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Old 19th April 2011, 07:32 PM   #1
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Default Maintenance on old amplifier?

I am currently using an Ensemble B50 Tiger amplifier in my system. This unit had a great review by Stereophile back in 1991 and I purchased it not too long afterwards. I love the sound of my system but recently someone mentioned that the capacitors are very old and should probably be replaced since they may be degrading the sound.

I'm wondering if there are folks here who could tell me about this and whether I should go ahead and do it and risk it now sounding as nice as it does now.

Also, who would you go to for something like that on an old piece of equipment.

Stephen Silberman
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Old 20th April 2011, 01:36 PM   #2
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My home system was built in late 1980, and I have never replaced any capacitor, and it still sounds superbly. Maybe there is a difference between a working and an idle unit.
Nonetheless, you will find some advice here: vintage amplifier repair/upgrade manual
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Old 20th April 2011, 03:28 PM   #3
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Your caps can dry out to the point where they short and blow your transformer or fuse. You don't get to choose which unless you have examined the circuit diagram carefully first. Working units stress the rubber seals in the cap more. The quality of the rubber in the caps matters a lot- when you buy new ones you get a choice of 1000 hour caps, 8000 hour caps, or bargain whonoze caps. I suggest if you recap, buy 2000 hour up 105 deg C caps. Some suppliers list the hours in the selector chart, others have links to the datasheet for each cap and others just won't tell you anything. I do 100% of electrolytics at 20 years, and am listening this week to a 50 year old dynaco amp.
People throw brands of caps around like it meant something. Nichicrom, Panasonic, Rubicon all make 500 hour caps and 8000 hour caps. Depends on the particular product. If you have a shop do it for you, you probably get 500-1000 hour caps. If you look them up yourself, you can buy all 3000-8000 hour caps.
Note 10 uf an below can be replace by plastic film or ceramic caps nowadays due to the smaller size of modern product. those don't have to be replaced again.
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