Just finished the build of a new Bottlehead Crack, sweet sound

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by timind, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. timind

    timind Bushy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    And here's a pic:
    [​IMG]
    Excuse me while I listen for a bit:cool:
     
    33na3rd, Steve0, William K and 11 others like this.
  2. Joe Spivey

    Joe Spivey Your friendly neighborhood Spivey-Man

    Nice work. The crack is some good stuff... I just added the speedball last week! Enjoy
     
    scotth and timind like this.
  3. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston TX
    Now you can be a crack head, lol.
     
    timind likes this.
  4. timind

    timind Bushy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    I wanted to incorporate the speedball in the initial build but the instructions scared me away. I built one of these a few years ago and it took about a week of trouble shooting on the Bottlehead forum to get it working. The problem was a faulty tube socket which a can of air fixed. Nothing self-inflicted which was what the Bottlehead guys are used to.

    This one went together easy and worked on first turn on. The 12AU7 was a bit noisy for the first 20 seconds but is dead quiet now.

    Also, contrary to the instructions I used an Alps Blue Velvet volume control in place of the supplied pot.
     
    Hermetech Mastering and scotth like this.
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Well-Known Member

    How about a peak under her skirt first?
     
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  6. Joe Spivey

    Joe Spivey Your friendly neighborhood Spivey-Man

    Hey glad to hear it was trouble free this time! I was stunned when all my voltage reading checked out and everything worked perfectly the first time. Continue to be amazed by how quiet it is. It just sounds great too! I thought about using an Alps too but decided to just go stock. I'm lucky as I haven't had any issues with channel imbalance or anything else with the volume pot. When I get an itch to tinker and solder, I'll update the pot one of these days. I eventually rolled in a Mullard CV4003 but still using the stock Chatham 6080 (which is quite good). What tubes are you using?
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
    timind likes this.
  7. timind

    timind Bushy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    Take a peak, she's not shy.
    [​IMG]

    If the wire colors don't look right, it's because I used some Audioquest solid copper wire throughout the signal path. I didn't have any red or white so I subbed in grey and black. Not as confusing as I thought it might be once I got started.
    I will say Botttlehead has improved the build instructions significantly since I built the first one.
     
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  8. timind

    timind Bushy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    The 6080 is a Sylvania and the 12AU7 says HP on it. I have some 12AU7s to swap in. My favorite is a Sylvania 12AU7WA which I bought as NOS a while ago. I know it was never used as it was in an unopened box used by the military back in the early 70s. I remember the boxes from my days in the AF.
     
    Joe Spivey likes this.
  9. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston TX
    There is a lot of point to point wiring there, but it had to be fun to build.
     
    timind likes this.
  10. BIGGER Dave

    BIGGER Dave Forum Resident

    Looks great! I built a Bottlehead Foreplay years ago. It's sitting in the closet, I forgot what it's supposed to do!
     
    timind likes this.
  11. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
    Nice job, very cool:)
     
    timind likes this.
  12. RDriftwood

    RDriftwood Senior Member

    Location:
    Midwestern US
    The Bottlehead Foreplay a minimalistic tube type stereo preamp. I bought one two years ago to use with a pair of restored Dynaco MK IIIs. I didn't build it. The person I bought it from claimed it was assembled by the main man at Bottlehead. I really like it - glad I bought it. Sounds and looks great in combination with the Dynacos.

    [​IMG]

    This was when I first got it. I'm using much nicer cables with it now.
    And yes, it came with the gold/copper/brass splatter paint on the black transformer (Don't ask me why.):shrug:
     
    timind likes this.
  13. timind

    timind Bushy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    I like the speckled paint on the transformer. Looks good in pics.
     
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  14. timind

    timind Bushy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    I was listening this afternoon and noticed a noise, kind of a high pitched hum, between songs. First thought is, "what did I do wrong?" I grabbed a spare 12AU7 and swapped it in and dead quiet again. Not sure if that noise was there or not yesterday as I was using a pair of Beyerdynamic T1s a friend loaned me. Man those T1s are revealing.
     
  15. guildenstern

    guildenstern New Member

    Location:
    Virginia
    That's a very nice-looking build. Would you please provide the model number of the Alps pot you used, and let us know the vendor you purchased it from? Thank you!
     
  16. timind

    timind Bushy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    Here's a link to the Alps pot I bought from Parts express: "ALPS 100KAX2 100K Ohm Audio Taper Stereo Potentiometer 6mm Shaft" from www.parts-express.com!

    And here's a pic of the Crack's underside after the Speedball upgrade was installed.
    [​IMG]
    The noise problem I mentioned in my last post was caused by a bad 12AU7 sent with the kit. I called Bottlehead and they sent me a replacement tube. Sounding good.
     
    Ham Sandwich likes this.
  17. guildenstern

    guildenstern New Member

    Location:
    Virginia
    Thanks for the volume pot link, and congrats on the Speedball installation!

    For the driver tube, I really like what an Amperex or Philips SQ E80CC/6085 does for the sound -- warm, full, spacious. Another favorite driver tube is the CBS/Hytron 5814a, clear and clean. And for fun on a budget, I enjoy the RCA 5963--a bit mellow and dark. (Funny how describing tube sound is like describing wine taste...)

    Thanks again for the link.
     
    timind likes this.
  18. shirtandtie

    shirtandtie Forum Resident

    Does the Crack come with a set of “starter” tubes?
     
  19. tiller

    tiller Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montreal
    It does. Or at least it did when I built one a while back.
     
  20. timind

    timind Bushy Thread Starter

    Location:
    Westfield, IN USA
    Pretty sure all of their kits come with tubes. Hate to tell you this, but if you're looking at the Crack kit you just missed one of their sales. The promotion basically gave you a Speedball upgrade for free. ALthough I can tell you from experience if you call them and tell them you just missed the promo, they may honor it.

    If not, take a close look at the S.E.X. amp. It's well worth the extra $$ IMO.
     
  21. shirtandtie

    shirtandtie Forum Resident

    Just had it delivered the other day. I wasn’t sure about the tubes because I didn’t find them in the box. Turns out they were there but buried in the packing peanuts. :D

    [​IMG]
     
    timind likes this.
  22. mkane

    mkane Musics a Passion

    Location:
    Cloverdale,CA
    Bottlehead puts together a nice Kit. Quickie & Stereomour here. Ones gone, ones still here. My speaker selection dictated selling the 2a3.
     
  23. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I'm about to buy one built to order. Can't wait.
     
  24. mkane

    mkane Musics a Passion

    Location:
    Cloverdale,CA
    DIY and save a ton. I'll build it for nothing
     
    timind likes this.
  25. shirtandtie

    shirtandtie Forum Resident

    It’s a two month wait. I ordered mine built at the beginning of March.

    I’m christening it tonight. I was going to last night but we had mega thunderstorms so I figured I’d wait one more day. What should be the first thing I listen to with it? Suggestions? I was thinking about these.

    Black Sabbath-Master Of Reality SACD
    Simple Minds-New Gold Dream DVD-A
    Beatles-Abbey Road CP35
    Boston SACD
    Pink Floyd-Wish You Were Here SACD
     

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