Tone caps? Hovland VS. Orange Drop VS.....

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Douglas Baines, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. Douglas Baines

    Douglas Baines Member

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    So I'm checking out electronic components on the Black Rose Customs site, and am shocked to notice that Sprague "Orange Drop" capacitors are only $0.99, while Hovland "Musicaps" are a whopping $10.95 each!

    What's the deal? Are Hovlands really THAT special? :confused:

    (This brings to mind the fact that CTS pots are something like $4.50, while Alessandro pots are $50.00. :eek:)
     
  2. DiazDude

    DiazDude Member

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  3. cvansickle

    cvansickle Supporting Member

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    I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

    Hearing is believing. I installed a Hovland in my Strat when I upgraded to the WCR SR pickup set. I also went Hovland in my ASAT Classic when I added a Duncan Broadcaster. With the Strat, the tone never gets thin as I adjust volumes. In the ASAT, the bridge pickup starts with plenty of bite and twang, and rolls down to smooooooooooth! Worth every penny.
     
  4. Relicula

    Relicula Supporting Member

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    Absolutely, worth every penny. Think of how much a guitar costs, then add twenty bucks... very cool investment.:RoCkIn
     
  5. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    Head over to Amps & Cabs or Amp Technical and read the threads there about capacitors. There's some good links contained within those threads as well, well worth checking out.

    --chiba
     
  6. armitage

    armitage Guest

    If you only tend to use your bridge pickup... you can save a few bucks by just doing your bridge tone control...
     
  7. Lex Luthier

    Lex Luthier Member

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    Hovland makes caps for high end tube audio weenies that spend money like water flowing down the river, hence the high price.

    I've tried most of these high end caps in guitar circuits, I've been just as happy with the el-cheapo Russian military surplus paper in oil caps.

    Wanna hear a bigger difference without breaking the bank? Experiment with different cap values, try a .015 or .01 cap with humbuckers.
     
  8. DiazDude

    DiazDude Member

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    Count me as a "high end tube audio weenie with too much money" then.
    Some of the best money I've ever pissed away.:AOK
     
  9. doctorx

    doctorx Member

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    Audiophool nonsense.

    If I were to pay that kind of cash for a single capacitor it would have to be had delivered to my house by ten 16 year old virgins bearing champagne and strawberrys.
     
  10. J Purcell

    J Purcell Member

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    Considering that probably quite a few of us here are gigging with $3,000-5,000+ worth of guitars, amps and pedals to make $100 a night and maybe some free beer. I don't think spending a few extra bucks for good caps is a big deal.:)
    I just ordered the RS Premium Tele Electronic upgrade kit yesterday. I don't care if the patrons in the back of the bar notice the difference. I do and that's what's important to me.
    Now where do I find these virgins with the beer?:BEER
     
  11. eric102673

    eric102673 Member

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  12. gnappi

    gnappi Member

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    I've removed original caps from Fenders and replaced them with orange drops, and Atoms, and never heard any difference in sound that a small amount of dilling with EQ that couldn't do the same thing. Truthfully, I'm quite happy with OD's. I don't mind if I have a sound I like, can't see a reason to make it any "better" Anyway... Rebuilding an amp isn't that expensive, but, does your amp sound good now?? If so, why not try this? Take one channel, put OD's in, and then the high priced ones. If YOU hear a difference you settle the issue once and for all. I doubt that any camp OD vs. designer will ever give you a solution for your ears. Regards, Gary
     
  13. bluestein

    bluestein Member

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    A few years back I got together with my luthier and spent many hours trying to figure out the best cap.

    The guy has been an flaming audiophile for years - the kind of OCD guy that spends tens of thousands on his home stereo - and is big into tweaking/modification. He also builds one-off amps just to "amuse" himself. I''ve seen him pull all-nighters tweaking a preamp to find the single best component for a spot....

    This was in the time frame when the LPF was talking about PAF tone/mods and the alnico2 vs 5 magnet swap discussions. Late 90's perhaps?

    What started as a simple pickup swap turned into a tone quest that lasted a few weeks.

    He had hundreds of different caps in stock for his business - all brands and values.

    We changed them in and out - swapped polarity - everything we could think of to compare them. We took breaks, got away from it for a couple of days to avoid ear fatigue - and tried again and again. I went home and he pulled all-nighters.

    I was amazed at the tonal differences. Even between the "same" value cap from the same manufacturer.

    My son's a BSEE - tells me it can't happen - but it did. I heard it. Even with my mid-50's worn out ears.

    Bottom line - at that time and place in that particular guitar through that particular amp - the Hovelands came out on top. No question about it.

    We tried for a few weeks to knock it out of the top spot.

    Couldn't do it.

    OCD can be a wonderful thing.;)
     
  14. 85db

    85db Member

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    Oh yes -- heard it before. EE major people always think in terms of Ohm's law and that every piece of wire is a perfect conductor (which it is according to Ohm's law :D).

    Have you tried futzing with cable directionality? Don't tell the EE major if you did :D. I noticed all of my Klotz sounded better with lettering reading away from the guitar. So I asked the Klotz USA dealer if I can count on the directionality being the same from batch to batch. The guy said "Well, actually, Eric Johnson also prefers it the same direction you do. But when I asked Klotz engineers about it, they thought I was crazy!". Here you go, the engineers supporting this product don't know that it's directional simply because they weren't taught this in college. My brother, who's EE major, thinks that all cables are the same and shouldn't affect the tone at all!!!
     
  15. fast ricky love

    fast ricky love Supporting Member

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    $10 for a cap isn't really that big a deal... what did you dudes pay for your guitar???

    If you can't hear the difference between a Hovland/Jensen and an Orange Cap I say more power to ya!
     
  16. straightblues

    straightblues Member

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    All caps sound different to my ears. I don't happen to like the Hovlands. I have a couple sets but they have never stayed in any of my guitar long. I like vintage caps from the 50's. The caps I have in most of my guitar right now are Good All's from the 50's I paid about $20 each for them. The Les Paul guys spend $60 or $70 a piece for the old Sprauge Bumblee caps.
     
  17. Pete Galati

    Pete Galati Member

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    Yep.

    Gibson tends to use .020uf caps, and people throw in .022uf caps (without measuring the caps they removed, or the ones they put in) and think something magic happened.

    As if.

    There aren't enough volts in the average guitar circuit for the kind of cap to make a difference.
     
  18. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    So you hear a difference.
    What difference?
    At what pot settings?
    How about at full volume with the tone pot at full (disengaged)?

    Run an audio signal straight through a cap and you can hear that they are not all the same but I don't know if anyone could tell which is which given 2 of the same value hanging off the signal line through a pot to ground as they are used in a guitar. And what do you classify as better?
     
  19. Chiba

    Chiba Gold Supporting Member

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    Bingo.

    In the year since my first post on this thread, I haven't changed my mind about Hovlands.

    Just today I put 2 Orange Drops in a brand-new guitar.

    --chiba
     

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