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Author Topic: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings  (Read 11521 times)

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Offline denti alligator

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Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« on: August 19, 2014, 03:49:01 PM »
The "perfect pairings" of various brands and models of headphones with the three available Bottleheads headphone amps are floating all over this forum. I'd like to try and bring them together here. I myself have only heard one pairing (see my sig), and am curious about others. Specifications for type of music also welcome. I'll see if I can update this post with the most recommended pairings.

Tally (no. of votes in parens)

Crack
                  HD600s (3)
                  HD650s
                  Beyerdynamic T1
                  Beyerdynamic T90
                  Bottleheadphones (if you are on a budget)
                  Beyerdynamic DT770 250 ohm (closed back) (budget option)

S.E.X.        HiFiMan
                  Grado (MS-Pro, RS1, or better)
                  NAD VISO HP50 (w/ SEX 2.1, set to 8 ohms)
                  Sony MDR-V6
                  Beyerdynamic T1

Mainline
                 HD800 with Anax mod

Paramounts/Parabee
                 AKG K1000s
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 02:24:23 PM by denti alligator »
- Sam

Rega P3-24 (w/AT 150MLX) w/Groovetracer upgrades / Eros II / FLAC -->J.River -->DSD256 -->Gustard X20 / Stereomour II / Klipsch Forte II w/Crites upgrades / C4S S.E.X. 2.0 +Nickel MQ Iron / Speedball Crack / Sennheiser HD600 w/Cardas cable

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 06:11:27 PM »
Here's my suggestions -

Crack - HD600s, or Bottleheadphones if you are on a budget
S.E.X. - HiFiMan, take your pick of model
Mainline - HD800 with Anax mod
Paramounts/Parabee - AKG K1000s

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

Offline mcandmar

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 06:17:20 PM »
Obvious pairing first, the HD600/650 and Crack. I get the impression the HD800 and mainline are of an equal pairing.

For the S.E.X. amp i would have to say Grados. Its great with my Hifiman HE500 planars, but the Grados is where the magics at.

As for type of music, my taste is rather wide and diverse but there is one rule it all conforms to, has to involve a real person playing an instrument, pretty much without exception.  Though i do tend to lean more towards female vocals and jazz.
M.McCandless

Offline JamieMcC

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 08:21:09 PM »
A hot rodded Crack and the Beyerdynamic T1 make a super pairing that totally eclipse's my HD650 with vocals and acoustic music, the level of nuance texture and delicacy is a joy to hear and I really find it hard to believe what I was missing before.
Shoot for the moon if you miss you will still be amongst the stars!

Offline xcortes

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2014, 02:11:45 AM »
Big Pre with Sony MDR R10.
Xavier Cortes

Offline denti alligator

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2014, 03:28:40 AM »
Obvious pairing first, the HD600/650 and Crack. I get the impression the HD800 and mainline are of an equal pairing.

For the S.E.X. amp i would have to say Grados. Its great with my Hifiman HE500 planars, but the Grados is where the magics at.

As for type of music, my taste is rather wide and diverse but there is one rule it all conforms to, has to involve a real person playing an instrument, pretty much without exception.  Though i do tend to lean more towards female vocals and jazz.

Which model Grado?
- Sam

Rega P3-24 (w/AT 150MLX) w/Groovetracer upgrades / Eros II / FLAC -->J.River -->DSD256 -->Gustard X20 / Stereomour II / Klipsch Forte II w/Crites upgrades / C4S S.E.X. 2.0 +Nickel MQ Iron / Speedball Crack / Sennheiser HD600 w/Cardas cable

Offline mcandmar

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2014, 03:47:58 AM »
I have a bunch of different models but the higher end Ms-Pros or RS1's are what i am really referring to, i.e. the wooden ones.  I have never heard the GS or PS 1000's but they are on my wish list.

They have recently revamped the entire range with the "e" series so the older models can be snapped up for bargain prices second hand.

http://www.gradolabs.com/headphones/reference-series
http://www.alessandro-products.com/main.php?p=headphones
M.McCandless

Offline Downhome Upstate

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2014, 03:26:52 PM »
Another vote for the Crack /Speedball + HD600's + Cardas replacement cable. Doc's recommendation for this threesome (in the Crack write-up, I think) is completely righteous. He didn't say "Cardas" recable, but that's what I've got. And loving it!
"Too soon old;
   Too late schmart"

    The late Mr. Fox, Fox's Deli, Rochester, NY

Mike P.

Offline denti alligator

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2014, 03:54:23 PM »
I was going to go big with the Mainline, but if a Crack and the HD600s I already have are a perfect match, great. I'll start looking for something to go with the SEX. Any other recommendations besides the HiFiMan and Grado?
« Last Edit: August 21, 2014, 03:58:17 PM by denti alligator »
- Sam

Rega P3-24 (w/AT 150MLX) w/Groovetracer upgrades / Eros II / FLAC -->J.River -->DSD256 -->Gustard X20 / Stereomour II / Klipsch Forte II w/Crites upgrades / C4S S.E.X. 2.0 +Nickel MQ Iron / Speedball Crack / Sennheiser HD600 w/Cardas cable

Offline Paul Joppa

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2014, 04:44:33 PM »
I believe most Grados are very sensitive and also low impedance, so the SEX will easily overdrive them but may have hair-trigger volume control and they might show a bit of noise (hum). The latter is the reason we had the 120 ohms resistor in the earlier versions - but the Grados in general are not happy with that resistor, it messes with the bass.

Hopefully someone more knowledgeable about headphones will correct any misapprehensions in this post - I'm not a headphone guy myself.
Paul Joppa

Offline mcandmar

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2014, 05:21:52 PM »
Good point, i should have mentioned that about possible hum issues, the 120r resistors do indeed muddy the presentation, but its easily solved with a couple of resistors in the heater supply instead.

I never had any issues with the volume control range, on the 4ohm tap anywhere from 1/3rd to 1/2 volume is the normal range i use, which is roughly the same as a HD650 running on the 8ohm tap.

If you ever want to test the background noise levels for yourself i found the Crackheadphone is slightly more sensitive than the Grados, i.e. when using the stock cable without the resistors.
M.McCandless

Offline denti alligator

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2014, 01:15:54 PM »
Other recommendations? I'd like to populate the list more.

(Also, maybe we can add the Quickie to the list: http://bottlehead.com/smf/index.php?topic=5746.0)
« Last Edit: September 12, 2014, 01:23:26 PM by denti alligator »
- Sam

Rega P3-24 (w/AT 150MLX) w/Groovetracer upgrades / Eros II / FLAC -->J.River -->DSD256 -->Gustard X20 / Stereomour II / Klipsch Forte II w/Crites upgrades / C4S S.E.X. 2.0 +Nickel MQ Iron / Speedball Crack / Sennheiser HD600 w/Cardas cable

Offline Adrian

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2014, 02:32:13 PM »
I really like my NAD VISO HP50s with the S.E.X. 2.1 - I use it set to 8 ohms.
Adrian C.

VPI Prime w/Ortofon Quintet Black MC/Rothwell MCL Lundahl SUT/EROS/Submissive (3 output mod)/Mainline/Crack - Speedball/S.E.X. 2.1 - C4S/S.E.X. 3.0 - C4S/Paramounts - Blumenstein 2.2 Mini-Max w/DOF mod -Senn HD600/Viso HP50/Focal Elear.

Offline JamieMcC

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2014, 01:10:22 PM »
Just recently I have been using the Beyerdynamic DT770 250 ohm (closed back) with the Crack in the evening. Its proving to be a decent combination and would rate it highly if on a tight budget its ability has surprised me.
Shoot for the moon if you miss you will still be amongst the stars!

Offline Adrian

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Re: Perfect headphone / Bottlehead pairings
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2014, 02:54:45 PM »
I DIYed a replacement cable for my HD600s and found it to be a significant improvement over the stock cable.  I don't know how this upgrade compares with the much more expensive replacement cables from Cardas , Double Helix, etc but I really like the improvement.  The cost of this cable was very resonable AND you get to make it.

The cable is Mogami 2534 microphone cable ($2 per foot from Sweetwater). The connectors to the cans were Cardas brand bought from Dedicaterd Audio LLC for $24 (this included the shipping).  The Switchcraft right angle 1/4" TRS plug was from Mouser for $6.30.

The cable is four conductor (2 blue and 2 white).  I twisted the two blue conductors with the metal sheathing and soldered this to the sleeve (ground) of the 1/4" TRS plug.  I soldered one of the white wires to the Tip (Left) and the other to the Ring (right) of the TRS plug.  At the other end I ohmed the wires to ensure I soldered the Tip to the Black (left) Cardas and the Ring to the Red (right) Cardas connector.  BTW, the large pin is ground (for the blue wire) and the small pin is positive (for the white wire).  I used "cable pants" at the "Y" and heat shrink to secure all of it together.

This was relatively cheap, easy and fun to do and performs much better than the stock cable.
If you have some time and curiosity this will put you back $60 -$70 dollars but you might find it worth it.
If you don't think there is sufficient improvement go ahead and spend several hundred dollars on a replacement cable from Cardas or Double Helix or elsewhere.
Here are some pictures of the finished product.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 11:32:59 PM by Adrian »
Adrian C.

VPI Prime w/Ortofon Quintet Black MC/Rothwell MCL Lundahl SUT/EROS/Submissive (3 output mod)/Mainline/Crack - Speedball/S.E.X. 2.1 - C4S/S.E.X. 3.0 - C4S/Paramounts - Blumenstein 2.2 Mini-Max w/DOF mod -Senn HD600/Viso HP50/Focal Elear.