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Old 2nd February 2003, 04:03 PM   #81
Bobken is offline Bobken  United Kingdom
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Hi Peter,

I'm having a job keeping up, but back to yesterday's question first.

To begin with, I need to describe my amp setup.

It is dual mono (throughout) so it is like two monoblocks merely sharing one 'main' chassis (for convenience.) However, I have another chassis, which is also dual mono, which houses the entire regulated power supplies etc., and there are 8 separate regulators in all, which are my own discrete designs.

These two boxes are connected via an umbilical, which is soldered both ends (rather than made with detachable connectors) as it sounds better this way.

On the 'main' amp boards (in box 1), there no electrolytics *anywhere* other than one single 330uF cap for 'local' smoothing on each of the separate power lines, (8 in all) and these are all BG 'N's. (Sometimes I like to bypass these with a 1uF RTX as well, but sometimes I prefer it without these. The Jury's still out on this one!)

Many years ago, I discovered (experimenting with the then more readily available, but less stable [P type] Hitachi Mosfets, which I no longer use) that it is vital to decouple mosfets right by their pins, for them to perform at their best sonically. As a result of this chance discovery, I always now use these local 'on card' caps with mosfets, even with the more forgiving and much preferred Toshibas I now use. Another one of these situations where early experiences has taught me something which I would never have known had I not been in the audio game for many years!

I won't bore you now with experiences with fast cars which used only cable (before hydraulics were invented!) drum brakes, but I am still here to tell the tale!!

Remember also here that we are talking BG, and exactly as Jelmax claim as far as sonic performance goes, they can be as effective as caps some ten times their stated value, in comparison with cheapo jobs. I was very relieved to discover that this welcome 'beneficial ratio' appeared to be somewhat true, if possibly slightly exaggerated, in view of the high costs of these caps.

From trials in another area in my system, I had previously found that 330uF BG 'N's sonically well outperformed some lesser (but quite good) 1000uF electrolytic caps, and somewhere else, 220 uFs were as good as some 1000 uF's of a lesser make.

The discrete regs work very well and do smooth PS ripple by a factor of many thousands, and on their outputs each power line has a 1000uF BG 'FK' (polar, but still very good, nonetheless) so in effect I probably have the equivalent of close to 10,000 uF here as well.

Looking at the amp boards with my quite good digital 'scope, you simply cannot see any ripple anywhere, it is lost in the overall noise which is also very low.

More importantly, I never heard anywhere else (yet) a SS amp that is as relaxing and smooth to listen to for as long as I can stay awake, but still retaining all the rich, fine details which make music so enjoyable. No offence to Frank and his cohorts, but most good valve amps I have listened to (including one I built, myself) simply sound like bandwidth-limited, muffled, kindergarten stuff, but with transformers stuck on (most of) their outputs, what would you expect! Now I really have blown it, so down to the old wartime Anderson Shelter for me!

Power supplies are *more* important (*not* less so) to get right than amp circuitry, at least in SS gear in my experience, if you desire the best possible sound, although I confess that it took me over 25 years to reach that conclusion

As far as costs for the BGs go, I didn't do both swaps at the same time, and I did get them at slightly lower prices than most suppliers charge, but it would amount to about £300, I guess.

My BG quandary I mentioned earlier is that prior to the regs, I still have four 10,000uF x 100volt Cerafines (cannot now remember what they cost as it was so long ago), and I simply don't know whether to risk the very high cost of some BGs to replace these.

I would probably go for say either 4 or 8off 2200uF x 63 volt BG FKs, which at current prices would be either about £120, or £240, but whether the improvement with caps so far 'divorced' from the amp's circuitry by the intervening regs and other smoothing etc., will show much benefit or not, I simply don't know.

I know it will change, for certain, as when I alter some tiny (few picofarad, feed-back stability) caps from say sil micas to polystyrenes in the regs, themselves, I can clearly hear the difference, but whether it will be £240 worth of improvement, I have some reservations!

A lot depends on the suggested 'synergy' which Jelmax comment on when you entirely replace all other electrolytics in a circuit, and if I only knew for certain that this is really not just 'sales boosting', I wouldn't hesitate. If any of the rather tired Cerafines (they should be tired, as they have been in almost permanent use, always switched on, for well over the recommended lifespan of an electrolytic) gives out on me, then I will have little choice, perhaps.

Finally, the Krells look 'interesting' and I was not aware that Krell were much on for these fancy components. The only Krells I have heard, and not in my system anyway, were not the best amps I have listened to, but they aren't at all bad, so it again reinforces my comments to all others to try these caps out for themselves.

Maybe it is an artist's impression, but I don't recognise the type of BG from the appearance which they seem to have used there.

Do you know which type they are?

Oh! I just remembered, you asked about comparisons 'polar-v-non-polars.

Well the 'Standard' (non-polars) are not worth getting excited about, in my experience. They are good, but not that much better than Cerafines/Oscons, if at all.

The FK (best polar) series are streets ahead, but not as good as the Ns, NXs, & the NX HiQs (all non-polars), perhaps half way between the Standard and the best ones.

The 'N' series are simply wonderful, when fully burned-in, in my view, and nothing else (yet tried) comes even close.

Where I have tried them, the Super 'E' cap configuration made with 'N's, are even better, but very similar in overall colour etc., much as Brad has just said, but of course, it does double the already not inconsiderable cost!

Really, *finally*, this time , I'm glad you have some of the Jensens to try and will be interested to see what your thoughts are when you have tried them. Are they the same four terminal types that Craig mentioned. though?

Regards,
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Old 2nd February 2003, 04:20 PM   #82
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Hi Bob,

POST # 31



Cheers,
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Old 2nd February 2003, 04:40 PM   #83
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Here how Jensens look. The BG used by Krell are artist impression with a small print "Black Gate" at the top, that's why they don't look like real caps.

I'm glad I've read your post, because so far I only tried standard BGs. Next time I'll order the N type. I'm using them in gainclones (1000/50v) and the amp already sounds very good.
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Old 2nd February 2003, 08:09 PM   #84
Bobken is offline Bobken  United Kingdom
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Ok Peter, that makes it more clear now, but are Krell using non-polars or what, do you happen to know?

Also, how are the four terminals connected up on the Jensens?

Is it like the 'older' DNMs I posted about earlier. i.e. Positive in & negative in, and positive out & negative out?

I did try to add another edit to my last post, but the b*g*e* timed me out!

What I wanted to add was that I haven't bought any new factory-made gear, for some years, and I set aside a budget for audio fun, which, of course, I can choose to spend how I like.

Generally, I will prefer to get the best out of my 'known' circuitry because I am ultra familiar with it, rather than starting all over again with an 'unknown'.

This, of course, means minor topology changes, and semi-conductors as well as all of the passive devices.

Frequently, by the time I have done all of this to my satisfaction, and have started to get itchy about something new, along come some some new caps (like BGs), and then there are these to burn-in and try as well!

I am getting close to the limit with my main amps now, though, so I am quietly thinking about Nelson's super ideas.

The problems with most of these are related to the use of these wretched electrolytics around the amplifying circuitry, which I know in comparison with what I already have, will be a backward step, but *only* in some ways.

I am very 'sensitive' to this high frequency hash that electrolytics produce, and it ruins the sound for me now. It is like a rattle or a squeak in a car, which, once noticed, will seem to get worse and worse (although not really so) until I sort it out!

I am quite certain that many of Nelson's designs will provide some benefits over what I have, but I am still awaiting something which really satisfies everything on my 'wish list'.

The SOZs (not Zens) are OK in this regard, and the 'ordinary' Aleph Twos " from memory, but the SOZs are going to need some new and fairly massive and pricey heatsinking to give me the power I need to drive my present speakers, which I would rather avoid, if possible.

With my recycling attitudes, I would be unnecessarily pitching out some perfectly good and quite pricey existing heatsinks, to build some of these original SOZs, and I was very disappointed to learn from Nelson, that the SOZ successors will use coupling caps, although he has not yet said if they will be small enough to avoid needing to use electrolytics in these locations.

I already knew that it would be hard to substantially change or improve the efficiency of the SOZs, without some changes in overall concept, as I have been pondering over the matter for several years, myself.

However, this latest revelation was a move in a direction rather differently from what I had expected, if they are no longer going to be direct coupled.

Anyway, in time all will be revealed, and I may be able to happily utilise one of the forthcoming SOZ 'updates', or perhaps modify it sufficiently to satisfy *all* of my ideals. Who knows?

In the meantime, I will plough on with my thoughts on fully BG'ing my amps, and what I was also going to say is that I can think of no other way in which I could have improved my present amp through spending the £300 on BGs which I did, and come up with a better result.

For a bit of fun, and as I was ordering up some other parts from my usual UK supplier, Farnell, I have just got hold of two LM3875T's
(it made the order value up sufficiently to avoid the usual 'small order charges' anyway, so one of them was effectively FOC), so I will also see what all the fuss is about with these Gainclones!

Incidentally, I have had a lot of stuff over the years from your near neighbours, TPC, and a few orders early last year from Chris's 'follow-on' company PartsconneXion.

I got really p*s*e* off with them at the end of the year before, though, because they messed me about for many months with an order of over a $1000.

As usual, at the beginning of October I put in the order so that I could make the best of my 'construction window' over the winter months.

After many emails and about six 'phone calls, during which time I realised something was afoot (but Frank I used to deal with there would not admit anything), it got to halfway through the following January when I was finally advised (after my threats) of the demise of TPC, and about the new company.
As I told them, I had supported them for many years, and didn't wish to let them down whilst they kept on employing their delaying tactics (together with the very tempting increasing discounts promised!) but I could have simply re-ordered from Michael Percy, and had the bits in my hand before the end of October, had I know the truth!

Why I was especially annoyed was that Chris and Vicki must have been well aware of all of this going on behind the scenes for so many months, and the situation was clearly 'manipulated' to avoid losing my order.

Anyway, in the end (with some further, perhaps understandable delays caused by setting up the new venture from their home [I believe] together with being let down by their own suppliers), I didn't see all of the parts until well into March that year, by which time the 'building season' for me was over!

I am sure they never appreciated during our several 'phone calls and Emails, just how much inconvenience was caused over all of those delays, and they seemed to get very edgy each time I mentioned TPC.

Prior to all that, I got on extremely well in communicating with Vincent Siu, Frank (italian sounding name?), and Glenn Dolick, who I found were always very helpful, but the whole situation did leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

Anyway, as it happened, this last 'season' I hardly needed to buy anything from anyone, as I still had all those parts left over from the previous time to use up.

Probably now everything has settled down well, and they are certainly quite pro-active with marketing and info updates etc., but I wondered what your experiences were of dealing with them, assuming you have done.?

Regards,
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Old 2nd February 2003, 08:40 PM   #85
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I can't complain about their service, since I always went there in person and was buying everything firsthand. I never waited for any backorders and I liked all the clearance stuff, which was sold (especially in the last year of operation) with substantial discount. And I have to admit that Frank was very nice guy.

My first suplier, however, was Michael Percy, and I believe that he has much better stock and better prices. I can recommend him very much and I remember one time when he was behind with replying to my e-mail, he sent me parts ahead of my payment.

The Jensens have two leads marked with black dot and those are negative, the other two are connected together and form positive terminals.

I'm also planning on building SOZ (actually the chassis is almost done). Some people commented that SOZ is even better sounding than Alephs. As to Alephs (which I've built few) there is no really much of electrolytics capacitors around signal path. Only negative input (when using balanced interface) is AC coupled and the other electrolytics are around active current source, and if you don't need that feature, you can omit them as well.

I will be very interested what your comments on gainclone will be, when you finish it. I already started a small production.
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Old 2nd February 2003, 09:05 PM   #86
Bobken is offline Bobken  United Kingdom
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Hi Peter,

Thanks for that info.

I too thought Frank at TPC was a nice guy, as I said, but I suppose his hands were tied by those above him, and he was prevented from telling me the truth.

Are Chris and Vicki running the new venture from home now, do you know?

I have also had several orders from Michael Percy over the years, but the last time I was in contact with him was about the time he moved house, and he was in a bit of a pickle with too many orders to handle etc.

I expect he is well on top of things again by now.

Bearing in mind my long-held belief that *all* components have some (albeit very slight in many cases) deleterious affect on the resultant sound (most likely due to the fact that nothing is perfect in life or audio!) I like the SOZ in concept very much. There is so little to get wrong with the choice of components!

I guess therefore that by the time I am ready to start off with a new amp it will be based on this, or any later SOZ circuit.

I though that the standard Aleph Two was relatively free of electrolytics, but thanks for confirmation. There seem to have been so many variations lately posted on the Forum, it is little hard to keep up.

God luck with the Gainclone if you do go into production, if this is what you mean here.

I'll let you know in due course about my findings with mine when its up and running.

I see Frank has sent me a reference to his own OTL valve amp in another thread, so it looks like he is still on 'diplomatics' with me!
All that heat and smell and bright lights, not to mention the dangerous high voltages for us doddery old chaps to have to deal with!

I'd better go see what he is on about, as I cannot afford to lose many (more!) friends on this board!!!

Regards,
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Old 2nd February 2003, 09:14 PM   #87
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bobken

Are Chris and Vicki running the new venture from home now?
Yes.
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Old 20th July 2004, 03:02 PM   #88
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Hi Bob,

I just read your method to determine the inner and outer foil of caps by using a signal generator, scope, +15v AC supply and a sensing coil. Yet, I don't know what is a sensing coil? How does it look like? Meantime, can you post a pic on how does the set up looks like? Thanks

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Old 20th July 2004, 03:19 PM   #89
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I believe Bobken is no longer an active member of this forum. But he said: "I have found that a miniature 12 volt relay with a coil of 700 ohms impedance (which I just had to hand) was ideal" for sensing coil.
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Old 20th July 2004, 10:51 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bobken

Also, how are the four terminals connected up on the Jensens?

Is it like the 'older' DNMs I posted about earlier. i.e. Positive in & negative in, and positive out & negative out?

Yes, that is how they are connected. positive in and out, and negative in and out. I have used them with positive in and out/ negative in and out tied together, because I could not install it otherwise, but they are really supposed to be isolated from each other, and go through the cap.

You can find more info here
http://www.jensencapacitors.com/

BTW, I have used them, and like them very much. I could never convince myself to buy the large BG's, over $100 per cap is too much, but Jensen's are much cheaper for large values, and work well.

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