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DavidDru

AR9's - Let's Shop for a Recap

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Now that I have all the drivers up to par on my AR9's I want to start focusing in on the caps.  The speakers do sound great as is but the caps are all the original callins with the 5 of the lower values being the black and reds.  Also, the exterior condition of the speakers (pretty rough) suggest to me that these may have gone thru some heavy and potentially abusive use along the way.

I initially would like to only replace the upper range caps, but do plan on measuring the others (all the metal case ones) to make sure they are on par with spec.  I may even take them into my tech for thorough testing of the 3 measurements.  I have a DMM that I can test the capacitance with for an initial test.

Of course pricing on caps can get out of control quickly and I do not intend to spend a lot, but do think the mighty AR9's are worthy of doing what's right.

So this leaves us with cap values of 4, 6, 8, 24 and 40.  One in each speaker.  I have checked some of the usual sources and thus far have the following options:

Started with least expensive options(for both speakers):

Erse MPX 250v -

3.9uf(2), 6.0 (2), 8.2(2), 24(2), and 39 (2) = $50.02 (Surprisingly cheap)

Parts Express

Solen 400v

3.9uf(2), 3.0(4), 8.2(2), 24(2), and 20(4) = $100.62

Dayton PMPC -250v

4uf(6), 3(4), 12(4), and 40(2) = $126.80 

Madisound

Claritycap PX

3.9uf(2), 6.0(2), 8.2(2), 12(2), and 39(2) = $122.40

Step up in $ :

Claritycap ESA

3.9uf(2), 3.0(4), 8.2(2), 25(2), and 39(2) = $216.40

Mundorf EVO Aluminum Oil

3.9uf(2), 2.7+3.3(2), 8.2(2), 22+2.2(2), ad 33+6.(2) = $321.04

(a little less for the non oil version of the EVO)

 

Things get quickly out of control beyond what I went to with the Mundorfs it seems.

 

What do you guys think?  Anybody use these in this application?

Any others I should line up?

Maybe an option would be to go with the nice EVO Aluminum oils on the 4 and 6 only and a less expensive option on the 8, 24 and 40?

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If you are looking at Madisound, I'm curious why you have not considered the selection of Carli caps. It looks like you could do both speakers for just under $50, they are rated at 150V and therefore much smaller physically, and only the 3.9uF value will not hit your exact target value of 4.0. I have to guess that for some reason you may have an objection to using polyester as the dielectric material rather than polypropylene used in the other caps, but this thought is only speculation. Have you looked at these?.....they get very positive reviews from many members here.  

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I agree re Carli caps but let me throw you a curve:

http://tubes-store.com/index.php?cPath=35_41_64&page=2

They sell Russian stuff. I've bought vacuum tubes and paper-in-oil caps. The only downside is the $30 shipping charge so it only makes sense if you have a big order. The other problem is they run out of stuff. They had 6BM8/ECL82 tubes for $5 each (they're over $20 at Antique Electronic Supply) but although I had bought 50, when I noticed they only had 20 left (and the price had gone up to $6) I bought the rest.

The PIO caps are bipolar and I've used some of the small values in my radio restorations. Don't know if they have the values you need. They also have other caps (Teflon, PETP, others) and I've found them to be quick to ship (it still takes a while to make it out of Russia but they provide tracking) and they will answer inquiries.

-Kent

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52 minutes ago, DavidDru said:

Maybe an option would be to go with the nice EVO Aluminum oils on the 4 and 6 only and a less expensive option on the 8, 24 and 40?

That is my current strategy ... dial in the 4 by adding a 0.1 ;)

Roger

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Good catch on the Carli option RaRa.  Here it is.

Carli MET 150V

3.9(2), 2.7+3.3(2), 8(2), 12(4), and 20(4) = $49.40 

JKent, I'll check that out.  Has not been much discussion that I have found on oil caps in th AR9's.  I have some big old russian ones going into some Wharfedales!  Folks are talking up those EVO Aluminum oils.  Don't know if that's the same things though.

Roger, must be the west coast air we live in adding to the East coast sound!  I just don't know if those are best applied to the tweeters or better suited to smoothing of the mid range.

 

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The Russkie caps:

Quote

 [PIO] The conductor is made of aluminum foil and the dielectric is oil saturated paper, glass sealed in a metal body.

or

Quote

PLIO (combined paper / lavsan in oil) capacitors made for military and using a dual dielectric technology. The hybrid dielectric contains both paper and polyethylene-terephtalate. Is oil saturated paper, glass sealed in a metal body. Known as Hi-End quality for audio applications.

Don't know how the EVO Oil caps are built. All I find is 

Quote

"The MCap EVO Oil combines the MCap EVO's sound characteristic in a perfect way with the acoustical advantages of oil impregnated capacitors. Furthermore, its additional wrapping as well as its imprint in red-metallic impart an appropriate quality look and haptic."

Just my opinion, but if their selling point is a "quality haptic" I'd say they're selling snake oil. Oh! Maybe that's the kind of oil they use :D

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20 minutes ago, DavidDru said:

Roger, must be the west coast air we live in adding to the East coast sound!  I just don't know if those are best applied to the tweeters or better suited to smoothing of the mid range.

David, we don't have all that sound-deadening humidity in the air out here that they have back east in Sherwood forest, hence, any speaker played out here automatically has a more Bacchanalian quality.

I A/B'd the Mundorf's against the Carli's in the AR-58s speakers that I am working on while not expecting much. To my surprise they sounded cleaner with more articulate highs. These use AR-9 era drivers. I didn't finish the experiment though as the 3a/58 project interjected itself. It was a whim on my part as normally I would have just gone with the Carli caps.

Using the evo's on the series caps doesn't cost that much extra. The ones I tried out came from amplifier_surgery on the auction site.

Roger

 

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I've had very good results on various AR-9 re-caps with both the Dayton brand, and Solen.

Years ago, I was lucky enough to stumble across surplus Sprague Compulytics at Herbach & Rademan's outlet in Philly. These worked great in the woofer section of the AR-9, and looking back I wish I'd bought more than I needed at the time. I can also report fine results from the Erse NPE large-value caps, as well as their Pulse X and PEx caps in various projects.

Just my two cents, but if I was going to experiment with more expensive caps like the Mundorf, I'd be inclined to first include them in the 8" lower and dome midrange circuits, and then the tweeter's, and finally the woofer circuit.

It's hard to imagine how any of these choices wouldn't be better than the cheap caps that AR originally used. I'm in the process of removing sloppily-glued coils from an AR-91 crossover, and the poor quality of workmanship and attention to detail in assembly is a sort of testimonial to what you can get away with and still have a working loudspeaker. I'm guessing whatever changes you make will result in a much better AR-9, David. ^_^

 

 

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34 minutes ago, ar_pro said:

 

 

...................................... I'm in the process of removing sloppily-glued coils from an AR-91 crossover, and the poor quality of workmanship and attention to detail in assembly is a sort of testimonial to what you can get away with and still have a working loudspeaker............. ^_^

 

 

I've found that isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) will soften and release the glue from the parts. A little squirt and a few minutes does the job.

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See AR-Pro, that's my inclination as well - do the mid-range with the better caps where tonal quality has a large impact.

the Mundorf EVO's for the dome (8, 12, 24) would be:

8.2, 22+ 2.2, 33+6.8 = $250

Gets spendy quickly 

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Good to know Roger on you sampling results.

I have gotten into these for so little $ that I have room to spend a little more on the caps. Although the cabs may need professional help before I am done.

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1 hour ago, DavidR said:

I've found that isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) will soften and release the glue from the parts. A little squirt and a few minutes does the job.

Thanks, David - I'll try that when I work on the second crossover board.

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1 hour ago, DavidDru said:

the Mundorf EVO's for the dome (8, 12, 24) would be:

8.2, 22+ 2.2, 33+6.8 = $250

Gets spendy quickly 

 I just used the EVO's for the series caps which worked out to four caps for the pair. It looks like the mid-bass in the -9 has a high value series cap which would be a little spendy.

Roger

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I am not sure what the Erse MPX 250 Volt caps are, but I am guessing they are the PEx metallized polyester. What about the Pulse X 250 volt caps. They have 3% tolerance.  2 1uF, 2 39uF, 2 24uF, 2 2uF, 4 6uF and 2 3.9uF caps would be $59.81 shipped from my location.  

Whatever you choose, they are probably going to be better quality than what is in there now.

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2 hours ago, owlsplace said:

 I just used the EVO's for the series caps which worked out to four caps for the pair. It looks like the mid-bass in the -9 has a high value series cap which would be a little spendy.

Roger

I used Jantzen CrossCap 82uF from Parts Express for the 80uF cap in my 90s.

http://www.parts-express.com/jantzen-audio-82uf-400v-crosscap-capacitor--027-954

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I've been doing the same tortuous research, and number crunching, with my AR90 recap.  And like the OP, realized costs could sky-rocket pretty quickly.  But, I do feel our AR's are worth the investment.

One way to help alleviate expense, is to spend more for the series high pass capacitors, since they have a more direct impact on sound.  These are the 4.0, 6.0, 24.0, and 80.0uF values.  The shunt-parallel, low pass caps, could use NPE's, or the mylar Carli caps, or even the poly Axon True Caps (which Parts Connexion sells for cheap).

Me, I want to try the Mundorf EVO Oil capacitors for the 24 (22+2) & 80 (43+37) caps.  Maybe Dayton, Clarity or Sonicaps for the treble.  Axon for most of the low pass values, and Mundorf E-Cap NPE's for the 350.

This also may be of interest.  It's a recap recommendation from Jeff at Sonic Craft (Sonicap distributor).  It's his "inexpensive" recap preferences, if he were doing the recap.  I never had the nerve to ask for his "premium" suggestions!  But, I really appreciated his input.  These are specific for my 90's, but most would apply to the 9s too.

 

"The following is really not what you asked for.  However, it is what I would do if I owned these speakers, and was on a "tight" budget.

High-pass:

Mills MRA-5 resistors: http://www.soniccraft.com/index.php/mills-watt-c-29_53_62

4uF G1/200VDC: http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/gen-sonicap-uf-200vdc-p-429

6uF Dynamicap E/210V: http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/dynamicap-6uf-210vdc-p-155

Upper mid:

Mills MRA-10 resistors: http://www.soniccraft.com/index.php/mills-10-watt-c-29_53_295

22uF Supreme: http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/mundorf-supreme-22uf-600vdc-p-4213  If you are concerned about trimming it up, this would be the most economical match: http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/kimber-kap-22uf-200vdc-p-4650

8uF G1/200VDC: http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/gen-sonicap-uf-200vdc-p-446

6.8uF + 33uF Ecap: http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/mundorf-cap-plain-68uf-70vdc-50vac-p-4076 + http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/mundorf-cap-plain-33uf-70vdc-50vac-p-4078

Mills MRA-5 for the RLC network resistor: http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/60-ohm-mills-mra-p-564

Lower mid:

5 Ohm parallel a pair of these: http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/10-ohm-mills-mra-10-p-3609

3 Ohm parallel a pair of these: http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/ohm-mills-mra-12-p-687

33uF + 47uF EVO Oil: http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/mundorf-mcap-evo-oil-33uf-450vdc-p-4163 + http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/mundorf-mcap-evo-oil-47uf-350vdc-p-4167

Low value 33uF EVO Oil: http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/mundorf-mcap-evo-oil-33uf-450vdc-p-4163

Low-pass:

350uF Ecap: http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/mundorf-cap-plain-82uf-50vdc-35vac-p-4073 + http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/mundorf-cap-raw-270uf-63vdc-23vac-p-4065

1 Ohm resistor: http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/ohm-mills-mra-12-p-696"

Good luck.

 

 

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Oh yea,

Parts Express sells Audyn poly caps, which seem to get very positive reviews.  The Audyn Q4 caps are priced about the same as the Dayton poly caps, and in some values, slightly cheaper than the Dayton brand.  Even the Audyn Q4 82uF cap sells at $19.62.  Not too bad for that large a value.

Also, Audyn makes the Cap Plus series, that is quite a bit more expensive (Clarity Cap ESA, Mundorf EVO Oil pricing).  But, the Audyn Cap Plus series is supposed to sound very, very good.  Comparable to the Mundorf Supreme series. 

 

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For anyone considering Mundorf capacitors, I'd recommend shopping at Sonic Craft.  They can do precision matching like Parts Connexion (which I also like and recommend), but their prices are much lower.  As an example, when pricing Mundorf Supreme caps (I wish), Parts Connexion sells a 22uF for $87.33.  The Sonic Craft price is $70.21.  That much difference adds up quick, when recapping our complex AR crossovers.

Sonic Craft - Mundorf

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32 minutes ago, DavidR said:

Which EVO Oil cap are you guys considering? Seems to be several types in the Mundorf line-up

I'm looking at the EVO Aluminum Oil series.  It's also called the M-Cap EVO Oil series.  This series has three caps; the entry EVO, the EVO Oil, and finally, the EVO SGO (Silver/Gold Oil).  The middle EVO Oil isn't too costly, but still not cheap.  It seems to get very good reviews for offering a smooth detailed sound, with a wide and deep sound-stage.  But, maybe not quite as warm and natural as the Supreme series of caps.  The top EVO SGO gets pricey quick, and is outside of my budget.  There's also the Supreme EVO series.  Definitely too much for me, with those too.

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Another Oh yea!

ClarityCap is introducing several new series of caps.  The CSA (ESA replacement), and the CMR (MR replacement).  As such, Parts Connexion has the remaining ESA & MR stock on sale.  Usually at 50% off retail.  That makes an ESA recap much cheaper (but not Cheap)!  Clarity even has the 24uF in a ESA 630v cap.

ClarityCap

 

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Stimpy, I saw your post over at AK with that parts recommendation from Soniccraft and of course the price too!  Even with those sale prices...sheesh.  I wish I could.  Jeff has a different perspective on budget me thinks.  Did he say anything about why to do the resistors?

I like Parts Connexion as well and looked up a few there too.  It's always a balancing act between shipping and value availability.  I did see the esa's there on sale.  At 630v they get kinda large though.

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10 minutes ago, DavidDru said:

Stimpy, I saw your post over at AK with that parts recommendation from Soniccraft and of course the price too!  Even with those sale prices...sheesh.  I wish I could.  Jeff has a different perspective on budget me thinks.  Did he say anything about why to do the resistors?

I like Parts Connexion as well and looked up a few there too.  It's always a balancing act between shipping and value availability.  Maybe it was there that I saw the sale prices too for those ESA on liquidation.

Hi David,

I'm glad that you read my post at AK.  I hope it wasn't bothersome to have it posted here as well?  I tend to forget that AK and CSP have many of the same members.

As to Jeff, he seems like a good guy, an enthusiast.  But, his and my definition of "budget pricing" are no where close.  And the sad truth is, the only way I could ever afford to buy the caps that I'd like to try, is to buy a pair at a time, of each value, as funding permits.  No way at present, could I afford to buy $350 or more worth of caps at one go.  Life gets in the way.  The mortgage comes first!  :huh:

As to the resistors, the sand cast resistors that most crossovers use, aren't reputed to be the best sounding parts.  Changing those out with something like a Mills resistor, is 'supposed' to improve clarity and definition.  Who knows?  Since I usually run my 90s flat, the resistors in the toggle switches won't matter.  But I might try a Mills resistor in the shunt on the woofers.

Stimpy

 

 

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Stimpy, the 350uF in the AR90 is a shunt cap and the 1 ohm resistor make it a zobel circuit. If I understand it all correctly all frequencies are 'shunted' to ground and you shouldn't be able to hear any difference between parts.

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