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JKent

Caps: jawdropping improvement in sound (not)

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I was browsing the 'net looking for info on a particular Cornell-Dubilier product and found this: http://www.planetz.com/?p=652

The guitarist plays a number of riffs, over and over, substituting different types of caps to reveal the differences in tone.

Now I don't have golden ears, and I am listening through some crappy computer speakers so maybe that nullifies the whole thing, but as far as I can tell there is NO difference whatsoever among the various caps.

The performer, who is after all hearing it "live" concludes there may be some differences but they are "subtle".

So give me the Madisound surplus caps, Carlis and Erse PEX. I'll save my money for recordings or more gear!

Just my rant o' the day ;)

Kent

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Fascinating! Yet another entry into a long-standing argument, but this one is very misleading. This is a guitar circuit. That means he added the caps to the actual guitar head tone circuit THEN ran them through the amp. I am suspicious when he talks about a "Mallard" cap. It's Mullard.

As folks have written about too much, it all depends on the circuit. First, he is using an Epiphone buitar (that has certain sound qualities). He says absolutely nothing about the pickup or the strings which are crucial. The amp is a Vox, (a tube amp) which also has certain characteristics. He says nothing about the speaker in the Vox, nor the settings he is using. I also would like to know about the wiring of his little "black box" that he uses for testing. Any or all of these could make a huge difference. The bottom line is that this is not a speaker circuit.

Finally, all he does is play a few very quick chords, most in the same frequency range--no deep bass, no high treble, no vibrato, etc. That's like comparing a Ferarri to a Yugo by driving it at a constant 30 miles an hour for five seconds.

What I found curious is that the caps he is using are relatively similar in terms of cost, etc. He is also running new Orange Drops against some caos he says he happened to have around. How long they have been there we don't know or under what conditions. There is a loooooong argument in guitar forums about using Orange Drops and this strikes me as a presentation set up to show Orange Drops are not that bad. Power amp people argue about teflon and paper in oil.

As people in the AR forum have pointed out the caps in the same price range used in AR 3s do not seem to make a huge difference. I have neither the cash nor the insanity to try the expensive boutique caps in speakers so cannot comment on them. Plus, if I spend over $100 each on caps I better hear a difference.

Rebuilding old amps, however, I have noticed that depending on where they are in a circuit caps can make a huge difference. German Mundorfs will run about 10X (about $30-40 on sale for a 1uf) more than an Orange Drop, but the difference is noticeable. But speaker circuits are not amp circuits or guitar circuits.

Carl's thread in another part of this forum is about the best I have seen on cap comparisons because he actually has some really nice data. The funniest ones are the online cap tests that sound like wine tastings.

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I am suspicious when he talks about a "Mallard" cap. It's Mullard.

First, he is using an Epiphone buitar

Hey--if you can call a guitar a "buitar" cut him some slack on the "Mallards." :D:lol: :lol:

We all make typos.

Kent

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Hi there

I've been waiting for one main members opinion of speaker crossover caps.

He has been involved in several classic speaker designs during his life.

I value his input as, having been there, done that.

The main man is of course is the well known and respected, Ken Kantor.

Ken may too busy with large projects and his life enjoyments but his comments would be extremely valuable to everyone here.

He has faced cost in designs and surely he will have some interesting feedback if he has time to write here.

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Hi there

I've been waiting for one main members opinion of speaker crossover caps.

He has been involved in several classic speaker designs during his life.

I value his input as, having been there, done that.

The main man is of course is the well known and respected, Ken Kantor.

Ken may too busy with large projects and his life enjoyments but his comments would be extremely valuable to everyone here.

He has faced cost in designs and surely he will have some interesting feedback if he has time to write here.

Vern:

Ken had his say on the subject of caps quite some time ago. Download this article he wrote and enjoy...

www.kenkantor.com/publications/audio_fetishes/fetish_part_02.pdf

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Thank you Carlspeak I dropped this link to Ken Kantor's Audio Fetishes article in on a long standing flame war over at the Polk Audio Forum concerning cables and such. The true believers dismissed me because I am a musician, and have been for 50 or so years, something about not being objective!? because I am a musician, ah what! I challenged them to nay-say this Papal Bull from the Speaker God Ken Kantor. I expect to hear screaming any time now :rolleyes::P :P :P:lol::D

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I am a musician, and have been for 50 or so years

Years ago, when I used to read "audiophile" publications, the common wisdom was that professional musicians tend not to be audiophiles and tend not to have high-end systems. Aside from the fact that professional musicians tend to be under-paid and probably spend their money on things like food and rent, I have another theory that I'd like to run past you. I think pros understand that nothing can replace the live music experience but their knowledge of how the music sounds live allows them to "fill in the blanks" on recorded music. I imagine a musician could listen to music on a transistor radio but still "hear" everything in his head.

Agree? Or am I full of bull?

Kent

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There may be something in this. I do have a head full of musical recordings. I think is it more a deal of, yes it sounds like crap but I don't care I know what it is supposed to sound like. However when we do concentrate on the sound its self we can discriminate quiet well. One of the better ways of evaluating a system is to listen to individual instruments. An example would be the subtle differences in the sounds of a silver, gold, and platinum flute. It cannot be described but pointed out. Or the more obvious difference between a small and larger bore (Tenor) trombone I once had a beautiful Bach small bore (.450") Trombone which I had fun playing the music of Glenn Miller. This is one of those areas that where we who play this music nit-pick; playing a large bore trombone, grrr, even worse a trigger trombone.....get a rope. So if we stop being lazy we can hear the difference. As for the ultimate single instrument for testing a sound system there is nothing better then a large Wurlitzer theater (Pipe) Organ, stupendous sound, even more difficult then a church organ to reproduce because of all of the bells and whistles ( a term coined for the Wurlitzer). My mother can remember as a child in the late 1930's watching and hearing the performances of Wurlitzers. She described one an Art-Deco styled 4 rank console raising up onto the stage on hydraulics while the organist was making the earth move.

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On 4/21/2012 at 3:32 PM, JKent said:

Hey--if you can call a guitar a "buitar" cut him some slack on the "Mallards." :D:lol::lol:

We all make typos.

Kent

Hahahaha!

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On 5/18/2012 at 5:33 AM, JKent said:

 I imagine a musician could listen to music on a transistor radio but still "hear" everything in his head.

Agree? Or am I full of bull?

Kent

Spot on. I have musician friends and recording engineer friends and this is the difference between them!

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On ‎5‎/‎18‎/‎2012 at 1:52 AM, Transmaster said:

One of the better ways of evaluating a system is to listen to individual instruments. An example would be the subtle differences in the sounds of a silver, gold, and platinum flute. It cannot be described but pointed out. Or the more obvious difference between a small and larger bore (Tenor) trombone I once had a beautiful Bach small bore (.450") Trombone which I had fun playing the music of Glenn Miller. This is one of those areas that where we who play this music nit-pick; playing a large bore trombone, grrr, even worse a trigger trombone.....get a rope. So if we stop being lazy we can hear the difference

Transmaster you seem to have an ear for timbre and are one of only three I have seen mention it on the forum.    Is there a loudspeaker from which you personally have heard the difference between precious metal flutes or a Strad vs Guanari vs "good modern" or even violin and viola in their shared range?  My prejudices say no for loudspeakers but possibly yes for headphones and even then only if the instruments are solo and meticulously recorded.   What is your experience?.  There is no passion here just a question.

Aadams

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Yes you can here the difference with modern speakers. But first you have to listen to examples of such instruments. The difference is very subtle and impossiable to describe. A good example would be James Galway.  Galway really pioneered the use of the Golden Flute.   He plays both silver and gold flutes so you can listen to him playing both instruments. . Generally the Gold flute has a more rounded sound then a silver flute. Sliver flute have a subtly sharper sound. The small number of Platnium flutes in the world have an even more rounded sound then the Golden one. Another area to compare is Saxophones. with a traditional Lacquer finish, or without.  An unfinished Saxophone has a brighter sound then a finished one. 

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19 hours ago, Transmaster said:

Yes you can here the difference with modern speakers.

Which modern loudspeakers? 

It seems like it requires a highly experienced and trained ear or an ear with perfect pitch for a listener to hear timber differences between professional grade instruments that have identical shape but of different materials.  I know the performer can hear the difference but could a listener consistently choose between them in a double blind test----  In your opinion?

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I have had more than a few "I can tell a definite difference/improvement/wow, that's VERY nice" experiences with caps (like the improved inner detail and clarity you get with replacing old film types with new as well as by-passing) but have never ever had a "jaw dropping" one (by changing any cap that was working properly in the first place)

and I have installed, changed and serviced a LOT of capacitors

(electrolytic maintenance jobs and just plain open circuit or MASSIVE drifts off value notwithstanding)

Real, definite and significant (sometimes) improvements, but again, never a "jaw dropping" one

I think those only occur between the pages of sterephool and some folks' ears : - )

Craig

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