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Old 12th September 2007, 04:48 AM   #21
Davet is offline Davet  United States
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Default Blackgate vs Obbligat PIO

The following is the first of a series of test of coupling caps to be used in T-Amps. The music selections are many and varied. My overall approach is to listen to thirty seconds of a selection on each capacitor under test unless otherwise stated.. This allows me to maintain some degree of aural memory. At some point I will list all the selections that have sampled for these tests.

This specific series of tests were prompted by a post made by RajaCat. I had the Blackgates most recently in my test bed. So this is the cap that I tested against the Obbligato PIO. The capacitors under test all have had at least 370+ hours on them before testing. This will be the case unless specifically stated otherwise. This specific test took more than 16 hours of listening and the following is a sample of the music to which I listened.

The Blackgates played much louder than the PIO Obbligatos. The Blackgates had a broader (wider) soundstage, but sounded much more two dimensional. The Obbligatos had more air around the performers and the soundstage sounds much deeper. The highs of the Obbligatos sounded a little muted, but sounded more lifelike than the Blackgates. Cymbals when not as piercing with the Obbligatos compared to the Blackgates. The Obbligatos provide the shimmer of the Cymbals and not as edgy or pronounced as the Blackgates.

The bass from the Obbligatos is not as full or pronounced as the Blackgates.

On Sly and the family Stone's - Everyday People the musicians sounded as if they were standing on top of each other. On complex passages there is smearing with Blackgates. The air around the musicians in the Obbligatos presentation makes the performance much more intelligible. The Horns sound brassy with the Blackgates more so than the Obbligatos.

On Wynton Marsalis’ - New Orleans Bump from the album Mr. Lord Jelly Roll the tuba sounds contextually more like a tuba with the Obbligatos. The musicians are spread across the soundstage with the Obbligatos. Beneath the second saxophone solo the bass is bowed twice rather than plucked. This is subtle but one can clearly discern the difference between the bass drum, tuba, and bowed bass with the Obbligatos. The bowing is discernable if you are listening for it with the Blackgates, but it sounds to be more of an overtone to the various sounds in the bass register rather than a distinct instrument.

Although the Blackgates yield a wider soundstage the presentation has no depth and sounds more analytical than life like. The Blackgates yield a perception of more power than the Obbligatos. The Blackgates clearly play louder than the Obbligatos. The Blackgates are most enjoyable when the composition is of a small combo or solo where there is not a lot of complex passages. Solo piano and piano trios the Blackgates are excellent.

On Tony Bennett’s - Steppin’ Out With My Baby the bass from the Blackgates was overpowering. The Blackgates have a larger presentation of the piano – larger than life. Conversely, the soundboard of the piano is broad and percussive with the Obbligatos.

The brush work on Roy Hargrove’s - My Foolish Heart provides a level of detail to focus on. The Brushes on the cymbals allows you to hear the contact withy the various cymbals and the brushes can clearly be distinguished between that and the rivets on the cymbal. There is no etched cut through of the cymbals, but rather just the ring one associates with an accomplished accompanying drummer with the Obbligatos. The brush work with the Blackgates is not as lifelike.

On Bobby Darin’s - A Nightingale Sang in Barkley Square – The violins have a smooth woody tone. There is a harp in the midst of this orchestra and it can be heard if listened to closely. All the instruments of the orchestra are easily distinguished. And the sound comes in layers from front to rear with Obbligatos. With the Blackgates the violins get lost in the mix, because of the complexity of the composition; the violins sound more akin to a synthesizer than strings.

On Dinah Washington – Nice Work if You Can Get It there is no sibilance in her solo and Clifford Brown’s trumpet solo sounds brassy and is separated in space with plenty of air about it with the PIOs. The Blackgates really shinned when it came to the trumpet solo, but the air around the instrument isn’t there. However it certainly sounds like a trumpet.

On Sweet Honey and the Rock’s - I Hear a Knockin which is an A cappella performance of four women. Both sets of caps do a find job of reproducing the performance. The women seem to have bodies with the Obbligatos, there seems to be a life like presence. Whereas, the Blackgates create every nuance of the music, but the liveliness is not there.

On Jon B.’s - They Don’t Know the closely miked bass drum is forceful full bodied. Backup singer voices are clearly spread across the soundstage. The various percussion instruments can clearly be heard with air about them with sharp attack where appropriate with Obbligatos. The Blackgates reproduce the music, but the voices sound like one rather than separate voices.

Zubin Metha's - Pictures at an Exhibition the acoustics of the venue are clearly replicated. There is depth to the soundstage. Power of the tympanis is felt and the various strings can be heard and distinguished. Percussion is sharp and not smothered in the overall orchestration with the Obbligatos. This distinguishing quality is lost with the Blackgates, although the bass is not lacking in the least.

To insure what I was hearing wasn’t biased based on my selection of source material, I listened to The Doobie Brothers Greatest Hits, James Taylor Hourglass, and Led Zeppelin IV. I listened to these albums in their entirety using both caps. The Blackgates provided the broad soundstage and on a few of the Doobie’s tracks there is some interplay between left and right channels and the separation was most pronounced. The loudness is a factor when listening to these albums, but to a lesser degree with James Taylor.

When I switched to the PIOs everything just sounded more life like. I was truly surprised that Led Zeppelin’s - Stairway to Heaven and Black Dog sounded better with the PIOs. The PIOs yielded a new level of enjoyment to these rock classics. There was more separation and definition amongst the performers. For the first time it sounded more like I may have been in the recording studio rather than at a rock concert. The timber of the acoustic instruments is just uncanny with the PIOs. The performances have depth front to rear as well as from side to side.

If power (volume) from the T-AMP is a primary concern the Blackgates provide a much louder performance than The PIOs. A major benefit of the Blackgates is their size. They are small and compact and will easily fit on any of the T-Amp boards taking up minimal real estate. Another bonus is the Blackgates are relatively inexpensive from less than a dollar (US) up to $4 (US) which does not include shipping.

The Obbligatos PIOs are huge and are radial. They require either separate enclosures or a custom enclosure that will encase them with the T-AMP. A draw back is that these caps generate a slight hum which I have not been able to isolate to remove. It has been suggested that this problem goes away when they are enclosed in the chassis; this is not the case for my test platform. The hum is not noticeable unless you are within two feet of the speakers, and this is at a relatively high volume setting. The Obbligatos cost $5.50 (US) each including shipping.

In this shoot out I give the edge to the Obbligatos PIO over the Blackgates.
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Old 12th September 2007, 04:57 AM   #22
Davet is offline Davet  United States
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Default Russian PIO vs Obbligato PIO

These Russian PIO caps sound very similar to the Obbligato PIOs. The Obbligato PIOs play a little louder, otherwise, I hear very little difference between these two PIOs. There is no variance in the volume settings between the various caps being tested. The volume is set at about 10 o’clock on a scale from 1 – 12. These Russian PIO caps have very little hum compared to the Obbligatos PIOs where this has been a problem.

The soundstage is equally as deep and as wide as the Obbligatos. These Russian PIOs are somewhat smaller than the Obbligatos but not compact enough to easily fit inside a TA-10.1 chassis.

These caps cost $2 (US) each including shipping. Where the Obbligatos cost $5.50 (US) each including shipping. The cost of shipping was to the USA. The Russian PIOs are a value for they perform the same as the Obbligatos at 36% the cost delivered of that of the Obbligatos and are in a slightly smaller package.

When cost and size are taken into account The Russian PIOs are the winners in this round.
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Old 12th September 2007, 05:20 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by serengetiplains
Dave, I think the Fluorinerted Russians are 0.056uF which, with the Fluorinert, come in at 0.06uF thereabouts.
My error, the caps are 0.1uF varieties. Not that anything is riding on this difference whatsoever.
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Old 14th September 2007, 08:17 PM   #24
recca is offline recca  United States
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Any chance you can throw some 2.2uF Jupiter caps in the mix? I'm using them on the passive output of a DAC I have and think they sound great!
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Old 15th September 2007, 12:58 AM   #25
Davet is offline Davet  United States
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Default Juoiter Caps

Quote:
Originally posted by recca
Any chance you can throw some 2.2uF Jupiter caps in the mix? I'm using them on the passive output of a DAC I have and think they sound great!
Recca,

I still have quite a number of caps yet to test. I started down this path based on the caps I had on hand. I do not have any Jupiters on hand, but I may have some before this is all completed.

As to films that I have on hand are: Radio Shacks, Solens; Auricaps; Obbligatto; and MKPs. In addition I have a number of caps that I need to test as bypasses.

So at this juncture the answer is no, but I have some parts I have to order for a few projects and I may pick some Jupiters up.
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Old 16th September 2007, 07:26 AM   #26
recca is offline recca  United States
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No problem. I guess I should have phrased it more like, hey Jupiter caps sound pretty good! Try them when you get a chance! I'm still very interested in your project regardless. Its great for all of us!
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Old 18th September 2007, 08:01 PM   #27
Davet is offline Davet  United States
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Default Blackgates vs Pansonics

I have been listening to burned Blackgate (BG) and Panasonic FM (FM) caps for this segment of testing. These electrolytic caps have better than 380 hours of burn in time on them. The FM caps are the ones supplied with the AMP6 amplifier kit from 41HZ. Testing these caps took a lot of listening, for these caps are very close in sound and the differences are very subtle, to my ears.

The volume control was kept at the same 10 o'clock position for all tests. I tried to listen to 30 second slices of selections, but occasionally I got caught up in the music and played the whole selection through.

__BG______________________________________________ ____

The BGs are not as forward and in your face as the FMs. The BGs have a more relaxed presentation and the bass is not as full as the FMs. The BGs are not as fatiguing to listen to long term. I did not detect any pronounced sibilance on female vocals. Cymbals - not being as prominent make for more depth of sound stage.

The bowed bass On New Orleans Stomp has somewhat more air around it than the FMs, but not the life likeness of the Obbligatos. Plucked bass has air around it and sounds more percussive.

The acoustic guitar in the beginning of Stairway To Heaven has the rich sound of the wooden body of the guitar. The vocalist and the flutist have air around them. There is a sense of the sound of the studio.

On James Taylor's Line 'Em Up there is no doubt there is more than one vocalist. You can clearly hear the lead and the background singers.

The BGs provide some depth of sound stage, although it is somewhat shallow. There is less body (presence) to tom-toms which sound more life like. The snares on the snare drum clearly denote that it is a snare drum. Percussion sounds such as triangles, chimes, etc. sound more life like. Cymbals sound more "bell-like" with air around them.

The sound stage is clearly centered between the speakers. There seems to be little sonic information emanating wider than the speakers. The ambiance of the room is better captured by the BGs.

The BGs sound good on solo piano, but the body of the instrument sounds "light". The presence is more restrained - distant.

__FM______________________________________________ ___

The FMs yield greater presence, but at the expense of detail. The highs are pronounced and forward. There is more sibilance on female voices than with the BGs.

The bowing of the bass on New Orleans Stomp is "muddy". You can hear it but it is not really clear that there is a bass being bowed. You hear the tone, but it is not clearly discernable a bowed bass. Plucked bass sounds "tubby". I would surmise the bass to sound "fat". The attack or lead into a bass note is rounded and smeared not as percussive.

The acoustic guitar in the beginning of Stairway To Heaven sounds almost like a steel guitar. The tone of the strings is pronounced, but the sound (overtone) of the wooden body is lost. The vocalist and the flutist sound like they are playing into the same mike or they are standing atop of each other.

On James Taylor's Line 'Em Up the multiple voices sound like one. It is hard to discern there are multiple vocalist.

The air around the performers is virtually non-existent compared to the BGS. the sound is very two dimensional. I would attribute this to the forwardness of the treble which seems to place cymbals on the same plane as horn players. Percussion such as triangles, chimes, etc sound as if there is a blanket between the performer and my listening position. The muffling I attribute to the more prominent bass.

The FMs Yield a somewhat wider sound stage. The sound on orchestral works seem to be in a much larger room, but the strings sound "tubby".

The FMs really sound fantastic on solo piano. This forwardness places the instrument clearly in the room, and you seem to "feel" the soundboard when the performer blocks chords.

_Bottom_Line______________________________________ ____

Overall the FMs sound good right out the box (or kit as it were). For rock, electronic music, or heavily engineered recordings the FMs would be my choice. This places the performers right up front and in your face with a broad sound stage.

The BGs are bettered suited to acoustic instruments and female vocalist. The BGs place the performers in the room with with air around them. There is a subtle amount of control to all the instruments and a more life like presentation.

The BGs get the nod here, but only because of the A/B. The FMs are more than adequate if you have not heard any other capacitor.
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Old 2nd October 2007, 12:50 AM   #28
Davet is offline Davet  United States
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Default Film Caps on Deck

I regret that I haven't had the time to update this thread with new tests. Too much to do, and too little time to get it done. Although, I haven't conducted any new test I have been burning in film caps.

I have a set of Solens and Radio Shack films that have been burning in for more than 600 hours. These will be going up against The Obbligatto, MKT, and Auricaps film capacitors.

If all goes well and I don't get swept up in the music I should have the first round of this shot out completed this week.

Thanks all for your patience.
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Old 2nd October 2007, 02:31 AM   #29
Davet is offline Davet  United States
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Default Selected Music

I have listed the music which I use to evaluate the various capacitors. I have quite a few compilation CDs (NBA, Williams-Sonoma, etc.). I have found these CDs expose me to music selections I wouldn't normally purchase.

I have mad selections and burned a Test CD. This allows me listen for specific details and to move on to the next selection with little distraction. This is why I have selections from the same CD are in various places and not back to back.

Most of the selections are acoustic. I know, first hand, what most band instruments sound like. My preference is Jazz and I have included a classical piece and some rock. The following list is the track title; length; artist; and the CD title.
  • Excusions (2:49) - Abdullah Ibrahim
    Capetown Flowers
  • Old Country (5:04) - Diane Reeves
    The Grand Encounter
  • The River (5:37) - Monty Alexander
    The River
  • Better Than Anything (4:55) - Nnenna Freelon
    Soul Call
  • Georgia (6.38) - Charles Lloyd
    The Water is Wide
  • Thank You (Falettimme Be Nice Elf Agin) (4:46) -
    Sly & The Family Stone

    I Still Love This Game (NBA)
  • New Orleans Bump (3:44) - Wynton Marsalis
    Mr. Lord Jelly Roll
  • Steppin’ Out With My Baby (2:52) - Tony Bennett
    I Still Love This Game (NBA)
  • My Foolish Heart (7:36) - Roy Hargrove
    Oscar Peterson Meets Roy Hargrove and Ralph Moore
  • A Nightingale Sang in Barkley Square (3:01) - Bobby Darin
    Dinner Is Served (Williams-Sonoma)
  • The Good Life (5:44) - Winard Harper
    Winard
  • Nice Work If You Can Get It (2:34) - Sarah Vaughn
    Dinner Is Served (Williams-Sonoma)
  • Once Forgotten (5:44) - Roy Hargrove
    Roy Hargrove Quintet with the Tenors of Our Time
  • They Don’t Know (4:34) - Jon B.
    I Still Love This Game (NBA)
  • You Don’t Know What Love Is (5:41) - Winard Harper
    Trap Dancer
  • Rosewood (2:43) - Wynton Marsalis
    Reeltime
  • Stairway To Heaven (8:00) - Led Zeppelin
    Led Zeppelin IV
  • Pictures at an Exhibition - Zubin Mehta NYPO
    Mussorgsky & Ravel – Mehta
    Track 1 (1:40 – 3:52)
  • Line ‘Em Up (4:42) - James Taylor
    Hourglass
  • Takin’ It to The Streets (3:36) - Doobie Brothers
    Best of the Doobies
  • Old Devil Moon (5:45) - Cassandra Wilson & Jackie Terrasson
    Rendezvous
  • After The Dead (2:36) - Wynton Marsalis
    Reeltime
  • Honeysuckle Rose (3:38) – Jane MonHeit
    Taking a Chance on Love
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Old 4th October 2007, 12:32 PM   #30
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The Obbligato caps are actually Metallized Polypropylene film in Oil, not paper in oli.
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