Jump to content
IGNORED

Bottlehead Crack with Speedball upgrade


Recommended Posts

Just received my Bottlehead Crack with the Speedball upgrade. I must admit it sounds better than the music played through my computer to my DAC headphone jack, but I must also say it does not sound better than the headphone jack in my Sony 5 CD changer (which is probably close to 10 years old). I've rolled a couple of different tube combinations but still hear marginal improvement (tighter bass) over my CD player. Has anyone else had this experience? With all the Speedball hype I thought I was going to be "WOWED" out of my socks. Not the case and I'm very disappointed. It's hard to find which tubes are supposed to make what improvements. Anybody know a site where they tell you what differences in sound each tube is supposed to make? This is too expensive of a hobby to be buying blind. And please don't refer me to Bottlehead's website, been there and done that, and the info is still too limited. Thanks a bunch.

Link to comment

I'm afraid I don't know anything about which tubes are best. Are you using Sennheiser HD 650 or similar high impedance model? I've heard such is the best match for the Crack and that's what I've been using with mine.

 

No Speedball upgrade in my case, however. I was too lazy.

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

Link to comment
Yes, I'm using the HD 650's. So did you hear a "WOW-factor" difference with your Bottlehead and if so would you please describe it? Are you using the stock tubes sent with your Crack?

 

Not very good at descriptions, but what I like about the amp is "refined delivery" and "all notes well supported throughout the gamut." Just plugging my HD 650s into any old source, the music seems rougher and while some notes may be well supported, others seem thin or half-hearted.

 

I'm mostly a classical listener but with daily pinches of jazz, pop, experimental, etc.

2013 MacBook Pro Retina -> {Pure Music | Audirvana} -> {Dragonfly Red v.1} -> AKG K-702 or Sennheiser HD650 headphones.

Link to comment

I used to own HD600's and used them with my crack + speedball for a while. So, not quite apples to apples as compared to the HD650, but close. I thought the HD600/crack combo was nice. I was not 'blown away', but still, I was rather happy with the sound.

 

I am perhaps a little bit surprised that you are finding it no better than the headphone out of your Sony CD changer, but we all hear things differently. It simply may not be a synergistic match for your subjective sound preferences.

 

For my ears, rolling tubes in and out of the crack makes important sonic differences. A few tube combos were unlistenable to me, while other combos provide sonic bliss.

 

Counter that with some forum posts I've read where the poster states that they hear no differences between tubes when rolling tubes in and out of the crack. You may be in this camp and if so, there is nothing wrong with that... I would say sell the crack and move on to something else.

Speakers: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen/URendu | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus/Lampizator Golden Gate | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | Revel B112 subs  

Headphones: Lampizator Golden Atlantic/Holo Spring 3 KTE | Blue Circle Audio SBT pre|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE/Arya Stealth/Audeze LCD-4z

Link to comment

"Counter that with some forum posts I've read where the poster states that they hear no differences between tubes when rolling tubes in and out of the crack. You may be in this camp and if so, there is nothing wrong with that... I would say sell the crack and move on to something else."

 

I'm gonna dig a little deeper in the tube world and try a few more combinations of tube rolling (give it the benefit of the doubt). If that doesn't do it for me, I will sell. Like you said, it may just be that the Crack doesn't compliment the kind of music I listen to. Listening this morning (I listen to a lot of choirs and groups with soloists; aka lead singers) and the choir or group seems to drown out the lead singer. It sounds like the lead is standing behind the group. Weird, hunh and not pleasant at all?

Link to comment

Since you are using HD650, which I view as definitely being on the darker/warmer side of the scale, you might try a NOS RCA 12AU7 "Clear Top". These have a more prominent treble and add some sparkle that might compliment the HD650's darker sound signature (I think the HD650 are great cans).

 

They are inexpensive, which is a bonus. They will often be labeled "Conn" or "Hammond" (for use in organs), but they are, in fact, made by RCA.

 

Best of luck.

Speakers: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen/URendu | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus/Lampizator Golden Gate | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | Revel B112 subs  

Headphones: Lampizator Golden Atlantic/Holo Spring 3 KTE | Blue Circle Audio SBT pre|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE/Arya Stealth/Audeze LCD-4z

Link to comment

Have you called Dan (Doc Bottlehead) Schmalle or Paul Joppa at Bottlehead with your issue. They are a pretty small company, and have always been quite responsive to me (I have three of their products.) I have asked them about recommendations on replacement tubes, various settings, etc.

 

Larry

Analog-VPIClas3,3DArm,LyraSkala+MiyajimaZeromono,Herron VTPH2APhono,2AmpexATR-102+MerrillTridentMaster TapePreamp  Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,MykerinosCard,PacificMicrosonicsModel2; Dig Play-Lampi Pacific, mch NADAC, Roon-HQPlayer,Oppo105  Electronics-DoshiPre,CJ MET1mchPre,Cary2A3monoamps Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR

Other-2x512EngineerMarutaniSymmetrical Power+Cables Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.7KR2Rtapes,1.5KCD's,500SACDs,50TBripped files

Link to comment

You really need to go to the Head-Fi site for (very) detailed discussion of this preamp.

 

I don't have it, so I can't help you specifically, but there is the thread:

 

Crack;Bottlehead OTL

 

I'm not about to dig through it, but if you don't find what you want there, that would be the best place to ask, because there are a lot of Crack users that follow that thread.

 

---Michael

Server ---> Rpi ---> Audiophilleo2 ---> Metrum Octave ---> Audio Horizons Pre ---> Pass Labs XA30.5 ---> Sonus Faber Liuto Towers

Computer ---> Audio Hardware ---> Air ---> Ears ---> Brain

Link to comment

I've done some tube rolling this morning and found that the 6H13C combined with the RCA 12AU7A, or CBS JHY 5814A, or the Tung-Sol 6SN7GT are very much to my liking. There's plenty of detail. The soundstage is wide enough though I'm not very good with precise imaging through headphones. I know this because I've listened to Dr. Chesky's Ultimate Headphone Demonstration CD and had difficulty discerning some side and rear placement of the voices. So my next project will be acquiring a new integrated amp to satisfy the desire for 3D holographic imaging. I did search the Crack Bottlehead threads. Lots of people talk about the tubes they like but not so much about why they like them and what each tube sounds like. Well let me get back to listening to my "reborn" music. Thanks to all who contributed.

Link to comment
So my next project will be acquiring a new integrated amp to satisfy the desire for 3D holographic imaging.

 

Good to hear you sorted it out. By using my separate preamp for volume control, rather than the Crack's volume control, I found a significant improvement in the 3D holography department.

Speakers: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen/URendu | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator Plus/Lampizator Golden Gate | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | Revel B112 subs  

Headphones: Lampizator Golden Atlantic/Holo Spring 3 KTE | Blue Circle Audio SBT pre|  Eddie Current Zana Deux Super | Hifiman HE-1000SE/Arya Stealth/Audeze LCD-4z

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...