Crack;Bottlehead OTL
Feb 21, 2021 at 1:25 AM Post #10,681 of 11,049

DenverW

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Congrats, 500 more posts to go, to become a Headphoneus Supremus :dt880smile:. Me too a 1000+ member...but I think I'll join the Headphoneus Supremus club much later as I'm quite slow in posting.

Get some good resistance and voltage measurements on your cracka2a, and ask Paul & Paul on the BHC forum, they are normally super helpful in building the BH kits.

I’ve been going that route for the last week plus. Unfortunately there’s not a clear idea of what to work on, other than rewire and resolder Pretty much everything, so that’s the feedback I’ve been getting. I’ve been doing that for a long while and its Not fixing the issues. In fact, tonight was the last straw, as I worked on the low current board only to have two additional led stop working.
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 2:00 AM Post #10,682 of 11,049

Tom-s

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That’s not a setback. It’s more information to work with! Don’t give up yet. Don’t know if you ever build a stock Crack? But you could repurpose the resistors from the pre speedball Crack to get the CCS issues out of the equation (driver tube).
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 3:08 AM Post #10,683 of 11,049

DenverW

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That’s not a setback. It’s more information to work with! Don’t give up yet. Don’t know if you ever build a stock Crack? But you could repurpose the resistors from the pre speedball Crack to get the CCS issues out of the equation (driver tube).

I've built a stock crack, then added speedball, then modded the pants off it. This crackatwoa is a whole different beast :).
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 5:30 AM Post #10,684 of 11,049

Bruc3

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I have owned the La Figaro 339 for a few Months now, and have recently bought a BH Crack + SB a few days ago.

Here is my impressions of the Figaro vs the Crack so far.

Originally when I auditioned the Crack I thought I may have liked it more than the Figaro, but now I am not so sure.

I was pairing with my CMA12 as the DAC and Sen HD800S headphones.

BH Crack + speedball, with RCA 6as7g + 5814:

- brighter sound, bit more detailed
- More forward and aggressive sound, more similar to my solid state than the Figaro
- nice bass impact
- dynamic sound (more obvious to hear the quiet and louder passages in music)

La Figaro 339, with Mullard 6080 + EF86:

- more smoother sound, I guess the word I am looking for is euphoric sound
- bass impact seems roughly equal, but I feel the Figaro goes bit deeper
- Has a bit more reverb sound going on, noticeable on the vocals etc.
- At times the Figaro seem to have a bit more holographic sound

Both of these amps have:
- Nice "organic" sound you can say when compared to my SS CMA12 amp.
- Both have wider/deeper soundstage than my CMA12, probably the Figaro had slightly the widest, but bit difficult for me to tell mostly.
- Seems they both have punchy bass and cant say I feel one is better than the other

I need to spend more time with these and listen to more music. I would say I would be happy with any of these amps.

But if I had to choose now purely based on sound, I think Figaro is my pick, but not by alot. BH Crack is damn impressive for the price I think, and comes in smaller package with only need for 2 tubes, also I really dig the wood look.
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 10:28 AM Post #10,685 of 11,049

GreenNeedle

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No real changes to mine. Still using the Mazda with the Tung-Sol 5998. I do intend to sort out the wiring within to try and eliminate the buzz I get with 6SN7 (with any adaptor) but I do like this Mazda sound. Yet more pictures in the past few pages with very tight twisted wiring from transformer to the sockets just makes me think that is where I should focus. Mine is not nearly as tight, nor angled so I want to sort that out.

BTW they are HD580 precisions in disguise, not HD 600s.

IMG_0001.JPG
 
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Feb 21, 2021 at 11:19 AM Post #10,686 of 11,049

haasaaroni

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I have owned the La Figaro 339 for a few Months now, and have recently bought a BH Crack + SB a few days ago.

Here is my impressions of the Figaro vs the Crack so far.

Originally when I auditioned the Crack I thought I may have liked it more than the Figaro, but now I am not so sure.

I was pairing with my CMA12 as the DAC and Sen HD800S headphones.

BH Crack + speedball, with RCA 6as7g + 5814:

- brighter sound, bit more detailed
- More forward and aggressive sound, more similar to my solid state than the Figaro
- nice bass impact
- dynamic sound (more obvious to hear the quiet and louder passages in music)

La Figaro 339, with Mullard 6080 + EF86:

- more smoother sound, I guess the word I am looking for is euphoric sound
- bass impact seems roughly equal, but I feel the Figaro goes bit deeper
- Has a bit more reverb sound going on, noticeable on the vocals etc.
- At times the Figaro seem to have a bit more holographic sound

Both of these amps have:
- Nice "organic" sound you can say when compared to my SS CMA12 amp.
- Both have wider/deeper soundstage than my CMA12, probably the Figaro had slightly the widest, but bit difficult for me to tell mostly.
- Seems they both have punchy bass and cant say I feel one is better than the other

I need to spend more time with these and listen to more music. I would say I would be happy with any of these amps.

But if I had to choose now purely based on sound, I think Figaro is my pick, but not by alot. BH Crack is damn impressive for the price I think, and comes in smaller package with only need for 2 tubes, also I really dig the wood look.
Awesome to hear! Does definitely sound like the Crack is the better amp for the Aeolus of the two, like you’d mentioned before. It definitely benefits from a livelier, more dynamic sound. I bet the 6XX sounds amazing on both, to say nothing of the 800S.
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 1:44 PM Post #10,687 of 11,049

cddc

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I have owned the La Figaro 339 for a few Months now, and have recently bought a BH Crack + SB a few days ago.

Here is my impressions of the Figaro vs the Crack so far.

Originally when I auditioned the Crack I thought I may have liked it more than the Figaro, but now I am not so sure.

I was pairing with my CMA12 as the DAC and Sen HD800S headphones.

BH Crack + speedball, with RCA 6as7g + 5814:

- brighter sound, bit more detailed
- More forward and aggressive sound, more similar to my solid state than the Figaro
- nice bass impact
- dynamic sound (more obvious to hear the quiet and louder passages in music)

La Figaro 339, with Mullard 6080 + EF86:

- more smoother sound, I guess the word I am looking for is euphoric sound
- bass impact seems roughly equal, but I feel the Figaro goes bit deeper
- Has a bit more reverb sound going on, noticeable on the vocals etc.
- At times the Figaro seem to have a bit more holographic sound

Both of these amps have:
- Nice "organic" sound you can say when compared to my SS CMA12 amp.
- Both have wider/deeper soundstage than my CMA12, probably the Figaro had slightly the widest, but bit difficult for me to tell mostly.
- Seems they both have punchy bass and cant say I feel one is better than the other

I need to spend more time with these and listen to more music. I would say I would be happy with any of these amps.

But if I had to choose now purely based on sound, I think Figaro is my pick, but not by alot. BH Crack is damn impressive for the price I think, and comes in smaller package with only need for 2 tubes, also I really dig the wood look.


Thanks for taking up the time to write this great comparison. Very nice impressions on both amps!

I personally think the RCA 6AS7G and 5814 tubes you used on your BHC for the evaluation kinda put the BHC in a huge disadvantageous position. Lots of people find the RCA 6AS7G tube to be sloppy muddy veiled sounding, me included, I personally would put it to the bottom of my BHC power tube ranking. Even a cheap $10 Russian Winged C can easily kick its ass.

If you could unplug one of the Mullard 6080 tubes (which is a great power tube IMHO) from your LF339 or a Bendix 6080 (another great tube BTW), and put it on your BHC, then it would be more like an apple-to-apple comparison. In my estimation of the importance of power vs driver tube on BHC, the power tube accounts for 60% and the driver tube 40%. A sloppy power tube like the RCA 6AS7G will definitely doom the wonderful BHC sounding.

The 5814 tube is also a so so type driver tube, nothing spectacular. If you could use one of the better 12AU7 driver tubes, like Mazda, Siemens, Mullard, or Amperex that @DenverW or @GreenNeedle mentioned, things could also turn better.

Now, I am not too familiar with the EF86 tube and how it is used in LF339. It is a pentode, so I would guess most likely it is used as a triode-strapped pentode in LF339, since we don't need a lot of power from pentodes in the driver stage, and linearity is the key in this stage. I would suggest using the same power tube (Mullard 6080 or Bendix 6080) on both amps, and using the driver tube from the same brand (say, Mullard, Sylvania, RCA) for a fair apple-to-apple evaluation.:)



Eidt: to correct some typos, the 6AS7G was meant to be the RCA 6AS7G, I have no problem with other 6AS7G's...LOL
 
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Feb 21, 2021 at 1:50 PM Post #10,688 of 11,049

HiFiHawaii808

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I have owned the La Figaro 339 for a few Months now, and have recently bought a BH Crack + SB a few days ago.

Here is my impressions of the Figaro vs the Crack so far.

Originally when I auditioned the Crack I thought I may have liked it more than the Figaro, but now I am not so sure.

I was pairing with my CMA12 as the DAC and Sen HD800S headphones.

BH Crack + speedball, with RCA 6as7g + 5814:

- brighter sound, bit more detailed
- More forward and aggressive sound, more similar to my solid state than the Figaro
- nice bass impact
- dynamic sound (more obvious to hear the quiet and louder passages in music)

La Figaro 339, with Mullard 6080 + EF86:

- more smoother sound, I guess the word I am looking for is euphoric sound
- bass impact seems roughly equal, but I feel the Figaro goes bit deeper
- Has a bit more reverb sound going on, noticeable on the vocals etc.
- At times the Figaro seem to have a bit more holographic sound

Both of these amps have:
- Nice "organic" sound you can say when compared to my SS CMA12 amp.
- Both have wider/deeper soundstage than my CMA12, probably the Figaro had slightly the widest, but bit difficult for me to tell mostly.
- Seems they both have punchy bass and cant say I feel one is better than the other

I need to spend more time with these and listen to more music. I would say I would be happy with any of these amps.

But if I had to choose now purely based on sound, I think Figaro is my pick, but not by alot. BH Crack is damn impressive for the price I think, and comes in smaller package with only need for 2 tubes, also I really dig the wood look.
Thanks for this direct comparison. I've always wondered how the Figaro compares with the BHC. I am now looking at either the ZMF Pendant or another Ampsandsound tube amp as my next project. Or, getting a transportable amp like a C9 that has tubes as an option.
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 1:53 PM Post #10,689 of 11,049

HiFiHawaii808

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Thanks for taking up the time to write this great comparison. Very nice impressions on both amps!

I personally think the RCA 6AS7G and 5814 tubes you used on your BHC for the evaluation kinda put the BHC on a huge disadvantageous position. Lots of people find the 6AS7G tube to be sloppy muddy veiled sounding, me included, I personally would put it to the bottom of my BHC power tube ranking. Even a cheap $10 Russian Winged C can easily kick its ass.

If you could unplug one of the Mullard 6080 tubes (which is a great power tube IMHO) from your LF339 or a Bendix 6080, and put it on your BHC, then it would be more like an apple-to-apple comparison. In my estimation of the importance of power vs driver tube on BHC, the power tube accounts for 60% and the driver tube 40%. A sloppy power tube like the RCA 6AS7G will definitely doom the wonderful BHC sounding.

The 5814 tube is also a so so type driver tube, nothing spectacular. If you could use one of the better 12AU7 driver tubes, like Mazda, Siemens, Mullard, or Amperex that @DenverW or @GreenNeedle mentioned, things could also turn better.

Now, I am not too familiar with the EF86 tube and how it is used in LF339. It is a pentode, so I would guess most likely it is used as a triode-strapped pentode in LF339, since we don't need a lot of power from pentodes in the driver stage, and linearity is the key in this stage. I would suggest using the same power tube (Mullard 6080 or Bendix 6080) on both amps, and using the driver tube from the same brand (say, Mullard, Sylvania, RCA) for a fair apple-to-apple evaluation.:)
I am going to try some of those input tubes you mentioned. I currently use the cbs hytron 5814a. I really only focused on power tubes in my last tube rolling project.

Still love my Western Electric 421A as power tube.
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 2:01 PM Post #10,690 of 11,049

cddc

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I am going to try some of those input tubes you mentioned. I currently use the cbs hytron 5814a. I really only focused on power tubes in my last tube rolling project.

Still love my Western Electric 421A as power tube.


For the miniature 12AU7 driver tubes, try those European glass bottles, you'll definitely find a lot of surprises.
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 2:03 PM Post #10,691 of 11,049

GreenNeedle

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I am going to try some of those input tubes you mentioned. I currently use the cbs hytron 5814a. I really only focused on power tubes in my last tube rolling project.

Still love my Western Electric 421A as power tube.
I would add the Brimar CV4003 to the list above. Everybody's preferences are different but for me it is quite similar to the Mazda(s) and probably more easily available outside Europe than the Mazda(s.) The Mazda comes in 2 forms. The 12AU7 (UK) and ECC82 (Foreign) They sound and look the same other than the print/etch on the glass. Both Mazdas and the Brimar are relatively cheap as well. <$30
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 3:21 PM Post #10,692 of 11,049

haasaaroni

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All this talk of tube rolling has got me wishing my Crack were built already! My kit should be shipping next week...

I would think it's not the smartest thing to get a set of NOS tubes before I even start building the Crack, but I really want to hear this thing in its full glory as soon as it's set up. Any good first steps you all would recommend taking as a replacement for the stock tubes? The Brimar CV4003 looks temtping, being so readily available.
 
Feb 21, 2021 at 5:58 PM Post #10,693 of 11,049

hikaru12

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All this talk of tube rolling has got me wishing my Crack were built already! My kit should be shipping next week...

I would think it's not the smartest thing to get a set of NOS tubes before I even start building the Crack, but I really want to hear this thing in its full glory as soon as it's set up. Any good first steps you all would recommend taking as a replacement for the stock tubes? The Brimar CV4003 looks temtping, being so readily available.

I ordered mine last Thursday so hoping to having a shipping notice this week myself. I can't wait to pair them with my recently aquired Eikons. Had I built one back in the day when I had my Atticus I probably would have kept it.
 
Feb 22, 2021 at 1:27 AM Post #10,694 of 11,049

cddc

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All this talk of tube rolling has got me wishing my Crack were built already! My kit should be shipping next week...

I would think it's not the smartest thing to get a set of NOS tubes before I even start building the Crack, but I really want to hear this thing in its full glory as soon as it's set up. Any good first steps you all would recommend taking as a replacement for the stock tubes? The Brimar CV4003 looks temtping, being so readily available.

I'd suggest you to buy tubes only after your Crack is completed, unless of course you've got another similar amp to test the incoming tubes. Most tube sellers/vendors/stores don't test their tubes on amps, they only test tubes on tube testers, and lots of them don't test their tubes at all. And even if a tube tests good in the tester, it could still hum or buzz or be microphonic on your amp (though the possibility is pretty low), given those NOS tubes have been in sleep for decades. If you have a completed Crack, you can return the defective tube to the seller before it's too late.

A good starter power tube to consider is the Russian Winged-C, it has a nice deep bass and large soundstage. You can get them really cheap, normally around $10 + shipping from Ukraine or Russia. This tube was introduced to me by @Tom-s years ago on the BHC forum, and I can't stop recommending it to any BHC owner as a starter tube for its high price/performance ratio. From this up you would have to shed lots of money :dt880smile:, the top tier ones include 5998/421A, 7236, GEC 6AS7G/6080, Mullard 6080, etc.
 
Feb 22, 2021 at 4:31 AM Post #10,695 of 11,049

maxpudding

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I'd suggest you to buy tubes only after your Crack is completed, unless of course you've got another similar amp to test the incoming tubes. Most tube sellers/vendors/stores don't test their tubes on amps, they only test tubes on tube testers, and lots of them don't test their tubes at all. And even if a tube tests good in the tester, it could still hum or buzz or be microphonic on your amp (though the possibility is pretty low), given those NOS tubes have been in sleep for decades. If you have a completed Crack, you can return the defective tube to the seller before it's too late.

A good starter power tube to consider is the Russian Winged-C, it has a nice deep bass and large soundstage. You can get them really cheap, normally around $10 + shipping from Ukraine or Russia. This tube was introduced to me by @Tom-s years ago on the BHC forum, and I can't stop recommending it to any BHC owner as a starter tube for its high price/performance ratio. From this up you would have to shed lots of money :dt880smile:, the top tier ones include 5998/421A, 7236, GEC 6AS7G/6080, Mullard 6080, etc.
Agreed on the Russian winged-C tube, bought a few of them and I really like the sound. The Melz 1578 and the Foton 6N8S do sound quite nice as well in the driver’s seat.
 

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