the best cost-no-object caps?
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mecano

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I decided to change the caps in my Creek amp.also a hi-fi fanatic friend wants to build a state-of-the-art PSU for his Krell pre-amp And we both have the same question .which are absolutely
the best-cost-no-object-electrolytic caps?we plan to order from DigiKey.com
Thanks.

Mecano
 
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Dreamslacker

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I believe the best are Rubycon Blackgates.
Other alternatives could be Nichicon Gold Tunes or Elna Silver micas or Cerafines.
 
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aos

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From Digikey people usually order Panasonic FC series electrolytic capacitors. Otherwise, for your particular use Black Gate series N or NX capacitors are supposedly the best, but once you see their prices you might reconsider "cost no object" clause
.
 
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Tomo

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Hey,

Note that the best caps for CDP isn't necessary the best cap for PSUs.

DACs run with pretty low voltages so you can use OSCON capacitors. They are perfect for DACs. It can audibly fight oscillation according to one of my friends. (Hush hush, they are nutcases, however!)

PSU of Krell amp should run about 20 or more. So OSCON is out of question. I like BG and Cerafine here. They make nice soundstage. Panasonic caps are pretty darn good too, but a little wet sounding. However, I can obtain them in large number and I can get pretty good performance by paralleling smaller Pana caps.

Tomo
 
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mecano

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well he just ordered a 3500$ vun den hull Phono stage so i dont think he cares if the caps are expensive
.no he is not rich ...just a nut/fanatic-i want-the-best-sound guy
 
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aos

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Well, even Black Gate isn't THAT expensive unless you need many of them. In smaller values such as 10uF they are several dollars each, and if cost is object there are "standard" and "compact" types which can go for less money than Panasonic FC (whether those types are actually nearly as good as N/NX series or are they just ordinary caps which have been given the Black Gate name so that they'd sell more than competition, I don't know).

But in higher values and especially higher voltages they can run expensive indeed - over 100 bucks for just one. Still, a typical 1000uF 16V would be about $18 or so which is acceptable for one-off projects where you need only a few.

As Tomo sais, not all capacitors are good for all uses. Expensive polypropylene coupling caps like Howland or InfiniCap will be useless in digital circuits as their inductance will render them useless (they're freakin' HUGE). Ceramic or tantalum capacitors will act better in bypassing power to crystal oscillators than a Black Gate but an OS-CON or Panasonic specialty polymer might do even better. And so on. I didn't mention this because for your use something like Black Gate or Cerafine will work and there's no need to complicate discussion since all you need is a simple answer
.
 
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carlo

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I think Blackgate NX and K series are generally accepted as the best electrolytics available. If you wanted to go real bad ass you could shunt it with an Auricap or Hovland or something, but so far I've found they sound best without shunting until I entered really high values (which as aos said is very, very expensive - be warned).

Blackgates, both standard and NX, do take an incredibly long amount of time to break in. Don't be surprised if the amp sounds loose and slightly shallow until you get into 100+ hours, even at 40-60 hours its still not all the way there (yeah, seriously). I recently went to all Blackgate NX in the low voltage supply of a project and a few in the high voltage supply as well, my amp is just now getting the bass definition back (and ******* does it extend). Have Nichicon Golds I'm planing to experiment with as well, but haven't yet.

If your buddy is going all out for his PS encourage him to experiment with different components instead of looking for easy answers. For what its worth.

carlo.
 
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aos

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I am using 4.7uF 50V Black Gate N in final version of my portable DAC and there's certainly no lack of bass. I'm not that sure I haven't lost any transparency though. Now that carlo said "100 hours" - I've heard 30 quoted before - it might be something that still needs to settle. Anyway, bypassing these caps shouldn't be necessary in audio applications since they behave as near-ideal capacitors into MHz region. Of course, if you have space in the enclosure and need only 1-2uF, using a film cap should be a better way to go. I'm thinking that bypassing these caps might only cause the coloration of sound to change somewhere in audio range depending on size of film bypass. That might be good or bad depending on capacitors and listener preference, I guess.

One cool thing to do is to open up your DVD player and replace all your output electrolytics (e.g. each of 3 jacks of component out is AC coupled through an electrolytic) with something better. I used only low impedance Nichicons at the time (last year) bypassed with 1uF film caps (those Panasonic square caps, stacked metal film) but I do think the colors and sharpness of picture has improved. I liked picture from that 3 years old Pioneer player better than some new models that friends have brought over recently. If these hacks work for audio, why the heck not for video? Black Gates should do well there. I've bought a bunch of them (standard BG) last week hoping to do some more mods on DVD player as well as my SACD (Sony 775).
 
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Elna Cerafines are very good. However, I would also try the new Elna Silmic. These are supposed to be equal or better than the Cerafine series.

Richard Murdey designed The Cap Rack to burnin Black Gates caps. Take a look...

http://www.geocities.com/rjm003.geo/.../diy_rack.html

Good luck!
 
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mecano

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thanks for the detailed answers guys.i think he will have lot of work to do!
 
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hi all.

Anyone try out the new oscon SP grade which replaced the SG grade in the analog sections of source equipment?

It is meant to be of even lower inductance and hence better in analog sections?
 
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mecano

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what about Aerovox and Safco caps?i ve heard they are of very high quality.
 
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I use UK-made high voltage Aerovox caps as output caps in my GRADO BUSTER 3x6922 tube amp and I like them a lot.

Their sound is extended, open and very analogue-like. I couldn't find some 400V Cerafines or Black Gates to compare them with Aerovoxes.
 
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Gariver

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I better post this: If you wire an electrolytic capacitor the wrong way, you will damage it! In some cases, the cap explodes. Therefore, you must know which lead is negative and which is positive.

The Elna Cerafine caps have a gold band going from top to bottom. This band has a modern looking arrow ">" pointing to the negative lead. Now inside the gold band, you will see a "-" sign. This minus sign indicates the negative lead or pole.

Another way to tell which pole is negative is to look at the length of the leads. The short lead is always the negative lead.

Alert for newbies...
This info is important. So I suggest you write it in your notes.

Good luck!
 
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