Violectric HPA V550 - Blue's Brother and the successor to the V281
May 21, 2021 at 8:24 AM Post #151 of 312

Terriero

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The Phonitor 2 is not lean or boring or dry.
It is neutral and with good weight and dynamics but it plays in the safe side of things.
Thanks. I asked that to rmsanger because I have watched the video he linked and I was wonder if the Phonitor would be a good choice because @Relaxasaurus mentioned that it's signature remind him a little to active monitors, which I hate to listen to music with them, and I use only briefly when I'm cleaning the house or to play videogames with my son.

Time to put all my efforts to save money... So difficult here :wink: ... After my DT 1990 Pro purchase, my only audio purchase was yesterday (but, so cheap, just some foam pads to change a little the 1990s signature, suggested by the people of it's thread).
 
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May 21, 2021 at 12:55 PM Post #153 of 312

Fegefeuer

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I doubt an V5XX amp happens with the V281 signature. That train never existed anyway.
The V550 is a good middle ground, it just goes beyond the V280's performance so you will get more of the Niimbus' technicalities and traits rather than the V281.

Also, where would you place that thing in the product line? Doesn't make sense. Better get a V280/V281 FE and look to the future.
 
May 27, 2021 at 3:22 PM Post #154 of 312

MichalZZZZ

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Hi everyone. Is Violectric HPA V550 Pro with Matrix X Sabre Pro Mqa a good idea? Someone tried? I already have Pathos Aurium, but I need one more amp with a 4-pin XLR balanced headphone output.

Thank you all and best regards,

Michal.
 
Jun 7, 2021 at 12:25 AM Post #157 of 312

Ichos

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Has anyone tried Violectric HPA V550 with Audeze LCD3f, Meze Empyrean, ZMF Verite Closed, ZMF Atticus or Sony MDR-Z1R and can share the experience? Which headphones should sound best with this amp?
I have been using it with Empyrean and it is a great combo.

I haven't tried any other of the above mentioned headphones but I have with a various others like the 650 , 660s , Ananda , HEDD etc and this amplifier plays well with everything.

It is headphones agnostic , it can run and match with everything on the planet.
 
Jun 25, 2021 at 10:32 AM Post #158 of 312

ROMEROTECH

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Afternoon folks, head-fi newbie here, name is Francis, based in Northampton, UK. I've been reading this thread on the Violectric V550 Pro with interest. A couple of you have asked if anyone has reviewed the Benchmark HPA4 and how it lines up against the V550 Pro. I'm currently auditioning a Benchmark HPA4, i've had it a couple of weeks and so far so good. I'm now waiting for the arrival of a V550 Pro (sometime next week i hope) to match up against the HPA4. I'll let you know how i get on and which one i'm going to buy and why.
 
Jun 25, 2021 at 11:14 AM Post #159 of 312

Relaxasaurus

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Afternoon folks, head-fi newbie here, name is Francis, based in Northampton, UK. I've been reading this thread on the Violectric V550 Pro with interest. A couple of you have asked if anyone has reviewed the Benchmark HPA4 and how it lines up against the V550 Pro. I'm currently auditioning a Benchmark HPA4, i've had it a couple of weeks and so far so good. I'm now waiting for the arrival of a V550 Pro (sometime next week i hope) to match up against the HPA4. I'll let you know how i get on and which one i'm going to buy and why.

Welcome to the forum. :beerchug:

Those are some killer amps, looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Which headphone(s) will you be using if you don't mind me asking?
 
Jun 25, 2021 at 1:14 PM Post #160 of 312

Giru

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The problem is these responses always get very personal when you say why you don't like something. There is always an owner of said product that wants to rebuff the reasons.

I had the A90, 789, SP200 and hated them all; benchmark is an extension of that sound signature but perhaps more of it. Mini was technically a great amp but was on the bright side for my preferences. I had the Soloist 3xp for a few weeks and for ~$850 used it's a helluva a good amp especially after rolling amp amps.

I'm hoping between the V550, Niimbus US4, and Volot I can find an amp with great technicals but also a bit on the warmer side (V281 but better). My concern is both Niimbus and V550 have gone away from the tuning that made the V281 such a great amp. I'd love to get a V281 with more power and better technical performance.

Completely agreed on the THX amps.

Here's my story:

Two years ago (Pre covid) I was looking for a reference amplifier for some technical work. My eyes were set on the benchmark hpa4. However I couldn't find a unit to audition. I tried all other thx amps in the mean time (both on the bench and subjectively). It's true these measure well but they are probably the most unengaging amps I've ever heard (thx789, smsl sp200). Finally i found an hpa4 and I thought it would be different but honestly it was only "marginally" better than the sp200. For 3k usd that was probably the most overrated piece of gear i have ever heard. Measures well sounds absolutely sterile. I also found it rather underwhelming for current hungry cans like the he6se. All in all a complete flop show on the ears.

In the process I also auditioned the GSX-MK2, GSX Mini, kinki thr-1, sparkos aries, pass hpa1, beta 22 (balanced), bryston bha1, and a few others. Out of all these I found the GSX-MK2 and the bryston to be worth their salt (also maybe the kinki to some extent) (beta 22 was a diy project so I'll exclude that).

Meanwhile I had never considered the V281 or other Violectric amps as most people called them "warm" and grainy. Luckily I met a fellow over another forum who had just got the V550 and I went to his place to listen to it. I found it to be very detailed and clean although for the same price I was favouring the GSX MK2.

Two weeks later, one of my friends introduced me to this guy who had the V281. I wasn't keen on visiting him initially but since the lockdowns had lifted I took a small holiday and went to his place. Oh boy was I surprised!! The 281 was unlike anything I had heard. I still can't understand why people call it warm coz it was nothing like that at all. I think the right word is "organic". The only amp that does well with any headphone you can throw at it while at the same time maintaining that sweet old school solid state sound (old naim or leben speaker amps come to mind). The transient response and decay of the notes was something I had not experienced ever on my fostex 909s. It is transparent and detailed but has that well rounded "non-hifi" sound that most modern amps lack. The newer generation amps strive for detail and dynamics but end up sounding sharp and unnatural.

I had a budget of 4k usd and still bought the V281 (Got the FE version). Couldn't be more happier. This amp will be inherited in my family.
 
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Jun 25, 2021 at 1:33 PM Post #161 of 312

goldwerger

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Completely agreed on the THX amps.

Here's my story:

Two years ago (Pre covid) I was looking for a reference amplifier for some technical work. My eyes were set on the benchmark hpa4. However I couldn't find a unit to audition. I tried all other thx amps in the mean time (both on the bench and subjectively). It's true these measure well but they are probably the most unengaging amps I've ever heard (thx789, smsl sp200). Finally i found an hpa4 and I thought it would be different but honestly it was only "marginally" better than the sp200. For 3k usd that was probably the most overrated piece of gear i have ever heard. Measures well sounds absolutely sterile. I also found it rather underwhelming for current hungry cans like the he6se. All in all a complete flop show on the ears.

In the process I also auditioned the GSX-MK2, GSX Mini, kinki thr-1, sparkos aries, pass hpa1, beta 22 (balanced), bryston bha1, and a few others. Out of all these I found the GSX-MK2 and the bryston to be worth their salt (also maybe the kinki to some extent) (beta 22 was a diy project so I'll exclude that).

Meanwhile I had never considered the V281 or other Violectric amps as most people called them "warm" and grainy. Luckily I met a fellow over another forum who had just got the V550 and I went to his place to listen to it. I found it to be very detailed and clean although for the same price I was favouring the GSX MK2.

Two weeks later, one of my friends introduced me to this guy who had the V281. I wasn't keen on visiting him initially but since the lockdowns had lifted I took a small holiday and went to his place. Oh boy was I surprised!! The 281 was unlike anything I had heard. I still can't understand why people call it warm coz it was nothing like that at all. I think the right word is "organic". The only amp that does well with any headphone you can throw at it while at the same time maintaining that sweet old school solid state sound (old naim or leben speaker amps come to mind). The transient response and decay of the notes was something I had not experienced ever on my fostex 909s. It is transparent and detailed but has that well rounded "non-hifi" sound that most modern amps lack. The newer generation amps strive for detail and dynamics but end up sounding sharp and unnatural.

I had a budget of 4k usd and still bought the V281 (Got the FE version). Couldn't be more happier. This amp will be inherited in my family.
It doesn’t look like the V281 is still being manufactured - would you know which of the current model is its natural successor/similar?:

https://power-holdings-inc.com/Violectric-c34633356

thanks for any insight!
 
Jun 25, 2021 at 2:18 PM Post #162 of 312

Giru

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It doesn’t look like the V281 is still being manufactured - would you know which of the current model is its natural successor/similar?:

https://power-holdings-inc.com/Violectric-c34633356

thanks for any insight!
I think the V550 is the rightful "technical" replacement of the V281 but both amps sound slightly different. The V550 is more cleaner and faster sounding of the two. The 281 on the other hand is laid back and slightly more authoritative (esp with high z cans).

The 550 is good but at its asking price the GSX MK2 is a very worthy competitor if you're looking for that "hifi" sound. Although be careful as the GSX doesn't like neutral/bright cans (esp hd800 and the likes) much. I think the 550 is slightly more forgiving in those terms.

Since I've mentioned the HD800, the V550 is not a sympatico pairing with the 800s; as the V281 is. The 550 strives a bit more for transparency and the highs tear through the 800s. This is unlike the V281 which has very a very tame and detailed upper end that is not "in your face" like the V550 (and defintely not the GSX MK2).

Overall I liked the V550. It's a cleaner more accurate amp than the V281 but does not have the same zing as the V281. Anyway, I think its safe to say that if you're getting the V550 its gonna be a good deal esp if the V281 has been discontinued. If you get a v281 used then nothing like it. Grab one with both hands.

Hope this helps.
 
Jun 25, 2021 at 2:24 PM Post #163 of 312

goldwerger

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I think the V550 is the rightful "technical" replacement of the V281 but both amps sound slightly different. The V550 is more cleaner and faster sounding of the two. The 281 on the other hand is laid back and slightly more authoritative (esp with high z cans).

The 550 is good but at its asking price the GSX MK2 is a very worthy competitor if you're looking for that "hifi" sound. Although be careful as the GSX doesn't like neutral/bright cans (esp hd800 and the likes) much. I think the 550 is slightly more forgiving in those terms.

Since I've mentioned the HD800, the V550 is not a sympatico pairing with the 800s; as the V281 is. The 550 strives a bit more for transparency and the highs tear through the 800s. This is unlike the V281 which has very a very tame and detailed upper end that is not "in your face" like the V550 (and defintely not the GSX MK2).

Overall I liked the V550. It's a cleaner more accurate amp than the V281 but does not have the same zing as the V281. Anyway, I think its safe to say that if you're getting the V550 its gonna be a good deal esp if the V281 has been discontinued. If you get a v281 used then nothing like it. Grab one with both hands.

Hope this helps.
Thank you for this very detailed reply!

I actually got the Benchmark HPA4 recently and returned it within the 30-day demo period. While I found it clean in sound, it didn't really add much value in the chain. So I was nodding in agreement with your comments, and suspect may share your tastes.

My current go-to are the Kennerton Thekk (which I absolutely love), and my second would be the Arya (different moods/genres/etc). I have a ZMF VC on order but not sure yet how that will sound/work.

I might look for a used 281, may be worth it.

I'm also curious about the AudioValve (Solaris or Luminaire). Definitely an eye candy, but no clue on sound, and no practical way to demo. Curious if you heard it or about it.

Many thanks :)
 
Jun 25, 2021 at 2:38 PM Post #164 of 312

ROMEROTECH

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Welcome to the forum. :beerchug:

Those are some killer amps, looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Which headphone(s) will you be using if you don't mind me asking?
Thank you 👍 The HPA4 is super quality in almost every way. The HPA4 Pre-Out is outstanding, one of the best i've ever heard. I'm led to believe the HPA4 is regarded as one of the very best HPA's you can get at any price, some claim the best at any price, it is excellent but not perfect. All the reviews i've read, this whole V550 Pro thread, also lead me to believe the Vio is also one of the very best HPA's at any price so i'm in very good company. I'm very excited to be trying the Vio out soon. I'm in pursuit of my endgame HPA so i hope one of these is it. ETA: I forgot to add which cans i'm working... Sennheiser HD250 Linear II, HD540 Reference II, HD800 (Modified), Audeze LCD-XC. I don't think any of these will be an issue for the Vio. The HPA4 certainly had no issues, plenty of current for low impedence power hungry cans and plenty voltage for high impedence drivers like my Senns.
 
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Jun 25, 2021 at 2:43 PM Post #165 of 312

Giru

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Thank you for this very detailed reply!

I actually got the Benchmark HPA4 recently and returned it within the 30-day demo period. While I found it clean in sound, it didn't really add much value in the chain. So I was nodding in agreement with your comments, and suspect may share your tastes.

My current go-to are the Kennerton Thekk (which I absolutely love), and my second would be the Arya (different moods/genres/etc). I have a ZMF VC on order but not sure yet how that will sound/work.

I might look for a used 281, may be worth it.

I'm also curious about the AudioValve (Solaris or Luminaire). Definitely an eye candy, but no clue on sound, and no practical way to demo. Curious if you heard it or about it.

Many thanks :)
Yes the HPA4 did not impress at all. Glad to know that people have started to atleast acknowledge this. Over at the hpa4 thread I was lietrally lynched by owners who didn't like my opinions😅😅

Some great set of cans you got there! I had the Odin for a while but since then have moved to the Erzetich Phobos. My main pairs are the Phobos, 800S and the Fostex TH909 (Soon to be replaced). I'm considering the VC too but let's see. Nothing set in stone yet.

I haven't heard any Audiovalve amps yet but have certainly read and watched a lot of good things about them. They certainly look cool😅

But I guess for that budget there are some more "serious" tube amps makers to consider (ampsandsound, eddie current, DNA, Alo audio; just to name a few).
 

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