Violectric V100: German Pro-Audio Quality by LakePeople

violectric_v100_01

The Violectric V100 is an A/B class amp with excellent German build quality. It’s sturdy, basic and has a very detailed finish. You can immediately recognize the Violectric brand by the gold colored classy feet. In my opinion that’s the way an amplifier should be, simple but good! A special characteristic of the V100 headphone amplifier is that it has double Neutrik headphone outputs on the front. I really enjoyed the double outputs for testing but I also found it to come in very handy when switching headphones between different music styles. No need to get up!

Just looking at the picture, you can really get a sense of the German tank-like built.

Balanced and Unbalanced inputs, as well as the pre-gain switches.

On the back of the reasonably small opamp based amplifier (W 170 x H 49 x D226 mm) you not only have unbalanced inputs  (which can be used as non “pre-amped” outputs) but you also have balanced connectors for those having a balanced source. The opamps used in the V100 are placed on sockets so you can easily swap them for other ones should you desire it. Another great feature of the V100 are the pre-gain jumpers on the back. In “normal” mode as it is delivered, no pre-gain is applied but by flicking a combination of jumpers for both channels you can adjust the gain very easily according to your wishes or headphones used (-12, -6, 0, +6, +12). I really liked having this possibility, in a few seconds you can adjust it for each headphone and make it match with the amp, something most of the other amps don’t let you do this easy.

The absolutely dead silent amplifier has quite a lot of power as you can see in the overview so it can drive a whole range of headphones from 16Ω to 600Ω and with 2.2W at 50Ω, the orthodynamics are sure to be treated well.

After a lot of hours of listening, it just is that addictive, I would say the V100 is a fairly neutral sounding amplifier yet it has this warmish signature which I really appreciate. At the same time it gives you a wide and precise soundstage while it always stays fun to listen to. It never gets too analytical and it is very enjoyable with all musical styles and all headphones. Even the tube loving  Sennheiser HD650 sounded really good with the V100 as did every other headphone I tried it with. I was most curious about how it would do with the big orthodynamics but I quickly found out it is excellent with both the Hifiman HE-500 and the Audez’e LCD-2. This amplifier no doubt has what it takes to drive orthodynamics, delivering great detail throughout the whole spectrum. Bass, mids and treble are presented in a lovely way. It is musical, it’s fast and with the pre-gain settings explained above you can to some limit influence the sound to your liking.

I can only note the V100 does everything perfect for the LCD-2. From bass to mids to highs, layering, detail, warmth,… it is all there. It’s like the V100 was developed with the Audez’e LCD-2 in mind and I have not heard my LCD-2 (Rev. 1) sound this well before. Until the V100 arrived, the Hifiman HE-500 was my favorite all-round headphone but it has been dethroned by the LCD-2, thanks to the V100. At this exact moment I am listening to “These Days” from The Foo Fighters and I’ve already hit repeat twice. The Violectric V100 and the LCD-2 is a match made in heaven to my ears. (+6db pre-gain setting)

Apparently, the V100 not only is an impressive match with the LCD-2 but also with the Sennheiser HD800. I haven’t tested this myself but I did find the following posted in a forum by Mr. Reid, CEO of Violectric, himself:

“Axel Grell is the developer of HD800. Sennheiser has got a so called “Hall of Fame” with some headphone amps inside. Since spring 2009 one of Mr. Grells favorites is HPA V100.
He personally handed over one of three HD800 (a laboratory sample) during 2009 Hi-End exhibition in Munich to be used on Lake People booth.”

In conclusion, the V100 is a great amplifier overall. It is clear some headphones will be a better match as others, yet you can never say the V100 doesn’t sound good. It is wonderfully clear and detailed and very enjoyable. If you’re looking for a (very) good, powerful all round solid state amplifier that does extremely well with the LCD-2 then I really do suggest you put this Violectric V100 on your short list.

It makes me wonder how the V200 version of this amplifier (with even better quality components) sounds compared to this already great sounding V100. I’m definitely going to try to get the V200 and then I’ll add my findings here.

The Violectric V100 amplifier costs around 600 to 650€ for European customers and around 550€/$800 for international customers. In my opinion it is certainly worth that price. More info about Lake People, Violectric, their complete range of amplifiers and DACs and all the specifications and features can be found on their website where you can also buy directly from them.

 

Gear used: Violectric V100, LCD-2, T70, HE-500, HD650, DT990, NFB3

 

 

Lieven is living in Europe and is a full time Headfonia writer and the leader of the gang. Coming from a musical family he's always been interested in good sound. Unlike his family members the only musical instruments he plays are amps and DACs. He loves playing with old tubes and discovering new products while staying faithful to the good old Sennheiser HD650. Taking pictures is a real challenge but seeing happy readers in the end is what it's all about for him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rūdolfs-Putniņš/100001284307683 Rūdolfs Putniņš

    Any idea whether one can upgrade it into full Class-A biasing?

    Gret review btw.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rūdolfs-Putniņš/100001284307683 Rūdolfs Putniņš

    Any idea whether one can upgrade it into full Class-A biasing?

    Gret review btw.

    • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

      Thank you Rudolfs. I honestly have no idea, sorry.
      I’ll email Violectric :)

    • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

      Thank you Rudolfs. I honestly have no idea, sorry.
      I’ll email Violectric :)

    • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

      See above, your question was answered by Violectric

  • http://twitter.com/SpencerMChan Spencer Chan

    how do you think it compares to Burson’s HA-160?

    I also see that there is the option of adding DAC to the unit for an all in one solution, any experience with Violectric’s DAC?

    • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

      Hi Spencer, It’s been a while since I listened to the Burson, but from what I remember the V100 is the more refined, clear and detailed one imo. The differences aren’t huge and they are both very good amps but my personal preference goes to the Violectric V100.

      You can indeed add a USB dac in the Violectrics but as you can see we didn’t have it in our review sample as the goal was to review the amp part. The V800 dac from what I’ve read is excellent though.

    • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

      Hi Spencer, It’s been a while since I listened to the Burson, but from what I remember the V100 is the more refined, clear and detailed one imo. The differences aren’t huge and they are both very good amps but my personal preference goes to the Violectric V100.

      You can indeed add a USB dac in the Violectrics but as you can see we didn’t have it in our review sample as the goal was to review the amp part. The V800 dac from what I’ve read is excellent though.

  • http://twitter.com/SpencerMChan Spencer Chan

    how do you think it compares to Burson’s HA-160?

    I also see that there is the option of adding DAC to the unit for an all in one solution, any experience with Violectric’s DAC?

  • Guest

    How would you set this up against the Burson HA-160DS?

    • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

      Answered below ;)

    • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

      Answered below ;)

  • Guest

    How would you set this up against the Burson HA-160DS?

  • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

    I’d like to add for those wondering that the amplifier’s overall gain is +8db, so overall gain with PRE-GAIN is: -4 / +2 / +8 / +14 / +20 dB

  • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

    I’d like to add for those wondering that the amplifier’s overall gain is +8db, so overall gain with PRE-GAIN is: -4 / +2 / +8 / +14 / +20 dB

  • Shahrose

    First time disagreeing with you Mike. I thought the V100 wasn’t very good. I sold mine last year, after comparing it with the M^3/Sigma11 and GS-1 w/DACT. Just not transparent enough…imbued its own thick warm, smooth sound signature over everything. Also wasn’t as dynamic and punchy as the others. I guess some people enjoy that consistently coloured sound, but it wasn’t for me. I gravitated towards the wire-with-gain type amps like the GS-1, GS-X, and Dynahi.

    • Shahrose

      Actually, to be fair, I should add that the V100 sounded better than my more transparent amps with subpar recordings. It had a very forgiving sound signature, even though it was somewhat homogenous.

      • Anonymous

        Yea I have yet to listen to the V100 myself. Lieven is like halfway across the world from me. 

      • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

        Hi Shahrose. The good news is you still agree with Mike as I wrote the review ;)
        I said it was warmish, but I like warm ( and smooth and laid back sound) . So maybe the Violectric sound just isn’t for you, I still find it a great amp.

    • Anonymous

      Ah you suck man. ;) 

      Just kiding. First this is Lieven’s writing. You can check the writer’s name below the title, next to the date. 

      Second, what headphone? I haven’t been a big fan of AMB (B22) and Gilmore (GLite) amps lately.

  • WarriorAnt

    I’m using the V200 with the LCD-2 and a W4S DAC-2 as a source.   The V200 is also wonderful with the LCD-2.    Violectric is an excellent company to deal with and Fried will answer any question you have in detail and responds very quickly.  

    I know this is a V100 review but the V200 is the logical continuation of the V100 and I’d recommend the V200 for the LCD-2.   

  • 12345142

    Why is this review filed under the “$300-500″ section? Perhaps you confused Euros with dollars?

    Anyways, great review – concise and to the point, just how it should be. I’m looking forward to reading more of Lieven’s reviews.

    • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

      Thanks! I’ve modified the Tags, mi scusi

  • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

    I contacted Mr. Reim concerning the A/B to A class upgrade and this is what he had to say:

    The amps inside V100 and V200 have been refined over years to reach the current
    quite perfect state. This includes the fine adjustment of the idle currents
    to work with the quite high operating voltage and very different loads from
    relatively low impedances (around 15 Ohms) to high impedances (about 600 Ohms)
    with lowest distortion figures. Class-A is intended to lower cross-over distortions by raising the idle current. But in case of our amps changing the idle currents to have more Class-A operation would end up in thermal stresses and at last would raise distortions.As we have lowest possible distortion figures we feel no need to do so.

    The bad news is the V200 wont get to us before january, but we will be comparing both in 2012!

    • Anonymous

      That’s very interesting to hear, since the common wisdom is Class-A is always better than Class-AB.
      The good news is (from what I’ve heard), you get to keep the V100 till january. ;) May as well start paying installment to Violectric for the V100, L! ;)

      • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

        How else could I compare the V200 to the V100 ;)
        Very happy I get to borrow it some longer

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rūdolfs-Putniņš/100001284307683 Rūdolfs Putniņš

      Ah, just got to read this! Interesting, to say the least. Because really, as Mike said, Class A has always been a no brainer for amps, if heatsinking permits, that is.

      I guess leave it to Germans to come up with something like this.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_DZIVENY6IHWKJPIBAT7Y5SDX5E john

    Great review Lieven! I really enjoyed reading it. 

     I’ve got both the V200 amp and the V800 DAC, and in my opinion they are some of the best gear you can buy at each of their respective price points.  You wouldn’t think that such a little box (as nice as it may look) would put out such amazing sound, but they do. 

    • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

      Hi John, thanks for the compliment. That V800 is on my “to review”- list for sure!
      Great gear you have :)

  • Loevhagen

    I bought the V200 some time ago on pure speculation from Lake People, and since then, some other headphone amps have been bought to benchmark them to the V200. All lost and the V200 is still here and used every day. The one that came closest to the V200 was HA-160D from Burson, but the Burson had to go.

    LCD-2, HE-500, HE-300, AKG K702, HD-800 and even HE-6 all sounds amazing from the V200. HE-6 sounds better from a speaker amp, but surprisingly good just with 18.5V / 2.7W  50ohm from the V200.

    If the V100 is near the V200 – The V100 is indeed good. Thanks for the review, Lieven V.

    • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

      My pleasure. The T70 review is coming up this week, you might be interested in that one as well :)

  • http://twitter.com/SpencerMChan Spencer Chan

    Any thoughts on the V100 vs WA6? (or more specifically in my case V200 vs WA6-SE)?

    • Anonymous

      Hi Spencer,
      Don’t think we can do that comparison for you. I did the WA6 review and Lieven did the V100 review. Two different places too. :)

  • http://mysteriousuniverse.org Benjamin Grundy

    Great review Lieven, the Violectric amps are definitely on my radar now although I just don’t know if I could live with the case design.

    The front panel looks so busy with that ridiculously huge font and the long lines around the volume control. The headphone symbol below the outputs is completely unnecessary too. 

    Maybe it looks better in person. In the end ears will win out over eyes though so I’m still keen to hear one ;)

    • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

      I like the faceplate actually, doesn’t bother me one bit.
      And as you say, the internals are the most important ;)

    • WarriorAnt

      Perhaps you have been misled by the photos.  The V100 and the V200 are the same size and are actually small units. Most people say the unit is smaller than they realized it would be. That being said it is hard to imagine a V100 or a V200 that is ridiculously huge.  The front plate is rather small and nothing on it seems disproportional or out of place not even the headphone symbol which actually seems like a tasteful touch.

      • http://mysteriousuniverse.org Benjamin Grundy

        Maybe you misread my comment. I said the “font” was huge, not the front. 

        I’m still keen to see these in person, although I’d be tempted to mod the front panel to my liking ;)

  • Chiparus

    Hello great review.

    I want to buy it !!! But I have a problem may be you can help me…

    I have a HD 800 and a Hifiman 602 …How can I do with the cables… For the earphone no problem but with the Hifiman or an another MP3 what kind of cable can I get …too  put into the Violetric!

    If you have a link … to get this cable ??

    Sorry for my poor english…

    All the best.

  • Sickdrummer182

    Hey, do you know if the V100 or V200 can drive the HE-6 well?

    Does it sound better or worse than with the RSA SR71b driving it?

    • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

      Haven’t tried the HE-6 with the Violectric, but from what I have read it works really well

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

        FYI the SR71B isn’t that good in driving the HE-6.

  • Paul

    Good review.  Will you review the smaller model V90?

    • http://twitter.com/Lieven_V Lieven V

      No plans sorry, the V200 will be reviewed in the coming months though

  • Charles Tort

    Hi Mike, refering to the “gear used” precision:

    What do you think about the pair Audio GD NF3 + Violectric 100 ? I’m considering these to drive my Beyer T70 and T1.

    Any idea? Do you have a better pair in mind for less than 1K€?

    In advance, Thanks

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Hi Charles, the review was done by Lieven and personally I have no experience with the V100 or the NFB-3. I think Lieven should be able to help you out. 

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      I seem to have missed this. sorry. The NFB3+V100 is my actual main rig. If you like the beyer sound then I am sure this is a great setup, me personally I prefer using a tube amp to take the edge of the bright Beyer sound, but this combination won’t disappoint you as the NFB3 is musical, a tad on the dark side and has great bass. The V100 synergy with the NFB3 is great as it partly counters these characteristics and makes it not too dark or bassy but very musical and fun. You can’t go wrong with this.

      the V100 in combination with the Rein Dac gets very neutral, analytical an detailed. the fun/musical aspect is less present but the detail level is sublime!

  • 8043350051

    Will IEMs like ER4, EX1000, TF10, DBA-02 benefit from this amp? And what about when if they are recabled to balanced?

    • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

      Very little. Maybe the EX1000 and the ER4 would benefit. But I’ve tried the ER4 balanced from a Beta22 and it was not impressive. I think they scale up to a certain point, then everything else from there would be a diminishing return. 

  • Chen Sun

    any plan for the V200 review?? and the potential comparison??

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

       I’m still waiting for the V200, might have more news this month

  • Chris Legako

    How does the V100 fare with low impedance cans? I’d like to make the jump to this but I’d like to know how my modded SR325is and D5000 will react to it, among others.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

       The only low impedance cans I’ve got are 3 orthos, and the Violectric brand does great with those as everyone knows by now.

    • Chen Sun

      I can report that they are beautiful with my RS2i, very tamed and clean sounding.

      • http://www.headfonia.com Mike

        I really need to hear the Violectric one day. :)

  • Bookaboo

    I am using the v100 with my sr325 magnums and my ms pros and it is a great match. Especially if you set the pre gain to -6db.

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

       Thanks for the info!

      • tre54321

        Quick, L, get us your review on the V200! :) Should be getting mine soon too.

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

           Haven’t got it yet :p

  • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

    V200 has been confirmed btw ;)

    • http://twitter.com/SpencerMChan Spencer Chan

      Any leads on where to audition/buy the v200 in Frankfurt/Prague?

      Thanks, L! =)

      • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

         I will check with Violectric for you

  • http://www.zombie-x.com/ Zombie_X

    Nice review! I have both the V90 and V100 coming so I can review them! I own a V200 and it’s a really good amp but has some slight issues.

    My review is here: http://www.thezxdomain.com/2012/03/review-violectric-hpa-v200.html

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

       Thanks Zombie, I’ll read that for sure after I did my review so I won’t get influenced :)

  • Bookaboo

    Hi lieven, what gain setting did you use for the hd650?

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      I didn’t add any extra gain for the HD650.

  • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

    V200 is in my hands right now ;)

  • Bookaboo

    c’mon Lieven, we’re waiting in anticipation for the big V100/V200 comparison

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      I know, I’ve just been a bit (too) busy. sry

  • Hai Nguyen

    Hey Lieven compare the v100 to the the lafigaro 339 which one you prefer for the hd 650.
    I know one is tube one is ss but just want your opinion :)
    Cheers

    • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

      I will be posting a full 339 review soon. For the HD650, the 339 is the better choice

      • Hai Nguyen

        thanks I’m looking forward to that review since the poll you posted on fb :) can you give some comparison with the crack,too?
        Sorry btw it seem that I’m like a spoiled kid demands too many things at once :P

        • http://www.headfonia.com/ L.

          there is a small comparison to the crack in it, but not too big. Not giving any spolers yet ;)