Some will already have noticed that the V800 and V850 don’t “do” DSD and for some this might be a deal breaker. For my personal listening I hardly ever use DSD files but I do have several DSD albums to test DSD capable DACs. I myself don’t need a DAC that is DSD capable but I can understand why one would say a modern DAC should be able to do DSD. Fried has his own take on the whole DSD thing:
“DSD came up in the middle of the 90ties in the professional world. Why? I guess because there had to be something new … There definitely is no practical reason to go for DSD and therefore this format is dead since a long time in the recording industry. The biggest disadvantage of DSD (there are many more) is it can´t be edited. So, if there is a real DSD recording it is converted to PCM before it enters the mixing console or the editing suite. After the necessary steps are made it is converted back into DSD. Does this really make sense? And to make a DSD file out of a PCM file is as senseful as upsampling a CD because of the sound. Well, the above is my personal opinion but there is also a practical one: We have learned that a DSD data stream can´t be modified and so it is not possible to attenuate such signals in the digital domain. As we have implemented the volume control on the digital side there is no way to process DSD data”.
Love it or hate it but I doubt you’ll be seeing DSD on Violectric’s units anytime soon and I’m perfectly fine with that.
Topology (by Violectric)
If you’re not familiar with or don’t care about the tech side, feel free to skip to the next chapter.
The digital signal is first routed to the re-sampling circuitry where virtually all incoming jitter is eliminated. Then up to 4 times up-sampling can be selected from the front panel. This process can be completely disabled or set to “best” operation which means that all incoming digital signals will be normalized to 96 kHz. We have found this to be the optimal frequency to achieve the best audio quality when re-sampling lower bit rate data. A digital output is also provided which mirrors either the active input signal or the digital signal that has been processed by the re-sampler. Our design features a 32 bit double mono converter architecture which consists of two 32 bit (PCM1795) converters for each channel. This serves to enhance the dynamic range and minimize distortion.
The analog output circuitry is fully balanced from the D/A converters to the analog outputs. This is very similar to the circuitry design we used in the DAC V800 but, with further refinement in the output stage. The maximum balanced analog output level may be set internally to +24 / +18 / +15 / +12 / or +6 dB to ensure a perfect match with your other equipment. The unbalanced analog outputs will always be 9 dB lower compared to the balanced output setting. The volume control is again all digital just like we used in the DAC V800.There is no scratching, no channel imbalance, and no reduced crosstalk which can be the case with an analog volume implementation. This is why we prefer digital all the way through our design. Yes, there is some reduced resolution when lowering the volume. However since we first up-sample the input to 32 bits we have at least 8 bits with no definitive content. This gives us 8 x 6 = 48 dB of gain reduction available to lower the output volume and prevents any degradation of the original digital signal.
Resampling / Upsampling + Features
The V850, like the V800, offers resampling/upsampling and you of course can only sample up till you’ve reached the chips’ limits (1x, 2x, 4x). The LEDs indicate if the resampling function is activated or not. When using the “BEST” setting, the digital input word will be recombined and forwarded to the D/A converter at a sample rate of 96 kHz, a rate at which most contemporary converters perform best according to Violectric. After installation of Violectric’s drivers a Violectric “mini app” will show you what bitrate the DAC is receiving. To know what bitrate the Violectric V850 is receiving without looking at that you can always check it by trying the upsample feature. 88.2 will be possible to upsample twice and 192 only once of course. Personally I’ve always set the upsampling to “Best” as this is what Violectric recommends. I do find there is an audible difference when using the upsample function, so just let your ears decide what they like most.
Here’s the V850’s full list of features:
– 4 digital inputs switchable:
– transformer balanced via XLR (AES 3/11), 24/192
– coaxial via Cinch (S/P-DIF, AES-3id), 24/192
– optical via TOS Link, 24/192
– USB input, X-mos based, 24/192
– coaxial digital output including digital volume control
– resampling/upsampling with selectable modes: x1, x2, x4 and “BEST”
– Low jitter clock (< 1pS) with low noise supply
– LED displays for active input, Lock, Mute/Error, resampling status
– Double-mono architecture with 2 D/A converters per channel
– 32 Bit delta-sigma DACs with outstanding 120 dB dynamic range and -112 dB THD
– perfect analog output stages to not affect the maximum dynamic and minimum THD-N
– Analog output level adjustable in the digital domain with 32 bit accuracy
– Optional remote control for motorized volume control, input selection, resampling action
– Additionally the max. analog level is internally adjustable in 5 steps
– Analog signal treating including phase-reverse and sharp/soft filter roll-off
– Analog outputs electronically balanced via XLR and unbalanced via Cinch
– oversized toroidal transformer
– extensive internal power conditioning with low-ESR capacitors
A full list of Tech Specs can be found on the V850 webpage here.
Sound and more on the last Page HERE