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Violectric HPA V281 - Vorsprung durch Balanced - Page 10

post #136 of 2440

it's hard to believe you prefer the scarce, slippery, cheap padding of the feet that comes with the v200/v800, and having to hold the devices, rather than some better quality with more grip solution that would easily fix the "non issue", especially when stacking the devices, not to mention we are talking about 1k+USD toys

post #137 of 2440
Originally Posted by roskodan View Post

btw i really like the crimson color i saw on the headamp amp

I assume you're talking about the red GS-X mk2(http://parttimeaudiophile.com/2014/04/11/headamp-gsx-mk2/). Definitely not for me as I'd prefer a dark blue, but I agree it looks very pretty. Was hoping I would see it in person at a meet in a few weeks, but alas my plans were foiled.



Originally Posted by roskodan View Post

it's hard to believe you prefer the scarce, slippery, cheap padding of the feet that comes with the v200/v800, and having to hold the devices, rather than some better quality with more grip solution that would easily fix the "non issue", especially when stacking the devices, not to mention we are talking about 1k+USD toys

I guess I just don't spend that much time plugging and unplugging cans, and when I do, I can still easily do it with one hand. One index finger on the edge of the front plate does the trick quite easily. I realize the Mjolnir is actually a cheaper device (~750 USD), but it has the same problem even thought it's much larger/heavier.


I realized my other post sounded a bit harsher than I had intended. I just don't want to end up with a heavier device with a higher cost purely for more desk stability while plugging/unplugging cables. If it shifted during normal use just from the weight of my cabling, that would be another story entirely.

post #138 of 2440

If you guys have money to burn you can have it custom Nextel-coated in a range of colours but due to the finish nature forget about glossy.  


I stack my V200 and V800.  Aesthetically I'm not awed by the feet but well, they're feet...gotta draw the line somewhere.  At least they offer a good contact surface area and don't scratch.  They don't bother me as far as 'grip' is concerned but I have to say that I'm careful and exert some pressure on the top when swapping cables/headphones.


With the present V200 I only have 2 'issues'.  Number one is not really an issue but I have absolutely zero use for the 2nd headphone out.  And the other thing which is more a question of taste than anything else is that it's not the ultimate in detail retrieval although I have to add that this is a subjective impression when comparing it with amps that are voiced 'colder'.  I 'd like the reproduction to be a bit crisper.

post #139 of 2440

Fantastic, What a nice surprise from Munich, Fried! The V220 looks fabulous, and although it's nice to have a silver front option, I still like the black better ;-) .
Since you are introducing these fabulous new Amp/PreAmps, a remote control option and optional pots, do you also have plans for upgrading the V800 or a new D/A converter with additional functionalities? 

When I first saw the pictures I thought you had squeezed the V200 and V800 in a box the size of the V220 (a dream come true those of us who want one box doing it all), but I guess the noise floor being slightly higher as a result of packing more circuitry into one box - as you mentioned above - doesn't make that such a good idea.

In the High-Resolution debate regarding our ability to distinguish CD audio from High-Resolution formats, there has been quite some discussion about Amps being able to match the digital specs of D/A converters, and thus being able to resolve the 20-21 bit that the better D/A converters are capable of today. Besides the importance of wider bandwidths, SNR is obviously an important element, and the now classic V100/V181/V200 all sport a SNR of 128 dB (A-weighted), which is of course stellar, since they even beat the 120 dB SNR of the V800 (there are of course divided opinions in this debate, and many hold the position that High-Resolution audio is redundant and that our limited hearing abilities won't be able to take advantage of it).

At the moment there are two Power Amps that can deliver 128 dB SNR (as far as I know), the Benchmark AHB2 Power Amp and Mola-Mola's Kaluga monoblocks, and my question is obviously if you have you ever given thought about building a Power Amp.

Beyond all the questions, congratulations on the release of all the new goodies, I truly envy all those who got to be there in Munich and give the V220 and V282 a listen.

Schoene Gruesse aus Neu Zealand


post #140 of 2440

@ Zkadoush

… what comes next …

DAC V800 was meanwhile updated to have a 24/192 USB input. This option is also mountable into existing units !

Next near will see a downsized V800 which may save some money for those who need not that much comfort V800 is offering.
The DAC itself (maybe updated to 32 bit) and the analog output circuitry will remain untouched and so the sound will be the same.

Also there will be an upgraded DAC better than V800 (same case) with a motorized volume control (but still in the digital domain) and other remote controllable features.

DSD over USB may probably come with another bigger DAC.
I am not a friend of DSD. In the professional world this format is dead since 10 years.
Also the input is missing – where are the files ?

A headphone amp like HPA V220 with a premium DAC inside is conceivable but what about those who like to have HPA V281 with such a DAC.
The case is full (!!) or the DAC circuitry must become smaller. This is not an easy task but we will think about it.

Thank you for the link to Benchmarks AHB 2 Power Amp. I was not familiar with it by now.

Indeed we are thinking about an power amp since a while.

Our approach is:
Same Case / form factor like V220 / V281
This small case requires a cooling tunnel with fan (of course temperature controlled and only about 30 dB silent when in maximum motion) and avoids ugly outside heatsinks.

Around 2 x 100 W rms into 4 ohms, around 200 W into 8 ohms in BTL mode.

Bipolar technique, lowest THD, hugh damping factor and highest dynamic /SNR with the same trick Benchmark is using:
Make the gain as small as possible as most gear in front would be glad to deliver more.
We have stabilized our headphone amps under any circumstances with only 8 dB gain,
inside a poweramp we think gain as low as 12-16 dB gain is possible for full output.
If not, us the Pre-Gain method like we do with our headphone amps ! 
This measure will care for highest SNR / lowest noise.




Fried Reim

post #141 of 2440

Hi Fried,

Thanks a million for sharing the plans for new goodies from Violectric. I really look forward to that Power Amp and the upgrades. When you mention that the upcoming DAC with remote control and motorized digital volume control will be better than the V800, does that mean significant improvements in performance?

You also mention retrofitable 24/192 USB input for the V800; will there also be a retrofittable 24/192 USB DAC module available for the V100/V181/V200 Amps?

I agree with you regarding DSD, although many websites have started to sell DSD downloads (http://www.audiostream.com/content/dsd-resources-dsd-download-sites) and the format seems to have a revival. I believe Benchmark only included it in their DAC2 because of the current demand and to support a format that is commercial, not because they believe DSD actually means a qualitative difference or advantage (http://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=74).

A V220 with an onboard premium DAC would be a killer component indeed, especially if it can maintain the original specs of the V200 and a V800i despite the small box. I would not easilly be able to refrain from damaging my wallet a bit for a component like that.

The ideas for a Power Amp sound really attractive, will certainly be looking forward to that release. You are definitely right about heat sinks, they really are ugly, but they also avoid the noise of fans that can be a nuisance you don't see, but that you can sometimes hear. The low gain feature is of course a good design choice, but I also think Benchmark's AHB2 is benefiting from the new Feed-Forward Error Correction THX Amps (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/18/ca-thx-idUSnBw185045a+100+BSW20131018) they have incorporated: "THX recently patented two new technologies that address crossover distortion, and Benchmark incorporated these innovations into the AHB2 design. These new innovations virtually eliminate crossover distortion while offering opportunities to improve efficiency, damping, and dynamic range. The licensed technology solves the crossover problem by combining a plurality of output stages such that one stage drives the output while another stage enters a crossover region". (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0Huw2jNYSk) The recently raved about (http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/acousticimagery/1.html) and pretty goundbreaking nCore class-D Amp module from Hypex (http://www.hypex.nl/docs/papers/ncore%20wp.pdf), developed by Bruno Putseys (Mola-Mola/Hypex/Grimm), is of course the direct contender of the Benchmark/THX Amp, but at a much higher price.

Thanks again for your kind response and for sharing your ideas, and apologies for the additional questions.


post #142 of 2440

The 24/192 USB for V800 as well as the 3 optional USB DACs for the headphone amps are available here: 



Concerning the Violectric power amp:

Meanwhile I think that a fan is a smart solution. 

Those can be temperature controlled and modern designs are hard to hear.
Ours will be inside the case, absorbing through the front panel and blowing through the tunnel on the back panel.


I totally agree with John Siau´s opinion that SNR is totally overrated and that the real challenge is THD.

Years ago there was a powerful german company with a proprietary 28-bit converters and outstanding 150 or 160 dB SNR.

Unfortunately, as this design was a gain stageing converter, THD was very poor and far beyond -100 dB.

It took a while until the "professionals" realized that maximising SNR is the wrong way to go.


This is the same with DSD.

It may make sense to record directly in the DSD format.

Whats acually on display to download is old stuff which was converted to DSD.

Maybe that there are people claiming it sounds "better", for my opinion it sound only "different".


In the mid 90ties I was invited to a comparison of 48 kHz vs 96 kHz vs DSD in Switzerland, Bern, Music University.

There was a band playing some contemporary "music" and we had to decide "blind" between live (analog), and the 3 digital formats converted A/D - D/A.

And one presentation was always the winner - it was DSD !!

The analog performance together with 48 kHz and 96 kHz where rated nearly equal with small issues against 48 kHz.

But as DSD can´t be "better" than the real live perfomance it must be "different".

And it is indeed as most analog equipment cant handle the massive attack of high frequency noise which always come
with DSD and seems to tend to produce some harmonics - which are nice to hear ...  


I have to read a bit more about the "patented circuitry" inside the benchmark amp.

But I dont think that there is really a revolutionary approch to that theme as everything about classic amps is invented by now.

In contrary to Benchmark we like to use a traditional toroidal transformer and tons of smoothing caps.

This is a very conservative approach but I am sure that it will be apprechiated.
We also think about class-D amps.

Here the Hypex approach is worth a try.





post #143 of 2440

from what i've heard at the Violectric booth in Munich the V281 will be a serious contender and a giant killer for many other overpriced headphones amplifiers.

I've tried it with the Hd800 in balanced mode and with my hd600 also in balanced mode using a reference track from my usb stick.

The amp is really powerful,goes very deep,it's fast detailed but also neutral.I think it will properly drive the he-6 much much better than the ef-6 by HIfiMan.


I hope to have a review unit soon here to test it and compare with all the other balanced amps i have in my studio. - thank you Fried! ;-)


I think that if you are looking for a serious ss balanced amp the V281 could be your first choice.

post #144 of 2440

Thanks a million again for your answers, Fried.

It is always refreshing to read someone with clear points of view and a direct approach.

I totally agree regarding the DSD files available, but sadly many are following the market hype and the format is certainly having it's moment of success. I think in the end it will fail, but for now some are making money from it and that sure gives it momentum and earns supporters.

I am more under the impression that John Siau is advocating an ideal 130 dB SNR in function of the dynamic range of the human hearing, in function of the approxinately 21 Bits that 130 dB represent, and as a conditio sine qua non for accurate reproduction of High-Resolution audio ("Anyone who thinks they can hear the difference between 16-bit and 24-bit digital audio through a "17-bit" power amplifier is fooling themselves."). Of course THD+N is a crucial value for an ideally high SNR to matter, but Benchmark's DAC2 is doing well in that department as well, and their AHB2 Amp is even slightly better then their DAC.

You are also right that everything has been pretty much invented regarding Power Amps, but this rather "ancient", and at some point abandoned solution of Feed-Forward error correction has payed off. The class-D solution of Bruno Putseys is certainly more attractive, but much more expensive. Also his Mola-Mola dicrete DAC (http://www.mola-mola.nl/index.php/dak) shows values that go through the roof, like: Signal to Noise Ratio: 140 dB (standalone version), 130dB (preamp option board), THD, IMD: not measurable (estimated -150 dB), Integrated jitter: <1 ps from 10 Hz upwards, <300 fs from 1 kHz upwards, Jitter rejection: >80 dB at 1 Hz after 20 seconds of lock, and Bandwidth: Up to 80 kHz. Choice of sharp or slow upsampling filters, minimum or linear phase. But of course all this comes with a price tag, lol.

Thanks again for your sharp comments and for sharing future ideas for Violectric components.



I was reading an interview with John Siau and found the reference you made in the sense that, "I totally agree with John Siau´s opinion that SNR is totally overrated and that the real challenge is THD." The interview is a very interesting one, and the passage referring to the THD vs SNR argument is the following: "

"Every A/D and D/A converter that Benchmark has produced uses Sigma-Delta conversion with equally weighted 1-bit conversion elements. Benchmark never used multi-level conversion because of the THD issues caused by the linearity errors that are common to all multi-level systems. Benchmark has always placed high priorities on THD and linearity, at the expense of SNR. Sigma-delta 1-bit DACs tend to produce more noise than multi-level systems (such as ladder DACs), but the 1-bit systems achieve near-perfect linearity, which in our opinion is much more important than SNR. Benchmark has overcome the noise limitations of 1-bit conversion through the use of parallel 1-bit conversion systems. Our DAC2 sums the outputs of four balanced converters. Each of these four converters has sixteen equally-weighted balanced 1-bit converters (for a total of 64) that are summed together to improve the SNR of the system. These 64 1-bit converters can be driven from a 32-bit PCM signal, or from a 1-bit DSD signal. Either way, the performance is nearly identical, and none of the multi-bit THD issues exist. In this sigma-delta configuration there is almost no difference between the in-band performance of PCM vs. DSD. The only measurable difference at the output of the DAC2 is that 64x DSD signals produce about 8 dB more noise in-band than96/24 PCM (due to the SNR limitations of DSD). Ultrasonic noise is not an issue at the output of the DAC2 because we are careful to remove the ultrasonic noise produced by DSD noise shaping. These same filters also remove the ultrasonic images that are always produced by D/A conversion (DSD or PCM)."

Interestingly, regarding the issue of DSD and the advantage of native DSD downloads vs SACD, Siau notes the following:

"Benchmark introduced 64X DSD on the new Benchmark DAC2 converter family. This gives our customers the ability to play DSD recordings in native format. Existing DSD recordings should not need to be converted to PCM to be enjoyed on a Benchmark converter.

Currently there is no practical way to play SACD disks through a high-quality outboard converter. SACD copy protection holds most existing DSD recordings captive to the limited quality of the low-cost conversion systems built into SACD players. It is our hope that many of the fine recordings that exist on SACD disks will be released for purchase as DSD downloads."


Edited by Zkadoush - 5/24/14 at 3:45am
post #145 of 2440
Originally Posted by BeyerMonster View Post

you can't possibly be serious, your concerns just do not hold water


1. a feet upgrade would increase the price a few bucks, but would make the devices, especially when stacked , more practical, no need to increase weight


2. what about the expensive extra tick case and the nextel and front panel finish and engraving, adds a lot more to the weight and cost but doesn't really make anything more practical or more performing, why not complain about that?


3. improving the feet it could maybe be possible to shave some weight off and still have a better grip


4. i wasn't really giving an opinion or asking for one or any kind of intervention, it's a fact, those feet are not fit for 1k+ devices

post #146 of 2440


Originally Posted by roskodan View Post


you can't possibly be serious, your concerns just do not hold water

why not complain about that?


I said the following:

A) I think it's a non-issue, because while I have very lightweight devices that slide around, my V200/V800 stack is not one of them.

B) I specifically said I hope they don't make it heavier just so it doesn't slide around, because that will increase cost.

C) I never objected to a change in feet, I just don't think it's necessary.


I'm very interested in what an "improved version" sounds like, but I am happy with my V200. As such, I don't have any "complaints", so I'm not going to manufacture one.


Originally Posted by roskodan View Post


4. i wasn't really giving an opinion

That's exactly what you did. You stated your opinion. I stated my opinion. We agree to disagree. At this point we've both voiced our opinions, and I don't plan to say any more on this topic since we're just polluting the 281 thread now.

post #147 of 2440

it's almost june


hopefully review samples will be rolling out soon (if not already)


what caught my eye is that the v281 looks the same as the v220 but with an added add on amplifier on top of the v220


so kind was wondering how come they have different front panels, as it looks like a v220 could be sent in for upgrade at some point, to the v281

post #148 of 2440


Listened v281 to the show in Munich,and wanted to buy it right there,

Fried dissuaded me but from the fact that it was a prototype.

But I already pre-order.



post #149 of 2440
Originally Posted by mordim View Post


Listened v281 to the show in Munich,and wanted to buy it right there,

Fried dissuaded me but from the fact that it was a prototype.

But I already pre-order.



So, what convinced you and what other amps have you tried?  I don't doubt that the product is good, just curious to hear someone who tried it.

post #150 of 2440



I have long been looking for an amplifier for my Sennheiser HD 800,

I had Eximus DP1, LUXMAN P-1u,

listening to headphones with several tube amplifiers (Leben CS-600),

but the sound v281 liked more than others.

But this is only my personal opinion.

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