OPPO HA-2SE Portable Headphone Amp/DAC for iOS/Android/PC/macOS

of 02

Meet the OPPO HA-2SE Portable Headphone Amplifier & DAC

The OPPO HA-2SE DAC/AMP on a table
Underneath the OPPO HA-2SE's genuine leather-wrapped, brushed-aluminum chassis lies an ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC. OPPO Digital

Although modern smartphones and tablets are extraordinarily useful, convenient, and portable, there are still a number of limitations that many manufacturers have yet to address. With a finite amount of hardware space available inside of a palm-sized device, some sacrifices must be made. With the way that most consumers favor powerful processors, plenty of memory/storage, vivid screens, and capable cameras, not much room is left for improving the overall sound technology.

Talk to your average headphone-hauling audiophile and/or audio enthusiast, and you may likely hear about (or even see) their prized, portable headphone amplifier. Such devices are designed to drive headphones (also speakers, within limits) with greater authority and full potential, well beyond what a typical smartphone or tablet could ever accomplish alone.

OPPO Digital, known for creating quality products with a focus on high-fidelity, has unveiled its latest DAC/AMP that is sure to impress. Not only can the OPPO HA-2SE Portable Headphone Amplifier & DAC outperform others while complementing the average mobile device, it touts a refined style for a price that won't break the bank.

The OPPO HA-2SE is a high-resolution USB DAC/AMP that is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS systems. Underneath its genuine leather-wrapped, brushed-aluminum chassis lies an ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC. This component utilizes ESS Technology's ES9028-Q2M chip, which supports high-resolution audio playback up to 384 kHz PCM and DSD256 (up to 12 MHz). Along with a hybrid class AB amplifier, the OPPO HA-2SE is designed to achieve digital-to-analog conversion that's far improved over your everyday smartphone or tablet.

Unlike some portable DAC/AMPs that draw energy from the connected host, the OPPO HA-2SE is self-powered. The built-in 3000 mAh battery is designed to last up to 13 hours of playback for analog sources, 7 for digital sources. It may not seem like much, but it can certainly cover a full day's shift. And in a pinch, the OPPO HA-2SE doubles as an external power bank for USB-connected devices, and needs only about 90 minutes to fully recharge with the included rapid charger.

of 02

Why the OPPO HA-2SE Portable Headphone Amplifier & DAC Might Be for You

The OPPO HA-2SE DAC/AMP on a coffee table connected to a pair of headphones
The OPPO HA-2SE portable headphone amplifier and DAC is designed to improve headphone music experiences. OPPO Digital

Although it's possible to tow a camper with a small car, the experience tends to be smoother and easier with a vehicle that packs more horsepower under the hood. This same concept applies to using headphones, whether they're the high-end kind that actually require amplification or not. A DAC/AMP is going to provide the steady strength and capability that many a mobile device, laptop, or computer can't achieve alone.

Not only is the OPPO HA-2SE portable headphone amplifier and DAC designed to improve overall music experiences, it does so with appreciable versatility. A switch on the side allows users to toggle between high and low gain modes, depending on if the connected headphones are power-hungry (former) or sensitive (latter). Right above that lies another switch that, when activated, delivers a low-end boost to the otherwise flat frequency response. Volume levels are carefully handled by a textured analog dial at the top.

For digital input through its micro USB port, the OPPO HA-2SE is compatible with Android devices that support USB OTG (on-the-go) and USB audio. The HA-2SE is also Apple MFi certified and connects to iPhones, iPads, and iPods with the included Lightning cable – no camera connection kit (CCK) required. Owners of smartphones lacking headphone jacks, such as the Apple iPhone 7/7 Plus, may appreciate the ability to simultaneously listen to music while charging with this DAC/AMP. OPPO's hardware is sure to beat out the basic adapter.

Those who want to improve the audio from laptops and computers can use the OPPO HA-2SE like an external sound card. Just as with mobile devices connected via USB, this DAC/AMP effectively bypasses the native circuity to deliver high-resolution audio playback. And with it's 3.5 mm audio-in and line-out jacks, the OPPO HA-2SE is able to support older products (e.g. music players) that have no digital-compatible USB output. So no matter what you decide use, the HA-2SE can play along.

This headphone companion manages to harness such capability and power in a form not much larger or heavier than a standard smartphone. Measuring 2.7 in by 5.375 in at a mere half-inch thick (6.8 x 13.7 x 1.2 cm), the OPPO HA-2SE comfortably fits in hands and neatly slips into pockets. But given the attention to construction and polished style, this DAC/AMP may fare better to sit atop a desk for all to see.

The OPPO HA-2SE is available for US$299. Each unit comes complete with charger, USB cables, Lightning cable, 3.5 mm stereo audio cable, and silicone rubber bands.