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July 04, 2022, 11:40:13 PM

Author Topic: Thank you Bottlehead crew!  (Read 508 times)

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Offline Mucker

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Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« on: December 16, 2021, 08:44:34 PM »
I started my S3X build 6 days ago and I am happy to report that I am done with the electronics and just have to oil the base and apply badge. All voltage and resistance numbers checked out fine. Everything is working GREAT wired at 4 ohms; HE6se and DT1990 Pro driven very well, plenty loud.

The manual is superbly written. NO INFORMATION is missing. NO parts were missing. During the build I was thinking how incredibly lucky I am to get the opportunity to build such a high quality amplifier. The price, the experience, the support, the feeling of accomplishment. I can't thank Bottllehead enough, it's really quite an experience to arrive at the end of a build. I have done a fair amount of soldering but do not consider myself an expert. The S3X build was slightly more challenging than I anticipated. The best advice was "NO Prize for finishing quickly" and heeding it it paid off big time.

When I finished, I compared it to my Crack build and didn't realize how little guts the Crack has. The S3X is a beast of an amp. In all fairness they are both awesome performers.

I forgot how beautiful alder wood is and the S3X looked so good after I finished, I decided to sand the paint off of my Crack base and return it to bare wood. I feel dumb for putting paint over this stunning wood grain. Anyway liking it better now and I also like the bare metal silver metal look. I sanded both the bell and the chokes. Those chokes took quite a bit of work to get all the protective varnish off. Once removed, all of it was polished with Mothers Mag aluminum paste. I really like the brushed look and the end result.

I did have an issue with the left side tube not lighting and it turned out to be a broken red wire on the A12 socket pin. It passed the glow test earlier but no-go at the voltage check. The manual said to look at the wiring going to the B side and sure enough I found it but it was a bit more elusive because I had continuity from a side to b side. After enough poking around it finally just broke away from the pin. That was a relief seeing that as I knew I found the issue. Probably a bad wire strip???

I have NO plans to modify the parts or wire as I REALLY like what I am hearing. The only component of my own that I used was an Audio Note volume pot which has a really nice resistive, smooth feeling to it. I am not sure it sounds any better than the Alps pots I've used, but it is working very well.

Anyway, sorry for being long winded. I am ecstatic with the amplifier. Building the kit is very satisfying and like the Crack, I will never get rid of it. There are two things IMO with Bottlehead kits that are a must. Build your own kit or learn to build it, AND never get rid of it unless absolutely necessary. Thanks so much for a great experience that will last my lifetime .............. 

« Last Edit: December 16, 2021, 08:58:03 PM by Mucker »

Offline kgoss

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Re: Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2021, 04:18:06 AM »
Nice job on the build. It looks great!!!
I couldn’t agree more. Bottlehead kits are the best.
Ken Goss

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2021, 05:01:14 AM »
Looking good!
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline FS

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Re: Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2021, 06:52:43 AM »
Hey Mucker,
Good looking builds! Congrats! May I ask from which supplier you were able to source the nice looking volume knobs with dials?
Cheers,
FS

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2021, 07:43:51 AM »
Looks great! Thanks for the kind words!
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline Clover

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Re: Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2021, 01:03:02 PM »
Great work.  I recently finished my first built and it did not come out quite as nice as yours.  Also wondering about that volume pot?  Pretty cool looking in my opinion.  I was thinking of trying to 3d print a new knob, but that looks really nice. 

Offline Mucker

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Re: Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2021, 05:20:00 PM »
Thanks for all the nice comments guys!

The volume dials are here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SGY3LZF/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I had to slightly file off the bottom flat  to make it fit on the chassis. And, there is a protective film on the dial that has to be removed before mounting.

The chicken head knobs are on ebay. I really like the old Bakelite Daka-Ware Chicago ones:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/223325347759?hash=item33ff3a5faf:g:JDEAAOSwKV9cPODo

Much better than the Chinese knockoffs. Better, thinner lines and curves. And they fit perfectly size wise on the dials. The 0 and 100 are perfectly aligned with the knob too which is really cool. It's actually accurate! I did have to trim my pot shaft with a Dremel so the knob had perfect space in between it and the dial. I also added a washer on the interior. It was a bit of work but well worth the effort to get it perfect. 

The picture shows the knob and dial kit from amazon ... pretty nice IMO, the chinese knockoff knob in the middle and the Daka on the right. As usual, they had it right back in the day ......

« Last Edit: December 17, 2021, 06:47:28 PM by Mucker »

Offline Mucker

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Re: Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2021, 06:10:25 PM »
Amp is completely finished. Danish Oil and badge applied. Really looks incredible if I do say so. And stripping the paint of of Crack gave it a fresh new look. Changed out the transformer bolts to brass one's to match the S3X. Crack for my Beyer's and S3X for my HE6se. Good stuffs ..... thanks again BH!

Offline Mucker

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Re: Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2021, 12:47:47 PM »
I just want to add that I was pretty certain the S3X was going to be a an excellent performer when I decided to order one, but, I have to say it's performing well beyond my expectation. The clarity, blackness, power and fullness is outright incredible. Awesome circuit design!

Wired at 4 ohms seems to be handling everything I throw at it. I currently have my Grado RS2e hooked to it and they have never sounded better with any other amp I use. Same goes for Beyer DT-1990 Pro, Deneon AH-D5000, HiFiman HE6se. All have unique characteristics but it's amazing how well the amplifier deals with them.

S3X drove my Klipsch RP-600M respectably well too but I am going to use it strictly as a headphone amp. i am really happy with this amplifier. The Crack/SB compliments it very well and i enjoy them equally. I really don't see how it could be better for my use, but I really have the urge to build another kit now because the quality is so high. I think a phono stage will be next and then a preamp. Anyway, just thinking out loud here .....

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2021, 01:07:06 PM »
Thanks for the kind words!
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline Karl5150

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Re: Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2021, 04:33:31 AM »
Mucker,
+1 on both the S3X and the chicken-head knobs. Traded out all the big, shiny brass knobs for the beaks, they really compliment the BH style.
Nice finish work on the kits.
Karl
Karl
Downstairs: Planar3>Eros>Stereomour II>diy OB Betsy+
Upstairs: DIY RP1>Reduction / CD5004>Seductor/SEX 3.1.1>FH3/DT770 pro/HE-4xx
Office: Schiit Modi Uber 2 / Sirius Tuner>SEX 2.1.1>µFonken FF85WK with diy subs
Garage: CA x12 streamer>Quicksand>Minimus 77

Offline Mucker

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Re: Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2021, 06:46:24 PM »
Ah, thanks Karl and glad you like the chicken heads! They sure do have that classic feel that matches BH style IMO. Enjoy sir and post a pic if you can. Thanks,

Greg

Offline Karl5150

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Re: Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2022, 04:53:25 AM »
Greg, like you apparently, I dig seeing what others do with these kits.
(https://forum.bottlehead.com/index.php?topic=13296.0) has a couple photos of where my S3X amp ended up.
Karl
Karl
Downstairs: Planar3>Eros>Stereomour II>diy OB Betsy+
Upstairs: DIY RP1>Reduction / CD5004>Seductor/SEX 3.1.1>FH3/DT770 pro/HE-4xx
Office: Schiit Modi Uber 2 / Sirius Tuner>SEX 2.1.1>µFonken FF85WK with diy subs
Garage: CA x12 streamer>Quicksand>Minimus 77

Offline Mucker

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Re: Thank you Bottlehead crew!
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2022, 06:20:43 AM »
I remember reading that thread a a while back. Very cool Karl! Thanks .....