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HA10 Headphone Amplifier

Thermionic Valve and Class A MOSFET Hybrid Headphone Amplifer
After several months of development, Custom Hifi Cables Ltd. is proud to announce the release of our first mainstream hi-fi component - the HA10 Headphone Amplifier. Just like everything else we make, the HA10 is hand-built from scratch and tested right here in the UK by us, our workmanship and quality control is second to none. This headphone amplifier is based on a hybrid design, using a high quality E88CC dual triode valve for the first stage of amplification and then a pair of audiophile-grade MOSFETS for the second stage of amplification, which work in a class A configuration to give the smoothest sound and the minimum of distortion possible. This amplifier also uses upgraded components and techniques that we have learnt from the development process of our DC2 PSU, which further increases its performance.

We are also offering a 'Special Edition' HA10 SE Headphone Amplifier which uses even better components, in the same circuit layout as the basic HA10. This upgrade option adds another level to the realism of the excellent HA10, and is highly recommended by all that listen to it. Just follow the link above!
Please read on below the picture for more information on the internal components used - suffice to say, we only used the best parts in this amp. Early feedback from one of our testers was extremely praiseworthy - and I quote, our tester 'LOVED' this amp, so much so that he tried to buy the prototype off us!
We are happy to offer a 30 day trial period on this amp, BUT please note that the amp must be returned in pristine condition - no scratches on the case please. Also, make sure the valve is removed from the amp and well packed to avoid damage to it, as faulty/damaged valves will be charged for.

The HA10 is available in either black or silver - see the picture below. We can supply black cases with silver knobs and sockets, or all-silver, or any combination you want, at no extra cost.

Please note that the basic HA10 does not include the 'valve cage' shown in the photos below - this is only available on the HA10 SE.

Reviewer Testimonial

"This is a great sounding amp, there’s a nice sense of space in the sound. It works well at low volume as well as high which I find is normally a sign of a good amp. The sound itself is superb; the imaging is brilliant and the bass has a lovely attack and fast decay so that you can hear into it. It goes very low actually. The treble is very extended and sits well on top of the massive bass response.

The power supply is gorgeous. Discreet and absolutely nil noise, which is fantastic for these things. Really well made.

The head stage is rather frightening. I've been sitting on my own here this afternoon listening and some of the sound effects are genuinely coming from 'out of my head'. In fact, I kept thinking the wife had returned. Even horribly compressed stuff like Madonna gives a fantastic image so I'm going to have to listen on it to myself now because I've never liked the CD reissues!!!!

This is a bloody good amp. The more I listen, the more I get from it. The imaging is superb. Low level listening is also really nice which is something that many amps don't seem to do well.

Many thanks for the test opportunity. I think it's a real corker!"

Customer Testimonials:

First of all - there is no chance for you to get this HA10 SE back! Sorry, but it`s mine now :)

The HA10 SE arrived on Wednesday and now it is in the "burning in phase". Meanwhile, this little beauty with its special British understated appearance ;) reveals a sound quality I have - up to now - never heard! It´s musicality, it´s resolution, it´s imaging, transparency (!!) and head stage is breathtaking and to feed it with my high resolution SACDs makes it fun, fun, fun.... Fast and deep bass attacks, staggered treble, complex symphonic music - no problem - nothing upsets it! I have used it with the AKG K501 and K701 and with the Sennheiser HD 600. Everybody knows that these headphones need very good amps to show their potential. The HA10 SE seems to be designed for them... In a word, your first headphone amp is a little masterpiece... Congratulations!! But to show it´s great potential it needs your DC2 PSU. Using it with a cheap chinese switch PSU (20 EUROs) it is a real bargain, better than the Creek 21SE of my friend or my Musical Fidelity V-can and X-cans amps, but with your DC2 PSU it really shines! It's no comparison to two two well-made Lehmann Clones Matrix M-Stage and the Lovely Cube Premium edition biased in class A with OPA627AP... They are missing that special transparency of the HA10 SE sound which is so addictive.

Thank you very much Sean for this wonderful and nevertheless affordable headphone amp!

Wilhelm (Germany)

Further Information

PSU:+24VDC @ 500mA (1A or more PSU capacity recommended)
Input impedance: 50K
Output impedance: 10R
Recommended headphone impedance range: 16-600R
Frequency response (to -0.5dB): 2Hz - 100kHz

The amplifier uses only the best quality components - a brand new JJ Electronics E88CC valve is provided with every HA10, which we found gives significantly better performance than some of the cheap Chinese-made valves. A gold pin version of the valve is available, and we sell even more different types of valves on our separate valves sales webpage. The HA10 also uses a high quality audio-grade volume pot, audiophile grade capacitors in the signal path from Wima and Nichicon, and we also use a pair of the same high quality regulators to control the class A MOSFET operation that we use in our reference level DC2 PSU. There are many other high-end parts in place, but of course we don't want to give too much away here!
Please note that the HA10 is NOT supplied with a PSU as standard - this is because we would strongly recommend that you consider one of our upgraded linear PSUs to use with it - either the DC1 or the DC2 are a good choice, and if purchased with the HA10 we are willing to offer a discount! We have also specifically designed a budget option 'DC0.5' especially for the HA10 - this is a simplified version of our DC1, the performance is not as great but it is still much better than a switch-mode PSU, and represents excellent value for money.

Alternatively, you can source your own PSU - you will need a +24VDC PSU with a current capacity of at least 1.5A, and the output power plug needs a 2.5mm diameter hole in it (centre hole is positive), these can be found online at around £10 for a switch-mode PSU, but note that some of the ones we have tested produce a buzzing noise in the headphones when powering the HA10, because they are poorly designed and cheap. Ultimately, we decided NOT to offer switch-mode PSUs as an option because they are a false economy.
The HA10 has a 2.5mm DC power plug socket on the rear panel, and a power switch that must be in the up position to turn the amp on. When used with either our DC1 or DC2 PSU, the power switch on the HA10 MUST be up before the DC1 or DC2 is powered up - otherwise the PSU will start up in 'safe mode' and not power the HA10. This is a safety feature - if it occurs, just power everything off, wait 15 seconds, turn on the HA10 and then turn on the DC1 or DC2 at its rear power switch. Note that our DC0.5 unit is not affected by this start-up procedure, it can be powered up before turning the HA10 on by its rear switch.

The HA10 should be powered up without headphones inserted into the headphone socket - power the HA10 up, wait around 15 seconds, turn the volume down to zero, then insert the headphones into the socket - then place the headphones on your head and enjoy. To power down, you can either leave the headphones plugged in or you can remove them before switching the HA10 off, either way is fine.
       Black or silver case
      Base price - no PSU
        Our DC1 24V PSU: 
        see DC1 webpage
        Our DC2 24V PSU: 
        see DC2 webpage

        Swap standard E88CC             for gold pin version:
        add £20

        Upgrade to other valves:
        see our valve webpage