The Violectric HPA V222 boasts the advantages of balanced amplification, is bursting with performance and excels with very low inherent noise. These are the best prerequisites for sensitive and demanding listeners, and this headphone amplifier from the German manufacturer can be flexibly adapted with seven-stage preamplification.
- four discrete, powerful power amplifiers
- very low noise
- preamplification with seven steps (+/- 18 dB)
- 3 headphone connections
- switchable inputs delayed switching of the headphone outputs after power-on
- noticeable heat development
- no line output (pure headphone amplifier)
As with the HPA V202, the high-quality housing of the Violectric HPA V222 is made entirely of thick-walled, black anodised aluminium and has the same shape with the typically simple, elegant design of this hi-fi brand.
The decorative front panel measures 170 x 58 millimetres in width and height, while the cabinet measures 165 millimetres in width, 54 millimetres in height and 227 millimetres in length. In addition, it weighs 1,964 grams, and four screwed feet ensure a firm footing for the device.
Features of the Violectric HPA V222
In the centre of the front of the Violectric HPA V222 is a total of three headphone outputs: one unbalanced 6.3mm jack, one balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn and one balanced 4-pin XLR connector. When switched on, these are activated with a delay via the power button on the right, while an illuminated white LED serves to signal that the unit is ready for operation.
Volume control is provided on the left-hand side via a solid 38mm all-aluminium knob and an Alps RK 27 potentiometer with 41-position graduation.
At the rear, the Violectric HPA V222 has unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR inputs that can be switched via a toggle switch on the front panel. The input selection is also indicated by LED.
In addition to the IEC/CEE socket for the power supply, the dip switches for setting the preamplification are conveniently accessible at the rear. However, there is no line output like on the DHA V226, as this model functions purely as a headphone amplifier.
For “true” balanced operation, the Violectric HPA V222 has four power amplifiers, each with 16 transistors per channel. Its discrete circuit design is said to be based on the HPA V200 and represents a further development of that acclaimed model
According to the manufacturer, the characteristic feature is extremely low crosstalk due to high channel separation. In addition, the extended frequency response from 5 Hz to 250 kHz (-0.5 dB) is intended to ensure that the audible range is reproduced in the most linear way possible.
Very low inherent noise is achieved by a fixed overall gain of +2 dB in asymmetrical and +8 dB in balanced operation, and an adjustment to the existing demand can be made via the “Pre-Gain” switches on the rear of the unit.
A total of seven setting options (-18/ -12/ -6/ 0/ +6/ +12/ +18 dB) are available for additional gain or attenuation. However, we noticed that the headphone amplifier gets noticeably warm. By contrast, with an HPA V202, hardly any temperature differences can be detected even after a listening session of several hours.
In practice: use with sensitive and demanding headphones
The Violectric HPA V222 supports headphones with impedances between 16 and 600 ohms and has a power supply with a toroidal transformer that generates an internal operating voltage of +/- 25 volts. This makes it possible to provide an impressive voltage of up to 23.2 Vrms at 300 and 600 ohms in balanced operation for high-impedance headphones. There are considerable power reserves for low to medium-impedance models and magnetostatics as well, with access to up to 2,800 milliwatts at 50 ohms and up to 3,500 milliwatts at 100 ohms.
If an optimum control range is desired for listening pleasure in unbalanced mode, a preamplification of 0 dB is normally recommended for headphones such as the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro, the HD 660S from Sennheiser or Hifiman Sundara. With this setting, a normal playback level could be achieved with the dial at around the 12 o’clock position; this allowed ideal control in both directions, depending on the source material. If, on the other hand, the HD 660S is operated balanced, an attenuation of -6 dB is recommended due to the volume differences. This was also the case with the Sundara, but this does not come with a corresponding cable, so this must be purchased separately.
The Violectric HPA V222 not only impressed us with its immense output power and voltage. The low inherent noise of this headphone amplifier was also remarkable, and it benefits sensitive IEMs. If the highest attenuation level of -18 dB is used, the Sennheiser IE 100 Pro have a control range between 7:30 and 1:30, and this is completely noise-free. It takes preamplification of +18 dB before you perceive noise from about 1:30, which is very far outside the usable range.
The sound of the Violectric HPA V222
A sparkling clean reproduction with high detail density is characteristic of the Violectric HPA V222; this is reminiscent of the midrange performance of a G103-S MKII or G103-P MKII from Lake People, the company’s long-established mainstay product in the professional market. The considerably higher-priced hi-fi unit demonstrates superiority in spatial imaging and undoubtedly has the more homogeneous sound, but at the same time, it reveals the flawless imaging capacity of other models, and this extends across the entire listening range.
Although the HPA V202 sounded a little brighter in direct comparison and conveyed a special delicacy, the reproduction of the HPA V222 seemed wonderfully illuminated right down to the last detail. This created a sound impression that I perceived as richer in contrast, more accentuated and even more finely dynamic, although in the premium headphone amplifiers market, it is all down to nuances whether “differences” can be brought out.
Compared to the Linear by Lehmann Audio, in my view, the HPA V222 tended slightly towards a brighter sound image, and it occupies a more or less middle position between the HPA V202 and the Linear. While “Voluspo”, the opener on the latest studio album “RökFlöte” by the British progressive rock band Jethro Tull came over as a bit slimmer and airier through the HPA V222, the more compact reproduction of the Linear was slightly more on the warmer side. On tracks such as “Hammer On Hammer” or “Wolf Unchained”, Ian Anderson’s vocals had more mellow traits than with the slightly more prominent, colourful delivery of the Linear.
Subtle variations were also discernible in the songs of Norwegian singer-songwriter Rebekka Bakken, who covers her favourite songs with her intense, extremely versatile voice on the recently released album “Always On My Mind”. Her haunting vocals on Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” seemed nuanced, more spacious and open over the HPA V222, whereas the Linear gave her voice more emphasis and depth. Both amplifiers reproduced Annie Lennox’s “Why” in a wonderfully relaxed and fleet-footed manner, with Rebekka Bakken’s voice seeming a little more grounded and organic via the Linear. Greater purity and transparency in vocal reproduction distinguished the HPA V222.
The Violectric HPA V222 fulfils high sound demands with aplomb, and its four powerful output stages enable balanced amplification that can push both voltage- and power-hungry headphones to their peak form. Due to its extremely low inherent noise, this headphone amplifier from the sophisticated German manufacturer is also recommended for use with sensitive IEMs.
- Ear couplingAmplifier
- Weight with cable2,157 g
- Weight without cable1,964 g
What's in the box
- power cord