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  1. Today
  2. genek

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    The biggest factors in capacitor longevity are how susceptible their dielectrics are to age and environment and how good a job their encapsulation does of holding back the effects of both. In the case of the Sprague Compulytics and the older oil-filled caps, their heavy-duty cans are as close to being bulletproof as you're going to find (I know from my past day job that some of them were actually designed to be bullet and explosion resistant). So it's pretty easy to see how they've preserved their contents better than wax, paper or plastic. Plastic film is less susceptible to age and environment than impregnated paper and the finished product is more stable and long-lived. But probably more importantly, capacitors using them are less expensive to manufacture and have a lower reject rate. They've dominated the capacitor market in general since the 1980s.
  3. ra.ra

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    About film caps.....yep, I've learned at least this much from you, Roy, and your advocacy for simple and affordable replacement components has greatly helped to shape my own philosophy about sensible vintage speaker restorations. Even more so, my own experiences have confirmed that aged drivers often have significant variation, and I always appreciate when you try to drive this particular issue in these restoration discussions. Aside from this issue of capacitor ESR (re: film vs. NPE), fancy caps alone will never re-establish the diminished performance of an old and fading driver. Not dissimilarly, the adjustable controls require equal scrutiny as critical components in these circuits, and as time marches on, I'll admit that I am finding it harder to maintain confidence with these original AR pots. This is somewhat rhetorical and mostly navel-gazing, but this issue of film capacitor longevity still puzzles me a bit. Even if the robust build quality, physical size, and increased voltage ratings of contemporary film caps far exceeds the dinky little electrolytics found in many vintage speaker crossovers, where is the data to make these kind of blanket statements that seem to have become "conventional wisdom"? Albeit the Sprague Compulytics are not "dinky" or "little", but many of these seem to have retained their original values after nearly fifty (50) years. Comparatively, just where does the timeline begin to show that film caps have superior longevity? Just when did film caps debut in speaker crossovers, and where is the discussion that many (or all?) of them are still consistent performers 50 years hence?
  4. RoyC

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    Agreed, ra.ra. I really don't have a problem with the use of film caps in general, if for no other reason than longevity. The 3a level controls and driver condition are easily the most significant variables. AR pots sometimes vary by as much as 2 ohms. Photos and serial numbers would be helpful. Roy
  5. ra.ra

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    We've all been cooped up with cabin fever all winter, so it's perfectly normal that we emerge from our dens with a little growling feistiness. Your previous projects have been of interest to me, so I want to throw in my $0.02 here. We all love our music, and restoring old speakers can provide great satisfaction and pride of ownership, but ........ at what price? About the capacitors - - - yikes! - - - it is indeed a big, dark, scary world out there. In other threads, I have openly outted myself as something of a cheap b*st*rd within this hobby, so I am very inclined to align myself with your "el cheapo route". Always remind yourself of what was used in the original circuit configuration...... and then ask: Will throwing dollars at your project provide superior results above and beyond the original performance? I cannot be convinced that there is good reason to pay dearly for a 150uF parallel film cap in the woofer circuit; and likewise, spending $100 for special tweeter caps seems to me like chasing unicorns. Do these type of profligate decisions result in excellent performance? Yeah, probably they do. Do they represent prudent cost-benefit choices? Nope, definitely not in my world, but your opinion and situation may be different from mine. Back to the two cents I promised: I have no doubt you'd love these speakers if you used all new electrolytics in your re-cap effort - - just like the original engineers specified. Nonetheless, these 3/4" dome tweeters are known to have diminished output over 45 years, and theoretically it can be argued that using a film cap for this application may provide a slightly increased HF output due to the film cap's lesser resistance. Also, the tweeter caps are small values and will not be costly even if you do purchase a film/poly type. Capacitors are important components in these circuits - - no doubt about that - - but I almost feel like your attention would be better focused on assessing the quality of the aged drivers and those "quite corroded" pots. Woofers might very well benefit from a re-foam or re-doping, and you should confirm that both mids and tweets are properly functioning. At the very least, the pots will require a full cleanse and re-hab. If not restorable, you'll need to find suitable replacement components. How 'bout posting some pics of these TLC 3a's?
  6. Yesterday
  7. RoyC

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    Different drivers, age of drivers, damping material, speaker position, associated electronics, other crossover components, ESR, along with known differences between npe cap and film cap behavior at frequency extremes. Btw, I also agree with Ken regarding crossover capacitor "break -in". It happens in the first few seconds of use. After that your ears are "breaking in" to the new arrangement. The 3a used electrolytic caps. Roy
  8. Stimpy

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    I've recapped several different pairs of AR's, using different brands of capacitors on each. Mainly out of curiosity, to see if I could hear any differences? First off, my AR-1MS small satellite speakers. A small 2 way. I used Dayton 5% film caps, on the woofers and tweeters. They sounded very good afterwards. Somewhat rich and mellow. Good soundstage depth too. But occasionally, a little spitty and sibilant. So, I added some Dayton Film & Foil bypass caps, which cured the issue. Next up, a Craigslist find, a pair of AR58S dome mid 3 ways. Already very nice sounding, even with old stock NPE's. Still, I upgraded using ClarityCap ESA and CSA caps on the dome mids and tweeters. Shunt caps were Bennic electrolytic. The Clarity's took a bit of break in, before settling down. Dark and closed in, in the upper mids at first. Eventually, they opened up. Warm and relaxed, with decent detail. A wide soundstage, but maybe not as deep sounding as the Daytons. Very musical. Finally, my big AR90's. On those, I went all out (for me, at least). I used Mundorf film caps. All the series caps were Mundorf EVO Oils, and on the dome mids and tweeters, I added smaller value Mundorf Supreme caps, where I needed to parallel caps, for the correct values. The lower midrange used all EVO oil. Shunt caps were Axon film too. The 350uF bass cap was a Mundorf E-Cap and an Axon film in parallel. To me, the Mundorf's sounded best of all the caps I tried. Maybe not as warm as the ClarityCaps, but clean, clear, and detailed. Not bright, just very low coloration. Very transparent. Music much more present. More palpable. Even my son commented that the old stock caps sounded distorted, with slight static in the sound, compared to the Mundorf's. The Mundorf's need more break in, but I'm still refinishing the 90's. So, more listening time later. All the film caps sounded good. Much better than worn out electrolytic caps. Though, each did have a different sound signature/flavor. None that I wouldn't use again. Though, I do want to try Audyn caps one day. Maybe if I find a air of AR9's? Oh, much of my professional career was spent in audio mastering. Twenty years prepping master tapes for CD, cassette, LP, and DVD production. Listening all day long, day in, day out, for sonic issues. That definitely teaches you how to listen, and how to notice differences in audio. Hearing differences in the sound of various capacitors wasn't difficult, after that. Finally, all of my AR speakers use the same 0.75" dome tweeters. The 3 ways use the same tweeters and mids. The same gear was used as well. I think that makes my comparisons valid. Hopefully, others will feel the same? No arguments. Just posting my personal findings, from A/B testing. At least I'm happy with my results! P.S. Almost forgot - I just picked up a single AR92, for use as a center speaker. It's been recapped with Mundorf E-Cap NPE's. Sticking closer to stock, as another experiment. So, my front set up is AR58S - AR92 - AR58S. The 58S with film caps, and the 92's with NPE's. And these 3 speakers do not sound alike. Same mids and tweeters, but a very different presentation. I wonder why?
  9. swayzeeee

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    Thanks, Roy. That was the declarative sentence my wallet was hoping for. 😉
  10. RoyC

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    Since this started out as an AR-3a thread, I can tell you Ken recommends npe's for AR-3a's as the safest bet, and, in fact, once sent me a personal message saying he was "surprised" I would recommended film caps for the 3a in a public forum. Bear in mind that the differences between 40+ year old drivers, and variable level resistors such as old pots, in the signal path far supersede armchair opinions of alleged sonic nuances of otherwise identical electrical components. The above quote is misleading, as he was discussing active circuits as well. Ken had a few run-ins with the calibrated-eared boys over in another audio forum. As a co-author of the AR-3a restoration we had a number of conversations with him on this subject. It should be noted that the above had to do with types of capacitors, not brands of capacitors. More than once he reminded us it is best to stick with the same type of replacement capacitor (ie npe, poly, mylar, etc) for a given speaker design, and brand of capacitor was of little consequence. The OP wanted to know if the expense of film capacitors was worth the expense versus non-polar electrolytic capacitors in a pair of AR-3a's. With regard to sound, the simple answer is no. Let's confuse him by warning him off those potentially "horrible" Dayton film capacitors in favor of "warmer" Clarity capacitors. As I said, silly. Roy
  11. JKent

    DIY Supertweeters

    Thank you all for the positive comments! In the first ones I experimented a bit with the values. I had planned to do 1uF and 2uF, like the MicroStatics, but the effect was too much, so I replaced the 2uF with a 0.47uF. But I think the issue wasn't the crossover point, it was the volume. So with the attenuators in place I went back to the 1 & 2uF layout but I adjust the volume for a more subtle enhancement. Nice hefty tweeters but no printing on the backs.
  12. JKent

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    I did 2. For the first I recapped the original boards but for the second, shown in the previous post and now powering my 3a's, I used Musical Concepts http://www.musicaldesign.com/Haf_pwrmods.html I used the PA4 boards because they were on closeout for $209. Now they're up to PA6 so you can get the PA5s at a nice reduction ($279 vs $499 for PA6). The Musical Concepts boards do have DC offset adjustment. There are extensive instructions but I found them somewhat confusing at times. The owner, John Hillig was very helpful when I needed support. I used some parts from ebay seller qua-co (Fantasia Audio) https://www.ebay.com/str/QUA-CO-AUDIO?_trksid=p2047675.l2563 He's a former Hafler employee, located here in NJ. For the first one I used his Hafler 200 semiconductor repair kit, inrush limiter, and bridge rectifier. I bought new caps for the boards as well as the big 22000uF caps from Mouser. Added new gold RCA jacks and binding posts. I see qua-co now has "HIGH END AUDIOPHILE UPGRADE KIT TOSHIBA JFET CASCODE TOPOLOGY" for the 200 AND for the 500. Those may be a good alternative to the Musical Concepts boards. They're $249 OBO (!) and include RCAs and binding posts. If I were doing it again I'd buy the big output caps from him too (I think his price is about the same as Mouser). I have NO connection with qua-co, just a satisfied customer. The seller, Ed Fantasia is a good guy and provides fast email support. Kent
  13. Stimpy

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    I've never tried the Vishay bypass caps. I'd like to, but I have extra Dayton F&F caps around. Some of those Russian PIO caps too. Once they're used up, I'll order some. Care to share details on the Hafler refresh? I have a DH500 that needs to be recapped. I'll probably rebuild the driver boards, with one of the kits from eBay. Do the transistors, since there's no DC Offset on my PC10 boards. I can handle those mods without issue. Too color blind to get crazy with changing resistors. Yea, I miss Carl as well. I was talking about him last night, when this thread started blowing up. But, everyone has been civilized, which is great. Everyone just sharing ideas and opinions. Nothing wrong there.
  14. JKent

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    Amen to that. And it's fun to experiment. I'll admit to using bypass caps in several applications even though I don't believe I hear any difference. The vishay roederstein mkp1837 or Russian PIOs only cost about a buck apiece, so why not? I even "cascaded" some bypass caps on a recent Hafler 200 rebuild (shown below--that's a 22000uF Nichicon 'lytic, 10uF film, 1uF PIO and 0.01uF mkp1837). And I may try those Mundorf E-caps. But there's a point of diminishing returns that each must decide on for himself. When I see 1uF caps "sale" priced at $107 (marked down from $214) I gotta wonder. But I have the same attitude about cables. Dirt-cheap no-name cables are questionable but Monoprice has good cables, cheap. BlueJeansCable has very good cables for a little more. Beyond that, IIMHO (and YYMV) it's a waste of money that could be spent on music. Remeber what Carl used to say: "It's all about the music."
  15. ra.ra

    DIY Supertweeters

    Really great work - - - what an enjoyable project! So if I understand correctly, in these two latest examples, you've basically doubled the value of the caps from your first effort, added the rotary control, and changed the rear wire terminals. Can you describe your impressions of these latest revisions? And, do you have any pics of the backside of the tweeter?
  16. Stimpy

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    I don't think it was opening a "can of worms ". I think it's nice to know there are choices. Spend a little, or spend a little more. Nothing wrong with either approach. When I spend "a little more", it's usually on the series capacitors, directly in line with the drivers. I feel using better caps there benefits most on the extra expense. Parallel caps and shunt caps the get get the cheaper NPE's. To me, I wanted to spend for a boutique capacitor (there, I said it). I felt they were worth it, as I feel my Vertical Series AR's have high enough resolution to highlight the differences. Not everyone feels the need. But, regardless, I can hear the differences in A/B comparisons. As such, I'm happy with my recaps. That's what counts.
  17. JKent

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    Yes. You did 😉
  18. Aadams

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    More like a "Magic Eight Ball" capacitor fantasy hotline.
  19. swayzeeee

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    I really opened up a can of worms, didn't I? Thanks everyone... lot's to think about.
  20. ligs

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    Theoretically, you can connect two 300 uf/200v Sprague electrolytic capacitor in series (- to -)and make it a 150 uf /400v high power non-polar capacitor. https://www.ebay.com/itm/SPRAGUE-300uF-200V-POWERLYTIC-Aluminum-Capacitor-4-pieces/172799178449?hash=item283ba236d1:g:bLQAAOSwcYxZkKUq&frcectupt=true I wonder if someone tried it before?
  21. mikethetike

    ADS L1590

    Yes ADS speakers are very dear to a lot of peeps. This is the 2nd forum that is still going for more than a decade????? Wow So the debate is centering on 980 versus 1590. I have the 980, LOVE em, and over time have acquired 2 pristine 980 12" woofers. Question: should I copy the 1590 format, 2 woofer towers, or use the extra 12"ers as subs. I am not a fan of pounding bass but I have the Marantz LFC that is designed to soften sub pounding, "be a good neighbor". I haven't heard the 1590's yet but due to selling our house and now in a smaller townhome I am listening to 2 sets of Braun 715's. There is bass in this set up, oh yah, and I use the LFC to tame the booming. My present power amp is a Butler Audio TDB 5150. I also have a pairs of Braun LS120, ADSL8e's, SAT6's 400e's and I hope to pair my 980's in some kind of combo with some of that I own.
  22. DavidR

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    That's a parallel cap and the frequencies are shunted to ground. You really shouldn't 'hear' it. I too use Daytons in that position. Let us know about the Jantzen Superior cap.
  23. DavidR

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    I have no issue with anyone using Dayton caps or whatever cap they want. They simply did not work out in my 91's as a series cap for me. I was never able to listen to them for much more than 20 minutes with the Daytons when listener fatigue would really get under my skin. An A/B test with one having the Clarity caps and my son and I could hear a difference. The Dayton exhibited glare and brightness/white noise. I'm quite happy with the Clarity. I used NPE (Mundorf ECap and Bennic) in my 10Pi and they sound every bit as good as the 91's but I did use Vishay 1837 0.01uF film bypass caps on the two series caps.
  24. Stimpy

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    One other thing. I do agree with DavidR, as I feel ClarityCaps are a step up from Solen or Dayton film. Those two are good caps, but the Clarity CSA & ESA caps were better. I also felt Mundorf EVO Oil caps were very good too. I found that ClarityCaps had a warmer sound, where the Mundorf EVO Oils were more open and transparent. Regardless, any brand of new poly caps will be an improvement over stock. Heck, new NPE's will be an improvement over stock. Don't worry too much, and just have fun.
  25. Stimpy

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    Mundorf makes an EVO Aluminum poly cap in the 150uF value. Not cheap, but Parts Connexion is having a 25% off sale, which helps a little. Though, to be honest, I'd recommend a Mundorf E-Cap 150 NPE. Just a bit cheaper! But I would try and use poly caps for the 50uF and the 6uF. Maybe get those at Parts Connexion too, to take advantage of the sale?
  26. Last week
  27. Stimpy

    Ar-3a Capacitor Advice

    Say it ain't so..? Oh, let me know how you like the Jantzen Superior Caps? I've never tried any Jantzen caps. Curious as to how they sound?
  28. newandold

    Where can I get a replacement for Allison CD-6 Tweeter

    The Allison 5 and Allison 7 pre-date the CD series, but all of them are 2 way 4” tweets that fit and work like the originals. There are more... The AL 110, 115 and AL 120 additionally
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