A Major HiFi Youtube viewer recently commented on one of our videos. “What”, they asked, “is the difference between the FiiO Q5 and the Oppo HA-2SE?” A valid question, indeed. Both of these DAC/amp combos are in a similar price range (the Q5 is $349 and the HA-2SE is $299). Additionally, they are both small, portable, and even have a similar look. Today, I’ll try to answer that question. This is the FiiO Q5 vs Oppo HA-2SE Amp DAC comparison review.
Fiio Q5 vs Oppo HA-2SE Amp DAC Comparison Review
In the Box
|FiiO Q5||Oppo HA-2SE|
|FiiO Q5 amp/DAC||Oppo HA-2SE amp/DAC|
|lightning to micro USB cable||power supply unit (rapid charging charger)|
|micro USB cable||USB A to micro USB (data and rapid charging cable)|
|3.5 mm cable||USB A to lightning data cable|
|optical adaptor||micro USB to micro USB cable|
|coaxial adapter||3.5 mm cable|
|long straps x2||silicone rubber band x2|
|short straps x2||documentation|
|FiiO Q5||Oppo HA-2SE|
|Inputs||3.5 mm (shared line, opt, coax), micro USB, Bluetooth||3.5 mm, USB A, micro USB|
|Outputs||3.5 mm unbalanced, 2.5 mm balanced||3.5 mm headphone and line out|
|Recommended Headphone Impedance||16 ohms-150 ohms (unbalanced), 16 ohms-300 ohms (balanced)||16 ohms-300 ohms|
|Battery Life||25 hours (aux), 10 hours (USB, opt, coax, BT)||13 hours (aux), 7 hours (digital)|
|Charge Time||3.5 hours||1.5 hours|
|Bluetooth Support||4.2, aptX, AAC, SBC||n/a|
|Sample Rate||PCM, 384 kHz/32 bit; DSD 256||PCM, 384 kHz/32 bit; DSD 256|
|DAC Chip(s)||AK4490EN x2||ES Sabre ^32 Reference ES9028-QZM|
Both the FiiO Q5 and the Oppo HA-2SE are housed in aluminum. As a result, they both not only have classy minimalistic designs, but also resist electromagnetic interference. The HA-2SE is wrapped in leather and coincidentally, the Q5 has a leather patch on the back. As a result, both have a sense of elegance and expensiveness. However, the HA-2SE wears it better in my opinion because the leather wraps all the way around it.
Due to their compactness, the FiiO Q5 and the Oppo HA-2SE are very portable. The HA-2SE has a longer, thinner design, whereas the Q5 has a shorter, and slightly thicker design (think iPhone 5 vs iPhone 7). Overall, the Q5 wins for me portability-wise because not only is it super easy to stuff in my pocket, it can also connect to my listening device (be it a phone or player) via Bluetooth or aptX. This wireless connection makes using my phone for other purposes and listening to music hassle free! Such a special and rare feature!
The digital to analog converters in both the FiiO Q5 and the Oppo HA-2SE support the same sample rates (DSD 256 and PCM 384 kHz/ 32 bit). They both have different DAC chips, so I’m very curious to listen and see how they affect the sound. Additionally, both DAC/amps boast a super clean signal path and signal to noise ratio. The Q5 has a versatile list of inputs and outputs, including a shared line, optical, and coaxial input alongside micro USB and Bluetooth inputs. It also features a balanced 2.5 mm output in addition to its 3.5 mm output. Lastly, both DAC/amps feature a bass boost and a low gain/high gain switch for further adaptability.
I was pleasantly surprised by both DAC/amps which provided enough power to a pair of HD 650s without pause. I expected the Q5 might fail here because, according to its spects, the unbalanced 3.5 mm output should only work well for impedances up to 150 ohms but it handled the 300 ohm HD 650s like a champ. The HA-2SE handled the HD 650s very well too and were able to bump them even louder than the Q5. Additionally, I tried both with the 8 ohm Final Audio Sonorous VI. Again, both exceeded my expectations and supplied good power to the cans without any distortion or issue.
Both DAC/amp combos sounded great! The Oppo HA-2SE felt tight in the low end, super warm in the midrange, and clean and pretty in the high frequencies. It also provided a sense of soundstage I didn’t quite get from the Q5. On the other hand, the FiiO Q5 felt more neutral. It wasn’t as thick sounding, but felt a little more glued in the middle. However, I was more impressed with the HA-2SE which really provided nice separation and energy, especially in the low-mids. Guitars, organs, bass guitars and even kick drums seemed to have a little added space.
Overall, the FiiO Q5 and the Oppo HA-2SE are wonderful options for those looking for a high quality DAC/amp under $500. I’d characterize each by saying the Q5 is more versatile and portable, whereas the HA-2SE has a more musical sound.
Both the FiiO Q5 and the Oppo HA-2SE are available for the best price here: