Bottlehead Crack Headphone Amp Desktop Setup


I’m not sure whether this is a demonstration, or a review, or what. But here I present a little desktop system that I put together to check out a neighbor’s Bottlehead Crack headphone amp (and he also let me borrow his Sennheiser HD-600).

This setup sounds amazing, in my opinion. Something to consider if you have room for a nice steampunk headphone amp :-).



  1. Yea so the Western Electric 412a is the best power tube you can put in it , as you said I can't tell exactly what the input tube is(the smaller one). But man your neighbor hooked you up BIG TIME. Also years later I'm sure he's bored with it send me that wooden case RIGHT NOW. I demand it. My God that's a thing of beauty.

  2. hi mike mike here,i have never built anything except a crossover would you think i could build this with very limited experience ?

  3. Thank you for this video!! If I want to get more info in the mods your neighbor did how would I go about getting that?….I just purchased the HD600 & been drooling over the Bottlehead Crack. Any info would be awesome. Again, really enjoy your videos & look forward to more 🙂

  4. I just picked up the Senn HD600, along with a Schiit Modi 2 Uber dac and Vali 2 amp (using an electro-harmonix 6922 tube as a replacement for the stock tube) ..

    This is my first experience with a tube amp of any sort, and I'm absolutely loving the setup. The sound has just blown me away. (Vali 2 is a hybrid, so I'm not sure how close to the sound of a true tube amp it has) Thinking about spending another $75 on a Philips Holland / Pope PCC88/7DJ8 tube., as I'm already feeling an addiction to "tube rolling" coming on ..

    I'd LOVE to try a custom Crack someday — everyone over at head-fi seems to agree with you that it's the ultimate amp for the HD600 … Only problem is that I've never done any solder/electronics work, so I'm a little bit hesitant to spend several hundred dollars on a kit for my very first project… Do you happen to have the custom part list (including tubes) for your neighbors Crack? I wish I knew someone with his talent in my area (Seattle) — not sure I'd be able to build one quite as fancy as his with my current inexperience. Any idea how his setup might compare with the stock Crack or Crack speedball?


  5. i have one of these with the speedball on order. should ship soon if they're not too overwhelmed with other orders. can't wait to listen to it with the hd650 😀

  6. great video, your neighbor is a true builder master. Can I ask you how much did it cost your friend in parts and mods till he had the final product? Will be be building you your unit?

  7. Thank for your review! i enjoy my setup so much! I liked your video that it made me bought the bottlehead crack with speedball. 

    Current setup :

    Sennheiser HD-650
    Bottlehead Crack + Speedball

    Thanks 🙂

  8. Hey Mike,

    I have to confess I don't know headphones or turntables from your new (to you  Porshe) and as yours is my first subscription (I am a retired Fireman with not much internet experience.) I know just enough to get stuck. Anyway this is the last utube video that I have received from you so I think that something is wrong. i have enjoyed your latest videos, but had to find them on utube. Please let me know if I am still a subscriber. It is probably Google/utube thing me thinks. Anyway I just bought a new Fuji x-pro1 with a free 18mm lens. I also bought the M mount adapter for my Zeiss 50mm f1.5 Sonnar. I have been to busy to use all this, however, once I put in latest firmware I am good to go. What do you think of the Fuji x system (specifically x-pro1) Believe me I have thick skin so shoot away. This is all assuming that you can … re utube issues.

  9. I'm thinking about buying the kit for one of these. Do you think the Beyerdynamic DT990 250 Ohm would be a good pairing with the crack?

  10. I'm really impressed by the finish of the top plate and the wooden base. The circuit looks like it has been heavily customized – it's got huge caps, the stepped attenuators as you mentioned, and from what I can tell nice insulation going around the wires to reduce the noise floor of the amp (it's already a very quiet amp with the speedball mod). I gotta say it again – it's an impressive looking amp!

  11. There might not be "audiophile USB cables", but power via USB (used by your dac) might not be clean.  You could use an isolator and separate "audiophile quality" power supply if for some reason you thought you hadn't spent enough money.

    Also, HD600's are rated as 300 ohm.

  12. The Bottlehead stuff is great. I recently built a Crack + Speedball upgrade to pair with my HD 650's. Outstanding combo. I see a S.E.X. 2.1 in your future to drive the Audeze LCD 2's 😉 Thanks for posting the vid.


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