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[Lake People and Violectric] is there a better of between power and quality?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

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.

 

Hey Guys,

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.

Anyway,
http://lake-people.de/index.php?id=2...&typ=3&nr=g100
http://www.violectric.de/Pages/en/technical-data.php

V90
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

V100
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

V200
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

G100
> 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)
http://img387.imageshack.us/img387/5...profilkmh9.jpg

V90 (large image)
http://aphroditecu29.com/Violectric/...V90InsideF.jpg

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
post #2 of 12

Great questions Edoardo, But I think the only one that can answer you will be Fried.Reim@lake-people.de. I own the V-100 and I'm still very curios about the G-100, and waiting for Fried to send me a demo G-100 to compare to my V-100.

post #3 of 12

Well, 570 mW into voltage-hungry 600 ohms, 88 dB SPL / 1 mW headphones (e.g. vintage AKG K240 models) will produce over 115 dB SPL output, which is plenty loud for any sane listening.  Into most headphones, every one of these amps has plenty of power, and probably too much, so realistically I don't see much difference there between them.  Also, the difference between 730 mW and 570 mW is pretty small anyway.  That's about 1 dB.  It takes about 10 times more power (10 dB) for humans to perceive about a doubling in volume.

 

As you mentioned, the distortion specs are better for the more expensive models.  I would call that "moving better" the 600 ohms and 300 ohms headphones.  Unless you want exactly 20V rms into your 600 ohms headphones, I don't see an advantage of the V90.  More power is not better, unless more power is needed.  You just want an amp to have enough power for the volume you want out of your headphones, and for it to produce a good signal while outputting at that level.  In the case of Violectric, they're not going for intentional "euphonic" distortions, so the goal is to get the distortions as low as possible at a given output level.  I don't care whether an amp can do 100 mW or 895.5 mW at X ohms if I'm listening to my X ohms headphones, if the headphones only require 60 mW to produce enough volume when I'm listening to classical music with high dynamic range.  Actually, I might prefer that it can only do 100 mW, since I might accidentally set a higher level which could fry the headphones.

 

I have not looked at these Violectric amps, but maybe they use similar power supplies or at least transformers?  The higher-end models may have more power supply filtering or other things going on in the circuit that are causing more voltage drops, or maybe just different output stages that don't swing as much rail-to-rail.  They're probably more complicated in some way, to achieve better distortion specs.  Maybe that's responsible for the very very slight tradeoff in output power, so it goes from overkill power to slightly less overkill power.


Edited by mikeaj - 9/10/11 at 8:11am
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Acix View Post

Great questions Edoardo, But I think the only one that can answer you will be Fried.Reim@lake-people.de. I own the V-100 and I'm still very curios about the G-100, and waiting for Fried to send me a demo G-100 to compare to my V-100.



Thanks for the hint! Now I'm on saving mode, but I'll surely e-mail the guys if I'm gonna buy one of their products...

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

 

[...]

the difference between 730 mW and 570 mW is pretty small anyway.  That's about 1 dB.  It takes about 10 times more power (10 dB) for humans to perceive about a doubling in volume.

 

 

[...]

As you mentioned, the distortion specs are better for the more expensive models.  I would call that "moving better" the 600 ohms and 300 ohms headphones.  Unless you want exactly 20V rms into your 600 ohms headphones, I don't see an advantage of the V90.  More power is not better, unless more power is needed.

 

 

[...]

I have not looked at these Violectric amps, but maybe they use similar power supplies or at least transformers?  The higher-end models may have more power supply filtering or other things going on in the circuit that are causing more voltage drops, or maybe just different output stages that don't swing as much rail-to-rail.  They're probably more complicated in some way, to achieve better distortion specs.  Maybe that's responsible for the very very slight tradeoff in output power, so it goes from overkill power to slightly less overkill power.


1)  Thanks a lot for the info! I didn't have any idea that + 30% power could equal 1 more dB out of 120... Is it that less-than-proportional at that point???

 

2)  I'm also asking myself whether those changes in damping factors and distortion handling are audible,  or whether it's really a matter of cases and plugs.

 

3)  By the way, the G100 and the V90 have the same toroidal PSU. Can't tell anything about capacitors or filtering stuff...

 

 

 

(...Yes, most of the music I listen needs dynamics...!)


Edited by Edoardo - 9/10/11 at 10:01am
post #6 of 12

Look at the ratio of power.  Twice as much power is about 3 dB.

 

10 * log(730/570) = 1.07 dB

 

That's log base 10, not a natural log.

 

Based on how low the output impedance is (and thus how high the damping factors) and the level of the distortion, I'd be pretty surprised if a human could listen to one amp and reliably distinguish it with another one of theirs, unless there's something weird going on in terms of the IMD or certain frequencies as opposed to the frequencies they tested for the values in the chart.  These are all very good results.  I don't want to belittle an attempt at excellence, developing new designs, and putting in the extra effort, but it seems most likely past the point of diminishing returns in terms of sound quality.  Thus, most of the real difference should be in the case, plugs, and functionality, not the sound.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much!

 

Mmmmhhh you wanna mean that given those damping, dynamic, THD and power specs all those four amps should, on the chart, sound the same to human hears?

 

Also, what is IMD? :D thanks a lot

post #8 of 12

Intermodulation distortion:

 

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

 

It's bad in of itself in audio systems, but it's also an indication or metric of the overall behavior of the device.  Pretty much, if you input two frequencies into real-world systems, you will get those two same frequencies out as well as others (to a lesser extent).  If the IMD is high enough and you actually play two tones, it may be possible to hear some of the other frequencies as well.  So with real music, you could expect potentially audible garbage out that doesn't relate in a musical sense to the music being played.

 

There have been studies on what kinds of distortion levels are audible (and what kind of distortion, and at what frequencies, and so on, as it's not that simple), though of course results like those are always in contention by those who believe they have better ears than that.  Based on their published specs, I would think that they are probably all good enough that people couldn't tell them apart, that's all.  It's not necessarily true.

post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edoardo View Post





Thanks for the hint! Now I'm on saving mode, but I'll surely e-mail the guys if I'm gonna buy one of their products...


 

I think Fried will be glad to answer you, without to be his client..

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

Look at the ratio of power.  Twice as much power is about 3 dB.

 

10 * log(730/570) = 1.07 dB

 

Wow just wanted to tell you I'm so happy you've given out this easy formula, I've applied it to the schiit Valhalla which is on my wish list also, 300 mW on 600 Ohms = 2,9 dB difference with the Lake people G100 right?  :D according to my audiologist I can't recognize such a spread either - last time I went I was above 7 dB :D

post #11 of 12

Edoardo, did buy any of those amplifiers? I'm really interested in the G100. I'm trying to decide between G100 and SPL Auditor for sennheiser HD650 and HD600.


Edited by Ville19 - 12/9/11 at 6:46am
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ville19 View Post

Edoardo, did buy any of those amplifiers? I'm really interested in the G100. I'm trying to decide between G100 and SPL Auditor for sennheiser HD650 and HD600.


No, actually not. The very day I went online with the intention to order a Lake People G100, Schiit Audio announced its forecoming balanced amp... So... I want to see that one before buying anything over 400 Euros.

 

If I were you, I would go for the G100 though.

FWIR is more neutral and, very important to me, has two parallel headphone outs. You could connect both the HD600 and the HD650 at the same time if a friend comes to your place to see a movie/concert or to play games. beerchug.gif

 

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