Cavalli Audio's Liquid Carbon Owners Impressions

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by mr rick, Nov 14, 2015.
  1. triplestarfish3D
    Can anyone provide a solid upgrade from the Liquid Carbons? I know the Liquid Gold is supposedly similar in tonality but I'm not sure if I can shell out that much money. Anything around ~$1500 would be appreciated.
  2. Pharmaboy
    I have a Liquid Carbon v2.0 & love it. I also have a Violectric V281 & its less expensive but still excellent cousin, the Lake People G109-A.

    I've been comparing the V281 to the LC for several hours on my Fidelio X2s. I'm having trouble taking them off my head!

    These amps all rock like crazy, but they also contrast each other in fascinating ways, sonically. I get something different from the Violectric products vs the LC:
    • somewhat less warmth
    • still that great bass, but even a bit more dynamic/concussive
    • and great dynamics, top to bottom (the LC is not the last word in dynamics, though it's certainly not deficient). The V281 in particular has insane dynamics & bass, just beyond the pale.
    • but the LC has slightly more 3D soundstaging, though I'm splitting hairs now.

    So I would suggest 2 Violectric options:

    (SE output only): Violectric V200
    (~$1,000 incl. fall discount): a lot of people give this one a lot of love on Head Fi. It has a little more than 1W greater power than the LC, though unless you have and HE-6, it probably won't matter in the least (the LC drives everything I have to more quality volume than I can handle).

    (SE & XLR outputs): Violectric V220 (~$1,550 incl. fall discount): This is the V281 minus preamp capability. A power monster said to sound identical to the V281--and believe me, that is a VERY GOOD thing.
  3. triplestarfish3D

    I heard only good things about the Violectric a couple of years ago. Will definitely check them out :) Thanks!
  4. mandrake50
    For a long time the Burson stuff got lots of posts here, and in the audio press. It has not lately, concerning the latest iteration, the Conductor V2. There is a thread here, not very active, but owners seem to really like it. I picked up a Conductor V2+. The plus means it has a ESS based DAC built in. The amp is rated at 8 watts into 16 ohms. In other words, it can drive pretty much anything. I really like it. Maybe the new toy syndrome, but my LC has been sitting idle since I got the CV2+. It is very close to neutral. Has great sound field representation, but the thing that impresses me is the big deep bass from the thing. It is like bottomless and super clean. Over all detail retrieval is quite excellent. With some headphones, notably the HE 560, I really miss the smooth house sound of the little LC. For everything else, I am really learning to appreciate the Burson. For instance, one of the raps on the HE 1000 V1 was that it lacked punch. The Burson definitely removes that area for criticism.

    It is built like a tank, really. I think 5mm chassis and case all aluminum. Multiple inputs and outputs, even a remote control.

    I don't know if you could arrange to hear one, but if so, take a listen. There are a few, very positive, reviews out there. I think it comes in list a bit above $1500, but dealing directly with Burson, you may well be able to get it for closer to $1300 shipped. If you just want the amp without the DAC, it is a few hundred less. In any case, it is within your budget.

    OTH, what is driving you to look for something to replace the LC. I have been very happy with my V1. I actually sort of stumbled into the Burson deal while talking to them about getting their latest opamps for the Gustard H10. They offered me a deal on a package of the 4 V6s that I wanted and the DAC/AMP for a deal that I couldn't refuse. Otherwise, between the H10 and LC, I was doing alright.

    OH, and for a budget amp, you might check out the H10 too. It is one that I bought because so many raved about it with the HE560. As people are fond of saying, It punches way above its price point. It also allows all kinds of customization via opamp rolling. Some have said it is close to a direct copy, with what Gustard thinks are improvements, of one of the Violectric amps.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
    swspiers likes this.
  5. doraymon
    Thanks for the hint.
    I'm a bit confused on the V220 though, it seems it has only SE outputs on the front panel and balanced only on the rear panel! That is weird.
    And what about the V280?
  6. yage
    If you have reasonably sensitive headphones, I suggest the new HeadAmp Gilmore Lite mk2 ($499). Classic circuit design and class A operation. I own an older variant, the GS-1, and I prefer it to the Carbon as well as the Gold. Made in the USA, if that's important to you. Sometimes you don't have to pay more for better performance.
    Hooster likes this.
  7. Pharmaboy
    No wonder you're confused about the V220--it's the wrong model #! My bad...sorry for the confusion. But it must be said, the Violectric models #s are kind of confusing to begin with.

    I meant to refer to the V280, which is the non-preamp, balanced output version of the big V281:

    The V280 is their primo balanced amp that is not also a pre-amp; the V200 is their primo SE amp that is not also a pre-amp.
  8. doraymon
    That's what I thought thanks!
    Well this is very, very interesting. I will look for comparisons vs V281, if it's really so close its a perfect solution to upgrade from LC2 without going completely bankrupt!
  9. Pharmaboy
    There are several/occasional mentions of V281 vs V280 comparisons earlier in this thread. Can't recall dates/pgs. I'm pretty sure several people concluded these amps sound virtually identical--as they should: as far as I can tell, the only real differences between them are a larger case + preamp outs on the V281.
  10. Toolman
    Unfortunately all warranty are deemed expired now that Cavalli has shut up shop for good.

    I shall cherish my LAu (and LC2) for as long as my ears holds up
  11. x RELIC x Contributor
    Wait, what?!
  12. fiascogarcia
    Where did you get this information?
  13. Emerpus
    x RELIC x likes this.
  14. Mediahound
  15. Ken G
    Wow, the Massdrop deal makes a lot more sense in this context. Mark it down now, there almost assuredly be a Higher end Massdrop/Cavalli amp (Liquid Crimson?) for sale on Massdrop by this time next year.

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