Sound – Pre Amp
Ever since the Violectric DHA V590 arrived it’s been the only pre amp I have used. It has been serving as a preamp for all of my tube headphone amps as well as for my power amp in my speaker setup. The only other pre-amp I have used is the Technics SU-G700 in my living room setup, but that’s a story for another day.
As a pre amp the V590 is easy to use and it allows you to set the gain just right. For some amps I use the max gain setting, for others such as the Headonia, I use 0 gain. The most important part to remember is that my ears don’t allow me anymore to take the DHA V590 pre amplification out of my signal chain and setup.
All I can say is that the V590 is great Pre-amp as well, it’s not just a DAC/AMP unit. But more about that in the end conclusion.
Sound – Amplifier (as DAC/AMP)
The overall sound quality of the V590 is good and nothing short of what you expect from a higher and amplifier.
You get a full sound from bottom to top, but not overly so as was more the case with the Violectric V281. The impact still is impressive while the delivery is fast, natural and smooth. It’s not a neutrally tuned unit, but it’s not very warm sounding either. It balances perfectly in between both, and that makes it easy to like.
The V590 of course is dead silent and it has a pitch black background. The sound stage width is good and can best be described as natural with a realistic sense of space and airiness between the notes. The depth and layering are also good tough there’s still room for improvement in regards for the layering.
The detail retrieval is good and you get a slightly smoother and musical delivery, where most higher end units go for the more analytical and precise kind of approach. With Violectric it has always been about the musicality and enjoyment however, and the tuning of the Violectric range has always been more to the softer, smoother and warmer side. That being said, this unit isn’t overly smooth or warm at all, but it’s more so then it’s neutral. Basically it’s a realistic and natural presentation with the amount of detail one expects from a high end device.
Looking at the classics, we’ll start with the bass. Bass has always been very important in the Violectric product range, and that’s no different here. Bass is full, rounded and it has a nice punch to it. The presentation of the bass is on the warmer side, but like with the amount of body, it’s not overly present. It sits just right, making it sound, natural and realistic, yet fun and engaging. Compared to the user high end tuning, the bass here isn’t as tight.
The mids are smooth and have lovely timbre. The mids section is a pleasure to listen to and it like the bass has a very natural yet musical tone. The vocals blend in perfectly and they are realistic and intoxicating. I absolutely love the dynamics in the mids, but the Niimbus US4+ performs even better in this area.
The V590’s treble section is smooth and musical and it’s soft on the ears. It’s very easy to listen to and it will never shock you or sound harsh or overly energetic. This isn’t really surprising as all of the Violectric units have a very safe treble tuning. In short, the treble is soft and easy yet musical and lively.
Just as with the V281, the balanced output is the one that really makes the DHA V90 shine. The Single ended outputs of course are good sounding as well, but the balanced ones just give you have more spacious, wider and natural kind of sound. The single ended ones sound a bit more powerful, but they’re also a tad more intimate.
Let’s check out some high end headphones using different technologies. On to the next chapter!
In this part we will be describing the sound of a series of headphones with the DHA V590 used as a DAC/AMP. I have selected the following series of high end headphones in order to cover different technologies as well as lighter and harder to drive headphones.
Sennheiser HD800S, Beyerdynamic DT1990 Pro, Audeze LCD-MX4, Audeze LCD-XC, Hifiman Sundara, Hifiman HE6-SE, HEDD Audio HEDDPhone, Kennerton Thror.
The Audeze LCD-MX4 isn’t the hardest to drive headphone and the synergy with the V590 is excellent. Great speed, good body and excellent impact. Lots of detail of course, but also a musical presentation. I really like the vocals and pace in this combo.
The Hifiman Sundara is a harder to drive headphone and it’s one of my favorite set of cans. It’s harder to drive than most orthodynamic headphones and the volume on the DHA V590 goes up more, but there is no issue whatsoever in driving these. I advise to up the gain a little bit. You get a full bodied sound, with a precise presentation and a very good level of detail. For me personally the Susvara in this setup is missing some sound stage width and extension (notes), but it’s a very good combo non the less.
The Sennheiser HD 800 S is a headphone I absolutely love. With its 300 ohm and dynamic driver it’s a notorious headphone and amplification is crucial to get the best possible sound. I personally tend to hook it up to an OTL tube amp, but the DHA V590’s signature matches that of the HD 800 S. The V590 provides it with all the bass and body you need and you get excellent vocals and energetic yet softened out treble. This is a combo I can listen to each day. If you like the HD800s, then you will absolutely like it with the HAD V590.
The Audeze LCD-XC is the only closed headphone in this line-up but the synergy with the V590 probably is the best of all. Good speed, tight delivery, powerful bass, sweet mids, lively vocals and exciting treble. I think I’ll listen to this setup the rest of the day.
If you like a darker and warmer sound with excellent bass, than the Meze Empyrean probably is a headphone for you. I expected it to maybe sound overly full and warm on the V590, but this isn’t case at all. It’s a pretty sweet, and smooth combo, but with good speed and clarity. I can see many Empyrean owners loving the V590 and Meze combo. The more I listen to the Empyrean, the more I use solid state amps with it, and this one drives it really well.
I expected the HEDDphone to perform really well with the V590 and that’s exactly the case. Great deep bass and superb clarity but with a musical delivery. The stereo imaging is sublime and you just get a powerful sound with a smoother delivery, especially in the mids. For many this will be the perfect mix of a high technical level and divine musicality.
With Hifiman’s HE6SE you just like with the Susvara need to increase the volume and give it some extra gain to get the very best out of it. Do that and you’ll get exemplary bass, incredible layering and top level extension. Of all the open headphones in this list so far, the magic with this HE6SE is the best.
The Beyerdynamic DT1990Pro is one of those headphones you expect to sound best with an OTL amplifier, but the V590 does a reasonable job. This is OK to listen to but it’s a bit light and sharp for me, especially in the vocals and upper mids. So for me not the best synergy between these two.
So pretty good results overall with the LCD-XC as my personal favorite. Check out https://tidal.com/browse/album/66479099 with this combo and you’ll agree with me.
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