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Bottlehead Amplifier Discussion / Comparison Thread: Crack, SEX & Mainline - Page 40

post #586 of 989

Which Mundorfs did you install?  It will be interesting to hear how they are after running for a few hours.  I always find the first impressions of a "good" capacitor upgrade can be a bit misleading.

post #587 of 989
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoatsArt View Post

Tube rolling....
Cap rolling....

The sickness runs deep

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Boy, does it :-) I've just spent the last week rolling through tiny 33-47uf/16v caps (Muse/Blackgates) on a small TPS7A4700 reg I use on my custom DAC (digital/DAC PS). I'm continually amazed how a single component in the signal path (and sometimes not - like an error amp loop) can make significant differences in sonics. It's a sickness; always trying to squeeze there absolute most out of our systems. Occasionally I need to force myself to leave it alone and enjoy music just for the listening, and not for the speed, dynamics, tonality, etc.

post #588 of 989
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by murrays View Post
 

Which Mundorfs did you install?  It will be interesting to hear how they are after running for a few hours.  I always find the first impressions of a "good" capacitor upgrade can be a bit misleading.

 

MCap Supreme Silver / Gold / Oil.

 

How do you mean misleading? Do you mean they get worse or that the end sound is just different and therefore the initial sound is not a fair indication?

post #589 of 989
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loquah View Post
 

 

MCap Supreme Silver / Gold / Oil.

 

[SNIP] ... the end sound is just different and therefore the initial sound is not a fair indication?

 

This ^.  I find that "better" / "worse" are too hard to nail down. Sometimes the best way to tell how far you have come is to revert to a previous component after the new one has bedded in. From an objective point of view it can be interesting to hear the effect of a "downgrade" just as much as an "upgrade".

post #590 of 989
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by murrays View Post
 

 

This ^.  I find that "better" / "worse" are too hard to nail down. Sometimes the best way to tell how far you have come is to revert to a previous component after the new one has bedded in. From an objective point of view it can be interesting to hear the effect of a "downgrade" just as much as an "upgrade".

 

Yes. Good point. I probably won't bother regressing the upgrade, but I have the Mainline as my benchmark for comparison and I'm going to allow time for "new toy" effect to wear off before making any definitive statements.

post #591 of 989
Quote:
Originally Posted by murrays View Post
 

 

This ^.  I find that "better" / "worse" are too hard to nail down. Sometimes the best way to tell how far you have come is to revert to a previous component after the new one has bedded in. From an objective point of view it can be interesting to hear the effect of a "downgrade" just as much as an "upgrade".


I took my cheap Russian Teflon bypasses off of the coupling caps a while ago and was surprised at how the films sounded without them, and I really liked the films prior. But now they were sounding a little coarse and plastically I thought.


Edited by JamieMcC - 4/27/14 at 1:37am
post #592 of 989

I'm just wondering a question, how would be the comparison between the fully upgraded Crack ( with Speedball + GEC Brown Base + best input tubes + bunch of Mundorfs / Teflon film caps + Stepped Attenuator ) and the stock Mainline??? Because the price of a fully upgraded Crack maybe is even greater than the price for a Mainline.

 

Like this auction which is near to the deadline, and the price now is just ridiculous : http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/141259960898?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

 

I haven't had any chance listening to an upgraded Crack, I just listened to the speedballed Crack and Mainline, and the Mainline is clearly better.

post #593 of 989
Thread Starter 

I never upgraded my Crack (other than Speedball) so hard to say, but given the incremental gains brought by caps and the like, I can't see how the Crack could ever make up the difference in terms of SQ let alone overtake the Mainline.

 

This isn't to criticise the Crack which is a brilliant amp, but you get what you pay for in the sophistication and refinement of the Mainline's sound.

post #594 of 989

Gosh that's a stunning price, it only takes two bidders with deep pockets.  Fitting boutique expensive, eye candy parts might not always lead to improvements in SQ.    


Edited by JamieMcC - 4/27/14 at 3:46am
post #595 of 989
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loquah View Post
 

I never upgraded my Crack (other than Speedball) so hard to say, but given the incremental gains brought by caps and the like, I can't see how the Crack could ever make up the difference in terms of SQ let alone overtake the Mainline.

 

This isn't to criticise the Crack which is a brilliant amp, but you get what you pay for in the sophistication and refinement of the Mainline's sound.


Yes, that's what I'm thinking too. I really can't see why people can spend hundreds of dollars on caps and tubes for upgrading the Crack when they can buy a Mainline which I think certainly a upgrade over the Crack, IMHO

post #596 of 989
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post #597 of 989
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolus Kratos View Post
 


Yes, that's what I'm thinking too. I really can't see why people can spend hundreds of dollars on caps and tubes for upgrading the Crack when they can buy a Mainline which I think certainly a upgrade over the Crack, IMHO

 

I agree, BUT sometimes the fun is in the tinkering and trying - the thrill of alchemy if you like - can I make this budget amp into giant-killer gold?

post #598 of 989
Thread Starter 

I've spent more time tonight listening to the S.E.X. with the newly installed attenuator and Mundorf Silver / Gold / Oil MCap Supremes (1.5uF output caps).

 

Most of my listening was with the HE-500s and I can confirm that the S.E.X. has improved, but not to the degree that it's a threat to the Mainline - it's just a better version of the S.E.X. Given the ease and relative affordability of upgrade caps I'd say this is a recommended tweak for people who already have the C4S installed and a higher quality pot / attenuator, but I wouldn't recommend it ahead of either of those 2 upgrades because it has less impact than either (and the stock potentiometer may mask some of the benefits of upgraded caps).

 

To provide an analogy for the changes I'm hearing, imagine the feeling of the timber base you receive from Bottlehead with an amp kit - it's nicely finished and can happily be used with no sanding or other finishing. Installing upgraded caps in the S.E.X. is like taking to the stock wood base with a sheet of 1200 grit sandpaper. The wood doesn't really look much different afterwards, but it's just a bit smoother to the touch - it's almost silky now.

 

That's kind of how the upgraded caps have changed the S.E.X.'s sound. I find the overall sound to be still fully detailed, but smoother and with absolutely zero fatigue regardless of the track (and I listened to some crap tonight!) I also feel like there's increased transparency, especially in the mids, but it might be a result of the smoother sound allowing me to perceive sounds that were always present before.

 

No matter what, I can safely say that I'm enjoying the S.E.X. even more now than before and I'm looking forward to the arrival of my newly purchased (but secondhand) LCD 2s and the Russian teflon coupling caps recommended to me by Jamie. On that note, special thanks for encouragement and support for this new venture in my DIY amp experience must go to @JamieMcC and @mcandmar - thanks to you both and to everyone else who's discussing these great products and helping to inspire me and others to play, to modify and explore the possibilities of understanding and enhancing our own gear.

post #599 of 989

I don't think I would be so inclined to tinker with the Mainline in the same way I have done with the Crack.  Latest caps trying out some K75 PIO 100uf capacitor's and in the second pic on the two small speedball boards switches to change between the operating voltages or the 12u7 and E80cc this one is easy and inexpensive to do and if you use a E80cc should be considered a must as it does make a noticeable improvement.

 

 

 

 


Edited by JamieMcC - 4/27/14 at 5:40am
post #600 of 989
Thread Starter 

There are really only 1 pair of caps that you would bother changing on the Mainline as far as I can tell. I'm currently contemplating a pair of Auric caps to replace them. Anyone had experience with Aurics? 

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