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REVIEW: Violectric V181 balanced headphone amp - Page 4

post #46 of 75


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jax View Post


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. 

 


 Indeed all of my monitors are powered monitors, I am basically using the V181 as a preamp.  I know this will sound strange but when I do my recording/mixing I prefer the sound out of the v181 to directly out of the Zodiac+, at least for my secondary monitors.  But I swap between the two to compare as well.  I never actually tried hooking my mains to the V181 as they are in a separate treated room, but I might experiment.  Needless to say the V181 has been excellent value for the money and I am really happy with the purchase.  Fried was a great guy to talk to as well, very willing to answer any questions you may have.

 

Here is what he had to say in regards to the risk of using the 1/4" headphone jacks to your active monitors:

 

".. I see some issues because our V181 is able to output far more than +25 dB. 

With that amount of voltage swing it is easy to destroy accidentally the inputs of "normal" active speakers
or the amps or the speakers themselves.

Of coarse V181 is very well suited to drive even longest balanced lines.
It is quiet, it is low impedance, it is powerful, it is adjustable.
But you have to take care about the overall circumstances ...
 
Greetz
 
Fried
"

 

 

post #47 of 75
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WarriorAnt View Post




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.

 

That section is the main difference between the models, as far as I understand it. The V181 has 4 of the BUF634 chips from Texas Instruments (and I assume the V100 has 2 based on the info posted here). The V200 is a totally discrete design with 8 transistors per channel. That's what that big blue array is - there are 8 visible in that pic and 8 more on the other side. The power supplies seems very similar but with larger toroids as you move up the line. 

 

I appreciate all the comments and discussion; these really are great amps and I think they should get more credit around here. Still working on my V200 review (I've been crazy busy) and I hope to have it all done by next week at the latest. 
 

 

post #48 of 75
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jax View Post

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).


 


Thanks Jax! I believe user DannyBuoy also switched from the Woo WA6SE to the V181, so there is more than one of you out there. That speaks highly of the V181.

 

I'd love to get my hands on an LCD-2 or HE-6, but I don't see that happening in the immediate future. I've been really into custom IEMs lately and that's where my money has been going. But I did make it on the list for the HE500 loaner program. I know that's not a full substitute but it will be better than nothing. 

 

post #49 of 75

To solve a little bit the confusions about the amps used inside Violectric gear:

 

V100 is made with a transistorized amp with 4 transistors each channel.
V181 is made with 4 times BUF 634 (quite similar to LME 49600 but we found some advantages to go for BUF 634)

V200 is made with a transistorized amp with 8 transistors each channel.

From the sonic side of view V181 is unbeatable in balanced mode (it is our only balanced design until now ;-)).
Going unbalanced I see some advantages for V100 compared to V181.
This is even more true when high impedance cans are connected as V100 offers double internal voltage.

V200 is a class of its own what many users have discovered until now and it seems that John (project86) will aprove that, too.

Feel free to have a closer look also on the inside on the violectric site.

 

Greetz
 

Fried

post #50 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post




Thanks Jax! I believe user DannyBuoy also switched from the Woo WA6SE to the V181, so there is more than one of you out there. That speaks highly of the V181.

 

I'd love to get my hands on an LCD-2 or HE-6, but I don't see that happening in the immediate future. I've been really into custom IEMs lately and that's where my money has been going. But I did make it on the list for the HE500 loaner program. I know that's not a full substitute but it will be better than nothing. 

 



If I lived near you I'd lend you my LCD's whenever they arrive that is , which should be this week.  This is my very first pair of headphones and my first headphone rig.  I ordered my DAC on Monday and all I need now is to make the decision between the 181 and the 200.  I hope I can do that!   I'll be awaiting your review!   


Edited by WarriorAnt - 4/19/11 at 12:36pm
post #51 of 75

Thanks for posting Fried! I'm really considering a Violectric as my next amp upgrade. I have one question I hope you can answer. If it's possible could you let us in on the probable release dates (say, by quarter) for your upcoming products? biggrin.gif

 

 

 

 

post #52 of 75

For more details about (some) upcoming products see here: 

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/508683/the-violectric-v282-thread

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/547859/new-violectric-amps-from-lake-people-coming-info-from-ceo-fried-riem

but sorry, can´t tell you the quarter ;-))

 

 


Edited by fdg - 4/19/11 at 11:21am
post #53 of 75

If I had gone balanced today, I would have chosen the V181. However, owning headphones all being wired non-balanced, my V200 is a little gem in my line-up. When Violectric is ready to release their line-up of balanced amplifiers, I might go balanced. Until then; perfectly happy+ with the V200. :) 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdg View Post

To solve a little bit the confusions about the amps used inside Violectric gear:

 

V100 is made with a transistorized amp with 4 transistors each channel.
V181 is made with 4 times BUF 634 (quite similar to LME 49600 but we found some advantages to go for BUF 634)

V200 is made with a transistorized amp with 8 transistors each channel.

From the sonic side of view V181 is unbeatable in balanced mode (it is our only balanced design until now ;-)).
Going unbalanced I see some advantages for V100 compared to V181.
This is even more true when high impedance cans are connected as V100 offers double internal voltage.

V200 is a class of its own what many users have discovered until now and it seems that John (project86) will aprove that, too.

Feel free to have a closer look also on the inside on the violectric site.

 

Greetz
 

Fried



 


Edited by Loevhagen - 4/19/11 at 12:34pm
post #54 of 75

I am waiting also for the review of the v200  could be that  when I will be in Berlin  by June I will be buy there this amp

being now an owner of the V800 dac  showing me all aspects of quality  (sonics mechanics  aestetics)  and also an T1 owner I am shure that can not be a better complement that the v200

looking at the electronic pcbs  the v200 shows an sophisticated amplifier (compared with the v181 channel that are composed solelly by buffers and op amps)

most of the companies working in this electronic area(benchmark lehmman spl) had disclosed graphs showing the behaviour of the amps in different conditions

and different parameters how bad violectric keep them as confidential  and secret

the v200 specifications of the v200 are really impresive ( and I am shure that are real facts and not immaginarey ) anyway  I like to have more technical  knowledge about the amp that are in the owners manual

i have a firend that owns an B22 /lcd2  I am shure that will start doing comparitions in a short period of time

by the time being I will wait for the results  of the v200

post #55 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by baritone View Post

I am waiting also for the review of the v200  could be that  when I will be in Berlin  by June I will be buy there this amp

being now an owner of the V800 dac  showing me all aspects of quality  (sonics mechanics  aestetics)  and also an T1 owner I am shure that can not be a better complement that the v200

looking at the electronic pcbs  the v200 shows an sophisticated amplifier (compared with the v181 channel that are composed solelly by buffers and op amps)

most of the companies working in this electronic area(benchmark lehmman spl) had disclosed graphs showing the behaviour of the amps in different conditions

and different parameters how bad violectric keep them as confidential  and secret

the v200 specifications of the v200 are really impresive ( and I am shure that are real facts and not immaginarey ) anyway  I like to have more technical  knowledge about the amp that are in the owners manual

i have a firend that owns an B22 /lcd2  I am shure that will start doing comparitions in a short period of time

by the time being I will wait for the results  of the v200

 

That's it Project86!  We demand you stop whatever it is you're doing and get to it!     Take a sick day, nail the front door shut, turn off the cell phone, no playoff action with the NBA. Get some Murine Ear Wax Removal System going and report back!
But most of all hurry before the damn Euro goes up again!

 

post #56 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by WarriorAnt View Post



 

That's it Project86!  We demand you stop whatever it is you're doing and get to it!     Take a sick day, nail the front door shut, turn off the cell phone, no playoff action with the NBA. Get some Murine Ear Wax Removal System going and report back!
But most of all hurry before the damn Euro goes up again!

 


L3000.gif

 

I could said that a time ago I had the oportunity to audition the spl auditor it sounded  great but reading carefully the manual i just found that it could be dangerous

to your hears and your headphones (hi impedance like my t1 s) because of the execisive( IMO)  output power , if your plug by mistake an phone mono connector you can ruine the amp and no output relay to cut off the start up \ off trasients  so I decided not to buy the amp even the price was low

for me was reading a joke when the spl explanied the owners why did not put a relay " we did not include in the circuit not to  degrade the sound "

i din not say untill now that I am a analog eng  and I  have some electronic knowledge (of my 30 yearjjob carer) and I have even buided many headphone

ss amplifiers  all  off the with an output relay imo it is a must


 

 

post #57 of 75
Thread Starter 

I agree. Without turning this into a SPL bashing thread, I think any company who makes the same choice that they did regarding relays is making a mistake. It's too bad because their amps do sound quite good into high ohm headphones. 

post #58 of 75

Are we talking about the same lack of circuitry in the Violectrics?  I'm a bit confused.

 

 

Got my LCD's last night but Haven't been able to listen to them.  I'm having the floors in my home redone and the rooms painted.  Ugh!    I'm pretty set on the 200 for an amp as my solid state.

post #59 of 75
Thread Starter 

No, someone brought up that the SPL amps do not have that feature, and thus he would not consider buying one. Maybe he posted that because the SPL Auditor might be considered a direct competitor to the Violectic amps based on price (and they are both German made). The Violectrics definitely DO NOT have that problem though.

 

Hurry up and plug in the LCD-2!

post #60 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

No, someone brought up that the SPL amps do not have that feature, and thus he would not consider buying one. Maybe he posted that because the SPL Auditor might be considered a direct competitor to the Violectic amps based on price (and they are both German made). The Violectrics definitely DO NOT have that problem though.

 

Hurry up and plug in the LCD-2!

I plugged in the LCD's today.  I won't say what the source was.  I'm awaiting my DAC-2 in a week or so and selling my gold fillings for a Violectric of which one I am not certain yet but perhaps the 200.      The LCD's remind me of my most favorite speaker the Martin Logan CLLS II's driven with Krell amps.  For me it's like wearing a pair of Martin Logan CLS II's on my head.  They are a wonderful experience. So natural and smooth and effortless. Just amazing.  I've never really had headphones before and frankly I do not like headphones.  But the LCD's havecompletely changed my mind. They are so engaging, so seductive.  They make me completely forget I'm wearing headphones.  So nuanced and natural. They have a beautiful presentation of low level detail and their dynamics are so lifelike.  I cannot wait to give them the DAC and Amp they deserve.  
 

 

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