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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. deserat
    I will.  Though it'll be awhile for the Crackatwoa - maybe Feb or March.  I'll be focusing more on customizing the look of that amp and am still learning to do some of the things I want to do to it.  

    If you read a few pages back into the thread Doc offers up his thoughts on difference between the two. Which is the best description I've read anywhere. Unfortunately I've not been able to find a single review or decent set off impressions for the Crackatwoa outside of the one in the Bottlehead Forum.  Reviews are even sparse for the mainline, outside of this forum, I've not found one.  I do however see the mainline brought up in discussions where the primary focus is amps like the  DNA Stratus and Eddie Current Zana Deux and being dismissed mostly because it has to be built.  

    Anyway... will review the Mainline a couple weeks from now.
    NightPhotograph likes this.
  2. bigfatpaulie
    I actually did the comparison between the Mainline and Stratus a while back here.  The Mainline was not dismissed because of having to be built in (at least certainly in my case) and both are excellent amps.  
  3. deserat
    I'd forgotten your post. Sorry, because as I re-read it I very much enjoyed it and even recall having appreciated it when I read it months and months ago. There are a number of threads on TOTL headphone amps both on head-fi and elsewhere where the mainline is fired at the same target as the best possible amps.  Which is to say for 1,200 and a bit of effort one is playing in the same category as the amps costing substantially more.

    The truth is, I don't know if it can even compete. I have to trust others. There are three things I do know; 1) the Crackatwoa never makes it into these threads. 2) Nobody ever shoots down the Mainline as being unworthy and it is often praised in passing as being worthy 3) Once you get into this world EVERYBODY says "to my ears" and "I prefer" which is akin to saying "don't listen to me cause I'm fulla schiit 2" :wink:.  I've never heard the Mainline and when it is complete the only Amp in the TOTL category I will have to compare it with is the HDVA 600. I really hope a warm shot Mainlined will  put the HDVA into an early grave. I mean... what does HDVA stand for anyway? High Definition Vacuous Amplifer - "You can hear everything thing but we vacuumed out anything which might result in an endorphin?"

    Anyway I meant no offense or mis-attribution. As somebody who has only seen pictures of the mythic DNA Stratus .... I would be grateful to read all 6 pages of the comparison you didn't post. Of course I find myself amongst those who really like the idea of DIY, but both doubt our own ability to build something amazing to a professional QA standard, and having built it are left wondering ... is the fact that I built it distorting the sound?
  4. bigfatpaulie
    Well, I won't post my 6 pages of ramblings - heck I'm not sure I still have them - but I can tell you than these products are all accordingly priced.  The Mainline isn't a Stratus or Balancing Act.  Not only are there presentation differences there are performance differences.  In life, there are no free rides.
    Ultimately, I'm not entirely sure what you are asking: I'd like to help but...
    One thing very special thing that the Mainline (and BH products in general) has is the build it yourself aspect.  Just take your time and savor it.  The build is so much fun and Doc provides the best documentation I've seen in any kit - period.  In addition he is an extremely helpful patient man should you need extra help or forget to install a fuse.  It could happen is all I'm saying... [​IMG] 
  5. Loquah
    I have turned over every bit of gear I've owned since before and after building the Mainline, but nothing I've heard justifies considering parting with the Mainline. This is partly due to the personal connection you make when you build your own amp, but also because it sounds so great, particularly for the price.
    JamieMcC and dmhenley like this.
  6. Starburp701
    Can anyone who owns/has owned an original Lyr justify ordering a S.E.x 3.0? Maybe a brief comparison? I'll be using it with 2016 Aluminum LCD 2's. Thanks!
  7. dannybgoode
    I'm looking to enter the world of Bottlehead ownership but am unsure which way to go.

    I'm not too interested at this stage in modding-just want to stick with stock atm.

    I notice the Crackatwoa is on offer with a free Twoquiet upgrade until 12 Feb and this is tempting me but is the SEX the better amp?

    Of course there's always the mainline-again is this worth the extra $$$.

    Appreciate any thoughts.
  8. bigfatpaulie
    What kind of headphones are you using?
  9. dannybgoode

    Apologies should have said. Beyerdynamic T1.2's and will be fed by a Rega DAC (the original not the R).

    Music-everything across pretty much all the genres. Not entirely helpful I appreciate but I really do listen to everything from a delicate piano sonata to the most hideous gabba.
  10. bigfatpaulie
    I would go with a crackatowa or it finds allow the mainline. The sex is better for lower impedance high current stuff like big orthors. It's not as good a fit as the other two for the T1's.
  11. bigfatpaulie
    I should add that they crack is a very fun amp. The technicalities, however, are bested by the mainline. The mainline is an "end game" amp and is really special. I guess it really depends on if you are looking to dip your toe in or go full bore with tubes. My suspicion is that if you get the crack you will eventually upgrade to the mainline. But that's my opinion. Others may differ.
  12. NightFlight
    Nah, that's bang on.   As for the Lyr - it does well with top tier tubes.
  13. mbyrnes

    Agree 100%. If you can afford the Mainline, go for that. The other, less expensive amps are really good, but you'll truly end up wondering "How much better can the Mainline be?". Then you'll read threads of people who climbed the lineup, and are truly blown away with the difference.

    Budget is the barrier, and how much time do you spend listening. Good luck deciding. OTL amps aren't very good with low impedance headphones. It's something to consider, especially if you are planning on future headphones.
  14. dannybgoode
    Thanks all. Well I can afford a Mainline and I can't see myself buying a ton of 'phones. I really like the Beyer sound and really don't get on with Sennies so unless I seriously up the budget I can't see what else is try.

    Will have a mull over the weekend...
  15. Starburp701
    Does anyone here have experience with a Lyr/LCD 2.2 F setup and also own a S.E.X.? I would like to know if you would considered an "upgrade".
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