Violectric HPA V281 - Vorsprung durch Balanced
May 25, 2022 at 6:19 PM Post #5,161 of 5,238

milkdudd

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Up until a few months ago I thought the V281 would be my end game as a headphone amp and even more importantly as a preamp in my stereo room. That was until I upgraded my dac to a Gustard A22 that uses dual akm 4499 chips. I find significantly improved sound going directly from the A22 into my power amp. However if I could use the V281 as a preamp it solves several problems for me. I would have one system that does everything rather than a separate stereo room and headphone listening rig. It would allow me to run a turntable without any plugging and unplugging each time. With that said does anyone know any tips to get the most out of the V281 as a preamp. When I got it I opened it up and set the gain for preamp and -6 if I remember right. It allowed me to use more of the range on the dial for volume. I would be willing to go the extra mile and if I had to spend some money on fuses or other upgrades it would be worth it to me. I am preamps with multiple inputs and dual XLR outputs seem few and far between and are very expensive. And I wouldn't know until I installed it if it was even an improvement. Perhaps I should send this inquiry to Lake People directly. All advice appreciated
 
May 25, 2022 at 7:05 PM Post #5,162 of 5,238

Pharmaboy

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Up until a few months ago I thought the V281 would be my end game as a headphone amp and even more importantly as a preamp in my stereo room. That was until I upgraded my dac to a Gustard A22 that uses dual akm 4499 chips. I find significantly improved sound going directly from the A22 into my power amp. However if I could use the V281 as a preamp it solves several problems for me. I would have one system that does everything rather than a separate stereo room and headphone listening rig. It would allow me to run a turntable without any plugging and unplugging each time. With that said does anyone know any tips to get the most out of the V281 as a preamp. When I got it I opened it up and set the gain for preamp and -6 if I remember right. It allowed me to use more of the range on the dial for volume. I would be willing to go the extra mile and if I had to spend some money on fuses or other upgrades it would be worth it to me. I am preamps with multiple inputs and dual XLR outputs seem few and far between and are very expensive. And I wouldn't know until I installed it if it was even an improvement. Perhaps I should send this inquiry to Lake People directly. All advice appreciated
I own a V281 with 128-stepped volume pot & remote. I use it as my system preamp and main headphone amp for my desktop system. The V281 is my favorite audio device, both for its excellent sound and extensive operational flexibility.

Does your V281 have the remote control & 128-stepped volume pot? I ask because the remote obviously helps with preamp use; and the stepped pot has often been characterized as sounding somewhat better than the non-stepped Alps pot.

A few points to make about using the V281 as a preamp:
  1. It has 2 inputs, one balanced & one single-ended.
  2. The balanced input can be used for single-ended/RCA sources by using the appropriate SE-to-balanced adapters
  3. You can switch between inputs using the remote control (or the controls on front panel)
  4. The fuse is not user replaceable per the manual: "MAINS FUSE: The 0.25A time-lag fuse is soldered in place on the circuit board. In case, it must be replaced with a fuse of the same type only."
  5. The preamp gain is controllable via a separate L & R dipswitch array located inside the case. You can set the preamp's output gain level to anything desired for best results with the downstream devices (ie, amps and/or powered speakers). Note that because headphones outputs have separate gain settings, the headphone & preamp outputs' gain can be set separately. I don't know of any other headphone amp/preamp that allows this.
A couple years ago I went through a phase of trying out opamps. I purchased a pair of recommended/praised opamps that could replace the V281's line-out outputs (located on the upper/output card inside the case. I swapped out the stock opamps for these aftermarket ones and heard small but welcome changes in the sound via the outputs of the V281. I was interested in doing the same for the headphone outputs, but found it impossible to access those outputs due to the stacking of output card over input card inside the case.

These are the opamps I'm referring to: Sparkos SS3602
https://sparkoslabs.com/product/dual-discrete-op-amp-ss3602/
 
May 25, 2022 at 7:18 PM Post #5,163 of 5,238

milkdudd

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I own a V281 with 128-stepped volume pot & remote. I use it as my system preamp and main headphone amp for my desktop system. The V281 is my favorite audio device, both for its excellent sound and extensive operational flexibility.

Does your V281 have the remote control & 128-stepped volume pot? I ask because the remote obviously helps with preamp use; and the stepped pot has often been characterized as sounding somewhat better than the non-stepped Alps pot.

A few points to make about using the V281 as a preamp:
  1. It has 2 inputs, one balanced & one single-ended.
  2. The balanced input can be used for single-ended/RCA sources by using the appropriate SE-to-balanced adapters
  3. You can switch between inputs using the remote control (or the controls on front panel)
  4. The fuse is not user replaceable per the manual: "MAINS FUSE: The 0.25A time-lag fuse is soldered in place on the circuit board. In case, it must be replaced with a fuse of the same type only."
  5. The preamp gain is controllable via a separate L & R dipswitch array located inside the case. You can set the preamp's output gain level to anything desired for best results with the downstream devices (ie, amps and/or powered speakers). Note that because headphones outputs have separate gain settings, the headphone & preamp outputs' gain can be set separately. I don't know of any other headphone amp/preamp that allows this.
A couple years ago I went through a phase of trying out opamps. I purchased a pair of recommended/praised opamps that could replace the V281's line-out outputs (located on the upper/output card inside the case. I swapped out the stock opamps for these aftermarket ones and heard small but welcome changes in the sound via the outputs of the V281. I was interested in doing the same for the headphone outputs, but found it impossible to access those outputs due to the stacking of output card over input card inside the case.

These are the opamps I'm referring to: Sparkos SS3602
https://sparkoslabs.com/product/dual-discrete-op-amp-ss3602/
Thanks Pharmaboy I knew I could count on you. I have the Final Edition version of the V281 that comes with the remote controlled volume adjustment but not the stepped attenuator. Can I ask is this stepped attenuator and the opamps you link to something I could swap out myself or would I have to send it to a pro. Sending it from the USA to Germany would make me a little nervous that it could get lost, damaged or severely delayed in shipping. Did you find adjusting the gain on the pre-outs affected sound quality or just the range of the volume control knob. Thanks again, I really don't want to give up on this device and I'm willing to go the extra mile to get the maximum out of it
 
May 25, 2022 at 7:54 PM Post #5,165 of 5,238

fiiom11pro

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Thanks Pharmaboy I knew I could count on you. I have the Final Edition version of the V281 that comes with the remote controlled volume adjustment but not the stepped attenuator. Can I ask is this stepped attenuator and the opamps you link to something I could swap out myself or would I have to send it to a pro. Sending it from the USA to Germany would make me a little nervous that it could get lost, damaged or severely delayed in shipping. Did you find adjusting the gain on the pre-outs affected sound quality or just the range of the volume control knob. Thanks again, I really don't want to give up on this device and I'm willing to go the extra mile to get the maximum out of it
they have a local distributor here in the USA and are very responsive and very helpful. One thing I like about Vio aside from its outstanding sonic characteristics are their after market support. I had a problem with the USB input before and they immediately sent me a spanking bnew one and very easily replaceable.

https://power-holdings-inc.com/
 
May 25, 2022 at 8:40 PM Post #5,166 of 5,238

Pharmaboy

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they have a local distributor here in the USA and are very responsive and very helpful. One thing I like about Vio aside from its outstanding sonic characteristics are their after market support. I had a problem with the USB input before and they immediately sent me a spanking bnew one and very easily replaceable.

https://power-holdings-inc.com/
+1 re Arthur Power.

I bought my Lake People G019-A from Arthur ~6 years ago...a very good experience. Then a couple years ago he helped me repair an issue w/my V281. He's great to deal with.

I met both Arthur and the V281's designer, Fried Reim, at CanJam/NYC 3-4 yrs ago. These are true audio solid citizens in my book.
 
May 26, 2022 at 10:35 PM Post #5,170 of 5,238

Pharmaboy

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I owned a V281 at one time, and wanted to change the faceplate and upgrade to the stepped volume control. Arthur sold me the parts and walked me through the process. Excellent customer service and a great guy to talk to.
I had no idea it was even possible to upgrade from std. volume pot to stepped pot.

Another interesting fact about my favorite amp ... live and learn!
 
May 28, 2022 at 5:37 PM Post #5,171 of 5,238

gimmeheadroom

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May 28, 2022 at 6:02 PM Post #5,172 of 5,238

UntilThen

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I’ve 4 tube amps and that’s my preference. On a recent visit to my son’s place, I brought along He1000se and I must say pretty impressed with what the v281does and how it make Hekse sing.

A95EB15F-DAD4-4946-B3EE-84D1B2AAD5FE.jpeg
 
Jun 4, 2022 at 4:04 PM Post #5,175 of 5,238

jonathan c

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I would rather that they XLR-ate the puns…🤪🤦🏻👎
 

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