Bottlehead Forum

Bottlehead Kits => Crack-a-two-a => Topic started by: charnich on August 15, 2021, 04:19:18 PM

Title: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: charnich on August 15, 2021, 04:19:18 PM
Hey all, I was wondering if there are advantages to sound quality upgrading to the crackatwoa (coming from the crack + speedball) if you're only going to use high impedance headphones like the HD 650. It seems to me that the crack is highly specialized for the high impedance cans. Will those cans sound better yet on the crackatwoa?
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: Karl5150 on August 16, 2021, 02:43:58 AM
I seem to remember a thread in which Doc said a maxed Crack couldn't quite reach the C2As sonics due to the circuit design. I'm not sure how you would search for that thread/info.
Karl
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: Doc B. on August 16, 2021, 06:28:17 AM
Yes, HD650s will sound better running with a Crackatwoa. The shunt regulation will give a sense of better bandwidth and if you install the TwoQuiet you will get better resolution.
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: ALL212 on August 16, 2021, 11:02:59 AM
I’ve got two modified Cracks and a modified C2A.  All have approximately the same mods.  I have two pair of the Hd650, original and the HD6xx.

So I’ve got some listening experience with all of those.

The C2A is better.  Not by leaps and bounds but cleaner and maybe a bit clearer with just a bit of freq extension on both ends.

There are still days I like to throw the cans on a crack - there is magic there!

If you can swing it go C2A, you’ll enjoy the ride!
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: charnich on August 16, 2021, 12:58:31 PM
Thank you for the insights. They are helpful. I agree that there's some magic in the crack and I'd hate to invest in the C2A with overly high expectations. Heck maybe I'll just go for the gusto and save up for a mainline....
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: ALL212 on August 16, 2021, 01:22:53 PM
Yes!  And that’s a whole ‘nother level! 

Gots one a them also.  I have issues…  ::)
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: Markkr on August 16, 2021, 01:56:00 PM
I also have a couple Cracks, and a C2A and concur with the previous poster… the C2A is a worthy upgrade if you can swing it.

I also have a Mainline :-), my advice, just order one of everything now… or pay shipping one at a time over the next 18mo.
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: charnich on August 16, 2021, 02:29:28 PM
I also have a couple Cracks, and a C2A and concur with the previous poster… the C2A is a worthy upgrade if you can swing it.

I also have a Mainline :-), my advice, just order one of everything now… or pay shipping one at a time over the next 18mo.

So may I ask which amp gets the most playtime, and is it by a large margin?

Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: ALL212 on August 17, 2021, 04:23:02 AM
Mainline - 80%
C2A - 15% (different room, different rig)
Cracks - 5% (one used for testing new or changed stuff)
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: Markkr on August 17, 2021, 12:58:03 PM
So may I ask which amp gets the most playtime, and is it by a large margin?

Mainline 80%
C2A 20%
Cracks 0 (sitting in closet because I cannot part with them)
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: charnich on August 20, 2021, 09:19:13 AM
@Markkr, @ALL212 both of your responses are very telling. Thanks!
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: FS on August 20, 2021, 10:26:43 AM
Hi charnish,
Many years ago, I started with a Crack and have since then built another Crack for a friend and I have built a few additional Bottlehead kits. I don't have any super-expensive headphones, and my favorites are the Beyer Dynamics DT880 (600 Ohm), DT770 (250 Ohm), and the Massdrop version of the Sennheiser HD650. I also have the ORA Graphene headphones. I don not consider myself an audiophile, and I refrain from exalting audio products in flowery language... ;) I just like the sounds of various Bottlehead products, and I enjoy building them, too. A few years ago, I was in the same situation as you described. When I looked into additional headphone amps and what they would bring to the table, I searched and read through posts in the forum and ultimately decided against the marginal improvements over the Crack with Speedball that I would get from the C2A, and went with the Mainline instead. The Mainline has a slightly different flavor and can handle any headphone, including those with a high impedance. I still stand by my decision and enjoy listening to both the Crack (with Speedball) and the Mainline. Just my 2 cents...
Cheers,
FS
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: Markkr on August 20, 2021, 01:37:05 PM
I’ve been listening to the C2A for the past few days because of this thread. Its really good! Honestly you cant go wrong with either one.
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: charnich on August 21, 2021, 02:45:43 AM
Thanks for your insights FS. So in your opinion is the Mainline noticeably better sound quality than the Crack+SB or just a different sound profile?

Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: FS on August 21, 2021, 11:17:52 AM
I think that is is noticeable better as I (think) that I can hear more details, but it is still not all that different in terms of "sound signature". When I listened to it for a while I really started to appreciate it more and more. The amp sounds very natural to me. It still has the kind of sound that I liked with the Crack but more revealing, and it is very different from my Violectric SS amp. But then again, what do I know...As with all audio equipment, preferences are very subjective. I just know that I won't get any other headphone amp, I am set with what I have and don't think that I could improve my listening experience - my ears are my limits.
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: johnsonad on August 23, 2021, 01:51:26 AM
This thread is making me want to build a Mainline....
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: Toobuzz on August 23, 2021, 07:33:12 AM
I have both C2A and Mainline. I would make this decision based on 2 factors.

1. What headphones do you have now and plan to obtain in the near future.
2. Do you want neutral, accurate, and detail retrieval that rivals any SS amp? Or do you want that OTL tube experience that is 3 dimensional and makes the hair on your arms and neck stand up and gets your heart rate going without even thinking about the minutia of how your gear is performing?

If it’s in your budget, I can almost guarantee you’ll end up with both, so this is more of “what to buy first”.

I will say that my modded HD600/C2A combo and my HD800/Mainline combo are equal. Both of these combos are better than matching the HD800 with C2A or the HD600 with the Mainline.  This is of course based on my music preferences.  The 650 sounds amazing with the C2A also, I just really love this modded 600.

Since you already have a Crack I can see why this is a painful decision. If I had an upgraded Crack with film caps and WE 421A/6SN7 tubes (my good friend has this set up and I’ve heard it many times) then I’d skip the C2A and go for the Mainline.
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: Thermioniclife on August 23, 2021, 10:39:59 AM
I have built a Crack, C2A and the Mainline. The go to amp is the C2A. I only have the HD650's and I am quite satisfied with the C2A.
I haven't listened to my Crack in almost a year and the Mainline is not my cup of tea. Just my 2 cents, of course YMMV.
I feel that in audio the subject is Subjective and any amount of Objective study will not be fruitful. Thus empirical data is the best way to make decisions in many things including audio.
The downside to this approach is the cost of finding out what you like. I do not know where you live but you could reach out to other Bottleheaders and possibly audition the different amps.
Again t's just one man spitballing here.
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: Markkr on August 23, 2021, 02:25:53 PM
I have both C2A and Mainline. I would make this decision based on 2 factors.

1. What headphones do you have now and plan to obtain in the near future.
2. Do you want neutral, accurate, and detail retrieval that rivals any SS amp? Or do you want that OTL tube experience that is 3 dimensional and makes the hair on your arms and neck stand up and gets your heart rate going without even thinking about the minutia of how your gear is performing?

If it’s in your budget, I can almost guarantee you’ll end up with both, so this is more of “what to buy first”.

I will say that my modded HD600/C2A combo and my HD800/Mainline combo are equal. Both of these combos are better than matching the HD800 with C2A or the HD600 with the Mainline.  This is of course based on my music preferences.  The 650 sounds amazing with the C2A also, I just really love this modded 600.

Since you already have a Crack I can see why this is a painful decision. If I had an upgraded Crack with film caps and WE 421A/6SN7 tubes (my good friend has this set up and I’ve heard it many times) then I’d skip the C2A and go for the Mainline.

I have the exact same setups as yours, but I’m curious what mods you performed to the HD600’s?
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: charnich on August 28, 2021, 10:41:25 AM
1. What headphones do you have now and plan to obtain in the near future.
2. Do you want neutral, accurate, and detail retrieval that rivals any SS amp? Or do you want that OTL tube experience that is 3 dimensional and makes the hair on your arms and neck stand up and gets your heart rate going without even thinking about the minutia of how your gear is performing?


Thanks for that input!
1. HD 6xx, no plans to upgrade anytime soon.
2. Probably the latter. I'd prefer excitement over accuracy any day.
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: johnsonad on August 28, 2021, 12:12:27 PM
I don't own a crack but do have a C2A and love it.  Should have purchased one years ago....
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: Sp33ls on December 07, 2021, 07:15:02 PM
I will say that my modded HD600/C2A combo and my HD800/Mainline combo are equal. Both of these combos are better than matching the HD800 with C2A or the HD600 with the Mainline.  This is of course based on my music preferences.  The 650 sounds amazing with the C2A also, I just really love this modded 600.

Just recently obtained a pair of HD800S, and tried them with my C2A. Sounded great.

What did you notice the C2A was lacking when paired with the HD800? You have the non-S?
Title: Re: Is the crackatwoa worth the upgrade if you are going to use HD650's
Post by: smodtactical on March 22, 2022, 05:49:38 AM
I’ve got two modified Cracks and a modified C2A.  All have approximately the same mods.  I have two pair of the Hd650, original and the HD6xx.

So I’ve got some listening experience with all of those.

The C2A is better.  Not by leaps and bounds but cleaner and maybe a bit clearer with just a bit of freq extension on both ends.

There are still days I like to throw the cans on a crack - there is magic there!

If you can swing it go C2A, you’ll enjoy the ride!

Does the C2A have that richness and full midrange that the basic Crack OTL without speedball has? (I have not heard speedball).