Disclaimer: The Auris Audio HA2-SE was sent directly from the Auris Audio factory in Serbia and it will stay here with me.
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 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.
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:
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
WAU! GREAT! I hate you now, but I love you too…
I´ll tell you if I buy it 😀
It really is an excellent amp, it even put the Violectric V281 in storage for now…
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.
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 😉
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
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…
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 😉
It is time to read Ha-1a mk2 review now.
Waiting for it.
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.
Also interested in that.
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.
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?
Something clean, detailed and to the analytical side. Think ess sabre chips
And you won’t regret it. It is sublime
A real love story …
Woo Audio WA22 or this one? What do you think?
Both excellent. Need balanced? In Europe the choice is easy
I like balanced, but I don’t really need it. What is your easy choice in Europe?
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
Does it make sense to use a herus+ dac with this amp, or will it sort of downgrade its potential?
If i can save on buying a more expensive dac…
Well the Herus is very good in its price range, but a better dedicated full sized DAC will improve the end result even more. I wouldn’t call it a downgrade, rather a limitation
Thanks for the answer, would you say about the same using the Chord mojo DAC as it is praise quite a bit…?
Again thanks for your insight!
Actually, while Mojo is good, I’d say the same as I did for the Herus. Now with Hugo 2, there’s a real step up in performance
Hello, I just read their test on the Auris HA 2 SE Amp. Very nicely described. I would like to test it myself. I use the HE1000 V2. At the moment I use the Phonitor-e as an amplifier. As a DAC I use the Metrum Adagio. My question to them: Can the Auris be better than the Phonito-e?
Excuse my english, I use the translator.
Greetings from Saabrücken, Marc
I’m not too familiar with the Phonitor-E, so it’s hard to comment on that. But different it will surely be. 🙂
There is a single man behind great products, if not the best in audio world (i can say that because he’s my best-man, and friend since our 10, when we started to learn electronics. He, continued to develop high-end audio amplifiers, mainly based on tubes. Lately, he ended up with CD player based on tubes, amplifier as well and Digital system loudspeakers active crossover (for 6 or twelve speakers?). When we were young, we started to deal with DIY electronics, from the collected schema’s, but we were learning so fast that we developed our own amplifiers, remote controlled servo’s for boats,airplanes, DC power supplies etc. I enriched my perspective with 5 in a row, different Cassette decks, hand made by me (perhaps, only one in the World), and he continued as I mentioned before. Later, in early 90’s, I gave up of electronics, and moved on into the IT field. He is great engineer (we’re both self-educated), and I am positive that he deserve greater attention from the wider audience. Here is his blog http://nvaudio.com (unfortunately, on Serbian language, but it can be easily translated through Google Translate). Cheers.
Hi, I see in a picture the new Cayin headphone amp. Big price difference but how would you compare these two
The Cayin amp sounds warmer and has more body. it’s a really romantic sounding, smooth tube amp. Unfortunately with a higher noise floor as well. But it’s really great with the right headphone. The auris is the best all-rounder though
Hi, I just bought this amp a few days ago and everytime I switch it on, there is a continuous noise on the background. The noise is even higher when I put the impedance on 600 ohms to drive my Beyer T1.2. It decreases when I lower the impedance.
I tried with other headphones but still the same. It’s more audible with the Beyer T1.2.
It’s really annoying when listening to music, especially when the song includes a silence part.
Any help? Or is my unit defective?
tube amps are pretty sensitive to noise..noise can come in the form of a wifi access point too near to the amp or even dirty power coming from the mains. Try adding a power conditioner and if the access point is near, move it further..
I am considering getting this Auris HA2 SE in exchange for my Lehmann Drachenfels Amp.
How much of an improvement in sound will i notice as there is a big price jump or will it be marginal?
While the DF is a good little amp, you’ll be listening on a whole new level with the HA2 🙂
I am close to placing the order the only one thing that is concerning me is the reports of a slight hum issue when headphones are connected.
Is this power related and can it be resolved by means of a mains conditioner?
Who is reporting the hum and is that person sure it’s not coming from the tubes? I reported my Ha2 is completely hum and noise free.
He did report that the Amp is sensitive to power quality and that the hum is no longer an issue.
I assume he used some sort of mains conditioner maybe?
Oh , HJK, the readers post. Like I said, mine is dead silent. what headphones will you be using?
I am looking into getting the new Meze Headphone as its an open back.
I currently use Sony MDR Z1R
Let me double test that for you tonight!
Hello Fellow Audiophiles!
I want to thank Lieven for a great review from the Auris team! For anyone needing anymore info on where they can purchase our products please contact me directly at [email protected]
Thank you for the love and support,
Hi Lieven, is this amp usable at 240V? Or is it only usable at 110V? Thanks
No worries, 220-240 here 🙂
The wood and leather materials give this amp a very appealing ‘earthiness’ and its specs would put my tube amps to shame.
However, at its price tag, I don’t foresee purchasing one of these in the near future (let alone winning this giveaway). If I could afford it, I would certainly like to try it based on what you’ve described.
I have nearly a dozen headphones that would make good use of the power this unit offers. But I would likely have to sell them to buy this, so I suppose that would defeat the purpose.
*sigh* Maybe someday.
Hah! Posted to the wrong article for the giveaway, but nice job on the review and I enjoyed reading it all the same!
Hi! I just bought this amp. I’m totally astonished by the sound quality, but I do wonder what you mean when you say “dead silent”. Mine (stock jj as ecc82) has a very slight hum (ok, barely audible but it’s there) that I can ear using some zmf cans, and cannot hear with lcd2c. Also when I use the remote, you can ear the noise coming from the volume motor kinda loudly. Did you tried this too? It looks like it is very sensitive on the supply. In fact, that faint hum is there at any volume and with no input connected. If I raise the volume to 12 o’clock, the hiss is present also ( but this is at unbearable loud volume). Anyway, it seems a different experience from yours. So when you said “dead silent”, which headphones where you using? Thanks!
Hi! Have you tried different tubes? Impedance setting?
Stock tubes only since I’m not going to invest on tubes to fix things for first. Impedance selector is set to match HP’s impedance (for the zmf is 300 ohm). If I go lower on impedance selector, the noise decrease to almost not audible with the min settings, but it makes sense since you are reducing the overall power coupling to the load/headphones.
I would just like to understand if with a similar headphones likes the hd800 (that has ~same impedance and sensitivity as zmf) you were able to hear some hum. I don’t know if I should expect absolutely zero hum as from my solid state amp, or if some hum is expected (maybe due to topology, tubes, etc). At the end you say that with some sensitive in ear you could pick some noise, was it hum or white noise?