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

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 295722 times.

satfrat

  • Restricted
  • Posts: 10858
  • Dallas Cowboys!! America's Team
Dynamicap-E metalized polypropylene capacitor



Some believe these to be among the best metalized polypropylene caps ever made, and I might have to agree with that, if somewhat reluctantly.  After all, Mundorf silver/oil and gold/silver are still technically “metalized poly” caps, and they do have a magical something that other poly caps lack, including Dynamicaps.  As I have observed before with Vishay poly caps, the Mundorfs have a sense of weight and texture behind the notes, especially in the midrange that keeps music interesting and captivating over longer-term listening.  The better poly caps sound balanced, detailed (though not Teflon-detailed), and all the notes are present and accounted for.  This is true for Dynamicap as well, and it does one better by being probably the most neutrally balanced among the poly caps.  I even dare say it sounds more neutral than something like Mundorf gold/silver or the Russian silver mica’s, so here we have a reasonably affordable capacitor that is quite uncolored, clear, sweet, yet extended.  No wonder companies like Alta Vista Audio is using these caps in Counterpoint gear upgrades, not to mention VMPS offering them as upgrades in their speaker crossovers. 

What about Auricaps?  This is a tough one.  One’s preferences will have a large part in this choice.  Auricaps have a fuller low-midrange to upper-bass presentation compared to Dynamicaps, which makes music richer and more propulsive; they also emulate some of that midrange texturing of Mundorfs.  Dynamicaps counter with subjectively more ruler-flat neutrality with less bloom and thickness, sounding cleaner and clearer.  I would say consider the way your system sounds now and which direction you want to go before choosing one over the other. 


When I had my BPT BP2.5 custom built, I went with DynamiCaps instead of BPT's use of Auricaps in isolating the duplex's from each other. It wasn't an easy switch for Chris Hoff because of the DynamiCaps longer size and because I never tried the AuriCaps, I can't really comment all tho Chris said there probably would be much difference between the 2 capacitors in this type of application but I just wanted to try something different and DynamiCaps were getting some highly regarded comments at the time. What I do know is I love my BP2.5 balanced power conditioner and I have everything in my system going thru it (except the Acoustic Revive RR-77). So when I hear comments like "cleaner and Clearer",,, I smile.  :thumb:


Cheers,
Robin

Bill Baker

 I am not sure where the TRT are manufactured for sure (I too think they are still here in the US). The Mundorf components are manufactured and located in Germany.

Jon L

EC MP12 mil-spec metallized polypropylene capacitor



EC is a military capacitor supplier, and their capacitors appear well-made and heftier than usual.  Unfortunately, these do not sound as good as other, more expensive metalized polypropylene capacitors like Dynamicaps or Auricaps.  In fact, this capacitor is a good example of your stereotypical metalized poly capacitor sound that many audiophiles are trying to improve upon by using other poly caps like Auricaps, Dynamicaps, and Mundorfs. 

No, the music doesn’t suddenly sound broken or anything, but compared to Auricaps, the EC cap seems less rich, less dynamic, less lively, less clear, less involving, and flatter.  Music that I know to be breathy, dynamic, and sparkling lose the magic touch.  Compared to a clear cap like Dynamicap, EC cap sounds veiled as if a thin hazy layer is covering the music.  Many components of reasonable cost use many caps similar to these, which is understandable given the retail pricing structure, but it would be definitely worth it to spend a few more bucks to upgrade at least the critical signal-path caps to something a bit better.  For example, the well-priced Russian FT-3 Teflons really kicked it up a few notches compared to EC caps in terms of resolution, clarity, and liveliness.
« Last Edit: 19 Aug 2008, 06:16 am by Jon L »

BillB

Jon,

Have you thought about doing a cheap cap like the Erse pulse? I would love to know how much you are "losing" vs. a standard sonicap or auricap.

Also, prior to switching to the EPCOS MKV in my t-amp I was using Vishay 430p on the input caps. I found them a lot more detailed than the auricaps that were in their prior. It might have been a system synergy thing though because I am using single driver Jordans in a small sealed box.

Jon L

Jon,

Have you thought about doing a cheap cap like the Erse pulse? I would love to know how much you are "losing" vs. a standard sonicap or auricap.

Also, prior to switching to the EPCOS MKV in my t-amp I was using Vishay 430p on the input caps. I found them a lot more detailed than the auricaps that were in their prior. It might have been a system synergy thing though because I am using single driver Jordans in a small sealed box.

So many caps, so little time...  Erse caps are something I would like to try if run into a pair in the future.  I haven't tried Vishay 430p metallized polyester caps, but I would say the other Japanese metallized polyester cap I have here *seems* to have tons of "detail" but is on the bright/forward side,  without the refined resolution of the better teflon caps, for example..

dweekie

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 162
Another met poly cap that has my interest is the Axon Aeon caps.  They are found in Nelson Pass's B1 buffer.  They are supposedly made by Solen, but I am unsure if it is merely a label change or not.  Anyone have any experience with these caps?   http://www.speakercity.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=SC&Category_Code=axoncap

Frihed91

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 280
This is a really interesting thread.  I just bought some Jensen PIO caps that i am going to use as coupling caps.  I would like to have seen them reviewed.  Anyone got any thoughts? 

Jon L

This is a really interesting thread.  I just bought some Jensen PIO caps that i am going to use as coupling caps.  I would like to have seen them reviewed.  Anyone got any thoughts? 

I may be testing some Jensen PIO caps soon  aa

mgalusha

I may be testing some Jensen PIO caps soon

Jon, I have several sizes of the Jensen pure copper foil in oil with silver leads if you need more. They are sitting in a box so you're welcome to play with them if you like. I have an LCR meter so I can provide specs for them as well.

mike

lowrider

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 75
    • DIY
It would be great if you tested K42Y-2, machmat likes them better than K40Y-9, but in AA people think the opposite...

I use them as coupling in my amplifier, .1uF 1000V, I have 4 FT-3 that could replace them, but there is not enough room, your test would help decide if they stay, or if I should find room for FT-3, or maybe get K40Y-9 that are a bit smaller...  aa

RodMCV

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 218
This is one fantastic thread.
Really gets the juices flowing.

What are your thoughts on the new Clarity research on caps and the new series from that, the MR cap and a lower level cap ESA made with less expensive but similar tech.

More then ramblings on the micro resonance of caps influencing sound.
Similar coments with out the research on the Mr.Dueland sight per his design
objective to reduce the microphonics/resonances inherant in capacitors

KT

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 179
Dynamicap-E metalized polypropylene capacitor



Some believe these to be among the best metalized polypropylene caps ever made, and I might have to agree with that, if somewhat reluctantly...

...What about Auricaps?  This is a tough one.  One’s preferences will have a large part in this choice.  Auricaps have a fuller low-midrange to upper-bass presentation compared to Dynamicaps, which makes music richer and more propulsive; they also emulate some of that midrange texturing of Mundorfs.  Dynamicaps counter with subjectively more ruler-flat neutrality with less bloom and thickness, sounding cleaner and clearer.  I would say consider the way your system sounds now and which direction you want to go before choosing one over the other. 


Yea! You finally got around to testing the Dynamicaps.

I have to agree with you 100% about the Dynamicaps. One thing I would add to your description is that they are truly dynamic... very propulsive and fast.

Five or six years ago, I was in the throes of system tweaking... trying to achieve a fulfilling long-term listening solution. My system at that time consisted of a Rega Planet CD transport feeding a Scott Nixon TubeDac or DIY Paradise Monica II dac. Preamp was a Cary SLP-94L and amplification was a 25watt 47 Labs Gaincard powered by a 50watt Humpty. Speakers were either Lowther DX-3 based or a humble pair of modded Optimus LX-4 Pros.

Part of the tuning involved, of course, coupling cap rolling in the preamp. The key positions were a .1uF interstage cap between the preamp's gain stage and output follower and a 2uF cap at the preamp's output.

I tried the following caps: Auricaps, Dynamicaps, Russian Teflon, VTV Ultratones.

I found Auricaps to be smooth, sweet, and musical, but was consistently bothered by a certain "homogenous" quality in the sound. I'd describe it as a very slight plastic coloration that made instrumental textures sound just slightly "samey." It was slight, but just enough that over the long haul, it irritated me.

Russian teflons I had in for about a week before switching them out. I tried the .1uF Russians in the coupling position with a 2uF Auricaps at the output. The sound was slick... too slick. There was a beguiling quality to it, but I felt that the anticipation and drama inherent to good musical presentation was gone. It seemed like the system couldn't grip the leading edges of notes firmly enough to create a sense of bite or drama. It was like driving a car on really clean, even clay... very slick and fast, but always a slip and slide when you turned the steering wheel. At the same time, the sound stage collapsed dramatically and the presentation sounded really small. Maybe I didn't give them enough a a burn-in, but the sound was not what I wanted.

VTV-Ultratones were a dream... but in the end too much of a good thing. I used a .1uF in the coupling spot and a 2uF Auricap bypassed with a .22uF Ultratone at the output. The sound was rich, involving, emotional, just beautiful. I was consistently moved by the music with the VTV's in the system. I'd lie there in my room listening to music and find myself transported to another place. I really got lost in what I was listening to. Interestingly, shortly after the Ultratones went in, my female roommate at the time, who had no interest whatever in gear or tweaky system concerns, walked by as I was playing some Townes Van Zandt. She commented that the music sounded really wonderful. It was the first time she had ever taken note of the music coming from my system. I had to agree, it was a beautiful, touching presentation. Shortly after, my long-distance girlfriend came to stay for a week and she also commented on how great music sounded over the system (again, she had no interest in gear or system concerns at all). She wanted to know how to turn everything on so she could listen to music while I was at work during the day.

The downfall for the VTV's in my system was that as beautiful and moving as the music was, I would always wish for just a little more pace and propulsiveness. Fast tuneful stuff, while still musical, lacked the drive and excitement it required. Just a little bit, but enough to be a deal-breaker for me.

I still think about putting the Ultratones back into the preamp every now and then, but it would be like eating pot de creme or creme brulee every day. Wonderful, but maybe too much of a good thing.

The Dynamicaps went in after that, and boy was this a change. They weren't as involving as the Ultratones, but in the context of my system they were able to preserve the tube magic of the preamp while infusing music with a really fast, punchy, clear, but sweet quality. The most notable trait compared to the Ultratones or Auricaps was the speed and explosiveness of lower midrange and bass notes. They were at once fast and easy sounding (contrary to Jon's finding, The Dynamicaps were more propulsive than Auricaps in my system).

The Dynamicaps remain in the system as my long-term caps (.1uF Dynamicaps for coupling as well a 2uF Dynamicap output caps) for doing most thing I find important really well. Even though they can't match the Ultratones for sheer involvement and musicality, they provide a satisfying balance for just about all of the music I listen to.

It is, of course, crucial to put this in the context of my system. The Cary SLP-94 uses a compliment of 12au7 for gain stage and follower. These are a fairly soft, warm, and euphonic sounding tube, so I think the fast, clear, more neutral character of the Dynamicap is a synergistic match, here. I could see the Ultratones as the ultimate cap in a preamp with a slightly more aggressive sounding tube.

To this day, I long for that Ultratone magic in my system, but I fear it will be a wonderful but short-lived run. Too bad, I really loved that sound.

Having read through Jon's excellent comparisons, I'd be most interested in trying out the Mundorf Silver/Oils next. Too bad I don't have that tweaking urge I used to. I'll probably get around to it one of these years, though.

Great work, Jon. Thanks.

BTW, The one other cap that was magical in another system I had was the Jensen Copper Foil in Oil caps in an Audio Note Kit One 300B amp. That amp driving a pair of modded Klipsch Heresies was my first truly revelatory experience with a system. The coppers replaced the stock Aluminum Foils, which were good, but not so magical. (Incidentally, these Jensen Copper Foils are what Vinnie Ross chose for the inputs of the Red Wine Sig 30's - not sure what he used for the 30.2, though I suspect that it might be same cap without the orange plastic wrap... just conjecture).

I later tried the Audio Note produced copper body Copper Foil in Oil caps in my Sun Audio SV-300BE, but didn't warm up to them. They didn't come alive. I replaced those with .22uF Ultratones, and the magic returned.

I look forward to your future comparisons.

Best,
KT


Jon L

Jensen Copper Foil Paper-In-Oil Capacitor


Its reputation precedes it, and Jensen PIO capacitors are indeed excellent PIO capacitors.  The word “musical” seems made for it, not by virtue of syrupy romance but by virtue of refined microdynamic texturing and tonality, which allows one to immerse in the music instead of analyzing it.  If you are the type who can easily relax into music when it sounds “good” and be content, then the Jensens are perfect for you because they provide satisfying tonal color, harmonic richness, and smooth sophistication without becoming overly rolled-off, muddy, and slow.  In fact, the upper-midrange to midrange has a lively character without brightness or dryness that is quite attractive indeed.

Compared to Russian K40y PIO, Jensen is simultaneously finer-grained yet smidge less dark, presenting music with seemingly more tonal purity and light.  The Jensen difference is not huge, akin to a soufflé made with eggs beaten a little fluffier and lighter, but both taste like soufflé.  On the other hand, K40y does come across a little more dynamic and denser in tone, so once again, we have choices.

So the oilers are great, but I am surrounded by mountains of capacitors from all around the world.  Compared directly to some stupendous teflons, while not “overly” rolled-off or slow, Jensens *are* a wee bit less extended and slower, relatively speaking.  The leading edges are perhaps not as sharp as a new razor, but it’s not far off.  Bass definition also is not nose-to-nose with teflons or polystyrenes, but I think it’s good enough for me, especially for acoustic music.  Jensens do serve up a tasty, warm, refined midrange, and if that’s one’s preference, one may even say Jensens are a better capacitor than teflons or other film caps. 

-------------------------------------

FT-1 2200 pF Russian Teflon Capacitors  (Bypass)

 

Jensens and other PIO’s are so good at what they do, it’s natural to feel the need to somehow improve them just a little where they are not state-of-the-art.  I tried to accomplish this by bypassing Jensens with a small bypass Teflon capacitor, the FT-1 Russian capacitor at 2200 pF. 

This does not completely change the sound, and the effects are subtle, but some may find them useful.  The extreme treble does open up some, and triangles and chimes gain a little more definition.  I don’t mean to imply the Jensens suddenly turn into Russian teflons, as they still sound mainly like Jensens.  In my experience, better treble definition tends to lead to subjectively tighter bass signature, and the Jensens’ bass did firm up a trifle. 
So have we created the perfect capacitor here?  Not really.  The original signature charm of Jensens does diminish by a measure, so if you loved Jensens for their billowing, grand, bloomy richness, perhaps you should leave them alone.  If you are still curious, it’s always worth an experiment since these small Russian Teflon capacitors are quite cheap.

mgalusha

Jon, glad the Jensen's were not awful. I tend to agree with your description of them. Using a Teflon bypass on the small ones does tend to take away some of their charm. There is less of this effect with larger values such as a 2.2uF used as an output coupling cap.

Looking forward to your future tests.

mike

Jon L

Russian K40y PIO Capacitor Bypassed with FT-1 Teflon Capacitor



After experimenting with bypassing Jensens with small teflons, I thought I would try the bypass with K40y PIO caps as well.  Unlike Jensens, K40y's are very affordable, and if I could improve them just a little bit with just-as-cheap small Russian teflons, that would be something to celebrate. 

Alas, laws of physics apparently wanted to be consistent because the results were similar to when I bypassed the Jensens.  The upper ranges did extend further with added twinkle and sparkle just like with Jensens, but some of the PIO charm was lost at the same time.  Once again, it turns out there is no free lunch or cheap miracles.  Now, downside is not huge by any means, and many people will find this little tradeoff completely acceptable and maybe even unnoticeable, especially in systems that tended to extra bloom and richness to begin with. 

Adding the small teflon bypass is almost like adding a supertweeter to a nice single-driver speaker.  There is more air and twinkle, but some of the super coherence and earthy charm of the single-driver is lost.  The degree of the loss will depend, in both cases, on the specific capacitor/tweeter used as well as the skill(and/or luck) of the implementation as usual, so if you have a lot of time on your hands and many different capacitors of numerous values, I'm sure one can rig up something basically "perfect."  Maybe..

whubbard

Jon,

I understand that this is a very complicated question, but what has been your 'Favorite' capacitor setup (single or bypassed) thus far?
I know its subjective, and also varries by application, but in general what would your answer be?

Thanks,
West

Jon L

Jon,

I understand that this is a very complicated question, but what has been your 'Favorite' capacitor setup (single or bypassed) thus far?
I know its subjective, and also varries by application, but in general what would your answer be?

Thanks,
West

Who knows..  It's all relative, but if I had to get up in the morning and choose one today, I'd probably end up with tin-based teflon capacitor that's way oversized compared to stock...

tomat

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 12
Hello All

i have ever been use audio note copper caps and jensen copper too ,audio note have better mdrange reproduction than jensen ,although the top end is slightly roll off ,jensen have more extend & airy top end ,the lower bass of audio note is more deeper ,jensen is more tight and punchy ,the overall audio note looks more glorious and sweet .this just my opinion

thanks

Speakerquest

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 5
I don't quite agree with the positive review of the Dynamicaps. I tried them as output caps in my Mapletree (Dr.Peppard) hardwired (silver) preamp (modded with Shinkoh tant resistors, Auricap interstage, highest grade BG caps, NOS tubes etc), and found them slightly muted and lacking in treble sparkle even after burnin. The were highly resolving and neutral, but lacked the magic open quality I was expecting after reading the Altavista review. I changed to Multicap RTX and the treble resolution improved and the sound became more alive. After reading your review of Mundorf SiO I ordered a pair to be used as input caps in a new poweramp that needs some smooth oil cap euphony that might be less evident in a Multicap RTX. Claritycap in the UK has done some research lately (published) and found that the cap self-vibration damping is important, which has led to a couple of new highend film/foil caps that you might interested to test.

Jon L

I changed to Multicap RTX and the treble resolution improved and the sound became more alive.

Everything is relative, isn't it?  If  your system's resolution and alivenesss is just right with RTX, then it's completely understandable Dynamicaps sound "muted and lacking in treble sparkle" in the same system. 

On the other hand, if things sound right with Dynamicaps, people will say RTX is too dry and maybe even bright..  It really dosn't make one cap "better" than the other.