HFN: What is driving Violectric/Lake People forward?
FR: For my opinion the V200 technology represents the summit of amp design and can only be improved by a fraction through an enhanced power supply and/or upgraded components which may take place next year 😉
Concerning the D/A converters our DAC V800 was a big hit and found its successor in the V850.
V850 is a big step ahead with its double mono converters and enhanced clock supply.
Regarding the Head-Fi forum (Headphone amps Full size) , V200 and V281 are the only German amps with more than 350.000 clicks – and we want more !
HFN: What is your guilty pleasure amplifier?
FR: I love the sound signature, power and effortlessness of HPA V281. I use it at home as a preamp with a Rotel amp to power the speakers in my music room when I don‘t listen to headphones.
HFN: What is it that you seek most when building a new amplifier?
FR: The truth (!!) but also accompanied by a touch of warmth to smooth things. This can be a bad recording or some too bright headphones. The truth can be realized by a fast amp, wide frequency range and high grade components. The warmth may be implemented by experience and/or by chance.
HFN: What is the most treasured product of yours?
FR: Currently it’s our DAC V850 because it showed that more efforts in the clock supply (lowest jitter, enhanced power supply) really leads to a better D/A conversion – which cannot be measured. This lead to the development of the DAT RS 05 (Digital Audio Tool) in the Lake People RS range which is a tool to enhance digital audio data.
HFN: Tube vs Solid State, which is your preference and why?
FR: Many people are engaged during recording something.
There are lots of musicians, the conductor, the producer, the sound engineer to name only the major parts. And during recording and mastering you will never see a tube, maybe there is a tube in a microphone.
So, listening to a recording with transistorized gear is close to what’s intended.The tube is warm, adds harmonics, pleases the listening.
So, listening with tubes is an interpretation but more or less far from the truth.
HFN: Do you have a benchmark headphone to test your amplifiers? If so which is it and why?
FR: My current favorite is the Audeze LCD 2, first edition. It is on the warm, dark side and has relatively low impedance.
When you attend classic concerts you will recognize that live sound is far from being as bright as the recording and the headphone manufactures make us believe.
Another headphone is the Sennheiser HD800. It is absolutely comfortable but bright and tends to be harsh in higher frequency ranges. Also it has a high impedance.
If an amp is good sounding on both extremes, it is also good for any other headphone.
HFN: I’ve heard you are a big fan of AKG’s K812 running balanced, but you did give it some tweaks. Would you mind sharing what the modifications look like and what they brought to the headphone?
FR: Well, the K812.
From the first listening I liked it quite well, however, I always found it too bright – like most new headphones. However, the resolution and location is very good. Mine was defect, fallen apart for the second time, and due to a misunderstanding AKG wanted 400 Euro for the repair. This made me quite annoyed and they shipped it back unrepaired. I decided to transfer the can to balanced operation – it was fallen to pieces already. Finally I began working, including my very special Violectric cable (4 x 0.5 mm2 silver plated) it took about about 6 hours, nevertheless its still looking a bit “strange”. Sound: As expected, the balanced cabling increased the room considerably, but it is now even brighter. In short, because I have the Audeze LCD 2 as the declared favorite headphones, I do not like the results of my work !! Now I do not know if you want to hear this …
HFN: What is your personal favourite headphone? earphone? DAP?
FR: See above. I don’t like earphones and I don’t like closed headphones.
HFN: What are the chances of a portable Violectric amplifier?
FR: … small. This market is very good covered by several far east brands making reasonable equipment. Our ideas for a portable amp are so expensive that I don’t see chances to market them. We rather go in the other direction.
HFN: What is it you like most about pro-audio?
FR: The pro audio scene produces what the consumers are listening to.
Pro-Audio is rather results-oriented and so they control their investments in technical equipment.
This is even more true for broadcasters. Their equipment has to work for decades under any circumstances. It is hard to win their confidence, but if you have a reputation you are in the game.
HFN: Where do you think collide pro and consumer audio the most and how will both fields develope?
FR: The time of big studios and large scale production is over due to the fact that no relevant money can be made by selling recorded hardware.
The fees for musicians and those who record them are melting through streaming services. Some of the studios do re-mastering, most are closed or will close. Only few will remain.
The HiFi addicted consumer is often hunting for new skills. For example DSD was fashion around 1995 in the recoding world. It was soon dead because it was not practical out of several reasons and it sounded different to live and PCM recording. Since some time DSD reached the HiFi enthusiast. It still sounds different and some judge this as “better”. Most of those don´t know that DSD cannot be edited. To do so, it is converted to PCM and afterwards reconverted to DSD and I ask: what is the sense of it? The next seems to be MQA file format which is the answer to a question nobody ever asked.
There are still many HiFi addicted seeking problems in digital formats and trying to solve these by more bits and more sample rate. On the other hand they are praising the technically absolutely ridiculous record player and the record with 33 rpm … for my opinion 24 bits and 96 kHz are covering double or three times more the human ear can hear and resolve – if treated right !!
HFN: Is there any product which our readers can look forward to in the not so distant future?
FR: The last two years saw several new products in the Lake People “RS” range which covered many of the Violectric features for a much more reasonable price to attract people who cannot or will not afford Violectric items. Next step is the other direction. Some nice gear is under development to set new standards above Violectric.
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer all these questions with such care Fried!
We wish you the best of luck for all that’s coming and are looking forward to more Violectric products in the future. As always, keep your eyes on Headfonia to find out about the newest gear.
I own and love 2 products made by this company:
— The Violectric 281 (balanced and single-ended outputs & inputs
— The Lake People G109-A (single-ended only)
Each in its own way has shown quietly spectacular sound–and given me hope that the solid state vs tube divide is less meaningful than it once appeared to be.
Fried has been nothing but helpful and informative in my dealings with him by email. And now we see through your interview that he seems to be much like his headphone amps’ designs: a truth teller, no bullshit, straight-ahead and telling us what we need to know.
This company should be even more successful than it already is IMHO…
…forgot to comment on my favorite part of this interview: “”When you attend classic concerts you will recognize that live sound is far from being as bright as the recording and the headphone manufactures make us believe.”
Thanks for bucking the crowd on this sonic preference issue, Fried. Your headphone amps sound VERY MUCH like the real thing (symphony or chamber orchestra playing in an acoustically sound performance space)–for which I am grateful.