Violectric V281 headphone amp - who is using it?


I was about to pull the trigger on Signature too but then I saw there is a new Epic available with Din plugs so went for that. Not sure why other than it seemed more in balance cost wise with the rest of the set up and for my intended (occasional) use.

Did you compare Signature with any other cables ?


Not sure if you remember me but you bought my 252 pre back in 2005. I had a tiny studio apartment back then on the UWS in NYC.

I’m using the Violectric V281 and love it. I have the remote and relay volume option.

I’m using it with Focal Clears. I just ordered and received yesterday a couple of the “premium “ cables from Flashback Sales…around 45 gbp each. One a din to 2 x RCA and the other a din to 2 x XLR … both wired for use with my Naim 52 tape input.

Right now I’m listening with the din to 2 x XLR from the 52’s tape input into the Vioelectric’s balanced input and I’m using the 4 pin XLR cable that came with the Clears. It sounds phenomenal.

My speakers are ATC active 40a and sources are Naim ND555 and 555 dr ps, Chord Dave with M Scaler and Linn KDSM Katalyst.

We should catch up sometime… I think I have your email.


You bet I remember you!
Our friend Jody in Nova Scotia!
Send me an email

By the way - how bad is the clicking and noise each time the volume is changed? Some do not mind while others are not particularly happy.


I’m still in touch with Jody.

I just sent you an email.

I don’t really hear the clicking noise when I’m listening through headphones.

I did try the v281 as a pre into my active ATC’s and the clicking noise is more apparent. In that application I could see how it might bother someone but if you just use it with headphones I don’t think it would bother you. I guess using headphones and listening at very low volume levels and sitting near the v281 you could hear the clicking a bit but it doesn’t bother me at all with headphones.

One thing that I noticed is when I use the v281’s remote control it seems to jump too fast… so one press on the remote control and it goes from not being loud enough to too loud. If I manually turn the volume knob I can adjust it to my liking but I sit on a couch 8 feet away so I like to use the remote.
I might play around with the gain settings on the v281 to get more range in the volume control.

Leatherneck, I just bought such a cable from Flashback Sales. I have a 52 pre and the V281.
I bought 2 cables to compare… din to 2 x XLR and din to 2 x RCA. They were the Premier cables…about 45 gbp each. I have the cables going into my 52’s tape input. The din end is specially wired. See the Flashback Sales site and you’ll see this cable listed. Right now I’m listening to the din to XLR cable and it sounds great. I’ll try the other cable to compare…since they were relatively inexpensive I decided to buy both cable configurations.

I ordered on Saturday and I received the cables on Wednesday.
I’m in the USA. Shipping was pricey though at 30 gbp. Using the postal service would have been cheaper but was estimated to take 6-8 weeks.

Now all you need is Utopia:))

İt never ends…

Gregg, as i said in an other thread somewhere, as you have the rossini try running it ditect from it.
I use the balanced XLR’s on the rossini, as the RCA’s are used to feed the 552.
No problem with the rossini, using both outputs at the same time, as they are completely separate, and doing it this way into the V281, you will get true balanced source throughout.
The only problem for me doing it this way, is i can’t play vinyl, but then i dont tend to with my headphones, incase i fall a sleep, as i only use them later at night.

I find that too. Doesn’t bother me too much for the same reason as the loud relay noise - I don’t adjust the volume very often.

Absolutely love the sound quality.

I’ve been listening with both the DIN and RCA outputs of my ND555 active at the same time vs. one at a time and I think I agree that when both are active the SQ is downgraded. So rather than manually switching the outputs of the ND555 when I switch from speakers to HP, I’m looking into having Chord make a DIN to dual XLR cable so I can feed the V281 from my NAC 251 Tape Out.
This will give me a DIN source and XLR termination w/o using Cardas RCA to XLR converters.

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Do you know what, I did consider the remote option. And even the clucky relay option, but I’m sort of glad I didn’t. Yes, the volume knob tends to stay in the same place. Especially as I engaged the volume levelling via Roon. The standard Alps pot is nice. Easy to clean if it gets dirty and changeable if it wears out in 50 years time!

I’ve recently acquired a pre-loved V281 from a fellow Naim owner. It took a few days to warm-up but I am enjoying the sound. It has very good detail in the higher frequencies but is not strident or cold in any way. Theres lots of texture and a good sense of PRaT. It has excellent synergy with my Grado RS1e headphones, which I’m preferring over the Focal Utopia’s. Trying to decide if its worth having my cables terminated with balanced XLR (4pin) or stick with single ended?


Add me to the list - V281 will be here tomorrow. Kudos to the US distributor for his fine service.
No more are left in the States and there are 3 Final Edition ones in Germany available for any distributor to access. Then that is it. It’s 6 year run will be over.


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I recently got a Final Edition from Germany. It included a free USB DAC card.

I’m using single ended out of my ND555 through Cardas RCA to XLR converters into the V281. I need a Male 5-pin DIN to Dual Male 3-pin XLRs to connect to my NAC 252.
I’d prefer getting Chord to build one for me.

That’s a beast :sunglasses:


As is common there is sometimes a bit of confusion about the concepts of balanced vs. unbalanced in the headphone world. I know when I reentered after a 15 year absence it took a while to properly understand it.

Some DAC’s are able to output balanced signals via XLR outputs. Others are single ended and cannot output a true balanced signal. Their signal is strictly single ended and outputted via RCA’s. Our Naim components (sources) and preamps are only capable of outputting single ended. It will not matter if one sources a DIN>XLR out cable from Chord - the signal from the tape out of our Naim preamps will still not be balanced - it will always be single ended.

As for headphone amplifiers there are many which will accept only balanced signal input via xlr’s. Others, such as my incoming V281 and my current GSX Mini and Moon 430HA, have the ability to accept both single ended AND balanced signals on their input. They have the ability to internally convert a single ended signal feed to balanced. This will allow them to run a balanced headphone from the XLR outputs on the front panel.

Headphones - if a headphone comes with a single ended cable terminated with a 1/4" plug it will not become a balanced headphone by simply cutting off the 1/4" and reterminating with a XLR. A new cable is needed which is wired for balanced operation on both ends. Google the technical explanation however it has something to do with all 4 wires being used +,-, and return out of phase signals. It is above my pay grade :grin:

Our V281 amplifier contains 4 internal amplifier boards. If a single ended wired 1/4" headphone cable is used the outputted signal to the headphone will be single ended - and it will only use 2 of the Violectric’s 4 internal boards. Effectively one is only using 1/2 of the V281’s capabilities. I liked the analogy the Violectric USA importer used - running the V281 with a single ended headphone is like buying an 8 cylinder muscle car and ripping out 4 of the cylinders.

So in summary as it relates to our V281 - it can be fed with any signal - balanced from certain DAC’s or single ended from our Naim preamp. The signal can be fed to the RCA or XLR inputs on the back of the V281 - it does not matter. If one has a proper balanced headphone cable terminated in 4 pin XLR the V281 will make sure that whatever signal it is fed on the back, single ended or balanced, it will be internally converted to balanced and the output to the headphone will be balanced and will utilize all 4 internal amplifier cards. The V281 will then be used to its full capability.

One can google for further information or visit headfi for the technical explanation on how balanced operation works.

I hope this information is helpful.


PS Leatherneck - several years ago I had Chord make a DIN > RCA L+R cable for me to hang off of the tape output on my 552 and connect to any headphone amplifier of my choosing. For my headphone amplifier which only accepts XLR connectors (my 3rd party Stax HA) I have a set of Cardas RCA/XLR adapters. Keep in mind these Cardas adapters DO NOT convert the signal from single ended to balanced. They simply convert RCA plugs to XLR plugs. The third party Stax amplifier has the capability, like our V281, to internally convert the single ended feed to balanced (as mentioned above)


I’ve got Chord Epic RCA-RCA for My Planar 8/Trichord Dino and cheapy e-bay RCA-XLR for the UnitiQute2. Chord Epic RCA-XLR is on order for the NDS once the PSU for that arrives.