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Buying an amp for DT880s

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I think I've narrowed it to Bottlehead Crack or DarkVoice 336SE.  Any preferences between these, or something in the price range that I'm missing?  Also, how hard are the Bottleheads to build.  I'd like to to do it myself so I can do more kits in the future, but have no soldering experience.  Is the factory option worth $150 or should it be something I can do myself?  Thanks.

post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 

no takers?  i'm leaning toward Bottlehead, maybe withe speedball, but heard the DarkVoice is good too.

post #3 of 15

I'd try the Bottlehead if I were in your shoes. Had my 880 for 3 years on various SS before trying a DIY tube (Aikido, built by a friend) and that's definitely the best I've heard it. 

 

The Crack keeps getting recommended by "old time" forummers for years, so it looks like the most sensible choice.

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

That confirms it, Crack it is.  Now I just need to decide if I can build it myself or choose the factory option.

 

I'd really like to do it myself since I have plans to build the S.E.X. amp later maybe build a small bookshelf kit for my room so I don't have to sleep with headphones.

 

I have no doubt I could solder if I was healthy, but I have a muscle condition that causes double vision up close--it can be easily taken care of with an eye patch, but that means no depth perception.

 

I just had surgery that may correct it--I'll know in about six months, but don't plan to wait that long to buy.  Really frustrating...especially since this is level one and I think the other kit is a higher level.  Oh well, I'll make a decision sometime next week and put my order in.

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately, I'm leaning toward the factory option due to the whole double vision problem.  Haven't decided yet, but that would put me in a new price bracket.  What's the best tube amp I can get for DT880, plus a planned purchased of DT990 sometime in the future.  Lets say my budget is ~$500.  Am I still looking at the crack or are there other choices now?

post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm looking at the Woo WA3...is it better than the Crack?  Would I want the preamp option for making FLAC files out of LPs or can I just use my radioshack preamp?

post #7 of 15

If you have more budget, why not just get Crack + Speedball upgrade?

 

No comment on the pre-amp option. I have no knowledge in that area.

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

Would like to, but that would be the $500 budget + cost of having it built.  What I'm afraid of is that the double vision, plus the fact I'm recovering from surgery, will make soldering difficult.  If you could put my mind at ease and tell me I'll be able to build it just fine, that's the option I'll go with.  Otherwise, I'm looking for something prebuilt.

post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 

I can always cover one eye and see just fine, but then I lack depth perception.  How import is depth perception to soldering?

post #10 of 15

http://www.head-fi.org/t/542285/best-sub-500-tube-amp-wa3

Have you tried searching the forums? I typed "crack vs wa3" and found that.

post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

Why would I do something logical like that when I'm doing 5 things at once and working under a deadline at work (while searching for an amp)...after I finish my current project for work, I'll read through the thread.  Thanks for looking it up.

post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 

Here's what I'm thinking (mostly decided).  The value of the Crack is that you get an awesome amp for very little money due to being a kit, and it can be upgraded.  If I have it built for me, I've negated both those pros.  I looked briefly at amps in the $500 range, but that would kill my budget for the DT990s.

 

If I get a DarkVoice 336SE, I'm still within budget and it should sound better than the SS I've been using.  In the meantime, I get one of those toy soldering kits and workout whether I can solder with either double vision or no depth perception (or I can practice on some old mobos I've got laying around).  This gives me an amp I can use right away, money I can spend on DT990s and time to practice/learn soldering.  If the surgery worked and my double vision gets better, I can build a Bottlehead in a year and sell the 336SE.

 

If anyone has a better idea, I'm all ears, but I think this is my best bet at this point.  Are there any other $300 amps I should check out, or is the DarkVoice my best bet?  Thanks.

post #13 of 15

Once again, I have to emphasise that I'm going by what I've read here, and that it's ultimately your money...

 

http://www.bottlehead.com/store.php?crn=224&rn=442&action=show_detail

There's folks in there saying the Crack outperforms the DV336, and the WA3. That the Crack works well even with the T1 and HD800. And that the next step up in an amp would cost '000s of dollars.

 

I remember auditioning some DV amps a very, very long time ago on my 880's (cannot recall the models now); I was unimpressed across the board. My impression of DarkVoice amps is that opinion on them is divided between the fans and the "meh". However, what I keep reading about the Crack and Woo Audio products in general are more positive--but I really have not read a single bad review of the Crack.

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'll have to think about it then.  Maybe I'll get my toy soldering kit first and see what I can do with it.  I really hate to have someone else build it and not be able to do the speedball upgrade if I wanted.  Thanks for your help.

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Just checked Amazon.  For about $10 I can get a "toy" soldering iron (probably as good as Radio Shack's?) and then each project is $10.  So I can get a couple of those, too.  So for about $30, I get a good idea of whether or not this is something I can do.  If so I'll go a head and get the real soldering tools and the Crack...if not, I guess I choose the factory option, but stick to the Crack as my main amp.  Now I need some sleep.


Edited by BackwardPawn - 8/13/12 at 11:44pm
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