Oppo Digital's inexplicably leather-clad HA-2 is the handsomest pocketable headphone amp/DAC I ever have laid eyes, hands, and most of an afternoon on. It is slim. It is tooled to iPhone-perfection. It is easy to use. And it plays from pretty much any source, analogue (via a 3,5mm stereo jack), or computer-ish (USB A and B), without a hitch.
Currently, it is pounding Frederick's Artisan Kane - EP into my ears via Thomas Tsai's least favourite earphone, the Ultrasone IQ. The HA-2 works like a breeze with my iPhone. Unfortunately, I can't get it to play nice with my 7th generation iPod nano.
Not that I'm bothered that a massive box won't be crowding my trousers. Still, I like to keep my options, if not fly, open.
The HA-2's volume pot doubles as the on/off switch, and is excellent. Coupled with a lowish gain, it can achieve good balance between channels even when feeding super-sensitive earphones such as the IQ despite the fact that the IQ disrobes most amps within seconds. The HA-2 manages at leat to keep its socks on. Sensitiver eared people than me may wish for a bit less gain. Of course, if listening through a computer, or iPhone, you can control the output through software.
And it appears that the HA-2 exerts good control over a wide variety of headphones and earphones, supplying good current into both high and low volume levels on from the Earsonics SM2 and up.
Unfortunately, it hisses quite a bit more than I would expect from an amp/DAC in 2015.
I'm looking forward to really digging into what it's got to offer. You see: I've never handled a better-tooled portable amp/DAC. The HA-2 really is built and finished like a bigguned-up iPhone 5 with a volume pot. Its ins and outs line up perfectly with the chassis, each is easy to get at, and the typographic quality, is tip top. In no way does it feel like a sub-500$ amp/DAC.
My essay about it will be up on Headfonia within a couple of fortnights. If you're itching for advanced opinions on it, check out Johnny Darko's take.
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