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Old 29th June 2006, 01:06 AM   #1
adamt is offline adamt  Australia
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Default Burn in time for Solen Caps?

Being happy with my crossover, I finally decided to build it properly and use some good components.

So I bought some Solens, soldered it up, and sat back to enjoy the show.

I nearly fell off my chair when this high frequency brightness emerged from the speakers. Way too bright, and harsh making most music unlistenable (sore ears!).

So I checked my wiring which was all fine, and rechecked the components which were no different to my original test crossover values.

My original crossover had a lovely balance of detail and smoothness that I now dont have.

So how long do these solens take to burn in, or do I need to increase the Lpad attenuation?

My speakers are Dynaudio (not known for harshness) The 17W75Xl and D260 built to the original Dyn designed known as Nuance.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 29th June 2006, 01:19 AM   #2
F1 FAN is offline F1 FAN  Canada
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Did you change any other components?

What caps did you use previous?

If the Solens are replacing electrolytics then their lower ESR would explain why the sound is brighter.
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Old 29th June 2006, 09:10 AM   #3
lndm is offline lndm  Australia
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Also a different esl will change the mid/top end. Component tolerances can also come in to play.

What has happened to you also happens to me. I find myself wishing I could turn back the clock but with a little tweaking I think you'll be glad about the new components.

Tony Gee said of Solens that the midrange can seem a little forward. This might give you a tweaking starting point. Have you considered experimenting with bypassing the Solen?
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Old 29th June 2006, 06:02 PM   #4
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I posted in another thread about this issue some time ago in regards to the experience I had modifying the cross-overs in a pair of AR-58's. I replaced the electrolytics in the cross-over with Solens and had several problems.

The culprit of course was the ESR present in the old electrolytics which was taken into account in the x-over design. This has a huge effect on the network Q which you can both measure and simulate. I ended up with a seriously overdamped woofer, and excessively bright highs.

The solution is to add a judicious amount of series resistance in order to control the Q and to also match the voltage loss due to the original cap's ESR.

You'll have to iterate a little to get the sound you are looking for. I suspect something like 0.47 to 1 ohm will put you in the right range to start. Use a good non inductive resistor like a mills 12W or similar.

I don't think Solens in cross-overs really "burn in" although I have heard this phenomena in small signal applications in pre-amps and amplifiers. YMMV..

I use Solens in my current Onken based system, but designed the cross-overs around the components I was going to use. (Designed the cross-overs using LTspice.)
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Old 29th June 2006, 09:23 PM   #5
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Years ago, I built systems with the little Scanspeak 8636 (?) damped Kevlar mid, and used Solens. Just fine.

More recently, a system with AudioTechnology mid (Skaaning) and 99000 SS Revelator tweeter showed the Solens to be unusably harsh. Break-in helped iirc, but the far more transparent drivers were merciless.

North Creek worked out well, as did some of the Marsh/RelCaps; there are several tests of caps that can be found. I don't think Solens did well in any of them. Shunt capacitors matter, although less so perhaps than series caps. The mid and tweet high pass caps seem to be the most critical. Foil/polyprope has been better for me than metallized polyprope.

Another possible issue is that with better capacitors, resistors and pots (if any) become more audible. Again, I used to be happy with the little concrete jobs; now I use Mills, although others prefer some Caddocks or Dale/Vishays which I have not investigated yet. A variable attenuator can be replaced with fixed resistors, usually with some improvement. And at some point, wiring and connectors begin to need attention.

If electrolytics were replaced, I would certainly not disagree with the observations above; and some electrolytics provide a (euphonic?) veiling that seems to go beyond the ESR factor alone.
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Old 29th June 2006, 11:35 PM   #6
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If the caps were electrolytic then changing them into Solen alters the ESR/ESL and this might be the main cause of the problem.

If the caps were film caps (e.g. Mylar) then you may try the ICW SA Clarity caps. I have done many A/B tests comparing Solens and the Clarity caps and everytime the result was very obvious. The Solens sound harsh and the Clarity caps do not.

Since you are in OZ I highly recommend you trying the ICW caps from www.ledeaudio.com. Dave from Darwin sells them and the postage is usually a few dollars only. The prices are about the same as the Solens or may even be cheaper, since I only know the trade prices of Solens and don't know the retail prices of Solen at WES. because I thought prices of Solens and Clarity caps were about the same so I did the comparisons to select the best for me. In Tony's website he rated Solen about 6.5 out of 10. In his recent reports he rated ICW Clarity caps about 9.5 out of 10 from my memory.

Good Luck.
Bill
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Old 30th June 2006, 07:37 PM   #7
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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I've used the ICW Clarity caps as well, they're quite good.
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Old 30th June 2006, 08:55 PM   #8
KBK is offline KBK  Canada
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good to hear about the clarity caps. Time to talk to Perry....(Hemp is the Canadian distribution point for Clarity Cap)
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Old 30th June 2006, 10:15 PM   #9
awpagan is offline awpagan  Australia
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Default Re: Burn in time for Solen Caps?

Quote:
Originally posted by adamt
Being happy with my crossover, I finally decided to build it properly and use some good components.

So I bought some Solens, soldered it up, and sat back to enjoy the show.

I nearly fell off my chair when this high frequency brightness emerged from the speakers. Way too bright, and harsh making most music unlistenable (sore ears!).

So I checked my wiring which was all fine, and rechecked the components which were no different to my original test crossover values.

My original crossover had a lovely balance of detail and smoothness that I now dont have.

So how long do these solens take to burn in, or do I need to increase the Lpad attenuation?

My speakers are Dynaudio (not known for harshness) The 17W75Xl and D260 built to the original Dyn designed known as Nuance.

Thanks for any help.

Solen caps breakin

will take a few days to a week
If you are listening at the time,
It's spooky

allan

ps they seem to smooth out and become more open
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