Bottlehead Crack

Discussion in 'Headphone Amplifiers and Combo (DAC/Amp) Units' started by OJneg, Oct 3, 2015.

  1. velvetx

    velvetx Gear Master West/Vendor Spotlight Moderator

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    I just ordered my crack w/o speedball for now. Hopefully I can put this thing together without too much trouble :)
     
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  2. The Alchemist

    The Alchemist MOT: Schiit - Here to help!

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    @velvetx - I was going to order one about a year ago but decided against it because I was afraid I would mess it up trying to build it - ended up getting a Valhalla 2 when it came out. I am very happy with the V2 no doubt -would like o hear how the Crack compares someday.
     
  3. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Yeah, working on figuring out my favorite tube combo for the time being. I'll still let you borrow it at some point.
     
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  4. The Alchemist

    The Alchemist MOT: Schiit - Here to help!

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    cool! Sounds awesome Hands!
     
  5. TMoney

    TMoney Shits on SBAF over at Head-Case to be cool

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    I can confirm, the Crack 2 makes for an awesome office rig.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. The Alchemist

    The Alchemist MOT: Schiit - Here to help!

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    Looks Awesome!
     
  7. techboy

    techboy Rando

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    Has anybody compared BH Crack with Project Ember? Especially with HD 650?
     
  8. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Not directly, but I've heard both. Granted, the Crack I heard was upgraded quite a bit, so might not be a good comparison...
     
  9. techboy

    techboy Rando

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    How did the two compare?
     
  10. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Well, again, the Crack I have has the speedball mod applied, upgraded output caps, a PSU choke, goldpoint stepped attenuator, and the pricey 5998 tube. Plus, it only works well with high impedance, dynamic headphones. Keeping price differences in mind and limited headphone selection, I found the Ember enjoyable for the most part. Somewhat warm, but a bit grainy sounding. The Crack is also on the warmer side of things but has a more liquid sound and is generally just better sounding in most regards (moar "hi-fi"), based entirely off memory.
     
  11. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Trying out the new production Gold Lions. Got one off Amazon. Figured why not, since I had a gift card.

    Straight out of the box, they sounded clean. A bit lean, but extended at both ends and tight down low. Surprisingly good resolution and spacial goodness. Relatively smooth but not what I'd call overly pleasing or engaging. Not bad, not stellar.

    A few hours later, and they sound much different. Stronger, thicker lows and mids, more dynamic, warmer tone, yet still keeping a lot of the same positive traits as before. Definitely got my attention this time around and a bigger change than I expected.

    Looking forward to comparing this to the Miniwatt. Might be too early to tell, but the Gold Lions might be competitive.
     
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  12. ohshitgorillas

    ohshitgorillas Friend

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    Where's the best place to get those beastly film caps to replace the electrolytic coupling caps? I don't need anything audiophile grade, but the 400V 100uF Daytons at PE are the only thing I can find and I wanna at least shop around. Do 100 uF film caps even come in 160V, or just 250/400V ratings? How critical is the 100uF value? Also, what're people's favorite method of mounting the things? I've seen a few, just not sure which one to go with.

    PS for my 2c, the Gold Lion is a decent tube and it has good punch and a really rich tone in the lows but doesn't do anything special in the highs. I feel like it would be an awesome tube for a guitar amp, but I'm 'meh' on it as an audiophile amp tube.
     
  13. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Parts Express, parts connexion, eBay...or just look up the cap you want and you'll find stores. They might be foreign.

    Go with 100uf if you can, but some caps at that value are difficult to fit.
     
  14. JoshMorr

    JoshMorr Friend

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    Not sure if this off topic but just got my crack + speedball back from repair and now I am having a ground loop buzz between the amp and 2 difference sources (turntable and Bifrost Multibit) where I did not have this problem before installing the sb upgrade (and screwing it up enough to have to send out for repair). I can get the buzzing to go away by taking a spare piece of wire and touching one end to the alum chassis of the crack and a grounded screw on the source. On the bottlehead forums it was recommended that the problem is not the amp, but the grounding of the source. Anyone else have similar issues?
     
  15. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Is your Crack plate properly grounded at the power inlet? Sometimes you have to scratch up the surface of the plate or the power inlet a bit before attaching the wires/screws to ensure good contact.
     
  16. JoshMorr

    JoshMorr Friend

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    I am getting a good connection to the ground. When RCA's are not plugged in everything is dead silent. Its only when I plug in a source. I also tried to ground out the chasis plate to anything other than the source, and no luck. Sound only goes away when grounded to the source.
     
  17. Xen

    Xen Friend

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    Hmm.. there are so many different kinds of ground loops and each have their own solution. Since yours seem to occur only with connected, the "ground" on your speedball is *probably* at a different potential than the "ground" on your source. When you connected the case of your Crack to the ground-pin of the source, they became the same potential.

    Are they plugged into the same outlet or the same surge protector? If not, try that first.
    Make sure the ground from the RCA in the crack is properly connected to the ground.
    Buy a "cheater plug" to unground the crack from the mains so that the crack grounds with the source. - Eliminate the literal GROUND loop.

    I've been reading about ground loops and they scare me (my $$$ component suddenly makes everything bad!). Very confusing.
     
  18. bocosb

    bocosb Rando

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    I have a Bottlehead Crack + Speedball powering my HD650 and at the moment i believe my sound card (asus essence stx) is the weak link in my system.. can u suggest some dacs in the 4-600 price range that would be a clear upgrade? i keep reading that the hd650 scale well with upgrades and i want to see for myself. Also, i live in Europe(mostly) so i'd like some suggestions of brands available here (or chinese maybe?)
    Could be a dedicated dac or dac/amp(for using sometimes standalone with the laptop) but the main job will be the dac part


    And a picture of my bottlecrack, cause pictures of glowy tubes are never too many :D
    [​IMG]
     
  19. Koth Ganesh

    Koth Ganesh Friend

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    Try the Bifrost MB.
     
  20. Gravity

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    Did a quick search on head-fi and found this: http://www.head-fi.org/t/795892/audio-gd-dac-19-10th-anniverary-ed-with-upgrades-price-drop
    It's the same DAC that I use and it's really great. It's located in the US though.

    It can also be bought from their own website: http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/dac/DAC1911/DAC19EN.htm with 8% off in January. They will declare a lower value so the VAT won't be as high.

    Or perhaps from one of the European retailers, I don't know which is cheapest.
     

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