Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Bottlehead Amplifier Discussion / Comparison Thread: Crack, SEX & Mainline
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Bottlehead Amplifier Discussion / Comparison Thread: Crack, SEX & Mainline - Page 29

post #421 of 844
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone, things have been quiet on this thread for a little while so I thought I'd share a nice little confirmation of the Mainline's awesomeness.

 

I read Tyll's article about the Philips Golden Ears challenge recently and thought I'd give it a go. Tyll reported needing to go to his "reference" gear for the later tests so I was interested to see how my setup (and my ears) would go. I can happily report that the Mainline was more than up to the task ad helped me (eventually) complete all of the challenges including some of the golden ears tests where the differences are as little as 1.2dB variations. I was using the Matrix X-Sabre DAC, Bottlehead Mainline, and Beyer T1s as my reference setup and the Mainline did a stellar job!

post #422 of 844
I
Quote:
Originally Posted by skeptic View Post

Honestly, there's no comparison as I hear them.  Mainline is in a different league from the standpoints of both sonics and design.  I owned a WA3 for many years, which is a lower powered, slightly lower resolution version of the WA2 (which I have also spent some time with).  As others have attested to in the crack thread, the crack w/ speedball generally outperforms the WA2/WA3 in both detail and dynamics, making for more engaging listening.  Woo's OTL house sound is a bit more full, tubey and laid back (which some perceive as slow), with more obvious bass bloom.  Consider the circuit: notwithstanding the price tag, Woo does not load its driver tubes with constant current, a la speedball, and there isn't room in the chassis to add nice low ESR/low dissipation film output caps, which are a very common user upgrade to crack.  (Take a look at http://www.diyhifisupply.com/opcart/index.php?route=product/category&path=179_90_99 for the difference in signal dissipation between electrolytics, or even blackgates, and the affordable obbligatos I'm running in my crack.)

Mainline respectively bests a hotrodded crack's sonics, as it should, across the board (see my detailed description on page 1).  Recall that mainline is very similar in design to the ecp l-2, which sold for $2,500.  To me, there's simply no contest between the mainline and WA2/WA3, but as always, there is a high degree of subjectivity in this hobby, and reasonable minds can differ as to what they find most pleasing.

I have both the WA3 and Crack with Speedball. I have a Western Electric 421A in both and can definitely say that to my ears the Crack with Speedball is much better when I am listening to either my Sennheiser HD700 or HD650.
post #423 of 844

Lachlan did I see you are thinking about hot rodding your sex what sort of mods have you mind?

I have been following mcandmar posting amongst others on the bhf very interesting.

post #424 of 844
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieMcC View Post
 

Lachlan did I see you are thinking about hot rodding your sex what sort of mods have you mind?

I have been following mcandmar posting amongst others on the bhf very interesting.

 

It's a distant plan, but I think it will just be a few upgraded caps and maybe a 4-pin XLR socket instead of the 6.3mm, but only for convenience, not balanced operation or anything like that

post #425 of 844

I was thinking about the Crack but after reading some comments on and reading about the SEX amp I think that is actually the one I am more interested in. It does look significantly harder to build though. Can anybody comment on how much more time it takes to build? IS there a lot greater chance of messing something up on it?

post #426 of 844
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HPiper View Post
 

I was thinking about the Crack but after reading some comments on and reading about the SEX amp I think that is actually the one I am more interested in. It does look significantly harder to build though. Can anybody comment on how much more time it takes to build? IS there a lot greater chance of messing something up on it?

 

There's nothing that's particularly more complicated to mount or solder - the only risk is not following instructions. If you are patient and careful I'd say it's no harder than the Crack.

 

In terms of time taken, I would say it takes 2.5-3x as long to build as the Crack. 

post #427 of 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loquah View Post
 

 

There's nothing that's particularly more complicated to mount or solder - the only risk is not following instructions. If you are patient and careful I'd say it's no harder than the Crack.

 

In terms of time taken, I would say it takes 2.5-3x as long to build as the Crack. 

I would have to agree here.  Honestly it isn't more "difficult" per say but just more complex.  I mean everything is just as simple, but there are more parts so it is easier to get confused.  The instructions are like heaven on earth as always so if you follow everything it says to the letter you will not have any problems and I am sure that it will be a very fun first project.  As for build time I would say it can take closer to 5x as long for me anyway but that was with all the upgrades. 

post #428 of 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zashoomin View Post
 

I would have to agree here.  Honestly it isn't more "difficult" per say but just more complex.  I mean everything is just as simple, but there are more parts so it is easier to get confused.  The instructions are like heaven on earth as always so if you follow everything it says to the letter you will not have any problems and I am sure that it will be a very fun first project.  As for build time I would say it can take closer to 5x as long for me anyway but that was with all the upgrades. 

I built both about two months apart. Caveat: I built the S.E.X. from scratch with both C4S and impedance switch upgrades applied. This is NOT - I repeat, NOT - recommended, because you have to sort through several separate manuals and decide how to modify the stock build as you go.

 

I mainly did this because I got into trouble when upgrading the Crack with the Speedball, because I had built it too well. I barely had enough leads left to bend certain caps out of the way, and desoldering my super-crimped joints was a real pain! That said, in retrospect this is not at all required. Nothing needs to get bent out of the way to make room in the S.E.X., the upgrades are simple to install, and I strongly recommend building stock first so all of the pictorial instructions are correct.

 

I know, I know, "do as I say, not as I do..." 

 

If I had to describe the build, I would say simply: The S.E.X. is just more Crack. It's more complex like a larger LEGO model is more complex: it just has more parts. Assuming you know how to put these parts together, it just takes longer. Use a decent iron, make sure you have rosin/flux core solder (Kester 44 is my standby), be patient, triple check your build is identical to the final picture(s), and it's definitely possible to build the S.E.X. first.

 

Caveats: Because you make more connections if your soldering technique isn't perfect there's a higher chance you might get a cold joint. Also, since there is more going on it's possible to miss something, and tracking down issues is a bit more complicated.


Edited by SilverTrumpet999 - 2/25/14 at 2:27pm
post #429 of 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverTrumpet999 View Post
 

 be patient,

 

That is the most important bit of advice.

post #430 of 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc B. View Post
 

 

That is the most important bit of advice.

Yeah, no kidding. Especially when you start filling out BOMs and ordering off Mouser and Digi-Key. Impatience there will cost you not only time, but money too. I now find myself waiting to press the order button for 24-48 hours in case there is something i forgot or need to adjust. 9/10 times there is something :tongue:

post #431 of 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

Yeah, no kidding. Especially when you start filling out BOMs and ordering off Mouser and Digi-Key. Impatience there will cost you not only time, but money too. I now find myself waiting to press the order button for 24-48 hours in case there is something i forgot or need to adjust. 9/10 times there is something :tongue:

Ya I wait and keep thinking man I must have something missing and finally I hit the order button and the next day I find out I missed one item.  Happens every single time.  :(.  Ill figure it out eventually. 

post #432 of 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zashoomin View Post
 

Ya I wait and keep thinking man I must have something missing and finally I hit the order button and the next day I find out I missed one item.  Happens every single time.  :(.  Ill figure it out eventually. 

 

Then there is the other extreme where you get basket bloat.  The longer you hold out the larger the basket becomes :rolleyes:

post #433 of 844
I built the s.e.x as my first diy and I got it the first try. It is kinda scary when you first plug it in but as long as you just go over your work again you'll most likely be successful. Like doc said, patience is key. I took 3 days to build the main my and then installed the c4s a few days later.
post #434 of 844
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zashoomin View Post
 

Ya I wait and keep thinking man I must have something missing and finally I hit the order button and the next day I find out I missed one item.  Happens every single time.  :(.  Ill figure it out eventually. 

 

Yeah hehe. My solution is to double check everything (optimal parts, stock, quantity, price, dimensions), especially if i have the boards on hand with digital calipers. Then I'll go through the build in my mind and figure what I need that isn't directly obvious. Once done, that's when my 24-48 hour holding period begins :tongue:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcandmar View Post
 

 

Then there is the other extreme where you get basket bloat.  The longer you hold out the larger the basket becomes :rolleyes:

Yeah I've had that happen too lol. The bright side is that you can use the parts for future builds, assuming you dig in your parts bin or have it noted in a spreadsheet beforehand... :rolleyes: 


Edited by brunk - 2/25/14 at 4:46pm
post #435 of 844

It just kills me that mouser won't let you modify your order after a couple of hours, even though they frequently take two days to get it out the door.  Nothing like paying double shipping because you forgot $.50 worth of resisters.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Bottlehead Amplifier Discussion / Comparison Thread: Crack, SEX & Mainline