Favorite non-filter caps

Discussion in 'Amps/Cabs Tech Corner: Amplifier, Cab & Speakers' started by wall_of_sleep, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. wall_of_sleep

    wall_of_sleep Member

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    What brands and constructions of caps do you prefer outside of the power supply? Are the sonic differences easily noticeable when switching to different make, same value caps?
     
  2. Prattacaster

    Prattacaster Member

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  3. phsyconoodler

    phsyconoodler Member

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  4. diagrammatiks

    diagrammatiks Member

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  5. wall_of_sleep

    wall_of_sleep Member

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    It's hard to start a thread on this site without potentially creating a war. At the moment I'm building full amplifiers from parts for the cost of one V-Cap, so obviously low cost is a requirement.
     
  6. Prattacaster

    Prattacaster Member

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    ok, I'll state the obvious. Mallory 150's seem to be a good compromise between cost and quality. I use them because of cost and they seem to be pretty neutral and smooth. Plus they come standard with long leads and work well physically with PTP turret/eyelet boards.
     
  7. TweeDLX

    TweeDLX Member

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    I buy the metalized polyester caps here http://www.justradios.com/cart.html. I also use Mallory and an occassional Sozo mustard. I've heard the CDE WMF caps are good, but they seem too pricey to me.
     
  8. Trout

    Trout Member

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    SBE PS series and or 418P series orange drops, CDE WMF's, METS's its all good.
     
  9. semichill

    semichill Member

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    Mallory 150 polyester. Good enough and cheap enough. Their axial style works better in most areas of a turret or eyelet builds. Nothing wrong with Sprague 715 polypropylene if the radial style fits your project. Illinois if you want polypropylene and axial.

    Skip the fru-fru caps and put the extra money on a better speaker.
     
  10. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Depends....each of us has a different sensitivity to tonal changes. You may notice nothing. I noticed a very considerable difference between mallory and sozo. A huge part of it is feel and some of it tone. Mallory to me feel stiffer and harder. Sozo feels very different to me, lots of squishy feel or sag if you prefer. Tonally they are softer sounding in the highs whilemallory sounds quite a bit thinner to me. In fact, the thinness is probably the most noticeable difference. These differences to me are not subtle, at least not what I call subtle. I tried A/B'ing them by replacing each section of the amp with sozo and mallory alternatively a number of times till the difference because very apparent. For my ear and my amp i came to prefer sozo everywhere except the tone stack. The mid and bass caps in the tone stack just sound a lot better with mallory for some reason. I also tried both the sozo standard mustards and the vintage ones, which are expensive at about $5 each. But if you notice as big a difference as i did thats a bargain. The improvement was at least that of my fav output tubes over ones i'm not very fond of. And a set to cover a 2204 type amp for example costs around $40-50. People think thats expensive, but it's foolish to base thier value on anything but WHAT IT DOES FOR YOUR TONE ! I get that some people don't hear much, and for them hell yeah they're expensive ! But the point is if the improvement you get equals or betters other things you've bough to improve tone for that amount, how is that any more expensive? I'd pay $100 for a single resistor if i knew it would make a peavey sound like a bogner and that would be a bargain ! It's all about benefit vs cost, period. And to me sozos are well worth it. But this is about you, and i can't tell you that you will feel the same any more than i can tell you which guitar you'll like. So it's up to you to risk the money. But you do that every time you buy a tube you've never tried or a pickup or set of strings. But in any case i told you what i hear. Thats the best i can do.
     
  11. neteraser

    neteraser Member

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    I use these and call them "buns". I even like them more than Mallory and Orange Drops. Mellow, smooth tone. Not very detailed though.

    [​IMG]

    Sozo still stays out of the competition for me. But since the shipping price for outside of US became $30, I don't want them that much.

    Another thing is when you design a board you have to find some kind of harmony between components. It's not easy to just swap one cap for another especially if the size and construction differs.

    I didn't know it and built a board with these cheap "buns" as a prototype. So when I got mallories and orange drops I was quite surprised that cheap "buns" sounded better. I've already found it. So the swap didn't made sense. This is how these caps became a part of the tone of this amp. :)

    Now, some cork sniffing is really nessasary. I find Mallories to be bright and romantic, a very deep and detailed, good sounding cap.
    If you can find a right place for it, it's good. I was even thinking about using 3x3way bright switch to make use for Mallory...

    Considering Orange Drops I think it's a good candidate for a coupling cap in additional boost stage (california mod in marshalls). It's good for some style of playing... Hmmm... like Vertical Horizon... or Avril Lavigne... for chords...

    Can anybody agree?

    I've tried your recommendation. :)
     
  12. neteraser

    neteraser Member

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    [​IMG]Like somebody here won't agree! To me Sozo and Mallory are simply different type of components even though capacitance is the same. Different material, different structure, different idea in the end. That's it!

    I'd be cork sniffing like hell to get good results for myself, but it seems some of the people who build amps professionally will naturally refuse to see higher price components... I dunno why, maybe it's kind of a way to keep the prices low...

    Anyway, there's no reason for you to feel like people don't understand. Most of the people do understand! I even tried your recommendation considering Sozo for CCs and Mallories for tonestack. Interesting combination :)
     
  13. LarryN

    LarryN Member

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    We have buns and mustard. Anyone have hot dogs?

    FWIW, I agree with dazco's approach. Test and hear for yourself. It's silly to get upset at the reality of different hearing sensitivities and tastes.
     
  14. WesKuhnley

    WesKuhnley Member

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    Sozo has had some delivery issues lately...I would wait that out.

    Bottom line, just buy decent caps. The differences between different types of caps are VERY subtle...there are other details in an amp build that are far more critical to address, for instance grounding, tube choice and biasing, etc.

    Personally, in amps we use Illinois metalized polyprop caps, but any decently priced cap will do the job just fine. Mallory's are great, Sprague 715's and 716's are as well...

    IMHO, changing the type of cap used, rather than the value, is a "last 5%" kind of tuning option. That means you've got the rest of the build tuned to 95% of where you think it should be at.
     
  15. DT7

    DT7 Member

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    That last 5% is where a lot of the magic can be at...IF you use the right caps. As such, I'd be sure the right caps were in there FIRST...then worry about the fine-tuning (which shouldn't happen until you've made your speaker selection).
     
  16. dazco

    dazco Member

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    This is a bit OT, but it IS regarding caps. Just wanna see if anyone has tied this and hopefully still up enough interest to get some to give it a go and report back. This made a bigger difference in my amp than most any tweak, or at least as much as any. Basically i took the idea ok a cap and pot in series that many amps use as a cut control, but instead i used a very small cap and no pot across the power tube grids after the couplers and before the grid resistors. With a control you are using a much bigger cap that will outright kill the high end with the pot at zero resistance. With a small cap in the low picofarad range and no pot it should act like a snubber just to round off the harshness in the high end. I found it was too much of an effect at even 120PF, but at 50pf it's better and so far is my preferred value. Tho i intend to try smaller. You would think such a small value wouldn't do anything to the top end, and it may well not do what you expect. But what i'm finding with this is that it totally changes the tone and dynamic feel of the amp. It's honestly amazing. I have no idea what exactly it's doing, but it make the amp sound much different and in a good way. Using a larger cap DOES round off the top too, but IMO too much. The 50pf doesn't do that to any degree i can tell. But this effect of changing the amp's tone and feel seems to happen with a cap there no matter the size. This is why i want to try the smallest value i can find and see if it still does. Between a 50pf and even a 250 it seems to do the same thing in that respect with the only difference being how they affeect the top end. So you can use say a 250pf and the top gets removed to a large degree, or a 50pf and it hardly affects that at all, yey BOTH values do the same thing i mentioned to the tone and feel and BOTH do it to the same degere !!!

    It's really bizarre, and i can't figure out whats going on, but it's nothing like a cut control so don't think if you've used a cut you know what this will be like. I'd like to hear some results if anyone is willing to try. It's a 2 second mod to solder a cap across there. And don't compare it to the cap marshall uses across the plates. thats a very different things and just works to remove the harsh top and thats all it does. But try this....you may be amazed. I've tried most every tweak imaginable to this amp. It's been thru years of never ending tweaks and experimentation, and this is one of the most interesting things i've found and one of the best. If i had to explain in a few works what it does i'd just say it really livens up the amp's tone and makes it very different, almost in the same way stepping on a chorus does. (you'll see what i mean, at least assuming it does the same thing for your amp)
     
  17. WesKuhnley

    WesKuhnley Member

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    No such thing as "magic". KNOWING what changes will reap what tonal benefit is what makes the difference.
     
  18. DT7

    DT7 Member

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    I KNOW what the tonal benefits are from using the right caps because I can HEAR it. You can call those benefits anything you like.
     
  19. DT7

    DT7 Member

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    You find a 47pf cap stock on a lot of higher (for the time) gain amps like Tweed Bassmans and old Marshalls. It's to prevent (in those cases) high-end squeeling and noise that saps power from amp. Anything above 5kHz or so won't get produced by most guitar amp speakers, so is worthless to the tonal spectrum of most guitar amps. What you potentially end up with is a more powerful tone without really sacrificing anything to get it.
     
  20. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Well, you'll just have to trust me, but it DOES make a very obvious difference in mine. And i have a meter that checks cap values so that potential issue is out of the equation. Maybe it depends on some other design aspect, but it causes the amp to sound and feel VERY different. It's not subtle at all.

    I have found a few amps with this, but most use it across the plates which on a schematic at a quick glance may look the same, but it works completely different. I haven't seen it on a bassman. Can you point to a schematic?
     

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