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

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Chris Adams

Jon, I have an FT-1 .01 and an FT-3 .1 burning in on the Thetas in the B1. A bit brash and strident at the moment. I'll let them burn a while and report back. Thanks for the tip on these! :D

BobM

I have to say that I've been using the Russian FT-3 .1uF Teflon's as bypasses in my speaker's tweeter section. They increased the level of transparency to truly window-clear levels on my speakers. But about 3-4 months ago I thought I heard some hardness when playing a classical piece. The strings were just steely.

So I recently had a chance to pick up some used .1uF V-Cap teflon's (someone I know upgraded to the new copper/teflons) and put them in the crossover to replace the Russians. It took a while to settle in, but I can noticeably hear that the top end has smoothed out while still retaining that spectacular soundstaging and transparency. So as good as those Russians are for the price, they can be a tad brittle compared to the V-Cap's.

Enjoy,
Bob
« Last Edit: 7 Sep 2010, 05:32 pm by BobM »

Jon L

I have to say that I've been using the Russian .1uF Teflon's as bypasses

One should always play with teflon with caution.  Which Russian teflon did you use? K72, FT1,2, 3, or?

BobM

The lifesaver pack sized FT-3's

madisonears

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Bob M,

What does the "someone you know" think of the upgrade to the V-cap teflon/copper?

BobM

Without a direct A-B comparison it would be truly hard to tell for sure, but they are saying it has the same sense of transparency but could ("could") be just a tad warmer sounding. Kind of like copper vs silver wire, but not as drastic a difference as all that. Subtle.

DNArtist

I have a quick question for a capacitor experts, and this seems like a good place to start
BTW, if this Q really deserves it's own separate thread, or should be brought up elsewhere, just let me know and I'll do as advised.
I own two Kinergetics Chiro C-500 5-channel solid state amps (140Wx5 into 8ohms, 280x5 into 4 ohms), identical (as far as I can tell) except for the caps.

Amp A has two huge gray Philips caps, each the size of a 20oz. coke bottle (I'll try to add pics)
with stamps reading
Philips 3186 GH 213 V 100 A L A1
21,000uF 10+100%
100vDC 125Surge
85C Max Ambient
362-9110-56699

The other amp has two smaller blue caps, about the size of a yogurt container, stamped
Philips 3186 GH 213 U 075 B M A1
20,000uF -10+75%
75vDC 95 surge
85C Max Ambient
362-9527-56699
*note, these blue caps have a slight indentation "collar" around them near the end where the bolts are. I can't tell if these were made by the ties that firmly held them to floor of the amp, or if its part of their design.

My Question is... is there a significant performance difference to be expected from these different pairs of caps? If so, in what contexts? And "how much" diff, enough to hold onto one, rather than the other, to "futureproof" against possible aquisition of demanding speakers?

 I have a strong background in lab science (not electrical, though) so I know better than to make shallow assumptions like "bigger is better". I understand there can be factors like insulation type, build material, age etc.

Haven't had time yet to do an A/B subjective listening test, BTW... just looking to get some good objective info in the meantime.

Amp A





AMP B










Bill Baker

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This is obviously a personal opinion but I have never been a fan of Philips caps. Granted these values are much larger than what I usually play with so I cannot say what the alternatives would be.
 Another option would be to experiment with some good film bypass caps on the. Given the value, I would try to fit in the largest value possible. Be sure the voltage on the bypass caps is at least that of the caps shown. You can go higher but don't go lower in voltage. Looks like you should be able to fit a couple 20uF Solen caps in there. Then a 2uF along with it. They are rated for 400V and available from Madisound. Don't laugh, the Solen caps make for a very nice power supply and won't cost you an arm and a leg. Just don't use them in the signal path :nono:

My guess is you would notice a nice difference (for the better) in the amp.


kingnubian

Excellent thread!

This thread has my head spinning......................in a good way.

I've just received my Naked Vishay resistors as part of my first build, the Pass B1 & have been constantly reading about different caps. I am looking for a affordable yet great performing cap. Given the virtues of the B1, low cost & excellent performance, I really can't commit to spending many time the cost of the B1's other components combined in caps....................not at this time at least.

Lots of the different "Boutique" caps discussed do come with a high price, relatively speaking. Some like the Sonicaps have a reasonable price for what they offer performance wise.

I have been looking at these three contenders for inclusion in my Pass B1 (2x 10uf & 2x 1uf) and would like some feedback, Comparisons & Observations.

Sonicap Gen 1
Obbligato (Gold Premium or Copper)
Vintage Audio Lab PIO (http://cgi.ebay.ca/Metalized-Polypropylene-Capacitor-10uf-100V-PIO-OIL-/270627396289?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item3f02a65ac1#ht_2694wt_911)


Jon L

Excellent thread!

This thread has my head spinning......................in a good way.

I've just received my Naked Vishay resistors as part of my first build, the Pass B1 & have been constantly reading about different caps...

Sonicap Gen 1
Obbligato (Gold Premium or Copper)
Vintage Audio Lab PIO (http://cgi.ebay.ca/Metalized-Polypropylene-Capacitor-10uf-100V-PIO-OIL-/270627396289?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item3f02a65ac1#ht_2694wt_911)

Personally, in the spirit of B-1 (simple, straight-wire sonics), I would not go with PIO's in general unless at the end, you feel like you need to "add" a little of that oil texturing and warmth.  AmpOhm oils caps would be nice but that 10uF is going to be HUGE in size. 

I had Jantzen Superior Z caps in my Pass B-1 and replaced with Penta Labs teflons (1uF), and while the Penta is very nice, the Jantzen is actually a GREAT polyprop cap and reasonably-priced.  I like Dynamicaps very much also. 

Jon L

Without a direct A-B comparison it would be truly hard to tell for sure, but they are saying it has the same sense of transparency but could ("could") be just a tad warmer sounding. Kind of like copper vs silver wire, but not as drastic a difference as all that. Subtle.

Hmm, interesting.  I have done the direct A-B, and the VCap teflon/copper and teflon/tin sound quite different to me, not subtle at all  :green:

wushuliu

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Personally, in the spirit of B-1 (simple, straight-wire sonics), I would not go with PIO's in general unless at the end, you feel like you need to "add" a little of that oil texturing and warmth.  AmpOhm oils caps would be nice but that 10uF is going to be HUGE in size. 

I had Jantzen Superior Z caps in my Pass B-1 and replaced with Penta Labs teflons (1uF), and while the Penta is very nice, the Jantzen is actually a GREAT polyprop cap and reasonably-priced.  I like Dynamicaps very much also.

Agree w/ Jantzen superior. They have a lot of snap.

wushuliu

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Excellent thread!

This thread has my head spinning......................in a good way.

I've just received my Naked Vishay resistors as part of my first build, the Pass B1 & have been constantly reading about different caps. I am looking for a affordable yet great performing cap. Given the virtues of the B1, low cost & excellent performance, I really can't commit to spending many time the cost of the B1's other components combined in caps....................not at this time at least.

Lots of the different "Boutique" caps discussed do come with a high price, relatively speaking. Some like the Sonicaps have a reasonable price for what they offer performance wise.

I have been looking at these three contenders for inclusion in my Pass B1 (2x 10uf & 2x 1uf) and would like some feedback, Comparisons & Observations.

Sonicap Gen 1
Obbligato (Gold Premium or Copper)
Vintage Audio Lab PIO (http://cgi.ebay.ca/Metalized-Polypropylene-Capacitor-10uf-100V-PIO-OIL-/270627396289?pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item3f02a65ac1#ht_2694wt_911)

One thing to consider is that you may not want all the B1 caps to be the same type. It can be too much of a good thing. As Jon mentioned, the Jantzen superior are terrific - neutral with a lot of snap in the top end. My personal favorites are the Russian K73-16, which I find to have equal if not better performance at a much cheaper cost.

I'm confused by the Valab. Is it oil impregnated MKP? The actual body of the page doesn't mention anything about oil at all...

kingnubian

Personally, in the spirit of B-1 (simple, straight-wire sonics), I would not go with PIO's in general unless at the end, you feel like you need to "add" a little of that oil texturing and warmth.  AmpOhm oils caps would be nice but that 10uF is going to be HUGE in size. 

I had Jantzen Superior Z caps in my Pass B-1 and replaced with Penta Labs teflons (1uF), and while the Penta is very nice, the Jantzen is actually a GREAT polyprop cap and reasonably-priced.  I like Dynamicaps very much also.

Thanks for the great info!

The Obbligato Premium are Film (Dry Aluminum) & not "In Oil" as their other line & are thought of very highly at respected cap review's such as http://www.humblehomemadehifi.com/Cap.html rating even higher than the Sonicap Gen 1's I was looking at previously. They are also sold in matched pairs, within 1% as indicated by the seller.

Btw, I'm looking for 2x 1uf & 2x 10uf caps for the B1 as listed in it's BoM.

I have been reading tons about the various Russian Caps which can be had for remarkably low prices but can't seem to find them in the ratings that I'm after, see above, such as the K73-16 mentioned. Please advise of availability unless these are what you are talking about.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Russian-K73-16-PETP-Capacitor-22uF-5-63V-Lot-48-/250699036049#ht_882wt_911

Mixing & matching also has my interest. Could I for instance mix the Obbligato Premium (10uf) with the Jantzen Superior Z 1uf (http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=027-476) based on the B1's BoM.?I'm trying to get a good balance between clean accurate analytic & "Analogue smooth & deep" open clarity.


I'm just trying to get a feel for what's out there in the price range I'm looking at.

wushuliu

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Thanks for the great info!

The Obbligato Premium are Film (Dry Aluminum) & not "In Oil" as their other line & are thought of very highly at respected cap review's such as http://www.humblehomemadehifi.com/Cap.html rating even higher than the Sonicap Gen 1's I was looking at previously. They are also sold in matched pairs, within 1% as indicated by the seller.

Btw, I'm looking for 2x 1uf & 2x 10uf caps for the B1 as listed in it's BoM.

I have been reading tons about the various Russian Caps which can be had for remarkably low prices but can't seem to find them in the ratings that I'm after, see above, such as the K73-16 mentioned. Please advise of availability unless these are what you are talking about.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Russian-K73-16-PETP-Capacitor-22uF-5-63V-Lot-48-/250699036049#ht_882wt_911

Mixing & matching also has my interest. Could I for instance mix the Obbligato Premium (10uf) with the Jantzen Superior Z 1uf (http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=027-476) based on the B1's BoM.?I'm trying to get a good balance between clean accurate analytic & "Analogue smooth & deep" open clarity.


I'm just trying to get a feel for what's out there in the price range I'm looking at.

The 63v K73 will be fine for the B1. Not sure what your price range is, but Clarity Cap ESAs are another good option, but it seems like the Obbligatos may be your safest bet.

kingnubian

The 63v K73 will be fine for the B1. Not sure what your price range is, but Clarity Cap ESAs are another good option, but it seems like the Obbligatos may be your safest bet.

What are the possibly issues with going off spec, with respect to the B1 build or any other for example, with caps? For example the B1 BoM calls for 2x 1uf & 2x10 uf. How far off this can I go without affecting audio quality if it will at all?

Btw, I found these. Wonder how they will "Mix" with Jantzen Superior Z's or Obbligato Premium's (1uf)?
http://cgi.ebay.com/10uF-63V-PETP-Capacitors-K73-16-Lot-10-/160471063880?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item255cd21d48#ht_949wt_911

wushuliu

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What are the possibly issues with going off spec, with respect to the B1 build or any other for example, with caps? For example the B1 BoM calls for 2x 1uf & 2x10 uf. How far off this can I go without affecting audio quality if it will at all?

Btw, I found these. Wonder how they will "Mix" with Jantzen Superior Z's or Obbligato Premium's (1uf)?
http://cgi.ebay.com/10uF-63V-PETP-Capacitors-K73-16-Lot-10-/160471063880?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item255cd21d48#ht_949wt_911

Changing the caps in the B1 will affect Low pass filter I believe. Best to stick to the recommended values.

I love those PETP caps, but there's no way to know what any cap will do for you until you try it I'm afraid.

poseidonsvoice

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Changing the caps in the B1 will affect Low pass filter I believe. Best to stick to the recommended values.

I love those PETP caps, but there's no way to know what any cap will do for you until you try it I'm afraid.

Good for you wushuliu!

It's not an I believe, it is absolutely true! Changing the output filter capacitor in particular will change the low pass filter. So will the output resistor and so will the impedance of the amp you are driving. In other words, NP assumed that the lowest impedance amplifier the B1 would have to drive is about 10K ohms. If it is higher then you can use a smaller value for the output capacitor. The equation is 1/2(pi)(f)(r)(c), where pi = 3.14159..., f= the lowest frequency you want, i.e. 1Hz, 5Hz, 10Hz, etc..., r = the TOTAL resistance which incorporates not only the output resistance value, but the input impedance of the power amp, and the resistances that are in parallel (like the 221K resistor that goes to ground), and c is the value that you are looking for, i.e. the value of the capacitor in question. So if you don't understand how 1/2pi(f)(r)(c) can change the frequency response curve of the B1, best not to do it without some hand holding  :thumb:. Sorry for the off topic, really belongs in the lab!

Anand.

kingnubian

Changing the caps in the B1 will affect Low pass filter I believe. Best to stick to the recommended values.

I love those PETP caps, but there's no way to know what any cap will do for you until you try it I'm afraid.

I just ordered the 1uf & 10uf variants of those K73-16 PETP caps. After reading a ton of opinions from different sources and looking at the ridiculously low price I had to make a move.

wushuliu

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Good for you wushuliu!

It's not an I believe, it is absolutely true! Changing the output filter capacitor in particular will change the low pass filter. So will the output resistor and so will the impedance of the amp you are driving. In other words, NP assumed that the lowest impedance amplifier the B1 would have to drive is about 10K ohms. If it is higher then you can use a smaller value for the output capacitor. The equation is 1/2(pi)(f)(r)(c), where pi = 3.14159..., f= the lowest frequency you want, i.e. 1Hz, 5Hz, 10Hz, etc..., r = the TOTAL resistance which incorporates not only the output resistance value, but the input impedance of the power amp, and the resistances that are in parallel (like the 221K resistor that goes to ground), and c is the value that you are looking for, i.e. the value of the capacitor in question. So if you don't understand how 1/2pi(f)(r)(c) can change the frequency response curve of the B1, best not to do it without some hand holding  :thumb:. Sorry for the off topic, really belongs in the lab!

Anand.

Yeah. What he said!  :lol:

I still want to know what the deal is w/ the Valab caps though, if they're really PIO or not.