Violectric HPA V281 - Vorsprung durch Balanced
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I don't see DSD being a part of a Violectric product unless they change their minds. Fried has made comments on how he feels about DSD.
 
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emptymt

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DSD itself is irrelevant. The only appeal of DSD is that nobody is going release something in that format without it being mixed/mastered very well. At least those are my thoughts on the matter. If the exact same track was released in both DSD and HQ PCM wav formats, I don't think anyone would care.
+1 on this,
 
I myself don't really care bout the format as long as the mastering is good, and is enjoyable through the gear I use. I think 16 bit & 24 bit is good enough for music enjoyment.
 
btw man, how's your opinion about the v281 & ether combo?
 
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I have the now discontinued V181. Not made the leap to a V280 or V281 as of yet. My understanding is that the V181 is less warm than a V200 and more transparent than a V100. V280 or 281 (balanced) should be a clear upgrade to my V181 though; particularly due to the PSU and more premium components.

That said, I do think highly of the pairing with my Ether Open. Very balanced and coherent. Nothing really stands out or comes across as glaring. e.g. no grating treble, rolled off highs, sibilance, over/underwhelming bass, recessed mids, vocals that are too forward, etc.

It doesn't leave me yearning for more. If I hear the V280 or V281 myself, maybe my mind would change after the fact. Jump start the upgraditis itch. Lol.
yeah man, I feel that my current set-up is fine as it is, however I feel that with the mojo although the sound quality is very good, I'm itching for upgrades mainly in the soundstage, dynamic, and bass impact, although upgrades in the other area is desirable too.
 
v281 seems like it will fix my need for soundstage, dynamic upgrade and also the bass impact.
 
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post-12701370
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sandalaudio

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DSD itself is irrelevant. The only appeal of DSD is that nobody is going release something in that format without it being mixed/mastered very well. At least those are my thoughts on the matter. If the exact same track was released in both DSD and HQ PCM wav formats, I don't think anyone would care.
 
The situation with DSD is important for jazz and classical listeners. There is not much merit of justifying DSD in the modern recordings, but it's been used for analogue tape transfers extensively over the past decade (I have around 400 albums). There are so many great classical and jazz recordings mastered/transferred onto DSD exclusively that deserves good native playback, until somebody decides to do a decent PCM transfer in the future (unlikely).
 
Whatever the preferences of the DAC designer, I don't want to pick and choose what albums I listen to based on the format. 
 
  yeah man, I feel that my current set-up is fine as it is, however I feel that with the mojo although the sound quality is very good, I'm itching for upgrades mainly in the soundstage, dynamic, and bass impact, although upgrades in the other area is desirable too.
 
v281 seems like it will fix my need for soundstage, dynamic upgrade and also the bass impact.
 
I think DACs are the sort of product that are constantly improving year after year (and lose value just as fast too, because too many new models keep coming out), while a good solid powerful reliable headphone amp like the V281 lasts for years and years without losing its appeal. 
 
It's funny to think that it's not that long ago that people were using isochronous USB Class 1 DACs with horrible sonic artifacts and dropouts. (and they were saying that FLAC is just a hype and a waste of hard drive space, while the MP3 is a much more sensible choice...). Those days are long gone, but I still have my Lehmann BCL headphone amp from back then, that's still sounding amazing and rock solid as ever (it's left turned on 24/7).
 
I think the V281 is that kind of amp, which will give me enjoyment for decades to come, just like my Lehmann continues to do so.
 
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  I have the Pioneer Master 1 and am thinking about going balanced. Would this be a good match with the Vio?  Any owners able to comment? Dac would be the Metrum Menuet (balanced out)
 
The V281 + Master1 (or Vio-Pio, as I jokingly call it) is my main setup (with Hugo as DAC), and it's spectacular! However, I couldn't yet bring myself to buy the balanced cable, so I'm running SE at the moment. People seem to agree that the sound becomes more neutral and the soundstage widens in balanced mode, but I actually like a bit of warmth to my sound, so I'm kind of afraid to lose that. I'm a sucker for soundstage though, so sooner rather than later I think curiosity will get the better of me. I'm so pleased with the combo that this is actually the only option I can imagine, upgrade-wise.
 
  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.
 
Aren't you thinking of the V800 by chance? The V850 actually is the update that came out last year. DSD won't happen with Violectric.
 
Edit: It's true though that the Violectric DACs have never gotten the same amount of love as their amps.
 
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@manpowre
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:
Hey, sorry I didnt read this until now, Ive been hiking since monday literally.. lost 3 kilos too!!
 
The HD30 is very very crisp. It reveals the songs to a level where its just not musical anymore and it attacks the instruments very hard. Its more detailed than the Yggdrasil. Also it has a very dark background. silent is really silent.. I didnt test the streamer part, only USB. I also tested HD25 (owned it) 2 times different units. What I found across all the 3 Hegel DACs was that Hegel has an issue with USB inputs. The HD25s both had issue with just moving the usb cable slightly and the driver would drop out of windows, and not come back until I plugged it into a usb port. I believe handshake isnt done correctly on hegel side. the DACs do have galvanized inputs, so using purifier or Intona usb isolator isnt needed and users also reported issues with purifier, and the Intona doesnt work either.
 
Of HD25 and HD30 I found HD25 to be more a good fit for headfi listening. It is just more musical, it doesnt attack the instruments so hard, but still revealing and great soundstage. I would have kept the HD25 if it wasnt for the issue with USB input.
 
We have some great prices for Hegel products here in Norway, as they import them from the factory at build cost, add its revenue and sell them to local stores without being taxed to death and reduced shipping cost aswell. So HD30 for me wouldnt be more than 3700 dollars. But the HD30 had the same issue with USB driver dropping out even though it wasnt as sensitive to moving the cable.
 
I did actually consider to invest in a good pre-amp to reduce the attack part and the crispiness. I listened to 1 hour and I got tired of listening. That told me, HD30 was wrong for me.
 
So I reviewed a Yggdrasil, and found it much better for headfi listening with my LCD4 and V281.. Just a perfect match really.. Now I dont even think of the gear, just listen a few hours every evening when I get home. And its awesome. Yggdrasil is a keeper for sure, and it just tells me that V281 is very flexible when it comes to DAC choice. It amplifies the true nature of the dac. 
 
I also heard vega users I know personally complained about treble sparcle. That is also what I experience with Oppo HA-1 feeding the V281 directly from pre-out. More or less the same as the oppo analogue part itself. So it must be the DAC. I have connected the Yggdrasil to Oppo, and it does a good job amplifying, but the 3d perspective isnt really there, and the soundstage is somehow compressed with the Oppo compared to V281 as amp.
 
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As a former Vega owner, and a current HD30 owner, I agree with everything stated above. Absolutely spot on regarding the HD30 sound signature and the Vega treble.
 
HD30 works for driving floor standers, but the more intimate listening experience of headphones requires something warmer / smoother and without that aggressive attack. Fatigue sets in within about 20 or 30 minutes with the HD30 and I don't want to listen anymore. This is a pity, as the HD30 is technically stunning, just not a match for headphone listening IMHO.
 
I thought about the Yggy quite a bit as an alternate DAC, but I wanted to be 100% sure of getting something that combined uber technical prowess with enough smoothness and musicality for headphone listening, and that led me to the Bricasti / Meitner / MSB Analog choice. Went with Bricasti, but any of those 3 would probably float my boat.
 
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  Aren't you thinking of the V800 by chance? The V850 actually is the update that came out last year. DSD won't happen with Violectric.
 
Edit: It's true though that the Violectric DACs have never gotten the same amount of love as their amps.
 
Hey! 2015 is sooo last year, man! 

 
Sorry, I didn't realize that V850 was so new.. Since I had seen V800 in the shops for a while, I thought that was the V850. The only time I listened to the V850 was when I did a demo to buy the V281.
 
Anyhow it looked like a lot of people are hunting around for a good DAC, so I just thought this is where Violectric could pay more attention to and expand on, considering that V281 is already so amazing.
 
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+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.
Maybe you need to forget DACs and get a turntable :)
 
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  Maybe you need to forget DACs and get a turntable :)
 
It is kinda weird - the amount of cash audiophiles can throw at DACs chasing an analog type of sound.
 
Thought about it. The crackles and pops don't really work with headphones for me and I like the convenience of digital source files.  My problem was in poor choice of DAC to upgrade to after the Vega.
 
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I know what you mean in regard to the convenience of digital files. I listen to digital more than I do vinyl.
 
On a clean piece of vinyl, the cracks and pops can only really be heard at the beginning of the LP. 
 
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  That is also what I experience with Oppo HA-1 feeding the V281 directly from pre-out. More or less the same as the oppo analogue part itself. So it must be the DAC. I have connected the Yggdrasil to Oppo, and it does a good job amplifying, but the 3d perspective isnt really there, and the soundstage is somehow compressed with the Oppo compared to V281 as amp.
 
Since I also have the Oppo HA-1 and the Violectric V281, I tried to connect them and came to the same conclusion. The HA-1 is a perfect match for darker headphones, which miss some treble. It's made for the PM-1, which is really a great match with the HA-1 (suprise...). I tried other headphones from my collection with the HA-1, but some of them just don't pair up with that amp, so I just use it for the PM-1 and to drive my Canton AM5 active speakers, which can be adjusted (switches for treble, mids and bass). Pairing it with my HD800s is OK, but the K812 simply doesn't work with it for example. The K812 however is a very good match with the V281.
 
I also tried to connect the Pioneer U-05 (which I use to listen to the Pioneer Master 1 balanced) as a DAC to the V281, however in my opinion this combo didn't match either.
 
So I stopped the experiments lately and simply use the V281 with the V850. In my opinion the V850 adds some warmth to the music, which fits very well with most of my headphones, since they are not really dark sounding (HD800s, K812, T1 or Ether C). However it also works very well with the Master 1.
 
I didn't try the mobile options (ifi iDSD or Mojo) yet, but I didn't feel the need to try them out, since they are battery driven and not a permanent option in my opinion.
 
It would't be interesting to check out on the Yggy (which many people seem to like as a DAC), but I didn't the urge up till now, since form factor and color doesn't match very well in my living room and to each other. I know...silly reason and probably the last one to be considered when checking up on rigs, but this one does a fine job keeping me from spending even more money :) Right now the most interesting thing I wan't to check up on is maybe to feed the V281 with a AK320 or AK380, which would replace the need for extra mobile amps like the iDSD and Mojo for me. xxx1313 did a fine job talking me into that, so thanks :D
 
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However, I couldn't yet bring myself to buy the balanced cable, so I'm running SE at the moment.
 
I can borrow the balanced cable for the Pioneer Master 1 to you as I remember you are living somewhere near the Essen area? However it's the one from Pioneer, which has two 3-pin connectors. 
 
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