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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. bagwell359
    Pretty insulated these days - the HFM Jr amp running the 009 and Voce and these two are the only ones I've heard in 4 years... I don't count DAP's.
     
    omniweltall likes this.
  2. Tom-s
    This part is largely influenced by the driver tube of choice. This happens with RCA tubes IME. Put in a Philips made tube or even better a Telefunken ECC82 and the lack of detail will be gone.

    Since the Stereomour II is coming, i had to get the most out of it. So i went searching for headphones that would pair perfectly with these DHT speaker amps. I found a beautiful mint condition AKG K1000's, still at their original owner. These are now singing beautifully, driven by S3X, with plenty off headroom.

    [​IMG]
     
    JamieMcC likes this.
  3. bagwell359
    Back when I was using a lot of tube preamps I'd be looking at NOS Phillips or Mullards for this application.

    For my ARC SP-15 back in the day: the French Philips 6922 singing away

    Tubes are like craft beer, or high end grape.... never ends
     
  4. L0rdGwyn
    In my experience, 6SN7s perform better in the Crack(atwoa) than 12AU7s, and more detail retrieval is available as you move up the 6SN7 ladder as well.

    But I came to show off a photo, never thought to do a long exposure before. There is something about that warm glow when you're listening to your favorite tunes :)

    Brimar 6SN7GT, MOV A1834, Telefunken EL90 in the Crackatwoa:

    DSCF4799.JPG
     
    deserat, JamieMcC and Tom-s like this.
  5. cspirou
    What are you doing to use a 6SN7 with the crack? An adapter?
     
  6. L0rdGwyn
    Yes, a 6SN7 to 12AU7 adapter, Garage1217 sells a good one.
     
  7. SmashBruh
    Hey everyone! I just got my mainline last night and after biasing it sounds great with my Auteurs; I did however notice that at max output with the switch set to High impedance I can hear some electrical noise (I can still hear it at max output on low impedence as well, though it's less); is this normal for a standard un-upgraded kit?? This is my first full-tube amp (though I've heard quite a few before!)
     
  8. L0rdGwyn
    If it is a 60Hz buzzing sound, could be a grounding issue/ground loop. Are your outlets well grounded? If it is more random, could be RFI or a noisy tube, although I don't know how common that is with the Mainline. Is it one or both channels? If it becomes a persistent problem, make a post on the BH forums.
     
  9. itsikhefez
    I've had buzzing before which was due to a dimmer switch and CFL bulbs. I swapped out the bulbs and the buzzing was gone
     
  10. SmashBruh
    I'm fairly certain it's not a ground loop. The noise seems to only happen when my Modi 3 is connected to both my amp and a source (I've tried connecting it to both my monitors and my PC via USB as well as connecting it to my PC via SPDIF.) I'm like 90% certain this is an issue with my Modi since the amp is completely silent when connected to my phone via a RCA->3.5mm cable however I do find it odd that I didn't have this issue when it was paired with my MCTH...


    That said, I don't hear the noise unless the volume is set between 0- -15db or so, so I've been enjoying the Auteurs with the Mainline. The mainline really is special quite special! The separation to instruments and stage it presents are truly fantastic. I find the treble really way too smooth though... I like it when the treble tickles my brain a little bit you know? Hahaha. Hoping the treble presentation grows on me like the Atticus's did! :)
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  11. cspirou
    I don't think you know what a ground loop is. Your phone is battery powered and would not have a ground loop. However with computer -> DAC -> Amp, you could have a ground loop.
     
  12. SilverEars
    Here's my opinion on the Mainline vs Crack. Get the crack, forget about the Mainline, and save the money (you have to use 300 ohm+ headphones though). Mainline is overpriced for performance. For that kind of performance, I'd go shoot for a good solid-state instead. It's a tube amp fails at trying to be a good solide-state which kinda defeats being a tube amp.

    After listening to Crack with speedball, you'd think Mainline would be a refined Crack. Nope. It's just a different sounding tube amp that happens to be very expensive.

    Compared to Crack, you lose the high separation and the interesting imaging. Mainline sounds a bit smeared in definition and has the that caveat of tube sound that compares badly to a good solid-state.

    Mainline just proves a point that just because one amp sound good doesn't mean their higher-end is worth the upgrade, or should you expect to be. Somehow Crack happens to be a good sounding amp. Luck maybe?
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
    omniweltall and Wes S like this.
  13. SmashBruh

    It doesn't sound like what a ground loop typically sounds like though (it sounds like an electrical static buzzing hum with some midrange beeps that constantly go off at regular intervals), and wouldn't a ground loop be solved by having both the computer and amp be connected to the same ground? Also, again, why would I get a ground loop now with the mainline and not with the CTH?? And why would it happen across the USB ports of three different devices?
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
  14. itsikhefez
    I went straight to the Mainline which I think is great... but haven't compared to a Crack so maybe I'm missing out?? (Especially since I mainly use a ZMF Aeolus and HD650)

    FWIW beforehand I read extensive opinions and the majority reviewed the Mainline as a worthwhile upgrade.
    Which headphones have you compared with?
     
  15. SilverEars
    Well, for low-impedance headphones, Mainline is the only option between the two, but for 300 ohm + headphones such as the Sennheisers, I think that Crack just stands on it's own in terms of good interesting OTL sound. Please don't think OTL means inferior sound. I had thought that, and it isn't the case, it's just isn't compatable with lots of headphones due to the high output impedance.

    I think Crack was the first tube amp I felt worthwhile being a tube amp as it's so engaging with the Sennheiser HD6 series. Mainline just isn't the same experience.

    If you get a chance, give it a listen. There's a reason why Crack is so famous. It's a fast sounding with good imaging for HD6 series Sennheisers.

    If you are going for a budget tube, I'd recommend Crack as the best introduction.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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