Oppo HA-2 SE

The Oppo HA-2 SE, like the Audioquest Dragonfly Red, has attracted overwhelmingly good reviews.

It looks like a mobile phone with a stitched leather cover, which is a curious, but aesthetically interesting touch. The rest, I assume, is aluminium. The body is long, narrow and thin, which is ideal for using with a phone or flat DAP like the iPod Touch. The potential downside of this is extreme cable bend for short cables.

At the top are the on/off-cum-volume control knob, the audio in/out port, and the headphone port. The side has the battery meter, bass boost and gain buttons, and the bottom has a switch for different modes, and USB A and micro USB ports. The USB A port is for Apple devices, while the micro port is for laptops, although it can also be used with Android phones that can transmit a digital signal via micro USB or USB C.

Like the E17K, the HA-2 SE can be attached to just about anything. Since I got my Huawei Honour 9, it’s my preferred DAC ~ amp for the phone, but I can connect it to the FiiO X5 Mk II with a 3.5mm male-to-male cable, or my iPod Touch with a lightning cable. The Walkman, which I’d expect to play music through the proprietary Sony connector, thinks it’s in storage mode, being playable only through an analogue connection.

With respect to the music I listen to, the HA-2 SE does a sound job [Is this some sort of awful pun? –ed.] In comparison with other DACs, it may be a matter of sound signature. In comparison with the PHA-1A, which is marginally cheaper, there seems nothing in it. The ifi nano iDSD BL, which is about 65% of the price, sounds a bit sharper. The FiiO E17K, which is about 40% of the price, is definitely less detailed.

One issue, which is a minor detraction, is the delay in processing music after a pause, but it’s not enough to detract from the general excellence of the device.

Overall, this may be another indulgence, but it was undoubtedly well worth the money.

Unfortunately, not long after I bought this DAC, Oppo decided to withdraw from the audio market. Readers might seek out secondhand models, but they ought to look elsewhere such as FiiO or ifi for a DAC ~ amp in the decent-but-affordable range.

Life and whatever in the imperium sericum.

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