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

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Jon L

AmpOhm Polyester In Oil Aluminum Foil Capacitor



It's always very interesting to compare two essentially identical capacitors that have but one difference.  In this case, one is comparing oil-impregnated polyester vs. dry polyester used as dielectric.  The dry polyester film AmpOhm, as noted previously, is a very clear, detailed, and "present" capacitor, especially in the midrange; it will light a fire under dull, grey harmonics and shine a floodlight on lifeless contrasts.  While quite appealing for good recordings played through meticulate systems, poor digital recordings tend to fare much worse. 

The oil-impregnated version does some interesting things.  It shaves off just a hair of gruff hardness to turn poor recordings just a bit more palatable while pushing out an ounce more girth and roundness.  Recordings and passages that have that "ringing" or resonant quality are turned a little gentler and calmer.  Normally, such changes would mean a warmer yet lower-resolution and slower sound signature; however, since the dry polyester capacitor has so much resolution and speed to burn, the oil version still sounds plenty detailed and fast despite a little enriching of the sonic tapestry.  There's no clear "better" or "worse" here, as I can imagine different people preferring one or the other depending on one's tastes and how the system is voiced.  At any rate, polyester film and polyester-in-oil capacitors represent a fascinating genre of capacitors, one that has the potential to offer superior sound quality to garden-variety polypropylene capacitors out there at comparable prices. 




jrebman

  • Full Member
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Thanks once again, John.  There is also a size difference between the two types for a given value that may force one to choose the dry version as they tend to be somewhat smaller from what I gather.

Going to try a couple of the dry films in my headphone amp very soon.

-- Jim

Jon L

There is also a size difference between the two types for a given value that may force one to choose the dry version as they tend to be somewhat smaller from what I gather.

-- Jim

Actually, the dry polyester and polyester oil caps are the exact same size for the same value..

nicoch46

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 6
Thanks a lot Sir. Jon !

bluemike

Hi Jon
Do you have any experience with the Relcap Capacitors specificaly the The Audiocap PCU and the Relcap tft
I want to use this combination in a push pull amp what are your thoughts


quoc

I use the Relcap Teflon as coupling capacitors in my EL84 PP. I also use the Audiocap Theta in a tube pre and another tube amp, both as coupling caps. I went with the Relcap TFTF because the sonic performance is real close to the V-cap TFTF, it breaks in a lot faster and is also cheaper (in smaller values). The Theta is a warmer cap, not to the extent of the K75 or Jupiter. It sounds even better when bypassed with the TFTF.

I also used the jantzen Z Superior in a tube pre, quite neutral, big sounding, but warm it is not. Of the Clarity, I only like the MR. I do not perceive the Clairty as warm either.

As a footnote, much before the divestiture of Mabell, at BTL, we had our own line of caps, and used dry polyester film caps in the analog phone network when things were designed to last 40 years. If you ever pick up an old Western Electric analog telset, you will notice it sounds a lot clearer and musical  with better tones than any modern digital telset

Jon L. did a super and thorough analysis of caps.

quoc

face

If you're looking for warm, the ESA is pretty neutral/warm compared to the MR.

bluemike

Thanks Guys
Have you tried the Relcap Polyproylene copper and foil
It's in between the Theta and Teflon and gives you a signature of both caps mentioned while being a bit sweeter

ESA are nice but a bit less transparent then what I was looking for they do alot of things right


oncle_tom

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 9
What's about the TRT StealthCaps? Has anyone tested them?

Peter

Nick77

I need a warm bypass cap and would like to give the k75's a try will 250v work ok for speaks?
« Last Edit: 31 Dec 2009, 12:20 am by Nick77 »

AudioCap

Thanks again Jon for the review (even if it feels a little like an obituary!)

Eadron



Ordered some Stealth caps for my pre, they are unknown caps, so I am taking a chance, will let you know.

Mike

Mike,

what about those Stealth Caps? How do they work in your preamp? I heard there's also a hotrod version of the Stealth..anyone heard of?

jouni

madisonears

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 27
I just finished doing a comparison of DC blocking caps (0.68mfd) in my monoblocks.  Last night, two audiophile friends joined me for the final comparison between my two favorites.  One is quite well known and highly regarded; the other is completely off the radar of everyone who has contributed here so far.

After months of comparisons of many different caps, I settled on Mundorf SIO and Fostex copper/tin foil and film as the best two candidates.  Both caps are very nice, and it took me a lot of concentrated listening to develop a preference.  Both of my friends, in a blind test, agreed with my selection, although I had not informed them of it before the test. 

We all chose the Fostex as superior to the Mundorf SIO.  The Fostex provided more inner detail, without the tilted up, slightly etched response of the Mundorf.  The Fostex produced so much air and spaciousness that it made the Mundorf sound somewhat flat in comparison.  The Fostex gave a more realistic representation of the tonality of instruments and voices, with somewhat better bass control.  If you believe the Mundorf SIO is a great cap, you're right, but you should also try the Fostex. 

The Fostex is not an inexpensive cap, although it is somewhat less costly than the Mundorf.  As far as I know, it is available only from Madisound.

Peace,
Tom E

paba

I just wanted to share some very good results I just got:

I recently bypassed a 5uf Jupiter (old production) with a VISHAY-RODERSTEIN MKP-1837 Metalized Polypropylene Film Capacitor (100 nF) and the result is night and day, really, no need for careful AB test. This pair is in series with my tweeters (and an L-pad) so just before my ears and hence makes the most difference.

based on this success, I'm now trying the same MKP1837 bypass on some 100uf Solen Fast Caps that I have further down the chain, inside my amps actually. The solens are cathode bypass function in my input/driver tubes. The change should be more subtle because further away from the ears but I'm hoping it will help.


cheers
paba




markC

I didn't care for the 1837 on the final tweeter cap. Sounded edgey in my system. I do, however really like the Sonicap platinum .1 in that position. Horses for courses, of course, just throwing it out there.

Jon L

The Fostex gave a more realistic representation of the tonality of instruments and voices, with somewhat better bass control.  If you believe the Mundorf SIO is a great cap, you're right, but you should also try the Fostex. 


Interesting capacitor.  However, it's rated at 240 VDC, which is too low for many tube amp applications, including the ones I use  :(

douglesc

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 40

After months of comparisons of many different caps, I settled on Mundorf SIO and Fostex copper/tin foil and film as the best two candidates.  Both caps are very nice, and it took me a lot of concentrated listening to develop a preference.  Both of my friends, in a blind test, agreed with my selection, although I had not informed them of it before the test.
=====================================================================

Would you be so kind to list some of the caps you compared. Maybe what what you thought of them.
Did you listen to the silver gold and oil, was it way better than the silver oil or not??? How about the silver gold. Thanks in advance.   

JayB

Great reviews. As I haven't read every response in this 24 page thread, I apologize if this has been mentioned previously. I replaced the Solen parafeed and coupling caps in my Bottlehead paramounts with Mundorf silver/gold/oils. I was going to use silver/oil but I ultimately went for the higher temperature rating of the Gold/Silver/Oil's, which is 85C vs. 70C for the silver/oil. The Solens are 85C. I have no evidence that the S/O would not have worked but decided to be safe. Also, Bottlehead seems to recommend an 85C cap per their forum, though I think their evidence is that the Solens have never failed. I thought I would mention this as a caps temp rating will affect its longevity.         

SamL

Russian K72 Teflon Capacitor "Nude"



I always had a soft spot for the Russian K72 teflon capacitor, which was the original Russian teflon wonder that DIY'ers picked up on, and the rest is history.  It had tons of detail and dynamics, but it had a tendency for a bit of hardness and etch, which some suspected was partly due to its thick steel case and metal posts.

I was able to test the "nude" K72 that has been de-cased and de-posted (courtesy of Josh K), and I must say this version loses most of the hardness and etch of the stock unit.  After a long break-in, the sound is almost creamy-smooth in the low-treble and upper-midrange while the detail and dynamics remain. 

What I have always liked about the Russian teflons, including K72 and FT3, was that while they don't quite have the air and refinement of the VCaps or Auricap Teflon, they actually had a bolder and more robust presentation that projected more forward with arguably a more involving mien.  Now with the nude mod adding smoothness, K72 must certainly be *the* giant-killer, right?

Well, almost.  The nude mod ended up sounding a little too creamy and smooth up top.  There was terrific detailing right up to the midrange, but the triangles, cymbals, and violin's upper harmonics did not ring clear in sparkling fashion.  Wait!  I have heard a very similar sound previously... It was the Audiocap Theta, and adding a small FT-1 teflon bypass capacitor was the sweet answer then, so I tried the same with the nude K72. 

2200 pF FT-1 Teflon Capacitor

Holy Batman, now things were really cooking.  Since FT-1 is basically the same internally as K72, adding the bypass did not result in any appreciable incoherence or discontinuity, just adding that last breath of air, upper harmonics, and sparkle.  The resulting sound was at once robust, dense, detailed, and airy, while being as smooth as baby's behind.  I really liked the results, and if you have some K72's, I highly encourage you to crack open the case and add the FT-1 teflon bypass.

You should be able to find copper or aluminum sheets in handcraft or hobby (model car, train) shop at various thickness. The thinner the sheet, the easier to roll and the cheaper it will be. Cut to length and you should be able to roll the cap into one of them. Tape them up and they should look quite nice and well protected.

Have fun  :D

Edit: Oh yes! They should also have pvc sheets too.

FJK

  • Jr. Member
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Jon could you compare the Ampohm polyester in oil along with the Ampohm copper in oil and k75-10.

Thanks