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Crack;Bottlehead OTL

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by ironbut, Mar 9, 2010.
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  1. Paladin79
    IMG_1942.JPG The amp I am keeping is made out of inch thick quartered oak. It is not quite as tall as the two stock cabinets stacked. The neat thing is, there is a guy on Ebay who sells the solid copper plate in exactly the size I wanted. I think the normal plate is six by eleven inches (I do not have one here to measure), the front and back plates are four inches square and you definitely need a taller cabinet for those to look right. My son has very specific tastes and lots of black furniture so I knew I would be doing laquer on his and I already had the two stock cabinets laying around. I do believe Bottlehead sells them as such if you ever want to go that route. I will be building two more and at least one will be polished copper with the quartered oak for which I was offered four figures so I really need to take my time on that one.
    larcenasb likes this.
  2. larcenasb
    So, I was thinking of getting a Bottlehead Kaiju amp and Harbeth P3ESR mini-monitors to go with my Crack preamp, but then I thought perhaps that's overkill lol. Yet you use the preamp with ML electrostats! You don't feel you're missing anything from your electrostats with the Crack in the chain? I mean, I know my Crack is a pound-for-pound great with all the mods and my beloved 6F8G tube collection, sounding refined and highly resolved; though, I'm just trying to choose the right path for my speaker set-up that will last a lifetime.
    Paladin79 likes this.
  3. Paladin79
    I have hooked up the Martin Logans four or five different ways and I like the richness and warmth of the tube sound from he Crack but that is just me. I also run a Klipsch powered subwoofer with that configuration and with lossless audio I am hard pressed to find a way to make it sound objectionable. This probably sounds silly but I like to be able to run quality headphones or remove them with the speakers going and experience similar quality. What I do not get with the speakers is the instrument spacing that headphones give with binaural music. Have you ever felt like you could tell if a performer was standing or sitting? I have had that feeling a few times with the right music.
    larcenasb likes this.
  4. larcenasb
    Awesome to hear how well the Crack holds its own while partnered with more expensive components. And wow, I've never had the pleasure of being able to tell if someone is sitting or standing while listening! Once I get Harbeths one day and perhaps Beyer T1s, maybe I'll get there. :)

    Also, I realize the Kaiju and Harbeth P3ESR aren't the best pairing given that the Harbeth's sensitivity is just 83.5dB. I may get a solid-state amp instead (like the Acurus or Nakamichi mentioned before). But the Kaiju would be a great next step in kit difficulty, and is so beautifullll!! We'll see.

    P.S. I love the rich, warm sound of the Crack as well, so I think your experience is helpful to me. :)
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  5. Paladin79
    IMHO you can hear it in some of the Chesky recordings and because they are binaural plus, they sound decent over speakers as well. Here is a better pic of the black amp I made, it is hard to get the effect of the carbon fiber in some photos. I am by no means the first person to use copper or carbon fiber on a Crack but mine are a little unique with the use of the three plate system and I strive for symmetry.

    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
    JamieMcC likes this.
  6. ProfFalkin
    Very nice!
  7. attmci
  8. JamieMcC
    Two words for you guys who want to run speakers and headphones

    Bottlehead Sex

    Its a absolute steal performance wise for what it costs.


    The BH Mainline makes for a amazing preamp as well
  9. Paladin79
    There is an upgraded Sex as well as a Mainline kit on ebay right now for decent prices. (The Sex is at auction and the Mainline buy it now.)

    I like the idea of upgrading the Crack a bit at a time as Larcenasb did but I may well build the others down the road once I build some other Crack amps that I have committed to build.
    larcenasb likes this.
  10. larcenasb
    Same! I one day dream of building a Mainline, but just as a sort of celebratory Epicureanism, taking in the grandness life has to offer lol. That said, I am in no way dissatisfied with my Crack. :)
    Paladin79 likes this.
  11. Paladin79
    Once i have sold the last of my builds i will certainly consider it. I am pretty pragmatic, right now I have a couple stock picks starting to go through the roof and I am trying to dump all money I can into them before they get cost prohibitive. I have five preamps so it is not like I am hurting for one.

    Larcenasb what brand are your output caps? I am considering Mundorf but they are specialty items that my normal distributors do not carry.
    larcenasb likes this.
  12. larcenasb
    They are Audyn Q4 (68uF 250V) caps, and a matching third as the last PS cap. I've never bypassed the outputs; some say it's worthwhile, some say leave the output path pure. I did bypass 1/100 the last PS cap though with a Jantzen Superior-Z. Not only are neither of these caps terribly expensive, but they are really challenging the competition. For example: the German-made Audyn Q4 MKPs are cheaper than the very basic Dayton MKPs, and the Jantzen Superior-Z is cheaper than the Mundorf Supreme. In my research, in both cases, the cheaper caps were also perceived as the better ones. But of course this is probably extremeeeeeeely subtle!

    Have you seen Humble Homemade Hifi's cap test? (http://www.humblehomemadehifi.com/Cap.html) I know it's just one source, but it's an exhaustive one that people generally look to as a reference--it may be useful to you. Cheers!
  13. Paladin79
    Thanks for the info Larcenasb, I will start to check out some of the caps. I had not seen that cap test before but will read up on it as time allows. My son is interested in an Elekit TU8600 300B amp so I need to look into that as well.
  14. attmci
    Those test are based on speakers.
  15. larcenasb
    Yes, different application, but I use it just as a reference comparing one cap to another. If A handles the signal better than B as a speaker crossover cap, it's reasonable to assume A will handle the signal better than B as an output cap.
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