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Review: Violectric HPA V200 amp - Page 156

post #2326 of 2847
Thread Starter 

I chatted with Fried the other day and got some updates about their plans for the future - and he gave me the go-ahead to share it here. This is all tentative, nothing set in stone yet and no hard dates available (sorry). 

 

The first news is about the upgraded USB option. Apparently customer feedback indicates that people do want a quality USB input, making the device a viable all-in-one DAC/amp. Fried considers the current 24/96 solution to be pretty good but this new version will be "top notch". It's a 24/192 capable design based on the PCM1798 DAC and the Tenor TE8802 USB chipset (coaxial and optical models will also be available). Fried says they beefed up the analog output circuitry so it's a lot more sophisticated than the current version. Pricing will be higher, maybe double what the current option goes for. The target for release is "hopefully by the end of the year". 

 

Aside from that, the big news is the upgraded V-2xx series amps. The current plan is for a single ended model called the V220, and a balanced model called V281. These use a double-height enclosure which is equal to stacking a pair of V200s, and the depth is greater too (maybe 12 inches). The basic design builds off the V200 but has double the output transistors (so 16 per channel!), a significantly beefed up power transformer (25W instead of the current 10W), a front panel knob for left/right balance control as well as inputs being selectable from the front panel. V281 will have XLR and 1/4" outputs just like V181 did. Similar to outfits like Woo or HeadAmp, Violectric intends to give the user options for volume control - a "basic" version using a quality pot, or a motorized pot with remote capability, or a high-end option using a 128-step relay-based design (each step is .75dB) that is also motorized. Depending on options, pricing starts at 1100 Euro and goes to over 2000 Euro "fully loaded" which I assume means the on-board DAC option as well (which will also be updated, see my V800 thread for info on that). 

 

This is all in the planning stages for now, not sure if anything will change or how soon they can pull this off. It's tricky because although some of us may be more excited about these new V2xx models (and I know I am!), it probably makes more business sense to get the lower priced Lake People DAC models out the door first. Lake People/Violectric is still a small firm, has hired some more people but they won't be cranking this stuff out at the same pace as some of their Chinese competitors. Still, I'm excited to see (and hear) this stuff when it does eventually become available. 


Edited by project86 - 9/27/13 at 8:28am
post #2327 of 2847

"End of the year" meaning this year I hope. I'd be very highly interested in the v281 amp. Please keep us apprised as to any further status updates John-I'd like to get on any preorder list asap if they do that...

 

-Daniel

post #2328 of 2847
Awesome news, dont suppose you can relay our feedback?
Heres my list incase they're reading.
  • First off is the clicking DAC, please remove it, highly annoying.
  • Anything but Tenor, i've read alot of bad rep around here, including my own findings, maybe XMOS?
  • One of the main reasons I purchased the V200 was because it was quite slim compared to its competitors, and still packed a punch, I hope we can keep the same form factor.
  • I find the blue LED on the V200 is pretty good, but it could use improvement, or even tone it down 80% or something.
  • Better gain switch mechanism, easier to access, more elegant look.
post #2329 of 2847
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BournePerfect View Post
 

"End of the year" meaning this year I hope. I'd be very highly interested in the v281 amp. Please keep us apprised as to any further status updates John-I'd like to get on any preorder list asap if they do that...

 

-Daniel

 

Read closely though - the "end of the year" comment was specifically in reference to the updated 24/192 DAC card which goes in current V-series amps. the V281 and V220 almost certainly will not be ready so soon.

 

Fried is no Kingwa.... and I don't mean that in a disparaging way (to either of them). Just pointing out the differences in each operation. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by belisk View Post

Awesome news, dont suppose you can relay our feedback?
Heres my list incase they're reading.
  • First off is the clicking DAC, please remove it, highly annoying.
  • Anything but Tenor, i've read alot of bad rep around here, including my own findings, maybe XMOS?
  • One of the main reasons I purchased the V200 was because it was quite slim compared to its competitors, and still packed a punch, I hope we can keep the same form factor.
  • I find the blue LED on the V200 is pretty good, but it could use improvement, or even tone it down 80% or something.
  • Better gain switch mechanism, easier to access, more elegant look.

 

I believe Fried checks in on this thread from time to time, so he should see your notes. Not sure Tenor is good or bad - like anything else, implementation is key. I'm sure Fried could have chosen XMOS or VIA or C-Media or whoever else he wanted to. Must be a reason why he went with the TE8802. 

 

Form factor on the new V series models will be the same width, double height, increased depth. So not tiny but still smaller than a lot of TotL amps.

post #2330 of 2847

I would love a XMOS/Amanero USB interface combined with something like the PCM5102 DAC and then a selectable pre-amp function so I could alternate between my headphones and speakers and change the volume for both of them. I'd very happily pay $1200 for a Violectric unit like that!

 

The Tenor chipset doesn't have a particularly good rep, Audio-GD stopped using it, and I've seen plenty of complaints about it in the Burson Conductor thread. Firestone Audio also used that Tenor chipset in one of their DACs, the ILTW, and stopped using that chipset for their following DAC. Was hoping for a refresh on the V800 DAC as well to add 24bit/192khz via USB there.

 

Part of the attraction for me of the Violectric units are their compact form factor and incredible finish and build quality. I don't feel they really have to do anything different from they are really doing now, would just love to see some added functionality or perhaps adding upgrade modules to their units.

post #2331 of 2847
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daerron View Post
 

I would love a XMOS/Amanero USB interface combined with something like the PCM5102 DAC and then a selectable pre-amp function so I could alternate between my headphones and speakers and change the volume for both of them. I'd very happily pay $1200 for a Violectric unit like that!

 

The Tenor chipset doesn't have a particularly good rep, Audio-GD stopped using it, and I've seen plenty of complaints about it in the Burson Conductor thread. Firestone Audio also used that Tenor chipset in one of their DACs, the ILTW, and stopped using that chipset for their following DAC. Was hoping for a refresh on the V800 DAC as well to add 24bit/192khz via USB there.

 

Part of the attraction for me of the Violectric units are their compact form factor and incredible finish and build quality. I don't feel they really have to do anything different from they are really doing now, would just love to see some added functionality or perhaps adding upgrade modules to their units.

 

I've heard really great examples of XMOS and Amanero, so I wouldn't disagree with you, but I wouldn't discount the Tenor just yet. Maybe Fried has mastered it. PCM5102 is a lower grade DAC though, and I can't see it fitting in a more expensive DAC. It "upgrades" the PCM179x range by having 32-bit registers and being 384kHz capable, but at the cost of SNR and dynamic range which are just mediocre. 

 

The initial mock up I saw of the new V-series models does have selectable preamp capabilities. Selectable as in it can be set to fixed or variable. No switch to turn it completely off though.

 

But definitely keep the suggestions coming. If Fried reads a ton of feedback, he may be able to implement some of these ideas. This won't be a collaborative effort like the HiFi-M8 but feedback is still good.

post #2332 of 2847

I don't think that the Tenor hardware was bad, it was more a question of driver support and probably more related to Windows where there have been issues. I think Mac users were fine?

 

Agreed, the PCM1798 would be a definite step up. Only suggested the PCM5102 as it quite an integrated DAC and would fit into a compact board as it has the output stage integrated so less discrete components to worry about, so something like that with an amanero module should nicely fit into the current chassis!

 

Excellent that the pre-amp options made it into the new design!

post #2333 of 2847
Fried seems to be away. He has not reply my email! haha..

Edited by smoothtalker - 10/2/13 at 8:37am
post #2334 of 2847

Hello there,

 

I just wanted to announce that we will attend the 2013 CanJam in Denver in a few days.

Maybe you are interested to take a closer look on Violectric !?

post #2335 of 2847
One thing that I have sorely missed from the Violectric was a switchable input on their amps. To be able to hook up two separate sources I would need two amps at the moment. Since there is already two inputs on the back , why not throw in a toggle switch (or even better, a front panel button)?
post #2336 of 2847
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

I chatted with Fried the other day and got some updates about their plans for the future - and he gave me the go-ahead to share it here. This is all tentative, nothing set in stone yet and no hard dates available (sorry). 

 

The first news is about the upgraded USB option. Apparently customer feedback indicates that people do want a quality USB input, making the device a viable all-in-one DAC/amp. Fried considers the current 24/96 solution to be pretty good but this new version will be "top notch". It's a 24/192 capable design based on the PCM1798 DAC and the Tenor TE8802 USB chipset (coaxial and optical models will also be available). Fried says they beefed up the analog output circuitry so it's a lot more sophisticated than the current version. Pricing will be higher, maybe double what the current option goes for. The target for release is "hopefully by the end of the year". 

 

Aside from that, the big news is the upgraded V-2xx series amps. The current plan is for a single ended model called the V220, and a balanced model called V281. These use a double-height enclosure which is equal to stacking a pair of V200s, and the depth is greater too (maybe 12 inches). The basic design builds off the V200 but has double the output transistors (so 16 per channel!), a significantly beefed up power transformer (25W instead of the current 10W), a front panel knob for left/right balance control as well as inputs being selectable from the front panel. V281 will have XLR and 1/4" outputs just like V181 did. Similar to outfits like Woo or HeadAmp, Violectric intends to give the user options for volume control - a "basic" version using a quality pot, or a motorized pot with remote capability, or a high-end option using a 128-step relay-based design (each step is .75dB) that is also motorized. Depending on options, pricing starts at 1100 Euro and goes to over 2000 Euro "fully loaded" which I assume means the on-board DAC option as well (which will also be updated, see my V800 thread for info on that). 

 

This is all in the planning stages for now, not sure if anything will change or how soon they can pull this off. It's tricky because although some of us may be more excited about these new V2xx models (and I know I am!), it probably makes more business sense to get the lower priced Lake People DAC models out the door first. Lake People/Violectric is still a small firm, has hired some more people but they won't be cranking this stuff out at the same pace as some of their Chinese competitors. Still, I'm excited to see (and hear) this stuff when it does eventually become available. 

 

V281:

 

Why a knob on the front panel for left/right balance control - why would this be needed?   Maybe for studio use.. 

 

I agree on the Tenor comments.  I had bad experiences with the drivers on windows machines.  XMOS / Amanero worked flawlessly.


Edited by preproman - 10/3/13 at 1:10am
post #2337 of 2847
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post
 

 

 

 

I agree on the Tenor comments.  I had bad experiences with the drivers on windows machines.  XMOS / Amanero worked flawlessly.

The drivers can improve. I also had some issues with Audio gd dacs using the TE8802 usb chip, but their latest drivers' version goes very well on windows 7.

post #2338 of 2847
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post
 

 

V281:

 

Why a knob on the front panel for left/right balance control - why would this be needed?   Maybe for studio use.. 

 

 

Well, the company does have pro audio roots, so perhaps it's a nod in that direction. SPL does it on their Phonitor, Bryston does it on the BHA-1, and Stax does it on all their current driver units. Can't say I'd use it all that often but I won't complain that it's there either.  

post #2339 of 2847
i see Burson has released a new optional USB module thats not Tenor, lets hope the Violectric gets the same treatment.
post #2340 of 2847
Thread Starter 

I'll ask Fried about it, but I seem to recall that he already tried a bunch of models and found the TE8802 to be the best choice for his application. Not sure if it really matters that Burson or anyone else had issues with it - if Fried can perfect it, then why not use it? 

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