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Crack;Bottlehead OTL

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by ironbut, Mar 9, 2010.
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  1. DavidA
    I would suggest looking at a Garage 1217 Solstice or the solid state Polaris since rolling tubes can get expensive quickly. These amps have adjustable output impedance so you can better match them to almost any headphone.
     
  2. ProfFalkin
    I have, and I'll be hunting down one of those amps at RMAF to demo it. Not sure if I want a Mogwai or Encore.

    Edit:. Or a BH Mainline.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2017
  3. Renato Fury
    I had already seen some amplifiers, including I had been interested in Project Ember but for being a hybrid I do not know if it would have the same quality as a Bottlehead for example, have you ever tested any to know if the quality is as good ?
     
  4. DavidA
    I have both the Ember and BH Crack and used to have a HD598 a few years back. The HD598 sounded best on the Ember of all the amps I had at the time that I owned them and didn't sound as good with the BH Crack, Lyr2 and WA7d (sold) to me mostly due the sound of the HD598 being a bit thin and a little harsh in the highs. The BH Crack is really designed for high impedance headphones like the HD600/650/700/800 and not for low/medium impedance headphones like the HD598. Another thing to consider is that the tubes used in the Crack can have a significant effect on how it will pair with any particular headphone.

    If you want the smooth sound of a tube amp I would start with changing from the HD598 to either the HD650, NightHawk or SRH-1840 since these headphones have that smoother sound versus the thin and slightly bright sound of the HD598. The headphone has the biggest influence on the sound so I would start with a headphone that sounds as close to what you want and then look at amps, DACs and cables (choke) to tune the sound.
     
  5. Renato Fury
    Yes of course, the HD 598 would actually be my first headphone at hi-fi level and I intend to pair it with the Schiit Fulla 2 just because it's an amplifier with enough power to drive it, the BH Crack I intended to use with the HD 650 in the future but my plans have been frustrated thanks to this antics of the manufacturers do not sell it already built, so what I have left is Project Ember for the price, but for being a hybrid I do not know if I'm going to feel that sound that only tubes can provide, but worth just buying it? I do not want the neutrality of Valhalla 2 for example, I want the heat of BH Crack or the closest to it.
     
  6. Ahrimofnor
    As someone who recently built the crack + speedball as my first DIY / soldering experience ever I can say it really is not that bad. The directions are phenomenal and as long as you take care when building it, you really cant screw it up too easily. That being said, there are some that are occasionally offered on reddit's AVexchange or here on the classifieds. Honestly, I would suggest getting the kit as I thoroughly enjoyed the DIY process of building everything especially as the finished product looks and sounds so damn good. I can not recommend building the kit enough. For reference, I spent about an hour or two a night and maybe three or four hours a day on weekends for two weeks staining / painting the base and soldering everything together in order to complete the crack + speedball.
     
  7. DavidA
    Aside from the BH Crack the 2 other OTL amps that can give you a tube sound and with a change of tubes become closer to neutral are the Elise and WA2, granted these are not the cheapest amps but they respond to changes in tubes so much more than other tube amps that I've tried. I wouldn't worry about the Ember being a hybrid, to me having the adjustable output impedance is a feature that has just as much of an influence in the sound than changing tubes. I agree that the Valhalla2 is too neutral and it didn't respond to changes in tubes much and less than the Ember in my experience so far.
     
  8. LikeABell
    And we have thus arrived at the solution for your original question.
     
  9. Renato Fury
    Unfortunately no, one has a more affordable price but I do not have the ability to build it, the other comes built but the cheaper one is a lot more expensive than crack, regardless of my continuing dilemma.
     
  10. Paladin79
    There are currently two Bottlehead cracks on ebay right now, completed and working. Contact the sellers and see if either is willing to ship to Brazil, bid on one is only $197.50 at this time but that could change drastically in the next few hours. lf you have an use paypal, they will darn near guarantee you get the product or they will freeze the seller till it is resolved. (based on my past experiences.) Either that or buy a pre-built one from someone on here. Saying Bottlehead does not meet your needs by not offering a completed amp makes little sense to me. They do quite well with kits and the vast majority of people love building the kits.
    To pay folks to assemble them and sit on the parts while completed amps sit on their shelves changes their business model drastically. Not sitting on a lot of inventory can keep their price down and allow them to offer their product at a reasonable price. I believe the owner said the last sale they had on Cracks produced the largest amount sold in their history. Their business model is working and they are able to be in business with a relatively small workforce.

    Yesterday I came really close to offering to build you one and ship it to you but I am already obligated and you would have a bit of a wait. If you get creative and do not mind paying up front I doubt it would be that hard for you to find someone to ship you a completed amp.
     
  11. DavidA
    If you are so concerned with expenses then I don't think a tube amp is something you want to get involved with since the cost of tubes can exceed the cost of the amp it self and many who build a Crack update many parts of the build like caps, volume pots, and the speed ball option. I've spent more on tubes than the price of the BH Crack and this does not include most of the driver tubes that I was using in the Ember. Its a reality of owning a tube amp that you need to include in your budget for tubes and due to the demand for NOS tubes the prices are only going higher.
     
  12. Paladin79
    IMG_2194.JPG Here is a quick and easy way to make a preamp out or extra headphone circuit for a Crack amp. 3.5 mm female, shielded Belden wire. It is just a matter of wiring it in parallel to the quarter inch jack you are using in the Crack amp. I have run two headphones or one headphone and preamp out into a power amp without affecting or lowering the sound quality in the least. In my case I can just drill a hole in the back plate of my amps and mount it next to the RCA inputs. With the standard top plate on a Crack amp, you can drill a hole there and you suddenly have dual headphone jacks or a preamp out in addition to the standard headphone out.
     
  13. Renato Fury
    You're right, I'll have to buy a solid-state amplifier myself, but I'm in no doubt between the Schiit Jotinheim or the Audio GB NFB 11.28.
     
  14. Renato Fury
    Okay so, I'm going to buy Sennheiser HD 6XX, Project Ember and a Dac, but which Dac would be the best choice to pair with Project Ember ?
     
  15. Doc B.
    Antics - that's the first time in my recollection that someone has used that descriptor. Somehow we have been getting away with these antics for 22 years. Looking at it that way, I feel pretty lucky.
     
    LikeABell, DavidA and ProfFalkin like this.
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