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theAnonymous1 9th May 2009 02:55 PM

Compact signal coupling caps - the lesser evil?
As we all know, "good" signal coupling caps tend to be large..... very large. Which of the below caps would be considered to be the best of this bad bunch? I know this is a subjective topic, but I don't want this to turn into another big cap debate (I know, odd request considering the topic).

SMD Tantalum
Electrolytic (Like Panasonic FC/FM, not exotics like balckgate)

jcx 9th May 2009 03:06 PM

Cyril Batemann measured distortion in "capacitor Sound" articles - for big C his recommendation is non-polar Al electrolytic with generous V rating 35 V+ for signal levels, 2 such Caps in series were better for signals larger than a few V

the former audiophile recommendation of biased series polar caps didn't measure as well

all film caps measured better than the best electrolytic

other considerations might include the physical size - a large loop formed by soup can sized audiophile caps could easliy form better attennas for EMI

any DC bias turns a Cap into a microphone - again audiophile wound film/foil caps could be worse on this charateristic

theAnonymous1 9th May 2009 03:28 PM


Originally posted by jcx
all film caps measured better than the best electrolytic
OK, so as the the kids would say.... PET FTW!

jcx 9th May 2009 03:32 PM

yet another consideration is that any Cap distortion would be expected to be porportional to the signal Vdrop across it - "super sizing" with Al electro may still be competive sound-wise if it can be hugely larger in value in the same space

grenert 9th May 2009 09:59 PM

If going surface mount, I'd suggest Panasonic ECP-U (available from Digikey) or Cornell Dubilier FCA (available from Mouser). I know they go up to at least 1.0 uF. I've used these in portable devices to good effect. FWIW, my ears find MKS disagreeable in a signal coupling function. Don't forget about Elna Silmic II. These are cheap and available in big uF sizes. They're among my favorites for headphone coupling.

theAnonymous1 9th May 2009 11:07 PM

Thanks for the heads-up on the Panasonic ECP-U. They are relatively cheap and would still have a compact profile even if stacked two or three high.

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