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The Stax Thread III - Page 163

post #2431 of 3304
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrostar59 View Post

. ...and the end SQ changes quite a bit depending on the specs of the Capacitors (Black Gate were supreme but now not made)....

I didn't only read praise about blackgates from diy guys (spritzer comes to mind). Not that I have made the test myself but wasn't this more a case of strong brand image / pretty jacket than actual superior performance for the bloody expensive BG?
post #2432 of 3304
The BlackGates are highly regarded in the amplifier industry as amongst the best. Audio Note UK put them in
there top models and I can say, they do sound amazingly good. Burn in is 400 hours!
post #2433 of 3304

Over the years I've used a lot of Black Gates in DIY tube projects. They were probably the best electrolytic capacitors ever built. That said, the sonic differences between Black Gates and most other electrolytics were small and  incremental, especially considering the large price premium.

Lots of other places (like transformer upgrades) to get more "bang for the buck" when selecting parts for an amp.

 

A dirty little secret well known to DIYers is that all capacitors are sonic killers, and none more so than electrolytics. I don't use any electrolytics in my projects unless there is absolutely no alternative.


Edited by FrankCooter - 5/22/14 at 9:22am
post #2434 of 3304
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankCooter View Post

Over the years I've used a lot of Black Gates in DIY tube projects. They were probably the best electrolytic capacitors ever built. That said, the sonic differences between Black Gates and most other electrolytics were small and  incremental, especially considering the large price premium.



Lots of other places (like transformer upgrades) to get more "bang for the buck" when selecting parts for an amp.



 



A dirty little secret well known to DIYers is that all capacitors are sonic killers, and none more so than electrolytics. I don't use any electrolytics in my projects unless there is absolutely no alternative.


 



Frank, are they only a problem when in the signal path? So if electrolytics are used in the psu for example, there are no negative effects on the sound?

By the way, haven't heard any of your amps, but your casework is incredible.
post #2435 of 3304
Quote:
Originally Posted by milosz View Post

 

Electrostatics are really where it's at.  When new dynamics come on the market, I hardly pay attention.  New planars, yeah, I'll read about them but am not really tempted to buy.  All I feel I need are my electrostatics.  (And the 67,000  FLAC tracks on my server....I have LPs  too but don't use headphones on that system)

 

Electrostatics have a "HEAR-THROUGH" quality  that I just don't get from dynamic or planar phones.

 

Soooo true. I would never have given such an accurate description of my interest in headphones earspeakers :)

 

Ali 

post #2436 of 3304
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankCooter View Post
 

Over the years I've used a lot of Black Gates in DIY tube projects. They were probably the best electrolytic capacitors ever built. That said, the sonic differences between Black Gates and most other electrolytics were small and  incremental, especially considering the large price premium.

Lots of other places (like transformer upgrades) to get more "bang for the buck" when selecting parts for an amp.

 

A dirty little secret well known to DIYers is that all capacitors are sonic killers, and none more so than electrolytics. I don't use any electrolytics in my projects unless there is absolutely no alternative.

 

post #2437 of 3304
Quote:
Originally Posted by astrostar59 View Post


.

I would times that by quite a bit actually. I have worked with tube amp manufacturers and amplifier kit suppliers for quite a few years
and the end SQ changes quite a bit depending on the specs of the Capacitors (Black Gate were supreme but now not made),. Resistors (Tantalums are good)
Transformers quality (build quality, wide band, noise etc).

Just because the circuit is a certain design doesn't guarantee the exact SQ on offer. Put top parts into it and it will probably go to another level IMHO.
The opposite is also true. So unless a circuit design states exactly the rating and make of a part to use.....

Certainly can be "quite a bit" but one must remember that most KGSSHVs are very well build using a really good parts already, hence, the difference will be audible but not a night and day.

post #2438 of 3304
" Frank, are they only a problem when in the signal path? So if electrolytics are used in the psu for example, there are no negative effects on the sound?"

In solid-state amps, because of the large capacitances required, there is usually no practical substitute for electrolytics in the power supply. In tube amps, substitution of film caps for electrolytics in power supply filters is usually an audible improvement. Of course film caps of appropriate voltage and capacitance values are much bulkier and more expensive than equivalent electrolytics, hence are rarely employed in commercial products.

Another traditional but non-optimal use of electrolytics in tube amps is the cathode bypasses. Film caps (or better yet solutions that don't involve capacitors at all) are better here as well. Again space and economics are the overiding factors.

Oops! Screwed up the quote. Sorry about that.
Edited by FrankCooter - 5/22/14 at 6:12pm
post #2439 of 3304

Thanks Joachim,

 

I have that schematic - but the circuit board in here does not look like that schematic.

 

It looks a lot more like the SRD5 schematic with the 50k resistor on the power input (with a switch which replaces the 50k with a 250k to switch from 100V to 240V... on the SRD5, the SRD7 has no such switch).

 

Hence my question ! - this appears like an earlier circuit layout, more closely related to its SRD5 predecessor.

 

I may just have to trace it

 

bye for now

David

post #2440 of 3304

ES amps being balanced have much less sensitivity to PS - as long as both outputs are affected equally any PS "error" doesn't cause a difference signal to hear

 

PS electrolytics are even used by the Stax mafia - but they do usually insist on regulation too


Edited by jcx - 5/23/14 at 7:17am
post #2441 of 3304
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcx View Post
 

ES amps being balanced have much less sensitivity to PS - as long as both outputs are affected equally any PS "error" doesn't cause a difference signal to hear

 

PS electrolytics are even used by the Stax mafia - but they do usually insist on regulation too

 

True as far as it goes, but I wasn't talking about error correction. Electrolytics, in the signal path (like the last capacitor in the power supply) generate artifacts that in some cases can  be heard and subjectively described as adding a "glare" or "sheen" to the amplifier. The advantage of Black Gates was the minimization of these artifacts. Regulation won't affect the inherent properties of the filter caps. Whether the sonics of any particular amp or circuit is affected by the type of capacitors employed in the power supply I couldn't say.

 

BTW, not all electrostatic amps are fully balanced.


Edited by FrankCooter - 5/23/14 at 9:30am
post #2442 of 3304

I was using "error" to include anything that might color the sound - assuming the usual physical materialism point of view that anything about amps/circuit components that can be "really" be heard (under controlled conditions, with Blinding protocol, by more than one person...) has a technical circuit cause, involves measureable V or I changes in the headphone drive

 

and can you name a "High End" ES headphone amp that isn't balanced Stator drive?


Edited by jcx - 5/23/14 at 9:51am
post #2443 of 3304
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcx View Post
 

I was using "error" to include anything that might color the sound - assuming the usual physical materialism point of view that anything about amps/circuit components that can be "really" be heard (under controlled conditions, with Blinding protocol, by more than one person...) has a technical circuit cause, involves measureable V or I changes in the headphone drive

 

and can you name a "High End" ES headphone amp that isn't balanced Stator drive?

 

So if I'm understanding you correctly, all component differences and artifacts in a balanced power supply, such as diode switching noise, recovery times, capacitor ESR, frequency ratings, etc. are cancelled out along with I and V errors? And if this is so, then why do we even need to regulate a balanced supply at all? Not saying you're wrong here, just curious.

 

All ES amps of course have balanced stator drive. Not all ES amps are "fully balanced" as you stated. Maybe it's not "high end", but I use a three stage 845 amp to drive ES headphones. It's all single-ended up to the output transformer, which then splits the signal into balanced mode.

post #2444 of 3304

never said any such thing of course - less sensitive is not totally immune - and PS with just rectification and filtering without regulation for the output stage is common in audio amps - even SE - but push-pull balanced output drive is a lot more immune to PS Ripple, Sag, non zero impedance...

 

push-pull balanced output drive is the standard for direct drive ES amps - easy to name a 1/2 dozen balanced push-pull ES headphone amp designs, to one that isn't

 

I was mostly objecting to the seeming categorical dismissal of electrolytic caps - they work well enough that you find them in most $k ES headphone amp power supplies - even at these levels few want to spend for brick sized film caps needed to give similar technical performance

 

sometimes diminishing returns are really not worth pursuing - there really are audible thresholds below which differences can't be heard

 

 

as a conceptual art project 100s of uF of kV rated film caps could be justified for the "infinite" life - but using films as PS reservoir caps fails coming close to audibility thresholds from the engineering numbers for electrical circuit performance effects vs electrolytic caps, particularly with regulation, added immunity of balanced push-pull output

 

@100db100V sensitivity you need 1 V across full size Stax headphones to even be at the human hearing threshold after minutes of adaptation in an anechoic chamber - compare to:

Quote:
 KG on the KGSSHV PS:

Tests indicate about 12 microvolts of noise at full power. Its when the diodes turn on, and
using the 35ns soft recovery diodes, even ceramic caps across them make no difference.
Over the range 10C to 50C and under full load the power supply voltage changes only 1.2 volts.
Measuring this is not at all easy. So i'll call it a better than -140db power supply and be done with.

 

derated modern electrolytics ran cool will last decades and occupy a fraction of the volume and price - the volume and price advantage giving plenty of scope for adding circuitry to improve actual performance - which may well involve smaller film caps where they do make a difference


Edited by jcx - 5/23/14 at 2:22pm
post #2445 of 3304

Hi guys!

 

Birgir and Kevin have done us all a solid, and I'm gonna need some help getting electrostatic cans in for measurement.

 

Really the easiest way to tell you about it is just to point you here:

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/stax-mafia-makes-unrefusable-offer-and-i-begin-electrostatic-headphone-measurement-program

 

Looking forward to a bunch of new estat measurements! 

 

 

Thanks Birgir and Kevin! Imma make good use out of the KGSSSRE.

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