EDIT: stupid mistake in the title. "trade off", not "better"....
DISCLAIMER: I'm not English mother tongue and I haven't written such long stuff since long time ago. Just... Don't take my writing style for "prophetic" or "guru-ish" (sometimes I've been told so). My will is just to put on the table some questions about audio engineering and audio circuits - subjects which are to me completely unknown! - their costs and their effectiveness.
I'm writing this thread because I've notice something kind of weird looking at some specs in the Lake People and in the Violectric internet site.
Let's talk about the Lake People G100, and the Violectric (by Lake People) V90, V100 and V200.
The G100 ranks top of the range when it comes to pro audio. German reviewers put it above the Lehmann amps and above the Phonitor, indeed, when it comes to power and neutrality.
Moreover, rumours around the web say that the HD800 would have been tested/collauded with the G100, or the V100, or the V200, but I haven't found a definitive version yet.
By the way, the V100 introduces itself as a consumer hi-endish version of the G100, and the V200 does so as an upgraded V100.
The V100 generally provides more current and power than the G100 does, and the V200 generally provides more current and power than the V100 does.
Thus, there are a lot of people online that state of having brought a V200 in the house because the V100 or the G100 would have not driven this or that uber-headphone well enough.
It's anyway well-web-enstabilished that the V200 provides enough current and power to drive just anything, (even subwoofers and Ferraris). And so did The G100, before the V200 entered the market. Weird ;)
A whole another talk must be done for the V90, the Violectric "entry-level".
cheaper looks, cheaper-looking circuit, a couple of RCA ins and a couple of RCA outs.
Let's tell it: forums, magazines, Audiophiles, Head-philes, Head-fi'ers... Nobody has ever given a **** about this little head-amp. Browsing, I've just found a head-amp shootout in a German magazine that would send me the back-number, and a German forumer who complains that his own V90, (according to the German-to-Italian googletranslate) though powering his HD650 very well, does NOT add bass to his ATHs. (man, do you really need even more bass on those? Buy a graphic eq.)
Let's switch to these amps' specs. I'll paste here just the Watts and the Volts, since crosstalk, dynamics, damping factors and THDs all better-off as the price goes up, but seem all to be about on the, or beyond the limits of human hearing.
Output Voltage in 600 Ohms 20,9 Veff
Output Power in 600 Ohms 730 mW
Output Voltage in 100 Ohms 15,2 V
Output Power in 100 Ohms 2300 mW
Output Voltage in 32 Ohms 6,4 V
Output Power in 32 Ohms 1300 mW
Output Voltage in 600 Ohms 19,6 V
Output Power in 600 Ohms 640 mW
Output Voltage in 100 Ohms 14,5 V
Output Power in 100 Ohms 2100 mW
Output Voltage in 32 Ohms 7,4 V
Output Power in 32 Ohms 1700 mW
Output Voltage in 600 Ohms 18,5 V
Output Power in 600 Ohms 570 mW
Output Voltage in 100 Ohms 14,8 V
Output Power in 100 Ohms 2200 mW
Output Voltage in 32 Ohms 8,0 V
Output Power in 32 Ohms 2000 mW
> 18.9 Veff in 600 ohms = 595 mW
> 13.2 Veff in 100 ohms = 1742 mW
> 8.5 Veff in 40 ohms = 1806 mW
I therefore noticed, with much surprise, that maybe the mistreated V90 could move a pair of 300 or 600 Ohmers better than its bigger brothers, since power outputs increase together with the phone impedance.
Yes, SOUND is not just about measures... But... What would this amp miss?
Let's see what's inside a G100 and inside a V90, just because they cost more or less the same.
We notice that the G100 has a handful of transistors and op-amps more than the V90 inside it.
G100 (large image)
V90 (large image)
Observation: any good old marketing manual states that a professional product generally has a better quality/price ratio than a consumer one. In addition, pro's may need some features that consumers do not. That's why they cost about the same but are different. An audio professional generally does not need RCA ins and outs, or external gain switches, or fashion-conscious cases (which do cost.)
But... Is this "more" stuff really useful to the sake of High Audio Fidelity?
Now, the V200 is considered to be one of the most versatiles head-amps in the world. Why does it double the price of another, which provides, at HIGH IMPEDANCES, something like one and a half times ( + 50% ) the power of another amp?
It wouldn't be that weird... if these amps were not made by the very SAME PRODUCER!
If V90 was specifically designed to power high-impedance headphones, why on Earth haven't we been told of that?
I cannot believe that a € 400 head-amp, designed, engineered and made in Germany indeed, may sound really worse than any other one. Not than some other amp by the same producer, at least, with the same price... (price, not cost).
Is there some marketing bafflegab around? I'm not blaming the producers now, they do what the markets ask for, and a cool case sometimes costs much more than what's inside it.
I'm speaking about the so called "High-End" world.
We are (I put myself in) so concerned about balanced ins and outs, jumpers, switches, cool cases and cool external PSUs and this kind of stuff that it may be that some times we forget about the "core" of it all.
For me, since I don't need balanced connections and the lineouts (and the idiotproof gain switches!) will surely come in handy...
( omg a spelling mistake in the title...)
Edited by Edoardo - 9/10/11 at 6:33am