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Violectric HPA V550 Pro Review (Pre-amp/Headphone Amp)

Rusty Shackleford

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I can buy 9 more if it breaks. That makes for a very expensive warranty! Could go into business just selling warranties.

Personally, I prefer to have one product that lasts, rather buying cheaper products that I can just throw away, thereby contributing to waste and pollution. When my LED TV broke, I took it apart and ordered a replacement board, even though I could’ve bought a new TV for only slightly more money.
 

Victoria

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Yes it certainly does:

View attachment 141319

Ribbon cables with shoddy termination . . .

More ribbon cable and some 'discrete magic':

View attachment 141320

OGs will remember these cables and why they were made this way:

View attachment 141327

Genuinely curious: what’s wrong with those ribbon cables? I’m absolutely not an EE but I do like to tinker a fair bit in my free time and am always happy to learn something new.

The reason I ask is because I was formerly in IT with a good number of years in various administrative roles under my belt, and I can confidently tell you that our entire internet world is quite literally held together by precisely these type of ribbon cables and terminations. They’re very often used for low voltage power distribution from power supply to various components and they’re also very often used for serial interconnects to allow components to talk to each other for all sorts of management functions.

In all my years I don’t recall a single failure of anything resulting from either these cables or their terminations, and this is working with gear in full height racks stacked from top to bottom with all sorts of vibration-generating components (spinning rust drives, fans, you name it). So in my view and experience they do seem unfathomably reliable.

I also had a bench multimeter that used a bunch of these inside, and from what I’ve seen from random test equipment tear-downs they’re not exactly unpopular there either.
 

YSC

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Genuinely curious: what’s wrong with those ribbon cables? I’m absolutely not an EE but I do like to tinker a fair bit in my free time and am always happy to learn something new.

The reason I ask is because I was formerly in IT with a good number of years in various administrative roles under my belt, and I can confidently tell you that our entire internet world is quite literally held together by precisely these type of ribbon cables and terminations. They’re very often used for low voltage power distribution from power supply to various components and they’re also very often used for serial interconnects to allow components to talk to each other for all sorts of management functions.

In all my years I don’t recall a single failure of anything resulting from either these cables or their terminations, and this is working with gear in full height racks stacked from top to bottom with all sorts of vibration-generating components (spinning rust drives, fans, you name it). So in my view and experience they do seem unfathomably reliable.

I also had a bench multimeter that used a bunch of these inside, and from what I’ve seen from random test equipment tear-downs they’re not exactly unpopular there either.
I think he meant it’s impressive results with only these and full discrete layout?
 

Koeitje

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How noisy is it?
With 35 Watts available for the headphone output, I'm sure it can create a lot of noise.


I'll see myself out.
 
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A very large part of the reason a product like this exists at all has nothing to do with how well it drives headphones.
It's a luxury good that nobody really needs - the company can charge whatever they like for it.
If I had the wedge I would love nothing more than to be able to gaze upon it's beauty on my desk every day.
It's an aspirational product, like a R*lex watch. Pride of ownership has a huge influence.

Cost of production in Germany is high - your money goes to the people who build the unit, and to giving them a decent workplace.

That all said, it is over-engineered, utilises TOTL components and should likely last a lifetime.
That makes it a reasonable value in my book.
 

YSC

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3F562536-EF32-49D8-B28B-A0B85F4902E1.png

One thing I noticed is default ground lift jumper to avoid ground loops, it sounds like it will perform better when ground set to case mode? Any idea of which mode you’re in amirm
 

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YSC

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It's nice to see my topping A30 pro beats this monster at 1/10 of the price.
Well the A30 pro don’t offer as much power for 300ohms and don’t have the jumper for various grounding options, the perfect channel balanced relay volume control and the knob to change channel balance to compensate for some imaging imbalance in the dac or headphones, does these worth 10 times the price ? No, but it’s mostly paid for warranty, made in Germany cost and brand name, sometimes it just worth it for those who can afford without a sweat
 

JohnYang1997

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Well the A30 pro don’t offer as much power for 300ohms and don’t have the jumper for various grounding options, the perfect channel balanced relay volume control and the knob to change channel balance to compensate for some imaging imbalance in the dac or headphones, does these worth 10 times the price ? No, but it’s mostly paid for warranty, made in Germany cost and brand name, sometimes it just worth it for those who can afford without a sweat
840mW at single ended output. Toggle switch that actually does the job for grounding issue when using RCA input.
For more power at 300ohm the SPL phonitor is a monster.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...pl-phonitor-x-review-dac-headphone-amp.21114/
There's also V281 that does lots of power for cheaper. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...surements-of-violectric-hpa-v281-hp-amp.9331/
Screenshot_20210717-091741.jpg
 
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rocksteady

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Just a question.

Are those 1.3W into 300 Ohm through the Balanced or Unbalanced outputs? If it’s on the balanced Out, this would mean a weak 325mW on the Unbalanced Out. Less than half what my V90 can output into 600 Ohm, let alone 300 Ohm…
 

JohnYang1997

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Just a question.

Are those 1.3W into 300 Ohm through the Balanced or Unbalanced outputs? If it’s on the balanced Out, this would mean a weak 325mW on the Unbalanced Out. Less than half what my V90 can output into 600 Ohm, let alone 300 Ohm…
It's said on the graph, XLR IN and OUT.
 

rocksteady

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It's said on the graph, XLR IN and OUT.
OK, thanks. I have missed it. So it confirms my impression that it is rather weak in SE mode. Nowhere nearly as impressive in high Impedances, as in powerful, as the V281. And far more expensive. No, thanks…
 

JohnYang1997

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OK, thanks. I have missed it. So it confirms my impression that it is rather weak in SE mode. Nowhere nearly as impressive in high Impedances, as in powerful, as the V281. And far more expensive. No, thanks…
Not necessarily weak in real world. But in comparison, v281 is indeed much more powerful.
 

rocksteady

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Well the A30 pro don’t offer as much power for 300ohms and don’t have the jumper for various grounding options, the perfect channel balanced relay volume control and the knob to change channel balance to compensate for some imaging imbalance in the dac or headphones, does these worth 10 times the price ? No, but it’s mostly paid for warranty, made in Germany cost and brand name, sometimes it just worth it for those who can afford without a sweat
Well, for most users, using SE high impedance headphones, the A30 Pro will actually be much more powerful. I think that for the majority of users, the SE power figures will matter the most. But I could be wrong, of course…
 
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rocksteady

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Not necessarily weak in real world. But in comparison, v281 is indeed much more powerful.
Not only the V281 is much more powerful, but in fact every affordable Lake People and “Low” range Violectric (sadly all discontinued, apart from LP G111), such as the G100, V90 and V100, will embarrass this expensive, Luxury offering in SE mode. Given the very high price ticket, I consider this most unacceptable. And utterly disappointing…

BTW, thanks to those that brought to my attention the existence of the Topping A30 Pro! A most impressive design, which it looks to be the absolute, new affordable reference!
 
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rocksteady

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Power is cheap: Crown D75A has headphone jack wired directly to main outputs: 35 watts (not milliwatts!) per channel enough for you?
I own the D75A. This is a silly comparison. Those 35W are only available into 8 Ohm. Into 600 Ohm, for which it is especially suited, the available power is only a fraction of it. I’m not particularly good at Math, but I calculate it at around 500 mW, which it is still plenty, mind you. But as you say, transformer buzzing is a mild annoyance, even though it is low in level and practically inaudible with most Musical material…
 

YSC

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Well, for most users, using SE high impedance headphones, the A30 Pro will actually be much more powerful. I think that for the majority of users, the SE power figures will matter the most. But I could be wrong, of course…
Not only the V281 is much more powerful, but in fact every affordable Lake People and “Low” range Violectric (sadly all discontinued, apart from LP G111), such as the G100, V90 and V100, will embarrass this expensive, Luxury offering in SE mode. Given the very high price ticket, I consider this most unacceptable. And utterly disappointing…

BTW, thanks to those that brought to my attention the existence of the Topping A30 Pro! A most impressive design, which it looks to be the absolute, new affordable reference!

I think the opposite. From what I am aware of most high impedance headphones done remotely need 1.3W to be driven to ear bleeding level. And that more and more high end headphones are in the low impedance planar ones which are said to need more current to take proper control, it makes sense to make the low impedance powerful while if high impedance will be sacrificed on power.

And for the SE part I think it’s more or market segmentation, if one will buy such an expensive amp they likely will chase after cable upgrades, where to a balanced cable is most likely be the ones they opt for ultimate upgrade (audiophile myths yea), so this product is basically solely designed for those who need clean power at balanced out, and SE is more for occasional use of new and test headphones.

In my opinion it's like saying 99% of ppl won't buy the very expensive and not durable top end ultra high performance tyres for road use, but if the target audience are Ferrari and Porsche owners the % will likely flip over and become vast majority using UHP tyres. same for SE vs XLR, for 99% layman, SE is the choice as those are what comes with the headphone without needing to spend another $300 on cables, but for them who will even consider a $2500 amp anyway, those who would even browse and think of buying it will be those who owned balanced cabled phones and don't ever wanted to "down grade" to SE
 

rocksteady

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I think the opposite. From what I am aware of most high impedance headphones done remotely need 1.3W to be driven to ear bleeding level. And that more and more high end headphones are in the low impedance planar ones which are said to need more current to take proper control, it makes sense to make the low impedance powerful while if high impedance will be sacrificed on power. And for the SE part I think it’s more or market segmentation, if one will buy such an expensive amp they likely will chase after cable upgrades, where to a balanced cable is most likely be the ones they opt for ultimate upgrade (audiophile myths yea), so this product is basically solely designed for those who need clean power at balanced out, and SE is more for occasional use of new and test headphones
I agree with your points regarding Current Vs Voltage needs. And 1.3W is indeed overkill for MOST High Z headphones. But some vintage AKGs, in particular, might actually feel otherwise!:cool: My point is simply that its much simpler and humbler LP / Violectric siblings perform that much better into High Z in SE mode.

I perfectly understand that a luxury Amp such as this will likely be sought by a specific, well off, trendy type of Headphone Enthusiast, and used with mega bucks Magnetostatic Headphones and such like. But still, I find it disappointing, especially in comparison with the also expensive, but not absurdly so, V281. Sadly, also discontinued…
 

YSC

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I agree with your points regarding Current Vs Voltage needs. And 1.3W is indeed overkill for MOST High Z headphones. But some vintage AKGs, in particular, might actually feel otherwise!:cool: My point is simply that its much simpler and humbler LP / Violectric siblings perform that much better into High Z in SE mode.

I perfectly understand that a luxury Amp such as this will likely be sought by a specific, well off, trendy type of Headphone Enthusiast, and used with mega bucks Magnetostatic Headphones and such like. But still, I find it disappointing, especially in comparison with the also expensive, but not absurdly so, V281. Sadly, also discontinued…
Yea I understand your point also, but for V281 etc. while audibly transparaent, it have less than perfect channel matching for volume control, this one have even higher SINAD, and that the old Vios or LP seems like having some very mild low frequency roll off which is fixed in this one, I for one might buy one if it's at the V281s price bracket, but sadly they just gone most Hifi company route and make them costing an arm and a leg
 
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