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April 06, 2020, 11:13:34 AM

Author Topic: My take on the BeePre  (Read 24973 times)

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Offline johnsonad

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My take on the BeePre
« on: March 28, 2013, 05:15:37 PM »
My BeePre is finished and playing as I type this post :)

For those who haven't started it or are considering this build, the Bottlehead team have hit a home run!  It's a pretty easy build thanks to the best manual I've ever seen and Bottlehead's best to date.  I took my time over a couple of weeks and enjoyed every bit of it.  Like others have posted, I printed the manual and checked off each step while making notes on the sides of the manual.

Here are the details of the build.  The top plate and bell housings were powder coated in black wrinkle to give it that 30's radio look. I  used satin model paint to blacken out the RCA jacks, transformer screws and BeeQuiet top plate.  The flat topped black screws were from another project.  A sharpie was used to to blacken the edges of the 9 pin socket.  The knobs are vintage 30's pieces thanks to my HAM buddies.  Once I find a third mushroom style I'll replace that arrow head on the selector switch.

I attempted a vintage look with the base but it didn't turn out as well as I would have liked.  This was my first attempt at staining and the alder doesn't soak it up like a soft wood.  It was finished with tung oil and has a beautiful look in the light.  A buddy is building me a base in black walnut.  I'll post some picks once finished.

As for the working components I made the following parts swaps and adjustments.
1. Two sets of RCA outputs, no balanced output
2. Mills 8 Ohm resistors
3. Nichicon KA series 10,000uF electrolytic
4. Neotech OCCC solid 20g wire through 98% of the signal path and the BeeQuiet
5. Audio Cap 10uF output caps
6. Elma selector switch

Yes all this was done without listening to it in the standard configuration but, a couple of these mods would have been a PITA to try and retro fit. 

A few notes on the build. The signal wires were wrapped in aluminum foil, then with a drain wire and lastly with the Tech Flex.

If you plan on using oversized caps and the BeeQuiet, I would recommend installing the BeeQuiet first.  The Audio Caps are significantly larger then the stock caps and didn't get close to the base plate in my build.  To secure them, I used a two hole grounding washer over a nylon washer and screwed in to the top of the C4S board.  Magnet wire was then wrapped around the cap and secured to the two holes in the grounding washer.  It's not elegant but works well and keeps the caps off the BeeQuiet resistors.  You will need to bend a few of them upright to shoehorn the caps in. 

I'm no photographer and it looks much better in person but here is an attempt.  I'll comment on sound in another post :)
« Last Edit: March 28, 2013, 05:20:59 PM by johnsonad »
Aaron Johnson

Offline johnsonad

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2013, 05:17:41 PM »
A couple of pics of the working end.  The second is what I used to tie to cap down.
Aaron Johnson

Offline earwaxxer

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2013, 06:22:40 PM »
cant wait for the listening impressions!  :)
Eric
Emotiva XPA-2, Magnepan MMG (mod), Quickie (mod), JRiver, Wyrd4sound uLink, Schiit Gungnir, JPS Digital power cord, MIT power cord, JPS Labs ultraconductor wire throughout, HSU sub. powered by Crown.

Offline BNAL

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2013, 05:12:37 AM »
Aaron,

The BeePre looks great.
Brad Nalitt
Iron Upgraded S.E.X. Amp 2.0
Foreplay III
Quickie w/PJCCS
Eros Phono
Blumenstein Orca Speakers, Baby Benthic Subs
S.E.X.y Speakers W/FT17H Horn Tweeters
Thorens TD 125 MkII W/ Shure M97xE JICO SAS Stylus

Offline HF9

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2013, 06:07:52 AM »
Great work, inside and out!
My DIY Audio Electronics Blog: DIYAudioBlog.com

Offline KevO

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2013, 08:33:34 AM »
Aaron,

That is a real beauty!

The red wiring on the black underside is terrific.

Great workmanship.

How is it sounding?

Kevin

Offline johnsonad

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2013, 06:38:20 AM »
Time for some initial listening impressions.  First off, I had an intersting start but after a phone call to Dan everything was sorted out.  System synergy is different for everyone and I ran into the perfect storm of 100dB sensitive speakers and a very high gain SS power amp (old Quad 303 at the moment) with the BeePre.  My system needed a Lpad in front of the power amp to lower the gain.

I've only got around 30 hours on the BeePre but from the beginning it sounded great and continues to improve.  It must be the DHT magic as I find myself mesmerized by the sound coming from my speakers.  The best way I can put it is that the BeePre has added a sense of realism and greater emotion to my listening experience.  It images very well, has wonderful tone and a blackness between notes that I appreciate. 

I'll post more as it continues to break in :)
Aaron Johnson

Offline earwaxxer

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2013, 07:49:51 AM »
sounds like a great start! - looking forward to some comparisons!
Eric
Emotiva XPA-2, Magnepan MMG (mod), Quickie (mod), JRiver, Wyrd4sound uLink, Schiit Gungnir, JPS Digital power cord, MIT power cord, JPS Labs ultraconductor wire throughout, HSU sub. powered by Crown.

Online Paul Birkeland

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2013, 02:23:37 PM »
An amp that makes 45 Watts into 8 Ohms from 0.5V (your Quad 303) has just under 32dB of voltage gain.

The Seduction phono preamp, by comparison, had 40dB of gain.

This isn't normally the end of the world, but 100dB speakers will perform really well with a lower gain amp (12-18dB).

The L-pad is an outstanding solution, I have found that every vintage design that I have owned or built has needed a ton of padding at the input, usually at least 6 dB, normally closer to 15.

(But of course we are always here to help with these things)
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline johnsonad

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2013, 02:40:42 PM »
And you all saved the day! This old 303 has an amazing tone for a SS amp and is hard to part with. I've got a few other amps around but I keep coming back to this Quad. Thank you all for making it usable in the current system :)

The BeePre continues to impress! It's new and I hate to comment to much on new parts of the system until I've grown accustomed to them but it really is an amazing preamp :)
Aaron Johnson

Offline xcortes

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2013, 03:10:19 PM »
I should try one of those Quad amps one day with the Quads. Have you hear that combo?
Xavier Cortes

Offline johnsonad

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2013, 03:19:17 PM »
Nope as the builder is still broke and owes me $4500 two years later.  I've got a second one sitting around awaiting a Net Audio rebuild. Let me know if you're interested :)
Aaron Johnson

Offline mp9

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2013, 11:43:23 AM »
I'm assuming the Neotech wire johnsonad used is of higher quality then the supplied 24AWG Cat 5, and he could've stuck with a 24AWG gauge (Neotech or other), wire, is there a appreciable reason for going to a 20AWG hook up wire?

Offline Doc B.

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2013, 11:54:11 AM »
This is a new kit. We built it the way it is shown in the manual. We don't have any experience with the way other people are modifying the kit as they build it, and thus we aren't yet qualified to comment on whether the changes are better, worse or indifferent. My suggestion is to build it stock. You can mod it later and that way actually have a point of reference for comparisons.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline johnsonad

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Re: My take on the BeePre
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2013, 12:26:44 PM »
I'm assuming the Neotech wire johnsonad used is of higher quality then the supplied 24AWG Cat 5, and he could've stuck with a 24AWG gauge (Neotech or other), wire, is there a appreciable reason for going to a 20AWG hook up wire?

20g is as small as I've been able to get it with Teflon coating and I happened to have 50' or so of it sitting in a drawer. It was a pain to work with but not horrible.

I was too lazy to build it twice and instead used some parts and wire I've had good experiences with in the past.  I doubt there will be much sonic difference and the only way to trial it would be to A/B it against another BeePre.
Aaron Johnson