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Bottlehead Crack Speedball Upgrade Worth It?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

 

So I got a pretty good deal on a pair of refurbished HD 650 this week and picked them up for $280.  I got them today, and love them, but I feel like my HiFiMAN EF2A is the weak part of my setup.  It makes the 650 sound nice, but not even close to as good as I know the 650 are capable of (not to mention it's pretty noisy/hissy).  I talked to Mike of Headfonia, Austin Morrow, and a couple of other head-fiers, and the general consensus is that the Bottlehead Crack is going to get me the best bang for my buck.

 

My question is that, on their $220 amp, is the $100 Speedball upgrade worth the extra dough?  I'm really big on a black, quiet background which Bottlehead advertises the Speedball upgrade remedies.  Additionally, I can't help but be interested in their additional $60 power cord kit, albeit very skeptical.  I know they're pretty forward proclaiming that they don't know what makes it sound noticeably better as well as quieter; however I'm wondering—for those that have opted in—if that's also with the extra dough.

 

Last, but not least, since I'm ditching my EF2A which I'm also using as my DAC, what's the cheapest USB DAC I can find that won't tamper with the rest of my otherwise flawless setup?  Thanks everyone.


Edited by TSIG - 2/3/12 at 12:22am
post #2 of 29

Speedball is worth every penny!

post #3 of 29
Tuberolling will also cost $ if you want to go that route. The speedball makes a nice difference and if you like a black background you should definitely add it. You will have to assemble the powercord. I got the powercord for its looks but the shrinkwrap on the ends curled up so mine looks like crap. I now use a $3.50 monoprice right angle powercord.
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply.  Alright, looks like I'll pick up the Speedball upgrade and ditch the power cord idea.  Any good DAC ideas?

post #5 of 29

I like the HRT products, but then again I'm biased rolleyes.gif

post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd R View Post

I like the HRT products, but then again I'm biased rolleyes.gif



Agreed... probably the best bang for you buck in a USB dac is the HRT music streamer II. 

post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 

Awesome.  Sounds like I've found my rig!  Thanks everyone.  Any RCA cables I should use in specific? 

post #8 of 29

I just placed my Speedball order.  Right now I think the Crack is one of the top amps for the HD at any price.  Very, excited to see/hear what the Speedball adds.  Add I built it.


Edited by lextek - 2/3/12 at 6:54pm
post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lextek View Post

Add I built it.



Got some pictures?  Interested to see how it looks.  :)  Trying to decide if I want to build one or just buy a used one under the classifieds here.

post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by TSIG View Post

Got some pictures?  Interested to see how it looks. smily_headphones1.gif Trying to decide if I want to build one or just buy a used one under the classifieds here.
Do you like wire trimming and soldering for 7-8 hours? Thats the majority of the build.
263
post #11 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by TSIG View Post



Got some pictures?  Interested to see how it looks.  :)  Trying to decide if I want to build one or just buy a used one under the classifieds here.



 

I can post some pictures of the build in the morning.  I'm on my iPad can't figure out how to post pictures.  It's not a hard build if you have some soldering experience.  The instructions are almost idiot proof and very, very detailed.  Yeah you could build it.

 

Here is link to my pictures 

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/476650/crack-bottlehead-otl/1020


Edited by lextek - 2/3/12 at 8:17pm
post #12 of 29
Thread Starter 

Wow, you two did great work!  Excited to see mine come through.  Again, any RCA cables I should look for in particular? I'm thinking the Moon-Audio Cardas Crosslink Custom, but if you can talk me out of it, go right ahead! 

 

I know that a $90 cable isn't that big of a deal when it comes down to it, but since I'm using a stock 650 cable, do you think the Cardas is overkill?  I mean, from USB on my Mac using Fidelia.app to a relatively inexpensive DAC to a $300 amp, to essentially stock cans, does that $90 cable really make a difference, or would I be okay with something less expensive?


Edited by TSIG - 2/5/12 at 1:08am
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by TSIG View Post

Wow, you two did great work!  Excited to see mine come through.  Again, any RCA cables I should look for in particular? I'm thinking the Moon-Audio Cardas Crosslink Custom, but if you can talk me out of it, go right ahead! 

I know that a $90 cable isn't that big of a deal when it comes down to it, but since I'm using a stock 650 cable, do you think the Cardas is overkill?  I mean, from USB on my Mac using Fidelia.app to a relatively inexpensive DAC to a $300 amp, to essentially stock cans, does that $90 cable really make a difference, or would I be okay with something less expensive?

Stay away from expensive cables until everything else is dialed in and you are looking for places to spend $. That $90 would be better spent on tubes. I use monoprice cables usually, but the only right angle RCAs I could find were from Monster so I grabbed them for this build.
post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Draygonn View Post


Stay away from expensive cables until everything else is dialed in and you are looking for places to spend $. That $90 would be better spent on tubes. I use monoprice cables usually, but the only right angle RCAs I could find were from Monster so I grabbed them for this build.


This decent? 

post #15 of 29

+1 on the monoprice cables. I use the exact ones linked above except I usually get 6 ft. for a bit more flexibility in positioning. 

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