REVIEW: Violectric V181 balanced headphone amp
Feb 24, 2015 at 5:01 PM Post #76 of 102

dmort

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I just got my v181 and set it up with my emotiva XDA-1. Balanced out to the v181, then right now I'm only listening in single ended mode as I don't own a pair of balanced headphones yet. I'm shocked by how low power the SE output is on the v181 compared to my Gilmore Lite. The GL crushes it. But, I didn't buy this for the SE outs... I'm waiting on a T1 and then I intend to have them reterminated balanced. Then I'll know if the v181 was worth the upgrade over the GLite.
 
Feb 26, 2015 at 9:52 AM Post #77 of 102

project86

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  I just got my v181 and set it up with my emotiva XDA-1. Balanced out to the v181, then right now I'm only listening in single ended mode as I don't own a pair of balanced headphones yet. I'm shocked by how low power the SE output is on the v181 compared to my Gilmore Lite. The GL crushes it. But, I didn't buy this for the SE outs... I'm waiting on a T1 and then I intend to have them reterminated balanced. Then I'll know if the v181 was worth the upgrade over the GLite.

 
 
Low power, or low gain/volume? Because those are very different things. 
 
The Violectric has higher power output in single ended mode (2200mW) than the Glite (1000mW), and more voltage swing as well. That doesn't necessarily make it a better amp.... but definitely a more powerful one. 
 
Have you played with the pregain settings? That may be causing you to have lower than optimal volume output.
 
Feb 26, 2015 at 6:14 PM Post #78 of 102

dmort

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  Low power, or low gain/volume? Because those are very different things. 

Thanks for pointing that out! I meant low gain/volume. And you're right, I forgot about the pre-gain switches. I was using them with my k501s and k601s in single ended mode. Those AKGs are a little hard to drive. The v181 had a much easier time driving my focal spirit pros. I'm going to try bumping up those pre-gain switches and seeing if it makes a difference.
 
I need a pair of balanced headphones for this amp - any suggestions that are sub $450ish?
 
Feb 26, 2015 at 7:16 PM Post #79 of 102

dmort

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You were right - it was set to -12 and I reset it to +6. Quite a bit better now.
 
Mar 7, 2015 at 5:09 PM Post #80 of 102

dmort

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If anyone is interested, I picked up a pair of dt880s with a zynsonix 4pin cable and it sounds awesome with this amp. I've also got a pair of ultrasone 2900 and Bryan at zynsonix is going to make a balanced cable for them... I'll let you know how it sounds - the German German pairing (not the senn pairing of course...)
 
Jun 3, 2015 at 11:37 PM Post #82 of 102

Falldog

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June, 2015...this thread continues!!
 
Just bought my HPA V181 Headphone Amp.  I purchased the V181 because of it's size and cuz of discount code at the Violectric web site!  Also read the reviews here...thanks for that.  Amp showed up in three days.   I wanted a Balanced Headphone AMP with option for Single Ended connection as well.  My V181 is connected via Balanced cable to my old Bel Canto DAC.  Music source is Bryston BDP-2.  I try to buy Hi Res music going forward, but most of my collection are my CD's RIPed to .FLAC files.
 
Now it's time to make the decision on some high end, balanced headphones.  I am thinking Sennheiser HD800 or Audeze LCD-X.  I did a quick listen test, at a local shop.   HD800 is very light and comfortable, but I could hear the 'issue' with highs.  I would consider doing the 'felt mod' for the HD800.  The Audeze sounded great...but very heavy.
 
Please post the headphones you are using with the V181 Amp and what kind of music do you listen to.
 
Thanks for this review!!
 
Jun 5, 2015 at 1:49 AM Post #84 of 102

Rockcoon

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Falldog
I would give a chance to mr. Speakers Ether. It's something in between lcdX and hd800. They physically light, and more forgiving on treble, but still very resolving. Not my own experience. For more you can check here
http://www.head-fi.org/t/760249/mrspeakers-ether-impressions-thread
 
Jan 2, 2016 at 6:19 PM Post #86 of 102

ToroFiestaSol

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I've ordered a Hifiman HE-400i today...it will arrive tuesday :)
Anyone tried the V181 with the Hifiman HE-400i?
 
Is the price difference worth between the Lake People G-109P and the V181 with a balanced cable?
 
Jan 2, 2016 at 7:32 PM Post #88 of 102

ToroFiestaSol

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I've not auditioned an HE-400i, so I can't help you there.

However, I've owned both the V100 (similar to G109) and V181. The upgrade from single ended V100 to fully balanced V181 was worth it to me. Significant gains imo switching to a fully balanced setup. Diminishing returns kicked in for me only after having a balanced setup. All 3 headphones that I've listened to fully balanced perform on a higher level than they did in single ended use. YMMV of course. If you can afford the V181 and already have a dac with balanced outputs, it's a no brainer imo. I don't plan on replacing my V181 anytime soon. It doesn't leave me wanting something better unlike prior to owning one and typically experiencing some upgraditis.

 
Thanks for your answer!
Yes, I have a balanced DAC (Audient ID22), so I'll go for the V181. 
I'll post my impressions here next month, my wallet is empty with the Hifiman purchase, so I'll run it with the Audient meanwhile 
 

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