Oppo have just released the Oppo HA-2 SE which I reviewed yesterday. Click HERE to read the Oppo HA-2 SE review.
However, what you all wanted to know is how does the Oppo HA-2 SE differ to the original award winning Oppo HA-2. First up, check out the video below to see what’s different on the hardware and accessories.
So the Oppo HA-2 has the DAC and the HA-2 SE has the new DAC. The new DAC provides a much lower noise floor, which means sensitive IEMs are unlikely to hear any hiss. Also the “SE” now has 32 bit audio instead of 24 bit.
But specs are all well and good, but what matters is the sound quality. So what I did was test both devices using my Oppo PM3 headphones using the 3 tracks below. I have highlighted the audio differences with each song.
Track 1 – Dancing on the Edge, The Louis Lester Band – Down River
The Oppo HA-2 lacks the sparkle in the treble that the HA-2 SE possesses. The HA-2 is more dynamic and provides a slightly wider sound stage.
Track 2 – Bastille – All This Bad Blood – These Streets
The HA-2 SE has better clarity and definition. The original HA-2 feels muddied sometimes. I think the differences I am hearing is due to the lower noise floor, allowed the HA-2 SE to produce better treble and mid range across the track.
Track 3 – Offenbach: Les Contes D’Hoffman (Disk 1) – Prologue: Glou! Glou! Je Suis Le Vin!
The HA-2 SE once again has the edge over the HA-2. The precision in handling all the frequencies and scaling is slight ahead of the HA-2. I also prefer the mid and treble and overall musicality from the HA-2 SE. The vocal parts from this track felt more realistic from the HA-2 SE over the HA-2.
The Oppo HA-2 SE with its new DAC improves the musicality, dynamics, treble, detail and reduces the noise floor too. The Oppo HA-2 SE provides a decent update over the original HA-2 and consequently is highly recommended. I like the HA-2 SE so much over the HA-2 that I spent the whole weekend listening to all my favourite music!
All my Headphone, DAC and Audio Reviews
Oppo HA-2 Review
Sennheiser HD 598 SE headphone review
Oppo PM-3 Headphone review
Oppo PM-2 Headphone review
Oppo HA-2 SE on Amazon UK
7 thoughts on “Oppo HA-2 vs Oppo HA-2 SE – All The Differences – Hardware & Sound Quality”
Gavin, thank you for your great review. I saw you’ve also reviewed the Dragonfly Red. Which one of these 2 DACs do you like more? Thanks.
They are different. The Oppo HA-2 SE works smoother with iOS devices as it has Apple’s MFI built in, so doesn’t need to use the Apple USB 3 adapter. Personally, I prefer the flexibility of the Oppo and sound quality. Another example with android phones, some need to use a third party app eg USB Audio Player Pro to get the most out of the Dragonfly Red. The plus points of the Red is its compact size and that it doesn’t need a battery and for less money gets you a decent upgrade. But I would pick the Oppo myself. Hope this helps. Any more questions, just ask 🙂
Hi Gavin, thank you for your quick and detailed reply! Guess I’ll go with the OPPO then. My cons on OPPO are its size and that it needs to be recharged. However I definitely prefer its look and feel, as well as richer features. Also you mentioned that it works better with iOS devices, which is a plus for me. Price wise the Dragonfly + Apple’s adapter is getting close to OPPO’s so it’s not a deciding factor. I am currently using Audioengine D1 DAC on my laptop but I am looking for a portable one 🙂 Thank you so much again for your answer!
Great review, but you left out how the unit can be powered with out the power adapter.can you use a portable power battery when you are on the go and what is the requirements of such a portable battery? ie voltage 5v how many milamps required.thank you.
Just ordered the SE. My smartphone has the new USB – C port which I can easily get an adaptor for however can I just use the 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable through the line out to connect the devices? I read on Amazon somewhere that this bypasses either the amp or DAC but it wasn’t very specific. Wondering if you could clarify! Kind regards.
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Using the 3.5mm connection bypasses the DAC. The better quality will be via the USB method as the Oppo HA-2 SE has a good DAC. Worth trying to see which you prefer.