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March 06, 2021, 12:22:03 AM

Author Topic: A Kaiju comes to life  (Read 739 times)

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Offline johnsonad

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A Kaiju comes to life
« on: November 15, 2020, 07:06:39 AM »
It’s been hard to stay motivated in COVID, not that I had much of a life before the pandemic.  Call it a funk or mild depression, either way, I needed something to add the sparkle back.  I’ve been out of the audio hobby for a few years now.  It consumed me for a while and I ended up with a system that to this day surprises me how good it sounds. 

I’m a Bottlehead fanboy and everything in my system has started in someway from the BH teams’ brilliant designs.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a lot of gear in and out of my system but the amplified pieces that have stayed all originated from BH is one way or another.  Over the years, they continually refine their products and support the community via the forum and this is what keeps me loyal to the brand. 

My first amps from BH were a pair of the original Paramounts from DocB’s super system, the one driven by multiple pairs of the gold hammer toned amps if you recall that system.  They were prebuilt and at that time, I had not yet built one of their kits. I was alternating between a Fi X and McIntosh MC 75’s to drive Altec 19’s and after a short period, they were both sold.  The Paramounts were updated to the 1.1 drivers with 5670’s and that took them up another significant notch.  They were further updated with the MQ iron set at one point and the difference wasn’t enough to justify the cost so that iron found a new home.  The limitations of the amps, which was minimal, drove to me build my unusual take on the Paramounts and that pair of amps still reside in my main system.  There is a long thread about those somewhere on the forum if you’re interested in reading about them.

A few years later BH released the Kaiju which improved upon the original Paramounts and put it all in one stereo chassis.  I was fortunate to live close to BH and listened to the new amps many times in the BH system.  If you’re in the area, set up a visit and listen to that system.  You will be impressed to say the least.  After some horse trading with the boss, I ended up with a Kaiju kit before moving from the area and that kit has sat in a box for a long time.

A few weeks ago, after roaming around the house looking for something to do it hit me, why don’t I build something? The Kaiju in the box finally found the light of day and a few days of COVID was occupied by the smell of flux floating around the study. One significant thing had changed and that comes with being in my mid 40’s, my vision had gotten significantly worse.  With reading glasses on and a sewing magnifier, I got through the build cursing age every step of the way!  The new manual layout is fantastic and it went together much easier than kits of the past.  Testing voltages as you go makes the build seamless.

Historically I was obsessed with upgrading this and that for no real reason other than attempting to find that mythical holy grail of sound.  This time I put all that nonsense aside and focused on a stock build.  The Kaiju kit is upgraded in all the ways that are important.  From the Neutrix RCA panel jacks to the all-important iron, there was nothing that made me think I could improve on it by swapping parts. 

The amp came to life and what struck me first was how quite it was.  The new DC regulator is a significant improvement.  The noise floor is so low that I figured it would work well for headphones.  With HD800’s collecting dust, and after wiping up a quick banana to TRS jack, it was ready to go. The sound combo simply blew me away, I couldn’t be happier.

This project re-invigorated my love of this hobby.  If you’re like me with extra time on your hands, do yourself a favor and build something.  A big thank you to the BH team for continuing to improve on your product line and for supporting the community. 
Aaron Johnson

Offline Doc B.

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2020, 09:07:52 AM »
Wow, thank you Aaron! I do miss our listening room hangs. I always appreciated that our tastes are similar, but just enough different that you could make me stand back and reconsider my perspective about a system. I think some significant improvements came about in the old listening room setup as a result.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2020, 03:07:26 PM »
Aaron also makes me reconsider life choices ;)
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline johnsonad

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2020, 04:21:50 PM »
Aaron also makes me reconsider life choices ;)

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
Aaron Johnson

Offline BNAL

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2020, 09:36:09 AM »
Aaron,

Nice, I always found building BH kits so enjoyable. For me it's a form of meditation that centers me and helps me to winddown and relax. Building the kits provides a great feeling of accomplishment, especially when they sound so good.

Unlike you I needed reading glasses when I started on my first kit, the S.E.X. 2.0. We learn to adept and over come. Now I'm fighting my hearing loss, but I can say that I still enjoy listening to music and think I can still hear the differences.

Will have to look at a new kit in the future.     
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 johnsonad

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2020, 12:28:49 AM »
Brad,

It's good to hear from you!  I hope all is well in your world.
Aaron Johnson

Offline znerken

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2020, 12:43:09 AM »
It%u2019s been hard to stay motivated in COVID, not that I had much of a life before the pandemic.  Call it a funk or mild depression, either way, I needed something to add the sparkle back.  I%u2019ve been out of the audio hobby for a few years now.  It consumed me for a while and I ended up with a system that to this day surprises me how good it sounds. 

I%u2019m a Bottlehead fanboy and everything in my system has started in someway from the BH teams%u2019 brilliant designs.  Don%u2019t get me wrong, I%u2019ve had a lot of gear in and out of my system but the amplified pieces that have stayed all originated from BH is one way or another.  Over the years, they continually refine their products and support the community via the forum and this is what keeps me loyal to the brand. 

My first amps from BH were a pair of the original Paramounts from DocB%u2019s super system, the one driven by multiple pairs of the gold hammer toned amps if you recall that system.  They were prebuilt and at that time, I had not yet built one of their kits. I was alternating between a Fi X and McIntosh MC 75%u2019s to drive Altec 19%u2019s and after a short period, they were both sold.  The Paramounts were updated to the 1.1 drivers with 5670%u2019s and that took them up another significant notch.  They were further updated with the MQ iron set at one point and the difference wasn%u2019t enough to justify the cost so that iron found a new home.  The limitations of the amps, which was minimal, drove to me build my unusual take on the Paramounts and that pair of amps still reside in my main system.  There is a long thread about those somewhere on the forum if you%u2019re interested in reading about them.

A few years later BH released the Kaiju which improved upon the original Paramounts and put it all in one stereo chassis.  I was fortunate to live close to BH and listened to the new amps many times in the BH system.  If you%u2019re in the area, set up a visit and listen to that system.  You will be impressed to say the least.  After some horse trading with the boss, I ended up with a Kaiju kit before moving from the area and that kit has sat in a box for a long time.

A few weeks ago, after roaming around the house looking for something to do it hit me, why don%u2019t I build something? The Kaiju in the box finally found the light of day and a few days of COVID was occupied by the smell of flux floating around the study. One significant thing had changed and that comes with being in my mid 40%u2019s, my vision had gotten significantly worse.  With reading glasses on and a sewing magnifier, I got through the build cursing age every step of the way!  The new manual layout is fantastic and it went together much easier than kits of the past.  Testing voltages as you go makes the build seamless.

Historically I was obsessed with upgrading this and that for no real reason other than attempting to find that mythical holy grail of sound.  This time I put all that nonsense aside and focused on a stock build.  The Kaiju kit is upgraded in all the ways that are important.  From the Neutrix RCA panel jacks to the all-important iron, there was nothing that made me think I could improve on it by swapping parts. 

The amp came to life and what struck me first was how quite it was.  The new DC regulator is a significant improvement.  The noise floor is so low that I figured it would work well for headphones.  With HD800%u2019s collecting dust, and after wiping up a quick banana to TRS jack, it was ready to go. The sound combo simply blew me away, I couldn%u2019t be happier.

This project re-invigorated my love of this hobby.  If you%u2019re like me with extra time on your hands, do yourself a favor and build something.  A big thank you to the BH team for continuing to improve on your product line and for supporting the community.


So you built the 300b to be used as headphone amp? I am considering the same! How does it compare with Mainline? What preamp do you use?

Offline johnsonad

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2020, 12:10:06 PM »
I built it and didn't have a use for it other than a headphone amp.  It's a nice position to be in :)

I've actually never heard the Mainline and it wouldn't be fair to compare unless I had both in the same system at the same time. 

For a preamp with it, I'm using a prototype of the new BeePre.  I've got a thing for 300B's if you couldn't tell.....

I'm not a big headphone guy though I've owned many of the best over the years.  I know what feels good and sounds good to me and this current combo makes me happy.  It's overkill but most things are in this hobby. I will add, this combo makes me want to listen to headphones more if that says anything.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2020, 12:37:19 PM by johnsonad »
Aaron Johnson

Offline johnsonad

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2021, 12:14:50 PM »
The base received three coats of Tried and True finish and is looking much better!  I'm really enjoying the Kaiju!
Aaron Johnson

Offline Natural Sound

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2021, 01:25:55 PM »
The base received three coats of Tried and True finish and is looking much better!  I'm really enjoying the Kaiju!

That's been my go-to finish for my last couple of builds. The grain on your Kaiju really got a nice boost. PNW Alder is really nice to work with.

Offline johnsonad

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2021, 01:41:19 PM »
I wish I would have found it years ago.  It takes some work but it's easy compared to gun stock oil.  The soft amber glow is fantastic.
Aaron Johnson

Offline Natural Sound

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2021, 04:10:31 PM »
I wish I would have found it years ago.  It takes some work but it's easy compared to gun stock oil.  The soft amber glow is fantastic.

I also like the fact that it's food grade. You can use it to finish salad bowls, cutting boards etc. I only bring this up because we have some family members with chemical sensitivities. My wife and I try to be mindful of this and stay as non-toxic in our home as possible. Some people may scoff at this but I've seen the affects first hand. Besides, the finished product is spectacular so why not?

Offline johnsonad

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2021, 01:21:16 AM »
I've got a couple of cutting boards in need of help and my speaker cabs may need a refinish.  Just another project to help pass some time :)
Aaron Johnson

Offline Doc B.

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2021, 05:52:15 AM »
Just another project to help pass some time :)

I can help with finding a project. You need to build a land speed bike.



Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline johnsonad

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Re: A Kaiju comes to life
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2021, 06:48:02 AM »
Doc, if i still lived in your neighborhood, that would be a yes! I’ve enjoyed following your current rebuild.
Aaron Johnson