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REVIEW: Violectric V181 balanced headphone amp - Page 3

post #31 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by fdhfdy View Post



Sorry I got it wrong, should be v200. XLR doesn't mean ""better" but thats a another choice. Especially it has xlr ins, its bit pitty for having no xlr outs.
 

 


Ah. The reason it doesn't have XLR outs is because it's not balanced. XLR ins are solely for convenience.

 

post #32 of 75

Loevhagen I wish I could read your blog!

post #33 of 75
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WarriorAnt View Post

Loevhagen I wish I could read your blog!



I use the Google Chrome browser and it has a very handy automatic translate function. You might try that, or I'm sure there is similar options or plug-ins for other browsers. It's not perfect but good enough to get the general idea. Combined with the beautiful pictures, it makes for a good read.

post #34 of 75

Can't wait for your review of the V200!  I'm torn between the V181 and the V200.

post #35 of 75
Why? Isn't so that if your headphones and cables facilitates balanced signals, you stick to the V181. If your gear is SE you'll go for the V200? I've chosen the latter.
post #36 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loevhagen View Post

Why? Isn't so that if your headphones and cables facilitates balanced signals, you stick to the V181. If your gear is SE you'll go for the V200? I've chosen the latter.


 

Good question, I don't really know is that true?  Aren't the two units a bit different besides one being balanced and the other single ended?   I Hear there may be a balanced version of the V200 coming at some point so there must be more to the designs than one being balanced and one SE.

post #37 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by WarriorAnt View Post




 

Good question, I don't really know is that true?  Aren't the two units a bit different besides one being balanced and the other single ended?   I Hear there may be a balanced version of the V200 coming at some point so there must be more to the designs than one being balanced and one SE.

The V200 is a different amp design from the V181. The V181 is the balanced version of the V100 (AKA two V100s stuffed into one chassis). Personally, I would get the V200. There isn't much of an advantage to balanced IMO, 

unless you have interconnects that are a mile long.
 

 

post #38 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by KuKuBuKu View Post



The V200 is a different amp design from the V181. The V181 is the balanced version of the V100 (AKA two V100s stuffed into one chassis). Personally, I would get the V200. There isn't much of an advantage to balanced IMO, 

unless you have interconnects that are a mile long.
 

 

What are the advantages of a balanced system.  

Here is a repost of a conversation Fried at Violectric had with another member.

 

Concerning different sounds from V181 vs. V200 :

"For me, V200 is sonically the best we have in the moment.
(I am sure that the balanced version from V200 will be close to the summit)
On the other hand V181 acting balanced is simply stunning ...
When you have all cans with balanced cable, V181 is probably the best for your needs."

 


 

 

post #39 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by WarriorAnt View Post



What are the advantages of a balanced system.  

Here is a repost of a conversation Fried at Violectric had with another member.

 

Concerning different sounds from V181 vs. V200 :

"For me, V200 is sonically the best we have in the moment.
(I am sure that the balanced version from V200 will be close to the summit)
On the other hand V181 acting balanced is simply stunning ...
When you have all cans with balanced cable, V181 is probably the best for your needs."

 


 

 


The advantages of balanced are debated here. Single-ended headphones are normally wired as Left, Right, and Ground. (three wires) while Balanced does not have a dedicated ground. It is wired L-, L+,R-, R+. To do this you have to double the circuitry, which is expensive, without really a gain in sound quality (Unless you have a ton of Electromagnetic Interference, like in a studio). So basically with the V181 you are getting two V100s. Generally, a 1000 dollar "good" SE amp will sound better than a 1000 dollar "good" balanced amp, because what you are really getting is two 500 dollar amps. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanced_audio

 

post #40 of 75

Interesting.  What about balanced out of a DAC and into a balanced in of a preamp, are those situations dual type circuits or does this just apply to the headphone out?

post #41 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by WarriorAnt View Post

Interesting.  What about balanced out of a DAC and into a balanced in of a preamp, are those situations dual type circuits or does this just apply to the headphone out?



Balanced preamp? Yes. Balanced DAC? Not sure, but I think so.

post #42 of 75

Thanks for that info.

post #43 of 75
Quote:
So basically with the V181 you are getting two V100s. Generally, a 1000 dollar "good" SE amp will sound better than a 1000 dollar "good" balanced amp, because what you are really getting is two 500 dollar amps. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanced_audio

 






Here is a picture comparing the internals of the v100, v181, v200. Note that the USB board is in the v200 but not on the others, accounting for the extra stuff in the trunk.

The layouts look pretty similar.
post #44 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by TigzStudio View Post



Quote:
So basically with the V181 you are getting two V100s. Generally, a 1000 dollar "good" SE amp will sound better than a 1000 dollar "good" balanced amp, because what you are really getting is two 500 dollar amps. 

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanced_audio

 








Here is a picture comparing the internals of the v100, v181, v200. Note that the USB board is in the v200 but not on the others, accounting for the extra stuff in the trunk.

The layouts look pretty similar.


Nice comparison!  I wonder what those two blue modules with 4 screws each are in the 200?  That area appears to be empty in the 181. Also there appears to be more electronics under the rainbow ribbon in the 200.

 

post #45 of 75

First off, great review!  Thank you for the efforts - I know how time consuming this can be, and you have done a thorough and thoughtful job.  Generally I'd say your views are similar to at least some of my own reactions to the V181, but I'm using LCD-2's to make my own judgments and have a more limited base of headphone experience to make comparisons with.  I might be the person Currowong referred to as I replaced my Woo WA6SEm with the V181, largely for convenience and space.  In the process of doing that I learned how I had been blaming the LCD-2's for deficiencies that had more to do with a certain lack of synergy with the Woo, which became revealed in hearing them in direct comparison with the Apex Peak Volcano, as well as the V181.  If you are interested to read more on that I contributed a review to the Apex Peak loaner thread - though not as thorough as yours here.  One thing that really clicked with me is that you mention that this is an SS amp that a tube lover (like me) could really appreciate.  Ultimately it does not have that wonderful euphonic midrange that just sucks you in like a siren calling out, but it definitely maintains a very natural and immediate presence in the mids, especially in vocals.  It also ads strengths traditionally ascribed to SS amps as the way you've described it's command of the low-end without being overtly basscentric.  It is, to me, a very well-balanced amp (pun not intended), that does an excellent job of getting out of the way and connecting me with the music I love.  I gave the edge to the Apex Peak Volcano in my review, and qualified it with the fact that my V181 was not yet broken in having only perhaps 50 hours or so on it, with the APV loaner being thoroughly broken in.  I'd bet I'd still give the APV the knod, but who knows.  My own reasons for liking it more were in the midrange where the use of the the tube in that hybrid design seemed to bring along the magic sirens call I spoke of earlier.  It just seemed to be more natural and to describe instruments in three dimensions and texture and mass, where the V181 seemed just a bit flatter in comparison.  Still, it suits my needs very well in giving me back more space in my office, and not worrying about exposed tubes.  I'm curious to hear about your views on the V200, which I'm guessing you prefer from your comment.  My understanding from Fried that one of the differences is that with the V181 four amps are used to amplify each of the balanced connections, whereas two are used with the V100, on which its based, and with the V200, which is a different amp in more ways than that.  I'd encourage you to try to borrow some LCD-2's and or HE6's while you have both amps in your possession - you'd certainly have the intent interest of quite a few looking for their own ideal amp for those somewhat challenging cans (HE6 more so).  I can say that for the former it is a very compatible playmate and that combination works very well to my ears.  I'm also using an AudioGD DAC, but the REF. 8 (also in balanced).
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

Ah, I see. So you are actually powering the monitors with the V181? I guess that could work since it delivers about the same power as some "flea-watt" amps I've seen. 


Actually, I think Trevor is using them to his powered monitors so he's got attenuation options at both the Violectric and at the monitors themselves - kind of like using the Violectric as a preamp...correct, Trevor?  Fried also told me not to do that (Trevor and I had a conversation about it - glad it's still working out, Trevor - I can't recall Fried's reasons but have that email somewhere).  Instead Fried suggested I use the internal DIP switches to alter my rear-panel RCA's to line outputs, which I have been doing for my own powered monitors.  It's a bit of a compromise from going direct from DAC via balanced to the monitor (this sounds the best), but it's still quite good and no serious compromises. 

 

PS I really have Trevor to thank for his pointing out the V181 to me in the first place, and recommending I get in touch with Fried.  I was having an exchange in purchasing one of his excellent cables for my LCD2 and mentioned in passing that I needed to scale back the size of my rig to regain space in my office.  The rest is history.  Thanks again, Trevor.  I otherwise had not really given it a second glance - as the OP points out, there really isn't that much mention of it here in the forums, and haven't seen much press on it.  

 


Edited by jax - 4/18/11 at 11:43pm
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