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Violectric HPA V281 - Vorsprung durch Balanced - Page 92

post #1366 of 1374
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

 

I obviously can't speak for the HE-1000 yet, but I intend to give that a try at some point. Looks promising, though I'm not thrilled about that price... my expectations rise considerably when you start charging Stax money. 

 

As far as HE-6, I never really enjoyed it as driven by most amps. Even from V200, it was "good" but never "great". But from the V281 (and Auralic Taurus as well) the HE-6 is one of my favorites.

 

V281 + HE-500 is great, very solid performance all around, but HE-6 seems to have it beat on a number of levels. First is low end slam. HE-6 has more authority than pretty much any headphone I've heard. Listening to Felix Hell's Organ Sensation (Reference Recordings HRx release) is remarkable on this setup. The sensation of real air movement is palpable. The only thing missing is that full-body pressure you get with big speakers, although I swear my brain tries to "suggest" that sort of thing with the V281/HE-6.

 

Then there's imaging, and top end resolution.... both improved with HE-6. Talk about a clear window into the music! It's up there with HD800 and LCD-3. 

 

I don't love the comfort of HE-6, but it's not terrible either, and for this SQ at a relatively sane price, I can deal with it. 

Thanks.

What about tonal balance?

Do you find the more emphatic top end of the he-6 fatiguing with the v281 (compared to the 500)?

post #1367 of 1374

I have a Benchmark DAC2 DX + V281 combo, and the level of detail and refined articulation is simply staggering. Especially with my HD800s.
Benchmark's DAC2 HGC series is an extremely priceworthy option for a state of the art D/A converter. The DAC2 series has almost unrivaled performance and comes with really solid features, several of which are unavailable with other DACs (such as their Hybrid Gain Control, 3,5 dB extra high headroom 32-bit DSP, etc.), and that clearly put it in a class of its own.

My only quibble with my DAC2 DX is that, although Benchmark lists "Low-Impedance Passive Output Attenuators" among its features, this is not quite the case. The 10dB attenuation has a 425 Ohm output impedance, and the 20 dB attenuation has a 135 Ohm output impedance. The otherwise great BYPASS mode for the DAC2's volume control, that can be locked using the output bus for the balanced outputs has a default +24 dB output, which is a little high for the V281's max +21 dB balanced input.

Fried suggested I use the DAC2 - in variable mode - with 20 dB attenuators to avoid hitting the + 24 dB, and to avoid the relatively high 425 Ohm output impedance of the DAC2's 10 dB attenuators, and use the V281's own gain adjustments to compensate. Fried also mentioned that the high output impedance could make the cables more prone to hiss and hum. I tried both attenuators and couldn't detect any hum or noise, so I went with the 10 dB attenuators, which keep the max output of the balanced outputs at +14 dB.

The balanced inputs of the V281 have a 10k Ohms input impedance, which makes the 425 Ohms output impedance of the DAC2 more than 20 times lower, and going by the rule of thumb 10:1 input/output ratio, I'm still well in the clear with the 10 dB attenuators 425 Ohms output impedance. I also think both components are well grounded and should reject any hum or hiss.

Fried also mentioned that the +24 dB output of the Benchmark in BYPASS mode won't by any means damage the circuitry of the V281, but that there can be distortion by maximum levels.

I am currently using the DAC2 in variable mode with the volume pot fully clockwise, and regulating volume with the V281. I have no issues whatsoever with distortion, and I have plenty of headroom for more quiet classical location recordings with little or no compression.

I definitely recommend Benchmark's DAC2 series, which also - with exception of the DAC2 L - feature Benchmak's excellent HPA2 0 Ohm headphone Amp. I can enjoy my HD800s directly from the headphone outputs of the Benchmark, but even more so from the V281. My LCD-Xs also sound fantastic directly from the DAC2, but better from the V281. The bass of my HD800s from the V281's headphone outputs is just astonishing and keeps surprising me. I almost have a feeling it extends more and more accurately than my LCD-Xs, lol.

Anyhow, I would highly recommend anyone the Benchmark DAC2 + V281 combination, it's just awesome!

Cheers!


Edited by Zkadoush - 3/23/15 at 12:24pm
post #1368 of 1374
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

I'm no fan of the Benchmark DAC 1 (too brittle for me), but their DAC 2 is very nice. And I also agree that the Exasound stuff is quite good as well (and under appreciated). Plenty of excellent stuff to choose from.

 

I've been using the Resonessence Labs Invicta Mirus, the Exogal Comet, and the NuPrime DAC-10H in about equal measure. Also the Parasound Zdac v2, which is a lot of bang for the buck. I like how V281 brings out the subtle differences among all these models. 

I have a Benchmark DAC2 DX + V281 combo, and the level of detail and refined articulation is simply staggering. Especially with my HD800s.

Benchmark's DAC2 HGC series is an extremely priceworthy option for a state of the art D/A converter. The DAC2 series has almost unrivaled performance and comes with really solid features, several of which are unavailable with other DACs (such as their Hybrid Gain Control, 3,5 dB extra high headroom 32-bit DSP, etc.), and that clearly put it in a class of its own.


My only quibble with my DAC2 DX is that, although Benchmark lists "Low-Impedance Passive Output Attenuators" among its features, this is not quite the case. The 10dB attenuation has a 425 Ohm output impedance, and the 20 dB attenuation has a 135 Ohm output impedance. The otherwise great BYPASS mode for the DAC2's volume control, that can be locked using the output bus for the balanced outputs has a default +24 dB output, which is a little high for the V281's max +21 dB balanced input.


Fried suggested I use the DAC2 - in variable mode - with 20 dB attenuators to avoid hitting the + 24 dB, and to avoid the relatively high 425 Ohm output impedance of the DAC2's 10 dB attenuators, and use the V281's own gain adjustments to compensate. Fried also mentioned that the high output impedance could make the cables more prone to hiss and hum. I tried both attenuators and couldn't detect any hum or noise, so I went with the 10 dB attenuators, which keep the max output of the balanced outputs at +14 dB.


The balanced inputs of the V281 have a 10k Ohms input impedance, which makes the 425 Ohms output impedance of the DAC2 more than 20 times lower, and going by the rule of thumb 10:1 input/output ratio, I'm still well in the clear with the 10 dB attenuators 425 Ohms output impedance. I also think both components are well grounded and should reject any hum or hiss.


Fried also mentioned that the +24 dB output of the Benchmark in BYPASS mode won't by any means damage the circuitry of the V281, but that there can be distortion by maximum levels.

I am currently using the DAC2 in variable mode with the volume pot fully clockwise, and regulating volume with the V281. I have no issues whatsoever with distortion, and I have plenty of headroom for more quiet classical location recordings with little or no compression.


I definitely recommend Benchmark's DAC2 series, which also - with exception of the DAC2 L - feature Benchmak's excellent HPA2 0 Ohm headphone Amp. I can enjoy my HD800s directly from the headphone outputs of the Benchmark, but even more so from the V281. My LCD-Xs also sound fantastic directly from the DAC2, but better from the V281. The bass of my HD800s from the V281's headphone outputs is just astonishing and keeps surprising me. I almost have a feeling it extends more and more accurately than my LCD-Xs, lol.


Anyhow, I would highly recommend anyone the Benchmark DAC2 + V281 combination, it's just awesome!


Cheers!

post #1369 of 1374

I find the audiophile reaction to Benchmark's products a little weird. Many people loved the DAC1 when it first came out. John Atkinson of Stereophile did an extremely positive review and used it as a reference for many years. Tons of other people considered it affordable state of the art. Yet somewhere in there, some of us started noticing it was a bit lean, brittle, and thin sounding. There was a bit of backlash I think, which wasn't helped by Benchmark's views on asynchronous USB.... they essentially called it unnecessary, with lots of technical explanations as to why that was the case. Yet on the DAC2, USB is async, so there you go.

 

I think the DAC2 is a whole different animal compared to the DAC1. Anyone who found the original somewhat hard to listen to (as I do) should not hold that against the DAC2. It's very, very good. 

post #1370 of 1374
Noticed bias of dac1 on first listen and knew would never want to own, but just goes to show different taste and perception
post #1371 of 1374

I think that the discourse with which Benchmark positioned itself regarding the whole asynchronous vs synchronous debate, had more to do with debunking the snake oil propagated by audiophile circles, and especially by people like Gordon Rankin - who also had his dog in the fight - that defended async as radically superior than sync, and for completely bogus reasons.

It would appear opportunistic coming from Benchmark to include the asynchronous pitch when listing the features and technologies of the new DAC2 series - just like including DSD capabilities (Fried Reim, for example, couldn't care less about DSD) - , but I wouldn't really read much into that, since Benchmark does things for clear reasons that they argue and can support very well, and they have consistently been a lot more serious than most of their competitors when it comes to the science and engineering, and thus also towards their customers.

I totally agree with many that at some point manufacturers cave in to the demands and often false opinions of consumers, and the fact that Benchmark provided DSD capabilities with their DAC2 series certainly appears to be one of these kind of concessions. They are very consequent and careful about the inclusion of DSD capabilities though, as they've made clear they don't recommend or support DSD as a format for recording, but don't discard it for distribution. None of their A/D converters does DSD, for example.

This of course goes against the whole DSD craze, which is all about the superiority of native DSD recordings, but it serves the purpose of giving the consumer the option to play native DSD files if that's what he or she wants. Benchmark isn't catering to the snake oil of the DSD community, but considering the versatility of their DACs in the hands of the average user. They don't deny a format that still exists, but that I would agree with Fried Reim, is dead - and much more than vinyl. They include the ability to reproduce native DSD files without necessarily endorsing the DSD snake oil regarding DSD as superior to PCM as a recording format.

Both DSD and Vinyl formats represent current marketing and sales strategies, nothing else. As market trends, they will both most likely go as quickly as they caught on, once they don't represent more sales.

For reference about Benchmark's position regarding DSD:

http://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=74

 

Especially the 1st comment made by John Siau

 


Edited by Zkadoush - 3/25/15 at 12:28pm
post #1372 of 1374
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post
 

Not sure how much they want it to be public knowledge at this stage.... but yes, new stuff coming from Violectric sooner than later. The obvious, which we all saw coming (and I believe has been discussed here many pages ago), is a refreshed V800. The other is something altogether different.... 

 

Expect high-res USB using an XMOS solution rather than the Tenor chip as used by the current USB cards. There was talk of an exchange program to swap out USB cards for those users currently experiencing issues. But I don't have any other details about that. Personally I had zero issues with the 24/192 DAC card in the V281. 


You're right, I wouldn't be so sure about just how much Violectric would like to be public about their upcoming components at this stage, but I do know about some very interesting and promising new additions to their already great line of products. There's an upgrade of their V800 DAC coming up, but Fried has mentioned this in the past, as well as a less expensive version with less features but with the same performance. It will very much be worth it from the few details that I know. There's another component which I don't recall Fried mentioning in this thread, so I'll just leave it at that and say that it will also be very much worth it. Let's see if Fried himself brings the good news in the near future. I'm sure interested in the V800 upgrade.


Edited by Zkadoush - 3/25/15 at 12:32pm
post #1373 of 1374
I've just added a NAD M51 into my chain and the output through my V281 is truly amazing. This was instead of waiting for Violectrics new DAC. Highly highly recommended.
post #1374 of 1374
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzfi View Post

I've just added a NAD M51 into my chain and the output through my V281 is truly amazing. This was instead of waiting for Violectrics new DAC. Highly highly recommended.


The M51 ia an awesome DAC, it was on my shortlist before I got the Benchmark DAC2 DX; I just got the Benchmark for difference in features, as the NAD costs roughly the same as my DAC2 DX and is also up there with the few state of the art DACs, like the Anedio D2, the Resonessence Mirus, or the Weiss DAC 202.

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