Violectric HPA V281 - Vorsprung durch Balanced
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project86

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  Hi all
 
Just plowed through this long thread. I am interested in getting a complete headphone setup as a "replacement" for my Naim/Neat stereo setup. I just find myself listening to music much more while sitting at my PC desk so it would make sense to invest more into headphone gear.
 
So I am basically almost starting from scratch. I have a Hegel USB/DAC and a DT770 Pro so practically anything I get will be better than this.
 
Sadly it's a confusing experience reading forums and filtering out good information. I've spent this whole week doing this.  One product could get all the hype in one thread and then the next thread it's the worst ever. It's really annoying and makes it very difficult for head-fi newcomers like me.
 
Anyway...I'm sorry for the whining. :)
 
The reason I am here is that I am interested in Violectric, but of course I am still on the fence due to conflicting opinions. I do have a positive impression of Violectric regardless. Their products look solidly built with a no nonsense approach.
 
I have a couple of options.
 
1. V281 with USB DAC and get the V850 later
2. V200 + V850
 
I have an AKG 7XX on the way from massdrop. This is more meant as a temporary headset and maybe getting a HD800S. HE-400i also looks interesting.
 
I am open to any suggestions and advice for both electronics and headphones. It's getting quite boring sitting on the fence so I would be very grateful if someone could push me over. :)
 
 
I'd say focus on your headphone search first and foremost. The new amp/DAC part is important but nowhere near as much as the difference made from finding the right headphone. 
 
Also have you considered the other Violectric models? Not that I would talk anyone out of the wonderful V281, but there's also the V280 for $650 less. That's a significant difference and depending on which headphone you settle on the V280 might be plenty for your needs.
 
The integrated DAC options are certainly good if not great. For $300 the XMOS version is very competitive with what you'd get spending similar money on a CD player (think NAD, Cambridge, and Marantz in the sub-$500 class). That said, it isn't on the same level as the amp and will definitely hold you back.
 
Personally I might be inclined to go V280 plus a high bang-for-buck DAC such as the Grace m9XX or Resonessence Labs Concero. I'd look at used as well, those can sometimes be had for not much more than the $300 Violectric DAC add-on price.
 
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Thanks for the advice Wurstteppich, Project86.
 
It's good to know that the Violectric combo can be a good fit for other headphones.
 
Regarding the 280, I feel that it's not that far up to the 281. I have some active monitors so it would be good to use it as a pre amp as well but mostly I like the big volume knob.... :)
 
I'll probably use the integrated DAC as a to begin with. It's hard to part with this amount of money all at once. It's easier step by step...haha
 
My plan is to get to know the setup and then upgrade the DAC. Then I also have something to look forward to. I'll look into those DACs you've mentioned. I live in a smaller country so there is almost no used marked. It's very hard to find good equipment.
 
At the moment the headphones I'm looking at are HD800S, Master 1, HE-400i/560 or Ether.
 
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Mist3rLao

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I currently have the following setup: V850 -> V281 (0 pre-gain) -> HEK.

To get an average SPL of around 85dB, give or take, my volume knob is between 10am-11am for most songs.

Is this how it usually is?
 
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Khragon

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Joined the V281 club about a week ago... really enjoy the warmish signature of this amp, matched very well with HD800S, very musical.
 
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I currently have the following setup: V850 -> V281 (0 pre-gain) -> HEK.

This is how it is for me.
To get an average SPL of around 85dB, give or take, my volume knob is between 10am-11am for most songs.

Is this how it usually is?
 
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supabayes

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Folks,
 
My setup right now: Yggdrasil > Ragnarok(balanced in) & V181 (unbalanced in)  > HEK balanced & HD800S balanced and KEF LS50 speakers. I am fairly happy with the set up except for the need to get up and adjust volume on the Ragnarok for speaker listening. 
 
So I am thinking about upgrading V181 to V281. Part of my motivation to get V281 is to add the motorised remote option, so that the V281 can double as a preamp with remote volume control for the XLR feed to Ragnarok. Before I order the V281, my reasons are:
 
1. More power (based on manual spec) and improved sound qualities (?) This may have been asked before and I have read some elsewhere for V181 compared to V200. I am not sure what to expect - larger soundstage, layering, timbre, speed? I know that with the Violectric house sound, there are more similarity than difference between the V281 and V181 in balanced mode. I will expect V281 to punchy for its bass, more musical and slightly warm like V181 compared to the Ragnarok.
 
I use my Ragnarok more for listening with the LS50 rather than headphones listening and V181 for headphones because I like the warmth and more musical presentation for Jazz music that I listen more to. The only time I prefer Ragnarok to V181 is classical music, for the more neutral presentation with a larger soundstage.
 
2. Remote pre-amp for speaker listening using the Ragnarok. This will make listening really more enjoyable, not having to get off the chair to adjust the volume when my wife talks to me from across the room. Just curious, will the pre-amp XLR out from V281 carry some of the Violectric warmth to the Ragnarok?
 
I am open to comments from V281 owners/reviewers who have compared V181 and V281. Also if you have any suggestion for good XLR cables to use with V281 to the Yggy/Ragnarok. I am currently using Schiit PYST XLR and DH Lab unbalanced RCA cables.
 
Thanks
 
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PleasantSounds

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I use the V281 as a preamp for active monitors, and it does add some flavour to the sound, compared to Lynx Hilo for example. 
The difference is quite subtle but to me subjectively it makes the sound more enjoyable.
 
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musicbuff

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Violectric sells XLR cables and to my ears they are very Very good.  Got mine free over the Christmas holiday when they were offering a discount for the V281. Looks like they've got a summer discount sale going on now.  Check it out at
 
https://violectric-usa.com/
 
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I have a question which may have been addressed previously, but I cannot wade through the entire thread looking for an answer, so kindly bear with me. When purchasing the V281, you are offered 3 volume control options: standard, remote control, and relay with remote control (the most expensive one)... What exactly does the feature "relay with remote control" do, and how useful is that function? I figure it must be quite important to cost as much as it does.
 
Thanks.
 
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sahmen

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Most expensive option is in 1 dB steps.
Okay, thanks, but I do not exactly follow...My expertise in audio lingo is not among the sharpest I know, so could you kindly elaborate a little more?  Are you saying the "relay with remote control" allows a more refined control of the volume?
 
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Okay, thanks, but I do not exactly follow...My expertise in audio lingo is not among the sharpest I know, so could you kindly elaborate a little more?  Are you saying the "relay with remote control" allows a more refined control of the volume?

Yes. It is an option to have more direct smaller changes.
 
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project86

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The relay option means you have a relay-based system with 128 steps, each .75dB apart from the previous step. So it's easy to dial in the exact same level every time. It also sounds ever so slightly better imho, since it has less "stuff" in the signal path compared to the regular potentiometer. 
 
The standard and motorized options both use a very nice Alps RK27 pot and it works very well. The upgrade is for us crazy folks who want that last little bit of transparency. For the best value per dollar the regular volume is better. 
 
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