• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Pass Labs HPA-1 Headphone Amp Review

Rate this headphone amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 312 91.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 17 5.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 6 1.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 8 2.3%

  • Total voters
    343

Gremlins

Active Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2021
Messages
115
Likes
54
Damm, fall is painfull

The Pass amps costing the price of a nice harley davidson must perform similar to those headphone amp?
 

Tom C

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 16, 2019
Messages
1,195
Likes
1,046
Location
USA
What a ripoff!
Dr. N. Pass is a particularly intelligent fellow. He sure knows how to make money. Read a Stereophile interview with him some years ago. He has a beautiful coastline property in Northern California.
 

Vacceo

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
1,978
Likes
2,035
Devices like these make me mad. Why? If you're designing an expensive piece of gear, getting a particular aesthetic and carry a famous name; why do they have to provide a bad performance?

Sure, make it luxurious, heavy and make it feel unique. But give the customer great performance and features too,. It's not that electronics are that hard to do in this time and age.
 

respice finem

Major Contributor
Joined
Feb 1, 2021
Messages
1,591
Likes
3,006
Devices like these make me mad. Why? If you're designing an expensive piece of gear, getting a particular aesthetic and carry a famous name; why do they have to provide a bad performance?

Sure, make it luxurious, heavy and make it feel unique. But give the customer great performance and features too,. It's not that electronics are that hard to do in this time and age.
I suspect they want the electronics to be "unique" too, and degrade the performance this way.
Standard solutions have become standard for a reason.
 

Joe Smith

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2019
Messages
488
Likes
480
I'll take this one at face(plate) value. Pass.
And on the same day I learn of the new $110 Magni+ from Schiit...looking forward to that review!
 

Xulonn

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
1,805
Likes
5,963
Location
Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama
Sara Schweiger of Moon Audio says:

The Verdict​

I was super impressed with the HPA-1. It might sound cliche, but there are certain products you listen to that make you want to start digging through your music so you can hear just how good everything will sound. The HPA-1 is one of those products. I enjoyed it with every headphone and every piece of music I threw at it, though I will say that classical, jazz, blues, and live music were particular highlights, thanks to a wide soundstage and touch of warmth.

79c890e8e19fe4e0664bdd9a105efc51.gif
 

voodooless

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
6,163
Likes
10,221
Location
Netherlands
You do have to wonder, had someone stuck the guts of a JDS Atom into that case, what they would have said. My guess is, exactly the same!
Who says it wasn’t in there ;)

Would be a good stunt to prepare two products, one of which has the insides replaced with the others hardware, so basically they are the same on the inside. Then give them as a pair review to some famous audiophile channel.
 

Vacceo

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
1,978
Likes
2,035
I suspect they want the electronics to be "unique" too, and degrade the performance this way.
Standard solutions have become standard for a reason.
Make them unique with features such as EQ, balanced connections, Dirac...
 
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Likes
4
You should take the polls away, im sure 90% of people voting dont have any experience with this amplifier or most of the polled items.
 

voodooless

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
6,163
Likes
10,221
Location
Netherlands
You should take the polls away, im sure 90% of people voting dont have any experience with this amplifier or most of the polled items.
Do you need to taste every pile of shit to gain experience about what it tasks like?

You also mean to say that 10% of voters have experience with the amp? That would be an interesting surprise! If so, only 2 out of 15 found it great at best.
 
Last edited:
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Likes
4
Do you need to taste every pile of shit to gain experience about what it tasks like?

You also mean to say that 10% of voters have experience with the amp? That would be an interesting surprise!
You’re quite closeminded for even speaking that first sentence. As for the second, the 90% is a very wide estimate. This amp is almost $4000, I highly doubt most voters have heard it, so what point is the vote besides to regurgitate the opinion in the original review?
 

voodooless

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
6,163
Likes
10,221
Location
Netherlands
You’re quite closeminded for even speaking that first sentence.
At least my brain doesn’t fall out…
As for the second, the 90% is a very wide estimate. This amp is almost $4000, I highly doubt most voters have heard it, so what point is the vote besides to regurgitate the opinion in the original review?
There is no need to hear it. For about 1/20 the price we can get something with orders of magnitude better objective performance.
 

NHL99

Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2021
Messages
35
Likes
59
'Summing Up
As balanced headphone operation is the audio fashion du jour, it might be felt that Pass Labs's sticking with single-ended operation could work against the HPA-1. But regardless of circuit topology and the active devices, it's the sound quality that matters, and on that count the HPA-1 scores big-time. Yes, it's an expensive headphone amplifier; but I venture to suggest that, in bass clarity and authority and in midrange transparency, the Pass Labs HPA-1 is without peer.'

Apparently, it's all about authority.

 

Vacceo

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
1,978
Likes
2,035
You’re quite closeminded for even speaking that first sentence. As for the second, the 90% is a very wide estimate. This amp is almost $4000, I highly doubt most voters have heard it, so what point is the vote besides to regurgitate the opinion in the original review?
If we all listened to it, veils may fall and Prodigy might turn into Diana Krall.
 
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Likes
4
At least my brain doesn’t fall out…

There is no need to hear it. For about 1/20 the price we can get something with orders of magnitude better objective performance.
Better objectively in these specific tests yes, but a poll isn’t needed to verify anything “objective.” Its like being shown a slideshow showing all the poor numbers of a product and then asking the audience whether the product is good or not. The poll has nothing to do with whether people have heard it so why does ASR need that reassurance? If its really a measurements focus then post them and leave it at that
 

pkane

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Aug 18, 2017
Messages
4,509
Likes
7,799
Location
North-East
Better objectively in these specific tests yes, but a poll isn’t needed to verify anything “objective.” Its like being shown a slideshow showing all the poor numbers of a product and then asking the audience whether the product is good or not. The poll has nothing to do with whether people have heard it so why does ASR need that reassurance? If its really a measurements focus then post them and leave it at that

The poll shows the sentiment of the ASR audience reacting to the product based on the review. You seem to interpret it as if it's an "Amazon product review by confirmed buyers". It's not.
 

Ken1951

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Sep 28, 2020
Messages
554
Likes
1,053
Location
Blacksburg, VA
Better objectively in these specific tests yes, but a poll isn’t needed to verify anything “objective.” Its like being shown a slideshow showing all the poor numbers of a product and then asking the audience whether the product is good or not. The poll has nothing to do with whether people have heard it so why does ASR need that reassurance? If its really a measurements focus then post them and leave it at that
@amirm tested it. Then he listened to it. Garbage in both cases. It might be built really well, but no reason not to have included outstanding engineering.
 

voodooless

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
6,163
Likes
10,221
Location
Netherlands
If its really a measurements focus then post them and leave it at that
What would be the fun in that?

The rating is done with the information provided. Anyone can choose what they want. What you do with the results you can decide for yourself…
 
Top Bottom