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Review: Violectric V800 DAC - Page 5

post #61 of 699

A very short message to let you know that I received the V200 and V800 yesterday.

I will not make a lot of comment, I don't feel I have enough experience for that, but one thing I noticed, I can listen to the HD800 a lot longer without getting tired (it seems the sound has more "body" than it had with my sound card, I can't tell yet if it is due to the V200 or the V800).

I cannot say I hear as huge a difference between the combo V200 / V800 and my essence STX as I expected but it might be due to my untrained hears (Don't misunderstand me here please, the V200 / V800 combo sounds extremely good and I cannot say I have ever personally heard anything better). I guess, once you reach a certain level of quality, it becomes increasingly difficult for an untrained person to really describe what happen and why the sound is four or five percent better.

I still have a few things to test (connect the V200 to the essence STX to see how much of a role the V800 plays in the sound difference) and I need to solve a little "popping" problem that I can hear when playing music (both, when using the usb connection and when using the coaxial input (coax of the V800 connected to the coax out of the essence STX in bypass mode). I don't think it comes from the PC because the sound from the sound card was perfectly clean).

Oh, and I really have to agree with project86, both the V200 and V800 are actually very beautiful and the finish is absolutely perfect.

post #62 of 699

A small update to say that the "popping sounds" disappeared after switching my sound card from one computer to another (replaced the essence STX on the computer to which the V800 is connected with a x-fi elite pro). It is rather strange since the elite pro was always a "problematic" card for me, but apparently, it sends a cleaner data stream to the V800.

Obviously, switching the sound card didn't change anything to the sound, but it's nice to have a perfectly clean sound :)

post #63 of 699
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLBA View Post

A small update to say that the "popping sounds" disappeared after switching my sound card from one computer to another (replaced the essence STX on the computer to which the V800 is connected with a x-fi elite pro). It is rather strange since the elite pro was always a "problematic" card for me, but apparently, it sends a cleaner data stream to the V800.

Obviously, switching the sound card didn't change anything to the sound, but it's nice to have a perfectly clean sound :)


That is weird, but I guess as long as it works it doesn't matter. I always have a hard time letting those things go.... I want to know what caused it! Just for the sake of having that knowledge. If I never find out, it's like the hardware "beat me" somehow. Sounds dumb, I realize. 

 

post #64 of 699
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post


That is weird, but I guess as long as it works it doesn't matter. I always have a hard time letting those things go.... I want to know what caused it! Just for the sake of having that knowledge. If I never find out, it's like the hardware "beat me" somehow. Sounds dumb, I realize. 

 


 

Not dumb at all, I am like that too :)

Here, I must admit I don't understand. I tried about every possible buffer length in foobar and while it was possible to get ride of any "popping" using the USB inteface of the V800, no settings worked for the coaxial input with the essence STX. Switching to the elite pro solved the problem (still in kernel streaming and actually with a very small buffer length of 990 ms).

Usually, the "problem" card for me has always been the elite pro, that's the reason why I had removed it from my main computer, but for once ...

 

Oh, and btw., I enjoy the combo V200 / V800 more and more. So thank you very much once again for the review!


Edited by JLBA - 2/4/12 at 9:56am
post #65 of 699
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLBA View Post


 

Not dumb at all, I am like that too :)

Here, I must admit I don't understand. I tried about every possible buffer length in foobar and while it was possible to get ride of any "popping" using the USB inteface of the V800, no settings worked for the coaxial input with the essence STX. Switching to the elite pro solved the problem (still in kernel streaming and actually with a very small buffer length of 990 ms).

Usually, the "problem" card for me has always been the elite pro, that's the reason why I had removed it from my main computer, but for once ...

 

Oh, and btw., I enjoy the combo V200 / V800 more and more. So thank you very much once again for the review!



You are welcome! V800/V200 is a permanent staple for me as well. Very high quality setup that can sound excellent with just about any headphones, doesn't take up much room, and looks spectacular in person. 

 

DSC_0064.jpg

post #66 of 699

After spending a few days listening only to the V200/V800 with the HD800 I must say, they are no going back :)

I love how clean and precise the sound is without ever getting boring. I am especially impressed by how controlled the

bass is (I listen to a lot of jazz and the double bass, while definitively present, never become "muddy").

Really happy :)

btw, I like this picture, almost looks like it enjoys it's own music.

post #67 of 699
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLBA View Post

After spending a few days listening only to the V200/V800 with the HD800 I must say, they are no going back :)

I love how clean and precise the sound is without ever getting boring. I am especially impressed by how controlled the

bass is (I listen to a lot of jazz and the double bass, while definitively present, never become "muddy").

Really happy :)

btw, I like this picture, almost looks like it enjoys it's own music.



Ha! I didn't think of it that way, but now I see it. 

 

I think the Darko review of the V800 really hurt, because people assume it is on the bright side. Which is simply not the case at all! In fact it has similar performance to the Audio GD Reference 7, which nobody has ever called "bright".

post #68 of 699

I have come these conclusions;

Anyone who shares their impressions of a DAC solely based upon digital output from a CD player used as a transport should be taken with a big grain of salt.

For those who share their impressions based upon pairing a DAC with a computer based digital output, again, treat the impressions as nothing more than anecdotal.

Between USB vs. S/PDIF vs. AES/EBU as choices, between the cables utilized, and most importantly the impentation of the computer system, there is simply too much variability, subjectivity, and system synergy unknowns.

Let's take Johnny Darko's review. He lists his associated equipment for the review as;

 

Associated Equipment

  • Logitech Squeezebox Touch
  • MacBook Pro
  • Peachtree iDecco
  • Xindak XA-6200
  • Usher S-520
  • ATC SCM 11
  • Sennheiser HD-650

 

I have read and re-read his review. What connectivity choice and which cable choice did he use between the Squeezebox/MBP and the V800?

Quite frankly, the limited equipment he does list is good, but not great.

One thing I know for sure; to get the highest potential sound out of the V800, you need the very best quality cable from the digital out to the V800. I played around with various price points of AES/EBU from my Classe CDP.5 used as a transport and then from a Bryston BDP-1 to the V800 and heard substantial improvements with the Wireworld Gold Starlight 6.0 (WW's newest balanced digital under the Platinum Starlight).

And this brings me to the computer vs. CD transport topic again.

I have no doubt that a well-implemented computer based playback system playing back lossless files will trump a CDP used as transport every time, assuming a very good DAC.

But an awful lot of computer based sytems are not very well implemented. You can't assume that some reviewer's computer based system is well implemented or optimally paired with a given DAC.

 

Where all this leads to is this. With the previously mentioned Bryston BDP-1, the variability of computer implementation is pretty much taken out of the equation.

Pair the BDP-1 with a $100 portable hard drive and use a top quality AES/EBU from BDP-1 to the V800 and you are pretty much guaranteed to hear, reliably, the true real potential of the V800 or any other very good DAC.

Find me a reviewer that is comparing DACs with the Bryston BDP-1 (or any similar interface-Ayre makes one, I know there are others), and I will listen to that reviewer's comparisons with more than a grain of salt, and certainly more than Johnny Darko.

post #69 of 699
Thread Starter 

I agree with you somewhat. We all have our "baggage" so to speak. I personally don't believe in cables the way you obviously do. But I made it a point to pick up some "nicer than basic" cables, to somewhat counteract that. But I know it won't be enough for some folks. 

 

The same goes for amplification, speakers, and headphones. I try to use really nice equipment so the item being reviewed is not held back by some other weak link. 

 

Source is a big one though - you are absolutely correct. Especially when there are so many configuration options. Software upsampling, various streaming methods, tons of dedicated audio playback programs (many of which are often said to sound different from one another).... computer audio is a mess when it comes to repeatable results. I'd rather trust the Squeezebox Touch in terms of consistency. 

 

I do think it is important to try USB, coaxial, toslink, and AES/EBU if possible. Most good equipment will sound pretty much identical across all inputs, but there is no guarantee. Plus the quality of the source is important - low jitter, proper SPDIF spec, etc. My JF Digital music server, while not having the brand name recognition of the Bryston, is similar in execution and quality. With some DACs you do get a substantial improvement using a better transport. 


Edited by project86 - 2/9/12 at 8:59am
post #70 of 699

Hello all 

 

I have both Audiolab M-DAC and Rein Audio X-DAC and indecisive on which one match better  with V-200 ?

 

and also like to know what Balance Cable do you use to connect your V-200 with your DAC ?

 

Thanks 
Raymond 

 

 

post #71 of 699
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by raysclim1568 View Post

Hello all 

 

I have both Audiolab M-DAC and Rein Audio X-DAC and indecisive on which one match better  with V-200 ?

 

and also like to know what Balance Cable do you use to connect your V-200 with your DAC ?

 

Thanks 
Raymond 

 

 



 

Sorry, I haven't heard either of those units. Both seem well regarded by the people around here who own them. At face value the Audiolab unit is more advanced, but that doesn't necessarily mean it actually sounds better. Just try them both and see which you prefer.

 

I use a Tam Audio Silver Net custom cable by Pailiccs, or else just Monoprice Premier cables. 

post #72 of 699

I never understood how he said it can sound bright. It's not bright at all. Granted at first it sounded a tab more bright before all the components were charged and such. Warm up for the DAC helps a bit as well. But yeah, bright? I really don't think so at all Darko. It has a lot of detail that may be perceived as bright. The V800 vastly outperforms the Benchmark DAC1 USB all around and stomps my previous DAC, the Music Hall DAC25.2, into the dust. I'm surprised he rated it so low. 

 

But really they say the SPL Auditor is bright as well but I don't hear it. The Auditor is hyper detailed and transparent, but not bright. If anything it's smooth. I have never gotten any fatigue from this amp. I think all this talk about German gear being bright and thin sounding is a stigma. Same thing how they say British gear is polite sounding but I don't hear that either, certainly not in my X-CANV8P..
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

Ha! I didn't think of it that way, but now I see it. 

 

I think the Darko review of the V800 really hurt, because people assume it is on the bright side. Which is simply not the case at all! In fact it has similar performance to the Audio GD Reference 7, which nobody has ever called "bright".

 

 

post #73 of 699

I just got a chance to listen to v800 at the head fi bay area meet.  The room is not quiet, the music is not familiar, but my impression is that it is very similar sounding as anedio d1, at least most similar Dac in the meet.  The amp gives it more body compared to d1's built in amp.

post #74 of 699
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yfei View Post

I just got a chance to listen to v800 at the head fi bay area meet.  The room is not quiet, the music is not familiar, but my impression is that it is very similar sounding as anedio d1, at least most similar Dac in the meet.  The amp gives it more body compared to d1's built in amp.

 

Cool, I'm glad you got to hear it. I wish I could have made it, but at least my gear could make an appearance without me.

 

The V800 is quite similar to the Anedio. And yes, the combo of both Violectric units is a more full bodied sound than the D1 amp alone. 
 

 

 

post #75 of 699

Great review, and after seeing the price here in Europe I got one :)

Thanks!

 

Love the sound as well. Finally after all these years neutral detailed precise sound with no nasties.

Best mids I've ever heard by FAR. (ohno just remembered the UDC1 had great mids too, but wasn't otherwise on this level)

 

Just 2 things that one must look out for:

I've found that on (very) rare occasion the volume knob seems to be rapidly switching between 2 volume settings, which is audible as a sort of "zipper" noise.

I do work in music theory, something with tuning and I work with sine waves a lot. This made it clearly noticeable to me twice. Small turn of the knob and it was gone.

 

The other thing I just found is to not hook up XLR and RCA at the same time. I got a mild distortion from this with certain sounds.

May have been something else, but can't think what it could have been. Disconnected the RCA and it was gone..

 

Btw, I do hear a slight loss of (otherwise extremely high) quality when going below 20-30 dB of digital volume reduction.

So in normal hifi use probably best to set it to +6dBu output with the jumpers (we don't need more gain than that) and be light on the volume knob (I leave it wide open and do small gain reduction with the foobar volume slider)


Edited by slackman - 3/30/12 at 4:02pm
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