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Bottlehead Amplifier Discussion / Comparison Thread: Crack, SEX & Mainline - Page 26

post #376 of 896

And now I'm addicted to Bottlehead amps.....

 

This is all because of for your excellent review and comparison Loquah :p

 

 

 

 

 

Happy listening everyone! Bottlehead team really make outstanding amps :)

 

P/S: sorry for the bad photo quality. My iPod Touch camera just sucks.

post #377 of 896

Subscribed.  I can't believe I am just now discovering this discussion.  Very nice thread and comparisons, Loquah! 

 

I am glad to see your comparison of the Crack vs SEX.  A couple years ago, I had a Crack w/SB order placed when DocB announced the new SEX2.1.  I called them up and changed my order (Crack-->SEX2.1), but always wondered whether I made the right decision.  At the time, I had not yet bought my HD650, and I wanted to leave open the possibility of lower impedance cans.  Also, I like the idea of being able to drive speakers in a close/desktop setup.  I have to agree that the soundstage is phenomenal, and with the bass-heavy 650, I don't notice the lean quality that you have noted.  I have the C4S assembled, but not installed but I will report back my comparisons after I have time to get them in and listen for a while.

 

At the time I built my SEX, Doc's output impedance switch was not available.  I came up with a simple solution using DPDT switches from the shack.  It only offers the ability to switch between 8 and 32 ohm settings.  It does not allow for other impedances, nor does it allow for balanced output, but it only cost about $6.  I mounted the switches on L brackets which mounted to tube-side mounting screws for the OTs and chokes.  I have a few photos in my gallery (http://www.head-fi.org/g/a/693857/default/) to offer a visual explanation. This may be an option for folks who want to have some versatility while they save up for Doc's boards, or those like me who only need it for 8 ohm speakers and higher impedance headphones.

 

I just recently built the Quickie and have not tried to put OTs on it.  But, as a preamp, it is crazy how nice that thing sounds, especially for the small cost.  It is breathy but not hissy, solid, and QUIET.  It stands up well to my Foreplay 2 with C4S that I have had in my system for almost 15 years.  After I get the PJCCS in it, it may replace the old FP2. 

 

Thanks again, for the thread,

--Tad

post #378 of 896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zashoomin View Post
 

I had impedance switches on mine so I played around with different impedances and I found the lower impedances would have a little less noise but still what I would consider a loud noise floor.  Also the speaker taps where the same.  Ya I thought that I wouldn't have an issue with planars but I could still hear it.  It was loud enough to where I could hear it through the really quiet parts in songs.  

 

How odd, I get a little hiss when I turn the amp past 3/4th but I can't hear anything on my LCD's at comfortable listening volume. I'm feeding it from a cheap Fiio D03K but I'm going to upgrade soon. I haven't had a chance to test my LCD with other amps so I can't really say whether the SEX is a top LCD pairing but from what I'm hearing I'd say it is :o2smile:

post #379 of 896
If I could hear the noise I might be able to help a bit more. If the noise follows the volume control level it's coming from ahead of it, which might mean that it's being picked up by cables or coming from the source component. If the noise stays at a constant level as the volume goes up and down it is coming from the amp itself or the amp circuit itself is picking up outside noise. Sometimes establishing what the noise does as the volume control goes up and down can eliminate a lot of unnecessary testing.
post #380 of 896

Does anyone know the voltage swing of the Mainline?

 

Interested in knowing if the Mainline can be used to drive a PASS DIY F4 amp.  Ideally it needs +/- 20V.

 

Thanks

Mark

post #381 of 896
So I've just sold my Crack amp to switch over to the S.E.X.  First reason is because I like doing DIY and want to have fun building this kit.  Second reason is for the flexibility.
 
With that said, I've noticed that Bottlehead gives a 10% discount they are bought in pairs or more.  Would anyone else be interested in purchasing a kit with me to save some money?

 

Please let me know if this violates any rules.

post #382 of 896
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zashoomin View Post
 

I had impedance switches on mine so I played around with different impedances and I found the lower impedances would have a little less noise but still what I would consider a loud noise floor.  Also the speaker taps where the same.  Ya I thought that I wouldn't have an issue with planars but I could still hear it.  It was loud enough to where I could hear it through the really quiet parts in songs.  

I originally had something like this happen, but I was listening unloaded; there was no source connected. The S.E.X. has a much higher noise floor when unloaded vs. when a source is connected. As in, there actually is some noise unloaded vs. zero loaded.

 

After that, I found that what I was hearing was upstream noise. None of it was from the amp itself, it was being passed along from the DAC. In fact, it was so sensitive that I could actually determine a very audible difference in my DAC's noise floor when it was stopped (much lower) vs. just paused! The point is, it might not be the amp itself... try swapping between a few sources and see if the noise is audibly different.

post #383 of 896

I'd be very interested to read any opinions on how the Mainline performs with the Audeze LCD-2 rev 2s. I currently use an ALO Pan Am to drive my LCD-2's which works very well but would like to know if the Mainline could offer improvement.

post #384 of 896
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by titusgroan View Post
 

I'd be very interested to read any opinions on how the Mainline performs with the Audeze LCD-2 rev 2s. I currently use an ALO Pan Am to drive my LCD-2's which works very well but would like to know if the Mainline could offer improvement.

 

I'm testing that exact combo on Wednesday and will be only too glad to let you know! ;)

post #385 of 896

Anyone in the Greensboro, High-Point, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Raleigh, North Carolina, have a Mainline?

post #386 of 896
Thread Starter 

I was able to try some LCD 2s (technically Rev 2, but realistically more like Rev 4 - i.e. brand new) today with the Mainline and S.E.X.

 

They sounded equally good with both the S.E.X. and the Mainline and there was still plenty of headroom to be had on both amps with no audible signs of being under-powered. As usual, the Mainline lent its beautiful weight and presence to the sound and was better overall with the LCDs despite having slightly less power to work with.

 

Overall, I still prefer my T1s (phew!) because of the extra air in the presentation compared to the LCD 2s, but I was amazed at how similar both were. The Mainline / T1 combination is a match made in heaven it seems!

post #387 of 896
Hi Lachlan.
Still waiting your report of pairing the Mainline/S.E.X with the Hifimans.
Maybe you will find the Hifiman suits you better than the Audeze if you really likes your T1.
BTW thanks a lot for your Mainline/S.E.X comparison.
post #388 of 896
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wewewho77 View Post

Hi Lachlan.
Still waiting your report of pairing the Mainline/S.E.X with the Hifimans.
Maybe you will find the Hifiman suits you better than the Audeze if you really likes your T1.
BTW thanks a lot for your Mainline/S.E.X comparison.

 

The HiFiMans have now jumped to the top of my list, wewewho. I'm waiting to hear back from a Head-Fier in the US about a classified for some HE-500s so fingers crossed. Otherwise I might have to buy new ones because I'm keen too.

 

I'll post full impressions once I try them.

 

Also, just to clarify, I really liked the LCD 2s, but they just weren't better than the T1s for my tastes. If the T1s are 99% right for me, the LCD 2s were 96% right for me - still very, very good with the Mainline and the S.E.X.

post #389 of 896

Thanks for the report back on the mainline -> lcd2 pairing Loquah!  Since I hear the lcd 2's as basically a side grade from hd650's (notwithstanding the cost difference), it makes perfect sense to me that you would ultimately prefer you T1's.  Before settling on my hd800's, I spent a couple hours auditioning lcd 2's in a quiet room with a bunch of my favorite test CD's.  My final conclusion was that audeze's "shelved down" trebles (at least on the lcd 2 v1) translated into an overly polite presentation of well recorded acoustic treble instruments (e.g. violins, trumpets, pipe organ, etc.) that just wasn't quite what I was looking for.  hd800's also clearly trounced them in sound stage.  Obviously, the lcd's are great headphones from a big picture standpoint, and I am nitpicking relative to my subjective preferences, but as someone who was heavily involved in semi-pro choral music from a young age, and also played in a brass section for many years, these are things that tend to stand out to me.  You certainly have to respect their bass presentation though!

 

Don't suppose you've had a chance to listen to your mainline with hd800's yet?  They are basically a perfect match to my ears, but I have yet to hear T1's.  A face off is no doubt in order!

 

I snapped the below pic this morning to update my avatar and figured I'd share the full res version.  The mainline really is a great looking amp even in stock form.  I may or may not end up staining the wood frame, but am still too busy enjoying the music at present.

 

2014-01-22 09.46.24.png

post #390 of 896
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
 

Thanks for the report back on the mainline -> lcd2 pairing Loquah!  Since I hear the lcd 2's as basically a side grade from hd650's (notwithstanding the cost difference), it makes perfect sense to me that you would ultimately prefer you T1's.  Before settling on my hd800's, I spent a couple hours auditioning lcd 2's in a quiet room with a bunch of my favorite test CD's.  My final conclusion was that audeze's "shelved down" trebles (at least on the lcd 2 v1) translated into an overly polite presentation of well recorded acoustic treble instruments (e.g. violins, trumpets, pipe organ, etc.) that just wasn't quite what I was looking for.  hd800's also clearly trounced them in sound stage.  Obviously, the lcd's are great headphones from a big picture standpoint, and I am nitpicking relative to my subjective preferences, but as someone who was heavily involved in semi-pro choral music from a young age, and also played in a brass section for many years, these are things that tend to stand out to me.  You certainly have to respect their bass presentation though!

 

Don't suppose you've had a chance to listen to your mainline with hd800's yet?  They are basically a perfect match to my ears, but I have yet to hear T1's.  A face off is no doubt in order!

 

I snapped the below pic this morning to update my avatar and figured I'd share the full res version.  The mainline really is a great looking amp even in stock form.  I may or may not end up staining the wood frame, but am still too busy enjoying the music at present.

 

2014-01-22 09.46.24.png

 

Looks great!!!

 

I am yet to hear HD800s with the Mainline and I have a feeling it will be an expensive experience! From what I keep hearing everywhere, the T1s and HD800s are very similar with just a little more warmth from the T1s and better staging from the HD800s... it'll be interesting to hear how big the differences are.

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