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September 26, 2022, 07:35:12 PM

Author Topic: Headphones for the Crack  (Read 2432 times)

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Offline ChetJettison

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Headphones for the Crack
« on: October 05, 2020, 04:53:41 PM »
I built my crack specifically to pair with my Sennheiser HD650s. I know the crack works best with higher impendence cans. But would there be any issue using it with other headphones which have a lower impedence? Specifically I wonder about my Fostex T60RP, as I think they would sound nice with tubes. They're rated 50 ohms. Would there be any reason NOT to try other cans with the Crack?

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Headphones for the Crack
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2020, 06:29:20 PM »
There is a limited amount of current available in the Crack to drive low impedance headphones, the output impedance of the Crack is high enough that you'll get boomy/flappy bass on 50 ohm headphones, and overall distortion could end up being a problem.

We make a great amp for headphones like the T60RP, but it's not the Crack!
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline kGlerup

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Re: Headphones for the Crack
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2020, 07:29:23 PM »
I tried a few low impedance cans on my Crack, just to try.
Don't go there.. No control, no energy and it distorts when pushed a bit.

On recommendations: Just got a pair of Beyer T1 2nd gen a few days ago. Still needs some burn-in, but... wow... Not cheap cans, but worth it all the way :)

Offline ChetJettison

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Re: Headphones for the Crack
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2020, 02:59:03 AM »
We make a great amp for headphones like the T60RP, but it's not the Crack!

OK, you've piqued my interest! Which one is it!?

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Headphones for the Crack
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2020, 05:00:38 AM »
The SEX amp has oodles of power and is very suitable for planar headphones.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline tim273

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Re: Headphones for the Crack
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2020, 08:10:27 AM »
Any of the Beyerdynamic headphones are good (DT770, DT880, DT990, etc) and they all have higher impedance versions up to from 250 up to 600 ohms.  In the headphone forum I commented on a post about a modified 600 ohm DT770 that I did and it sounds awesome with the Crack

Offline cddc

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Re: Headphones for the Crack
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2020, 07:55:22 AM »
OK, you've piqued my interest! Which one is it!?

I only have high impedance headphones, so Crack w/ SB works great for me. But I heard Bottlehead SEX and Mainline work great for both high-Z and low-Z headphones.

Crack or other OTL amps normally are suitable for high-Z headphones. But some time ago one Crack user reported that his low-Z Grado works great on Crack, which really surprised me. So I think you can give your Crack a try, if it's not working you can always seek other solutions.

Offline Raymond P.

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Re: Headphones for the Crack
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2020, 06:36:41 PM »
 I tried my newly acquired 25ohm planars on the Crack and compared it to my solid state amp. I was expecting drastic sound quality difference, especially in the bass, and was really surprised the Crack+planar combo sounded just fine. If I switched between the Crack and the SS amp quickly enough and concentrated intently just on the bass, I might be able to hear a very small difference, where the Crack bass was ever so slightly less quick and tight. The differences were so subtle it could just be my imagination.


One thing is clear though, the volume knob needs to be turned up a lot more with the Crack.
Raymond P.

Offline tvr2500m

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Re: Headphones for the Crack
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2020, 09:28:59 AM »
I also invested in a Cracky as an investment in the Senn HD650 (in the guise of the Drop x Senn HD6XX; and I have a very nice pair of original Senn HD580 Precisions tucked away). Glad I did. When, a while ago, I wanted to take the turn from two-channel audio to try headphone audio, I got the Senn HD580 Precisions - and didn't enjoy them all. After my decades of two-channel experience, through the Senn 580 someone through a huge blanket over everything after stuffing cotton in my ears. I had a number of nice DACs for the period, with the "best" headphone amplifier I was able to use then was a Millett Hybrid tube amp.

Undaunted, or foolhardy, more recently with so much more headphone kit available now I gave it another go. Massdrop Senn 6XXs with a mix of other DACs and amps and I've found the experience better. I decided to probe for myself the reputation of the Crack/Senn combo (I was already familiar with other Bottlehead gear, so the reputation preceded my Crack adventure). Fun, fun, and FUN! There's a "sound" there, for sure, and it's just a lovely thing. And it has been more than just the sonic experience that I've enjoyed. The Crack is just a lovely, elegant, characterful thing to have and to use.

I have wanted to get all my other headphones, non-low impedance headphones, in the Bottlehead game, too, so I did get an S3X and have started building it. Unfortunately, life has been interrupting progress, but it will get done soon enough, and with the requisite care to do it properly.

I have a question about using other high impedance headphones with the Crack. Beyers, AKGs, and other Sennheiser models... I haven't listened to many of these, mostly being dissuaded by the comments of others. Largely, I get the sense of many models being bright - too bright to the point of being harsh and mediocre bass performance. BUT, this is where I have an inquiry about how these headphones might fare with the Crack. I haven't seen many comment on pairings with tube amps, and specifically with the Crack.

How would people characterize their experience with other high impedance headphones, other than the Senn 580/600 family? I am most specifically curious about peoples' take on the Sennheiser HD800S with the Crack, but I am also curious about how other high impedance headphones work with the Crack.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 11:52:26 AM by tvr2500m »

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Headphones for the Crack
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2020, 11:47:46 AM »
The HD800/800S work well on the Crack.  A big problem with many of the other high impedance headphones is that for $150 you can get a used pair of HD-6xx, and those will outperform most of the other available options in that price range.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man