Home‎ > ‎HiFi Components‎ > ‎

HA10SE Headphone Amplifier

Special Edition Thermionic Valve and Class A MOSFET Hybrid Headphone Amplifer
This is the 'Special Edition' of our excellent HA10 Headphone Amplifier, with many upgraded parts and extra features for an even better listening experience! Just like everything else we make, the HA10 SE 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.
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 of 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 SE 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.


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 HA10SE 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 as standard, 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 SE uses a genuine ALPS Blue volume pot, audiophile grade resistors by Takman in the signal path (not just some cheap off-the-shelf generic metal film resistors), and for the input audio signal capacitors we use some high-end film input caps from Solen (a big step up from the original Wimas we used). And even a gold-plated ceramic valve socket! 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 DC3 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 HA10SE 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. 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 HA10SE has a pair of RCA input sockets on the rear panel (we can fit other sockets instead/as well to special order), as well as a 2.5mm DC power plug socket. For dual-rail HA10SEs (another special order item, where we supply the left and right channels with independently regulated supplies) there is a 3-pole locking socket instead, which connects to the matching dual-rail PSU.

When you first get your HA10SE, the valve must be plugged in (it is supplied in its original valve box for protection during shipping). To do this, pinch the valve by the glass point at the top of the valve and gently place it into the socket - note that the pins form a circular arc and the "gap" on the valve pins must be lined up with the gap on the socket. The valve will sink into the socket slightly when you get it right. Then, whilst gently applying a bit of downward pressure, wiggle the valve into place using a circular motion, this puts a bit of force on each pin at once rather than trying to push all 9 pins down at once, which is kinder to the valve. It will take a few seconds to insert it if you're being gentle enough with it - try not to grind the valve body against the edge of the hole in the lid, it is made big enough to allow for easy insertion without touching it. Make sure the power cable is plugged in and the headphones are unplugged and it will be ready to use!

The HA10SE MUST be powered up without headphones inserted into the headphone socket - power the HA10SE up, wait around 20 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 HA10SE off, either way is fine in this case. Just remember to not have them plugged in to start off with the next time you use the amp.
       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