Review: Auris Audio HA2-SE – Perfection

Auris Audio HA2-SE

Components

 

Auris Audio doesn’t just use the cheapest material to build their amplifiers, but they insist on using top quality components.

Auris Audio incorporates strictly defined series /batches of capacitors produced by Mundorf, Rubicon, Siemens, Epcos and Audiophiler, Wima. Depending on the product class, they incorporate capacitors produced by leading manufacturers based on technology “paper, oil in foil”, “gold, silver in oil”, “silver-mica”, “polypropylene – polystyrene”.

Transformers are the essence of quality, and therefore products of Auris Audio contain only manually wound transformers on a double C core produced by “Trafomatic” or Auris Audio. Every single transformer is manufactured in compliance with strictly defined requirements, thus providing almost a linear characteristic in the whole acoustic/sound range.

Specs

TubesECC82, 4 x PL95 (or EL95)
Tube SelectManual switch
Amplifier ConfigurationSingle End (Triode mode)
Input Sensitivity1 Vrms
Input Resistance47 kΩ
Power output: max1 W
Output Impedance50 | 150 | 300 | 600 Ω

 

Impedance SelectRotary switch
Analog Inputs3 x RCA
Analog Output6.3 mm Phono Jack
Global Negative FeedbackNone
Remote ControlYes
Dimensions (WxDxH) mm300 x 320 x 230
Weight (kg)9

 

Design , Build quality & Amp layout

You either like or hate the design of something but to me the Auris Audio house style is beautiful. I couldn’t wait for the amplifier to arrive at the headquarters but when it did I was quite surprised. The HA2-SE came delivered in a huge and heavy box and I even helped the DHL guy to take it out of his van. The HA2-SE was very carefully packed and once I had removed all the plastic and opened the box, a huge flight case showed up that was surrounded with protection material. Inside the flight case the 300 W x 320 D x 230 H mm sized 9 kilogram heavy HA2-SE with even more protection showed up. This is the first time I have received an amplifier with this level of packaging and you get a tough flight case on top of that. The Auris Audio HA2-SE certainly made a big impression to start off with.

The HA2-SE is available in a white or black color scheme but after having seen the black version at Canjam Europe, I already knew I wanted the black one. Some call the Auris design “retro” but you could call it “modern” just as well. I think it looks sexy and classy and it draws a lot of attention to it in my living room.  The handmade amplifiers are constructed in a walnut chassis and the leather just oozes quality. The build quality is perfect and you won’t find the tiniest of error on the amp. Everything lines up perfectly and basically this is as good as it can possibly get. The amplifier looks so pretty and the spikes it stands on give it that high end look we all want. I don’t like to see spikes on a lot of gear but they make the HA2-SE look even better.

“The chassis is at the same time aesthetic and hard-wearing, allowing us to guarantee the performance of our products. They are manufactured from superb materials, primarily intended to be robust and durable, and also to protect against vibration impacts.”

On the front of the amplifier you have the input selector on the left, the 6.3mm superbly finished headphone output in the middle and the volume dial on the far right. On top of the amp you can of course find the tubes and a little grill that makes the amp just look that little bit better. On the back of the unit you have the 3 RCA inputs, the impedance selector, the EL95 and PL95 selector switch and the first power button. On the bottom of the amp you have the ventilation and the second power button with a blue LED. Both power buttons have to be turned on in order for the amp to work. It’s a pleasure to plug a headphone in and out of the HA2-SE, it has the perfect amount of “grip” and no clicking or crackling noises. Even the knobs have the perfect amount of resistance when turning them. Everything is as it should be: perfect.

The spikes, dark brown wood and soft black leather give the Auris HA2-SE the perfect look. The unit is an example of top quality workmanship, the best available components and high-end design.  Of course an amplifier that sounds like crap and looks good isn’t of use to anyone, so let’s get started with how it sounds. Right after this.

Price

This is a funny story. If you google for the Auris Audio HA2-SE you will find a number of (authorized) resellers but you’ll also notice the prices vary from shop to shop. I’ve found prices ranging from €1380 to €1590 and €1990, but the most common price seems to be the €1590 one.

For €1590 you get a handmade tube amp in return, made only with the best of materials and components. The reason Auris manages to keep the price this low probably is because of the lower salaries standard in Serbia. If you would make the same amplifier in Belgium or the US, this exact same amplifier would probably cost a whole lot more. And going from how it looks and sounds, it probably could cost a whole lot more too.

There always are very expensive NOS tubes you can buy but I stick to my point that you can easily get a superb sounding set of NOS tubes for under $50 for this amp, input tube included. And that’s also what makes this amp so special: tube rolling will hardly cost you anything. (Do pay attention though that the XX95 tubes often are the same, just rebranded. Don’t be fooled and do some research before buying).

You can read all about how it sounds on Page 3, click HERE 

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

44 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

  • Reply August 26, 2017

    julien

    Hello,

    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…

    Thks,

  • Reply August 27, 2017

    Lieven

    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

  • Reply August 30, 2017

    Julien

    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!

  • Reply August 30, 2017

    Lieven

    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

  • Reply October 27, 2017

    Marc

    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

    • Reply October 27, 2017

      Lieven

      I’m not too familiar with the Phonitor-E, so it’s hard to comment on that. But different it will surely be. 🙂

  • Reply December 28, 2017

    Predrag

    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.

  • Reply March 29, 2018

    mark

    Hi, I see in a picture the new Cayin headphone amp. Big price difference but how would you compare these two

    • Reply March 29, 2018

      Lieven

      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

  • Reply July 14, 2018

    Hjk

    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?

    Thanks.

    • Reply August 10, 2018

      Zhihao

      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..

      Good luck!

  • Reply December 5, 2018

    Nathan

    Hi,

    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?

    Thank you.

    • Reply December 5, 2018

      Lieven

      While the DF is a good little amp, you’ll be listening on a whole new level with the HA2 🙂

      • Reply December 5, 2018

        Nathan

        Thank you,

        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?

        Thanks.

        • Reply December 5, 2018

          Lieven

          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.

          • Reply December 5, 2018

            Nathan

            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?

            • Reply December 5, 2018

              Lieven

              Oh , HJK, the readers post. Like I said, mine is dead silent. what headphones will you be using?

              • Reply December 5, 2018

                Nathan

                Hi,

                I am looking into getting the new Meze Headphone as its an open back.
                I currently use Sony MDR Z1R

                • Reply December 5, 2018

                  Lieven

                  Let me double test that for you tonight!

  • Reply December 13, 2018

    Alex Auris

    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 alex@aurisaudio.rs

    Thank you for the love and support,

  • Reply December 20, 2018

    Wills

    Hi Lieven, is this amp usable at 240V? Or is it only usable at 110V? Thanks

    • Reply December 20, 2018

      Lieven

      No worries, 220-240 here 🙂

  • Reply February 26, 2019

    Todd Hodgson

    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.

    • Reply February 26, 2019

      Todd Hodgson

      Hah! Posted to the wrong article for the giveaway, but nice job on the review and I enjoyed reading it all the same!

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