Woo Audio, based in New York, builds a few power amplifiers, but lots of headphone amplifiers. In the current review, we take a look at the WA7d tubed headphone amplifier, with DAC, and solid state power supply.
The Head-Fi Meet took place on July 18, 2015, held at the DoubleTree Hotel, in Burlingame, California. For those not familiar with the Head-Fi group, they are companies and individuals (DIY) who manufacture or build (one person making his own by hand) headphone amplifiers, and companies who also market headphones. They are a very special group of people, with innovation and dedication to extreme high quality.
OPPO has just released the HA-2 DAC and Headphone amplifier. It is sized to use with your smart phone's digital output using a USB-micro-to-USB-micro cable. With a Sabre Mobile DAC, the HA-2 will decode up to 32/384 PCM and DSD256 music stored on your phone (you will need a downloadable app).
Sony continues to release lots of new products bearing the "HI-Res Audio" logo. This review focuses on three of these products - the Sony MDR-Z7 Headphones, the Sony PHA-3 battery powered DAC/headphone amp and the Kimber Kable MUC-B20BL1 balanced headphone cable.
Since headphones have become so popular, it seems only natural that dedicated headphone amplifiers would follow. Many have come to market, and the OPPO HA-1 headphone amplifier has just been introduced. It has numerous digital and analog inputs, and the output stage operates in Pure Class A. It also can handle digital audio in the new ultra-high resolution formats, e.g., 24/352.8 PCM and DSD128. A dynamite product from a dynamite company, the HA-1 is a champion in the ring!
HiFiMan is a relative newcomer (2006) to the audio product scene. Their specialty is headphones (including over-the-ear and earbuds) and headphone amplifiers. We have reviewed several of their headphones, with positive and enthusiastic findings. The HE-500, reviewed here, are over-the-ear headphones, meaning that they completely enclose the ears. This model also uses planar magnetic drivers, which unlike cone drivers, are flat, very thin plastic membranes, on which is attached a thin conductor. The membrane is near permanent magnets, and when the signal flows through the conductor, the opposing electromagnetic field on the conductive membrane is pushed away from or attracted to the permanent magnets, producing the sound.