Edwards Audio HA1 review

A capable unit with huge dynamics, but not the last word in refinement Tested at £280

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The HA1 doesn’t quite make the emotional connection you want when listening to headphones, but it’s a very capable unit with huge dynamics


  • +

    Great dynamics and rhythm

  • +

    clear sound

  • +

    iPod/MP3 input


  • -

    Could do with a touch more refinement and subtlety

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The HA1 headphone amplifier is part of Edwards Audio’s entry-level 1 Series line up, and is a pretty good at driving music through your headphones.

It's a compact and sturdy box whose size belies its dynamic ability – this headphone amp can reach very high volume levels indeed – not that you’d subject your ears to such head-splitting levels.

The strong dynamics are well handled, though, with the treble only starting to shimmer when things get really loud. The midrange is decently detailed, underpinned by a bouncy bass that steers clear of being overbearing. The clear sound means that you’ll be able to locate separate instruments in a cohesive soundstage.

Edwards Audio HA1: Tech specs

A rear toggle switch lets you chose between the line level input and a 3.5mm input for iPod/MP3 player. There’s a 6.3mm headphone out on the front panel, and we tested the HA1 with a variety of headphones ranging from high-end Grado SR325is to the portable AKG K451s.

Compared to price rivals like the delicate Graham Slee Novo, the HA1 isn’t quite the last word in refinement and subtlety. Listening through headphones should feel personal, like the artist is singing just for you. Play Duffy’s Stay With Me Baby, and the HA1 doesn’t quite manage to relay the vocals' emotional intensity.

Edwards Audio HA1

Edwards Audio HA1

Edwards Audio HA1: Verdict

The HA1 is a decent performer and is great keeping everything in check at high volumes, but there are class leaders which deliver a more engaging experience.

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