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New Violectric Amps from Lake People coming - info from CEO Fried Riem

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for a new headphone amp, so I took the liberty of PM:ing our fellow inmate Fried Reim who is the CEO of lake people and ask him if the much rumored Violectric v282 is coming out anytime soon. This is the reply I got:

 

Quote:

V281 or V282 or maybe both will come !!!

But not this year, we hope to be ready spring 2012.
 

Until now we made some design studies.
The technical side is relatively clear, we found that the V200 amps are performing perfectly in a balanced design.

At the moment we are voting for a V281 with the same input architecture that can be found on V100/V181/V200
As the amps inside need more space the case will be as high as 2 "normal" units put on each other. So it is easy to build a "cluster" of Violectric gear on top of each other and/or side by side.

V282 is planned to have double transformers to power each channel individually. Also it should feature some switchable inputs to act more like a pre-amp. Additionally provisions should be made to add a optional relais controlled volume instead of Alps RK27pot.

We will NOT add any circuitry that renders sound (equalizer) or channel balance (crossfeed).

 

Finally we are thinking about a V284 which shall incorporate 4 individual amps with their own mains transformers. Analog signals are input via audio transformers so the amplifier channels are fully floating as they are not forced to have a common ground. Volume will be controlled by relais, V284 will have some switchable inputs to act a bit like a pre-amp.
This amp will not be out before 2013 !!

 

So it seems they have no less than 3 new amps in the works that they are considering!!!

 

v281: a fully balanced version of the V200 similar to the v181 in function.

v282: a fully balanced (I assume) amp with separated channel amplification and also pre-amp capabilities.

v284: a fully balanced "ultimate" model that will be the best head amp they can build (revealed in later email exchange)

 

Not bad!

 

 

While I had him I also took the opportunity to ask him some other questions which seem to be relevant right now:

 

Question 1: People are becoming more interested in op-amps and I think some people complained about the ones that were used in the V100 since they thought they were too cheap. If you see this thread here you can see lots of op amps that people seem to like: www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/432749/the-opamp-thread. Are you testing these kind of op amps back to back during development to find the ones you think are the best? It could also be an interesting idea to make it easy for people to switch between op-amps and market it, maybe "recommend" a few and sell them on the website. I think more and more people are getting interested in this.

 

Fried's Response:

    

     Quote:

I know about the issues that some people (namely XXXXXXX) have against "cheep" op-amps. In my opinion (and I posted it somewhere here on head-fi) there are several good reasons to go for dedicated or specialized op-amps when the topology of the circuit is demanding it.

Also (my opinion) there are only a few reasons to go for discrete op-amps as these are build with the same
circuitry that can be found in the integrated ones. But they will have temperature and/or aging problems in the long run. 

All the op-amps we are using are situated in sockets so they may easily be rolled if someone is expecting advantages.
Nobody did until now !! Or he didn't posted it.

Unfortunately most "sophisticated" op-amps ask for a minimum of gain to run stable and without hazardous oscillation.
Most of the op-amps in our circuitry are designed for impedance matching. Some even perform reciprocal gain e.g. when Pre-Gain is set to -4 dB this means a voltage loss of -12 dB (a fourth) over the complete amp. This can't be done with most "sophisticated" op-amps !

Our overall gain in our amps is very low to achieve a black background which is often very positively noticed by our customers. It is much harder to design an amp with low gain compared to one with high gain. Because the lower the gain the more the chance for oscillation and vice versa. And I don't know if you will find any other amp with reciprocal gain in the market.

A very interesting reply I think and it shows that these guys know what they're doing, at least they know a heck of a lot more than I do about amplification circuits. I think it's sobering to see that we as laymen think about "op-amps rolling" as a simple fix to get a better sound, but these professional electronic designers are much concerned with the overall design, such as low gain, low risk of oscillation, low noise floor, aging problems, temperature etc etc. I think it shows that maybe we as enthusiasts sometimes should be a bit less vocal about what components are used unless we are very experienced and know exactly what's going on, sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing...

 

 

 

Question 2: About your DAC - a lot of manufactures are starting to use jitter correcting circuits now (correcting the input signal), is this something you plan to incorperate?

 

Fried's Response:

 

Quote:
We incorporated a sample-rate converter inside our DAC which is the far more expensive solution. We don't need those mostly imperfect jitter correcting solutions or asynchronous USB mode - this is often the source for even more trouble.
Using a sample-rate converter means unpacking the data from a (jittered) source and packing it again with a completely new time base inside the DAC.

 

I'm not knowledgable enough to fully judge this reply but it seems to me that Fried thinks upsampling the signal is a better way to go about restoring the source signal than to try and correct the Jitter. Certainly an interesting reply since jitter correction is something several DAC manufactures are marketing as their cutting edge technology right now.

 

 

Overall I was very impressed with how approachable Fried was and it has certainly made me much more interested in their violectric products!!!

 

 

I've also been researching researching the Violectric v181 vs Burson HA-160 and so I emailed Robert of "http://aphroditecu29.com/" since I saw that he sells both these models. This is the reply I got:

 

Quote:

The Violectric V181 and V200 are far superior amplifiers. I personally prefer the V200. It performs as good or better than units costing 3 times it's asking price. The best amp at any price=) Yes, the V181 sounds excellent in balanced mode, but when listening SE it only has half the specs or power. Because you are then only using 2 of the 4 amplifiers. Unless you are really dedicated to terminating your entire headphone collection to 4 pin xlrs, the V200 is the way to go.

 

The Burson is highly overrated. Where the V200 easily outperforms it's asking price, I don't feel the Burson lives up to it's asking price. The reason why there are so many positive reviews, is because one of the dealers in the USA was offering a $30 discount on the amp if the customer wrote a review of the amp. So needles to say, most of what you read about it is unreliable. I do realize that on paper the Burson looks really good, but in reality it doesn't sound very good.

 

Add to that the outstanding review that the v181 recieved in headphonista: "www.headphonista.com/lake-people-violectric-hpa-v181" and I think it becomes clear that violectric are to be taken seriously! But for the v181 to really shine you apparently have to use the 4-pin xlr connector, no big deal since most of us here will want to use the balanced output anyway! But you should know about it.

 

I hope some of this information interest you guys here at head-fi since it certainly gave me a lot of answers! All the best!


Edited by TwoEars - 4/4/11 at 11:45pm
post #2 of 23

Harsh words there from Robert. I suppose I could bash the V200 as well due to being nearly twice the cost of the GHP and not performing as well with my low impedance headphones. Not a bad amp though but neither a Goliat or a David killer. Not that cheap really consider I got my tube amp for a bit less with more iron, fancier casing and tubes on top of that.

 

Robert seem to forget that the burson is 600$ and the V200 is more like 1100$ so unless it´s a total failure should be better. Sadly very few V200 owners get either the Burson or the GHP. I have been very curious about the HA160. I ordered it once but then the store sold my preorder to someone else and then I changed plans lol.

 

Interesting info though about life span. It does appear like opamps should last longer and be easier and cheaper to replace if they break but how about an unbiased source commenting that? 

 

Would like to hear some of the Violectric studio biased single ended amps though tuned to be more neutral.

post #3 of 23

I just finished a review of the V 181:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/548608/review-violectric-v181-balanced-headphone-amp#post_7395114

 

It's part 1 of 2, with part 2 coming soon (review of V200 and comparison with the V181).

 

I personally really like both. As you can see in the review, I prefer the V181 to some others like the Concerto and the DarkVoice 337SE. It's really a great all around performer, especially in balanced mode.

 

I really enjoyed the Burson amp but I'd place the V181 on a higher level as well..... but I'd have to get the Burson back at my house to do a side by side comparison in order to comment any further. 

 

I totally respect an opinion like oqvist gave though. We all hear things differently and ultimately all the amps in question are competent. It ends up being personal preference. 

post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by oqvist View Post

 

Robert seem to forget that the burson is 600$ and the V200 is more like 1100$ so unless it´s a total failure should be better. Sadly very few V200 owners get either the Burson or the GHP. I have been very curious about the HA160. I ordered it once but then the store sold my preorder to someone else and then I changed plans lol.

 

 

$1100. ?  The price has gone up since i got mine.  It was $900. now it says $969. and change over on Roberts site......not $1100.

 

post #5 of 23

According to Thomann it´s 1100$. That is the best euro price I found.

post #6 of 23

Wow, more expensive in Europe and it is made in Europe.........that's just backwards.

post #7 of 23

That price is odd. If I was to buy right now from the above mentioned aphroditecu29 website, I would pay $969 for either the Violectric V181 or V200, and I'd pay $699 for the Burson. So we are talking about a difference of roughly $270 depending on tax. I personally see the Violectric units as being worth that increase. But I did enjoy the Burson when I had it and I wouldn't argue with someone who liked it more. 

post #8 of 23

It´s worth remembering that the USD is cheap these days, seen from an European point-of-view. So, I guess import goods from Europe will be more expensive in the US. The USD currency is still trending downwards. Good news for us in the EUR-zone wanting to import US made goods. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dallan View Post

Wow, more expensive in Europe and it is made in Europe.........that's just backwards.



 

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loevhagen View Post

It´s worth remembering that the USD is cheap these days, seen from an European point-of-view. So, I guess import goods from Europe will be more expensive in the US. The USD currency is still trending downwards. Good news for us in the EUR-zone wanting to import US made goods. 
 



 

That's why it is backwards, you would think with duty, importing and the cheap dollar that it would cost more here not less.  It is made in Germany.
 

 

post #10 of 23

The v284 sounds like a monster.

post #11 of 23

I know, but prices are adjusted post significant exchange fluctuations. Let´s hope the US prices are kept, but I doubt it if the USD stays weak towards EUR.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dallan View Post



That's why it is backwards, you would think with duty, importing and the cheap dollar that it would cost more here not less.  It is made in Germany.
 

 



 

post #12 of 23

Upgradeitis kicking in. Thanks TwoEars!

 

Lotta good stuff coming out of Europe.

post #13 of 23

Where do you find the burson in Europe for 600$?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oqvist View Post

Harsh words there from Robert. I suppose I could bash the V200 as well due to being nearly twice the cost of the GHP and not performing as well with my low impedance headphones. Not a bad amp though but neither a Goliat or a David killer. Not that cheap really consider I got my tube amp for a bit less with more iron, fancier casing and tubes on top of that.

 

Robert seem to forget that the burson is 600$ and the V200 is more like 1100$ so unless it´s a total failure should be better. Sadly very few V200 owners get either the Burson or the GHP. I have been very curious about the HA160. I ordered it once but then the store sold my preorder to someone else and then I changed plans lol.

 

Interesting info though about life span. It does appear like opamps should last longer and be easier and cheaper to replace if they break but how about an unbiased source commenting that? 

 

Would like to hear some of the Violectric studio biased single ended amps though tuned to be more neutral.



 

post #14 of 23

I am sick by watching this kind of announcement "It performs as good or better than units costing 3 times it's asking price. " Can he name which one he is referring to? BA? Woo 5?Leben 300xs or whatever

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by dallan View Post

  It is made in Germany.
 

 



 German products are the best and highest quality in the world, no doubt about that. Whether you buy your lawn stuff from Gardena, drive Mercedes, drinking coffee or anything else. :)

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