasks. We hope to get our hands on one soon, but if you can’t wait for our verdict, you can buy the black version of the HA-1 on Oppo’s site today, while a silver model will become available in June.
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