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Oppo Digital brings HA-2SE headphone amp and Sonica Wi-Fi speakers to Singapore
By Liu Hongzuo & Kenny Yeo - on 25 Nov 2016, 4:00pm

Oppo Digital brings HA-2SE headphone amp and Sonica Wi-Fi speakers to Singapore

Guess who's back?

Oppo Digital’s latest activities in the audio enthusiast market bring two products to Singapore. Over at the International Sound & Sight Exhibition 2016 happening from 25th to 27th November 2016 at Parkroyal on Kitchener Road, visitors will get to see and try the new Oppo HA-2SE portable headphone amplifier and USB DAC and the Sonica Wi-Fi speakers.

 

Oppo HA-2SE portable headphone amplifier and USB DAC

The new Oppo HA-2SE is the successor to the very popular HA-2 portable USB DAC/headphone amplifier.

The Oppo HA-2SE is the updated version of the HA-2, a portable headphone amplifier and DAC. The new version packs an upgraded ES9028Q2M digital-to-analog converter (DAC) chip – a top-end, portable-design component from ESS Technology’s SABRE Reference series. The new DAC chip allows the HA-2SE to play nicely with sensitive in-ear monitors with its lower noise floor and higher S/N ratio when compared to the preceding HA-2.

The HA-2SE can play music from up to three sources. A: USB, B: micro-USB, and C: line-in.

It retains the familiar ultra-slim design and svelte dimensions as its predecessor. It measures just 12mm thick and weighs 175g, making it one of the most compact portable headphone amplifiers around.  

It is compatible with iOS and Android devices, as well as PC and Mac desktops. The HA-2SE supports PCM audio up to 32-bit/384kHz and DSD audio up to 12MHz (DSD256).

Like its predecessor, it has the nifty feature of doubling up as a portable battery bank for your mobile devices. Its rechargeable battery has a capacity of 3,000mAh - sufficient to fully charge most smartphones.

The HA-2SE also supports Oppo's fast-charging VOOC technology, so a 70% charge can be achieved in just 30 minutes and a full-charge within the hour. Here are the key specifications of the HA-2SE:

 

On the sides are switches for low and high gain modes. The low gain mode works well with sensitive in-ear monitors, while the high gain mode is best used with full-sized headphones.

We spent some time with the HA-2SE at the International Sight & Sound and found it to be a gem of a portable headphone amplifier/USB DAC. We paired it with Oppo's own PM-2 and PM-3 headphones and found that it significantly improved the performance of the headphones. 

Here we can see the bass boost switch and the low and high gain switch. There's also a handy battery level indicator.

Based on our short first impressions, the PM-2 and PM-3 headphones both sounded more smooth and authoritative when paired with the HA-2SE. 

The HA-2SE also has a bass boost switch on the sides, but we felt that it was unnecessary since the PM-2 and PM-3 headphones already serve up generous amounts of punchy bass when used with the HA-2SE. That said, bassheads will certainly love and enjoy this feature.

Battery life is rated at around 7 hours for digital sources (via USB/micro-USB) and 13 hours for analog sources (via line-in jack).

The Oppo HA-2SE is retailing at S$479, available via their website and official retailers.

 

 

Oppo Sonica Wi-Fi speakers

The Sonica is compact and handsome. It is designed by Igor Levitsky, the same designer behind Oppo's PM-series planar magnetic headphones.

The Sonica first appeared in May 2016, gaining considerable favor before finally making its way to Singapore. Though small and fairly compact, this handsome Wi-Fi speakers supports a host of wireless technologies, including wireless 802.11ac standard, Apple AirPlay, and Bluetooth 4.1. 

The Sonica speaker also has a USB drive that can be used play various music formats including FLAC, WAV, OGG, Apple Lossless and more. There's also a Gigabit Ethernet port and a standard 3.5mm auxiliary jack for other music sources. It supports sampling rates of up to 24-bit/192kHz.

The Sonica app makes it easy to manage your Sonica speakers.

The Sonica speaker was designed to be easy to setup and manage thanks to its own Sonica app. The app lets you change sources, manage multiple Sonica speakers, and even group multiple speakers together. For example, if you have two Sonica speakers, you could set them up as a stereo pair. It even features presets to optimize the Sonica to play in rooms of different sizes.

The Sonica app also features Spotify and Tidal integration, so users can play music from their Spotify and Tidal accounts without ever leaving the Sonica app. However, the audio is streamed from the device where the app exists and it's not a case where the speaker obtains the audio directly from the source while the app acts as a controller. The downside is that the device is also draining its battery since it's the main streaming agent. 

Here are the key specifications of the Sonica Wi-Fi speaker.

Don't be fooled by its size, the Sonica packs a real sonic punch (and without much distortion even at high volume). Inside are two 2.5-inch wideband drivers, two 3-inch passive radiators, and a single 3.5-inch bass driver. We had the chance to have a listen and the results are suitably impressive. The Sonica is even more impressive when used as a stereo pair.

There are many ways to play your music. Stream wirelessly or you could connect music sources via Gigabit Ethernet, USB, or AUX in.

The Sonica is capable of producing volumes that belied its size, but more importantly, its sound is very pleasant, natural and smooth. We will reserve our final judgment until we have a review unit to listen to critically, but our first impressions are good.

The Sonica Wi-Fi speaker starts at S$499 via their official website and authorized Oppo resellers.


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