Cayin HA-2A: Balanced tube headphone amplifier


According to the designers, the HA-2A from audio manufacturer Cayin is intended to set new standards in the world of audiophile headphone amplifiers. As a balanced tube amplifier, it uses carefully selected NOS tubes to provide unique sound quality.

Cayin HA-2A

The Cayin HA-2A is equipped with a pair of select Amperex 17BF11 NOS double pentodes for power amplification in pure Class A operation, supplemented by a matched pair of Amperex ECF82/6U8 NOS for voltage amplification and an RCA 17AX4GT NOS rectifier tube for the preamplifier supply voltage. That requires further explanation.

The basis of the HA-2A is a single-ended class A amplifier circuit, which is specifically aimed at optimally utilizing the characteristic properties of the tubes used. Multi-stage filtering and low-noise FET voltage regulation, together with a specially developed EI output transformer with Z11 core, provide exceptional headphone control, resulting in a balanced and warm sound image rich in harmonic details.

The maximum amplifier power is 1,000 mW per channel on the four-pin XLR output, while a front switch with three positions (High/Mid/Low) optimally adjusts the headphone outputs to the impedance of the connected headphones. This creates a natural sound with well-defined bass and a wide sound image.

The HA-2A has several headphone jacks, i.e. two balanced and one unbalanced headphone jack. Music signal comes in via two analog inputs, i.e. an XLR input and a cinch input.

Under the hood, point-to-point wiring has been used for all internal circuits, allowing for the shortest signal path and improved detail reproduction. The thoughtful design and implementation of purpose-built EI transformers play a crucial role in the amplifier’s performance by delivering abundant power with high efficiency and extremely low distortion, Cayin said.

With compact dimensions and a weight of ten kilograms, the amplifier is not only powerful, but also elegant and user-friendly. Two VU meters with white backlight indicate the power, while the metal housing is given a permanent and uniform color through a complex finishing process.

Cayin specifies a frequency range of 20 Hz to 50 kHz (+/- 3 dB). The A-weighted S/N ratio is 100 dB.

Cayin HA-2A: price and delivery information

The first deliveries of the HA-2A will probably take place in June 2024. The recommended retail price is just under $1,900.

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