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Oppo Digital is universally known for its stellar, reference quality, Blu-ray players and world class customer service. They make outstanding gear, plain and simple. Last month, the company turned heads when it announced the availability of a new family of products: planar magnetic headphones. The PM-1 and PM-2 are deliciously gorgeous over-the-ear headphones made from (not surprisingly) high quality materials. Yesterday, Oppo announced another new member in its personal audio lineup, the highly anticipated HA-1 headphone amplifier. Priced at $1,200 MSRP, the HA-1 arrives at a price point that doesn’t scream cheap; let’s checkout what the HA-1 has to offer with a preview of the device.


The HA-1 is a jack of all trades, keeping the traditional spirit of versatility designed into Oppo’s Blu-ray players alive and well. While its primary function is that of a high performance headphone amp, it also functions as an asynchronous USB DAC and a stereo pre-amp. It also can be mated to today’s popular methods of music storage as a docking station for Apple iPods, iPhones, and iPads, and a high quality Blue-tooth streaming device using the aptX codec.

The analog base of the HA-1 is a custom-built Toroidal power transformer paired with linear power regulators and filters with custom caps, all of which are meant to provide the cleanest power possible. The unit’s amplification section is powered by a discrete, fully balanced, Class A amp. Volume levels can be adjusted via remote control or the front mounted (motor controlled) analog volume knob.


The HA-1’s digital to analog converter (DAC) chip is ESS Technology’s ES 9018 Sabre USB DAC, pulled from Oppo’s reference Blu-ray players. It can support PCM audio up to 384 kHz 32-bit resolution and DSD audio up to 256-times the CD sample rate. Oppo touts the ES 9018’s ability to deliver an amazing Dynamic Range of up to 135dB and a Total Harmonic Distortion plus Noise of -120dB; Oppo says these are industry leading specifications.

Inputs for the HA-1 include optical, digital coaxial, a USB DAC connection, and balanced AES/EBU ports. It also includes 4-pin balanced XLR and quarter-inch headphone jack outputs. Line level inputs and outputs have both RCA and balanced XLR sockets.

Looking at the outside of the unit, it is simple and sleek, with a beautiful brushed aluminum chassis. A full color 4.3-inch screen is centered mounted for easy visibility. It also features volume/source knobs, a power button and indicator light, balanced headphone and quarter-inch outputs, and a USB input. The unit is small, measuring 10-inches Wide X 4.8 High X 12.2 Deep (weighing only 13-pounds), so placement should be relatively easy.

Considering the specs and Oppo’s past product performances, the HA-1 appears to be a device that shouldn’t be overlooked. The black version of the unit is available now from oppo.com, while a silver model will become available next month.

Image Credits: Oppo Digital
 
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