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    Capacitor and sound quality

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    Sprags

    Posts : 123
    Join date : 2013-02-27

    Capacitor and sound quality

    Post by Sprags on Thu May 23, 2013 4:53 pm

    Excuse my lack of knowledge but can someone please tell me how different capacitors in amps and preamps affect or change the quality of sound.

    corndog71

    Posts : 444
    Join date : 2013-03-19
    Location : It can get windy here

    Re: Capacitor and sound quality

    Post by corndog71 on Thu May 23, 2013 6:11 pm

    Well, here's Clarity Cap's response.

    http://www.partsconnexion.com/t/claritycap/Reseach_Summary.pdf

    Basically, it's caused by the materials used in the construction as well as geometry of the cap. Different materials affect the signal differently. And not every cap is made with the same materials.

    Sprags

    Posts : 123
    Join date : 2013-02-27

    Re: Capacitor and sound quality

    Post by Sprags on Thu May 23, 2013 8:03 pm

    Ok...I read the article..can someone tell me why using the Russian K40-PIO and power supply capacitor upgrade helps improve the sound quality?

    stewdan

    Posts : 160
    Join date : 2010-03-07
    Age : 78
    Location : Houston Texas

    Re: Capacitor and sound quality

    Post by stewdan on Thu May 23, 2013 9:04 pm

    Hi --- The science of capacitor design has advanced greatly in the last 50 to 60 years.

    If you are upgrading a 50 year old amplifier with modern power supply capacitors (say the quad cap) the amp is now able to store more electrical energy which provides smoother transient power when needed. The smoother power translates to our ears as "sounds better". (I guess there is less stress in the sound)

    Russian K40Y Paper in Oil Caps are not a new design but when used as coupling caps in an dynaco amplifier or equivalent provide a clean neutral sound which our ears again pick up as "sounds better". Perhaps the greatest reason for using the K40Yers is that they are usually less than $10 apiece as opposed to the "better sounding $100 caps".

    I am sure there are other explanations that are just as valid. If you do a Search on the Forum for "capacitors", I am sure something will pop out, since there has been lots of capacitor discussion.

    Have fun!


    Bob Latino
    Admin

    Posts : 2378
    Join date : 2008-11-26
    Location : Massachusetts

    Re: Capacitor and sound quality

    Post by Bob Latino on Thu May 23, 2013 9:53 pm

    Sprags wrote:Ok...I read the article..can someone tell me why using the Russian K40-PIO and power supply capacitor upgrade helps improve the sound quality?


    Hi Blake,

    1. The power supply upgrade caps ... The upgrade caps are larger and have a lower ESR (equivalent series resistance) than the stock caps. With a lower ESR, these Nichicon (Made in Japan) capacitors discharge and recharge at a quicker rate making the amp more able to keep up with the changing musical signal. The larger values also give more "headroom" to the driver circuit when playing at higher volume levels.

    2. The Russian PIO main coupling capacitors. These capacitors are very important because all 4 caps are directly in the signal path. It is the job or each Russian PIO cap to pass the audio signal from the driver circuit to each of the 4 output tubes. You want to pass this audio signal with as little "alteration" of the signal as possible. These military grade caps do the job very well and don't really "intrude" or add their own sonic signature to the music. I am not saying that the Russian PIO caps are the BEST coupling caps ever made but their performance to cost ratio is very high. You would have to spend probably 5 times their cost to give even a perceptable increase in sound quality. I had a customer one time who built a pair of VTA M-125 monoblocks ask for 4 EXTRA Russian PIO caps to "try" in his very expensive Audio Reaserch tube amp. Once he put them in his Audio Research amp he liked the improvement in the sound of his AR amp and kept them in that amp.

    Bob

    Sprags

    Posts : 123
    Join date : 2013-02-27

    Re: Capacitor and sound quality

    Post by Sprags on Thu May 23, 2013 10:06 pm

    Thanks for all the input. It's helping me understand.as I said I'm new to learning about electronics.

    I bought the book 'Valve Amplifiers' by Morgan Jones and everything in it was foreign to me. I ended up needing some tubes and interconnects and found out Parts Express is about 15 minutes north of where I live and when I was there I found the book 'Beginner's Guide to Tube Audio Design'. That's helped a little more but I think I need something even more basic.

    But since reading I've come to understand what basic components do...I just didn't understand how the differents help make audio equipment sound better.

    Thanks again...Blake




    stsk

    Posts : 2
    Join date : 2012-06-05

    Jung and Marsh

    Post by stsk on Thu May 23, 2013 10:11 pm

    A classic pair of articles from Jung and Marsh:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/24913258/Picking-Capacitors

    DarthBubba

    Posts : 81
    Join date : 2012-05-05

    Re: Capacitor and sound quality

    Post by DarthBubba on Fri May 24, 2013 3:20 pm

    stsk wrote:A classic pair of articles from Jung and Marsh:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/24913258/Picking-Capacitors

    Yup, that was the article that pretty much started it all. A few audiophiles sort of knew about cap differences, but there was no real seminal article before that one that was readily available at the time.

    Anyway; has anyone compared the K40Y-9 (silver metal case) caps to the K42Y-2 (green outer case) caps soundwise - both types in the same location of the amp or preamp, same capacitance value, etc?

    harpy

    Posts : 94
    Join date : 2012-02-04

    Re: Capacitor and sound quality

    Post by harpy on Sat May 25, 2013 3:41 pm

    Don't want to jack the thread, but what about Russian Teflon FT-3 as coupling caps? I shrink tubed one, but notice it had vent holes. Can you block the vents?



    Running the K40's on a Mk III's with a stock circuit at present.

    Bob Latino
    Admin

    Posts : 2378
    Join date : 2008-11-26
    Location : Massachusetts

    Re: Capacitor and sound quality

    Post by Bob Latino on Sat May 25, 2013 3:47 pm

    harpy wrote: Don't want to jack the thread, but what about Russian Teflon FT-3 as coupling caps? I shrink tubed one, but notice it had vent holes. Can you block the vents?



    Running the K40's on a Mk III's with a stock circuit at present.

    The Russian FT-3 caps are nice but a little too large for many places like coupling caps on the VTA driver board. In applications where you have a lot of space they would be good choices ...

    Bob

    arledgsc

    Posts : 330
    Join date : 2012-11-30
    Location : SF Bay CA

    Re: Capacitor and sound quality

    Post by arledgsc on Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:31 pm

    Excuse my lack of knowledge but can someone please tell me how different capacitors in amps and preamps affect or change the quality of sound.
    In a minimal circuit designs like in the Dynaco amps component selection can have a large, direct influence upon the sound of the amp. For instance in the ST-120 the 0.1uF preamp coupling capacitor and the two 0.15uF phase inverter couplers directly carry the audio signal from one stage to the next. If these capacitors distort or add undesirable coloration to the signal you will notice it readily. Along those same lines capacitor characteristics can be used to tune the sound as well. These two signal cap locations though influence the sound in the same way different tubes sound in the amp. There is no one holy grail cap that satisfies everyone or every system. Your ears and taste will help settle what you prefer.

    The power supply capacitors don't directly carry the audio signal but have an indirect influence upon sound quality. If the power supply is noisy or under-filtered you will notice that as well. Low ESR electrolytics provide an easier path to ground for things you want to filter like noise and AC ripple. Plus the additional capacitance in the electrolytic upgrades help hold up the B+ voltage on high transient current demands resulting in lower distortion audio. Both of Bob's capacitor upgrades are highly recommended. They are great affordable changes that benefit the sound quality over stock components.

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