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Old 23rd September 2003, 01:48 AM   #1
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Default Good non-exotic components

I've done some searching but could only find comparisons and recommendations for audiophile-brand and exotic components. There is little in the way of information about "cheapo-phile" parts.

Now before we get into an argument about X better than Y components, I'm also after good performance, just not at any cost. Gainclones are a good example here. They are relatively inexpensive and provide very good performance, often better than more expensive designs.

So, that said, I am interested to hear about your experiences with generic components. Maybe you still get good results using only cheap Panasonic resistors from Digikey. Maybe you found that the $5 Black Gate is better than the $.50 cap but not 10X better. Maybe the $2 mil-spec cap is almost as good as the BG but offers much better price/performance value.

:)ensen.
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Old 23rd September 2003, 02:04 AM   #2
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Beyschlag resistors from Digi-Key supposedly are not bad. If you go a bit higher in price, old style Holcos were not bad either. Michael Percy still stocks them.

For higher wattage, blue Panasonics from Digi-Key are OK. As far as electrolytics go, everybody seems to favour Panasonic FC caps. Next up would probably be Nichicons (especially Muse) and Rubycon Z series, but I didn't see the last ones around here yet.

But to tell the truth, I never bothered that much to test regular parts. If you pay this low, it's not worth the time to test it, I thought
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Old 23rd September 2003, 01:36 PM   #3
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It seems like exotic components are much more popular. Just look at the numbers in both threads started yesterday:

replies views

exotic: 43 932
non exotic: 1 73

So whom are we kidding?
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Old 23rd September 2003, 02:23 PM   #4
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Peter, I think you are confusing two types of interest, the interest
in reading about and discussing something and the interst in
buying and using something. I would guess that most people
find it more entertaining to read about Ferraris and Lamborghinis
than VWs and Fiats, that does not mean that the majority would
actually consider buying the more exotic cars or even find them
a better choice for themselves.

I think the idea of discussing non-exotic but good components
is excellent, and I think it has been hinted at several times by
experienced designers on the forum that sometimes components
intended for quite different use than audio may be the best
choice for audio. There is a catch, though, with such a discussion.
Most of us are quite limited as to which components we can buy
easily and without too much economic overhead. For instance,
I am fortunate to have an Elfa shop in town, so there are quite
a lot of components I can buy off the shelf. For everything else
I have to use mail order from somewhere, which incurs extra
costs, often minimum orders etc. etc. While Elfa has a decent
selection of op amps, for instance, they have only one brand
of metal film resistors. To buy any other brand, say brand X,
I would have to order from some other company, and if they
don't have any other things I need it may end up quite costly
for a bunch of cheap resistors. In the end, even fairly cheap
non-exotic components may end up costing almost as much
as some of the cheaper exotic ones, and may be even harder
to find, since there is no company specializing in selling
non-exotic but good components for audio. I still think it a
good idea to discuss the non-exotic components, though.
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Old 23rd September 2003, 02:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Christer
Peter, I think you are confusing two types of interest, the interest
in reading about and discussing something and the interst in
buying and using something. I would guess that most people
find it more entertaining to read about Ferraris and Lamborghinis
than VWs and Fiats, that does not mean that the majority would
actually consider buying the more exotic cars or even find them
a better choice for themselves.
I kinda knew about it when I posted, but I wanted to push this thread into a daylight again.

I also agree with you that most of the people who talk in exotic components thread, are the ones who never tried them. This makes the discussion harder, as they mostly there for entertainment purpose.
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Old 23rd September 2003, 07:43 PM   #6
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So far, based on what I can dig up, it seems that there is a consensus that:

1) Carbon resistors are bad and metal film is better.
2) Mica caps are more durable when you can afford them.

Thanks for the suggestions Peter. I will check the Beyschlag. I did some googling and Beyschlag = BC Components = div. of Vishay.

I found the FC caps easily enough. What are the blue Panasonics?

:)ensen.

PS: I have a couple of reasons for non-exotic vs. joining the exotic thread. I choose not to afford them so I have to figure out how to make do with the cheaper components. And, by starting a thread I'm hoping to make it an easy search for the next forum newbie.
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Old 24th September 2003, 01:50 AM   #7
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Peter, I will concede that you are right about the exotics thread being more popular. Whether everyone is actually acquiring them is another question. Christer's point about entertainment is valid here. For me, unobtanium is still unobtainium regardless of hobby so instead, I attempt the pragmatic.

My view is that quite a few people will build circuits with whatever parts are available, then start swapping out components to see if there is a difference. I think they forget to predict that starting with the lowest performance components will only make the changes more extreme. Upgrading from Kia to Porsche.

As an aside, it bowls me over others are actually surprised to find a difference comparing exotics to generic. When the time comes for my own tweaks, I hope to be pleasantly surprised to find no difference, but I doubt it.

So my goal remains this: Start out with good components that are inexpensive, thus getting something that performs well to begin with. If I do this right, any tweaking after that should produce more subtle improvements. Upgrading form Acura to Porsche.

:)ensen.
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Old 24th September 2003, 01:51 AM   #8
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Default Panasonic capacitors

More searching on the Panasonic caps did not give any definitive results. Went to the Panasonic site but only found some grayscale PDF docs.

Are the blue Panasonic caps the ECQP or ECHS series?

:)ensen.
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Old 24th September 2003, 02:26 AM   #9
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I think, everything that is controversial draws people. That's our nature

The blue Panasonic resistor are higher wattage ones (1, 2 and 3W) and can be used in Alephs, for instance, as source resistors.

I was also hoping once, that I won't find the difference, but unfortunately it wasn't the case.

Still, I'm not so sure if success cannot be achieved with regular components. If it is true that Gain Card is built with non audiophile parts, this is the best example (although chassis is pretty exotic).

I've built few different GC amps and some of them simply sucked, only because the case was built in a different way (while other parts stayed the same).

So if you don't want to spend on expensive parts, you might concentrate your efforts on different aspects of your design, which are as well important.
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Old 24th September 2003, 12:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Daniel

I've built few different GC amps and some of them simply sucked, only because the case was built in a different way (while other parts stayed the same).
One thing I always wonder about when people report audible
differences is if the experiment is done s.t. it is reasonable
to attribute this difference to the claimed reason. For instance,
if you build two gainclones, A and B, with different cases, and
A sounds good and B bad, did you try to swap the electronics
between the cases? Even if you built two identical gaincloines
electrically, there might be individual variations in components,
the chips themselves for instance, that cause the difference,
not actually the cases. It is the same thing if one builds two
identical amplifiers but use a different capacitor in one of them.
Unless, they were truly identical from the start and verified to
sound indistinguishable, how do we know an audiable difference
actually is because of this particular capacitor that differs?

Pleas note, I am not arguing against audibilty of components
or cases. However, for repots on audible difference to serve
other people any good, it is important to ascertain that the
cause can reasonably be attributed to what one claims. I often
fail to see any evidence of that when people report their
experiences with "exotic" components.
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