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View Full Version : Sprague Orange Drops vs Sozo Mustard....


gitfiddler
02-01-2010, 11:26 AM
I have a 100w plexi style head that has the Sozo Mustard caps in it. I was wondering how the Orange Drops differed and if the Orange Drops would be an upgrade? Thanks

aaronbarnes
02-01-2010, 11:30 AM
no, they won't be, imho.

brad347
02-01-2010, 11:33 AM
Some will say that cap brand won't make a difference. Some will say that it can make a huge difference. But I doubt you'd find anyone who would call orange drops an 'upgrade' over Sozo mustard caps in a Plexi.

smolder
02-01-2010, 11:40 AM
I am told there are many varieties of orange drops... Dr Z has some special made... and his amps bear out their characteristics. The common opinion of generic orange drops (715's I think) is that of a more harsh, strident and 'hifi' sound. Not so desirable in a guitar amp. The sozos are an attempt to duplicate the mustard caps that would have come in an older marshall.

tommytomcat
02-01-2010, 11:59 AM
You don't like the sound of the amp with Sozo's in there? And... they really do get more clear and defined after 50+ hours.

gitfiddler
02-01-2010, 12:09 PM
You don't like the sound of the amp with Sozo's in there? And... they really do get more clear and defined after 50+ hours.

Yes i do like the sound of them, I'm just always looking for ways to make my rig sound better.

brad347
02-01-2010, 12:24 PM
Sozo Mustards are nice, high-end caps. I think if you're just curious about ways to improve your rig, you might want to bark up another tree.

smolder
02-01-2010, 12:33 PM
Sozo Mustards are nice, high-end caps. I think if you're just curious about ways to improve your rig, you might want to bark up another tree.

715 to mallory 150 or to sozo I can hear... but sozo yellow to blue i can not... but the blues I've put in only have 10 15 hours on them... have only read above they change as they burn in.

phsyconoodler
02-01-2010, 12:44 PM
It's a quite a game comparing the sound of coupling capacitors.
I have tried quite a few different types over the years.
One thing that confuses me is when doing a trem circuit on a Vibro-Champ recently and I used a set of old Sangamo timing caps that measured perfectly on my capcitance meter,but they took quite a long time to charge up so there was quite a delay before the trem started working.So I put in a modern set of ceramic disc that also measured out exactly the same capacitance.The trem worked instantly and obviously they stayed in the circuit.
So I'm of the opinion that the time constant is the biggest reason why some caps 'sound' better than others.If the capacitance is the same,the only thing that can change the tone would be the time it takes to charge that capacitor.Now I do know that materials used can pass electrons in a different way as well,hence the huge variety of capcitors out there.
Maybe someone can chime in on this and add to it.It's been hashed out many times,but I don't think anyone addressed the charge time.

AR-305
02-01-2010, 01:32 PM
I've seen sooooooo many cap debates and have often pondered just how it could be (especially in the area of filter lytics) that several techs will jump up and down at the difference in TONE and DYNAMICS to be found in replacing older caps, that TEST perfectly good, and new caps that some would say are not necessary. My personal conclusion has always been that newer caps are "FASTER" at charging and discharging even when they present the exact same capacitance and ESR as older caps. Here I must agree +1 with the "phsy" on this one. It just makes sense also that in the great coupling cap debate that different caps are "faster" at certain frequencies than others giving them their individual character. Now who has the gear to graph this out with some of the popular brands?

brad347
02-01-2010, 01:49 PM
So I'm of the opinion that the time constant is the biggest reason why some caps 'sound' better than others.If the capacitance is the same,the only thing that can change the tone would be the time it takes to charge that capacitor.Now I do know that materials used can pass electrons in a different way as well,hence the huge variety of capcitors out there.
Maybe someone can chime in on this and add to it.It's been hashed out many times,but I don't think anyone addressed the charge time.

I agree, and I've hypothesized that time-related things are the source of capacitor tone differences for awhile, myself, but for me it was just a hypothesis, not a tested, observed phenomenon like in your case.

I've always thought in terms of stray inductance involved with most "rolled up like a cigarette" film cap designs, which are essentially little coils. I do know that some caps like Hovlands that are marketed toward high-fidelity enthusiasts tout their extremely low inductance.

Sometimes the group delay/slew rate things in certain components can yield a "larger than life" sound. I believe that it's the output transformers in tube amps that contribute a lot of the "tube sound," not just the tubes themselves.

Anyone who has ever used a transformer-balanced mic preamp like a Neve 1073 as compared to a very fast transformerless mic preamp like a Millenia will know the "larger than life" sound I'm talking about, and those are both solid-state designs. It's an exaggerated kind of with/depth/breadth to the soundstage that the transformers seem to impart.

As it relates to transformers, all of this stuff is well-documented in white papers by Jensen and other companies.

To me, some of the more famous paper-in-oil capacitors have always imparted that same 'larger than life' feeling, which I like... I always assumed there was some sort of group delay or other phase anomaly happening due to the design of those particular capacitors (vitamin Q et al).

Trout
02-01-2010, 03:05 PM
I have a 100w plexi style head that has the Sozo Mustard caps in it. I was wondering how the Orange Drops differed and if the Orange Drops would be an upgrade? Thanks

Actually Yes, the orange drops would be an upgrade.

:stir

smolder
02-01-2010, 04:04 PM
Actually Yes, the orange drops would be an upgrade.


that is some very arromatic bait ; )

Trout
02-01-2010, 04:43 PM
that is some very arromatic bait ; )


:beer


Honestly,

I am a huge fan of the 6PS series SBE (Sprague) OD's I love in your Face Rock & Roll baby.

Every time I try the " Boutique Caps " all I get is muted mushy girlie tone.
I like my amps to kick like a mule, and sting like a bee, and OD's baby, they do it for me.
Anything else is controlled elsewhere, speaker, pickups, pick attack tubes and blah blah blah.

We need a NTSA emoticon , this topic has been beat to death.

phsyconoodler
02-01-2010, 05:02 PM
quote: "Every time I try the " Boutique Caps " all I get is muted mushy girlie tone."

Not everyone plays that chunka chunka tone./but I tend to agree about getting that tone from a Marshall amp.
I put a set of paper in oil caps in one of my Overdrive Rocket amps and it's very clear and transparent sounding but it lacks the chunk that a faster cap gives you.
I like The Sprague SBE orange drops for that type of tone.

davemccarthy707
02-01-2010, 07:14 PM
:horse

DT7
02-02-2010, 07:43 PM
Actually Yes, the orange drops would be an upgrade.

:stir


Oh? Which kind? :warning

Mike9
02-02-2010, 08:18 PM
OK - who built the amp? If they are using Sozo's it must be for a reason. I think George at Metro specs Sozo's no?

zzmoore
02-02-2010, 08:44 PM
Good Grief, coupling cap break-in hours...... Is that hemisphere dependent?

KGWagner
02-02-2010, 10:21 PM
I have a 100w plexi style head that has the Sozo Mustard caps in it. I was wondering how the Orange Drops differed and if the Orange Drops would be an upgrade? Thanks
Won't make a lick of difference, if all the values are identical.

The only way to change the time constant (charge/discharge or frequency response) of an RC circuit with a given feed is to change either the R or the C. It's just simple physics, and I don't understand why everyone argues about it. You can read how it works here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RC_time_constant). These rules have been around since forever, and are taught in electrical engineering 101 along with Ohm's law. I mean, it's fundamental stuff. It's not an opinion, anecdote, guess or belief.

Now, I know there are a million stories about how somebody did a "cap job" and their amp sounded dramatically better. But, there are a couple things to keep in mind with those stories.

First, "better" is subjective. I think broccoli tastes better than asparagus. Does it? Depends who you talk to. There are many who'd tell me I'm sadly mistaken about the relative goodness of those two veggies <grin> It would be more accurate to say "different".

Second, there's a surprising amount of variation in capacitance values for a given rating, sometimes as much as 20%. .47f will often be anywhere between .33f and .56f. So, changing a Sozo .47f for a Sprague .47f means you might be moving as much as .22f in capacity, which can make a dramatic difference in tone. Think of the difference the tone control makes on your guitar when it's rolled all the way on or off - that's usually the effect of a .22f cap. But guess what? You could have the same thing happen by changing a Sozo .47f for a Sozo .47f. It would be an interesting exercise for someone with too much time on their hands to do just that - replace all the Sozo caps with all Sozo caps of the same value, and have testers listen to the difference. I can pretty much guarantee there'll be one, because even Sozo caps vary from part to part.

The only other differences between caps have to do with their working voltage and packaging, which has no real effect on how they work in a circuit other than to set a withstand rating for the dielectric's insulation strength.

KGWagner
02-02-2010, 10:26 PM
Good Grief, coupling cap break-in hours...... Is that hemisphere dependent?
Don't be silly. It depends simultaneously on the phase of the moon and the barometric pressure in Uzbekistan. And yes, I know Uzbekistan is in the northern hemisphere, but try to disregard that coincidence.

hasserl
02-03-2010, 12:11 AM
Won't make a lick of difference, if all the values are identical.

The only way to change the time constant (charge/discharge or frequency response) of an RC circuit with a given feed is to change either the R or the C. It's just simple physics, and I don't understand why everyone argues about it. You can read how it works here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RC_time_constant). These rules have been around since forever, and are taught in electrical engineering 101 along with Ohm's law. I mean, it's fundamental stuff. It's not an opinion, anecdote, guess or belief.

Now, I know there are a million stories about how somebody did a "cap job" and their amp sounded dramatically better. But, there are a couple things to keep in mind with those stories.

First, "better" is subjective. I think broccoli tastes better than asparagus. Does it? Depends who you talk to. There are many who'd tell me I'm sadly mistaken about the relative goodness of those two veggies <grin> It would be more accurate to say "different".

Second, there's a surprising amount of variation in capacitance values for a given rating, sometimes as much as 20%. .47f will often be anywhere between .33f and .56f. So, changing a Sozo .47f for a Sprague .47f means you might be moving as much as .22f in capacity, which can make a dramatic difference in tone. Think of the difference the tone control makes on your guitar when it's rolled all the way on or off - that's usually the effect of a .22f cap. But guess what? You could have the same thing happen by changing a Sozo .47f for a Sozo .47f. It would be an interesting exercise for someone with too much time on their hands to do just that - replace all the Sozo caps with all Sozo caps of the same value, and have testers listen to the difference. I can pretty much guarantee there'll be one, because even Sozo caps vary from part to part.

The only other differences between caps have to do with their working voltage and packaging, which has no real effect on how they work in a circuit other than to set a withstand rating for the dielectric's insulation strength.

:) :)

DT7
02-03-2010, 09:41 AM
Won't make a lick of difference, if all the values are identical.


Completely disagree. Not only can the two different brands of caps sound different, regardless of whether they're the same exact value or not, but different makes of orange drops (225P vs 715, etc) can also sound different from each other. Remember this...just because one person can't hear a difference doesn't give them license to decide for all others if they can hear a difference or not. Any other take on the matter is silly, to put it mildly.

KGWagner
02-03-2010, 10:28 AM
Completely disagree. Not only can the two different brands of caps sound different, regardless of whether they're the same exact value or not, but different makes of orange drops (225P vs 715, etc) can also sound different from each other. Remember this...just because one person can't hear a difference doesn't give them license to decide for all others if they can hear a difference or not. Any other take on the matter is silly, to put it mildly.
Lemme see if I have this right: It's silly for me to not take opinions on faith, but it's ok for you to disregard facts.

That's ok. I've been in arguments like this before, but they're not allowed on this forum, so I won't present the parallel out of concern for my posting privileges <grin>

Please understand I'm not saying that changing any one or all of the capacitors in an amplifier won't change it's sound. It almost certainly will. But, not for the reasons everyone thinks. It's not the brand name of the capacitors that makes the difference - it's the variance in the capacitance of those capacitors.

Of course, you're free to believe whatever you'd like if it makes you feel better. But, you don't need to believe in the wrong thing in order to have the strength of your convictions show up in your voice when you try to sell a "cap job" to a prospective customer. You're as likely to get an "improvement" in sound by replacing all your caps with the exact same brand and size as you are by changing manufacturers.

brad347
02-03-2010, 10:38 AM
Mentioning capacitors sounding different from one another in this forum sure sends some people in a tizzy.

If you don't think it makes a difference, then fine. That is noted. But it's not that big a deal.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.

smolder
02-03-2010, 10:47 AM
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.

+1 perfect!

DT7
02-03-2010, 10:55 AM
Please understand I'm not saying that changing any one or all of the capacitors in an amplifier won't change it's sound. It almost certainly will. But, not for the reasons everyone thinks. It's not the brand name of the capacitors that makes the difference - it's the variance in the capacitance of those capacitors.

There may indeed be a change in sound due to variance...but that's not the only reason. Construction materials and technique are the other factors. A polypropylene dielectric just sounds different than mylar, which sounds different than paper, and so on...and rolling them up in a tight little ball will make them sound different than if they're rolled in a long cylinder. Sectioning them off within the same unit will also make them sound different. It's got nothing to do with the brand name...you're right about that. But different brands will vary their construction components and how they use them. That's just the way it is.



You're as likely to get an "improvement" in sound by replacing all your caps with the exact same brand and size as you are by changing manufacturers.

Completely disagree. But I tell you what...I will agree that you don't hear a difference, OK? Do myself and others the same curtousey and agree with us that we do. Sounds fair to me.

tommytomcat
02-03-2010, 10:59 AM
In the world of assemble/modify an amp yourself, the dollars it cost to re coupling/tone cap an amp is generally going to be less than a cheap OD pedal. So, why not experiment for yourself? The original ?? was OD's vs Sozo standards. I think both are alum foil & polyprop film, so the differences won't be massive. Overall.. I'm a believer in film/foil or PIO caps if you're into vintage tone and effects are used at a minimum. If your amp is used as a neutral base for heavily effected, no need to bother with film/foil's.. Metalized film caps are generally pretty neutral sounding, go with those.

DT7
02-03-2010, 11:09 AM
So, why not experiment for yourself? The original ?? was OD's vs Sozo standards. I think both are alum foil & polyprop film, so the differences won't be massive.


The Sozo caps use mylar (polyester) and foil...just like the original mustard caps. They also appear to be constructed in a very similar manner as the original. Orange drops vary in construction and material...hence my question concerning which type they were referring to. But none of them use both the same materials and construction technique as the Sozo or mustard caps...so they are going to sound different regardless of what kind of orange drop you put in there. But, some versions of orange drops will sound closer than others to a mustard cap. 418 series is your best bet for that. The 715 and 716 series ARE polypropelene and will sound WAY different.

BTW, the concept of a cap having to be broken in is not as rediculous as it may seem. All caps, no matter how well constructed, leak a little. This is a result of chemical processes in the dielectric...which change over time. This leakage actually decreases over time in a film/foil cap, so they begin to run more efficiently after they've been used (or "broken in") for awhile.

phsyconoodler
02-03-2010, 11:56 AM
I build amps that make people happy tonally.If it has some particular brand of cap in the amp that makes it sound good,I'm going to continue using them.
And I have proved that one cap that measures the same as another cap does not mean it will sound identical.
If one takes longer to charge then the sound is actually different.
I could care less about what the internet says about this cap and that cap.I rely on actually trying them in my amps and listening.
The problem is this:some people take advantage of a good sound and raise prices and that's where the real issue lies.Making a capacitor in a factory to any specs costs very little.I don't care what's in it.Then some audio guy uses them and loves them and suddenly the prices goes through the roof.
Then people get all frothy because if it costs a lot it must be good.
Then the naysayers think they are protecting people from buying them by saying that the .50 cent cap is just as good and the cycle continues.
Bullshit and more bullshit.Never ending.
We love debates.Humans.We were meant to argue and start wars over crap like this.

brad347
02-03-2010, 12:08 PM
+1 DT7, and I'll add that this debate is exactly like a religious debate-- some people are more interested in being right than finding the truth.

There is a thread on a DIY electronics forum that demonstrates the capacitor break-in thing in a documented experiment, complete with pictures of scope traces. Once I posted a link on a similar thread and learned an important lesson. People on the thread went so far as to say the differences in the repeated scope traces must've been from something else, and one even suggested that it was probably the guy's refrigerator kicking on(!) Of course some people accused him of forging the scope traces and making the whole thing up.

Here is the thread/experiment in question, by the way. Now, proceed to pick apart his methodology!

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/parts/81355-capacitor-burn-break.html

zzmoore
02-03-2010, 12:24 PM
How do you know the caps sound better/different? I usually read that caps (coupling) impart a subtle change on the guitar amp. So it would seem guys must be hearing a lot more than a subtle change if they can pull the chassis out of an amp, remove a set of M150's, install a set of Sozo Premium, put the chassis back in the amp, sit down to play and remark they prefer the tone of the Sozo's.
I see the same pattern with caps that I do with all other gear on The Gear Page, the expensive stuff always sounds better. AlNiCo costs more than Ceramic material magnets, hand rolled caps cost more than caps that shoot off a machine, a hand wired amp takes more labor cost to assemble than a PCB amp, Merc Mag trannies are typically more costly than other similar trannies, etc. etc. But that does not mean the products are better, maybe they just cost more.
We did a test using two 50 watt "plexi's" that were assembled by Ceriatone. The amps were as equitable as is humanly possible. Both amps had the M150 caps in them. I removed those from one amp, and installed the premium Sozo caps. We had five of our guitar playing acquaintances spend the better part of a day playing these two amps in a studio. We used one Avatar 4x12 loaded with Eminence Wizard and Governor speakers. None of the guys new what changes I had made to the amps, they just new there was a difference in some part. When we were all done, three of the guys said they preferred the Sozo amp and the other two chose the Mallory amp. They were all good players, and all were familiar with the claims made by Soszo and of the "Mojo" surrounding coupling caps.
Five guys does not make for a definitive experiment. But all these guys were surprised that they could not hear and feel a bigger difference between the two amps. And to note, they could not tell which amp had which caps, only that those chose a particular amp as being more to there liking. Who knows, we could have done the test again in a week and the results might have been different. The point I am taking so long to make is...
When guys on TGP change the caps in there amp and say the hear a difference, and often prefer the cap change; they know what changes they are making and how much money they spent to make that change. When you frequent a forum like this one, there is a tendency to go with the flow. Face it, if everybody on TGP is swearing on their dead mothers grave that the original "Mustard" caps in a Marshall are crucial to the amps tone, which guy is going to say, "I installed Orange Drops and there is no real difference".
There is Youtube clip of a guy named Chris Cornell in The Sound Hound Lounge. He is one of the sacred cows on TGP. The video is of him playing a Beatles tune. All the guys commenting are talking about busting into tears, and raving about what a genious the guy is. He butchered the song. It is one of the worst versions of Ticket to Ride I have ever heard. But if I were to post that comment.... same thing with caps. Not always, but frequently.
Good Luck

phsyconoodler
02-03-2010, 02:21 PM
Like I said,it's all bullshit.
I've given up making any recommendations concerning caps and I just use what I like.
Hasserl has taken this stance too.
I know what I like and so does he.

Too many picky eaters in this restaurant.

gldtp99
02-03-2010, 02:43 PM
Yeahhhh !!! Does this mean that there will be no more "Coupling Cap Wars" around here ?
Probably not...............................gldtp99

DT7
02-03-2010, 02:47 PM
How do you know the caps sound better/different?


When I build or rebuild an amp, I'm going for the best tone I can get. I can assure you that I couldn't care less about what somebody around here thinks concerning which cap sounds best...we all have to (or at least we all should) make up our own minds about that. But what got me going wasn't somebodies stated preference...it's that somebody said there's no difference at all. That's a different story. How do I know there's a difference? Because I can hear it. I'll sit there and focus on just one cap in a circuit...swapping in and out a whole myriad of types before coming to a final conclusion/decision. I have no vested interest in selling caps...old or new. I just want the best tone. Over the years I've come to associate certain sounds with certain caps or cap types. Which one I end up using depends on what sound I'm going for...it varies, and that's a good thing. But these days, I can go to three or four caps (types) instead of having to go through the whole box. That's a matter of experience...which I am greatful for, as I'm not getting any younger.

As for your mallory/sozo test, I'm not at all surprised with the results. Tests like this, where folks are just interested in voicing their honest opinions (and not going with the flow) are, indeed, purely subjective. The important point, at least to me, is that they all heard a difference! Only when we can accept this can we really move on into the follow-on territory of "which sounds like what, and why"...and what might generally be considered as "better" in a given circuit. By way of example, lets take the mustard cap in a Marshall. Is it the best cap? How does one define best? I think the one element most folks leave out is familiarity. The original Marshalls that most guys have heard/played had mustard caps in them. They have become familiar with that sound...it sounds "right" to them...with anything else sounding "wrong" or "bad". Coming from that point of view, it may be that other caps don't cut it for them in that circuit...and that's a perfectly valid position to take. Those folks would be interested, naturally, in caps that sound like mustard caps! For a vintage Marshall or Vox, that's part of the sound! But those folks must allow for the fact that others will come allong, change the caps (and, therefor, the sound) and create something that THEY prefer...which is as EQUALLY VALID a position. There are certain amps, like an old Boogie, that I wouldn't use anything but a certain kind of orange drop (or its equivalent) in. I think there's room enough for all of us and our associated opinions. I myself prefer the wider palette of tone offered by different components...but generally speaking, the older components do seem, to my ear, to posess a greater level of musicality...and there are factual reasons for this. However, there are always exceptions to any rule. That's my $0.02+.

hasserl
02-03-2010, 04:20 PM
Completely disagree. Not only can the two different brands of caps sound different, regardless of whether they're the same exact value or not, but different makes of orange drops (225P vs 715, etc) can also sound different from each other. Remember this...just because one person can't hear a difference doesn't give them license to decide for all others if they can hear a difference or not. Any other take on the matter is silly, to put it mildly.

There may indeed be a change in sound due to variance...but that's not the only reason. Construction materials and technique are the other factors. A polypropylene dielectric just sounds different than mylar, which sounds different than paper, and so on...and rolling them up in a tight little ball will make them sound different than if they're rolled in a long cylinder. Sectioning them off within the same unit will also make them sound different. It's got nothing to do with the brand name...you're right about that. But different brands will vary their construction components and how they use them. That's just the way it is.

Completely disagree. But I tell you what...I will agree that you don't hear a difference, OK? Do myself and others the same curtousey and agree with us that we do. Sounds fair to me.

Do you have an explanation for the claimed difference in sound? Or any evidence that it exists? Please, humor me. Show me the evidence. Explain how the differences in construction materials, techniques and shape have an effect on sound.

note I haven't claimed the effects do not exist, I'm just challenging you to prove something you say does. This is the scientific method, you make a claim about something, that is your hypothesis or theory; now show us the evidence, the research or experiments you conducted, to support your claim. If you can't or won't than this is all nothing but anecdotes of superstition*. And that's fine, everyone can have whatever superstition they want to. But please don't make personal attacks against someone for challenging your beliefs.


*su⋅per⋅sti⋅tion http://sp.ask.com/dictstatic/g/d/speaker.gif (http://dictionary.reference.com/audio.html/lunaWAV/S11/S1140400) /ˌsuhttp://sp.ask.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngpərˈstɪʃhttp://sp.ask.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngən/ http://sp.ask.com/dictstatic/g/d/dictionary_questionbutton_default.gif (http://dictionary.reference.com/help/luna/IPA_pron_key.html) Show Spelled Pronunciation [soo-per-stish-uhhttp://sp.ask.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngn] http://sp.ask.com/dictstatic/g/d/dictionary_questionbutton_default.gif (http://dictionary.reference.com/help/luna/Spell_pron_key.html) Show IPA noun 1. a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like. 2. a system or collection of such beliefs. 3. a custom or act based on such a belief. 4. irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, esp. in connection with religion. 5. any blindly accepted belief or notion.

stratotone
02-03-2010, 04:58 PM
I did a comparison with a Marshall 18 watt I built awhile back here, recorded a guitar clip to mp3 and played it through my iPod into the amp, with a mic on a speaker cab that didn't move. same settings on the amp, just changed coupling caps. Compared sozos and Mallory 150s. I preferred the Mallorys. Of course, I didn't do it as scientifically correct as some wanted me to do, but I figured with the same cab, mic/recording gear not moved, and the exact same signal being 'reamped' I shouldn't hear the differences I heard. To my ears and my recording gear, different coupling cap brands make a difference. And yes, I measured them, all the caps were very close value-wise, and an 18 watt Marshall isn't a super simple amp but it's not like a modern high gainer that has umpteen cascaded stages either. :)

Pete

DT7
02-03-2010, 04:59 PM
Do you have an explanation for the claimed difference in sound? Or any evidence that it exists? Please, humor me. Show me the evidence. Explain how the differences in construction materials, techniques and shape have an effect on sound.

First of all, note that I cannot show you evidence of what I hear...anymore than you can show me evidence of what you hear. Second, lack of the existance of presentable evidence does not constitute evidence of non-existance.


But please don't make personal attacks against someone for challenging your beliefs.

I won't if you won't.


*su⋅per⋅sti⋅tion http://sp.ask.com/dictstatic/g/d/speaker.gif (http://dictionary.reference.com/audio.html/lunaWAV/S11/S1140400) /ˌsuhttp://sp.ask.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngpərˈstɪʃhttp://sp.ask.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngən/ http://sp.ask.com/dictstatic/g/d/dictionary_questionbutton_default.gif (http://dictionary.reference.com/help/luna/IPA_pron_key.html) Show Spelled Pronunciation [soo-per-stish-uhhttp://sp.ask.com/dictstatic/dictionary/graphics/luna/thinsp.pngn] http://sp.ask.com/dictstatic/g/d/dictionary_questionbutton_default.gif (http://dictionary.reference.com/help/luna/Spell_pron_key.html) Show IPA noun 1. a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like. 2. a system or collection of such beliefs. 3. a custom or act based on such a belief. 4. irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, esp. in connection with religion. 5. any blindly accepted belief or notion.

Woops...too late...you already did.


Anyway, different dielectrics sound differently...imparting differing levels and types of distortion; some of which are musical (my opinion) and some of which are not. Certain methods of construction will enhance different bands of frequency while others will tend to roll them off. That's my experience. If the fact that I hear something you don't makes you nervous for some reason...to the point of having to deny the existence of somebody elses experiences...I honestly don't know of anything I can say or do to help you out. Sorry. But, I suggest you, and anybody else who has doubts, find an amp with relatively simple circuitry and a tone stack of some kind...like an old Fender. Then, just swap different kinds of caps with the same value in for the bass and mid caps and listen for the difference for yourself. That's the best evidence I can give you...your own personal experience.

zzmoore
02-03-2010, 05:21 PM
I appreciate the experience you guys have.... DT7, Phsyco, Hasserl, etc. So maybe somebody can explain to me about the caps being discussed. I understand the variance in capacitance (maybe 20%) and that caps may leak some DC. Those tolerances can/do vary within the same brand and value of cap, nothing you can do about it. That fact will have an affect, I assume.
But if caps store a charge in a electric filed, and are two conductors separated by an insulator; how does the insulator material, whether it be Mylar, paper, oil, or whatever have an effect on tone? Why would cap construction matter, if the caps have the same value of capacitance and are leaking the same amount of DC?
Thank You

smolder
02-03-2010, 06:03 PM
Capacitance is only one measurement. Clearly there are things going on inside a cap that can not be measured by a meter... but good ears seem to be able to.

hasserl
02-03-2010, 06:14 PM
First of all, note that I cannot show you evidence of what I hear...anymore than you can show me evidence of what you hear. Second, lack of the existance of presentable evidence does not constitute evidence of non-existance.

Yes you can, you can record the amp and play the clips. You can conduct a blind test. You can prove it if it is real, I can only assume you don't want to, or it isn't real and you can't prove it.




I won't if you won't.

Woops...too late...you already did.

That is not a personal attack, it is a statement of fact. The copy of the dictionary definition is to show why the word fits the application.


Anyway, different dielectrics sound differently...imparting differing levels and types of distortion; some of which are musical (my opinion) and some of which are not. Certain methods of construction will enhance different bands of frequency while others will tend to roll them off. That's my experience. If the fact that I hear something you don't makes you nervous for some reason...to the point of having to deny the existence of somebody elses experiences...I honestly don't know of anything I can say or do to help you out. Sorry. But, I suggest you, and anybody else who has doubts, find an amp with relatively simple circuitry and a tone stack of some kind...like an old Fender. Then, just swap different kinds of caps with the same value in for the bass and mid caps and listen for the difference for yourself. That's the best evidence I can give you...your own personal experience.

There you go making statements of fact again with nothing to support them. If this is your opinion than make a statement of opinion, not of fact.

Again, I'm not saying you're wrong, just challenging you to prove it.

KGWagner
02-03-2010, 07:19 PM
...if caps store a charge in a electric filed, and are two conductors separated by an insulator; how does the insulator material, whether it be Mylar, paper, oil, or whatever have an effect on tone? Why would cap construction matter, if the caps have the same value of capacitance and are leaking the same amount of DC?
Thank You
It doesn't. That's the point the engineers and others who understand such things are trying to make, to the consternation of the evangelical <grin>

The frequency response of an RC (where "R" is either resistance/impedance, and "C" is capacitance) circuit is well-defined and predictable, and based on physical laws that cannot be violated. At least, not here on Earth. I'm not sure about Bizarro World <grin> If you look at the formulae, there's no symbol for "dielectric (insulator) type" or packaging style. A .22f capacitor is a .22f capacitor, regardless of its construction materials, orientation, mounting scheme or manufacturer/supplier. When you want to know how it will behave, you enter .22f in the equation. The dielectric can be polyester, newsprint, or toadshit and the plates (or conductors) can be gold, silver, or Reynold's wrap. All that matters is that the capacitor have a given value. I'm sure some day, some boutique builder will come up with capacitors he's rolled on his own using highly trained and sophisticated Cuban cigar rollers skilled in the art of forming high-purity Reynold's wrap and virgin oil-soaked parchment into audiophile-grade caps, and he'll claim superior tonal response as a result. You'll probably even be able to buy those caps on his web site for $243/ea. But, if they measure .22f, they'll react just like any .22f cap would in a given circuit.

Of course, there will be those who swear by them, just like there are those who will buy these 15A 120V plugs (http://www.shop.avsolutionsca.com/product.sc?productId=220) for $314...

http://www.shop.avsolutionsca.com/images/M1.jpg

Because "they sound better". The power of suggestion is tremendous.

I'm clearly in the wrong business...

DT7
02-03-2010, 08:18 PM
Again, I'm not saying you're wrong, just challenging you to prove it.

As already stated, not all facts are provable. By your logic, a person unable to explain why stars give off light shouldn't be able to see any light. That's the most bass-ackwards logic I think I've ever encountered. Furthermore, they can't prove to you they can see light where you don't, anymore than I can prove I can hear something where you don't. What I still fail to understand is why you, and some others on this board, feel so threatened by the fact, and feel the need to attack anybody who has a difference of opinion. Just accept the fact that some can hear a difference, and move on.

hasserl
02-03-2010, 08:44 PM
Yes, all facts are provable. If they aren't provable they aren't facts, they're supposition. And No, that analogy is not accurate at all. I never said you couldn't hear any difference, I just challenged you to prove that you can. And since you made a statement of fact about why the perceived differences exists I asked you to explain how that works, and to give some supporting evidence.

I've not attacked you or anyone else, and I'm not threatened by you or your claims or hypothesis (they're not facts if you can't back them up). I just don't like the hype and marketing that goes along with certain products. It's my little area to poke a stick into the spokes of fan boiism internet hype. If it's just opinion, than that is fine, we all have opinions, and likes and dislikes. But that's not how you presented things.

KGWagner
02-03-2010, 08:53 PM
As already stated, not all facts are provable.
Then they're not facts. They're theories, hypothesis, postulates or conjecture. Or, wishful thinking.

What I still fail to understand is why you, and some others on this board, feel so threatened by the fact, and feel the need to attack anybody who has a difference of opinion. Just accept the fact that some can hear a difference, and move on.
What makes you think anyone feels threatened? Those who are arguing that long-proven physics control certain real-world behaviors certainly don't have anything to worry about, assuming they'd be inclined to worry about such things in the first place. If anyone feels threatened, I'd think it would be those who can't prove their point of view, and are concerned about that inability.

DT7
02-03-2010, 09:49 PM
What makes you think anyone feels threatened?

Telling others what they can and can't hear. Do you have a better explanation as to why you've become so rediculous over this subject?


Tell you what...why don't you go pick a fight with all the guys who say they can hear a difference in the opamps they're trying out in their Eternity Lovepedals. That should really get this place rocking.

KGWagner
02-03-2010, 10:12 PM
Telling others what they can and can't hear. Do you have a better explanation as to why you've become so rediculous over this subject?
I don't recall ever telling anyone what they could or couldn't hear. In fact, I've specifically and literally said that changing all the caps in an amp will change its sound.

In any event, who's being ridiculous? I couldn't care less if you paid me. My only aim is to educate. If you don't care to understand how things work, you're the one who has to live with it. Personally, I like to know the how and why of things. But, that's just me.

Tell you what...why don't you go pick a fight with all the guys who say they can hear a difference in the opamps they're trying out in their Eternity Lovepedals. That should really get this place rocking.
First, I don't pick fights, and second, op amps are substantially more complex devices than capacitors, with numerous variables involved in their operation. There's no parallel in the discussions.

teemuk
02-03-2010, 10:37 PM
If there were significant issues that made similarly rated capacitors perform any differently (in a manner that would affect their characteristics to pass AC signal) I'm sure big capacitor manufacturers like Elna and Sprague would had discussed the topic to death and there would be several datasheets and application notes discussing the issue.

Still waiting for them to appear...

KGWagner
02-03-2010, 11:01 PM
If there were significant issues that made similarly rated capacitors perform any differently (in a manner that would affect their characteristics to pass AC signal) I'm sure big capacitor manufacturers like Elna and Sprague would had discussed the topic to death and there would be several datasheets and application notes discussing the issue.

Still waiting for them to appear...
No problem.

Here are 469 datasheets (http://www.vishay.com/capacitors/) just on Sprague capacitors. Start wherever you'd like. You can find out a lot more than you'll ever want to know about all their caps and how they behave as they go into a great deal of detail if you dig far enough.

Elna appears to make primarily electrolytic and tantalum caps, neither of which are really used in the audio path of guitar amps. They're more for power supplies and decoupling. But, you can certainly gather some data about them here (http://www.elna.co.jp/en/capacitor/index.html). It's pretty vague, but electrolytics are kinda brutal parts anyway.

DT7
02-03-2010, 11:27 PM
If there were significant issues that made similarly rated capacitors perform any differently (in a manner that would affect their characteristics to pass AC signal) I'm sure big capacitor manufacturers like Elna and Sprague would had discussed the topic to death and there would be several datasheets and application notes discussing the issue.

Still waiting for them to appear...

It is a mistake to assume that data sheets will necessarily show up anything relevant to this discussion. Sprague doesn't make coupling capacitors with guitar amps in mind...never has. Niether do companies like Elna...nor would most production amps ever use Elna caps due to cost considerations. The guitar amp industry is too small for the big boys to care about spending the money to do such studies...and they'd have to do studies also for vintage caps so that their comparisons would have any value. Not going to happen. That said, there are data sheets out there to be found...but again, don't expect audio information to be found as a primary concern; if a concern at all. Guitars and amps are small fish in a big pond in this regard.

brad347
02-03-2010, 11:43 PM
On paper, a capacitor shouldn't behave differently than any other capacitor of the same value.

But in the real world, the little things we put in our amps are capacitors on purpose and inductors/coils, resistors (ESR), and microphones on accident. Yes capacitors can be microphonic, and many are. A few of the yellow Astrons in my old Fender will make a noise through the speakers if you tap on them.

A condenser microphone is nothing but a capacitor designed to be especially microphonic.

So the Astrons in my Fender are so microphonic you could practically talk into them, and even the other stuff notwithstanding, I have a hard time accepting the logic that they wouldn't sound any differently than a run-of-the-mill cap with zero microphony and less inductance.

But that's just my old-fashioned "horse sense" talking. :)

brad347
02-03-2010, 11:45 PM
For the record, just for whatever it's worth, I had a lengthy conversation with DT7 recently about long-playing vinyl LP records in which he took the opposite role he is taking in this conversation-- the role of the skeptic. Doesn't seem like he's the kind of guy to just buy into audio-related superstition. But that's just a vibe I get.

KGWagner
02-03-2010, 11:59 PM
It is a mistake to assume that data sheets will necessarily show up anything relevant to this discussion.
Surely you're joking. There is no more authoritative source of information on component construction and behavior than the manufacturer's engineering data sheets. They're what the circuit designers use to determine whether or not a component is suitable to task. Whaddaya think, the engineers just look at pictures or flip coins or check with the kids at Harmony Central to decide what parts to use to build their circuits? "Oh, look! This one's orange and shiny, and Horndog231 says I'm a doofus if I don't use them!"

LOL! C'mon. Admit it. You're just trolling for the fun of it.

KGWagner
02-04-2010, 12:15 AM
On paper, a capacitor shouldn't behave differently than any other capacitor of the same value.

But in the real world, the little things we put in our amps are capacitors on purpose and inductors/coils, resistors (ESR), and microphones on accident. Yes capacitors can be microphonic, and many are. A few of the yellow Astrons in my old Fender will make a noise through the speakers if you tap on them.

A condenser microphone is nothing but a capacitor designed to be especially microphonic.

So the Astrons in my Fender are so microphonic you could practically talk into them, and even the other stuff notwithstanding, I have a hard time accepting the logic that they wouldn't sound any differently than a run-of-the-mill cap with zero microphony and less inductance.

But that's just my old-fashioned "horse sense" talking. :)
Your "horse sense" isn't failing you, in that it's true some capacitors don't behave themselves or are designed to do different things like be microphones or touch screens, so it would be foolish to say they're all the same. On the other hand, in your specific case you are comparing faulty components to the rest of the population of components, and I don't think I've seen anyone say that capacitors don't change or have different values or don't react to external stress. Quite the opposite. They change a lot, are highly inconsistent, and prone to failure. That's why the whole mythology of "this brand" vs. "that brand" has arisen.

You never hear about somebody changing all their Mallory caps for all new or NOS Mallory caps. They always change brands. Then, when things change, they attribute it to the brand or package or dielectric or some other improbable reason. Why the obvious, simple cause for change never occurs to anyone escapes me. Hasn't anyone ever heard of Occam's razor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor)?

KGWagner
02-04-2010, 01:50 AM
I like ZOSO, cuz Jimmy Page can wank and crank <grin>

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/512G14A2WXL._SL500_AA240_.jpg

DT7
02-04-2010, 07:35 AM
I like SoZo's. Great caps and John is a cool fellow.

Those, and some of the Jupiters, are of the very few caps that were ever intentionally made for guitar amps. I don't know about the Jupiters, but the Sozos were created by somebody who seems to hear some of the same things I'm hearing, and tuned their "mustard cap" capacitors accordingly. I don't know if they resurrected the di-film technology for their "blue-molded" caps...I guess I'll have to break one open and find out for myself some day.

DT7
02-04-2010, 07:49 AM
...I don't think I've seen anyone say that capacitors don't change or have different values or don't react to external stress. Quite the opposite. They change a lot, are highly inconsistent, and prone to failure. That's why the whole mythology of "this brand" vs. "that brand" has arisen.

Not really. Even using the same materials and construction techniques, dielectric formulas were very proprietary...much like the getter formulas were for tube manufacturers of the day. So, some caps will last longer than others. There's no mythology about that.

You never hear about somebody changing all their Mallory caps for all new or NOS Mallory caps. They always change brands. Then, when things change, they attribute it to the brand or package or dielectric or some other improbable reason.

Not saying that doesn't happen...but I am saying it doesn't happen with me. Heck...years ago, folks figured it had to sound good because it said "Marshall" or "Fender" on the front. These days, we're more inclined to open the amp up, look at the circuitry, the transformers, the tubes used, the speakers, etc, before we feel comfortable assuming a certain quality of sound will issue forth from said amp. I take the time and make the effort to understand what it is I'm using, and why it sounds different. I pay less attention to brands (though that does give some indication, once you become familiar with things)...more attention to materials and construction techniques. It's only a matter of time before more folks catch on to this. Maybe when more do we'll be able to discuss things more meaningfully.


Why the obvious, simple cause for change never occurs to anyone escapes me. Hasn't anyone ever heard of Occam's razor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor)?

Like all razors, I'm pretty sure it cuts both ways.

teemuk
02-04-2010, 08:04 AM
Those, and some of the Jupiters, are of the very few caps that were ever intentionally made for guitar amps. I don't know about the Jupiters, but the Sozos were created by somebody who seems to hear some of the same things I'm hearing, and tuned their "mustard cap" capacitors accordingly.

As far as I know, Sozos are just rebranded Cornell Dubilier/Mallory caps. :facepalm

DT7
02-04-2010, 08:20 AM
As far as I know, Sozos are just rebranded Cornell Dubilier/Mallory caps. :facepalm

As far as you know. My source is a post made over on the Plexi Palace forum by the creater of the Sozo caps himself...which includes the claim that they're hand-wound (which CDE/Mallory caps most certainly are not). Would you care to share your source?

brad347
02-04-2010, 08:23 AM
As far as I know, Sozos are just rebranded Cornell Dubilier/Mallory caps. :facepalm

"As far as you know?"

Which begs the question "how far do you know?" Do you have a source? Because that's a pretty serious claim that casts aspersions on the manufacturer.

brad347
02-04-2010, 08:48 AM
Your "horse sense" isn't failing you, in that it's true some capacitors don't behave themselves or are designed to do different things like be microphones or touch screens, so it would be foolish to say they're all the same. On the other hand, in your specific case you are comparing faulty components to the rest of the population of components, and I don't think I've seen anyone say that capacitors don't change or have different values or don't react to external stress. Quite the opposite. They change a lot, are highly inconsistent, and prone to failure. That's why the whole mythology of "this brand" vs. "that brand" has arisen.

You never hear about somebody changing all their Mallory caps for all new or NOS Mallory caps. They always change brands. Then, when things change, they attribute it to the brand or package or dielectric or some other improbable reason. Why the obvious, simple cause for change never occurs to anyone escapes me. Hasn't anyone ever heard of Occam's razor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor)?

I realize that your opinion is pretty well and solidly formed and you're not going to change it. So I'm not trying to change it.

However, if age can cause a capacitor to behave and sound differently from its new counterpart even when it measures the same, why is it such a stretch to think that two capacitors made differently with different materials could also behave and sound differently from one another?

Why is it such a stretch to believe that a capacitor with very small stray inductance could sound differently from one with very high stray inductance?

In any case, I took you up on your offer and had a glance at some of those Sprague data sheets. Here's some interesting info I found:



The inductance of a capacitor depends upon the geometric design of the capacitor element and the length and the thickness of the contacting terminals

...

The resonant frequency is a function of the capacitance and the inductance of a capacitor. At resonant frequency the capacitive reactance equals the inductive reactance (l/ωC = ωL). At its lowest point of the resonant curve only the ohmic value is effective, this means the impedance equals the ESR. Above the resonate frequency the inductive part of the capacitor prevails.

...

The DA depends upon the dielectric material and is a measure of the reluctance of a dielectric to discharge completely.

...

The corona starting voltage is defined as detectable electrical discharges resulting from the ionization of air on the surface or between the capacitor layers. Its value is dependent upon the internal design of the capacitor element, the dielectric material, and the thickness of the film. The usage of series wound capacitors increases the corona voltage level.

...

The ESR is the ohmic part of an equivalent series circuit. Its value assumes all losses to be represented by a single resistance in series with the idealized capacitor.

The ESR comprises the polarization losses of the dielectric material (Rpol), the losses caused by the resistance of the leads, termination and electrodes (Rs) and the insulation resistance (Ris).

...

The temperature coefficient is the average capacitance change over a specified temperature range. It indicates how much a capacitance changes referred to 20C, if the temperature changes by 1C. The TC is typically expressed in ppm/C (parts per million per C). Depending upon the dielectric material the TC can either be positive, or negative.

...

Since the dielectric constant of plastic film is frequency dependent, the capacitance value will decrease with increasing frequency. High relative humidity may increase the capacitance value. Capacitance changes due to moisture are reversible.


Emphasis mine.

There's more, too, including a lengthy note about how the time constant is affected by insulation resistance, which itself is a function of "the property and quality of the dielectric material."

Also, there's a handy series of graphs that compares several of Sprague's OWN capacitors in the following arenas:


Capacitance change versus temperature
Capacitance change versus frequency
Dissipation factor versus temperature
Dissipation factor versus frequency
Time constanct versus temperature


The graphs show significant differences in all between capacitors in Sprague's own line.

I don't know man, I appreciate reason and skepticism as much as the next guy, and I do agree there is a fair of disingenuous marketing out there, but I think to say capacitors don't behave in a manner dependent upon their materials and construction at all is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I think several of the things above from the very Sprague datasheets you challenged me to look at (and I only looked at one, at random) offer several plausible explanations for what other people have observed.

Look, SCIENCE and THEORY both exist to explain observed phenomena-- not to tell people WHAT they are observing.

If I observe something that can't yet be proved scientifically, then that doesn't cause me to question whether or not I've observed it. It causes me to question the degree to which we fallible humans really understand what we think there is to understand. I feel that is putting the cart and the horse in the correct order.

"All that we know" is not the same as "all that there is to know."

teemuk
02-04-2010, 08:49 AM
This is a quote from the Sozo guy's post at Harmony Central forums:
I am an engineer and have been developing this new product with the engineers at Cornell since 06 with full testing and revisions. I utilized Cornell because they are the global leader in electrolytic technology.

brad347
02-04-2010, 08:53 AM
That does not mean he "rebrands" Cornell capacitors. All that means is that he does not sit there and roll up the capacitors by hand for the "standard" line. As I understand it, that's exactly what happens for the "premium" line, unless I am mistaken.

Having a large vendor make a lower-teir product to your specs is not the same as "rebranding" one of their existing products. Companies do it all the time. The RS Guitarworks pots are made by CTS but are fundamentally unlike anything CTS offers in their regular line anymore, just to use one example. However, CTS has all the tooling necessary to make the product to RS's specs when RS would not have that capability on their own otherwise.

In any case, I tried googling that quote to find the original context, and when I did, it was precisely debunking the accusation you made above, which had been a result of a catalog error on Mallory's part which was subsequently corrected.

DT7
02-04-2010, 09:04 AM
This is a quote from the Sozo guy's post at Harmony Central forums:

That's a far cry from being rebranded CDE caps. In fact, that quote says nothing as to how the caps are made at all! That the materials supplier (and perhaps maker) is CDE would not be a surprise to me at all. That same yellow plastic jacket you find on Sozos is used by CDE for many of their caps. But I hope your post was not meant to mean that the Sozo caps are not constructed like the old mustard caps were...because if it was, it has failed to show this to be true. Construction-wise, the Sozos look pretty spot-on, to me. And, more importantly, sound extremely close. I'd be hard-pressed to pick one out from a group of real mustard caps (based on tone alone).

KGWagner
02-04-2010, 09:16 AM
As far as I know, Sozos are just rebranded Cornell Dubilier/Mallory caps. :facepalm
That's almost certainly true. They look exactly like CDE's (Cornell Dubilier Electronics) caps right down to the color, and CDE does private labeling (http://www.cde.com/contract/) for OEMs and contractors. You'll notice there's no such thing a spec sheet for a Sozo cap - their part descriptions are pure marketspeak with little or no technical data whatsoever beyond capacity and working voltage. That's probably also where Sozo comes up with the incredibly ludicrous "hand-wound" claim as well. I'm sure there's a whole line of Mexican women in Calexico who wind the Sozo label around a CDE cap by hand.

brad347
02-04-2010, 09:17 AM
why don't you send him an e-mail and ask him for a data sheet? Seems that might be more constructive than denigrating the product on the forum in a speculative manner, which opens up TGP to threats of lawsuit (which is why it's against the forum rules as well).

hasserl
02-04-2010, 09:29 AM
As far as you know. My source is a post made over on the Plexi Palace forum by the creater of the Sozo caps himself...which includes the claim that they're hand-wound (which CDE/Mallory caps most certainly are not). Would you care to share your source?

"As far as you know?"

Which begs the question "how far do you know?" Do you have a source? Because that's a pretty serious claim that casts aspersions on the manufacturer.

Hmmmm, when it fits your position you are certainly quick to ask for proof. I'm just sayin..... ;)

I realize that your opinion is pretty well and solidly formed and you're not going to change it. So I'm not trying to change it.

However, if age can cause a capacitor to behave and sound differently from its new counterpart even when it measures the same, why is it such a stretch to think that two capacitors made differently with different materials could also behave and sound differently from one another?

Why is it such a stretch to believe that a capacitor with very small stray inductance could sound differently from one with very high stray inductance?

In any case, I took you up on your offer and had a glance at some of those Sprague data sheets. Here's some interesting info I found:

Emphasis mine.

There's more, too, including a lengthy note about how the time constant is affected by insulation resistance, which itself is a function of "the property and quality of the dielectric material."

Also, there's a handy series of graphs that compares several of Sprague's OWN capacitors in the following arenas:


Capacitance change versus temperature
Capacitance change versus frequency
Dissipation factor versus temperature
Dissipation factor versus frequency
Time constanct versus temperature


The graphs show significant differences in all between capacitors in Sprague's own line.

I don't know man, I appreciate reason and skepticism as much as the next guy, and I do agree there is a fair of disingenuous marketing out there, but I think to say capacitors don't behave in a manner dependent upon their materials and construction at all is to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I think several of the things above from the very Sprague datasheets you challenged me to look at (and I only looked at one, at random) offer several plausible explanations for what other people have observed.

OK, so now, how do any of those things relate to audio performance or response in a guitar amp at the frequencies involved?

You've started your research, keep it going and you might come up with something. Then again, you might not. Ahh, but that's the way it goes with research, aint it?

Look, SCIENCE and THEORY both exist to explain observed phenomena-- not to tell people WHAT they are observing.

If I observe something that can't yet be proved scientifically, then that doesn't cause me to question whether or not I've observed it. It causes me to question the degree to which we fallible humans really understand what we think there is to understand. I feel that is putting the cart and the horse in the correct order.

"All that we know" is not the same as "all that there is to know."

OK, but if you're the only one that observes a certain phenomenon, or you cannot reproduce it or identify it, then how can you reasonably or rationally persuade others that it exists? They should just take your word for it, huh?

First, prove that the phenomenon exists. Second, explain it. Third, share it with the world, make fame and fortune for yourself or your community, spread the enjoyment of the benefits of the phenomenon.

That's a far cry from being rebranded CDE caps. In fact, that quote says nothing as to how the caps are made at all! That the materials supplier (and perhaps maker) is CDE would not be a surprise to me at all. That same yellow plastic jacket you find on Sozos is used by CDE for many of their caps. But I hope your post was not meant to mean that the Sozo caps are not constructed like the old mustard caps were...because if it was, it has failed to show this to be true. Construction-wise, the Sozos look pretty spot-on, to me. And, more importantly, sound extremely close. I'd be hard-pressed to pick one out from a group of real mustard caps (based on tone alone).

I think you'd be hard pressed to pick out an Orange Drop from a Sozo from a NTE from a Mallory from a Jupiter from any other cap. Do it, construct a blind test where you are challenged to consistently identify between caps merely from listening. I'd absolutely LOVE to see that.

DT7
02-04-2010, 09:31 AM
I'll add that I've auditioned many caps in yellow jackets made by (and labelled as) CDE. They sound nothing like the Sozo caps. The CDE are more of a hi-fi cap than a guitar amp cap...but there are certain pedal circuits where they do would work good.

DT7
02-04-2010, 09:34 AM
I think you'd be hard pressed to pick out an Orange Drop from a Sozo from a NTE from a Mallory from a Jupiter from any other cap. Do it, construct a blind test where you are challenged to consistently identify between caps merely from listening. I'd absolutely LOVE to see that.


I've got a better idea. YOU actually sit down with a simple amp, make some cap changes as I recommended, and see for yourself. There's no proof better than seeing for yourself. Why would I want to conduct a blind test to prove to myself what I already know?

phsyconoodler
02-04-2010, 09:35 AM
brad347 wrote:"Look, SCIENCE and THEORY both exist to explain observed phenomena-- not to tell people WHAT they are observing. "

That is the most lucid statement made in this whole thread.
And the simple fact that Sprague has the same uf rated caps made of different materials that react differently to frequency and other factors makes me wonder why any of the naysayers can question those real FACTS.
Debates are wonderful things,but when naysayers come up with nothing it kind of is a waste of time.

Here's a wrench to throw in the mix:I have a solid state Heath guitar amp that sounds just as good as a lot of new production tube amps.The naysayers will jump in and say"your ears are whacked.No way electrons pass through a crystal latice and sound as good as when they pass through a vacuum"
On and on and on.
Try the damn capacitors in YOUR amp and then be honest about what you hear.
I'll put them in for you if you like.

KGWagner
02-04-2010, 09:43 AM
You bring up some good points, reinforced by Vishay's own data. Environmental influences and electro-mechanical differences will have an effect on a given design's capacitance, and perhaps add additional characteristics such as resistance and inductance that move the part off its idealized value. I don't have a problem with that.

teemuk
02-04-2010, 10:07 AM
Let's take a look of these deficiencies such as temperature and frequency coefficients...

http://f.imagehost.org/0315/graphs.gif

Going from -40 to +100 degrees of Celcius creates a change where the capacitance shifts from 0.8x to about 1.1x the rated value. That's a 30% change. Bare in mind that capacitors may often have a tolerance of about 20%. Considering that such drastic temperature changes will never even happen in real-life use of a guitar amp we can pretty much ignore this characteristic because in normal use the capacitance won't drift even a single percent.

The frequency coefficient has more drastic effects. That may actually become a problem if we are building a Megahertz range oscialltor or a tuned circuit. However, the guitar amps operate on a range of about 100 Hz - 5 kHz. The upper frequency seriously limited by the speaker system prcatically consisting of woofers. Even in a Hifi amp the highest frequency of interest is only 20 Khz.

So let's see. At 10 kHz some capacitors may drift as much as 30% some less, e.g. 15%. Ok, that's rather considerable but still within the range of normal capacitor tolerances. At the very border of guitar's effective bandwidth the change is within only 10% to 5%

Someone care to calculate how much this effects typical RC filters found from guitar amps? I'd say we talk about +-1dB at max. The wide tolerances of caps have way larger effects than this characteristic ever will.

Personally, I'd consider these characteristic almost negligible. They are an issue only in high frequency applications or in industrial applications where large temperature drifts happen. Even in those cases they effect frequency-sensitive circuits like oscillators or tuners. In audio applications these effects are hardly audible.

hasserl
02-04-2010, 10:28 AM
I've got a better idea. YOU actually sit down with a simple amp, make some cap changes as I recommended, and see for yourself. There's no proof better than seeing for yourself. Why would I want to conduct a blind test to prove to myself what I already know?

Because you only think you know something. It is an illusion brought about by any number of environmental conditions. The truth is, you could not consistently identify any cap in a blind test, and at least deep down inside (I suspect it really isn't so deep) you know it. But instead of admitting it you try to redirect the challenge to the one questioning you.

What makes you think I haven't already tried different caps? I've never said I haven't, and I haven't said that no difference exists. I'm challenging your explanations for those perceived differences, and I'm challenging your ability to identify different caps by brand or type. Prove it.

brad347
02-04-2010, 10:33 AM
Going from -40 to +100 degrees of Celcius creates a change where the capacitance shifts from 0.8x to about 1.1x the rated value. That's a 30% change. Bare in mind that capacitors may often have a tolerance of about 20%. Considering that such drastic temperature changes will never even happen in real-life use of a guitar amp we can pretty much ignore this characteristic because in normal use the capacitance won't drift even a single percent.

Interesting points.

The -40˚C might be rare to encounter, but it seems that 100˚C might only be slightly higher, if at all, than what one may encounter in a closed chassis next to some boiling hot output tubes and a searing 5U4G, particularly in a chassis where the tubes hang down Fender-style. Heat rises. It would be interesting to check with a thermometer. Maybe one day.

And a 30% change is not trivial, in my mind. Because even if the caps are 20% tolerance parts on the edge of their tolerance range, that would be an additional 30% on top of that, plausibly, which starts to become non-trivial pretty fast.

Also worth mentioning is that with currently-produced capacitors, 20% tolerance is very loose for a film/foil or metallized film cap by modern standards. All of Sprague's orange drops are 5%, I believe, for instance.

The frequency coefficient has more drastic effects. That may actually become a problem if we are building a Megahertz range oscialltor or a tuned circuit. However, the guitar amps operate on a range of about 100 Hz - 5 kHz. The upper frequency seriously limited by the speaker system prcatically consisting of woofers. Even in a Hifi amp the highest frequency of interest is only 20 Khz.

So let's see. At 10 kHz some capacitors may drift as much as 30% some less, e.g. 15%. Ok, that's rather considerable but still within the range of normal capacitor tolerances. At the very border of guitar's effective bandwidth the change is within only 10% to 5%

Someone care to calculate how much this effects typical RC filters found from guitar amps? I'd say we talk about +-1dB at max. The wide tolerances of caps have way larger effects than this characteristic ever will.

Personally, I'd consider these characteristic almost negligible. They are an issue only in high frequency applications or in industrial applications where large temperature drifts happen. Even in those cases they effect frequency-sensitive circuits like oscillators or tuners. In audio applications these effects are hardly audible.

This is a valid concern, too, but it's worth mentioning a few things in relation to this.

First is that 5k as the highest frequency of interest is incredibly pessimistic with respect to a guitar amplifier. A typical Champ speaker can extend to 3dB at 8.5kHz, and even 12" speakers will easily get 6k at 3dB in many cases.

But that's just the 3dB. A friend performed an experiment where sine tones from a tone generator were audible through an Ampeg amp and a Weber 12F150 up to 15k, albeit highly attenuated at those frequencies. I was surprised but I had no reason to disbelieve him.

Also, things with incredible amounts of high frequency content like fuzz or even tube overdrive will be able to overcome a speaker's natural rolloff, to a degree. Sitting here playing with some tracks using a software EQ plugin, I can perceive very real changes to distorted guitar by messing with EQ filters far above 10k.

Secondly is that the speaker is the chief limiting factor in frequency response in a typical guitar amp. That does not mean those frequencies don't exist, it just means the speaker might attenuate them due to its mechanical limitations. Working to amplify even inaudible frequencies is a very real performance concern in an amplifier. This is why we can always observe the effects of ultrasonic oscillations even though we cannot hear them.

KGWagner
02-04-2010, 10:41 AM
This is defamation. You're not a cool fellow kgwagner.
That's not defamation by any stretch of the imagination, it's simple observation. And I happen to be incredibly cool <grin>

golfnutt67
02-04-2010, 10:42 AM
Nothing quite like a cap thread to bring the (strong) opinions out....

DT7
02-04-2010, 10:49 AM
Prove it.

Why would I want to do that? I'm just a dummy who thinks he hears things, remember?

At this point, even if I could prove it to you, I wouldn't bother. You're not interested in understanding the idea...you're interested in burying it. I will not waste time with you further.

brad347
02-04-2010, 10:50 AM
This debate is interesting (provided it remains civil and genuine), and it always sends me looking for info.

I was searching for things related to slew rate of pulse signals, or square waves, which are always the most interesting. It is common knowledge that pulse or square wave signals are the most taxing on a capacitor in terms of its durability/lifespan, and that is dependent upon construction and dielectric material. Says so in Sprague's own data sheets. But how taxing is it on the capacitor's ability to pass pulse or square AC signals accurately, without rounding over the corners due to slew rate/time issues? Are there any significant measurable discrepancies between different types of capacitors in the arena of transient response and return-to-zero?

In searching for that info, here's an interesting page I found.

Hope you enjoy.

http://www.angelfire.com/ab3/mjramp/caps.html

DT7
02-04-2010, 11:09 AM
In searching for that info, here's an interesting page I found.

Hope you enjoy.

http://www.angelfire.com/ab3/mjramp/caps.html (http://www.angelfire.com/ab3/mjramp/caps.html [/QUOTE)


Here's another one you might find interesting...complete with scope pictures:

http://greygum.net/sbench/sbench102/caps.html

It doesn't come close to going all the way in explaining everything...but it certainly shows that there is a difference, based on dielectric (at least), in the way caps pass signal.

hasserl
02-04-2010, 01:08 PM
Why would I want to do that? I'm just a dummy who thinks he hears things, remember?

At this point, even if I could prove it to you, I wouldn't bother. You're not interested in understanding the idea...you're interested in burying it. I will not waste time with you further.

It's actually quite the opposite, you're completely misreading me. I am very interested in understanding it, I'm just asking you to explain what you've posted. You don't want to for some reason, or you can't.

And I never called you a dummy. However, EVERYONE is influenced by external stimulation of one form or another, and NO ONE is immune to it. That is why you have to do blind testing to confirm things. There is no reason to be offended by that, unless you think that you are somehow above the power of suggestion. If that is true, you're the only one. Perhaps you can walk on water too. I know I can't (though I did see Chris Angel do it on tv once! ;) )

brad347
02-04-2010, 02:04 PM
I'm not sure I agree that the blind test is the absolute best methodology for determining whether something makes a difference or not. Too many possible variables to cover every situation.

I think a null test in a variety of applications could possibly be a much better methodology.

There is too much stuff going on in a blind test. It's like a polygraph. I could easily conceive that someone could get nervous or be concentrating so hard that they miss very obvious differences. Certainly in order for the test to be valid the sample (listener[s]) would have to have NO stake in the result one way or another. Otherwise it would be an even more unnatural scenario than it already inherently is, because emotion and nervousness/adrenaline would be involved, tainting the result.

Also, it would only prove that the test subjects could or could not hear whatever it was, and under those specific conditions. Who picks the source material? The amplifier? The speaker(s)? The room? Etc. It wouldn't prove that nobody could, or everyone could, or even that that sample could under every set of conditions. You would need a large sample size for a statistically significant sample, and even then that's no guarantee that you have the BEST listeners in the sample, with the keenest ability to hear nuance. Nor is it a guarantee that whatever difference might exist wouldn't be obscured through some other limiting factor, like the speaker, unless you accounted for every possible mitigating factor and had a large sampling size there, too.

So you'd somehow have to have a large sample of people with no emotional attachment to the result or test, but very keen listening ability. And a large sample size of possible other scenarios in the chain between source and listener. And a large sample of different source materials, too.

Logistically, such a test would be very difficult and expensive to organize in order to have a meaningful result that was in any way definitive, unless you got VERY specific. That's probably why nobody has done it.

Just for the sample of listeners alone, there is a very wide range of human perception, from someone who cannot match a pitch with their voice all the way up through someone could tell you the dollar value of a handful of change thrown on a table while blindfolded (literally) and probably beyond. Geoff Emerick once famously blindly identified a Neve channel strip whose only measurable anomaly was up around 56kHz. How? Who knows. But he did it. No accounting for freak stuff like that.

With a null test, however, you can very easily hear what's different between two similar signals when one is subtracted from the other, and I imagine that a consensus would probably be much easier. You wouldn't be relying on someone's ability to pick nuance out of a complex signal... you would only be asking them to hear if there was signal present or not. And if there was any debate, you could always look at a visual representation of the remaining signal to settle the debate, as it would be measurable.

jerrydyer
02-04-2010, 02:10 PM
This is a quote from the Sozo guy's post at Harmony Central forums:


Sozo is a legitamate company with a great product that the guys at HCAF guys chased away along with a lot of other great product manufacturers. The cream rises to the top and FAR AWAY fro HCAF.
why even bring up HCAF or any quotes from hcaf as if their legit?

Just sayin :facepalm

smolder
02-04-2010, 02:32 PM
I've pretty much determined that my ears are not a good constant to judge against... but I do it anyway. I spent nearly an hour trying to dial in two amps I was playing through at the same time on Tuesday night... finally gave up and shut them off. Wednesday night I picked up the guitar and without changing a thing it sounded incredible... some of the best tone I have ever generated... the difference.... either my ears or my head.

DT7
02-04-2010, 03:00 PM
the difference.... either my ears or my head.

...the variance in wall voltage can do that, too. Sorry...I had to add that in. Just shoot me. :bonk

hasserl
02-04-2010, 08:49 PM
This debate is interesting (provided it remains civil and genuine), and it always sends me looking for info.

I was searching for things related to slew rate of pulse signals, or square waves, which are always the most interesting. It is common knowledge that pulse or square wave signals are the most taxing on a capacitor in terms of its durability/lifespan, and that is dependent upon construction and dielectric material. Says so in Sprague's own data sheets. But how taxing is it on the capacitor's ability to pass pulse or square AC signals accurately, without rounding over the corners due to slew rate/time issues? Are there any significant measurable discrepancies between different types of capacitors in the arena of transient response and return-to-zero?

In searching for that info, here's an interesting page I found.

Hope you enjoy.

http://www.angelfire.com/ab3/mjramp/caps.html

From that page:

"I have never personally heard any difference between different capacitors, which may be either a hearing deficiency on my part, or just a lack of imagination. There are well documented listening tests with relevance to 'capacitor sound'. One example is the famous Quad amplifier test in which the conventional class-B type 303 using an electrolytic output capacitor was compared with the direct coupled feedforward 'current dumping' 405 and the Quad II transformer coupled valve (tube) amplifier. ('Valves versus transistors' by James Moir, Wireless World July 1978 p.55-58.) Using top quality master-tape recordings and two different experienced listening panels no statistically significant differences could be found, either for the group averages or for any individual member. Care had been taken to accurately match gains and avoid clipping to eliminate these common causes of audible difference. The test was originally intended as a challenge to those audio reviewers who claimed to hear clear differences between what were known to be good amplifiers. Peter Walker said that Quad would stake their reputation on the outcome, predicting that no differences could be heard, even though these are radically different designs. In earlier tests ('Dynamic testing of audio amplifiers', Hi-Fi News, Nov.1970, p1655), the distortion of the 303 including output capacitor was extracted while using a music test signal, and the distortion alone without the masking effect of the music was found to be inaudible, and had to be increased many times before becoming audible. If output coupling electrolytic capacitor distortion can have so little effect it seems unlikely that we need to worry too much about capacitors in other parts of an amplifier which handle much smaller signals, though of course it does no harm (other than financially in some cases) to choose types reputed to have lower distortion than others."

hasserl
02-04-2010, 08:52 PM
Here's another one you might find interesting...complete with scope pictures:

http://greygum.net/sbench/sbench102/caps.html

It doesn't come close to going all the way in explaining everything...but it certainly shows that there is a difference, based on dielectric (at least), in the way caps pass signal.

That's been around awhile and we've been thru it before. In that experiment he applied a signal of "70 volts RMS at 600 Hz across the capacitors. (for about 26mA signal current)". Find me a guitar amp preamp application that even approximates that kind of voltage or current. The findings are irrelevant.

jzucker
02-04-2010, 09:03 PM
Completely disagree. Not only can the two different brands of caps sound different, regardless of whether they're the same exact value or not, but different makes of orange drops (225P vs 715, etc) can also sound different from each other. Remember this...just because one person can't hear a difference doesn't give them license to decide for all others if they can hear a difference or not. Any other take on the matter is silly, to put it mildly.

And remember, just because one person thinks they hear a difference doesn't mean there really is a difference. Don't forget the monster cable vs. coat hanger test...

http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/03/audiophiles-cant-tell-the-difference-between-monster-cable-and/

DT7
02-04-2010, 10:04 PM
And remember, just because one person thinks they hear a difference doesn't mean there really is a difference. Don't forget the monster cable vs. coat hanger test...

http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/03/audiophiles-cant-tell-the-difference-between-monster-cable-and/

Wow...never heard of that test. But conversely, just because a person doesn't hear a difference doesn't mean there isn't one! I know what I hear...it's repeatable...it's real. Just because somebody else can't hear it, or I can't explain it, doesn't make it unreal.

I realize at this point (and especially on this forum) it's a pipe-dream, but I wish folks who can't hear a difference would just leave the thread to those who can. Folks really need to ask themselves, and be honest with themselves, why it's so important to them to attempt to disprove what somebody else says they hear. Can you explain it?

DT7
02-04-2010, 10:16 PM
That's been around awhile and we've been thru it before. In that experiment he applied a signal of "70 volts RMS at 600 Hz across the capacitors. (for about 26mA signal current)". Find me a guitar amp preamp application that even approximates that kind of voltage or current. The findings are irrelevant.

The list of amps that won't put 70 volts RMS across caps when they're turned up is shorter than the ones that will. You go think about it. But since when does 70 volts RMS across a 100k resistor give you 26mA of current? You won't even get near that peak. However, I find it nice that you finally agree that voltage differences can make a difference in how caps may sound. ;)

OK...NOW I'm done with you.

Edit - OK, my bad. The load was 100...not 100k. But again, there are very few amps out there where you won't see 70 volts RMS across the load of a pre-amp stage or two.

jzucker
02-04-2010, 10:50 PM
I wish folks who can't hear a difference would just leave the thread to those who can.


I find that to be condescending . My experience is that often folks claim to hear stuff and when you do a blindfold test, they can't do it and 99.99 % of the time if you ask them to back it up, they get defensive and ask "why should I?" which makes me wonder why they made the claim in the first play.

Unsubscribing...

brad347
02-04-2010, 11:00 PM
Honestly, it's no more condescending than accusing people of being so foolish as to not know the difference between imagination and reality. These are grown people here, not children.

I think what DT7 was trying to say (though he could have chosen his words more carefully) is that for some reason, regarding capacitors, some people have a hard time with the concept of "live and let live."

Every time someone posts a thread about it asking an innocent question, some people feel compelled to come in and tell everyone how stupid they are. Every single time. Without exception... almost as if they feel it is their duty. It just gets old, is all.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but being adults, I feel it makes the discourse more enjoyable AND productive if people can respect the differing opinions of other grown people.

JDW3
02-05-2010, 12:03 AM
Not to stir the pot, but I wouldn't have thought this unless I witnessed it myself.

I have 2 Marshall heads with Mustards. Also a couple Traynors with the Mustards. I have played through Marshall "style" heads using Sozo caps. To me, the amps containing Sozos sounded like an eq with the smily setting. Lots of lows and highs; no mids. When I play these amps, I can't dial enough mids into the signal.

Otherwise, the other amps containing the real mustards always have tons of mids, and I have a much easier time getting the eq/overdrive setting. They are smoother, I guess.

Just my opinion.

DT7
02-05-2010, 12:09 AM
Not to stir the pot, but I wouldn't have thought this unless I witnessed it myself.

I have 2 Marshall heads with Mustards. Also a couple Traynors with the Mustards. I have played through Marshall "style" heads using Sozo caps. To me, the amps containing Sozos sounded like an eq with the smily setting. Lots of lows and highs; no mids. When I play these amps, I can't dial enough mids into the signal.

Otherwise, the other amps containing the real mustards always have tons of mids, and I have a much easier time getting the eq/overdrive setting. They are smoother, I guess.

Just my opinion.

They the vintage (hand-wound) Sozos or the standard ones? The vintage ones have "Sozo" on them in fancy lettering.

hasserl
02-05-2010, 08:50 AM
Honestly, it's no more condescending than accusing people of being so foolish as to not know the difference between imagination and reality. These are grown people here, not children.

I think what DT7 was trying to say (though he could have chosen his words more carefully) is that for some reason, regarding capacitors, some people have a hard time with the concept of "live and let live."

Every time someone posts a thread about it asking an innocent question, some people feel compelled to come in and tell everyone how stupid they are. Every single time. Without exception... almost as if they feel it is their duty. It just gets old, is all.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but being adults, I feel it makes the discourse more enjoyable AND productive if people can respect the differing opinions of other grown people.

I've not seen anyone call anyone else stupid in this thread, or even imply it. Where does that come from?

brad347
02-05-2010, 08:54 AM
it was an idiomatic expression, not a literal accusation.

brad347
02-05-2010, 09:09 AM
I was thinking on this last night, and I thought it might be interesting to devise a null test to see what we could learn about this. Maybe someone can spot potential flaws or problems. Being a mastering engineer by trade, maybe DT7 could spot some pitfalls or improvements.

I don't have all the parts and equipment handy to perform this test, but perhaps someone does and is bored or curious (or opinionated) enough to actually perform it.

First, you get a capacitance meter and get some caps of a standard value... .1f might be nice... and you get 8 or so different caps from different makes, eras, and construction types-- and perhaps two of the same type just for control-- and match them to within a few pF of each other, as meter precision allows.

Then you take a test signal... complex musical signal from a pre-recorded source would be ideal. Perhaps a Bach 'cello suite, collapsed to mono would be good, since it's a complex musical signal whose frequencies are similar to distorted guitar, but is program material in line with what a hi fidelity listener might be interested in (to kill 2 birds with one stone).

You start with a digital recording, leave that recording in the digital domain, and then run it through a single high-quality DAC out to a single, unbalanced cable. This is then split to allow it to run simultaneously through several different matched capacitors, two of the same brand, type, and production run, and lastly two different pieces of straight wire for a control (reason will be evident later). Just the signal wire straight into the cap or wire, and straight back out again. The caps' leads could be soldered to two 1/4" jacks, or whatever.

THEN you run each back into its own channel of a single, high-quality ADC. A nice 16-channel ADC would allow you to test 10 or 12 different caps. Each channel records to its own track on a DAW.

When all of the signals are imported into the DAW, the first thing we do is perform a null test between one piece of straight wire and the original source file, after time-aligning the source file to the rest. Flip the polarity of either and sum them to see what kinds of changes/losses occurred in the DAC/ADC stages of conversion.

THEN, perform a similar null test between the two control pieces of straight wire. This will allow us to ascertain if there are any significant variations between two channels of the ADC. If the variation is significant enough to produce a serious audible signal component, it might invalidate the rest of the test.

But assuming any variance between two typical channels of the same ADC is small enough to be negligible (at least compared to any potential variations between caps), we can proceed.

Now we choose any two caps... perhaps the most expensive and the least expensive, or the oldest and the newest, or the physically largest versus the physically smallest, or whatever, and compare them in a null test.

The remaining signal left over when the two polarity-flipped signals of equal amplitude are summed, ANY passed audio represents the difference between those two caps.

It would be much easier to definitively identify in isolation than within the context of complex musical signal. And the test also has the advantage of removing "aural memory" and human emotion and variable perceptual acuity from the equation... BUT it has the disadvantage of disparate stages of ADC that are only "theoretically" identical... BUT we control for that, so it should be ok.

IF there is any significant difference of interest, THEN the final kicker is to null test the two caps of the same make and model and production run that are "theoretically" identical. See if the difference between two of the same cap is any more or less than any difference exhibited between two different caps.

What do you think?

smolder
02-05-2010, 09:20 AM
I find that to be condescending . My experience is that often folks claim to hear stuff and when you do a blindfold test, they can't do it and 99.99 % of the time if you ask them to back it up, they get defensive and ask "why should I?" which makes me wonder why they made the claim in the first play.

Unsubscribing...

there is a lot of evidence to this point in utilizing other senses... the follow up research to the pepsi taste tests come to mind. Color and vision is another. But leaping from one set of sensory data to another has it's own pitfalls. I do not expect a meter, or any series of electronic test methods to ever accurately mimic hearing.

brad347
02-05-2010, 09:25 AM
I do not expect a meter, or any series of electronic test methods to ever accurately mimic hearing.

I agree. However, if you can prove a real difference exists through objective test means with hard data, it DOES put the issue to bed definitively for most rational people.

It's kind of like beating someone on their home floor in basketball. :p

Certain folks are ONLY convinced through hard data and proof. I respect that. A test similar to the one I devised above could either satisfy those people, or provide a result they might deem conclusively negative (and that someone else might deem inconclusive due to flawed methodology).

Keyser Soze
02-05-2010, 09:30 AM
Why not use a guitar amp? Use all the different caps in place of the first coupling capacitor. Still use some form of pre-recorded and standardized DI (say, an electric guitar) for the input and still do inverts for cancellations (you'd also need to do an invert of each capacitor against itself to determine baseline noise levels.)

Hi-fi is fine, but if you use hi-fi someone will still reject your findings because they were not guitar-and-amp specific.

brad347
02-05-2010, 09:52 AM
Keyser, I had considered that, but opted against it for several reasons.

First and foremost is that tube amps are very much analog devices with lots of parts, and I posit that no two passes through the same tube amp would null completely and ideally. It would be hard to parse what was due to the ADC/DAC and what was due to the tubes being a few minutes older, the power from the wall being a volt or two different, the resistors being a little bit hotter, the speaker being a little bit looser, etc etc etc., opening you to all sorts of methodology quibbles.

My methodology removes everything from the equation except the capacitor, save for the necessary evils of DAC/ADC.

Also, with a pre-recorded signal already converted to the digital domain through the best conversion process available to the big-budget mastering engineer, you remove the need for conversion into the digital realm and back out again of a source signal.

Finally, to get a true line-level signal from a played-back DI guitar track, you would have to use a ReAmp device, and subsequent passes through that ReAmp device through the same input signal would be only theoretically identical, as that device is an analog device, too. AND you would have multiple passes through the same DAC (which is eliminated in my methodology), as well as the necessary evil of multiple passes through the same ADC, or multiple channels of the same ADC (which I couldn't figure out how to eliminate, but did control for). Using a DI, Reamp, two stages each of DAC and ADC, and new passes through DAC for each new sample would add a whole host of other variables even outside those contributed by the multiple passes through the tube amp.

Finally, a ReAmped DI guitar signal is not the same as the guitar being played straight into the amp anyway, for I'm quite sure the inductance of the pickups is important in loading the front end of the amp the exact right way. And it's still a "high fidelity" recording of a guitar amp signal, just played back through a guitar amp, which kind of puts your result somewhere in no-man's land.

As a footnote, Hi Fi guys occasionally argue this same issue, and I was trying to devise a test that I felt might satisfy (or at least advance the knowledge of) both.

I feel quite certain that if you can hear a difference nulling between two caps of the same value with a real musical signal such as a 'cello suite (or use a solo electric guitar recording like Joe Pass, if that satisfies you more), then you could logically conclude that there is SOMETHING going on there, as long as the experiment is properly controlled. My aim in devising the test was to remove as many variables from the equation as possible.

I'd much rather someone say "but it isn't a real-world application in a guitar amp" than to have them say "the wall voltage must've fluctuated" or "the tubes got older from one sample to the next" or "the carbon comp resistors heated up, changing their temperature-dependent coefficient of resistance" etc etc. Much like two passes of a vinyl LP record, no two passes through a tube amp will be exactly the same regardless of what cap is in there, so that taints the results, potentially.

But thanks for the thoughts!

Keyser Soze
02-05-2010, 10:03 AM
... First and foremost is that tube amps are very much analog devices with lots of parts, and I posit that no two passes through the same tube amp would null completely and ideally.

Respectfully, it would appear that you are missing the forest for the trees. If the differences are not detectable in a guitar amp fed a guitar signal then the differences - for all practical guitar playing purposes - are non existent.

Use a very simple and widely used guitar amp circuit - a repro tweed champ or some such thing. Or just use the first stage of such an amp, taking your output directly off the plate of V1 immediately after the device under test.

Rubber needs to meet the road.

brad347
02-05-2010, 10:13 AM
I don't feel that I'm missing the forest for the trees.

Of course if they are "not noticeable" in a guitar amp on successive passes then the difference is indeed negligible, practically. But "noticeable" to whom? To my tone-deaf (and nearly actually deaf) dad? To me? To Bob Katz? Saying something is "noticeable" or not isn't good enough, obviously. Someone would always say I was imagining it, since it would only be an A/B type test (your methodology has too many variables to make a null test valid). A listening test relies on the variable of the LISTENER, and that's a significant variable that's hard to control for.

"Practicality" and "scientific validity" are often two very different things. In devising this test, I was shooting for the latter. In other words, something that would make it in a peer-reviewed journal.

It seems that where this debate is at requires a scientifically valid controlled experiment. It is obvious from this thread and many others like it that "practical" in the form of unanimous anecdotal evidence is not enough to provide adequate 'proof' to put the issue to bed. Anything other than a single-variable test producing clear-cut evidence without being open to interpretation will just not do, in my opinion.

THAT is where the rubber meets the road, to me-- as close to SINGLE VARIABLE as humanly possible, with results that can be analyzed IN ISOLATION of the complex musical signal they "ride on top of," and can be analyzed without the variables of aural memory or variable human perception-- which gets the result as close to "irrefutable" as humanly possible.

phsyconoodler
02-05-2010, 10:58 AM
Ok guys,play nice now!

I just put caps in my amps and let people play them.I like the sound of some over others.I don't measure baud rates,fret about time constants or ESR,whether they have paper and oil,polyester,tin foil or rat poo.
They all sound different.
The only issue I have is with guys who say they don't sound different.
But to lay a lot of crap to rest,NONE of the caps I've used sounded BAD.Just different.
But here's the real rub:on stage with a band,I could not hear the difference with any capacitor unless it was a really quiet song.
Recording,yes,live no.So just put in what makes you happy and live a long,productive life.
Spend more time playing the guitar and sing a little too.
Here's a cool little tidbit for you:I worked on a CZ motorcycle that had points in it.The condenser was a piece of crumpled up tin foil with a screw through it.It worked just fine.
Russians don't care what it looks like,just if it works or not.

jerrydyer
02-05-2010, 11:19 AM
hi psycho.

I heard the difference between a standard mallory 150 and a solen fast .022. You can also feel differences between caps.

JDW3
02-05-2010, 01:42 PM
They the vintage (hand-wound) Sozos or the standard ones? The vintage ones have "Sozo" on them in fancy lettering.



They were the standard ones.


I should add that I wanted to build a kit, but I didn't like that particular part of the tone. For the longest time I thought it was because of the transformers. Every time I tried a JCM800 or some old Marshall, it had would the awesome tones and upper mids clarity that the newer amp (non Marshall) didn't have. I finally bought a 50 watt Marshall style kit, with Sozo caps. Guess what? Same problem. I had to dime the mids and very carefully adjust the bass, presence and treble to get "my" tone. A little grainy. All things being equal componant wise, the amps should be very similar, correct? I'm talking about comparing 6 or 7 amps.

As I said, I always thought it was the transformers. But it's really in the eq portion of the amp.

And so, maybe it's because I didn't use the more expensive Sozos with the fancy logo. I really wish I knew so I could build me a 100w Marshall JCM800 style.

DT7
02-05-2010, 01:55 PM
To brads idea about a test, I would add a few things. Since the idea seems to be to prove there is a difference, I propose whatever can be done to enhance the possibility of hearing a difference be included. (If there is no difference, it won't make a difference if we do any of these things...will it.) I suggest we use a guitar amp with relatively simple circuitry...a blackface Twin Rev would be ideal. Put in sensitive speakers that have good high-freq response...JBL D120Fs come to mind. Then, the person doing listening will use his own guitar...familiarity with ones own tone will be of benefit for purposes of this test. The tone-stack shows up cap differences more than just about any other area of an amp. I suggest we use two caps of each type...0.047/0.022 and 0.1 would be for a Fender tone stack, etc. I note that this will likely forgo the possibility of testing mica or polystyrene caps, as they will be difficult to find in these values and be of sufficient voltage, but I think the point will be well made using ceramic and various other types of film and/or paper caps. And lastly, a box should be made up with the caps pre-installed so you can switch between them quickly. The memory of the ear can be short-lived.

I expect some of the naysayers to crab about some of these things...but if there is no difference, why should they be afraid of taking the above steps, right?

DT7
02-05-2010, 01:57 PM
They were the standard ones.


Hmmm...I don't have any experience with the standard ones, so have no reason to doubt your experience. I've only ever used the vintage hand-rolled ones.

DT7
02-05-2010, 02:00 PM
hi psycho.

I heard the difference between a standard mallory 150 and a solen fast .022. You can also feel differences between caps.


This is an excellent point I failed to make before (at least in this thread). Tones, like music, can promote an emotional response. Often it's as much (if not more) how you feel when you hear something as it is what you can actually hear and can differentiate between. In fact, as far as music is concerned, that's the whole point!

DT7
02-05-2010, 02:05 PM
As I said, I always thought it was the transformers. But it's really in the eq portion of the amp.


Sorry if I missed it, but have you tried swapping caps between one of the Marshalls you like with those of your kit Marshall? Caps and transformers are not the only thing that affect the EQ of an amp.

teemuk
02-06-2010, 12:54 AM
The only method to eliminate all other variables is to swap the caps in a one single amp and also match the capacitance down to level of meter's precision.

Then we come to the aural memory, which is stinking bad on human beings. By the time you completed this swapping process you have by sure forgotten all the fine details about your amp's tone.

You need to record it.

Then you need to A/B blind test the recording... or do a nulling test, which means you need some prerecorded signal input.

Now, I'm quite sure that none of you people vouching to hear a difference have never bothered to go through all that trouble. Each an everytime such tests are even suggested they are never conducted because that's too much trouble for most people and the people who think they hear a difference are content in believing the did already. Unfortunately, lack of such well-conducted test makes you hearing experience and results pretty much questionable. These results would never pass any screen of peer review. Your words don't preove anything.

And that's the problem of all this discussion, whether it's about capacitor or resistor tone, or about tone of power cables, magic stones, cable lifters, fuses, or whatever snake oil BS some genius decides to invent.

brad347
02-06-2010, 05:16 AM
Now, I'm quite sure that none of you people vouching to hear a difference have never bothered to go through all that trouble. Each an everytime such tests are even suggested they are never conducted because that's too much trouble for most people and the people who think they hear a difference are content in believing the did already. Unfortunately, lack of such well-conducted test makes you hearing experience and results pretty much questionable. These results would never pass any screen of peer review. Your words don't preove anything.

And that's the problem of all this discussion, whether it's about capacitor or resistor tone, or about tone of power cables, magic stones, cable lifters, fuses, or whatever snake oil BS some genius decides to invent.

A question that may seem unrelated, but is actually quite related:

Do you believe that maple and rosewood fretboards sound differently on Stratocasters? If so, how do you know?

teemuk
02-06-2010, 06:04 AM
I don't know.

But I'm quite sure you could develop somewhat similar test method to find out.


See, using your analogy, the problem in most of these ear-wittnesses accounts is that they claim to hear a difference when they swap between rosewood and maple fretboard strats... of course failing to mention the strats had different pickups, string gauges, hardware, and tons of other variables that might as well explain all the differences. Even if there was a drastic, totally detectable difference, it's not neccessarily caused by what you think. You need a systematic process of elimination to remove all other variables except the one under scrutiny.

brad347
02-06-2010, 07:44 AM
I don't think you could devise a truly accurate test. It would require getting a maple board strat, carefully pulling the frets, planing off enough maple to install a rosewood board strat, carefully installing the same frets... then you'd have the matter of the truss rod channel to deal with...

OR you could just allow yourself to draw informed conclusions based upon broad-based experience over hundreds of guitars. This is what I'm getting at.

You play 100 rosewood board strats and 100 maple board ones, there are going to be trends you notice. Little things the rosewood board strats tend to have in common, and little things the maple board strats tend to have in common. Eventually, you can begin to draw conclusions about their properties.

I think many experienced amp builders and repairers feel like they have noticed similar broad-based trends with different capacitors, and have based their opinions accordingly on that experience, not on "marketing hype." It's not always "I changed to orange drops and now my amp is brighter," or someone changing something expecting an "improvement." From a lot of guys, it's more "every time an amp comes in with orange drops in it, I tend to notice it has quality X." I'm sure there are people who base their opinions on marketing hype, but perhaps for every 3 of those there's 1 guy who really has based his opinions/conclusions in his own personal experience.

teemuk
02-06-2010, 08:38 AM
You really don't get it. How many of these people having "personal experience" took the time to match compared capacitors or eliminate all other variables affecting tone? I haven't heard of a single one.

In case of guitars, you can pick many strats made out of apparently same materials and they still neccessarily do not sound the same. The body or neck wood, though same wood, may still have a different density, the hardware may have had slight changes, as well as the pickups. Did people comparing actually measure and match the pickup resonance or make sure there was no change in the mix of alloy the hardware uses. Or in any other countless details that you might not even detect by eye.

You can go on drawing your "universal" conclusions from a batch of strats but someone having a different batch of them canl draw very different conclusions and neither of these results is likely even grasping what the effects of type of fretboard wood are.

So far I haven't heard of a single account from these people detecting differences in caps where they would have explained the process how they carefully made sure the one and only thing affecting thing they compare is the brand of the capacitor. Not a single valid test process has been described. Ever. It's always: "I changed caps, I hear a difference, therefore caps must make it" or "amp has capacitors brand xxx, it has a difference, therefore the capacitors must cause it". Never, ever do these people even take a minute of their time questioning their deduction, pondering if something else might have possibly caused what they perceived instead. Or if their perceivement was just imagination. They just wanted to hear a difference and conveniently, there it was.

Keyser Soze
02-06-2010, 08:59 AM
I don't feel that I'm missing the forest for the trees.

Of course if they are "not noticeable" in a guitar amp on successive passes then the difference is indeed negligible, practically. But "noticeable" to whom? To my tone-deaf (and nearly actually deaf) dad? To me? To Bob Katz? Saying something is "noticeable" or not isn't good enough, obviously. Someone would always say I was imagining it, since it would only be an A/B type test (your methodology has too many variables to make a null test valid). A listening test relies on the variable of the LISTENER, and that's a significant variable that's hard to control for.

"Practicality" and "scientific validity" are often two very different things. In devising this test, I was shooting for the latter. In other words, something that would make it in a peer-reviewed journal.

It seems that where this debate is at requires a scientifically valid controlled experiment. It is obvious from this thread and many others like it that "practical" in the form of unanimous anecdotal evidence is not enough to provide adequate 'proof' to put the issue to bed. Anything other than a single-variable test producing clear-cut evidence without being open to interpretation will just not do, in my opinion.

THAT is where the rubber meets the road, to me-- as close to SINGLE VARIABLE as humanly possible, with results that can be analyzed IN ISOLATION of the complex musical signal they "ride on top of," and can be analyzed without the variables of aural memory or variable human perception-- which gets the result as close to "irrefutable" as humanly possible.

You have a very unpleasant habit of substituting your own verbiage for the precise wording of others. Then concocting strawman arguments using the very verbiage you impose.

Please note that I never said anything about noticeable. The word I used was detectable. Detectable being used in direct reference to the exact methodology you described - via cancellation using an inverted signal. Your very own 'null' formulation being that such cancellation would yield no detectable difference.

To talk of noticeable differences would assume that some difference already exists but question whether the differences rises to a level that can be perceived by a listener. That's not what I was discussing. What I was discussing was potential changes to your proposed methodology that would render results most useful to the electric guitar/amp community.

Please don't lecture me about science.

Overall it is apparent that you are content to tilt at arguments of your own creation with little regard for the actual statements of others.

brad347
02-06-2010, 09:07 AM
whoa

FuzzyAce
02-06-2010, 09:16 AM
This thread cracks me up. It reminds me of discussions about proof/existence of God. :horse
I can understand people getting all worked up about religion and spirituality.... but caps? :p

What it boils down to is personal experience. If you hear a difference, you hear a difference... if you don't, you don't. The more someone says you're wrong, the angrier they get.

I think brad347 makes a good point about trends, but it would take lots of time and money to get solid data. And I think his analogy about guitar necks is a reasonable one, although quite easier to pull off. I sure can tell the differences in maple and rosewood... tone, feel, resonance, etc. No doubt in my mind, some may feel otherwise. And maybe that is a better place to test cap differences... a guitar. Easier, cheaper, and a less colored path. Just run a direct box into a mixer. You could build a selector box and switch between cap brands. Just an idea. I'm not going through the trouble of trying it!:roll

I like a bit of mystery.

Personally, I think quality and consistency is a more important factor in determining what cap to purchase. That's a whole 'nother can of worms though.

smolder
02-06-2010, 09:27 AM
It is also probably worth noting that caps are manufactured to one very specific aspect of their performance... capacitance. They are also manufactured to a tolerance - 5, 10, 20 percent of that measurement and that one only. As stated before, there are many influences on tone beyond the capacitance... none of which are tested, manufactured or measured for acceptable (whatever that is) tolerances.

teemuk
02-06-2010, 01:31 PM
http://sound.westhost.com/articles/capacitors.htm

DT7
02-06-2010, 01:35 PM
Now, I'm quite sure that none of you people vouching to hear a difference have never bothered to go through all that trouble.

Here's what you do. Solder two (or more, if you're feeling brave) of the caps in question to the hot side of the circuit at the same point. Solder the end of an aligator clip to the ground side. (Leave the cold-side leads of the caps in question long.) Then, all you have to do is hit the stdby, use a pair of needle-nose plyers to swap the ground ends of the caps, then power back up. That's how I do it. You're done in a matter of seconds.

DT7
02-06-2010, 01:42 PM
http://sound.westhost.com/articles/capacitors.htm

Interesting article...lots of good info. But the author has a habit of drawing conclusions for you. I will draw my own conclusions, thank you very much.

JamesHealey
02-07-2010, 08:29 AM
The 6PS are fantastic sounding capacitors a real agressive mid range when used in Marshall-esque circuits, I wouldn't choose them over Sozo Vintage though.. They're deffo my favourite in Marshall amplifiers, but to be honest they're so expensive I rarely use them living here in the UK i'd just use MKT1813, Mallory 150, 715P or 6PS depending on the amplifier or I might use a combination of any of the above to taylor the sound of that particular amplifier.

I make a 50W amplifier that uses 6PS on the mids in the tonestack, Mallory 150 on the Bass for a softer bass, Silver Mica for the treble.. MKT1813 for the rest of the amplifiers stages and 715P on the long tail pair phase splitter for the clarity in the phase splitter. looks a bit odd inside but it really does sound fantastic like this and each cap is adding it's own characteristic in the right place in the signal chain.


:beer


Honestly,

I am a huge fan of the 6PS series SBE (Sprague) OD's I love in your Face Rock & Roll baby.

Every time I try the " Boutique Caps " all I get is muted mushy girlie tone.
I like my amps to kick like a mule, and sting like a bee, and OD's baby, they do it for me.
Anything else is controlled elsewhere, speaker, pickups, pick attack tubes and blah blah blah.

We need a NTSA emoticon , this topic has been beat to death.