Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types

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Roger A. Modjeski

Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« on: 24 Jun 2014, 06:19 pm »
I would like to hear your recommendations. After I get a few I will start a poll.

If you know the price of your favorite 0.1 uf 600 V (or similar) coupling cap please state as prices vary widely.

corndog71

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Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #1 on: 24 Jun 2014, 08:03 pm »
My current production favorite is the Clarity Cap MR series.  0.1uF 630V $29.94

This may not apply but lately I've been enjoying Russian millitary K42Y-2 caps.  They are slightly warmer in overall tone than the MR caps but seem to have the same level of resolution.  I haven't done extensive testing but at around a $1 each (0.1uF 630V) they are a serious bargain. 

Mike B.

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Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #2 on: 24 Jun 2014, 09:25 pm »
If you have the time, here is a cap comparison. They recommend the cheap Vishay MKP series caps for bypass. I use them and think they are nice.

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

DaveC113

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Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #3 on: 24 Jun 2014, 09:53 pm »
Check out the new Jupiter copper foil caps. Not sure on pricing, but would guess in the neighborhood of $50 each.

jtwrace

Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #4 on: 24 Jun 2014, 10:01 pm »
Roger


I thought you were not into boutique caps though? 

Roger A. Modjeski

Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #5 on: 24 Jun 2014, 10:07 pm »
Roger


I thought you were not into boutique caps though?

You are correct, I am not into boutique caps but some customers require them.

jtwrace

Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #6 on: 24 Jun 2014, 10:12 pm »
You are correct, I am not into boutique caps but some customers require them.

 :o   You had me really nervous there for a few minutes.  Whew. 


BTW-Have you ever had your amps measured on an Audio Precision or dScope?  If so, where can I see them? 

Roger A. Modjeski

Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #7 on: 25 Jun 2014, 12:10 am »
:o   You had me really nervous there for a few minutes.  Whew. 


BTW-Have you ever had your amps measured on an Audio Precision or dScope?  If so, where can I see them?

I have run some amplifier and audio transformer tests on the audio precision. However I prefer the Sound Technology distortion analyzer as it lets me manually look at the things I want to see. I admit it would be nice to have a AP to make some curves when the amp is done. If anyone sees one for a good price let me know. The most basic one would be fine. I don't need the digital stuff.

I am not familiar with the other ones but I will look into them.

Jon L

Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #8 on: 25 Jun 2014, 03:58 am »
Check out the new Jupiter copper foil caps. Not sure on pricing, but would guess in the neighborhood of $50 each.

Jupiter Copper Foil at 0.1 uF/600V is $55 at Parts Connexion, but 0.22 uF/600V is only $5 more at $60, which is likely the sweet spot. 
Excellent capacitor  :thumb:

steve f

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Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #9 on: 25 Jun 2014, 04:39 am »
Please supply fancy caps only as an option.  I'm interested in purchasing well designed reliable products. Overpriced boutique parts prevent many people from enjoying products because they raise the price of admission and do nothing for performance. Audio is one of those places where a Timex can be equal to or better than a Rolex.

BobM

Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #10 on: 25 Jun 2014, 12:33 pm »
The new Jupiter copper's are truly special. Every bit as good as the lofty Duelands but at a much more affordable price. A real winner.

I always liked basic Sonicap's as well for their price/performance ratio, but they don't have the magic of the Jupiters.

Of course there are expensive teflons (V-Cap, Sonicap Platinums) which also are great for a bypass. For an inexpensive teflon you can try the Russians, but even though they are very transparent they do have a bit of forward hardness to them that the better teflons don't have.

Roger A. Modjeski

Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #11 on: 25 Jun 2014, 03:31 pm »
Please supply fancy caps only as an option.  I'm interested in purchasing well designed reliable products. Overpriced boutique parts prevent many people from enjoying products because they raise the price of admission and do nothing for performance. Audio is one of those places where a Timex can be equal to or better than a Rolex.

Thank you Steve. I agree and I will always use good reliable parts. The Boutique capacitor market has gotten out of hand in price, reliability and fantastic claims.

Here is an technical argument against them for anyone to use.

1. Since a coupling cap has no signal voltage across it the dielectric absorption makes no difference at all. Low DA is the main claim of sonics.
2. Since a coupling cap conducts virtually no current (typically 1-10 microamps) its series resistance (ESR) and series inductance is of no consequence.
3. As long as there is no DC leakage the materials of the capacitor are of no consequence. We could say the materials are immaterial.
4. I have seen too many Boutique capacitors fail. I presume this is due to the lack experience in small new companies making them.

I recently met some one who loves Duelund cast caps. However he says they fail in about a year. He uses them as coupling caps in a 300B amplifier. These might be the most egregious of the business at $185 for a 0.1/630 volt.  http://www.partsconnexion.com/capacitor_film_duelund_pio_electonic.html

I recently replaced two silver caps with the logo SK where the S was over the K. I cannot find the maker of these caps. They were in the JADIS JA-200 and had shorted. Does anyone know this brand?

DaveC113

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Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #12 on: 25 Jun 2014, 03:57 pm »

I recently met some one who loves Duelund cast caps. However he says they fail in about a year. He uses them as coupling caps in a 300B amplifier. These might be the most egregious of the business at $185 for a 0.1/630 volt.  http://www.partsconnexion.com/capacitor_film_duelund_pio_electonic.html


Umm, you should check out the price of Duelund silver caps  :o    Fwiw, I agree with you about the ridiculous prices. Jupiter's caps are very reasonable in comparison.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the Jupiter caps after trying them vs some decent MKP or whatever coupling caps you generally use. I would bet you will change your mind about "boutique caps".  :wink:

corndog71

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Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #13 on: 25 Jun 2014, 04:52 pm »
Thank you Steve. I agree and I will always use good reliable parts. The Boutique capacitor market has gotten out of hand in price, reliability and fantastic claims.

Here is an technical argument against them for anyone to use.

1. Since a coupling cap has no signal voltage across it the dielectric absorption makes no difference at all. Low DA is the main claim of sonics.
2. Since a coupling cap conducts virtually no current (typically 1-10 microamps) its series resistance (ESR) and series inductance is of no consequence.
3. As long as there is no DC leakage the materials of the capacitor are of no consequence. We could say the materials are immaterial.
4. I have seen too many Boutique capacitors fail. I presume this is due to the lack experience in small new companies making them.

I recently met some one who loves Duelund cast caps. However he says they fail in about a year. He uses them as coupling caps in a 300B amplifier. These might be the most egregious of the business at $185 for a 0.1/630 volt.  http://www.partsconnexion.com/capacitor_film_duelund_pio_electonic.html

I recently replaced two silver caps with the logo SK where the S was over the K. I cannot find the maker of these caps. They were in the JADIS JA-200 and had shorted. Does anyone know this brand?

Clarity Cap's MR series are based on the premise that "mechanical resonances within a capacitor have a measurable effect on output sound quality." "...the result of which is a capacitor which virtually eliminates internal sonic resonance." 

I don't know.  It makes sense to me that almost every part can have an effect on the output of an audio device.  But I suppose that's my bias showing.  I can concede I'm possibly a victim of placebo effect.  But mechanical resonances are real and measurable.  It's been claimed by some that there are phenomenon that are being perceived by lots of people that we simply haven't figured out how to measure or quantify yet.  Do you guys believe that's possible?

corndog71

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Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #14 on: 25 Jun 2014, 05:49 pm »
A few years ago Danny Richie over in the GR Research circle created an experiment that anyone could test out.  On an inexpensive pair of speakers Danny installed 2 separate crossover boards and made them instantly switchable.  The parts for one crossover were generic parts and the other crossover was made with so-called "boutique" parts of higher quality construction.  Both crossovers have identical measurements and identical measured output from the speaker.  Yet they sound different.  I think he still has them available.

At the very least here's the thread.

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=87808.0

Speedskater

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Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #15 on: 25 Jun 2014, 08:06 pm »
..............................................
 The parts for one crossover were generic parts and the other crossover was made with so-called "boutique" parts of higher quality construction.  Both crossovers have identical measurements and identical measured output from the speaker.  Yet they sound different.  I think he still has them available.
....................................... .....
It takes big expensive machines to make capacitors of the highest quality construction. "boutique" capacitors (unless custom manufactured by a major manufacturer) are seldom of the highest quality construction.

corndog71

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Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #16 on: 25 Jun 2014, 08:17 pm »
It takes big expensive machines to make capacitors of the highest quality construction. "boutique" capacitors (unless custom manufactured by a major manufacturer) are seldom of the highest quality construction.

I guess what is meant by "boutique" parts would be those that aren't cranked out on an industrial scale and have as little effect on the audio signal as possible.  It's not so much that better parts make the sound better so much as mass-produced parts or parts made to meet a spec. have a negative effect on the sound despite meeting their electrical obligations.

I may have lost some respect at this time but so be it.  Hearing differences in components is what got me into this hobby.  I'm always willing to concede that I'm fooling myself.  But I repeat tests and ask other's opinions without expectation or at least as little as possible in order to reduce bias as much as possible. 

Roger A. Modjeski

Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #17 on: 26 Jun 2014, 03:40 pm »
A few years ago Danny Richie over in the GR Research circle created an experiment that anyone could test out.  On an inexpensive pair of speakers Danny installed 2 separate crossover boards and made them instantly switchable.  The parts for one crossover were generic parts and the other crossover was made with so-called "boutique" parts of higher quality construction.  Both crossovers have identical measurements and identical measured output from the speaker.  Yet they sound different.  I think he still has them available.

At the very least here's the thread.

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=87808.0

As I have said many many times. A crossover is one place where caps can make a difference and I do believe anyone who says so.  The problem I see is that audio enthusiasts have taken this to apply to all capacitor applications. Coupling caps in an amplifier are not doing the same thing. They have virtually no current going through them and no voltage drop across them.

The boutique capacitor thing has gone viral. It may never end. Very few designers are willing speak out against it. We have a lot of capacitors being made by companies who have little experience.  The equipment and the materials to make them is very inexpensive. You could start a Boutique cap company in your garage for $10,000 and make $100 caps that have $1 in materials. Snake oil has a long and sordid history.

I ask this question: If resistors made a big difference, and they do, who is going to make Boutique resistors and who is going to put them in? They are much harder to make than capacitors and require far more expensive equipment and difficult processes. Resistors do have some problems not discussed such as drift with temperature, drift with time and voltage coefficient (change in resistance with voltage causing distortion).

In the ESL amps we use a $25 Caddock resistor in the feedback network because it has the lowest voltage coefficient available. There are 4 of these in the amp. They are beautiful with gold plated leads. They are non-inductive. This resistor swings 5000 volts of signal across it and that resistor alone is a major contributor to making the amplifier low distortion. Using a standard resistor would increase the distortion measurably. Of course I could blindly apply this discovery to every resistor in the amps and double the price of this amplifier. I could put them where their exceptional qualities would make no difference. There are some resistors that have no voltage across them and their value can change 100% and not make any difference in how the amp works. There are other resistors that have so little voltage across them that these qualities are vanishingly small. In the OTL-1 the DC considerations are larger than in most amps so I want resistors that won't drift over time so I use the mil-spec Vishays. They cost only ten cents vs 3 cents for common MF resistors. There are about 50 of them. The $25 Caddpcks would make no difference where they are swinging 0-15 volts vs 5,000 volts. They would make a $6,000 difference in the price of this amp. [/b][/b][/b]

In all our amps we use precision metal film resistors with low temp and voltage coefficients. In the OTL-1 we are using all Dale/Vishay mil-spec resistors in the signal path. I know this makes a difference, so this is where I spend the money. Botique caps to the back of the room. :nono:

If you could buy these resistors would you be willing to find the values of 50-100 resistors in your amp and replace them? At what cost? Capacitors are easy to read, they stand out, the new ones are very pretty and usually there are only 4 in a stereo power amp.

We worked on an RM-10 where the coupling caps were replaced by the owner. He thought it sounded great. It came in for another problem which we fixed. When testing the amp on the bench I noticed one channel had high distortion and less than half power. I found one capacitor had been connected to the wrong terminal and one output tube was not being driven at all. The push-pull amp had become single ended in that channel. At very low power the problem was not noticeable but that channel clipped at 3 watts vs 35 watts for the good channel.

I have an additional theory about upgrades. The Audio Enthusiast will spend the most money on the thing that is easiest to replace. Cables, power cords, fuses are easy to upgrade and have little or no risk of harming the equipment.

If I thought Botique caps made my amps sound better why wouldn't I use them. Do you think I do all this work to make a great sounding amp and overlook something like caps?

Roger A. Modjeski

Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #18 on: 26 Jun 2014, 03:47 pm »
It takes big expensive machines to make capacitors of the highest quality construction. "boutique" capacitors (unless custom manufactured by a major manufacturer) are seldom of the highest quality construction.

The machines that wind boutique caps are the same sort of machines that make the industrial ones. They are not big or expensive. The winder is about the size of a sewing machine. I visited Bass Lim's RELIABLE CAPACITOR factory and learned a lot about making caps from him personally. Caps are wound from strips of material that come off big rolls and go on a mandrel. That is the only machine that is involved. That's why you can start making caps for a few thousand $$. What specifically do you know about making capacitors that you would like to share here?

The point I am making is that virtually anyone with decent manual dexterity and a little money can start making caps in their garage, and sadly they are doing just that. With no experience in reliability they are causing a lot of problems. BTW crossover caps are the easiest to make as they have no DC voltage across them. It's virtually impossible for them to short. The boutique caps I have seen fail have several hundred volts across them (yet well less than their rating) and when they fail they take out tubes. When they leak (electrically) they cause bias to rise and run away.

corndog71

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Re: Favorite Coupling Cap Brands and Types
« Reply #19 on: 26 Jun 2014, 04:32 pm »
Coupling caps in an amplifier are not doing the same thing. They have virtually no current going through them and no voltage drop across them.

If I thought Botique caps made my amps sound better why wouldn't I use them. Do you think I do all this work to make a great sounding amp and overlook something like caps?

Does the audio signal pass through a coupling cap? 

Why do I hear changes in sound quality between different caps?