Violectric V220

I just wanted to start this thread for my new to me amp, the Violectric V220. Many members have signed up for the V280 amp from Drop and I assume that will be a separate thread when people start receiving them in several weeks.

I want to set up this thread to keep notes as I go along. I will note my different experiences with several headphones, with pre-gain and comparisons against my other amps.

First off, here is a pic of the machine:

I bought this used from a gentleman in Quebec. He took a brutal loss on resale.

This amp does not have balanced out. I figure that in the long run, if this is a keeper, one of two things will happen:

  1. My Liquid Platinum will become the designated Balanced amp
  2. This amp will blow me away so much that I will pursue a V281/V280.

This amp has very low output impedance and you can also set pre-gain which will likely come in very handy. To use my Meze 99’s on the Liquid Platinum, I have to turn down my DAC noticeably and I can’t go past 8:00 on the LP volume dial. I will definitely be trying -6 and -12 with the 99’s, Grado’s and maybe even the Fostex’s.

Last technical mention is the power. The ratings are:
600 Ohms will get you 670mW
100 Ohms will get you 3050mW
50 Ohms will get you 2700mW
32 Ohms will get you 2800mW
16 Ohms will get you 1500mW
TONS of power for guy that rarely goes above 75 decibels.

On it’s very first day in its new home I have paired it with the Focal Elex’s. I want to give it it’s best chance for success. :grin:

On day one I find it crystal clear, clean and articulate. Initially, I don’t find it as warm as the LP. I am thinking several days with the Elex’s before I start changing things around.

To be clear, I am very impressed right off the bat.

Now, for the next 90 days there will be a face off between 6 headphones and five different amps/energizer. The plan is to clip the collection in September.

I will work at updating weekly in the first month or two.



I would suggest waiting for a newer v38x instead lol, or perhaps go for like a niimbus or something lol

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Would that be the $10,000.00 Nimbus or just settle for the $7,500.00 Nimbus? :joy:

Ah that’s right, canadian prices aren’t the best lol

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It would currently cost me $3,500.00 for a new V281, landed. :eyes:

No more amps for quite a while. Maybe a DAC this summer. Then probably headphone consolidation/changes in the fall.


I look forward to more of your impressions of the HPA V220. My Violectric didn’t take long to impress me. I’ll be curious to how it holds up among your fine amp collection.


I got impatient and started trying things today. Tried the Sundara’s and they sound great! Clean and smooth.
I want to do some SE comparisons, but it’s hard. My Burson Fun is packed for sale, but I may open it up. The SE output on the LP is not its strength. The tube amp does “tubey” well, but it’s not really competing in the same area (but it will compete with the Grado’s and Meze 99’s).

So today I decided to try some A-B’ing with the SMSL SP200. This is probably not a fair fight as I am not a huge fan of these 'phones combined with this amp.

I went back and forth with:
Bishop Briggs
Lana Del Rey
Billy Raffoul
Young Blood

They all sounded smoother, cleaner and fuller on the V220.
To be fair, the landed costs in Canada for these items were under $400.00 (SP200) vs well over $2,200.00 (HPA V220).
There is no use even doing any more comparo’s with these two.

I’ll try something different tomorrow.


This is a true statement. However, there is still a contingent out there of the opinion THX = Endgame. Such comparisons may still be of use yet.

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I guess it’s fun to do lol

There’s probably also utility in answering the question “What did my extra $1800 buy me?”

I will try it again tomorrow as I do a comparo with the Fostex TH-610’s. They are at their best with SP200, single ended. I do have a balanced cable on the way, but tomorrow I will compare the two amps via my SE cable. Might be interesting as this was the only HP that brought out the SMSL unit anymore.

The test that I am MOST interested in is the Elex/Sundara test. Balanced out from the LP vs SE out from the V220. Volume matched with my little deibel meter.
To me that will be the test.

To be clear I didn’t pay the $2,200.00+ price. I bought it used.

It’s just really hard once you go higher to put into words the differences lol, as it’s substantial improvements but also moreso on the intangible side so it’s really hard to describe to other people lol


Last observation of the day: The amp has been on for almost 8hrs and is not even room temperature. I don’t think I have ever had an amp run this cool.

I think that’s a really hard question to answer between “tiers” of amps or DAC’s for that matter.
There is a point of it sounds better that is hard to qualify to specifics.

I’m talking generally here, rather about the V220 specifically.

My experience with higher tier gear is that the differences tend to be in way they create space, the timbre across the spectrum, their ability to control the driver and the general lack of brittleness or fatigue from the treble. With varying amounts of each depending on the gear

I was discussing this with M0N at one point, it’s just hard to explain it to someone who hasn’t heard it. It’s easy for example to convey a soundstage is taller or wider, but it’s not really the difference, the best I can put the differences is you hear the space around the instruments. For single room recordings, you can hear the space it was recorded in, for stuff that’s mixed down the individual tracks separate better.

My current “theory” is I think it comes down to the ability to resolve and present very small signals in the presence of the larger primary “music” signal.

But it’s also about balance the you’ll only get so much out of an amp and DAC if your headphones can’t resolve what your listening to.


I’m sure what you and @M0N say about describing the differences is indeed a challenge. I don’t have the experience with really high end gear to say. My comment was in response to @ShaneD’s comment about comparing this amp to a THX amp being pointless. I agree they’re not in the same class but I wouldn’t characterize the comparison as pointless. Even if it’s just for the individual end user, I’m sure there is something to be learned.

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Makes sense, I wouldn’t say it’s pointless either, my comment was a bit off topic looking at it again lol

Pointless may be the wrong word, perhaps fruitless would be better. After going through several amps in the last several months I am getting a feel for what each one does best.

First off, regarding the SP200, I knew going in I would not be a huge fan of the THX amps, but I wanted to “complete” my collection (Same with tube amps).

I thought the THX amps would be a wire with gain. Flat, neutral and transparent. That has NOT been my experience at all. My SP200 does NOT play well with bright/brightish headphones, IME. However, it did clean up a messy pair of Fostex’s for me.

I see no use in comparing the Grado’s, Sundara’s (again) or even the Elex’s going forward as I will not be pleased with the sound.

The Fostex’s should be a very interesting comparison between the two.

I am also very curious about the tube amp vs the V220 regarding the Grado’s and Meze’s.

And then a “championship” round between the V220 and the LP. :grin:

Am I ruling the SP200 out? Yes I am. The LP, in my opinion, destroys it with balanced out. I suspect that the V220 will do the same with SE out.

Keep in mind that these are just my opinions, not FACTS. I am sure there are many audiophiles/golden earred individuals who will disagree with me.