Violectric HPA V550 - Blue's Brother and the successor to the V281
Jul 20, 2021 at 7:02 PM Post #196 of 290

Terriero

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The Benchmark lost. Vio purchased, job done!

Now for some more serious listening. It's really grown on me and i'm very happy with my choice. Thanks for all your comments to my posts. 👍
Would you explain your decision a little more? Thanks in advance.

By the way, to the people of this thread, what kind of amp (class A, B, A/B, D) is the Violectric V550?. I can't find that info...
 
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Jul 21, 2021 at 2:37 AM Post #198 of 290

ROMEROTECH

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Would you explain your decision a little more? Thanks in advance.

By the way, to the people of this thread, what kind of amp (class A, B, A/B, D) is the Violectric V550?. I can't find that info...
Because the things i liked on the Benchmark like the screen and functionality i didn't feel were worth the extra £1000, i think thats where the extra money has gone. Sonically i didn't think the Benchmark was overall superior to the Vio, just different. I really like the very slightly warm of centre sound compared to the deathly neutrality of the Benchmark, it's just nicer on the ears. The Vio is a fine HPA and well worth the money, i think it's good value and for where i am with HPA's it's a very decent step up from my old amp.

The Vio is a class A/B amp and fully balanced. The only thing i'm not super impressed with is the singlde ended HP outs. To me they don't sound as good as the balanced HP out and it's not just a power output thing, it's just a bit too soft for me nor as detailed as the balanced, i actually prefer the single ended HP out on my old amp but ultimately it's the fully balanced topology of the Vio i really wanted so unlikely i'll be using unbalanced out. Just to add, the PreOut on the Vio is just lovely and for me that is a bonus. I'd have paid the money anyway even if it didn't have the PreOut so it's all very good.
 
Jul 21, 2021 at 11:32 AM Post #199 of 290

Giru

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Because the things i liked on the Benchmark like the screen and functionality i didn't feel were worth the extra £1000, i think thats where the extra money has gone. Sonically i didn't think the Benchmark was overall superior to the Vio, just different. I really like the very slightly warm of centre sound compared to the deathly neutrality of the Benchmark, it's just nicer on the ears. The Vio is a fine HPA and well worth the money, i think it's good value and for where i am with HPA's it's a very decent step up from my old amp.

The Vio is a class A/B amp and fully balanced. The only thing i'm not super impressed with is the singlde ended HP outs. To me they don't sound as good as the balanced HP out and it's not just a power output thing, it's just a bit too soft for me nor as detailed as the balanced, i actually prefer the single ended HP out on my old amp but ultimately it's the fully balanced topology of the Vio i really wanted so unlikely i'll be using unbalanced out. Just to add, the PreOut on the Vio is just lovely and for me that is a bonus. I'd have paid the money anyway even if it didn't have the PreOut so it's all very good.
Congratulations on your new amp. I can wholeheartedly agree that the v550 is a definite upgrade over the HPA4 at least in terms of sound:gs1000smile:
Enjoy!
 
Jul 21, 2021 at 5:22 PM Post #200 of 290

Terriero

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Because the things i liked on the Benchmark like the screen and functionality i didn't feel were worth the extra £1000, i think thats where the extra money has gone. Sonically i didn't think the Benchmark was overall superior to the Vio, just different. I really like the very slightly warm of centre sound compared to the deathly neutrality of the Benchmark, it's just nicer on the ears. The Vio is a fine HPA and well worth the money, i think it's good value and for where i am with HPA's it's a very decent step up from my old amp.

The Vio is a class A/B amp and fully balanced. The only thing i'm not super impressed with is the singlde ended HP outs. To me they don't sound as good as the balanced HP out and it's not just a power output thing, it's just a bit too soft for me nor as detailed as the balanced, i actually prefer the single ended HP out on my old amp but ultimately it's the fully balanced topology of the Vio i really wanted so unlikely i'll be using unbalanced out. Just to add, the PreOut on the Vio is just lovely and for me that is a bonus. I'd have paid the money anyway even if it didn't have the PreOut so it's all very good.
Thank you very much. I appreciate a lot your answer.

I have another question related to the V550. Anybody here pairs it with HD 800?, do you like the experience? Comparing to pairing with other amps? Thanks in advance.
 
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Jul 21, 2021 at 8:39 PM Post #201 of 290

ROMEROTECH

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Thank you very much. I appreciate a lot your answer.

I have another question related to the V550. Anybody here pairs it with HD 800?, do you like the experience? Comparing to pairing with other amps? Thanks in advance.
Yes, beautiful. Soundstage is awesome and there's a ton of voltage there to drive them. Very natural sounding, resolving, plenty of details, macro and micro. Great with live recordings, plenty of slam and impact, and bass is decent, makes my ear lobes tickle. Really great pairing. I've got HD800 with my own version of SuperDupont mod. Go for it!
 
Jul 22, 2021 at 4:03 AM Post #202 of 290

Fegefeuer

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Agree. And depending on how much you don't like that upper mid dip and the diffuseness of the stage you can trade both (more upper mids) for a smaller but more precise stage by adding rug liner
 
Jul 31, 2021 at 1:29 PM Post #203 of 290

Delta9K

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I have a V281 and it is doing me well and I have no complaints, but I do have the urge to update (more of a want than need).
I have read through the posts in this conversation and I'm still uncertain of a few points. Would the V550 be an upgrade or, more of a refresh? Besides what can be gleaned from the data sheet, are their audible improvements in technical ability over-all that are significant enough for one to say "Yes, I like the V281 but the V550 does X / Y / or Z much better?"


Why I'm considering the V550:
1. I'm interested in SS only for this scenario.
2. Because of personal experience with Violectric amps (v281 & v200).
3. Budget - I am not prepared at this time to advance to Niimbus series and also, I like the signature of the Violectrics - understanding that there has been a slight shift in signature with this new generation. I like a little dash of color, and again without ever hearing personally, I understand the Niimbus to be more neutral.
 
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Aug 9, 2021 at 4:55 PM Post #205 of 290

Delta9K

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If people are happy with the V281's signature there's no need to change. However happiness around here is not about settling so let's not get carried away.
I always appreciate what you have to say especially with regards to Violectric amplifiers/DACs. On this occasion I may have failed to heed your advice, at least the first sentence. :relaxed:
Also, I guess now I'll find out for myself the difference's between the v281 & v550
New arrival this morning...
 

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Aug 9, 2021 at 6:58 PM Post #206 of 290

Terriero

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I always appreciate what you have to say especially with regards to Violectric amplifiers/DACs. On this occasion I may have failed to heed your advice, at least the first sentence. :relaxed:
Also, I guess now I'll find out for myself the difference's between the v281 & v550
New arrival this morning...
A comparison between both (and also the sinergy with your current headphones) would be appreciated. Enjoy a lot your new AMP :L3000:
 
Aug 19, 2021 at 6:43 PM Post #208 of 290

Delta9K

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A comparison between both (and also the sinergy with your current headphones) would be appreciated. Enjoy a lot your new AMP :L3000:
V550 compared to the V281? Tough one, as I hold the V281 in high regard. Also, I should state I am not a reviewer, only an enthusiast. I’m not an eloquent writer, and I do not have a vast treasure chest of experience. What I do have is a passion for music, gear that reproduces music, and a willingness to share what I can in hopes that others may find some value.

I am really enjoying the V550 it is a fantastic amplifier and is a keeper. I really want to say one is not better than the other, but rather that they are just different. Though, deep down I think the V550 may be better for me because of its improved technical abilities. What I’ve noticed with the 550 is:
  • Blacker background than the v281, which I considered already as having very a black background, one of the things that blew me away when I first heard the v281 compared to other amps I had heard.
  • More transparent; This for me is related to the blacker background highlighted above and was another aspect which knocked my socks off when hearing the V281 for the first time, but the V550 is even cleaner, clearer allowing me to hear more individual components and detail in the music.
  • Better with Macro/Micro dynamics. Instruments, vocals, ambient, all sounds in the recording space appear more apparent and recognizable, no matter their stage position.
  • Texture; I’m picking up more texture through the entire frequency range, where with the v281 it was more perception of textures, less definitive.
For the bullets above alone, after hearing both, if I was forced to pick only one - I would personally choose V550. However, If I did not have either amp, and was looking for a new amp and considered myself more in the “musical” camp than “analytical”, I don’t think there is a “wrong” choice with selecting either one.

I can confirm that the V550 does not appear to tilt as warm as V281. Does it lean more that direction than the V281, yes but there is still a warmth and smoothness to it that for myself, I find very appealing. In no way would I describe the V550 as being dry, thin or peaky.

Transitioning from the V281 to the V550 hasn’t resulted in any thinness, there is no lack of reproduction in the lower frequencies or any weakness in harmonics or less full sound, which honestly, I was expecting based from my interpretations of the terminology used to describe signature differences between these two amplifiers. What I detect is that the V550 is even cleaner and more transparent than the V281. I used the descriptor “transparent”, because now when connecting different DACs. I’m better able to hear the differences in the DACs as individual pieces of kit vs. as part of a chain, more so than with the 281. My feeling is that the additional transparency, blacker background and overall enhanced technical abilities are what makes the V550 appear more neutral at first listen, especially if coming directly from an amp like the V281.

My preferences are a warmer organic sound and I don’t feel I am missing any of that which I had in the V281 with the V550, even when using a cooler leaning DAC as the Soekris dac1541, the V550 still delivers all you’d expect from the V281, just that the V550 is better at delivering a truer representation of the upstream sources feeding it, good or bad. That is the difference IMO.

Operational details
-DACs used with the both V281/V550: Soekris dac1541 (Butterworth Filter) , Holo Spring 3 KTE. NOS (only mode on the new Spring 3)
-Source PC via Shunyata Venom USB cable, (Qobuz/Roon) PCM only, 24/192 max bit/sample
-Headphones: HE1000 V2, TH909, TH900mk2
-Both amps input gain setting set to -6 dB (mainly to accommodate higher sensitivity of the Fostex phones to get a bit more range on the volume control)
-Balanced input / output used on both amplifiers
 
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