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Old 22nd March 2013, 10:22 PM   #11
jcx is offline jcx  United States
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I disagree with most here I guess, because I definitely hear differences in cheap vs. pricey capacitors...
without a Blinding protocol, measurement of levels, frequency response - especially with no reference to circuit position, listening setup - we simply have no reason to give your opinion, however validated by your experience, any weight

perceptual psychology, psychoacoustics suggests you, anyone really, will hear differences when you try to

what the standards for psychoacoustics, perceptual testing claim is that you need to listen "Blind", level matched to 0.1 dB - a level can't just be set be "by ear" - have to measure for that resolution

some swaps of caps in equipment will give > 0.1 dB frequency response change even if you leave the volume knob alone - thats 1% tolerance - unusually tight for caps

any volume difference will change perceived frequency response – at much smaller than can be perceived as “loudness” change
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Old 22nd March 2013, 10:38 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by hukkfinn View Post
I disagree with most here I guess, because I definitely hear differences in cheap vs. pricey capacitors [...] In our power supply we have tried $2.50 EPCOS polypropylene capacitors from Mouser vs. Auricaps which are more like $30, and the Auricaps are obviously better.
You mean you heard capacitor differences in that dubious power supply from the SiC rectifier thread? The one with two rectifier diodes before and two rectifier diodes after the power supply caps? Which you did not bother to post a schematic from?



For reference: Best SiC rectifiers?

It must be a hard life, hearing caps and diodes and the grass on the front lawn growing...
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Old 22nd March 2013, 10:59 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by michouthefirst View Post
What makes a capacitor HI-FI audio grade? Is it just a marketing thing? If not, how can I distinguish reals from fakes?
"Audio grade" labels or application specs typically refer to use in the audio "signal path".
Reputable companies like Nichicon, Elna etc. all fabricate and spec different caps for different purposes in electronics. There are thousands of designs and applications for capacitors that need to be understood before just soldering some cap in place. Just study different audio schematics and the parts list to get help with choosing the proper type. Or ask on electronic forums such as this for detailed help. Just realize that there is a lot of misunderstanding and hype about one persons theory on what caps can do.
But that's what engineers do...select the correct cap for the application. Once that's done and defined then it's the bean counter's task to find that spec cap at a reasonable price. Cheap or expensive really comes down to tolerance and quality/cost of fabrication. As a DIY'r you are the engineer and you are the bean counter...
Usually "audio grade" won't be that good for a power supply filter design for instance and a power supply spec'd cap won't be a good design for use in a tone or EQ circuit or signal path.
Reals from fakes?....my personal opinion is...if you buy them from places like Mouser or other reputable component vendors you can trust they are actual new Mfg components.
Anything purchased on Ebay from some private seller is not as trustworthy. You're in a crap shoot there...so it's pretty easy decision to ensure you're getting "real" parts.
I don't know why anyone would buy "used" caps anyway...makes no sense to me!....and that's the bean counter talking there!!...LOL
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Old 23rd March 2013, 12:23 AM   #14
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jcx,
I am in complete agreement with you on this one. Just substituting caps without making sure the caps are the exact same value you have taken out throws any of this subjective discourse out the window. it is useless information. Not only do you need to match the levels, you have to match the capacitors to almost exact electrical equivalency or your ears are going to fool you. In a crossover network you are not only changing the level you are most likely shifting the crossover frequency up or down around the center -3db point of the network and this is most likely what most people seem to think they hear as an improvement or worse and blame this on the particular capacitor rather than a shift in the crossover network.
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Old 25th March 2013, 02:30 PM   #15
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Differences are in the behavior of the capacitor in the circuit, not in way of they "sounds" when part of an amplifier.
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Old 25th March 2013, 02:45 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Rundmaus View Post
You mean you heard capacitor differences in that dubious power supply from the SiC rectifier thread?
Correct. I've also heard large differences in capacitors placed in the output coupling position of a tubed linestage preamplifier, a Conrad-Johnson PV-12. And in various capacitors located in a custom-designed gain stage circuit. And in the output coupling position of a CD player, a Magnavox 745.

In other cases, I've changed capacitors and heard no difference at all that I could detect - that was in the output coupling position of a Marantz SA-11S1 SACD player.
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Old 25th March 2013, 04:26 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hukkfinn View Post
Correct. I've also heard large differences in capacitors placed in the output coupling position of a tubed linestage preamplifier, a Conrad-Johnson PV-12. And in various capacitors located in a custom-designed gain stage circuit. And in the output coupling position of a CD player, a Magnavox 745.

In other cases, I've changed capacitors and heard no difference at all that I could detect - that was in the output coupling position of a Marantz SA-11S1 SACD player.
The differences you heard is because of changes in ESR, ESL and cap. value tolerances. Audio grade or not is totally indifferent. I saw an ad offering "audio grade caps made of foil of gold". Only a stupid can believe the audio rig will work better with a poorer conductor in the capacitor foils.
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Old 25th March 2013, 04:32 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Osvaldo de Banfield View Post
The differences you heard is because of changes in ESR, ESL and cap. value tolerances. Audio grade or not is totally indifferent.

Dear Osvaldo,

you totally missed the point

It is not about 'audio grade' or not, or even about measurable quantities as ESR, ESL or capacitance value tolerances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hukkfinn
I definitely hear differences in cheap vs. pricey capacitors
That is the point, it seems. Making any discussion quite the opposite, called 'pointless'...

Have a beer,
Rundmaus
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Old 25th March 2013, 04:40 PM   #19
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Ok, well.Continue without me...
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Old 25th March 2013, 04:50 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Osvaldo de Banfield View Post
Ok, well.Continue without me...
Without me, too. Off for a glass of Audio Grade Guinness.
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