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 41

post #601 of 878
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolus Kratos View Post
 

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.

I have built a fully shunt regulated Crack with similar parts quality to what we put in the Mainline.  While it does sound really good, it's still not at the level of the Mainline.  Do bear in mind that this build involved using the equivalent of two Speedballed Cracks, plus a submissive, and an old BeePre panel that wasn't quite right.  Also, spending all this money and throwing all this technology at a Crack doesn't really make it any better at driving lower impedance headphones.

post #602 of 878
We saw a Tape Project album sell for something like $800 on ebay a while ago, with the vague implication that it was a rare occurrence that one would come up for sale. We had the same album in stock for $300.
post #603 of 878
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolus Kratos View Post
 

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.

 

Crack certainly improves nicely with upgrades and is a tremendous value and performer compared to competing commercially manufactured OTL's, but I'll echo the others above in recommending a jump straight to the mainline for those with the requisite budget who are looking to drive high end dynamic cans (and who are comfortable with a more sophisticated build).

 

The tinkering and tweaking is really an end in and of itself and a whole lot of fun.  Also, a lot of us got into modding our cracks and tube rolling before the mainline was available.  My crack, built back in 2011, for example, has a rather nice tkd pot, 100 uf obbligato coupling caps, and an axon bypassing the 3rd psu cap, in addition to the speedball.  I also have a pretty solid set of tube options, including all the usual suspects - various mullard, bugle boy, rca, tungsol 12au7/12bh7's and several 5998's, a GEC 6as7g, a 7802, various 6080's (previously a nos 7236) etc.  I still get lots of listening enjoyment out of my crack every day in the office.  It is a very nice amp in its own right, but even with my hd650's (x10 with my hd800's), my ears instantly pick up on the fact that the mainline is a totally different and more sophisticated animal than the modded crack, irrespective of its tube complement.  Put on a good Decca recording or the like (e.g. Schiff's Goldberg Variations), and the mainline's refinement, details and speed become all the more apparent.  

 

This is why I occasionally wave my arms in the air and try to discourage folks from investing $200 in a GEC tube when its 1/6 the price of the mainline (and really may or may not be any more enjoyable than a good 6080 or 5998 depending on a multitude of factors).  I picked up my GEC when they cost half that, and I know others have found reasonable deals on rebrands in particular on occasion.  But as you correctly imply, modding and tube rolling should not be with the expectation that the crack will overcome mainline in technical proficiency.  

post #604 of 878

Helpful...Thanks for sharing.

post #605 of 878
I must admit to having spent more on a Crack build than The cost of a Mainline kit.

At the moment I am planning on building two Cracks. The first will be stock. The second will have the following mods and extras:

Speedball
Submissive
Obbligato gold output caps
10uF Teflon bypass caps x2
2.2uF Jupiter beeswax HT bypass caps by 2
2 resistors in power supply replaced with chokes
First 2 capacitors in power supply replaced with 470 uF BHC Aerovox
Final capacitor in power supply replaced with Clarity Caps TC (Kelvin terminals) 200uF
Noval input tube socket replaced with octal (for use with 6SN7 etc)
Separate transformer with 12 volt secondary winding to power heater of 12SN7 tube
Regulated DC filament supply (for 12SN7)
Various tubes for rolling
Silver wiring in signal path
Resistor upgrades

The changes will be made one at a time with a period of weeks in between. Comparisons will be made at each stage with the stock a Crack.

"He's insane" you might say. Correct!

I do also have a purpose, though. Experience and education. I want to learn what each of these changes make to the sound. Heck! I want to understand the circuit better. To my mind the relative simplicity of the Crack circuit makes it an ideal candidate for these experiments. I will then hopefully be able to apply these lessons to other Bottlehead builds and mods, including the Mainline.

For me this is a long term hobby and one worth investing my time and money into for the lessons and enjoyment it brings. It is about both the building and the listening. Many of the parts will be reusable in future projects if I choose to break up one of the Cracks.

It is a cheap, fun and practical education.
Edited by MoatsArt - 4/28/14 at 5:33pm
post #606 of 878
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoatsArt View Post

I must admit to having spent more on a Crack build than The cost of a Mainline kit.

At the moment I am planning on building two Cracks. The first will be stock. The second will have the following mods and extras:

Speedball
Submissive
Obbligato gold output caps
10uF Teflon bypass caps x2
2.2uF Jupiter beeswax HT bypass caps by 2
2 resistors in power supply replaced with chokes
First 2 capacitors in power supply replaced with 470 uF BHC Aerovox
Final capacitor in power supply replaced with Clarity Caps TC (Kelvin terminals) 200uF
Noval input tube socket replaced with octal (for use with 6SN7 etc)
Separate transformer with 12 volt secondary winding to power heater of 12SN7 tube
Regulated DC filament supply (for 12SN7)
Various tubes for rolling
Silver wiring in signal path
Resistor upgrades

The changes will be made one at a time with a period of weeks in between. Comparisons will be made at each stage with the stock a Crack.

"He's insane" you might say. Correct!

I do also have a purpose, though. Experience and education. I want to learn what each of these changes make to the sound. Heck! I want to understand the circuit better. To my mind the relative simplicity of the Crack circuit makes it an ideal candidate for these experiments. I will then hopefully be able to apply these lessons to other Bottlehead builds and mods, including the Mainline.

For me this is a long term hobby and one worth investing my time and money into for the lessons and enjoyment it brings. It is about both the building and the listening. Many of the parts will be reusable in future projects if I choose to break up one of the Cracks.

It is a cheap, fun and practical education.

 

Will you share all those observations here with us, Nathan? It sounds invaluable.

post #607 of 878
Sure thing.

I think I will start a new thread documenting the what, why and how of what I do along with listening impressions and comparisons. Consider it the journal of a Crack addict. I am no guru, just someone learning and making mistakes along the way. It will not be a hyped up set of recommendations, just observations. Certainly very useful to me personally. Possibly useful to others so that they can learn from my mistakes.

Will post here when the journal is up and running. Could be a while, though, as I expect it will take some time for my kits to arrive.

If you have any suggestions please let me know.

Cheers

Nathan
post #608 of 878

I'd like to hear a Mainline + HD800 compared against my Stereomour + SR-507 combo.  I find the Stereomour is a bit cleaner deeper and airy sounding vs. my SEX 2.1 which has a more bright and punchy sound with the SR-507.  Both are excellent sounding and the SR-507 is the best sounding headphone I've owned thus far.  I've been using a STAX SRD-7/SB transformer which allows me to use the speaker outputs to dive my STAX headphones.  Might be a little different than using the headphone outputs on the bottlehead amps but the audio quality and experience is fantastic.  The Stereomour throws a nice wide soundstage and give plenty of detail for the STAX headphones to render in life-like detail.

post #609 of 878
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdogzthmn View Post
 

I'd like to hear a Mainline + HD800 compared against my Stereomour + SR-507 combo.  I find the Stereomour is a bit cleaner deeper and airy sounding vs. my SEX 2.1 which has a more bright and punchy sound with the SR-507.  Both are excellent sounding and the SR-507 is the best sounding headphone I've owned thus far.  I've been using a STAX SRD-7/SB transformer which allows me to use the speaker outputs to dive my STAX headphones.  Might be a little different than using the headphone outputs on the bottlehead amps but the audio quality and experience is fantastic.  The Stereomour throws a nice wide soundstage and give plenty of detail for the STAX headphones to render in life-like detail.

 

I recently heard a vintage Stax setup driven from a S.E.X. (no C4S) at the same meet as I heard HD800s on my Mainline. If I could have taken one setup home it would have been the Stax for sure - no contest to my ears

post #610 of 878
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loquah View Post

I recently heard a vintage Stax setup driven from a S.E.X. (no C4S) at the same meet as I heard HD800s on my Mainline. If I could have taken one setup home it would have been the Stax for sure - no contest to my ears

Glad I'm not alone in these sentiments. Was that system also using a STAX transformer box to drive the Earspeakers?
post #611 of 878
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdogzthmn View Post


Glad I'm not alone in these sentiments. Was that system also using a STAX transformer box to drive the Earspeakers?

 

Yes. I'll see if I can find a photo...

post #612 of 878
Thread Starter 

Here is a pic I took of them. There's a S.E.X. out of the picture that's feeding the Stax box.

 

post #613 of 878
Quote:
Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
 

 

Crack certainly improves nicely with upgrades and is a tremendous value and performer compared to competing commercially manufactured OTL's, but I'll echo the others above in recommending a jump straight to the mainline for those with the requisite budget who are looking to drive high end dynamic cans (and who are comfortable with a more sophisticated build).

 

The tinkering and tweaking is really an end in and of itself and a whole lot of fun.  Also, a lot of us got into modding our cracks and tube rolling before the mainline was available.  My crack, built back in 2011, for example, has a rather nice tkd pot, 100 uf obbligato coupling caps, and an axon bypassing the 3rd psu cap, in addition to the speedball.  I also have a pretty solid set of tube options, including all the usual suspects - various mullard, bugle boy, rca, tungsol 12au7/12bh7's and several 5998's, a GEC 6as7g, a 7802, various 6080's (previously a nos 7236) etc.  I still get lots of listening enjoyment out of my crack every day in the office.  It is a very nice amp in its own right, but even with my hd650's (x10 with my hd800's), my ears instantly pick up on the fact that the mainline is a totally different and more sophisticated animal than the modded crack, irrespective of its tube complement.  Put on a good Decca recording or the like (e.g. Schiff's Goldberg Variations), and the mainline's refinement, details and speed become all the more apparent.  

 

This is why I occasionally wave my arms in the air and try to discourage folks from investing $200 in a GEC tube when its 1/6 the price of the mainline (and really may or may not be any more enjoyable than a good 6080 or 5998 depending on a multitude of factors).  I picked up my GEC when they cost half that, and I know others have found reasonable deals on rebrands in particular on occasion.  But as you correctly imply, modding and tube rolling should not be with the expectation that the crack will overcome mainline in technical proficiency.  

Thank you very much for such a helpful and informative feedback. After reading this, I feel quite sorry that I already purchased a GEC Brown Base for pretty much more than you did :D

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loquah View Post
 

 

I recently heard a vintage Stax setup driven from a S.E.X. (no C4S) at the same meet as I heard HD800s on my Mainline. If I could have taken one setup home it would have been the Stax for sure - no contest to my ears

Hi Lachlan,

 

So why do you still own the Mainline? If you intend to sell your Mainline, I'm more than happy to be the first buyer :tongue: 


Edited by Aeolus Kratos - 4/29/14 at 8:33pm
post #614 of 878
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolus Kratos View Post
 

Thank you very much for such a helpful and informative feedback. After reading this, I feel quite sorry that I already purchased a GEC Brown Base for pretty much more than you did :D

 

Hi Lachlan,

 

So why do you still own the Mainline? If you intend to sell your Mainline, I'm more than happy to be the first buyer :tongue: 

 

Haha. My point was that I would gladly take the Stax over the HD-800. It was no reflection on the Mainline! ;)

 

Just today, I accidentally was listening to the T1s via the Mainline and forgot to switch to balanced and high impedance modes. Even working with its hands behind its back (so to speak) I was still marvelling at how good it all sounded

post #615 of 878
Hi Kratos

Here's an idea. If you regret buying the GEC brown base, just sell it. I am sure you will have many willing buyers. You will probably make a profit as have others.
Edited by MoatsArt - 4/29/14 at 8:48pm
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