Overview: The Sony PHA-3 is a battery-powered portable DAC (digital-to-analog
converter) and headphone amplifier that lets you listen to high-resolution audio
through your headphones. You can connect a PC, an iPod/iPhone/iPad, or a high-res
capable Walkman to the unit using one of the three USB inputs. It will also work
with analog devices as well.
Internal Components and Construction: The PHA-3's ES9018 DAC samples PCM audio at
up to 384kHz/32-bit, and DSD audio at 2.8/5.6MHz. The OPA2604 headphone amp provides a wide 130dB dynamic range to make sure you
can hear every detail in the music. On the outside, the unit features a compact
black extruded aluminum enclosure to protect the inside circuitry and components.
Aluminum alloy endcaps provide further protection of the
connecting cables and volume knob from hard impacts. The controls are recessed
to reduce accidental access during playback.
USB 2.0 Clock: The DAC is equipped with an asynchronous USB 2.0 clock
signal generator that reduces timing inaccuracies when converting digital
signals into analog waveforms. This results in a highly accurate DA conversion
and jitter-free audio for superior audio reproduction that is as close to the
original recording as possible.
Digital/Analog Connections: The PHA-3 has three USB digital inputs: a
Micro USB port for PC and charging, a Type A USB for connecting an
iPod/iPad/iPhone, and a Mini-B USB with an extra pin for connecting a High-Res
supported Sony Walkman. The front panel features three 3.5mm jacks--a stereo
headphone output and a balanced left/right pair for connecting headphones that
accept balanced connections, such as the
Note: The 3.5mm inputs only support 3-pole stereo miniplugs.
For this reason, headphones with on-board or in-line remote controls will
not work. When the analog 3.5mm input is used, no audio is output from the Balanced L/R outputs, only the Normal headphone output jack.
Controls: The front-mounted large power/volume control knob
plenty of headroom to let you set the volume just where you want it. A
2-position Gain switch (normal/high) on the side lets you match the headphone
amp to various headphone impedances from 8 to 600 Ohms. Another 2-way switch is
provided for selecting the output--headphones or the line output. On the back,
there's a 4-way slide switch for selecting between the three USB inputs and the
DSEE-HX: Sony has included their DSEE-HX "up-scaling"
technology in the PHA-3. DSEE-HX uses an algorithm to analyze the music, and
automatically replace the "lost" information. DSEE-HX (Digital Sound Enhancement
Engine) gives your highly-compressed MP3 and AAC music files new life so they
sound almost as good as true Hi-Res Audio quality. You can turn on/off DSEE-HX
via a 2-way switch on the side of the PHA-3.
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery: The PHA-3 is powered by a built-in
3.7-volt Lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Battery life is approximately 28 hours
at 1 mW + 1 mW output (24Ω) with a analog connection, and about 5 hours with a
digital (balanced) connection. The battery charges in approximately 15 hours via USB when connected to a
computer. With the optional AC-UD20 USB AC
adapter, charging time is reduced to 6 hours.
Compatible Devices: The Sony PHA-3 is compatible with a wide variety
of devices (click
here for the latest list). With three USB inputs and an analog input, it can connect to most
computers and portable audio devices:
- Computer: The unit can play digital audio files stored on your
computer. The unit includes a Micro USB cable for connecting it to your
computer's USB Type A port. The PHA-3 is compatible with the following
Operating Systems: Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7 (SP1), Windows Vista (SP2), and Mac
OS X 10.6.8 or later. Note: For Windows PCs, you must first install the driver software "Sony
Portable Headphone Amplifier USB Audio 2.0 Driver" before connecting the
PHA-3. Playing high-resolution audio files on your computer may require you
to download and install "Hi-Res Audio Player" software to your computer.
- iOS Devices: The PHA-3 is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod.
The Type A USB input is provided for connecting the iPhone/iPad/iPod using the USB cable
provided with the device. The digital audio data from the device is transferred
directly to the DAC, and bypasses the device's internal DAC. Compatible models
- iPhone: 5S, 5C, 5, 4S, 4, 3GS (not all operations
guaranteed on iPhone 6 and 6 Plus)
- iPad: iPad Air, 4th gen, 3rd gen, iPad 2, iPad,
mini w/Retina display, mini,
- touch: 5th gen, 4th gen, 3rd gen, 2nd gen
- classic: 120GB, 160GB
- nano: 7th gen, 6th gen, 5th gen, 4th gen, 3rd gen
- Sony Devices: Special digital cables are supplied for
connecting the PHA-3 and the following Hi-res Walkman and Xperia devices:
- Sony Walkman: NWZ-A15/A17, NWZ-F884/F885/F886/F887,
- Sony Xperia Tablets: Xperia Tablet Z, Z Ultra, Z2, Z3
- Sony Mobile Phones: Xperia A2, C3, E3, M, M2, SP, T,
T3, TX, V, Z, Z Ultra, Z2, Z3, ZL
- Android Phones: HTC One X, Galaxy Note II, Samsung
Galaxy Note III, Samsung Galaxy Premier i9260, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Samsung
- Other Devices: The PHA-3 lets you listen to music on other audio
devices, such as a smartphone or portable music player, through the analog
Silicone Belts: The PHA-3 is designed to allow you to
conveniently attach your portable device to the top. Two rubber rails,
approximately 1-3/4" apart, let you rest your player on the top and secure it
with two of the provided silicone belts. If your player is not wide enough
to rest on the rails, a silicone rubber protection mat is provided to prevent
- Frequency Range: 10 Hz - 100 kHz (Audio In input)
- Distortion: 0.01% or less (1 kHz)
- Supported Impedance: 8Ω - 600Ω
- Maximum Input: 2 Vrms (Audio in)
- Maximum Output (with built-in battery):
- Balanced Connection: 320 mW + 320 mW (32Ω, 1% distortion)
- Normal Connection: 100 mW + 100 mW (32Ω, 1% distortion)
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