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Author Topic: Pulling out all the stops  (Read 11627 times)

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Offline Doc B.

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Pulling out all the stops
« on: April 29, 2015, 11:05:58 AM »
Here's a little project that PB and I have been working on for the past few months. It's the culmination of what we have learned over the past several years designing headphones amps from budget conscious models like Crack to our premium Mainline kit. It is based pretty much upon the same best-we-can-do, no-prisoners sensibility that compelled us to tackle the Tape Project concept. The amp uses Thoriated filament 845 directly heated triodes and neon bar graph indicator tubes, hence the name Neothoriator. I admit I was at the Science Fiction exhibit at EMP on Sunday and was captivated by the Terminator they had on display, which influenced my choice of the name.

The amp is running the 845 tubes at a relatively low and very linear power level, about 4 watts per channel. The driver tube is a very linear 5965 tube, chosen to keep up with the amazing linearity of the 845. We use tightly regulated DC for the 845 filaments. And of course we use all of our usual tricks to get tight punchy bass and extended, smooth highs - Camille Cascode Constant Current Sources, hybrid tube/SS shunt regulation, parallel feed transformer output. This amp will run just about any headphone you can throw at it. We even have a special setting for super efficient IEMs and Grados, and two pairs of binding posts on the back in case you can't resist trying a headphone amp with speakers.

To spice things up a bit we have added 1N-9 neon bar graph tubes, that can be adjusted to help you visualize limits to levels, to help keep you from harming your hearing or the headphone drivers. The attenuator is our special coarse/fine wide range design that, frankly, sounds better than anything else we could buy and will help to accommodate the wildly varying sensitivities of different cans.

The cabinet is custom machined from aluminum and acrylic, with red powder coat and matte black leather accents. Transformers are all by Bottlehead. There are both TRS and 4 pin XLR jacks on the front, and the output can be set for single ended or balanced wiring. There are three sets of inputs on the back panel as well as a tape output.

While the amp will work very well with pretty much any headphone you can come up with, it was conceived with one particular headphone in mind. New headphones come out to shoot for the title of "best" before every trade show, but for me the AKG K1000 ear speaker is a classic concept that has yet to be improved upon. And so I initiated this project with my own K1Ks in mind. We hope to be able to locate a few pairs of these legendary beasts to offer with a Neothoriator order. Price for the amp alone will be $10,000 and $12,500 if and when we find K1000s to package with the amp.

We're finishing up the last few details in the next week or two and I would be very happy to chat with you about having us build a Neothoriator for you.

« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 10:27:50 AM by fullheadofnothing »
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline marantzfan

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2015, 06:39:41 PM »
Wow!  Just, wow.

845's in a headphone amp!?!?  This I gotta see/hear someday.   :o
BeePre, Paramounts 1.1, Eros, Thorens TD-124/AudioMods Tonearm/Ortofon 2M Black, IFI Micro Idsd, HQPlayer,  Altec 604-8G Duplex/620 Cabinets/Markwart Crossovers

S.E.X. 2.1, AKG K701

Offline Alonzo

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2015, 07:07:19 PM »
FNamazing!!!  Looks great, hope I have a chance to hear how it sounds.
Alonzo B
BeePre, Kaiju, some Stereomours (I's and a II) and a Seductor to DT150 tweeters, GPA 802-8G's on Jabo horns, Altec 414z's, Altec 299-8A with MRII horns, Eminence 15A's open baffles and a Mainline with HD800

Offline Grainger49

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2015, 11:53:22 PM »
Dan & Paul,

That is just stunning ! !   845s for headphones, will you go to 6C33Cs next?  I know it sounds amazing.

I'm not sure what I'm looking at.  Where are the neon indicators?  Are they the slender poles flanking the front nine pin tube or are they the silver-ish looking things behind the 845s?

Just great to see you keep on designing even after the Mainline.

Will there be a "built Bottlehead product", amp for speakers above the Paramounts coming?

P.S. The color looks orange to me.  Is that my cataracts or do I need to adjust the tint on my laptop?

Offline mcandmar

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2015, 03:06:27 AM »
What a fascinating creation, and a fascinating pair of tubes too.  Its impressive such a powerhouse will work with IEM's too, even if that is a bit overkill :)
M.McCandless

Offline debk

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2015, 03:12:54 AM »

P.S. The color looks orange to me.  Is that my cataracts or do I need to adjust the tint on my laptop?


It's red to me.  Come on up to Northern NY and I can take care of the Cataracts for you :-)

Deb
Debra K

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BeePre with BeeQuiet, Psvane black bottle 300b
SR45 monoblocks, EML mesh 45 tubes
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Bob's Devices SUT
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Bottlehead DAC
Cambridge Audio iD100 Digital iPod Dock
Orca deluxe and Orca sub

Offline Grainger49

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2015, 04:31:32 AM »
Thanks,  I appreciate that.  They seem to be filtering blue.  Is that right?

My brother in law, David J. Harris has promised to make it good when they are "ripe."  My word not his.

Offline JamieMcC

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2015, 09:18:30 AM »
Amazing and I'm kind of pleased its going to be so expensive and out of temptations reach!
Shoot for the moon if you miss you will still be amongst the stars!

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2015, 09:35:27 AM »
That photo does have a slight yellow/green push to it. It is due to the spectrum of the s****y flourescents we have in the listening room. Unlike the myriad tints of blue we sense, I always thought red was red until I started to build my motorcycle with a lot of red accents. There's more orangey red and more magenta-ey red. Indoor lighting really changes it.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline Karl5150

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2015, 10:09:25 AM »
Orange or Red it still looks beautiful.
Karl
Analog: Planar3>Eros>Stereomour II>Tekton OB4.5 & DIY "S8" subs
Digital: CD5004>Quickie>Seductor>FH3
Office: Schiit Modi Uber 2/Sirius Tuner>SEX 2.1.1>µFonken/FF85WK

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2015, 11:35:50 AM »
Thank you. Peebs and I spent a lot of time sketching up ideas and adapting them to the reality of our manufacturing capability. His practical experience working at Front Panel Express and TAP Plastics is invaluable for this kind for thing. Hopefully we will have it finished up soon and I can put up a video of the 845s glowing and the level meters dancing. It's pretty cool stuff.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline smitty1110

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2015, 01:42:12 PM »
Wow, that is a stunning amp. This is going to be way up near the top of my gear wishlist.

Offline sbelyo

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2015, 05:04:15 AM »
I gotta find a way to finance that thing, like now!  I was gonna buy the new Camaro at the end of the year.  Now it's like well, if I sell all my gear and spare parts, unfinished projects and add the money I would have for a down payment

Blast, this hobby is killing me!

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2015, 05:12:42 AM »
The amp is playing today and all weekend at T.H.E. Show Newport, in the Grand Ballroom.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline Yoder

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Re: Pulling out all the stops
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2015, 12:33:19 PM »
Wow, truly a piece of hi-tech art! I love the color scheme, and the over all exterior design definitely sets it in a class by itself. The innards are equally impressive, though small hands and magnifying lenses of some sort must have been non-optional in putting it together. Congrats to the entire crew.