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!
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