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Orgy of Capacitors: The Cap Thread - Page 2

post #16 of 441
call me whatever, but the black gates I've used took some time to settle in. And noticeably so. So have other caps, to some degree.. and not mere seconds. Otherwise, nice collection! Start building amps around them already!
post #17 of 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faust2D View Post
I would even say mangle the sound differently than the lesser cap
True... interstage transformers ftw!!
post #18 of 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post
True... interstage transformers ftw!!
Blah, DC coupled design rulez! Best cap is no cap, best trafo = no trafo. No cap or no trafo = no bass roll-off, no additional distortions and the like.
post #19 of 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by majkel View Post
Blah, DC coupled design rulez! Best cap is no cap, best trafo = no trafo. No cap or no trafo = no bass roll-off, no additional distortions and the like.
True but DC coupling has its own limitations and a transformer coupled circuit sounds great when there is a quality transformer used.
post #20 of 441
You guys already know about this, right? An excellent work already done by Head-Fi user "dsavitsk" -

Notes On Output Coupling Capacitors
post #21 of 441
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
You guys already know about this, right? An excellent work already done by Head-Fi user "dsavitsk" -

Notes On Output Coupling Capacitors
I would add that dsavitsk's descriptions align more with my own impressions, more than the 2 other reviews linked to in dsavistsk's article at the end. The 3 reviews really conflict with each other, and before I actually tried and compared myself, I couldn't tell which review would be "better."

His review, though, does not include teflon caps, which is where I can help a bit. Might as well move forward with some impressions. Just remember these are just general impressions based on my own ears and system, as rigid scientific testing of so many caps just is not possible.
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V Cap Teflon

These are worth the price, but if you read some people's descriptions, you would think the angels from heaven would descend and give you an eargasm. Not so. These will not transform your system or turn water into wine. They do have the least identifiable character and have the best control of various sound ranges. There is absolutely no overshoot or ringing when trumpets hit or when soprano kicks into high gear. Not lumpy, bloaty, overly-bloomy in any of the frequency ranges, and they do seem to let most of the details and information through unharmed and well-separated.

If I had to compare them in headphone terms, it would be like AKG K701 in general gestalt but with improved transparency and dead-neutral bass quantity/quality.

I *do* however detect a bit of what I call "teflon sound." It's very hard to actually describe, but those very familiar with how teflon-dielectric interconnects and other teflon caps like Relcap TFT sound will have an idea. Textures of notes are just a wee bit more "polished" and refined than live instruments, a bit more more "slippery" than should IMO. This is very subtle and a minor quibble, really, and if I had to use many caps in a cost-no-object component that has to have great transparency, VCap teflons would be my choice.

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Jupiter Beewax Cap


The feel and appearance of this thing just does not inspire confidence. It feels like a piece of candle wrapped in paper, and these are known to have problems in warmer temperature environments. Do NOT install them near hot resistors, tubes, etc.

Sound-wise, I was expecting a mess of muddy blob based on appearance, but the sound is surprisingly transparent and clear, not as much as VCap teflons, but very good in absolute terms. There is *just* a bit more richness, tone, and girth to notes and voices, which are probably colorations, but Jupiter cap doesn't come across as overdone. What they trade away in absolute resolution, speed compared to VCaps, they battle back with more pleasing density, tone, and that indescribable musicality. Less separation of notes and a bit less anvil-taught in bass compared to VCaps, but there is plenty of treble and bass quantity.

I like them! I probably wouldn't use too many in a component, but a couple of them in a otherwise-squeeky-clean component can do wonders for just musical enjoyment.

I would say these are most akin to something like Grado RS-1, except with a bit more treble extension and less peakiness in the lower-treble/upper-mids...

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Aluminum foil/paper-in-oil Caps


I bought these from VSE (Vacuum State Audio) when they were still selling them. They were said to be some secret industrial caps they found to sound better than others.

When I first installed them after burning them in for days, I *really* hated them. The highs seemed severely shut-in, bass bloated, and midrange seemed veiled and thick. But after playing the amp with music for some days, these effects seemed to diminish day by day, and eventually I found the balance to be quite pleasing. Further burn-in has happened, but I'm sure people's ears/brain need some time to adjust to PIO signature.

Once fully operational, these had incredible warmth, tonality combined with breath-of-life type of sparkle to midrange/vocals. These are not high-treble sparkles, but each syllable of vocals seemed more lit, dramatic, and enjoyable. Treble was never obviously "airy" or minutely detailed, but once settled in, the highs seemed to align and balance with mids. Same thing with bass. There's more bass than perhaps neutral, and there is some slowness to bass, but it's still pretty firm and hard-hitting with that roundness of tone.

Ultimately, I prefer the better non-oil caps for a bit more neutrality, but these have got me curious about Audionote silver-in-oils or Mundorf silver-in-oils. I will never pay the ridiculous price for AN, but I *may* try the Mundorf silver-in-oils at some point.

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Auricaps

These are good. Too bad the prices took a bad hike after certain famous people started to talk them up, though. They have nice detail, speed, musicality, and their sound gives an extra bloom to the sound, which will make them fit well into somewhat cooler-sounding components, especially SS. Not as resolving as Teflons and not as rich/dense as Oilers or Jupiters but a good Jack-of-all...

These worked surprisingly well for me when used as "bypass cap" for a larger (and cheaper) cap, imparting some of the nice detail and bloom to the combo.

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Claritycap SA

One of the reviews available tout this cap highly, and it *is* a good cap at the very low prices they command. It wouldn't hurt to try some as E-speakers.com ships them free within U.S.

I found it kind of bland, kind of nondescript, and not great at any one thing. But there's also no glaring flaws or aberrances that can be distracting, either.

My main issue was the lack of resolution in the midrange. I couldn't hear and feel the sumptuous detail and texture that I know to be in the recordings. Some people say these still are a big jump up from Solens, and I would agree if you're talking about less grain and "strain" in the upper-midrange.

However, I can bypass the cheap Solen with a small nice cap like Auricap or Polystyrenes, which gets rid of a lot of the glare/strain while offering better detail resolution than unbypassed Claritycap SA. When I tried bypassing the Clairtycap, I did *not* get much better resolution, and I still preferred Solen+bypass.

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I suppose I will say more as my mood dictates and as I try some more stuff
post #22 of 441
Thread Starter 
Impressions added to original post #1
post #23 of 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L View Post
Impressions added to original post #1
Could you make the pictures in the first post smaller? You could link them to the high-res originals.

Otherwise, we low-res non-widescreen (1024x768) users have a great deal of trouble reading your descriptions, since they're horizontally off the page.
post #24 of 441
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
Could you make the pictures in the first post smaller? You could link them to the high-res originals.

Otherwise, we low-res non-widescreen (1024x768) users have a great deal of trouble reading your descriptions, since they're horizontally off the page.
800x600 edit coming up!
post #25 of 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L View Post
800x600 edit coming up!
Much better. Thank you!
post #26 of 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon L View Post
His review, though, does not include teflon caps, which is where I can help a bit.
I have some small Russian Teflons that I use in this design, and that outperform the Vit Q, RTX, and Orange Drops I tried there, but no, I am too cheap to buy Teflons. The closest I might come are the Cardas caps, or the Sonicap Platinum, which both use some Teflon but avoid that Teflon sheen by mixing in other materials.

Also, just to contradict someone, it is true that eliminating caps from the signal path is basically always a good thing, but this is not necessarily the case with transformers. Transformer couping is often a much better option than direct coupling, but since this is a cap thread, I'll leave it at that.
post #27 of 441
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsavitsk View Post
Transformer couping is often a much better option than direct coupling, but since this is a cap thread, I'll leave it at that.
No kidding, especially if you get the trannies from Jack He *used* to charge very reasonable prices for his trannies, but I suspect the recent copper price hikes probably have affected his prices as well

I *really* like this parafeed thing BTW.

Which Kommie Kaps have you tried, the ones with hard magnetic shell with round stumps or the FT-2/FT-3 series with aluminum body?

I wanted to order some, but once you figure in the shipping charges from Russia, I figured I might as well buy some caps in the States...
post #28 of 441
Transformers are OK when not undersized (quite common) and wound on a decent core (talking amorphous or nanocrystalline at best). Hail to Mr Cavalli for DC-coupled hybrid amplifier design! I feel some itching on it but have no time to assemble the EHHA soon.
post #29 of 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by OverlordXenu View Post
You do know that it only takes a few seconds for capacitors to set, right?
by set you mean to burn in or charge? Blackgate NXs take upwards of 200 hours to burn in.

to the OP, do you know of dsavitsk? He posts mostly in the DIY forum, and is kind of the cap guru there ecp.cc

haha wow am I an idiot, how did I not see that he'd already posted? *sigh* long day i guess
post #30 of 441
Hey Jon,

Nice write up! Which amp were using for the comparisons, some of them caps (small ones) appear to be for the almarro. Are you also using some as bypass caps for your 2A3 amp?

Glenn
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