How to Build Your Own Bottlehead Crack Headphone Amplifier
If you are looking for a DIY project that can enhance your listening experience, you might want to consider building a Bottlehead Crack headphone amplifier. This is a tube-based amplifier that is designed to drive high-impedance headphones, such as the Sennheiser HD600 or HD650. The Bottlehead Crack is a simple and affordable kit that can be assembled by anyone with basic soldering skills and some patience.
In this article, we will guide you through the steps of building your own Bottlehead Crack headphone amplifier, from ordering the kit to testing the final product. We will also explain some of the technical aspects of the amplifier, such as the schematic, the components, and the modifications. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of how the Bottlehead Crack works and why it sounds so good.
What is the Bottlehead Crack
The Bottlehead Crack is a headphone amplifier kit that was released in 2009 by Bottlehead, a company based in Washington state that specializes in DIY audio products. The Crack is one of their most popular kits, with thousands of units sold worldwide. The Crack is designed to drive high-impedance headphones (300 ohms or higher) with low distortion and high dynamics. The Crack uses a single-ended triode (SET) topology, which means that it uses one tube per channel to amplify the signal. The Crack also features an output transformerless (OTL) design, which means that it does not use any transformers to couple the output stage to the headphones. This results in a more direct and transparent sound quality.
What do you need to build the Bottlehead Crack
To build the Bottlehead Crack, you will need the following items:
The Bottlehead Crack kit, which includes all the parts and instructions you need to assemble the amplifier. You can order it from Bottlehead's website for $299.
A soldering iron, solder, wire cutters, wire strippers, pliers, screwdrivers, and other basic tools.
A multimeter, which is a device that can measure voltage, current, resistance, and other electrical parameters. You will need this to test your amplifier and troubleshoot any issues.
A pair of high-impedance headphones, such as the Sennheiser HD600 or HD650. You will need these to enjoy your amplifier and check its performance.
A source device, such as a CD player, a DAC, or a smartphone. You will need this to provide an audio signal to your amplifier.
An optional speedball upgrade kit, which is an additional circuit board that improves the stability and performance of the amplifier. You can order it from Bottlehead's website for $125.
How to build the Bottlehead Crack
The Bottlehead Crack kit comes with a detailed manual that explains every step of the building process. You can also find online tutorials and videos that can help you along the way. Here is a brief overview of the main steps:
Prepare your workspace. Make sure you have enough space, light, and ventilation. Gather all your tools and parts and organize them neatly.
Assemble the base. The base is the wooden platform that holds all the components of the amplifier. You will need to drill some holes, glue some pieces together, and sand and finish the wood.
Assemble the power supply. The power supply is the circuit that converts AC power from the wall outlet to DC power for the amplifier. You will need to solder some resistors, capacitors, diodes, transformers, and wires.
Assemble the main board. The main board is the circuit that amplifies the audio signal from your source device. You will need to solder some resistors, capacitors, tubes sockets, potentiometers, jacks, switches, and wires.
Install the tubes. The tubes are the glass bulbs that glow when heated by electricity. They are responsible for creating the sound of the amplifier. You will need to ec8f644aee