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Old 1st December 2007, 12:25 AM   #11
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IMO, changing parts by reputation, brand or price, is folly. Get your hands on a proper bridge, or set something up with a scope as described above, and base your decisions on working knowledge about the specific parts at hand. Personally I don't change parts unless they're degrading, or have failed, or if I'm doing an upgrade with a specific purpose in mind.

There are many factors at work here. Over the years your system has changed, probably slowly. Chances are your hearing has changed as well. Maybe the environment too. You've probably gotten used to some things, but at some point it all went downhill. That knowledge/belief alone can have a huge influence. Anyway, I can't imagine not getting the equipment on the test bench for a thorough going over after changing out parts. Everybody thinks this is a benign thing, but as you've shown, it can be far from it. In general I'm not of the "everything has to be burned in" school, but all electrolytic caps will show changes in leakage and other characteristics for many hours (even weeks) after they're first installed. Give them some time. Both the caps will change, and like it or not, so will your brain. IMO, that's what a lot of so-called burn-in is really about. Caps today are somewhat different than in the past, but usually for the better- lower ESR. Of course one could make a case that in a given circuit that's bad, and add an appropriate series resistance. I do avoid caps that seem to have been miniaturized far beyond their previous case sizes.
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Old 1st December 2007, 01:00 AM   #12
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Where did you hear that the SU caps are no good?
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Old 1st December 2007, 01:33 AM   #13
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I guess this says something to those who say you can't hear the difference in caps...

I'd leave them in and let them run for about a week; put the radio on and disconnect the speakers when your not listening.

Other possibility is that the original caps were soft sounding, kind of rolled off at the extremes and kinda smoothed things out. Both stock Haflers had enough issues that the effects of time and age on the caps might have been a blessing.

I actually like the Panasonic FM series. Interesting that they sounded the worst.

The stock caps might be your best course here.

Regards, Mike.
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Old 1st December 2007, 02:16 AM   #14
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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I suppose that the needed adjustments were made after messing with the amp

Also I suspect that Hafler amps have been tuned to its sound and even small changes may upset that balance

There is a compagny specializing in Hafler amps, but cant find it now
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Old 1st December 2007, 06:15 AM   #15
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Default Can you hear capacitors?

Oh yeah, you can hear caps.

Ok, there are a lot of suggestions/questions I would like to respond to, so here goes.

One of the first things that I suspected shortly after this 'madness' began was the fact that the Hafler circuits might actually be 'tuned' to a certain ESR, DA, etc. I am beginning to be more convinced that this is the case.

To consort ee um and Carlos -
I really doubt it is the speakers because all of this auditioning has taken place over the last 4 months or so and the speakers sounded stellar before I took anything apart. Every change has been auditioned with the same speaks in the same place and every cap change I have made has made a noticeable difference in the quality of sound.

To kaos -
THANK You kaos!! I will try those caps eventually, it's too bad I have some 07 date code KMF's and KMG's, but no SMG's

To unclejed613 -
The caps have date codes of February '07 or newer.
I do not have an ESR tester but I reformed all of the caps (25 and 50 volt) to 18.5 volts DC for about an hour apiece with a 1K resistor. I monitored voltage drop across the resistor to test for high leakage/ESR - all caps tested phenomenal.
I even did a rudimentary DA test by discharging the caps for about 10-15 seconds with a resistor and measuring the recovery voltage after 60 seconds.
All the ELNA SILMICs tested about .35% DA.

To Conrad Hoffman -
I understand all of the factors that you mentioned, but this system sounded stunning until about 4 years ago. Even then, it still sounded good, just a little more hash in the upper midranges and a little less subsonic bass.
Yes, I know how important it would be put this thing on scope, but when I say I live in poverty, I'm really not kidding and I can't get political about it here.

To speakerguy79 -
I read another audio board post where the guy was ripping on the Panasonic SU BPs - so I took them out and put the Nichicons back in, there was an instant and noticeable improvement in the imaging. Where the Panasonic SU was muddy and made all of the music seem to come out of 2 speakers, the Nichicon was closer to the original 3-D effect of the IC caps.

To Mike Bettinger -
1. I'm telling you I can hear caps. If you doubt me, I would happily come and listen to your cap changes and tell you what is different. The sound was so different between cap changes that I realized almost immediately that I had 'destroyed' my XL-280 when I threw the original caps away

2. I am going to burn in my pre-amp and see what happens, I have little to lose as it appears to be functioning perfectly. I am listening to it right now and all I can say is, 'Where is the treble? Where is the sparkle? Where is the life, the 3-D?'

3. The original caps were NOT soft sounding!! The IC caps had deep, clear bass extending into the subsonics. The top-end was 'bright' and sparkley without being harsh or overbearing. The soundstage was perfectly defined from front to back and seemed to extend about 3 feet beyond each speaker - amazing. It was exciting to listen to.

No kidding, true story:
I once had a friend over to hear my system and after listening to a few notes of music he jumped out of his chair and started looking around for the 'other' speakers! I am absolutely not kidding, the soundstage was so 3-D, he thought I had planted surround speakers and was playing a joke on him!!

4. I did not say the Panasonic FMs were the worst. The FCs were the worst as rail caps in my power amp. The FMs have been applied as main power filter caps in my pre-amp, and I don't even know if I can 'hear' them because of the simultaneous replacement of all 8 rail caps with the ELNA SILMIC IIs. I doubt the FMs are an issue here.

To tinitus -

I think I might agree. I am starting to think the Hafler circuit may have relied on 'tuning' specific resistor/cap values to transistor beta etc.


To anyone familiar with my posts from months ago -
Do you know what that 'fizzle' was that I heard that started all of this cap changing madness?

It was a dirty tape monitor selector on my DH110 pre, it caused the sound to distort randomly from room vibration!

Yes, it's true, I destroyed a Hafler amp and preamp because of a dirty selector switch -
And would you believe this is pretty much par for my luck?
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Old 1st December 2007, 07:27 AM   #16
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Cool Low ESR Caps

Hi HaflerFreak, I had similar experience with low ESR caps.
I think it has to do with charging peaks from the rectifiers in the power supply. If used after a regulator the ESR may be too low.
Currently I am using stinking normal cheap electrolytics.
I do not follow the crowd placing in Panasonic FMs, FCs or other low ESR caps.
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Old 1st December 2007, 07:45 AM   #17
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Default Re: Can you hear capacitors?

Quote:
Originally posted by HaflerFreak
Oh yeah, you can hear caps.

To Mike Bettinger -
1. I'm telling you I can hear caps. If you doubt me, I would happily come and listen to your cap changes and tell you what is different. The sound was so different between cap changes that I realized almost immediately that I had 'destroyed' my XL-280 when I threw the original caps away

2. I am going to burn in my pre-amp and see what happens, I have little to lose as it appears to be functioning perfectly. I am listening to it right now and all I can say is, 'Where is the treble? Where is the sparkle? Where is the life, the 3-D?'

3. The original caps were NOT soft sounding!! The IC caps had deep, clear bass extending into the subsonics. The top-end was 'bright' and sparkley without being harsh or overbearing. The soundstage was perfectly defined from front to back and seemed to extend about 3 feet beyond each speaker - amazing. It was exciting to listen to.

No kidding, true story:
I once had a friend over to hear my system and after listening to a few notes of music he jumped out of his chair and started looking around for the 'other' speakers! I am absolutely not kidding, the soundstage was so 3-D, he thought I had planted surround speakers and was playing a joke on him!!

4. I did not say the Panasonic FMs were the worst. The FCs were the worst as rail caps in my power amp. The FMs have been applied as main power filter caps in my pre-amp, and I don't even know if I can 'hear' them because of the simultaneous replacement of all 8 rail caps with the ELNA SILMIC IIs. I doubt the FMs are an issue here.


Yes, it's true, I destroyed a Hafler amp and preamp because of a dirty selector switch -
And would you believe this is pretty much par for my luck?

Hi,
From your response I gather you thought I was disagreeing with you when I was infact sincere. My comment on hearing the caps was poking fun at those who insist that there is no audible difference between any number of variables.

My comment about soft was, again, offering the observation that electros can tend to smooth things out, obscuring or filling in the background, a sort of masking effect. Once again, positive comments, real experience instigated this.

I use the Panasonic FM's in most all of my projects requiring electrolytics. Not as coupling caps but in all applicable noise filtering /noise bypass and supply raw filtering. My comments were simply as input (here's someone getting good results here, huhmmmm, food for thought).

I was around when the Hafler's were new and my experience with them was real.

My reason for posting? There is a reason for what you are hearing, but I doubt that it's based on the newer caps being inherently bad.

From experience I would still suggest a week of intense burn-in and then re-evaluate the results. The missing treble and 3-D bloom are classic break in characturistics.

I doubt you've destroyed your Haflers, although getting to the bottom of what you're experiencing could be a real challenge; Luckily, as you have presented it, the caps are the single variable between good and bad. It's rare to have such a straight forward experimental situation.

For what it's worth, Mike.
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Old 1st December 2007, 07:49 AM   #18
Nordic is offline Nordic  South Africa
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How long did yo ugive the new caps time to run in the circuit...

I invariably find new electrolytics to give an unpleasant charater to the sound for the first few days...
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Old 1st December 2007, 08:54 AM   #19
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Default Listening in the dark

Mike Bettinger is a late night guy - right on!

Thank you so much for your response, it is sincerely appreciated. I know I didn't 'destroy' the Haffies, I haven't touched their silicon or resistors and such, it's just the electros and I was very careful when I removed the old ones.

Oh listening in the dark, it has been a long time since I have visited you.

I revved up the system. I put on an ep of 'Seinfeld' to let her warm up real good. Turned out the lights and put on, 'The Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots' track 6 'Ego Tripping at the Gates of Hell' for the beautiful spatial effects...

Where in the dagnabbit blazes is my treble!! All of that glittery, sparkley wonder is gone. Everything that brought the sound out in front of the speakers and centered it in holographic space - is gone.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I have tested the preamp with some headphones, it reflects the experience with my amp/speakers. Loss of high-end.

About my age and hearing:
While I am 79 spiritually, I am 36 in body. I have treasured my hearing throughout my life staying away from concerts, airplanes, trains, etc. I would assume since I heard this difference since last week, that it is not age related.

I started this journey with a Stromberg/Carlson tube amp system and a Pioneer turntable. After that, a Denon integrated amp with a set of spectacular Dahlquist speakers (anyone remember those?)
I love beauty, and I have found it in music (and trees, but we insist on cutting all of those down).
Oh Heathkit, Radio Shack, the old HiFi rags, where did it all go?
Please forgive me, I've had a beer and it pretty much brings tears to my eyes remembering the good 'ol days.


I have some great pics of my craftsmanship, but I cannot post them due to the fact that my hosting company has apparently gone kaput.


I also have another XL-280, unaltered except for a new power switch that I think I will hook up right now to check out these newfangled SILMIC II gadgets.
The only thing is, the other XL-280 has K126(I think)/J74 input JFET pairs and my baby has K163/J44 pairs. Also the BP caps in the other XL-280 are TAEPO BP caps so the comparison will be, hopefully, revealing of the preamp. The 'stock' XL-280 is from eBay and has sounded weak in the bass, probably from the big 7800uF jobs getting old, but has excellent centering and balance. A little boring compared to my baby (The one with K163/J44 pairs).

Oh, I see I am blathering here, please excuse.
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Old 1st December 2007, 09:05 AM   #20
Nordic is offline Nordic  South Africa
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We love pictures... you can host them for free on photobucket... or simply use the attach feature just below the box you type your messages into.
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