Crack-a-two-a Reviews

netosullivc · 3054

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Offline netosullivc

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on: April 10, 2016, 01:06:32 AM
Now a few crack a 2's are out the door it must be time for a review thread so I thought I will get the ball rolling.
Lets start at the begining  - how to choose? Well being one of the first to order and a new kit there was a bit of apprehension diving into the unknown, should I take a punt on the mainline or go for something else? Well I thought about it and well the mainline is an excellent bit of kit but seen as just a bit ten rows back / stand offish, and I know I really like my crack amp - how it really throws the music in your face, you really feel part of it, or I could throw money at all the upgrades on my crack but I have to admit kit building, sorry Bottlehead kit building  is infectious, so I took a punt on Dr B's assurances, its a step up, a very understated assurance, but we will come to that. If you have built a Bottlehead you know ordering and delivery is commendably straight forward, the turnaround is good and BH straight up with you if there are expected delays which is good.  Building, well I spent nearly 5 months on it, simply because I really really took my time and planned a few upgrades along the way.  Wiring is a step up from the crack in a lot more thought is put into electrical noise control;, e.g. in the input wiring and heater wiring, and keeping the HV bridge away from everything else. Naturally I ordered some Solens to fill the volumes output cap space, could only get 400V versions, 250V were not available and they "just" fit nicely (they are the size of small beer cans, well close to it. I only worked part time as I savoured the build process ...... worked on it when I had the predilection and enjoyed, besides could listen to the crack in the mean time. Anyway finished a few weeks ago, and well, I guess the point is, how does it sound??
First up I drive it with a heavily modded RP6 (tangospinnered bearing sub platter and cw, rewired straight through tone arm, Y counter weight, ortofon black) as said running a pair of Solen 100uF o/p caps and bought some expensive 6sn7's to try out, waste of $$ I have gone back the tubes that came with the kit especially the big RCA 6080 whos heater element glows bright orange up the length, very sexy! I forgot, put the first vinyl side on, broke its nervousness with hard rock, soft rock Jazz then classical chamber, the difference is in your face, its really obvious. The bottom octave is unmistakably extended down, the lower notes that were crushed together and now added freq spectrum with all the different tones and their own dynamism that comes with the extra range. The noise floor is lower, their is noticeable silence between notes that with the crack just wasn't as black, and with that the low level information can be heard so clearly, its just wow, its good. The other thing that is really noticeable is the tightness around notes, there is no flabby reverb or sliding into sharp notes, its just neat and tight. The mid range and vocals.  I am listening to The Tennessee Waltz (allan Taylor & Chris Jones, TAS 2008 ex Stockfish) and its like your ear is hard up to the end of the mics, its uncanny. The little intonations in the voice, the playing around and tapping on the strings between and after notes, you hear it. Its smooth and tight and feels accurate.  The tones and intonations in the tones and voices are fully heard.  Its not quite front row feels 5th row, just back at row 5. The other uncanny thing is it just seems at ease and a clear step more relaxed than the crack, the crack always feels its struggling to keep up the 2 is a body builder lifting a ten pound weight. Imperfections, the clarity is not quite what I thought I could get from the crack, while the potentiometers are clearly quality items, I prefer stepped - will go for the kit as soon as it comes out or aftermarket and toss the balance control. Only other big bummer is I really want a pair of HD800's to replace the 650's now hahaha. I really like it and think you will to.