Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Capacitor shoot out

Oh No ! Not another capacitor comparison test !

Actually, no one likes comparing capacitors. Do we really have nothing better to do in life but to swap capacitors in an out of circuit, burning in numerous capacitors just to find out how they sound ?

Right now, the stock Wima MKP10 output coupling caps in my Diva Audio M7 have been taken out and the wires soldered to alligator clips instead, to facilitate ease of swapping the caps in and out.

Unlike some testers than undergo thorough and scientific methodology, there was no blind testing, or gruelling 500 hours burn in test. Neither are all caps of identical value because many of these caps just happen to be lying around for trial. But according to my calculations, all of the capacitors tested are large enough in value to not cause any audible degradation to the bass response in my system.

I also happened to need to conduct some tests on the power supply, so some of these caps were used as a bypass cap in the last stage of the C-L-C power supply of my M7. The values used weren't consistent, and the listening notes there are included just for interest and completeness sake. I've included some of my personal experiences of these caps for crossover use too.

Please do not use any of these capacitors in AC mains filters - they are not properly rated for such applications !

The line-up (in no particular order) :-

1. Clarity Cap ESA
2. Solen Fast Cap
3. Auricap
4. Obbligato Gold Premium Cap
5. Jantzen Superior Z Cap
6. Mundorf M-Cap
7. Mundorf Supreme
8. Mundorf Supreme Silver in Oil
9. Mundorf Supreme Silver / Gold
10. Ampohm Paper-in-oil Tin Foil


(Top Row, Left - Right, Solen, Obbligato, Clarity Cap, Auricap, Mundorf M-Cap)
(Bottom Row - Left - Right, Jantzen, Wima, Mundorf Supreme, Mundorf Silver / Gold, Mundorf Silver in Oil)

For a value reference, here are the online prices of the above caps for 1.0 uF in USD arranged in order from the cheapest to the most expensive.

Solen                                               $1.76
Mundorf M-Cap                              $3.54
Wima MKP10                                 $4.00
Clarify Cap ESA                              $8.90
Obbligato Gold Premium                $10.50
Jantzen Superior Z Cap                  $12.00
Mundorf Supreme                          $20.00
Auricap                                          $21.50
Ampohm Paper-in-oil Tin Foil        $29.95
Mundorf Supreme Silver / Oil         $48.00
Mundorf Supreme Silver / Gold      $68.00

Stock Cap - Wima MKP10

Absolutely nothing wrong with the Wima. The MKP10 is a common sight in quite a lot of expensive equipment and instantly recognisable by its red rectangular box appearance. I know that T.S. Lim of Diva Audio favours this cap for its neutrality and dynamics.

It is a neutral cap and in the wrong systems can sound a bit lean. It is quite open and gives the impression of an overall lack of euphony or bloom. Although it has a relatively smooth midrange, when things get busy, the midrange can take on a bit of glare and hardness. In such situations, the treble becomes a bit tizzy and messy. This was made very obvious when going back to the Wima from the Mundorf Silver / Gold.

In terms of soundstage depth and presentation, the Wima is like sitting close to front row. Mundorf capacitors in comparison are more like sitting in the middle row.

Clarity Cap ESA


A very pretty cap and its metal foil body looks impressive. Initial impressions are that of a very dark capacitor with recessed midrange and not much treble extension. Thankfully, after a few hours of burn in, things improve  quite  lot.

This is an interesting capacitor. It has a weighty mid-bass that gives lower piano notes good solidity and feel. Vocals sound inviting and smooth, with almost no trace of sibilance on the usual problem tracks. Further listening reveals that the midrange is recessed and slightly less resolving as the Wima MKP10. Unlike the Wima MKP10 that has a dry and honest treble, the ESA has an airy treble and high frequency sparkle that highlights the decay of cymbals and high hats, and "enhances" the sense of acoustic space in recordings.

This could be an ideal cap to tame overly bright and lighweight sounding systems without making the overall presentation too dark. Given its relatively modest price by high end cap prices, this cap has plenty going for it.

Auricap

Auricaps come is a nice bright yellow wrapper and have insulated multi-stranded leads, one of which is black and the other red, presumably to differentiate the outer foil of the windings from the inner foil.

Audience, the manufacturer of Auricap, recommends that the signal enter through the black lead and exit through the red lead for signal coupling purposes, which is the way I installed them.

Moving from the Clarity Cap ESA to the Auricap restored my system back to the same tonal balance as the stock caps - neutral. Don't make hasty conclusions about this cap. For the first two hours, although it sounded neutral, high frequencies had a strange wobbly quality, a bit like tape speed variation. After about five hours, this more or less disappeared.

Compared to the Wima, the Auricap has a smoother midrange but a neutral balance through the whole audio frequency spectrum. The ESA has more air and high frequency sparkle than the Auricap. You can say that the Auricap does nothing wrong, but look elsewhere if you are looking for a cap to colour the tonal balance of your system.

Used in the power supply, this falls somewhat between the Solen and Mundorf Supreme. Definitely more open sounding that the Solen, but it doesn't quite have the musicality or openness of the Mundorf.

Mundorf Supreme

The Mundorf Supreme is the bottom of the Supreme range and is physically huge for its rated value. This is probably some part due to its induction free design which effectively uses two capacitors in series within the same casing. Do check the space available in your casing before you buy !

The Supreme ended up with a little more burn in than usual due to a strange phenomenon. The first few hours were fantastic ! Smooth, liquid and the most beautiful and lingering decay from notes. Things then took a turn for the worse, with the caps entering into a decisively unhappy state - the midrange in particular was hashy and grainy.

Way past the 10 hours mark, things began to settle down and serious listening could commence.

Coming from the Auricap, the Supreme was on the other side of the fence, highly musical, entertaining and perhaps not the most accurate sounding of capacitors. Although the tonal balance is quite neutral, the Supreme has a very polished and refined midrange with the right amount of meat throughout the frequency range. Musical notes are presented with texture and fine nuances, making the Auricap sound dry in comparison.

Easily the most pleasing of the caps tested this far, the Supreme combines the weight and treble extension of the Claritycap ESA with the speed of the Wima MKP10. Coupled to its highly resolving and musical nature and affordable price, do consider the Supreme for your next purchase. To nitpick, the only criticism against the Supreme against its competitors so far would be a slight loss of resolution in extreme high frequencies, and its artistic rather than honest approach towards music. The latter point is subjective anyway and you may personally have a preference for this.

This cap is also very good in power supplies. Apart from weight, it has speed and bloom.

This is also my favourite capacitor for crossover use.

Mundorf Silver/Gold


The Mundorf Silver/Gold sounds remarkably like the Supreme. What does spending 3 x more get you ? Highs are more extended with a better sense of air and resolution. Midrange has a warmer glow to it. Overall this cap sounds slightly more liquid, a bit like how the Supreme sounds initially (the subject cap here is very well run in since it is on loan from a friend who has put considerable hours on it) However, despite the subjective improvements, the value proposition is hard to argue. If funds are unlimited, this is a moot point. But if you have a choice between choosing the Supreme for 3 critical locations, compared to using the Silver/Gold for just one critical location, I would choose the former without hesitation.

Mundorf M-Cap

Compared to the Wima, the M-Cap sounds softer and more rounded. As a result, dynamics suffer a bit, with bass notes lacking in impact and extension. The Wima sounds a lot more open in comparison although the M-Cap does have a pleasingly smooth midrange. Unfortunately, the M-Cap sounds smooth yet has a sibilance problem in the midrange. In the upper frequencies, this cap sounds dry and restricted. The treble also has a tendency to get splashy when things get busy. The only conclusion I have is that this cap is probably more suited for some other application and is not suited for high voltage coupling use. This is the only cap so far in listening tests that make you want to reach for the power switch !

Mundorf Supreme Silver / Oil

What a breath of fresh air ! Coming from the M-Cap, the Mundorf Supreme Silver in Oil is a treat for the ears. The Mundorf Supreme family of capacitors have a distinct family sound. The Silver in Oil is much more liquid and open compared to the Supreme. I actually prefer this to the Silver / Gold. The Silver in Oil is very extended at both ends with excellent microdetails in the midrange and high frequencies. It is also exquisitely refined with an excellent balance struck between being analytical and musical. It lacks the midrange glow of the Silver / Gold but is more even throughout the entire frequency band. At all times, it sounds effortless and natural. Strongly recommended !

Obbligato Gold Premium Cap

Initial impressions during burn in time were quite promising. A very even handed performer with a neutral balance and good detail throughout. Balance wise, this reminds me of the Auricap the most except that the Obbligato has more extended and wetter highs. Midrange is pleasingly smooth without being muffled and there is plenty of information being conveyed in a tidy and controlled fashion. The Achilles' heel of this cap is its bass which is slightly rounded and not particularly deep, especially compared to the Mundorf Supreme series. This results in a somewhat lighweight sounding presentation. That being said, this is a very good cap, especially considering its competitive price. Subjectively, I feel that except for the bass issue, the Obbligato is more pleasing than the Auricap at a much cheaper price.

Jantzen Superior Z-Cap

The Jantzen Superior Z-Cap struck me as being remarkably similar to the Obbligato except for two material differences. Firstly, the Jantzen has a more extended and prominent bass, and high frequencies are fractionally more open and extended. With outstanding neutrality from top to bottom at a modest price, this is a very good cap with excellent price to performance ratio. From a subjective point of view, I prefer this slightly over the Obbligato. If the Obbligato could be said to be a wee bit off neutral towards the warm side, the Jantzen is a wee bit off neutral towards the cool side. My usual comment on neutrality applies, the Jantzen communicates the signal with an even hand - look elsewhere if you are looking for added “spice”.

Solen Fast Cap

According to common Audiophile wisdom, using a cap like Solen in signal carrying duties earns you a one way ticket to the Audiophile Hall-of-Shame. Well, surprise-surprise. Maybe using Solen caps is not the Audiophile faux-pas it is made out to be. The Solen can best be described as inoffensive but not particularly inspiring. On the plus side, it is smooth and pleasant. You can listen to it and fall asleep. Comparisons to the other caps  show that the Solen looses some low level information, with high frequency air and information being most obviously affected. The overall outcome is not life threatening and Solen would probably do fine for limited budget projects. In the test set-up, it fared better than the Mundorf M-Cap. Sonically, its second from the bottom of all the caps here on test. To put things in perspective, given its almost giveaway cost, you could do a lot worse.

This is quite decent in power supply use, with a big and chunky sound.

Ampohm Paper-in-Oil Tin Foil


Words cannot describe how big this capacitor is. I was filled with pride when my package arrived from the distributor of Ampohm, www.audiocap.co.uk (great buying experience - try them !). I excitedly  showed my partner the oil filled capacitors that looked more like a smoke grenade. Don't even think of using them in tight spaces.


 Ampohm capacitor with a Solen cap of the same value for comparison.
You didn't think I was joking about the size did you ?

The Ampohm sounds quite good. Good enough to fall nearly at the top of the heap. Taking into account its relatively affordable price, this is quite an achievement. Unlike vintage paper-in-oil caps or some other current production brands, the Ampohm manages to sound rich, liquid and extended at the same time. Its tonal balance is similar to the Mundorf Silver / Oil or Mundorf Silver / Gold. If compared side-by-side, the Ampohm sounds "blacker" with very silent quiet passages. Initially, there is an impression that instruments like cymbals and high-hats have less detail and decay. However, after extended evaluation comes the realisation that such instruments are equally detailed and extended but put in less stark contrast compared to the Mundorf Silver / Oil. Value for money wise, the Ampohm definitely beats the Mundorf hands down. Although I still prefer the Silver / Oil, I can imagine that the Ampohm could suit other systems better. Highly recommended !

This capacitor also works quite well in speaker crossovers, especially in the tweeter circuit.

Conclusions

Despite having personal preferences, it is worth stating that most of these capacitors would do perfectly well in all but the most critical applications. My favourites at the end of this test are :-

Cost-no-object - Mundorf Supreme Silver / Oil. Close runner-up, Ampohm Paper-in-oil Tin Foil.
Best of the rest - Jantzen Superior Z-Cap, Mundorf Supreme, Obbligato Premium Gold

For the selection of the best of the rest, it is a bit like baby bear's porridge - the choice of "just right" depends on your system. Jantzen if your system needs a wee bit opening up. Obbligato if your system is just right. Between these 3 caps, the Mundorf is for the heart (emotionally expressive) while the Obbligato and Jantzen are for the mind (neutral and truer to source).

43 comments:

horchai said...

thank in advance for your hard work. I shall sit back, drink coffee and wait eagerly for your updates :)

Eric said...

Thanks for your support and for contributing some of the caps of test. Looking forward to also trying out your Mundorf Supreme Silver / Gold.

horchai said...

U r most welcome. Testing caps is hard work. Need a pair of observant ears, well treated room and lots of patience + dedication!

horchai said...

Excellent! SG's version of humble hifi on caps. Well Done. No cap is good or bad just need to match properly with the rest of the circuit.

Jimmy said...

Thanks for your excellent review. I just want to hear your specific review when Auricap compared to Jantzen Superior Z. Thanks.

Eric said...

Hi Jimmy, although both the Auricap and Jantzen are quite neutral, I find that the Auricap has a meatier and smoother midrange, compared to the Jantzen that is comparatively drier. The Jantzen has the edge over the Auricap in terms of high frequency detail, extension and air.

jazzwallah said...

Thanks for the capacitor shoot out. I am in the process of replacing Wondercap TRT .01 bypass caps from my Audio Research Classic 60. I wonder if moving to Multicaps is worth trying. Any suggestions?

Eric said...

I've never liked bypassing caps for signal purposes. You may want to consider replacing both the main and bypass cap with just a single high quality cap

Pedro said...

Hi! Great post!

About the Mundorf MKP, did you have the burn in period?

Also, have you ever tried the Jantzen Standard?

I am looking to replace the electrolytics in the preamp section of my amp with some film caps. They are 4x4,7uF and 2x10uF. I want to spend as little as possible, so they must be under $8 each. Which ones should I try, besides the Wima?

I wanted to try the Mundorf MKP first but after your review, I am getting a bit worried. Maybe should go for ClarityCap ESA (using them in my DAC) or Auricaps or try the Jantzen Standard?

Thanks!

Pedro said...

Sorry, the Auricaps are too expensive for me. I meant the Audyn Cap Plus (MKP+).

I just read somewhere that the Jantzen Standard are really terrible, so I will see if I can find any opinions on the Ampohm FP-CA-AU, though they seem a little too large for my amp...

Eric said...

Hi Pedro,

The Mundorf MKP was burned in for a minimum of 10 hours, just like the rest of the caps in this test.

I have not tried the Jantzen Standard.

Are the electrolytics in your preamp in the signal path or path of the power supply ?

The tests which I conducted are at high voltage. My experience is that the same caps can sound very different when used in low voltage applications, speaker crossover use, or power supply applications.

In signal path applications for solid state preamps (i.e. low voltage), I would prefer to use Wima MKP or MKS.

In power supply applications for solid state preamps and CD players, I have had good results with Panasonic FC and Rubycon ZL (use sparingly - it can sound quite thin and fast).

Pedro said...

Thank you Eric for your reply!

I haven't taken a deep look into the schematics, not sure, but think they are in the signal path, though next to a few 2x0.033, 2x0.047 and 2x0.47 MMK polyester caps. These are really in the signal path and will be replaced with polypropylene caps. WIMA MKP10 won't fit, so it's either MKP1387 or XICON MPP or even Orange Drop.

The electrolytics will later be replace with film caps, not sure which, but I guess the cheapest Mundorf or Solen should be better than the best Silmics or Muse, right?

The schematics is kind of a mess because they have the pre-amp section mixed with tone control section, I'm still trying to figure out which is which.

But thank you for your help and sorry for taking over your post.!

KJ Tan said...

Hi Eric, Thanks for your review. I noticed (in your picture) you are using the wima mkp10 with a value for 4,7uf. My diva preamp's wima coupling value is 3,3uf. At times I feel my preamp sounds a few octave higher and is curious to know if your 4,7uf sounds 'more correct' hope for your comments. Thanks-Tom

Eric said...

Tom, there is no "correct" value for the output coupling cap so long as the value is high enough to prevent bass roll-off. This depends on the input impedance of your power amp.

My power amps generally have high input impedances (60 kOhm or 100 kOhm), so even a 3.3 uF coupling cap suffices.

If you are using your M7 to drive a low impedance load, then perhaps you need larger value coupling caps

Anonymous said...

Eric,

I need a 10 mF / 600 V coupling cap for a 2A3 SET (it's a parafeed front end). The Mundorf Supreme is too big. My two best options are the Obbligato Gold and the Clarity Cap ESA. Overall which would you choose and why? My email address is: johnson.greg924@gmail.com ... shoot me an email

Eric said...

Johnson,

I feel that I could live better with the Clarity Cap ESA. Although it is not as neutral as the Obbligato, it has a pleasing smoothness, and sparkle in the highs.

The Obbligato is too bass light for me to live with on a long term basis.

My tests and experiences are not in parafeed type amps, so there is no guarantee that my observations would apply in your circuit.

fpsj said...

Marvelous review! Sir, thank you and is very very informative. The only downside is the missing of exotic capacitor like Duelund VSF.

Eric said...

fpsj, I too would like to try the Duelund. The only real problem is cost ! Probably, the Duelund would be suitable only for the finest equipment out there.

Terry said...

Thank you Eric, I do not know where you live it would be cool to meet up and compare notes. So far my favorite coupling cap is the teflon V-cap, the most neutral can I have heard, similar to direct coupling. But I do like other capacitors as well, and your review has me wanting to try the Ampohm caps.

Terry

Terry said...

Thank you Eric, I do not know where you live it would be cool to meet up and compare notes. So far my favorite coupling cap is the teflon V-cap, the most neutral can I have heard, similar to direct coupling. But I do like other capacitors as well, and your review has me wanting to try the Ampohm caps.

Terry

Eric said...

Terry, its funny that you mention the V-Cap. I actually have a few pieces lying around for a project I never got up and running.

I didn't use them for the test as the values I had were too small to be used in an output coupling position.

Terry said...

Eric, one thing I have noticed is that different brand of capacitors sound differently in different applications. The V-caps I use as coupling caps between driver and power tubes in my amplifiers, but they may sound different as an output cap of a preamp. A different sort of coupling, yours might work depending on the input impedance of the amp your driving. Impedance determines coupling capacitor value, often manufactures choose an excessively large cap for a preamp output because they do not know the impedance of the power amplifier and it could be as low as 10K.

Anonymous said...

Hi Eric,

Just read your article on capacitors. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I’m new to hi-fi. So need yr advice pls. I’m thinking of upgrading my old speaker crossover. Can I use different brand caps i.e. the high one brand, mid another brand caps and the bass stays with the original rev. electrolytic caps? Also appreciate yr advice for good caps for the high. Tks. Frank

Eric said...

Hi Frank,

It depends on your budget and the cost of the speaker you are dealing with.

Generally, it is fine to use different brands of caps in the same circuit. I usually reserve the best cap for the capacitor in series with the tweeter. In comparison, caps in parallel with the driver can be of slightly lower quality.

If your speaker is more than 10 years old, I would also advise you to change the electrolytic caps.

Note also, that my observations on caps in my shootout may not necessarily apply in speaker crossover applications.

In crossover use, I highly recommend Mundorf Supreme caps for critical use. For less critical use, Sonic Caps are excellent value.

Terry said...

There are many good capacitors for speaker cross overs that I have used. Mundorf Silver Supreme capacitors I have found are nice, but others are good too, like Jupiter caps. When it comes to film capacitors and speaker xovers, it really is more a matter of taste rather than which one is better, I have had good success with Solen Fast caps in speaker crossovers, and they are inexpensive.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much Eric & Terry.

The speaker is a KEF DIY CS9, which I brought home when I returned from London. Currently the mid and high caps are Solen, used to be Alcap rev. electrolytic. The Solen caps are about 16 years old. Bass still has the 450uf Alcap 50V DC rev. elect.

Problem: Low vol (can have a normal conversation in the room) the speakers sound good, warm and relaxing, though not very transparent and not engaging. Good for background music, like the singer has left the room. But with increase volume the high sounds edgy and thin. Obbligato are cheaper and easier to get. Are they good choice for the high? Understand that Mundorf is very expensive. Will two 2 series caps, 7uf and 5uf and a parallel 2.2uf per speaker. However, from Terry, the problem might not be the Solen caps (black with red ends).

Is it possible to replace the 450uf with better caps? I know that the CS9 is not a high-end speaker. I just want to get the best possible sound from them without spending too much and also to have some fun. Thanks for yr help. Rgds Frank.

Terry said...

Frank,

This looks like this might start to get involved. Go to this forum.

http://www.hawthorneaudio.us/forums/viewforum.php?f=2

Register and post your questions there. I will be there to help as well as many others. This sounds like a lot to discuss here on this blog.

Eric said...

Frank,

Terry makes a good suggestion to seek help on a specialised forum.

Out of interest, I did a search on your speaker. The crossover schematic is still available in KEF's archives.

The large values that sit in series with the woofer and midrange driver like C1 (450 uF), C3 (20 uF) and C5 (120 uF) would only have suitable electrolytic substitutes. I would suggest that due to the speakers age, that you replace all electrolytic capacitors.

I would not replace the Solen capacitors. They are plastic film caps and do not degrade with age.

If you want to have some fun, you can try bypassing all the Solen caps with a small high quality 0.1 uF or 0.01 uF cap. Vishay MKP1837 is an often recommended and excellent cap for this purpose. This is cheap as chips, so you have no excuse not to try !

Anonymous said...

Greetings Eric & Terry,

Thank you once again for the super fast response.

The mid caps C3 (20uf) and the C5 (120uf) are Solen caps (coke can size).

The bass C1 (450uf) still Alcap rev. electrolytic. Any replacement suggestions pls.

Okay, will bypass all series Solen caps with 0.1uf Vishay MKP1837. (Is it okay to ask where to buy them – do not want to violate any rules). Eric, tks for the encouragement. Will be glad to let you and Terry know the results.

Terry, tks for the invite.

Rgds,
Frank

Eric said...

Hi Frank,

No specific recommendation for the electrolytic C1, but go for any modern bipolar electrolytic capacitor.

You can get Vishay MKP1837s from the online supplier, element14 (formerly Farnell components). Do also try bypassing C1 with the MKP1837.

Good luck on the mod and do report back on how things go.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Quick update.

A packet of 10 caps (made in Portugal) has arrived. They are tiny, with the number “1837” marked on them. Smaller than a 5cents coin, with very short leads.

Unable to find the 450uf rev electrolytic caps.
Purchased 4 Nichicon electrolytic caps. Connect the –ve to –ve. One pair measured 473.3 uf, the other 473.4 uf.

Also some Obbligato Premium caps to compare against the Solens in the HF network.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Completed my left speaker crossover mod.

Bass – pair of Nichicon Muse, connected -ve to –ve and bypass with MKP 1837

Mid – Bypass the series Solen caps with MKP 1837

High – Replaced the Solens with Obbligatos and bypass the series caps with MKP 1837

First impression:
The first 2 hrs, the sound was much better than the right (not mod) speaker. I could hear the guitarist plucking the strings. The singer had more presence. Clear articulation though not as sweet, but still enjoyable. The bass however was disappointing. Not as low as before, but stronger mid bass. I could hear the individual mid bass note.

Overall: Clearer, livelier, able to hear a lot of instruments which were missing before. I like what I heard and was very pleased with the mod. Clearly better than the right ‘original/not mod’ speaker. A non-hifi friend happened to drop-in. Preferred the mod speaker too. Switched off the set. Then something strange happened.

Second impression:
The next day, Sunday evening, the mod speaker sounded different. The mid sounded thin, lack the air or volume of yesterday. The high was scratchy. Could it be psychological? So, I asked the same friend to come over to have a listen. Comment: “What did you do? Doesn’t sound like yesterday?”

What did I do between the 1st and the 2nd hearing? Well I re-soldered all the speaker wire connections (on the xover board), but since I ran out of silver alloy solder, I used tin alloy instead. However I think the soldering was fine. Then could it be that the caps including the MKP 1837 need more time to burn-in. After about 12 hrs of non-continuous play, the mod speaker is still not as good sounding as the original first 2 hours. Compared to the right speaker, the sound is more forward, brighter but ‘thinner’ and not as warm.

If it doesn’t improve by this weekend, will re-solder the speaker connections with silver alloy and wait for the next 30 to 40 hrs. The search and fun continue…..

Ciao,
Frank

Terry said...

Frank,

Well since you left the other speaker unmodified you have your point of reference. I have been in the position many many times of wanting to modify something, but didn't want to lose what I had. Therefore I build something in addition to what I had and then compared it. So much of this audio stuff is so delicate, it is hard to say what happened.

Terry

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Final update….

Re-soldered all the speaker wire connections with Mundorf silver alloy and after about 50 hrs of burn-in:

High: The Obbligatos with MKP 1837 as bypass – the high sounded thin. Remove one MKP 1837 from one of the series caps. Now the high is more pleasant; fuller and more enjoyable.

Mid: Solens with MKP 1837. Clear and slightly more open sounding. However when I added a 0.1uf Mundorf sio to one of the series Solen caps, the sound is so much better. Warmer more valve like.

Bass: Nichicon Muse KZ (2 x 1000uf), connected –ve to -ve with Mundorf sio as bypass (replace the mkp 1837). The bass is louder compared to before, though I would prefer a tighter bass. It sounds fine though.

In closing I would like to thank Eric, Terry and the dozens of people from all over the world for so generously sharing their findings and knowledge.

Frank

Eric said...

Hi Frank,

Glad to be of help and thank you for sharing the final results of your modification.

Terry said...

Yeah, glad to be of some help, this is all so subjective that it is not easy to convey what things do in any specific way. Likewise I have a very specific sort of taste with what I want, I like the treble to be very extended and clean and clear, the bass is not as important to me.

Terry

Pipe said...

I would like to comment on the Mundorf Supreme Silver/Oil caps. I replaced the signal caps on the boards in my Luxman 3045 tube amps with the Mundorf Silver/Oil caps, and the highs did disappear, nothing there. I just read another Capacitor Shootout that described that happening also. I guess I was warned, that when I was considering the purchase, the break-in time to get them to sound good would be many many hours (500-1000?). So that may be what it takes. I am going to remove them, and replace them with Audiocaps, or Jantzen Superior Z caps. The reviews are positive on those and not alot of break-in time needed.The Wima MKP 10 that was in the amps when I got them sounded neutral.Thanks for the review!

Eric said...

Pipe, the other users I've talked who have used the Mundorf Supreme Silver in Oil think that they sound very bright, due to a lot of high frequency information, and lightweight bass.

Terry said...

I have used the Mundorf Silver Supremes in several amps as coupling caps (input, and between stages), and I get the same thing every time. Suppressed high range. Although the highs still sounds good just not as loud as before, and a pronounced midrange with more bloom.

As coupling caps this seems to be a consistent finding of mine. Now in other positions like power supplies, feedback loops, speaker crossovers, and some others I have not noticed this same sort of suppressed high frequencies.

Terry

Sting - not the english man in New York! said...

Eric, where can i buy clarity caps mr in singapore. Thanks

Eric said...

Sting,

I don't think Clarity Caps are carried officially by anyone in Singapore. You can try Liveacoustics at Chinatown. They stock a small range of Clarity Cap, but primarily the ESA range. You can ask them to indent order the MR for you.

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Terry said...

Well I looked at your site, your capacitors don't seem to apply to this application. I mean who needs a 400KV cap for audio applications. I am looking though for a good 10KV cap for a tube amplifier application though that doesn't break the bank.