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August 12, 2022, 07:40:00 PM

Author Topic: Its Alive Doctor, its Alive!  (Read 359 times)

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Offline Lazlo_Hollyfeld

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Its Alive Doctor, its Alive!
« on: March 28, 2022, 04:32:18 AM »
 Genuinely impressed with my how this turned out! This was my first kit and first tube amplifier.  In preparation, I bought some soldering practice kits, built a small FM radio, a cmoy headphone amp, and StewMac guitar effects pedal.  Once I felt confident enough, I dived in. Happy all the various tests passed on the first try, but when I first set it up I had an intermittent failure in the right channel that could be temporarily fixed by tapping the chassis ... I was able to track it down to some sloppily stripped foil insulation on the shielded twisted pair making contact with a resistor lead between the tube socket and one of the rails. Once I bent the twister pair our of the way, all was good!

I'm sure I'm biased after all this work, but I'm simply blown away with the sound. Partner and I both agreed the soundstage was wider and, oddly enough, more vertical (if that's a thing) and with greater separation than I get out of the two vintage Marantz amps I normally use (a restored 1060 and a resto-modded 140).

My go-to reference song is Stevie Ray Vaughn's Tin Pan Alley, and I loved how much separation there was and the incredible detail in the opening guitar notes ... you could make out the sound of the guitar strings rolling of the pick. Crazy. Great example of instrument separation in a recording with a more narrowly focused, or vertical soundstage.

The only place the Marantz duo outshined the SEX was on the low end, where the SEX seemed to have a little trouble with low end speed in some bass-heavy poppy stuff (Daft Punk/Pharrell Williams/Beastie Boys).

Anyhow, thanks to the Bottlehead team for building such a great kit! I'm also anxiously awaiting a set of Bluemstein Orcas, at which point the amp will shift to its permanent, desktop home.  I'll report back on that set up when its up and running.                                             
Denon DL110/Grado G2 Gold, Marantz 6300 Turntable, Schiit Modi DAC, Marantz 1060 (Phono/Pre), Marantz 140, Bottlehead S.E.X., Sansui SP-X900, Pine Tree Audio cables

Offline ccmccull

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Re: Its Alive Doctor, its Alive!
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2022, 06:28:57 AM »
Congrats and welcome to the club!

And I do think that "vertical" is a thing! I noticed a very strong left/right up/down image separation on the daft punk song I talked about in this post:

https://forum.bottlehead.com/index.php?topic=13966.0
Colin
{Ortofon 2m Blue > U-Turn Orbit > Eros 2} & {Roon Ropieee RPi4 > hifiberry-digi2-pro > Modius} > Moreplay > S.E.X. > {{Spendor_S3/5r2 & SVS_SB-1000 (x3)} & Grado_sr325x}

Offline Mucker

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Re: Its Alive Doctor, its Alive!
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2022, 07:34:45 AM »
Nice job, the bell and chokes are Hip-Mo-Tizing!  :-*

The S3X has to be one of the best headphone amps ever created IMO. The BH crew are sharp cookies to say the least, and for a company to give us the ability to build several of these amps, with top tier support, and affordability is something I am very thankful for!

Enjoy your excellent build!

BTW, the new top plate finishing is really cool!

Are you going to add the C4S board later?

« Last Edit: March 28, 2022, 07:39:26 AM by Mucker »

Offline Lazlo_Hollyfeld

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Re: Its Alive Doctor, its Alive!
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2022, 07:45:16 AM »
Thanks! Its DupliColor's Anodized Purple Metalcast (basically a really thin tint) over the Metalcast base coat (basically a chrome-esque primer).  It was by no means an ideal application ... cold and windy ... and the tint is a little finicky to begin with, but it turned out pretty well in the end.  Nice depth of color, especially for a rattle can.

Are you going to add the C4S board later?

I ordered the C4S with the kit, but built it stock so that I could hear the difference.  I'll probably try and hit a 100 or so hours first. 
Denon DL110/Grado G2 Gold, Marantz 6300 Turntable, Schiit Modi DAC, Marantz 1060 (Phono/Pre), Marantz 140, Bottlehead S.E.X., Sansui SP-X900, Pine Tree Audio cables

Offline Mucker

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Re: Its Alive Doctor, its Alive!
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2022, 08:08:53 AM »
Looks top notch, really cool color!

Nice idea on C4S.

I just now finalized my Crack upgrades (built it in 2014!) and the amp is performing beyond great. BUT, I am now really tempted to buy a Crack without Speedball and leaving it cold stock to see how much I changed the intended sound. It's kind of a shame to drift far away from what is intended and forget what it was like. I see that with speakers alot. Does it make it better? Or just different? And maybe worse than what was intended in the first place.

Anyway, sorry for the rant. Enjoy your most excellent build!

Offline Lazlo_Hollyfeld

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Re: Its Alive Doctor, its Alive!
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2022, 08:24:08 AM »
I get on that soap box often ... audiophiles, in my opinion, often confuse "different" with "better"!
Denon DL110/Grado G2 Gold, Marantz 6300 Turntable, Schiit Modi DAC, Marantz 1060 (Phono/Pre), Marantz 140, Bottlehead S.E.X., Sansui SP-X900, Pine Tree Audio cables

Offline Karl5150

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Re: Its Alive Doctor, its Alive!
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2022, 03:55:50 AM »
Very well done. The SEX amp and wide band, single driver speakers is kind for a desktop system IMO, plus headphones during lunch as an option. Enjoy!
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 johnsonad

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Re: Its Alive Doctor, its Alive!
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2022, 01:32:45 PM »
Looks great, enjoy!
Aaron Johnson

Offline IndyNate

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Re: Its Alive Doctor, its Alive!
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2022, 05:46:37 AM »
Love the paint job! I just built an 'off-label' amp using that exact S.E.X. iron, and I can say, holy cow, amazing trafos. Also, I think the compactron bottles are the coolest! Welcome to the club. BTW, drug addiction is cheaper  ;D