As Hi-Fi+ readers know, we have been closely following Oppo Digital’s ongoing expansion in the high-end headphone and personal audio electronics marketplace.
First came the firm’s flagship PM-1 planar magnetic headphones (reviewed in issue 1xx), then a set of critically important optional ear pads that make the PM-1s sound even better (reviewed in issue 115), and now we have the long-awaited HA-1 desktop headphone amplifier/DAC (£1,199), which effectively completes Oppo’s high-end headphone system.
To jump right into the thick of things, let me say from the outset that the HA-1 is a pretty remarkable piece of kit, and one that—in the finest Oppo tradition—is not only chockfull of innovative features, but offers a generous helping of performance for the money. To lend some substance to these assertions, let me provide a brief verbal ‘walking tour’ of the unit.
As you might expect, the HA-1 leverages the considerable body of digital audio know-how developed by Oppo in the course of creating its award-winning and exceptionally versatile BDP-105EU audiophile-grade universal Blu-ray disc player (reviewed in issue 96). But in certain key respects the HA-1 DAC section ups the performance ante vis-à-vis the capabilities of the BDP-105-series players.