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Old 31st January 2003, 04:02 PM   #41
Sjef is offline Sjef  Netherlands
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Hi Bas, I've used to oorder Black Gate caps directly in Japan but that seems to be impossible at the moment because somen else is claiming the exclusive dealership for Holland and is selling them for rediculous prices. Audio Note UK is a lot cheaper (still more than twice the price compared to direct ordering in Japan)
At least the Black Gate's are now a lot cheaper than a couple of years ago. I really hate those dealers who sell theis stuff at a factor of ten or more then they payed for it. Happens a lot in the so called "High End" audio. Be aware
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Old 31st January 2003, 09:34 PM   #42
jcarr is offline jcarr  United States
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Bob:

My favorite capacitors for power supply use are the 190uF 330VAC polypropylene film capacitors that you can see in the photos of the Connoisseur 3.0 power supply on my website. They sound very open, wide-band, grain-free, uncolored, and of a single character from bottom to top. And the dynamics are not only powerful, they have _tremendous_ slam. There is a feeling of granite-like solidity to the dynamics and imaging that is fundamentally unlike any electrolytic capacitor that I have ever tried. You can hear this solidity immediately, even when the caps are brand-new (as the caps age, the sound gets more open, more free, and mellower). Low-frequency extension, weight and pitch definition are also markedly better with the polyprops.

I have tried changing only the transformer in my power supplies, and only the capacitors. Sonically, the capacitors make more of a difference than the transformer does. I would peg the ratio at perhaps 2:1 in favor of the capacitors.

But the C-core amorphous transformer also makes a difference that is not easily matched with other transformers. I wish that something like an R-core or a round cross-section toroidal would do the trick, but so far I haven't been able to get close to the amorphous C-core.

But I am planning to have some prototype power transformers made which are inside-out, that is, the coils will become the inner core and the permeable material will be wound around the coils. It will be very interesting to see what sort of characteristics and performance this design approach results in. Hope to have some prototypes in hand and initial results logged within a month or two.

regards, jonathan carr
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Old 31st January 2003, 11:11 PM   #43
Bobken is offline Bobken  United Kingdom
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Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for taking the time to provide such an illuminating reply.

When we corresponded before, I was left with the impression that you had some special *electrolytics* made up for you, which you felt 'outdid' the BGs which were under discussion.

It is almost a relief to hear that they were polypropylenes, after all, which as I well know from my own trials will outperform electrolytics, mostly with ease.

In fact the only valve amp I ever constructed used Solen polyprops throughout in the P.S. (after I had tried, and was dissatisfied with Cerafines, and a few others!), but with the low values used here, using plastic films was no problem.

Also, for a short-term temporary measure (for trial purposes) with this valve job, I tried some big polystyrene Multicap RTXs (the last ever available, which I had from Finch & Marsh a while back when I bought an unusually large quantity knowing that the plastic film supplies were drying up) and they sounded unbelievable!

Regrettably, I couldn't afford to leave them in the amp for good, as it simply didn't justify that horrendous cost for the bank of polystyrenes.

Some years ago, I recall being impressed by a Conrad Johnson pre with all polystyrenes in the PS and local bypasses, and I am sorry to see the demise of polystyrene, but, I suppose the environment must come first!

Mostly, with all of the SS circuits I build, I avoid any design which needs anything bigger than a polystyrene anywhere near the signal path, since, as I have said so many times, I detest electrolytics, with the only ones I will put up with now being the BGs, and then only in the PS.

In due course, it would be interesting to learn of the results of your trials with these transformers, if you feel inclined to share the secrets with the rest of us, as such items are not very easy to do much in the way of comparative trials on from the DIY viewpoint, because of the relatively high costs involved.

( A quick edit, after looking back at your comments)

I know what you mean about a seamless sound, as I have never got on very well with bypassing caps myself, in spite of its popularity. I have done it (bypassing) very many times, both in signal paths and in PS., but I always feel that the sound spectrum is somehow disjointed from top to bottom, almost as if each diffent size cap is 'doing its own bit' alone, rather than the combined arrangement acting as a whole.

It is hard to explain, but I will always prefer to use only one value of cap in parallel, and then one sees (hears!) this seamless effect again.

Regards,
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Old 31st January 2003, 11:55 PM   #44
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Hi,


Quote:
I know what you mean about a seamless sound, as I have never got on very well with bypassing caps myself, in spite of its popularity. I have done it (bypassing) very many times, both in signal paths and in PS., but I always feel that the sound spectrum is somehow disjointed from top to bottom, almost as if each diffent size cap is 'doing its own bit' alone, rather than the combined arrangement acting as a whole.
Rubber stamp on that one.

I wonder why you guys waste your genius on SS at all.

Ah,well guess it takes all kinda people...
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Old 1st February 2003, 12:14 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally posted by fdegrove

I wonder why you guys waste your genius on SS at all.

I think it must be in your blood. Itried tube circuits at least two times and never managed to finish them. The way SS is improving over the years, I believe that sooner or later it will beat tubes anyway.

To Jonathan,

from looking at the pics it seems like the main cap bank is around 2,300uF for both channels. I guess it's enough then? Also, C core
transformer has secondary over primary on ea. side if I see it correctly. How it compares to split bobbin transformers with both windings separated physically?

About bypassing and paralleling:

I yet have to find a single cap that fits the bill. It is always a compromise and I found that paralleling always brings the best of both worlds, at least in tonality. I never paid too much attention to this separation thing (maybe it depends on the music you're listening to ).

My recent find, silver foil caps, always improved sonics, no matter where I put them.
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Old 1st February 2003, 12:31 AM   #46
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Hi,

Quote:
I believe that sooner or later it will beat tubes anyway.
People have tried for 40 years at least.
While I agree that the gap is closing,when it comes to reproducing music SS still has a long way to go IMHO.

I think the late Leon Halfin was right when he said that tubes were here to stay.
A man I respect as much as I do my own parents,a true genius if I ever saw one.

Quote:
I yet have to find a single cap that fits the bill.
Ah,one of the big advantages of the tubes is that you work at higher voltages,it matters a lot less what the coupling cap is made of and you don't need the lousy sounding big values.

Best I know so far is still the MIT film and foil polystyrenes.
And even those can be improved upon if I had my say in it.

That is if you value truly transparant sound,
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Old 1st February 2003, 12:49 AM   #47
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Default Re: O+

Quote:
Originally posted by fdegrove


Best I know so far is still the MIT film and foil polystyrenes.
And even those can be improved upon if I had my say in it.

That is if you value truly transparant sound,
Last time I tried, Jensens copper foil sounded better than MIT RTX. And RtXS were broken in, Jensens not. But I also know, it depends much on location and the rest of the setup.
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Old 1st February 2003, 01:04 AM   #48
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Default LE CHEF.

Hi,


Quote:
Last time I tried, Jensens copper foil sounded better than MIT RTX.
Sounds like you had something in need of a smooth over to me.
The RTX range may be a tad too revealing for a SS device,just my opinion anyway.

I find the Jensen too silky smooth in the mids and not extended enough in the highs to my taste.

If you get a nicely balanced system with them,then why not?

And you did use to bypass with Ultratone Sivlercaps,didn't you?

Cheers,
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Old 1st February 2003, 01:31 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally posted by fdegrove


I find the Jensen too silky smooth in the mids and not extended enough in the highs to my taste.


And that's were Silvertones made their job. By comparison RTXs sounded too much compressed (not open enough).

I used RTX before, with good results in my speakers crossovers. I had to parallel them with Hovlands though, to satisfy my taste. My impression is, RTXs increase sibilances too much.
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Old 1st February 2003, 10:57 AM   #50
jcarr is offline jcarr  United States
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Bob:

>I was left with the impression that you had some special *electrolytics* made for you, which you felt 'outdid' the BGs.<

The Connoisseur 4.0 uses a variant of Nichicon's SuperThough electrolytics - peeled. These are much less spectacular-sounding than the Black Gates, but are also less colored and more even-handed than the Black Gates. However, I reckon that their performance is still at a level where personal taste could easily sway the decision. (Note that the SuperThroughs also require weeks to burn in and stabilize.) But IMO, neither the SuperThroughs nor BlackGates can hold a candle to the polyprops.

Frank:

>I wonder why you guys waste your genius on SS at all.<

Genius? Hah! More like insanity. As to why, tubes have _already_ reached a relatively high level of evolution. There are a number of tube designers whose amps sound pretty good, and you don't find too many tube circuits that sound outright bad. But that is the point. A major reason why I don't want to put much effort into tubes is precisely because tubes are already being done well by other designers. For me to try to match those efforts would be a waste of time. I would much prefer to focus my energies on things that _haven't_ been done up to now.

But SS is much less evolved. Today, there are some SS amps that sound decent, but there are many more that don't. My insights are that there is much more potential in SS than other audio designers have been able to accomplish, and my experiences underline these insights. The reason why I focus on SS is because I consider the challenge to be worthy and enjoyable, and I feel that I can create a level of sonic quality that hasn't been attainable before.

Peter:

>The way SS is improving over the years, I believe that sooner or later it will beat tubes anyway.<

I prefer to separate the artistic goals from the engineering methods. My artistic goal is to create amplifiers that achieve a very high level of musical insight and communication. My chosen engineering methods happen to be SS. It is immaterial whether my amps can "beat" tube amps, or for that matter, other SS amps, because the person that I am ultimately trying to "beat" is myself, not anyone else. As long as the final result offers a high level of insight and musical communication, and as long as I can honestly state that I really put myself through the wringer and gave the product my maximum effort, I am satisfied. Besides, there are many people in this world, and they all have different tastes. It is unlikely that a single design will satisfy everyone.

>It seems like the main cap bank is around 2,300uF for both channels. I guess it's enough?<

Each power supply is for _one_ channel. Each channel has one C-core amorphous transformer with separate secondaries, dual rectifier banks, and 12 pieces 190uF polypropylene capacitors. And do note the +/- 144V rails. 2280uF running at 144V has much greater energy storage than the same amount of capacitance at, say, 50V. I wish those voltages could be higher, but the Connoisseur 3.0 is already running at 47~48 degrees centigrade under adequately ventilated conditions. Although the present aluminum chassis has good thermal dissipation capablities, raising the voltages would require a chassis that was even better at dissipating heat.

>C core transformer has secondary over primary on ea. side if I see it correctly. How it compares to split bobbin transformers with both windings separated physically?<

A grounded Faraday shield comes between the windings, and the transformer manufacturer has put in lots of special winding tricks. I tried split-bobbin windings during the prototyping stage, and my memory was that extending the bandwidth via interleaved winding et al yielded superior results. But that was some years back, and I don't remember having put all much effort into the split-bobbon configurations. More recently, I tried split-bobbon R-core transformers, but the C-core amorphous with interleaved windings was clearly better.

regards, jonathan carr
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