New OPPO DAC/Headphone AMP looks impressive

Just got an email from OPPO that their new HA-1 headphone amp is now shipping.

Looks almost too good to be true for $1200.

Does PCM 384K, DSD 128
Preamp, headphone amp
Pure analog section
Sabre32 ESS 9018 DAC
Blu-tooth, USB etc interface
Remote control and remote control app
Fully balanced design

You knew it would be good from OPPO but wow!
Couldn't resist - I purchased one intending to take advantage of the 30 day guarantee if I wasn't satisfied.

I was also looking at the Chord Hugo and Wyred for Sound SE.

Since this uses the same DAC as the 105 - could it be considered a bit outdated?
Outdated? Are you serious? Whatever happened to having something that is tried and true? And, coming from Oppo, you know that they will be constantly improving the product. This looks like a terrific piece of kit and a pretty nice match for their new planar headphones...

If it uses the same DAC as the OPPO 105, why not buy the 105? After all the 105 has a headphone amp built in and a CD/DVD/Blu-ray player included.
Forgot to add SACD player as well.

You can't compare a Chord Hugo to anything Oppo makes

1: The Chord uses a proprietary Fully Programmable Gate Array running an advanced Watts time array filtering program that took over 10 years to design, program and refine


The Oppos uses an off the Shelf very good Sabre chip.

An FPGA design means that the main processing power, decoding and filtering abilities are fully up-gradable vs the Oppo which is not.

Chord is made in the UK out of billet alluminium

the Oppos is made in China.

The Chord is also portable and provides hours of battery powered fun to drive headphones when on the go

the Oppo is not portable.

So you really do get what you pay for, hence the Oppo is a cheaper product than the Chord.

Lastely the Oppos sounds very good, the Chord is an entirely different league of performance, as the level of the dac is commensurate with technology and performance of Chords big dacs which are $8,500.00 the Oppo is just another good sounding Sabre machine.

Lastly when the Oppo player this was based on was cocmpared to the similarly price Cambridge Audio universal player most reviewers thought the Cambridge was better sounding

Lets face facts Oppo makes nice, high value, well performing products for the dollar I have yet to see an Oppo product that really compares to any of the major players, products.

If you value price over performance get an Oppo if you want long term value and state of the art performance although for more money buy a Chord hugo, which is what I did.
I called Oppo about this. The tech said that the HA-1 is much better on hard to drive headphones. Also, the HA-1 has digital and analog inputs, rca and XLR....the 105 only has digital inputs.
The fully balanced design should add substantially to the SQ as I would image simpler signal paths. Not sure if the 105 does the highest DSD and PCM rates either.

But it's true, there's probably too much feature overlap not to muddy the waters. If the only real distinction is analog and balanced inputs and more juice for certain headphones, this would have a very narrow audience.

I seriously doubt this is true and expect some major sound benefits over the 105 once the reviews hit. Ok maybe hoping more than
It does look impressive on paper particularly for such low price. I wonder how it compares to the Benchmark DAC-1 or DAC-2. Has anyone actually listened to the Oppo?
Good points. I'm just looking for a quality DAC for the stereo rig. Doesn't have to be portable. But I do want whatever will sound best overall. The feature that the gate arrays can be reprogrammed/updated is appealing.

You have to wonder to what extent that will happen since Chords (like everyone else's) first order of business is selling new model Chords. But if the Hugo out of the gate is clearly better that's all you need to know.

Looking forward to the day these gate arrayed DACs will have multiple configurations like DSP modes where they can be optimized to diffent system characteristics. More revealing, neutral, warm forgiving etc.
Finally got mine in the mail. Sadly waiting on the speakers so all I have in the house are Sony $60 pr from Walmart speakers. Wouldn't dare comment on SQ given no burn in and speakers. But it's very nicely designed with excel lent build features and design.

Much smaller but feels heavier than 105-D. Love the blu tooth and all other connectivity. Am using straight into a Cary SS amp and has plenty of gain. We'll see about SQ once my Veritys arrive but so far I like it. OPPO knows how to build it right.
The $60 Sony speakers are horrible sounding in general. Irritating tweeters, non-distinct boomy bass, nothing really positive. We're used for temp rear speakers in a 7.1 setup.

But I left the HA-1 to burn in for about 15 hours so far and there are big improvements from out of the box already. Aside from the obviously unrefined sounding tweeters etc, I'm actually getting some excellent depth, well balanced and coherent sound, surprising imaging, etc.

I won't know until the Parsifals show up, but with very little burn in, the preamp section has already improved considerably.

If this has the respectable preamp section I think it will, throw in a lower cost high value speakers and 2 channel amp (and a computer or iPod) and this could be the centerpiece of a very satisfying over performing mid-fi setup.

It might prove to be a weak link for the Cary electronics and Verity Parsifal speakers - but the juries still out. We'll see next week when the Parsifal's come knocking. I have the feeling it might hold its own.
Hi Larry, so what do you think of the oppo as a dac.? I am in the same boat as you. looking for a better DAC. I just got the oppo ha-1 last week and hooked it up to my pre-amp along with my other dac, an inexpensive Dac-magic. When switching inputs I could not hear any difference at all in the sound, I mean none. I thought I would be able to hear something different. I have a pretty good system so I don't think that's the issue. Pass labs XA-100.5 amps. Xp-30 pre and magnepan 3.7s. I was streaming thru a squeezebox touch. I like the features but with no improvement in sound I am sending it back for a refund.
Titanium, probably it needs more burn in time don't you think?