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BHD 2nd July 2004 04:52 PM

Black gate PS capacitors
I have questions about these. People say they're the "best" caps for tube amp power supplies, but I've also heard that they take a long time to burn in (no problem) and that they require 20-40 hours each time the amp is turned on to become "charged" before they sound their best.

This would be problematic. Many people leave their solid state gear on all the time, but it's not really advisable for tube gear. It would also be silly to expect people to warm up their gear that long. Anyone have experience with the burn in and charging requirements for these caps?

I'd also like to hear from people that have used them if they really live up to the hype.

analog_sa 2nd July 2004 05:03 PM


I can't really answer your question as i only use BGs in low voltage apps (a wild guess why?) but i find their continuous need for break-in to be seriously exaggerated. Once they settle they sound good to me even after a prolonged period of rest.

With tubes i use Cerafines, which share a similar reputation re the break-in and IME also sound fine after the initial break-in.

Then again, my ears don't seem to be too sensitive to warm-up effects and i normally start listening within five minutes of powering up.

BHD 2nd July 2004 06:09 PM

Thanks for the info.

If you don't mind, have you compared standard 'lytics to the boutique parts in the same circuit? If so, were there any differences/improvements?


analog_sa 2nd July 2004 08:23 PM


compared standard 'lytics to the boutique parts in the same circuit?
On many occasions, both in SS and tube. The differences are immediately obvious in A/B comparisons and that's why i usually prefer using boutique parts. In long term, everyday use though, the boutique parts don't seem to significantly contribute to my musical enjoyment. Factors such as synergy seem more important.

fdegrove 2nd July 2004 10:03 PM



and that they require 20-40 hours each time the amp is turned on to become "charged" before they sound their best.
Tsskkkkkkkkkk....Someone's been wildly exaggerating ...

Actually once they're broken in they don't need all that much time to sound their best, say an hour or so.
Provided you use the amp regularly it won't be such a hassle.
(Just noticed Analog_sa is saying the same thing just have a second opinion now)

Either way, if you want to avoid the BGs breaking-in period in the PSU I can recommend ASC polypropylene in oil and Solen SCR MKP caps for this application.

I'd still recommend the BG for cathode bypass duties as they're superior to any other cap I've ever tried in that position.

Cheers, ;)

BHD 2nd July 2004 10:50 PM

Thanks for the second opinion and the advice. :)

Yeah, it didn't seem to make much sense to me, since the Black Gates were supposedly designed with tube power supplies in mind. What made me wonder was that in almost all my back issues of Sound Practices and such, all the DIY amp projects seemed to use Cerafine power supply caps. Everyone paid lip service to the black gates, but no one actually used them, despite their reputation. :scratch:

It must have been the price, I guess. :$: :eek: :$:

My second choice was going to be the polypropylene in oil ASC caps. I think I'll go with them on this project.

fdegrove 2nd July 2004 11:12 PM



It must have been the price, I guess.
Hmmm...guess so.
Plus the fact that in those days these caps were even more expensive and nobody was too keen on testing the water at those prices, I suppose...

Nowadays the Elna have practically disappeared and BGs've become the norm.
They also share te same advantages of longevity the filmscaps do so all in all that kind of justifies the rather steep investment.

Cheers, ;)

Peter Daniel 3rd July 2004 01:57 AM

Recently the price on those caps dropped by at least 20%.

I use them wherever I can, but I find type N much better than STD grade (it is also 3 times the price). I didn't find a better electrolytic than BG N and that cap sounds better than majority of film caps. I'm using them in coupling applications and can't complain at all. Although those caps are non polar, the orientation with regards to outer foil is still imporatnt and should be observed for best sound.

STD version can sometimes sound too bright or a bit forward, but when properly balanced with a rest of the circuit it is very good sounding. Type N is more smooth and 'organic', still possesing the presence and detail, without any brightness and fatigue. NX type is softer sounding than N and I use it only when cost is an issue.

rdf 3rd July 2004 04:05 PM

I recently tried a pair of N-types as cathode bypasses in a Mullard 3-3 prototype (yes, my first DIY though my regular listen for the last 20 years was an MC240) and was blown away by the slow improvement over the next couple of days. One question: how do you determine foil end on a non-polar?

Peter Daniel 4th July 2004 04:17 PM

Short lead stands for the start of the foil (inside foil). If the leads are already trimmed, the printing "Non Polar" is always on a side of a shorter lead. I find them to sound better, when the outer foil is on the ground side.

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