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Violectric HPA V281 - Vorsprung durch Balanced

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by fegefeuer, Feb 12, 2014.
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  1. Wurstteppich
    I am using the V850 DAC at the moment.
    What are your conclusions for the other DACs you tested with the V281? Pros and cons. I am just curious.
  2. sandalaudio
    Mojo would work fine with V281, provided that you ensure that you have set the mojo to line level voltage (e.g. +4 dBu) and don't crank it up.
    Mojo does have a "line out" mode by pressing the button combination on startup, but one annoying thing about Chord is that their "line out" voltage is 3Vrms (+11.7dBu), which is quite high compared to other brands, and may make the V281 volume knob feel too sensitive, so you might want to set the rear input gain switch down a bit.
    V281 can handle up to +21dBu, so it is one of the most tolerant amps out there for input voltage, but you should still be careful not to accidentally crank up the Mojo and overload the V281 input circuit. Other headphone amps are not as tolerant as V281, so I've seen a few Hugo/Mojo users unknowingly clipping the input stage of some headphone amps, making the amp distort and sound "hot".
    Anyhow Mojo doesn't have a dedicated high impedance (e.g. 100 ohm) line output per se, and the 3.5mm jack is not be the best thing around for the sake of crosstalk.
    If you have limited budget then I'm sure Mojo will serve well for the time being, but you might eventually want to buy a good dedicated line level DAC. Chord also makes 2Qute for that purpose.
  3. emptymt
    Could you kindly explain what the differences in?
    I have a plan to buy a desktop DAC, however if I do I'd rather save up and buy the best possible, so while I save up I was planning to use the mojo as DAC as it is certainly better than the optional DAC that Violectric has.
    so I just connect using those cable from the headphone out of the mojo to it right?
  4. S Crowther
    Emptymp>I believe so, but as I said I do not have the Mojo.I have a cable with at one end a headphone jack and the other with RCA cables so they certainly exist. I used to use it to connect my AK240 to the V281.
  5. sandalaudio
    Yeah you just need to switch on the Mojo in "line out" mode (hold both volume buttons while turning it on) to ensure it is 3Vrms.
    You need a 3.5mm stereo to RCA cable to connect it to V281's line input.
    It's worth trying some decent quality cables to see if it makes any difference, but there's no point going crazy if you think Mojo is only a temporary solution.
    If you end up buying a DAC that has balanced XLR line output (most expensive ones do), then XLR is better than RCA since it carries higher voltage (more signal over noise) and resistant to common mode noise (like hum from interference) so it's particularly beneficial for longer lengths (like 5-10m).
    I tend to find that even with shorter (< 2m) cables, XLR cables cause less influence to the sound, while RCA cables tend to be more varied depending on what cable I use.  For V281, both RCA and XLR gets converted to single ended internally, so you don't have to be too picky about it, unlike some other amps where RCA and XLR takes totally different paths internally.
    emptymt likes this.
  6. xxx1313

    Curious too about your impressions with those different DACs in combination with the V281. What does the Yggy better than the HD30 for example?
    Did anybody have the chance to audition the V281 with the Metrum Pavane?
    I have an Auralic Vega, a very good DAC too, also combined with the V281. But the more I listen to the Vega, the less I like its treble sparkle. :frowning2:
  7. xxx1313
    I have the Vio V281 and had the Master 1 about two hours here to audition (DAC: Auralic Vega). I did not really like the price/value ratio of the Master 1, but it was a spectacular combination with the V281, in my opinion. Not really neutral (the Master 1 never is), much ooomph in the low frequencies, also good quality there. Quite good soundstaging, very realistic placement of voices in instruments. I listened to the Master 1 once again a few months later at the "High End" in Munich, and it did not impress me at all there.
  8. TonyNewman
    +1. After a while I found the "glassy" and sometimes "steely" treble of the Vega to be fatiguing, even with the V281 or a 300B tube amp. Then I went to a Hegel HD30 DAC - a very strong DAC technically, but lacking in any warmth or musicality for me. There is a hard edge to the sound that I also find fatiguing. Next step is the M1 Bricasti. Hopefully that will end my search for a non-fatiguing DAC.
  9. mulder01
    You can definitely use the mojo. Especially if it's only temporary - heck, you could use the headphone out of an ipod with the volume turned right up if you were all out of options. No reason why it wouldn't work for now even if it's not the ideal endgame solution.
  10. xxx1313
    The Bricasti M1 is definitely one of the best DACs available, but it is too expensive for me, to be honest. Next week I will go to a hifi dealer 400 km away in order to listen to a Metrum Pavane. Then I will decide if I will upgrade once again (hopefully the end of my search, too) or downsize to an AK380 with external amp instead (it is not much worse than my desktop setup).
  11. TonyNewman
    Too expensive for me too. I should have used the cash to replace my rubbish 2001 car, but ended up buying a DAC instead as the HD30 did not work out for me.
    This hobby is nuts and so am I for blowing so much cash on a freaken DAC [​IMG]
    I did a bunch of research before settling on the Bricasti. Some of this might be helpful to other V281 owners.
    Living at the end of civilization I rarely get the change to try high end gear before committing to a purchase, so it is mostly semi-educated guesswork. Sometimes I get it right (V281) and sometimes I get it very wrong (HD30, 430HA).
    At the Bricasti price bracket there are a bunch of great options - best I can gather the balance between warmth/musicality and detail/dynamics goes something like this (from warmest/smoothest to most detailed/digital):
    1) MSB Analog
    2) Meitner MA-1
    3) Bricasti M1
    4) Berkeley Audio DAC 2
    I am looking for a detailed + technically proficient DAC with a touch of warmth / musicality - so the Bricasti is what I went for. Thought long and hard about the Meitner / MSB options.
  12. xxx1313
    Thanks for your opinion, quite helpful!
  13. TonyNewman
    Once I have the Bricasti run in and working as best I can get it to work (filter settings ... etc) I will report back on the results with the V281.
    I am expecting great things, but I have been wrong before.
  14. xxx1313
    Wisdom comes with time - and sometimes only after a long trial an error process, as most of us know :wink: Your report is highly appreciated!
  15. sandalaudio
    With all these DAC talk, I hope Violectric is watching the thread and working hard on some new high quality USB DAC product.
    It seems like a lot of people have their mind set on V281 (like me), but wandering around to find a DAC that's worthy of connecting to it.
    V850 is great, but a lot has moved on in the DAC products over the last couple of years, and it certainly needs a good update.
    For example I have too many DSD albums so native DSD256 support became a must-have. Other people would have other wishes.
    Also for some people the V850 is a bit of an overkill (since majority of the cost is the hefty metal chassis and the power supply).
    An updated onboard DAC card for V281 would be great.
    For example, I recently tried a Simaudio MOON 430HAD headphone amp, which has a similar tiny onboard DAC card as an optional addition, and that sounded pretty good to me, that I felt no need to buy an external DAC.
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