Oppo made its name producing top quality multi-format silver disk players, including the BDP-105D Blu-ray player that has become one of our references. Now the Chinese company is moving into the popular portable player field. The very first proof this came with the launch of this £1000-plus PM-1 headphones which function planar magnetic drivers. They were quickly accompanied by the more affordable but similarly prepared PM-2s. Then came the HA-1 headphone amp/DAC to pair them with – a £1200 unit extremely much positioned for desktop or hi-fi rack use. But what to do if you fancy a decent DAC/ headphone amplifier to pair with your mobile device? Well, welcome the Oppo HA-2. Because make no mistake, this device is certainly positioned to have the best sound possible out of smartphones – if they be of this Android or Apple variety. As such it is beautifully crafted but has been made to withstand the stresses and strains of being pressed and pulled out of pockets/handbags or other things, while offering easy functionality and an amount of just £259. More to the point, though, is the fact that inside is the low power mobile variation of ESS outstanding Sabre32 DAC; it handles PCM files up to 32bit/384kHz as well as DSD 128. That is instead impressive whenever you start thinking about how big the Oppo. For the HA-2 measures just 68mm x 157mm x 12mm – putting it at around the size of an iPhone or Samsung – and weighs 176g. It has a rounded aluminum casing included in a stitched-on leather covering.
On the right-hand side sit three buttons. One controls a battery pack check level and in addition offers use of the capability to charge mobile devices, while below there is a bass boost and a gain switch that may be set to high or low depending just what headphones you are utilizing. The very best houses a line-in/out socket as well whilst the 3.5mm headphone jack and also the rotary amount control; underneath has a USB-A socket for Apple products and a USB micro-B for Android ‘phones along with a little slider switch to select input and output options. Oppo supplies Lightning to USBA, USB-A to micro-B and micro-B to micro-B cables inside the package. There’s also the company’s proprietary VOOC mains plug that will give a 75 per cent cost in only half an hour and a full refresh in 90. Alternatively, charging you can be carried out via the traditional USB input Finally, you get a pair of heavy duty elastic bands to lash the unit securely to your smartphone which, an iPhone. Plugging in a pair of Final Audio Design’s outstanding Heaven VIII earphones quality gained extra authority. Listening to Miles Davis’s ‘In A Silent Way’ there had been an expansiveness and level that took me aback. Imaging was also spot-on, Davis’s trumpet not just echoing within my ears, but seeming to encircle and float around my mind. Switching from the Final Audio IEMs to a pair of AKG over-ears the Oppo retained its same sonic character, showing it has the energy to push whatever pair of cans you choose. In reality, the Oppo manages to dig out more low-end meaning and tunefulness than many higher priced headphone amplifier/DAC combinations I’ve encountered. However it doesn’t do so at the cost of refinement. Instead it has got the capability to bring extra quality to your mobile music collection. I got proof of this when playing The Police’s ‘Every Breath You Take’, bass and vocals taking in a richness and tonality We’d maybe not have expected from a device this size.