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Old 14th June 2008, 04:08 PM   #1
bigwill is offline bigwill  United Kingdom
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Default Electrolytics sound fine

For a laugh, just wired up an unbypassed 100uF NP electrolytic in series with my speakers. Bass is rolled off (obviously) but the sound remains the same. No "blindingly obvious" distortions or bad sound at all, even with it turned up. All the treble is there. Imaging is still there.

Shorting the capacitor while playing music just brings back the bass. The rest of the spectrum sounds the same. In passages with little bass there is no change in sound.

My scary wacky theory: Electrolytics sound fine.
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Old 14th June 2008, 05:47 PM   #2
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This is a very silly experiment. 100uF changes the sound so dramatically that it's pretty much impossible to claim that everything but the bass remains the same - the entire perception of sound changes by removing bass. Use several thousand uF non-polar if you intend to make any worthwhile conclusions. You should also describe your system and your hearing acuity. Do you hear differences between audio components? Between cables? Equipment support? Passive parts?

And even more importantly: what's inside the crossover? A whole lot of really nasty electrolytics?
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Old 14th June 2008, 06:01 PM   #3
Tenson is offline Tenson  United Kingdom
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Non-polar suitably rated electrolytics do sound pretty much fine. I use Polyester film for piece of mind though. I suppose film caps also don't degrade as much, which is good for commercial speakers.
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Old 14th June 2008, 06:10 PM   #4
bigwill is offline bigwill  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally posted by analog_sa
This is a very silly experiment. 100uF changes the sound so dramatically that it's pretty much impossible to claim that everything but the bass remains the same - the entire perception of sound changes by removing bass. Use several thousand uF non-polar if you intend to make any worthwhile conclusions. You should also describe your system and your hearing acuity. Do you hear differences between audio components? Between cables? Equipment support? Passive parts?

And even more importantly: what's inside the crossover? A whole lot of really nasty electrolytics?

My hearing is very good. I can still hear bats.

As for the change in sound, the speakers are Mordaunt Short Avant 902s, with socks stuffed in the ports. There isn't that much bass to remove in the first place so you only lose a teeny bit of low end information. Everything else sounds the SAME. Trust me.


My amplifier is a Radford STA-15 and I can easily hear the difference between it and a leak stereo 20
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Old 14th June 2008, 06:19 PM   #5
tpsorin is offline tpsorin  Romania
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Default Re: Electrolytics sound fine

Quote:
Originally posted by bigwill
For a laugh, just wired up an unbypassed 100uF NP electrolytic in series with my speakers. Bass is rolled off (obviously) but the sound remains the same. No "blindingly obvious" distortions or bad sound at all, even with it turned up. All the treble is there. Imaging is still there.

Shorting the capacitor while playing music just brings back the bass. The rest of the spectrum sounds the same. In passages with little bass there is no change in sound.

My scary wacky theory: Electrolytics sound fine.

You are right. The only problem with electrolytics is that the value is changing in time.
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Old 14th June 2008, 06:38 PM   #6
bigwill is offline bigwill  United Kingdom
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That's a shame. Is there any way to circumvent it?
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Old 14th June 2008, 07:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by bigwill



My amplifier is a Radford STA-15 and I can easily hear the difference between it and a leak stereo 20

That's like the distance from the Earth to the Moon in audio terms

What the undersized caps certainly do, apart from rolling the bass is shift the phase at a very audible frequency. Even the most hardcore objectivists would admit this to be potentially audible and certainly not good for soundstaging and other spatial effects.

Which means your setup is faulty. And certainly doesn't mean that you or anyone else would necessarily hear a difference with a properly sized cap. Quite possibly there are similar or worse caps inside the crossover.
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Old 14th June 2008, 07:37 PM   #8
bigwill is offline bigwill  United Kingdom
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But the sound barely changes when I short the caps. I can do it and undo it as quickly or slowly as I like and the only difference is a bit of bottom end.
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Old 14th June 2008, 07:43 PM   #9
Tenson is offline Tenson  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally posted by analog_sa


apart from rolling the bass is shift the phase at a very audible frequency. Even the most hardcore objectivists would admit this to be potentially audible and certainly not good for soundstaging and other spatial effects.

Which means your setup is faulty.

Complete rubbish.

If you can't hear the difference, and money is tight, use them. There are others that agree with you, and some that don't. Such is life.
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Old 15th June 2008, 03:42 AM   #10
TerryO is offline TerryO  United States
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We've done blind A/B tests using identical speakers with the same crossovers, with the exception that one pair had electrolitics and the other used PP. Statistically it was a draw as to correctly IDing the components. The only thing that the 'litics lack is the long term stability of their values, the tight tolerances and the eventual expiration of the cap itself.

Of far greater concern, sound-wise, are (IMHO) the inductors. These are audible if the wire guage is small and they're poorly wound.

I personally use electrolitics (with tiny PP bypass caps) for my crossovers and indulge myself with decent inductors. It works well and several people that are of a like mind have won speaker contests for best sound.

Best Regards,
TerryO
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