Violectric HPA V281 - Vorsprung durch Balanced

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by fegefeuer, Feb 12, 2014.
  1. project86 Contributor
    I think people read about how V281 and other balanced amps sound best via their 4-pin XLR output. Without any warnings on the adapter, or knowledge about possible consequences, these folks probably assume this is a safe way to tap the superior balanced output. I guess I understand on some level.... why would such an adapter exist if it was inherently dangerous? And yet, there it is, selling on ebay and amazon and probably other places.
  2. zmhaha
    Yea the amp manufactures really should put a very big warning on their websites and user manuals about this.
    I personally don't know much about the wirings and stuff... but my understanding is:
    OK: balanced out --> adapter --> balanced in
    OK: unbalanced out --> adapter --> balanced in
    NOT OK: balanced out --> adapter --> unbalanced in (possibly damaging the output device)
  3. emptymt
    Hi Guys,

    I just purchased the v281 today, really happy with the auditions in the shop, it was it against the iCan Pro using the Gumby, which I'm happy to elaborate if someone is interested.

    I had to use my DAP which is the Fiio X7 II as the DAC for now, so I'm planning to buy Coax to RCA cable to connect to the v281, is this correct?

    like this:

    I had though of getting the Audioquest tower, but I thought that it wouldn't make a notice-able difference and its only temporary until I get the Gumby.

    From what I read, the v281 will convert single ended signal to balance in the end, is this also correct?

  4. zhgutov
    This is not correct if you want to connect coax (digital!) out of your player to RCA analog inputs of V281.
    You can connect line output (which is 3.5mm jack, I suppose) to RCA analog inputs (2xRCA) of V281.
    Or if you have a DAC option with coax input in your V281, you can connect your player with the supplied cable from coax output to coax input of V281.

    But... Why don't you want to use your Chord Mojo as a good source for a good amp?

    In this case you can use the balanced output for the headphones.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
    emptymt likes this.
  5. emptymt
    right, thx for being very clear, so I think the cables posted in the links i provide will work, thx.
  6. 3083joe
    Question from your post.
    How would you use a chord mojo as a source to feed v281. I don’t see anyway to come out of the mojo into the v281?

    Thanks in advance!
  7. zhgutov
  8. 3083joe
  9. Kio635
    I’ve followed this thread for some time now. Your positive reviews make me want to upgrade from my V200, which is already pretty good with my HD800 and LCD-3 (Fazor). I’ve got the opportunity to buy a new V220 (remote-controlled) for around 1,600 USD or a new V281 (also rc) for around 2,450 USD. As I have only standard 6.3mm jack cables for my headphones I would also have to buy balanced xlr-cables to get the full potential out of the V281. That would add maybe around 400-500 USD to the V281 bill. So, it would be 1,600 $ for V220 or around 2,900 for V281 incl. xlr cables.

    I understand from this thread that V220 and V281 are basically identical except the balanced headphone output. Is the balanced output of the V281 really worth the additional cost – or, in other words - how much better is the balanced connection of the V281 than the normal 6.3mm jack connection of the V220?
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017
  10. 3083joe
    From my experience, the balanced output makes the most difference and is well worth the extra money tho I'm sure you will enjoy either amp. But if you can swing the v281 go for it. and if you have to wait for the balanced cable at least you have the amp already.
  11. Pharmaboy
    Yes, the balanced connection of the V281 is absolutely worth the additional cost...but only so long as you have 1 or more headphones which permit balanced cables.

    V220 is not basically identical to the V281. Instead, it's basically identical to your V200, but w/addition of preamp outs, different volume pot options, and capability to have the built-in Violectric DAC board. Despite those differences, the V200 & V220 should sound identical, or very close to it.

    The V281 is basically identical to another Violectric option: the V280. It's ~$600 cheaper than the V281 and lacks preamp function, options for remote only; or remote + 128-stepped pot; and capability of having the built-in Violectric DAC board. Again, despite their differences, the V280 & V281 should sound identical, or close to it.

    I have the V281 w/remote + stepped pot. It's a real beast: an endgame amp that sounds amazing and can do nearly anything you want it's has the most flexible I/O controls I've ever encountered.

    Coming from the V200, I would think either the V280 or V281 would be quite an upgrade sonically, if not also operationally--but only if you plan to listen to its balanced output. The SE outputs are really excellent (I use them all the time), but these designs are optimized for balanced output.

    As for aftermarket balanced cables, the cost varies widely, depending on what headphones you have. I've discovered a really solid, good-sounding cable maker for SE &/or balanced cables--a quality 2M balanced cable can be ordered for ~$100 US. And if you happen to have headphones w/mini-XLR input jacks (Audeze or ZMF), ZMFHeadphones now offers an excellent OFC cable that's quite affordable by aftermarket cable standards (believe it's ~$160 for 2M). I have this cable and like its sound.

    I also can recommend an inexpensive but very good-sounding SE cable (hardly the topic of your post!) from Ghent Audio...I use it for my Fidelio X2s.
    tonyxiaoz, SaddleSC and 3083joe like this.
  12. novicez1
    Skip the V220.
  13. zhgutov
    Some time ago I made the direct comparison between V200 and V220, and then between V200 and V281 with LCD-3.
    Both V220 and V281 with SE outputs sound at least (in short) more open than V200. The difference is not subtle.
    But yes, skip the V220, especially because you have the headphones which may be used with balanced output.
    SaddleSC and 3083joe like this.
  14. 3083joe
  15. CoLdAsSauLt
    I sure am. Feel free to share here or pm me.

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