Violectric DHA V590 – Design, Build Quality & Lay-out
The Violectric DHA V590 looks professional and very technical because of the busy front and back. As we’re used to with all Violectric units, the buttons, connectors, casing and front plates are top-quality. The V590 sports front 8 mm aluminium sanded, brushed, black anodized, knobs with a with plastic inlay. The case is up to 12 mm strong aluminium, brushed and anodized. It’s robust and built like a tank, as we often say.
The V590 looks industrial and it’s built like a thank, however it is stylish and practical at the same time. The only downside, if I can call it that, is that the main body casing scratches easily. So watch out when placing headphones or whatever on it. I myself protect it with a microfiber cloth as I tend to rest my headphones on the unit when I’m not using it.
The DHA V590 measures 290(W) x 80(H) x 248(D) mm and it weighs 6,60kg. It stands sturdy on its feet and the unit will not move around your desk when plugging and unplugging cables. It’s a perfectly normal and even small size for a such a versatile and high tech featured unit, so it’s easy to use on your desk or in a living room setup.
Violectric DHA V590 –Lay-out
As said, the front and back of the V590 is very busy, let’s try to give an overview.
On the front you on the full left have the big, volume knob, with the Balance selector right next to it. Then you have an upper and lower level of controls. In the lower level you from left to right have the remote control receiver, a 6.3mm single ended output, the balanced XLR output, the second 6.3mm output and the power button. Right above the power button, there’s a LED indicating if the protective circuit is activated or not.
The top layer on the front from right to left has the Line Out/Headphone out selectors with the Mute LED between them. On the left next to that you have the up sampling selector and LEDs. Next to that you have the digital input selector (balanced, coax, optical, USB). You also have a LED showing PCM or DSD. Next to this section you have the analogue input selector with the LEDs (XLR, RCA1, RCA2)
On the back of the unit, you from left to right find the power connector and the digital inputs (USB, Optical, Coax, Balanced 3pin XLR). Right next to that on the right (top level) you have all the Line Outputs (XLR balanced, RCA OUT) and the gain settings for them by L/R channel (36dB ranging from -18dB to +18dB and -6dB and +6dB). It is also possible to ‘bypass’ the volume control. As Alpha-audio states: the pre/post button on the back looks insignificant but can be the difference between roasted speakers/amplifier/ears/new windows.
The lower level on the back sports the double single ended RCA inputs as well as a balanced XLR input and the input gain settings by channel. Do check out the manual to learn more about the gain settings for the input and output
Even though the DHA V590 has so many options, inputs and outputs, it’s actually very easy and straightforward to use. There are some “hidden” advanced features for which you will need the manual but many people will never use these. They’re all explained in the manual of course.
I myself have been using the DHA V590 both as headphone amp as well as a pre-amp, and it’s extremely easy to switch between both.
I really can’t think of anything that would make the V590 difficult or annoying to use, au contraire. I nowadays use the DHA V590 as a DAC, headphone amp as well as a pre-amp for my speaker system. This wasn’t the case in the beginning actually, and I was using a different DAC and just used the headphone outputs. The DHA V590 however grew on me so fast that I started using it as a DAC and a pre-amp as well. It just makes for a really great all-in-one high-end system.
When the V590 was sent to me a few months ago it was a loaner sample that had to be returned after a couple of weeks. But as I was using it more and more in different setups, it didn’t take me long to realize I didn’t want to send it back to Germany, and so I purchased the unit from CMA. I don’t see the DHA V590 leaving my office any time soon.
Pricing & Accessories
The Violectric DHA V590 is a high end all-in-one unit and as such it doesn’t come cheap. This piece of German engineering and build quality is selling for €3.281,73 Euro. The Pro version with the 256 step volume control sets you back €500 more.
Looking at what’s on the market there are many units that are cheaper, but also many that are more expensive and that don’t offer the same level of options or power delivery. I personally feel the price setting for the V590 is correct, I wouldn’t have bought it if I found it overpriced. But ok, it’s still a reasonable amount of money of course.
The DHA V590 comes in the new style Violectric box and you besides the V590 unit get a remote control, power cable and a double manual (quick guide and full guide).
Sound – Intro
The DHA V590 has multiple gain settings and I have mostly used it between 0 and +18, even with no gain however, a headphone like the Susvara can be sufficiently driven. I was recommended to use +18 gain for the pre amp, but I after a few weeks turned it down to 0 as well, just to give more range to the amp it was connected to.
The V590’s volume control is excellent and there’s hardly any channel imbalance (none that I noticed). However when changing the volume, you do hear some noise of the clicks while turning the dial. I find it a bit annoying, but luckily I don’t change the volume too often.
Sound – DAC / Resampling
The AK4490EQ is a DAC chip which we have seen in many portable players. It’s not the newest or most fancy chip but it of course depends on the implementation. For me it’s not the most detailed but it perfectly matches the amplifier’s characteristics. As said, I was using an external DAC first with a dual AK4497EQ chip, but then I started using the DHA V590 more and more as a DAC/AMP unit, so it must be doing something right.
In this implementation the AK4490EQ sounds powerful and it has a punchy low-end, sweet mids, natural vocals and musically but softer treble. You get a balanced, refined, natural and relaxed sound with no focus on anything particular. It has the right amount of softness and smoothness but it never exaggerates in these areas.
Like in their dedicated DACs, Violectric has implemented their famous resampling feature, something I have learned to use and appreciate ever since I got their V850 DAC (PCM1795). By a push of button you can change the resampling (Off,1,2,4, best) and you’ll hear the immediate effect of it on the sound. I still do play with it when I am hooking up a new amplifier or sometimes even a headphone, but it’s safe to say I have it set to best in 98% of all cases. It’s also the setting that Fried recommended to use. But ok, you might like it differently, so just play with it, the option is there.
For me the best setting is best because it produces the most balanced sound and it smoothens out the sharpness of vocals more, making it a more enjoyable experience.
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