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DAC + head amp (in one box) for desk setup with headphones only (no loudspeakers)

sprellemannen

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I want to buy a great DAC + head amp (in one box).
It will be used for my desk setup with headphones only (no speakers) and a laptop as the source.
My headphones are Sennheiser HD 800 S, which sensitivity is 102 dB at 1 mW and impedance is 300 ohm.
The have been measured by Audiosciencereview (link) and @solderdude (link).

Comments regarding the DAC + head amp:
(a) Must be in one box.
(b) The dimensions should be quite small (height may not be small).
(c) Low price is a great, preferably below $ 2000 (but may be willing to pay more for an amazing product, but hopefully less).
(d) Remote control not needed.
(e) Good build quality.
(f) The importance is mainly its ability to drive Sennheiser HD 800 S excellently (not other headphones).
(g) DAC measurements only matters up to transparency, that is: I don't care about a DAC being better as long as it is not audibly better.
(h) Good measurements of the headphone amplifier part for driving Sennheiser HD 800 S.
(h) It must have a 6.35 mm (1/4 ") headphone output.
(i) I do not care about features and inputs/outputs which I do not need (bluetooth etc.).
(j) It shall not support MQA.
(k) Great customer support, serviceability, repairability, good manual and tidy and informative home page of the manufacturer is all a plus.
(l) The colour of the box must be silver or (and) black.
(m) A good volume knob is appreciated (and it shall be in from the unit, not on the top).
(n) The product should not have EQ-functionality (like RME ADI-2 DAC for instance. Note: RME is a brand I have high respect for).

Candidates so far:
Topping DX7 Pro+ Pros: low price (given that its serviceability/build quality is OK), small size, good measurements. Cons: Uncertainty regarding serviceability/repairability/build quality Owners report far too many problems/issues with Topping's products. Brands with poor history regarding quality and serviceability are of no interest.


Violectric DHA V226 Pros: OK price (ca $1600) , small size, good build quality. Cons: Not measured by Audiosciencereview (or other sites as far as I know), the 6.35 mm (1/4") output is a little bit close to the volume knob (but this may not be an issue). The product's manual is not on Violectric's home page, but I have attached it to this post.
violectric_dhav226_1008175_01_01_1013221216_1200x483eSuK00cJ6jyfT.jpg



Tell me if you think there are some candidates that I have missed. I will update the candidate-list if I find other products which seems to meet my critera.
 

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sprellemannen

sprellemannen

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RME fandom incoming…
There are many good things with RME (customer service, good measurements etc.), but I will not buy a product from RME although I have respect for that brand. Reason: I do not care about their EQ-functionality etc. Thanks for your suggestion, anyway. I added (n).
 
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Jimbob54

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I'm afraid for me reliability trumps absolute performance in this area- the new Topping should not IMHO be considered until longer term reliability can be assessed given some of their historical slips.

Which means something like the Violectric or the RME. For my money and piece of mind I would ignore the DSP functions of the RME and get it as a top quality, very well supported and tested DAC and headamp. Yes you are paying for functions you dont need, but instead consider those $ sunk into reliability.
 
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sprellemannen

sprellemannen

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I'm afraid for me reliability trumps absolute performance in this area- the new Topping should not IMHO be considered until longer term reliability can be assessed given some of their historical slips.

Which means something like the Violectric or the RME. For my money and piece of mind I would ignore the DSP functions of the RME and get it as a top quality, very well supported and tested DAC and headamp. Yes you are paying for functions you dont need, but instead consider those $ sunk into reliability.
I agree that reliability is of great importance, and that makes me uncertain about Topping's products although their measurements are great. I will not buy RME: I want better build quality (or lower price etc.) instead of lots of functions/features which I do not care about at all (for those who want many of its features, I fully understand that they find RME's products very attractive) .
 
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Χ Ξ Σ

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There is many good things with RME (customer service, reliability, good measurements etc.), but I will not buy a product from RME although I have respect for that brand since I do not care about their EQ -functionality etc.
Thanks for your suggestion, anyway. I added (n).
My RME had failed and when it came back from RME after 3 months the chassis had glue stains that were difficult to clean off. I don't hold a grudge and I resolved the problem on my own but I guess you never know what will happen to you. Still I hope more companies can be like RME and introduce similarly versatile devices--so that I won't have to buy from RME anymore.
 
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godmax

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As I have the V226 myself I can recommend it according to your given criterias (especially service and support from Violectric/Fried Reim are great - at least here in Germany), but I guess the DAC and amp part will not measure as great as the Topping DX7 Pro+(more like the precedessor Violectric V281).
 
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sprellemannen

sprellemannen

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As I have the V226 myself I can recommend it according to your given criterias (especially service and support from Violectric/Fried Reim are great - at least here in Germany), but I guess the DAC and amp part will not measure as great as the Topping DX7 Pro+(more like the precedessor Violectric V281).
Vielen dank for your comments.

I am not worried at all about the DAC: I am confident that the difference will not be audible. I absolutely love the V226's build quality (I have tried it in a shop), it also seems very powerful (like the V281), it does not have a lot of functionality and inputs/outputs which I do not need and its price seems fair. My impression of the service/support is good: I sent an e-mail to the company a late evening, and Fried Reim replied in the morning the day after.

1) Can you tell us more about your experience with V226 ?
2) Do you have some useful links (not from the company's site) about the product to share ?
3) Do you have some information about the Violectric, like how many employees they are etc. ?

I would have liked to have seen the V226's measurements (preferably measured by Amir, but by others may be OK as well).
 

godmax

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Vielen dank for your comments.

I am not worried at all about the DAC: I am confident that the difference will not be audible. I absolutely love the V226's build quality (I have tried it in a shop), it also seems very powerful (like the V281), it does not have a lot of functionality and inputs/outputs which I do not need and its price seems fair. My impression of the service/support is good: I sent an e-mail to the company a late evening, and Fried Reim replied in the morning the day after.

1) Can you tell us more about your experience with V226 ?
2) Do you have some useful links (not from the company's site) about the product to share ?
3) Do you have some information about the Violectric, like how many employees they are etc. ?

I would have liked to have seen the V226's measurements (preferably measured by Amir, but by others may be OK as well).
I got the V226 for about 4 month now and use it regularly round-robin with my other amps. I bought it because of the new more compact case of the new V22x model line and in addition it had a 4.4mm Pentaconn output and nice flip-switches on the front. I had the V281 Final Edition in the past (but sold it at some point), so I did know what to expect - and the V226 did not disappoint in any way.

The V226 is an absolute reliable unit with protection circuits that many competitors do not offer. You turn it on/off with no popping sounds - its the only amp I trust to keep the headphone plugged in while powering it on/off. My first Singxer SA-1 did die at some point when the headphone was plugged in as I turned it on and remained in protection circuit forever - from there on I always remove the headphones before powering on/off with all of my amps, but not with the Violectric that I trust.

The volume knob is outstanding like on most of their amplifiers have (but you are right - its close to the 6.35 mm headphone output, but far enough in my opinion for daily use). I use the integrated DAC as well as external DACs over both RCA inputs with no audible differences (I think the DAC part greatly improved in comparison to the one that was build-in in the V281 FE, that was not so well engineered in regards of noise/distortion).
The V226 is not really cheap, but as I have a fable for over-engineered durable devices, it was worth the asking price for me personally.

I for sure don't know exact details of the company Lake People/Violectric, but they have less then 20 employees and were bought 2 years ago by the distributor cma audio in Germany, but founder Fried Reim is still on board.

I am also very interested in the new Topping DX7 Pro+ or the new SMSL C200 as an additional amp/DAC-combo (really unnecessary since I already have too many), so they might also be a valid option for you.
 
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sprellemannen

sprellemannen

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The V226 is an absolute reliable unit with protection circuits that many competitors do not offer. You turn it on/off with no popping sounds - its the only amp I trust to keep the headphone plugged in while powering it on/off.
Thanks for a very good reply, @godmax !
Very good to read that it is a reliable unit! Good customer service and great reliability is very important.

I am not interested in the Topping DX7 Pro+ any longer: The V226 is a better option for me. The build quality, volume knob and sound quality has impressed me, and I also like that the V226's case is compact.

I use the integrated DAC as well as external DACs over both RCA inputs with no audible differences
As expected: Its DAC is transparent.

Finally, thanks for the information about the company!

@godmax, is it necessary to install any drivers to use it? (I use Windows 11)
 
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godmax

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is it necessary to install any drivers to use it? (I use Windows 11)
I did not have to install any additional driver on Windows 10, so I assume the same for Windows 11.
 
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sprellemannen

sprellemannen

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I did not have to install any additional driver on Windows 10, so I assume the same for Windows 11.
You are correct, Violectric confirmed your assumption to me today.
 
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sprellemannen

sprellemannen

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The search is over (it started before this thread): I have ordered the Violectric DHA V226.
Thanks to @godmax for useful comments/answers, @amirm for reviewing two of Violectric's products (and for reviewing literally several hundred other products as well), and the local retailer who sold a unit to me (and for having the V226 on demonstration and letting me try it out as long as I wanted in the shop before the purchase).
I am thankful to Fried Reim (@fdg on this forum), who Violectric's site says is the architect behind Lake People and Violectric, for excellent customer service:
He answered my e-mails excellently and very quickly. I also had a useful conversation with him on the phone.
I am looking forward for the V226 to arrive :)
 
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godmax

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The search is over (it started before this thread): I have ordered the Violetric DHA V226.
I am thankful to Fried Reim (@fdg on this forum), who Violectric's site says is the architect behind Lake People and Violectric, for excellent customer service:
He answered my e-mails excellently and very quickly. I also had a useful conversation with him on the phone.
I am looking forward for the V226 to arrive :)
Have fun with your new V226!
 
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