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Published on March 30th, 2015 | by Greg

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Oppo HA-2 Portable Amp/DAC: Better Music, Great Price

Have a mobile device? Or a computer? Play music through either device, on the go? If you’re using anything better than stock earbuds, then you should probably be using an amplifier or a digital-to-analog converter. As we’ve discussed many times in the past in previous reviews, your electronics make compromises in circuitry, and to better appreciate your music, there’s an easy fix.

You just need to provide a better path for those digital signals- like using the Oppo HA-2 Portable Amp/DAC. We’ve seen quite a few amps and digital-to-audio convertors, both portable and not. The brand new Oppo HA-2 sits with a very small class of devices that manage to provide plenty of power in a small package, at a reasonable price, and still manage to be luxurious at the same time. Unlike many units this size, there are not only digital inputs via USB but also an analog input (via 3.5mm minijack).

Compatible with both Android and iOS devices, it’s certified with Apple’s MFI program. There are two gain level settings that allow you to choose an option that best fits your headphones. Use the lower selection for in-ear monitors, or the higher one to push up to 300 mW into 16-ohm headphones. Also unusually, the HA-2 can serve as a backup battery, and provide power to your mobile device in a pinch. With a 3000 mAh rechargeable battery, you’ll get about 7-13 hours of music in use (depending on volume and conditions of course). Also unique is the bass boost- it adds a bit extra in the low end, though we preferred the natural setting. Thanks to a solid chipset (the Sabre ES9018-K2M) and some cool tech, they’ve nearly eliminated jitter.

Best of all, the HA-2 is one of the most compact amp/DACs that we’ve seen- about the same size, weight, and thickness as many smartphones (175 grams). You can use bands to keep them together, though cable management can be a little difficult. The build quality is great – a solid aluminum chassis wrapped in genuine leather feels good in the hand, and less prone to slipping around in your grip when you’re adjusting controls. The volume knob doesn’t protrude, a significant plus over other portable DAC/amps, and we never detected any hissing or noise, even on sensitive sets during silent portions with active sound. The overall signature is clean and neutral rather than adding much flavor, and while you won’t be blown away by the spaciousness, you will certainly appreciate the details. Instruments are just slightly less precise than larger desktop amps, and more rounded- a lighter feeling than other more-forward or aggressive gear. Available for just $299, the Oppo HA-2 seems underpriced- and it’s available directly online.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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