It could be a comparatively new name on these shores, but we have seen some of NuForce’s services and products recently. The California-based company was rattling the bars for the audiophile cage state side for a while now with a raft of cutting-edge services and products with highly alluring costs. The HA-200 is a single-ended design Class A headphone amplifier with RCA stereo phones. The trick it has actually up its sleeve is the power to drive headphones in balanced mode, although it can not handle it by itself due to its topology thus it sports just a single XLR input. You will need to buy a second HA-200 in an effort to operate each XLR-connected channel discretely and you may need a particular balanced cable adapter to connect the headphones. Balanced connections block out RF interference, causing extremely low sound and an even more accurate noise and in this dual-amp scenario, voltage is doubled and power production is quadrupled.
A small hurdle to conquer when using two discrete amplifiers with split volume controls for every channel is establishing the gain is similar to making use of split hot and cold taps to fi ll a shower rather than a mixer. In other words, you need to set each channel’s quantity individually. For this test we only get one amp so use the RCA inputs in two setups. One with a transport and the other on a desktop with a NuForce μDAC3 DAC (HFC 399) linked to a computer playing hi-res files. Design-wise the NuForce HA-200 is, like most of NuForce’s products, alluringly compact. It’s just 217m wide and 2.2kg in weight, with a durable, minimalist finish, curved edges and an easy rotary volume dial that is completely engineered. Usually the one aesthetic blemish could be the ugly synthetic tab that covers the single XLR out next to the 6.3mm headphone jack. Peak power outcome is quoted as 937mW per channel at 32ohm with an output impedance of 5ohm and 10Hz to 20kHz frequency response.
One slight disadvantage that Class A amplifiers have actually is that the transistor bias present must certanly be set such that the output transistor continually runs within the midpoint between its fully-on and fully-off restrictions. Therefore, regardless of actual audio energy being used, Class A amplifiers continuously eat their full-rated outcome power and dissipate that by means of waste temperature. In other words, they obtain hot and stay so when started up, generally there isn’t any standby mode, just an on/off rocker switch regarding the back. Partnered with a pair of Oppo PM-2 headphones, the NuForce HA-200 delivers a pleasing combination of quality and substance regardless of supply. Its sound phase is broad and powerful, with a lot of headroom, and it reveals it self to be especially adept with higher frequencies. The cacophony of Frankie would go to Hollywood’s Two Tribes on SACD is offered up with genuine gusto and a feeling of scale that provides the vocals an extra edge, allowing them to rise above the distraction of this hefty guitars. With all the computer as source, the piano in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.5 in E fl at major is concentrated and well defined, although not teeth-grindingly sharp, retaining a nice amount of texture. It’s a finely balanced act that the NuForce HA-200 pulls off throughout the powerful range, enabling each layer of sound to be heard distinctly much more complex passages so the strings, wind instruments and percussion are delivered with aplomb. Eliminating the NuForce HA-200 through the equation and making use of only the μDAC3 robs the bit of some much appreciated warmth and control, and shows what the headphone amp brings towards the party.
Rotating the Flaming Lips’ Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots on CD perfectly encapsulates the NuForce HA-200’s abilities. The mesmerizing vocals are elevated wonderfully, yet remain smooth and rounded. Guitars and keyboards mesh well and therefore are powerful, while the synth in the beginning of on the Morning for the Magicians is stunning. When it comes to bass, the expansion brings up a tad short however the timing is i’m all over this and the entry level always feels muscular and tight. Whether utilized in a desktop rig or with traditional analogue sources the HA-200 acquits itself ingeniously. It’s an easy and simple headphone amp which includes a well balanced and beautifully revealing audio. The possibility to use it in a balanced setup is handy, but you’ll need to splash down on an additional device to operate both networks.