The audio Swiss army knife

Oppo HA-2SE

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
<b>Pictures</b> oppo
<b>Pictures</b> oppo
Sexy and loaded with features, the Oppo HA-2SE is an indispensable tool for any audiophile.
The latest Oppo HA-2SE is an update to the very popular HA-2 portable audio amplifier from 2015. It looks identical
to its predecessor, which was already stunning, and is crafted out of aluminum with sharply beveled edges and a “stitched” genuine leather casing. The HA2-SE also retains the same switches and connectivity options as its predecessor. There are two digital inputs: a USB Type-A port for use with iOS devices, and a micro-USB port for use with PCs and Macs and Android devices, and also a single analog input in the form of a 3.5mm audio jack. A nifty switch at the bottom allows users to select between the three inputs. When using the digital inputs, the 3.5mm input jack automatically turns out a line-out jack, allowing the HA-2SE to work as a standalone DAC and be paired with a separate amplifier. While the HA-2SE hasn’t changed in looks, it receives major internal updates. The DAC has been updated to the latest ESS Sabre ES9028-Q2M chip and improvements have been made to the amplifier section to lower the noise floor and improve the signal-to-noise ratio. Without the older HA-2 to test, we cannot say definitively that this new version is better. What we can say, however, is that it immediately and noticeably improved playback with just about any audio source and headphones we threw at it. Whether we were playing from our iPhone or PC, and using either headphones or in-ear monitors, the HA-2SE made everything sound cleaner, smoother, punchier and more dynamic. The HA-2SE also has a bass boost switch that immediately adds more oomph to tracks, but be sure to use it sensibly as it can make the bass notes on certain tracks sound muddier.
A final trick up its sleeve is the fact that it can double as an external power bank; its own battery has a capacity of
3,000 mAh, sufficient to provide most smartphones with a full charge. All in, the HA-2SE is a sleek, highly functional and useful little audio gadget that all audiophiles should have on-the-move.
AT A GLANCE: DAC chip ESS Sabre ES9028-Q2M, Audio support PCM up to 32-bit/384kHz, DSD up to 12MHz (DSD256), Inputs 1 x USB Type-A, 1 x micro-USB, 1 x 3.5mm audio-in, Power 300mw into 16 Ohm, Price $479
LED indicators at the side lets users quickly check on the HA-2SE’s
battery level.
LED indicators at the side lets users quickly check on the HA-2SE’s battery level.
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