Oppo HA-2SE portable headphone amp and DAC preview

Oppo's HA-2SE gets a performance boost over its predecessor.

Oppo HA-2SE portable headphone amplifier and DAC
Oppo HA-2SE portable headphone amplifier and DAC

Oppo has announced the HA-2SE, an upgraded version of the company’s award-winning HA-2 portable headphone amplifier and DAC.

The updated model follows the same physical styling and design of the original.  It comes with genuine leather casing with contrast stitching and beveled aluminum edges. With its ultra-slim and thin footprint, you can stack the HA-2SE on top of most smartphone models.

The big changes Oppo has made are on the inside.  The internal DAC has been upgraded and now features the top of the line ESS Technology’s SABRE32 reference series ES9028Q2M chip. Oppo also says that the new headphone amplifier has been further optimized for very sensitive in-ear monitors, with a lower noise floor and higher signal-to-noise ratio over the HA-2.

The HA-2SE is a perfect companion for hi-res music from your mobile device. It supports PCM audio up to 384 kHz / 32-bit, DSD audio up to 12 MHz (DSD256 or DSD4x). In case you’re wondering, you don’t need a Camera Connection Kit for high-resolution playback from iOS devices.

The HA-2SE can drive pretty much any headphone.
The HA-2SE can drive pretty much any headphone.

Oppo has engineered the new headphone amplifier-DAC combo to enhance music playback from mobile phones and portable music players. It features a hybrid class AB amplification and USB DAC. For those who like the convenience of using their mobile phone but want higher fidelity playback, the HA-2SE offers high performance digital-to-analog conversion for Apple iOS, Android, Mac, and PC computers.

One of the smartest features about the headphone amp and DAC is the fact that it doubles as a battery charger for your mobile device. It’s equipped with a 3000mAh internal battery. The HA-2SE features Oppo’s patented VOOC rapid charging technology. The company says that if you use the supplied rapid charger, the internal battery can be quickly and safely charged to 70% capacity in about 30 minutes.

The HA-2SE may be a welcome solution for those who have purchase a new iPhone 7 and aren’t satisfied by some of its limitations. Being a “Made for iPhone” certified device and coming with a Lightning cable included, the HA-2SE can charge the iPhone and play music at the same time. Its high-end DAC and high output amplifier can provide a significant improvement in sound quality and drive a much wider variety of headphones than the Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter that comes with the new iPhone. When used with the right apps, the HA-2SE supports bit-perfect playback of high resolution music, exceeding the 48 kHz sample rate limitation of using the phone’s built-in headphone output or headphone adapter.

Oppo's HA-2SE
Oppo’s HA-2SE

In addition to the USB DAC inputs, there is a 3.5 mm line-in jack for portable music players that do not have a USB-compatible digital output. The same jack doubles as line-out when the HA-2SE is used as a DAC. The headphone amplifier has two gain level settings. The High Gain mode is capable of driving large power-hungry headphones, delivering up to 300 mW into 16-Ohm headphones. The Low Gain mode is intended for sensitive In-Ear Monitor type earphones. For users who like a bit more punch and impact with their music, the HA-2SE offers a Bass Boost function that is implemented purely with analog audio circuits.

With its excellent sound quality, elegant style and mobile-friendly features, Oppo’s headphone amplifier and DAC is a great companion to any smartphone or portable music player. It’s is available for $299 from Oppo’s web site at: http://www.oppodigital.com/

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