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Black Gate "snubbing"
Black Gate "snubbing"
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Old 21st May 2009, 08:02 AM   #1
jmillerdoc is offline jmillerdoc  United States
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Default Black Gate "snubbing"

Has anyone ever tried to "snub" a large plain electrolytic with a smaller value, lets say 10uF, Black gate? I was wodering if you could get a similar effect that is achieved with using a film to snub an electrolytic...where here the Black Gate would "improve" the sonic signature of the plain electrolytic?

I was just thinking of this when today I saw 10uF 50v Black Gates for $1.49. Wouldn't this be a nice cheap alternative to buying a single larger Black Gate for $30-40 bucks.

Just a thought. I am sure somebody out there has thought of this and even tried it. I was going to spend a couple of bucks and try it myself and then I remembered this fourum.

Let me know y'alls thoughts.

Lawton, USA
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Old 21st May 2009, 09:02 AM   #2
Colt45 is offline Colt45  Serbia
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$40 for a bloody 'lytic cap?
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Old 21st May 2009, 06:52 PM   #3
tomchr is offline tomchr  Canada
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In addition to the capacitance and working voltage, what matters for the quality of a capacitor are:

- Dielectric absorption
- Dielectric loss (tangent-delta)
- Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR)
- Equivalent Series Inductance (ESL)

Bypassing an electrolytic capacitor mainly addresses ESR and ESL.

Because of the parasitic elements, a capacitor is actually a resonant circuit. At low frequencies (below the resonant frequency) the capacitor is capacitive, above the resonant frequency, it's inductive. By adding smaller capacitors in parallel, the resonant frequency is pushed up in frequency as the resulting ESL becomes lower. Thus, the total capacitor will "look capacitive" over a wider frequency.

I usually put a 100 nF in parallel with any electrolytic capacitor. If you want higher frequency (RF) operation, add a 1 nF and 10 pF (NP0/C0G) in parallel. I usually go with a 100:1 ratio between the caps. You could do the same with your electrolytics if desired.

While I have heard the difference in sound quality between different capacitor types (electrolytic vs polypropylene for example), I am not a big believer in boutique caps. There's too much snake oil and branding in that business. What matters are the factors listed above. I'm not saying that the list is all inclusive, but I find that avoiding electrolytic capacitors in the signal path (going with polypropylene or high-quality (NP0 or C0G dielectric) capacitors) makes the biggest difference in sound quality. For power supply caps, I'd go with the low ESR, high temperature computer grade (made for switchmode supplies --> high ripple current capability) capacitors. But hey... Each to his own.

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Old 21st May 2009, 08:23 PM   #4
TubeHead Johnny is offline TubeHead Johnny  United States
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I've been experimenting with this topic for about 3 years now and I reached a conclusion. Bypassing large electrolytics with smaller types, either film, electrolytic or any other dielectric of your choice, is a waste of time. There is absolutely no improvement in sound quality. If you want to make a difference, use ONLY metal poly films in the P/S, and throw out those horrible electrolytics! Solen sells values up to 200 uF at a reasonable price.
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