Review: Auris Audio HA2-SE – Perfection

Disclaimer: The Auris Audio HA2-SE was sent directly from the Auris Audio factory in Serbia and it will stay here with me. 

 

Auris Audio

I’m pretty sure most of you have never heard of Auris Audio before but in the High-End speaker world, the Serbian company has been on the map for several years already.

“Based on experience in design amplifiers and other electronic devices, Auris Audio’s philosophy is rooted in Superior design, natural materials and skills of making, which give us the right to claim that our products are handcrafted with soul”

Auris Audio was founded in 2013. Their mission is to fulfill the desires of the most demanding audiophiles and delight both listener’s ears and visual senses. Auris Audio puts tubes first, and how I like it.

Last May, during High End in Munich, I was having a beer at the famous beer garden at the High End show when someone came up to me, asking if I was Lieven. My Headfonia shirt probably gave that away. The guy that came up to me was Mr. Milomir Trosic, Auris Audio’s big boss. He quickly showed me a couple of pictures and asked if I would be interested in reviewing his headphone amp. We exchanged business cards and we both went our own way. After High End, things got so very busy that I didn’t get to contacting Auris to arrange a review. A few months later I discovered the Auris headphone amp at Canjam Europe in Essen and I reserved some time for it. I sat down with an original HD800 I borrowed from Jan Meier and within five minutes I knew I had to set up that review as soon as I got home.

Now, Auris Audio doesn’t only make headphone amplifiers but they have full product line-up with speaker amps, pre amps, DACs, speakers and even a full system. Auris Audio often visits the big trade shows and their setups and rooms always get a lot of attention. Check out their Twitter and Facebook accounts to keep up with what they’re doing.

The HA2-SE

The Auris headphone amplifier is called the HA2-SE and according to Auris Audio the HA2-SE represents high end stereo amplification for headphones.

The HA2-SE is a single ended amplifier and there is no balanced circuit, only RCA inputs and one 6.3mm headphone output. It has three inputs which I found very useful as one was connected to my Violectric V850 DAC, the second to my Pro-Ject Phono amp and the third to my AK380 DAP. Depending on the headphone type used (and its resistance) you can simply select the output impedance by turning a knob at the back of the unit. It has specific settings for 50, 150, 300 and 600Ohm headphones.

The HA2-SE comes with a remote control which allows you to change the volume or mute it, nothing more. The remote is rather heavy but it feels awesome. The reason? It’s carved out of a solid block of aluminum. It’s a detail, but it matters.

Tube Galore

The Auris HA2-SE of course is a tube amp and it uses four PL95 or EL95 power tubes together with an ECC82 input tube. The EL and PL95 tubes can both be used in the amplifier and you only have to flick the switch on the back as these tubes have different heater ratings. You can learn more about the EL95 (and replacements like the 6DL5) right here: http://www.radiomuseum.org/tubes/tube_el95.html

According to Radiomuseum.org, the EL95 is an economic output tetrode, launched late 1955. The EL95 is designed for car radios or equipment with low power consumption and / or smaller output power demand. There are a lot of EL/PL rebrands on the market and the tubes are available for very little money

“Vacuum tubes used in Auris Audio products are subject to individual testing and internal inspection, so that only selected and match-paired tubes of the best features are incorporated in our products.”

The ECC82 input tube (which equals to a 12AU7, CV4004, CV491 etc) is a miniature nine-pin (B9A base) medium-gain dual vacuum tube. The tube is popular in vacuum tube audio as a low-noise line amplifier, driver (especially for tone stacks), and phase-inverter in vacuum tube circuits. You can learn everything about this tube type on the following two pages:

http://www.radiomuseum.org/tubes/tube_ecc82.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/12AU7

Contrary to the EL/PL95, the more famous and rare ECC82 tubes can set you back quite a lot when you want to buy them NOS.

Stock tubes & replacements

The Auris Audio HA2-SE came delivered with a “made in Yugoslavia” Ei labelled set of PL95 tubes. The replacement tubes I have in my tube stock are Siemens and Philips branded PL95 all three sets actually are identical, just rebrands.

The stock 12AU7/ECC82 tube that came with the HA2-SE was a recent Russian made Electro Harmonix (EH) tube and especially changing this one will improve the HA2-SE’s sonic quality. Not that this is a bad tube but it isn’t great either. I have a couple of 12AU7 RCA clear tops I use in several of my amps but for the HA2-SE I selected a different one.

After having listened to the overall reasonably good sounding stock tubes for several days, I switched the power tubes to a set of Mullard branded EL95 and I replaced the EH tube with a gorgeous little NOS Philips Holland made/branded ECC/CV491 tube. This combination of good NOS tubes should set you back around only $40/€40.

The article continues on Page 2, after the jump below or the click HERE

Review: Auris Audio HA2-SE – Perfection
4.81 (96.25%) 16 votes

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. Coming from a musical family he's always been interested in good sound. Unlike his family members the only musical instruments he plays are amps and DACs. He loves playing with old tubes and discovering new products while staying faithful to the good old Sennheiser HD650.

20 Comments

  • Reply February 23, 2017

    Tibor

    WAU! GREAT! I hate you now, but I love you too…
    I´ll tell you if I buy it 😀

    • Reply February 24, 2017

      Lieven

      It really is an excellent amp, it even put the Violectric V281 in storage for now…

  • Reply February 24, 2017

    Peter

    Great review Lieven. Since you have heard both beyer amiron home with various amps and auris ha-2 se, which one – in your opinion – will sound better with amiron’s: auris or cayin? And cypher labs duet or maybe vorzuge? Thank you in advance.

    • Reply February 24, 2017

      Lieven

      Thanks. Of the tube amps, the Auris. Of the portable amps you will extremely pleased with either of those amps. I put them at the same level but Duet is fully balanced 😉

  • Reply February 24, 2017

    Peter

    Thank you very much for the answer Lieven.
    I got my amirons recently and as much as i like them, i got a feeling i might be missing something with my current amp/dac (concero hp). Auris looks really tempting then, especially now, when I am after an upgrade 😉
    Will take a closer look at both small form amps, as often i don’t want to power up my computer – just sit back/lay down and listen to the music.
    Have a nice day, greetings, Peter

  • Reply February 24, 2017

    Tibor

    Peter, try Feliks Audio Espressivo, I am looking that way + Beyer T90 to buy.
    This Auris is tempting, but without proper headphones is a no go. And I am not sure if I want to spend 3000 for Auris + Edition X v2.
    I really would like to, but I am the only maniac in our family…

  • Reply February 24, 2017

    Peter

    Thank you for the tip Tibor, will take a closer look at FA Espressivo.
    And i fully understand your dilema – i’m a gearhead too 😉

  • Reply February 25, 2017

    Mullordfan

    It is time to read Ha-1a mk2 review now.

    • Reply February 28, 2017

      Lieven

      next week!

      • Reply March 19, 2017

        MFAN

        Waiting for it.

  • Reply February 27, 2017

    Renoir

    Great review and waited for a long long time. Thanks Lieven.
    I’m really interest on ha2-se now.
    If compare it to Trafomatic the Head2, how do you think?
    These two also my target amp.

    • Reply March 25, 2017

      desik

      Also interested in that.

  • Reply March 6, 2017

    MATT

    Great review, congratulations. IEMs JH Layla costs the same as Auris HA2-SE + HifiMan Edition X V2. Can you briefly share your thoughts about sound quality of each, stage, details, smoothness, bass, … What option do you prefer in case of both paired with AK380 hi-res files? Thanks.

  • Reply March 12, 2017

    Ruihao

    Thanks for the review Lieven. I going to buy blind based on your review since there is no local distributor for the amp, but just wondering you figure which is the best DAC for the tube amp?

    • Reply March 13, 2017

      Lieven

      Something clean, detailed and to the analytical side. Think ess sabre chips

    • Reply March 13, 2017

      Lieven

      And you won’t regret it. It is sublime

  • Reply March 15, 2017

    Michel I

    Hello Lieven,
    A real love story …
    Woo Audio WA22 or this one? What do you think?

    • Reply March 15, 2017

      Lieven

      Both excellent. Need balanced? In Europe the choice is easy

  • Reply March 16, 2017

    Michel I

    I like balanced, but I don’t really need it. What is your easy choice in Europe?
    Regards,
    M

    • Reply March 16, 2017

      Lieven

      When buying from woo you have expensive shipping from the US. Shipping it back in case of issues blows and you will have to pay quite some Moortown taxes. On top of that the amps aren’t CE certified BUT they are great. Auris comes from Serbia but is practically Europe. It arrived in 3 days with hardly any taxes

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