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

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by loquah, Sep 24, 2013.
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  1. ssrock64
    I'm considering buying an HD800, and I've heard some back and forth while doing my research about whether the Crack or the 32-ohm S.E.X. is the preferred Bottlehead pairing (aside from the Mainline, of course). I'm sure the issue has been covered a million times, but I can't find that information until the day Head-Fi's search function works better. Any thoughts?
  2. Doc B.
    We are only packaging the limited quantity we have with a Mainline order. So I guess the answer is yes, you can buy them from us by buying a Mainline[​IMG].
    I imagine they can probably be found on ebay. They haven't been manufactured in many years, but there is probably a supply of used ones around.
  3. Doc B.
    If you are considering S.E.X. I should mention that it is reaching the end of its run, as after more than 20 years of selling the kit we are beginning to experience difficulty in acquiring 6DN7 tubes. I'm sure singles and pairs will continue to be easily found, but our suppliers are not able to come up with the quantities we need for production. I'm guessing we have maybe 5 kits worth of iron left.
  4. ssrock64

    Thanks for the information; I'll keep that in mind. If that's the way I go, I may have to end up on the used market, since I'm still going to be exploring all my options for awhile.
  5. tdogzthmn
    My SEX 2.1 with output switches is still going strong,  It's an incredible value, being able to drive both speakers and headphones with amazing results.  I enjoy swapping in and out of my system with a Stereomour and my Blumenstein Speakers.  I look forward to leaning about what might replace the SEX if anything can!
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  6. dmhenley
    Hey Loquah,
    What's been your experience with the Mainline and Nighthawks - specific to output levels/noise - 
    And, where are the comfortable listening levels for you, etc.
  7. JamieMcC
    Hi Mike, I fitted the French mod earlier today first impression are very good, appreciate the heads up.
    skeptic likes this.
  8. mcandmar
    That would be a real shame as its a great kit. Have you looked into availability of the 6FJ7 tubes as it would only require a socket change for the compactron base.
  9. JamieMcC
    Repost from the BHF
    So out of curiosity earlier today I removed the 10uf RTI Teflon parafeed capacitors I had been using for nearly 12 months now in my Mainline (the Mainline  ships with a 10uf MKP) and installed the 2.7uf Silver In Oil Mundorf Supreme's that used to be installed in my Sex amp in their place. I was instantly reacquainted with the Mundorfs SIO's distinctive V shape sonic profile and spacious soundstage I remembered from the Sex. 

    So far I think they sound pretty good with the music I listen to and haven't at this point really perceive any immediate weakness that might be attributed to running a lower UF value.

    Going to run them for the week and then swap them out for the 3.3uf Jupiter HT bees wax that are in the Sex at the moment. 

    Edit the SIO fit quiet nicely by the way. 
  10. NightFlight
    That's encouraging tha 10uF might not be required since the cost gets a bit steep there for the boutique selections. Your testing with the HD800 in the high impedance setting?
  11. JamieMcC
    Yes correct hd800 high and in balanced mode.   I picked up a 1 month old Meze 99 classic which arrived at the weekend its Impedance is given as 32 Ohm which I have been running unbalanced in the low setting.  It sound pretty similar on all the amps there are differences but generally the Meze keep the same character. I have tried them so far with Mainline, Sex, and the headphone out on my Leema Acoustics Elements dac. Even direct out of the mobile phone they are quiet engaging but the sonics do take a noticeable hit.
    Edit I might add I haven't tried the Mainline and Meze with the 10ufs installed 
  12. Loquah
    Sorry for the super slow reply, @dmhenley, I've been dealing with some challenging times and not on here as often as usual.
    The Nighthawks pair beautifully with the Mainline. There is absolutely zero noise (and I'm very sensitive to / aware of noise) and the sound is magnificent. Given the Mainline's low output impedance mode, you can easily get the sound just right with the Hawks just as you can with the HD800s or other high impedance cans.
    I'm yet to try the Hawks running balanced out of the Mainline so I can only assume there is room for slight improvements, but they're so good in single-ended mode that I haven't felt the need to pursue aftermarket cables or modifications to the stock cable.
  13. dmhenley
    No apologies. Hope things get better for you soon.
    I appreciate the insight.
    I know I will build a Mainline eventually, so it's nice to have feedback on the pairing with the Nighthawks.
  14. JamieMcC
    Ok so I need to confess I swapped out the Mundorf SIO, I had listened to them long enough to know their signature in the Mainline is not for me they are super sounding caps and I am sure their signature would appeal to many the 2.7uf worked well enough with the HD800 for me to consider the experiment a worthwhile. But here's the thing after listening to them for a couple of days enough was enough and they just had to come out there was no way I could last a week! 
    So it was in with the Jupiter 3.3uf HT Bees wax, I left them running for a hour or so and then put the cans on for a listen and just grinned [​IMG]  there is absolutely no doubt they are just insanely good and in a different league to the Mundorf SIO which just don't sound anywhere near as natural to me. There are differences between the 3.3uf Jupiters and the 10uf Teflons but they are for the most part subtle each has its strong points the Teflon sounding super clean and are incredibly resolving. The Jupiters are more intimate with a softer richer midrange that's just so inviting with the HD800's! Both caps apart from these subtle differences sound quiet similar and both to me are beautifully natural sounding and beguiling in the Mainline. Probably I would stick to the 10uf if running a variety of cans to be on the safe side but if using higher impedance cans like the HD800 or Beyer T1 then running with a lower uf value boutique cap is definitely a option worth considering.
  15. Loquah
    Oh, the temptation to roll caps. Stop it, Jamie! :wink:
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