Novafidelity HA500H review – Breaking new ground

Remaining to create its series of elements, James Parker appreciates. Review our Novafidelity HA500 H evaluation.

Novafidelity’s brand-new DAC/headphone amp

Y ou made use of to understand where you stood with Novafidelity — the Oriental firm has actually developed a solid online reputation for its electronic songs ripper/storage/ gamer mixes given that it made its launching in the UK under the Mixed drink Sound brand name. Yet points have actually carried on a little bit ever since, and also although its array still begins with just ₤ for its X14 all-in-one banner system (HFC 446), it is testing previous assumptions of the brand name as a budget plan one with its lately presented X45 Pro streamer/DAC, or much less for the X50 Pro all-digital variation, implying that Novafidelity is no more simply a budget plan option, yet is taking on the large kids directly.

Novafidelity HA500H review

With that said development has actually come diversity– simply will certainly currently purchase you the N15 D, which is a mixed network audio/USB gamer, total with interior room for a 2.5 in hard disk drive, Roon-ready standing and also USB inputs for both storage space gadgets and also computer systems. And after that there’s the HA500 H.

Unlike the various other designs in the array, this is an earphone amplifier/ DAC doing not have any kind of type of network connection, not to mention the interior


ITEM Novafidelity HA500 H


KIND Earphone amplifier/DAC

WEIGHT 6.9 kg

MEASUREMENTS (WxHxD) 270 x 90 x 333 mm


• 32- little bit/384 kHz PCM and also DSD256- qualified DAC

• Inputs: 1x coaxial electronic; 1x optical electronic; 1x USB-B; 1x AES/EBU; 1x HDMI; 1x stereo analogue RCAs; 1x stereo analogue XLRs

• Results: 6.35 mm jack; 3-pin well balanced XLR; 1x stereo analogue RCAs; 1x stereo analogue XLRs

SUPPLIER SCV Circulation

TELEPHONE 03301 222500


storage space alternatives likewise created by Novafidelity. Yet if that makes the HA500 H appear a little bit simplistic for the cash, it’s anything yet. This is an especially versatile tool for those devoted to earphone listening, and also one efficient in extraordinary efficiency.

With casework and also style most likely to advise those with a lengthy memory of the much-lamented Oppo HA-1 earphone amp (HFC 390), which like some really great earphones ended up being a sufferer of its moms and dad firm’s choice to take out from the audio market to focus on cellphones, the Novafidelity provides a wide variety of alternatives for the earphone audience. For beginners, it’s both an earphone amp and also a DAC, and also with its integrated quantity control can likewise be made use of as a preamp directly right into a power amplifier and even energetic audio speakers. Both out of balance and also XLR well balanced results are readily available, with the HA500 H likewise having the exact same selection of analogue inputs, to make sure that it can be fed directly from a resource element or the line result of a standard amplifier.

Those analogue ins remain in enhancement to a detailed selection of electronic alternatives. Along with optical, coaxial and also AES/EBU well balanced electronic, there’s likewise an asynchronous USB-B, so the Novafidelity can be fed directly from a computer system, Bluetooth for cordless usage with smart phones (sustaining A2DP and also AVRCP accounts, and also SBC, aptX, AAC and also MP3 sound styles), and also an HDMI input outlet. The USB feed broadens the data layout series of the HA500 H right approximately DSD256 and also 32- little bit/384 kHz PCM, as well as likewise provides MQA decoding.


Which HDMI outlet? No, it’s not to take audio from your video clip gamer or TELEVISION, yet Novafidelity’s adapter of selection for the I2S electronic link layout, which easily is likewise sustained by the firm’s premium streaming transportation designs, the X50 D and also abovementioned X50 Pro. I2S, or Inter-IC Noise, is the serial bus layout made use of within electronic elements to transfer information, in which clock information is sent individually from the signal details– implying the obtaining tool does not require to draw out clock details from within the songs datastream. Below it likewise sustains styles approximately DSD256 in addition to MQA.

The digital-to-analogue conversion chip is from ESS, with a 32- little bit Sabre ES9018 K2M DAC for every network, permitting both twin monaural style and also well balanced working, for reduced sound, boosted vibrant array and also higher accuracy. Furthermore, the analogue and also electronic areas are divided right back to their power products, the system making use of both a toroidal transformer and also a switch-mode supply.

Analogue inputs are gone through an analogue-to-digital converter for handling within the HA500 H, with the out of balance input initial transformed to well balanced in the input barrier, in the pursuit for disturbance being rejected within the wiring.

Regarding earphone results are worried, there’s an option of well balanced or out of balance outlets and also reduced and also high results to match the system with a selection of secondary devices. The firm declares an outcome of approximately 8V to the well balanced preamp results and also approximately 4V to the RCA phonos in High setting, while with the exact same establishing the earphone results max out at 485 mW and also 125 mW per network specifically right into 600 ohm. In Reduced setting, the numbers are 4V/2V/120 mW/31 mW Into a 16 ohm earphone lots, out of balance, the result is declared as 1100 mW per network in High and also 450 mW in Reduced.

Sufficient versatility for you? Well, the HA500 H has a last dress up its sleeve, with 2 user-selectable result phases

— rather than the traditional strong state result you can select to call into play a valve-powered result phase, ought to you desire. This makes use of a set of ECC82 shutoffs, total with customisable lighting and also either result phase can be made use of for both earphone outlets and also the pre-outs

— the last being readily available at variable degree for usage straight right into power boosting or dealt with ought to you be making use of the system as a standard DAC right into a preamp or incorporated amplifier.

A gloriously luminescent discussion that’s loaded with both personality and also spirit

With a lot available you could anticipate the Novafidelity to be a problem to establish and also utilize, yet the arrangement of a clear remote, plus a financial institution of front panel switches

— covering ‘tube’ setting on/off, high/ reduced insusceptibility and also changing in between line and also earphone result and also balanced/unbalanced earphones– makes it quite straightforward to browse. There’s likewise an option of screens on the big, clear display, not simply revealing all the set up criteria yet likewise degree meters either as online swing-needles or bar-graph readouts. I would certainly provide all the jumping meters a swerve, yet your preference might vary.

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Novafidelity HA500H review

1 Well balanced XLR input (right network)

2 Out of balance RCA stereo inputs

3 Optical, coaxial, AES electronic inputs

4 Well balanced XLR result (left network)

5 Out of balance RCA stereo results

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Audio high quality

Having actually attempted the HA500 H with a large option of various earphones (both traditional and also well balanced) and also resources (analogue and also electronic), there are a couple of instant final thoughts to be attracted. One is that, with its healthy and balanced result and also regulates to optimize it for the earphone with which it’s made use of, this is a remarkable item for anybody that’s major regarding their individual listening that supplies an audio as large boned and also effective as it is carefully outlined and also dramatically concentrated. The various other is that to hear it at its finest, you ought to utilize it as just as feasible, attaching a CD gamer or network banner electronically to provide as tidy a signal course with the system as feasible.

If there’s a downside, it’s that an analogue input takes a reasonably intricate path, using analogue to electronic and afterwards back once again, bringing with it

You could anticipate the HA500 H to be a problem to establish, yet it’s quite straightforward a concomitant conditioning of the audio and also small loss of influence and also information that’s instantly noticeable when feeding the HA500 H with the outstanding Leema Aspects Banner (HFC 448), which makes use of comparable DAC modern technology to the Novafidelity. Despite the capability to attach both in well balanced analogue, premium outcomes are accomplished with a straightforward coaxial electronic, hence obtaining at the very least one phase of D-to-A-to-D conversion. Despite the premium audio of Naim’s recommendation ND 555/555 PS DR network gamer– or specifically with this front end in harness– the distinctions are likewise noticable.

The HA500 H is finest listened to with a USB link from a computer system playing songs. With a reasonably

Novafidelity HA500H review

small Mac arrangement running Roon and also fed from an Intel NUC functioning as the core, playing songs from a huge QNAP NAS enables the Novafidelity to beam, whether made use of as an earphone amp for Oppo’s PM-1 earphone with well balanced link or Bowers & Wilkins P9 Trademark (HFC 421).

With the numerous differed designs and also impacts of Coldplay’s Everyday Life in 24- little bit/96 kHz, the method subtleties of the recording get up is as influential as the total balanced drive and also the method the catchier tracks– such as the mad Weapons– function their method right into the audience’s head. And also with the decrease dead voice of Rachael Cost on her Rachael And also Vilray established, the HA500 H almost areas every breath in your ear, with a gloriously luminescent discussion loaded with both personality and also spirit.

With the fundamental audio being both gutsy and also great comprehensive, is the shutoff result choice below the wonder drug for those that choose their songs abundant and also rich? Not rather. While there is a distinction when switching over in between both result settings, because the shutoff phase is a color smoother and also warmer, it’s not a transformation, and also the result will certainly differ according not just to the earphones with which the amplifier is combined, yet likewise from cd to cd.

For me the shutoff equilibrium is a little bit also abundant with the Bowers & Wilkins earphone– which has a comparable personality– while the strong state phase rewards it up a little bit, whereas with the studio-oriented Focal Spirit Pro earphone the shutoff result does a great work of warming up points up a little.

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With its mix of workmanlike develop, strong design and also supreme audio, the HA500 H has an evident attract earphone fanatics. Maintain the inputs electronic and also go simple on the versatility available, and also this is a great selection for those that are seeking a mixed DAC and also earphone amplifier for house usage •

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Overall Rating

A great amplifier for major earphone customers that ’ s simple to establish and also a joy to utilize


  • Capacity to drive a wide variety of earphones.
  • preamp.
  • layout insurance coverage
Individual Score: Be the initial one!

Where to purchase?

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There’s no scarcity of amps around, beginning at nearly pocket-money rates for little USB adhere to link into a computer system. Yet the HA500 H remains in the thick of the activity, resting in between the similarity the great Audiolab M-DAC+ (HFC 449) and also Naim DAC-V1 and also the unique, if unusual, Chord Hugo TT2. Consider that well balanced drive ability and also a straightforward, sensible user interface, and also Novafidelity might simply be onto a champion below.