My Capacitor comparisons: Mundorfs, VCap, Sonicap Platinum, Auricap, etc

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Tyson

Jon,

Or perhaps you can't completely hear the "tilt" effect of SIO through headphones, which don't usually have such great bass response.  Those Stax electro's are beautiful (I owned the equivalent model 30 years ago and learned a lot about how things should sound) and are a great diagnostic tool, but they just don't pump out powerful bass like a full range speaker system.  Sometimes you need to get out from under those cans, no matter how good they are.

Tyson, are the Obbligato Gold much better than their Copper model?  I tried the Copper in this same application and heard a very objectionable coloration of the sound--a sort of false spaciousness, almost like reverb!  Their frequency response was accurate and they produced a warm, rounded sound which was very impressive at first.  Eventually, I realized that everything I listened to, from symphonic to small ensemble jazz had the same sort of huge space around it, that everything sounded bigger than life, with a fake echo effect.

Yes, the Sonicaps Gen I qualify as best in the "budget" class.  There are certainly better caps, but only for much more money.

Peace,
Tom E

I never heard the copper caps, but the gold's are pretty awesome.  I used them in my speaker crossovers, and in my tube amp for the output caps.

BobM

I tried the Obbligato coppers and thought they had a somewhat veiled sound where Sonicap V1's were just more transparent and liquid, especially when bypassed with a small v2. Can't speak for the gold's though.

Jon L

headphones, which don't usually have such great bass response.  Those Stax electro's are beautiful

I use both speakers and electrostat headphones.  I would also add that the Stax Omega II actually has one of the best bass response of all headphones I've tried, including dynamic headphones, but obviously headphones won't interact with room and pressurize your body like full-range speakers, which I also use. 

Even within my own system, different amps I have are optimized by different caps, so in the end, one really has no choice but to try some.  Once you try a cap or two and understand where your system/cap stands in the continuous spectrum of sound, one can make some educated guesses as to what would work better in what direction. 

One last thing to consider trying with Mundorf SIO's is to use an adhesive tape with good damping properties to securely couple it to chassis, and then use a moderate-sized strip of damping material on top.  If you have some laying around, a small ring of ERS paper around the cap leads can make a difference. These measures will tend to shift the tonal balance downward while making the overall presentation more solid.

madisonears

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 27
Jon,

You certainly do a thorough evaluation, and I retract my former admonition to listen through speakers. Yes, the Stax really are excellent headphones in every respect, even bass.

Caps are one more variable that can be used for tuning a piece of equipment or a whole system.  The SIO will certainly do that, but I prefer a more neutral tonal balance.

Firmly securing and even cradling any film cap is good advice.  I believe they are all subject to microphonics.  I hold mine with a piece of foam wrapped around the cap, then a cable tie through holes in the chassis (but not pulled too tightly!).  In small signal applications, I insulate the leads with teflon tubing or tape.

Bob M: your experience is exactly opposite what one would expect, as the SIO stubbornly refuses to break in and settle down for many hours, and sounds best after that.

Tyson and Bob, can you try to provide more descriptive terminology than "pretty awesome" and "not so good any more"?  That just isn't telling us much.

Peace,
Tom E

carusoracer

I put a pair of Mundorf Silvers into Dodd monoblocks for Tubeluvr. The sound was very nice as they were breaking in, but as others have reported, once broken in the sound wasn't so good anymore. It seems that in many cases the Mundorf's initial impression, while nice, doesn't hold up over time. I would look elsewhere.

BobM, Where the Caps that you installed coupling or bypass and where they Silver/Oil?
Any other recommendations?

Tyson

My system was a bit too warm sounding, and the Obb Golds gave me much greater detail and transparency.  I also bypassed them all with Sonicap Platinum (teflon) caps, or with Auri-T (teflon) caps.  Now, even when we watch a show like "Lie to Me", where the main character has a strong British accent, we almost never ask "What did he say?" 

I should mention that I have a tubed NOS DAC, a tubed preamp (custom), and tubed amps (KT88, custom).  So, the extra detail and transparency fits in very nicely with my system.

It also made the lower midrange more clear, and tightened up the bass.

douglesc

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 46
Can anyone make further comments on the Jantzen caps, especially the z-silver vs the superior or the mundorfs or any other cap vs. the Jantzen for that matter. In so many cases it almost seems like we are using caps for a flavor rather than a straight wire. Now if a cap is emphasizing something, that is not good, neutral is good. Which caps do you think do that the best??????  I bring up Jantzen because I believe
They are worthy and then for the money..........What would I hear say vs that new vcap and why?
So Many caps and so many opinions, I would just like more sanity to this capacitor discussion which I believe Jon does help the most of anyone I have listened to vs other web sites............Also the last couple of pages of this thread are pretty good. I guess I am trying to drum up discussion on the z-silvers.

Jon L

Can anyone make further comments on the Jantzen caps, especially the z-silver vs the superior

I haven't tried the Silver-Z, but the only place where I saw Superior-Z and Silver-Z compared was here, where the author said Z-silver was sometimes "too detailed."

http://www.humblehomemadehifi.com/Cap.html

And yes, Superior-Z still remains one of my favorites.  Interested parties may also want to check out the new Clarity Cap MR, which came out with smaller uF values.  These caps, along with Dynamicap E remain great recommendations for polyprop caps that sound great without breaking the bank.

douglesc

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 46
Could you tell me what size the new vcap you tested is??  Also if I sent you a z-silver of the same size would you be willing to test it IN COMPARISON. I have read Tony's review and although I do agree with some or even alot of what he says I do not agree with all of it. How could a cap manufacture detail, in other words how can it be too detailed unless you want your capacitor to mask and flavor the information it should be letting through, if it is edgy or harsh and or strident I could see it but I don't think that is the case with the z-silver cap.............I want a cap to get out of the way and not flavor the music or change it and I don't think Tony is looking at it the same way..............I think you testing the z-silver cap would be interesting.

Yes while it is true Tony does speakers, I do not see why it would not apply across the board as to
what you would want out of a capacitor.

face

Tony's review is for capacitors in loudspeaker crossovers, it doesn't directly apply to coupling caps. 

Jon L

ClarityCap MR Polypropylene Capacitor



Claritycap line of capacitors has a large following and has a reputation for great sound at bargain prices, with the SA, PX, and ESA lines selling in $3-8 range at the popular 0.22 uF range, for example.  My previous impression of ClarityCap SA, at a few dollars, was that of a pleasant, rounded sound lacking in ultimate resolution. The MR series costs 10 times as much as the SA yet still comes in at a low price compared to the exotic competition.   

According to the website, the ClairyCap MR “is manufactured in such a way to substantially reduce the negative effects of resonance on sonic quality which is inherent in a wound component. This results in a sonic characteristic which is difficult to equal. Manufactured from metallised polypropylene film the component is housed in a coloured acrylic tube and encapsulated in an epoxy resin to assist in the overall sonic performance.”

Whatever they did performed some major transformation to the sound, as the MR sounds nothing like SA, sounding far more extended, neutral, dynamic, and yes, resolved.  As far as frequency extension, there is nothing to fault here, as both top and bottom go as high and low as can be desired; however, what’s even more impressive is how all the ranges in between seem coherent, finely-textured, and natural, with nothing sticking out like a sore thumb.  I kept thinking how smooth everything sounds while presenting a high degree of detail resolution across the frequency range, as good as a polypropylene cap gets including the exotic ones from Mundorf, etc.

Another benefit of this smooth precision seems to be outstanding imaging and separation within the soundstage, which is filled with air and “space”.  No smudging and blending together of instruments into blobs, which can happen with less precise caps.  These characteristics enable the MR to sound like the proverbial “no cap” better than most, if not all, polypropylene caps I have tested.  In fact, the MR sounds less colored than quite a few exotics, including some teflons, PIO’s, polystyrene, etc.  There is a downside to this neutrality, however, as the MR may not be the cap to shave off some rough edges from a bright source, plump up the low-midrange of that lean amp, or add extra “wetness” to that dry solid-state system.  But if your system is reasonably neutral and resolute and if you don’t want to “hear the cap” at a reasonable price, then the ClarityCap MR just may be the cap you have been waiting for. 


grodri02

Hi,

Can anyone that has had or has a Jolida 302brc amp recommend a cheap cap? My budge is $15/cap and I need 4 x 0.22uf and 2 x 0.47uf. My jolida still has the green square looking caps.

My choices are:
Audiocap Theta
Sonicap Gen I
Mundorf Zn
Multicap PPFXS

If anyone has tried these in their amps, please post your impressions.

Thanks for your advice.

wushuliu

ClarityCap MR Polypropylene Capacitor

Another benefit of this smooth precision seems to be outstanding imaging and separation within the soundstage, which is filled with air and “space”.  No smudging and blending together of instruments into blobs, which can happen with less precise caps.  These characteristics enable the MR to sound like the proverbial “no cap” better than most, if not all, polypropylene caps I have tested.  In fact, the MR sounds less colored than quite a few exotics, including some teflons, PIO’s, polystyrene, etc.  There is a downside to this neutrality, however, as the MR may not be the cap to shave off some rough edges from a bright source, plump up the low-midrange of that lean amp, or add extra “wetness” to that dry solid-state system.  But if your system is reasonably neutral and resolute and if you don’t want to “hear the cap” at a reasonable price, then the ClarityCap MR just may be the cap you have been waiting for.

Cool, thanks for reviewing them. I know Face has been an advocate for a while and I am a fan of their cheaper caps tho I don't use them as much anymore. I currently have Mundorf SIO in my SimpleSe but plan on slipping the MRs in at some point to compare. They were first choice, but there's so much good feedback on the SIOs I decided to play safe.

bluemike

After using many high priced caps in my electronics I think the Clarity Cap MR are truly excellent
Thanks to Dave Garretson I got to try their lower voltage values and was very impressed

These caps imo do so many things right  :thumb:

sbrown

Almost three years and still going!  This is a great thread.  Interestingly, both the Clarity MR and the TRT Stealth both make claims about reducing resonances in their new designs.  From your comments, they may be on to something.

Jon, at the end of all of this, which cap(s) would you choose for your application?  I know this is system dependent, but is still an interesting question.     

colesey

I too use Clarity Cap MR for output coupling in my Border Patrol preamp and rate them extremely highly.  They're very transparent, dynamic, grain-free and extended compared to the boutique 'oilers' previously in there.  Vlad of Audio Mirror is also a fan and recommended them for the build of my power amps.  Whilst I'm told the Dueland range are excellent, their pricing and unusual shapes may put them out of contention for many.

Thanks go out to Jon L for sharing his extensive work with us and also to Dave Garretson for his help and advice; his system profile on audiogon (http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?vaslt&1140494870) is a worthwhile read for any budding modders!

grodri02

Can the ClarityCap MR cap be used for coupling cap purposes on a tube amp?

jrebman

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 2778
Shouldn't be a problem as long as the voltage rating is sufficient.

-- Jim

Jon L

Jon, at the end of all of this, which cap(s) would you choose for your application?  I know this is system dependent, but is still an interesting question.   

That is a great question, with an answer that really won't help other people.  At this point, I swap out caps when I feel like a different type of presentation, especially if I am trying new tubes, cables, etc.  People's mileage WILL vary, and though I use Teflons a lot, some of that is because I simply have them around and is not a requirement for great sound.  I do like small teflons in bypasses.   

In various positions currently in various amps and preamps:

VH Audio Copper teflons bypassed with FT-1 Russian Teflons

AudioCap Theta's bypassed with FT-1 Teflons

Siemens MKV Polypropylene and metalized aluminum in oil caps bypassed with VCap tin teflons

Jantzen Superior Z Polyprop bypassed with FT-3 Teflons

Penta Labs Teflon cap bypassed with Aura-T Teflon caps

VCap tin teflon bypassed with FT-1 teflon







bigdirty

Hey guys,

 looking for a little insight on implementing bypass caps. Using the pass labs B1 as an example, I have the 1uf and 10uf mounted off of the board due to their size. They are connected with wire to the board. Can the bypass cap be mounted on the board, while keeping the main caps off board, without problem?

thanks in advance