Black Gate Capacitors are JUNK

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he he I figure that'll get some traffic. :D

I'm looking for recommendations for 'good' capacitors for use in a solid state amp (either the Leech low TIM or Opti-MOS).

I don't need Black Gate, but was planning on finding some 'good' capacitors.

I'd go with Black Gate, but they seem fantastically expensive and also seem to be 'only' Audio file caps; I don't really trust something that isn't proven by industry. I'm pretty solidly in the objective camp.

From another thread:

I used polystyrene when I could find them, and silver mica for all picofarad caps

So that helps, but does anyone have a brand recommendation for low loss, 'good' quality caps? I'm not looking for 'audio only' caps, but mainstream parts that I can get through say Mouser, etc.

So I gather the best would be:

1) Polystyrene
2) Silver Mica
I am assuming you want electolytics

for the power supply, and if so -- you can choose between many good brands.

General recommendations are:
1. Don't go above 80% of manufacturers maximum capacitance for a given form factor
2. Don't use too small units -- say diameter under 1cm as they will likely dry up quickly and have a short life.
3. Try to get low impedance types capable of high ripple current.
4. 105 degC devices will typically have much higher life expectancy than 85 degC units unless you are running them at low ripple and cool.

I know Rifa, Elna, Panasonic and others make great devices. I have personally standardized on Rifa for reasons which are tangential to this discussion. I guess some of these make some low quality units as well .... My general guess is that if you spend the same amount on industrial quality units you will get better results than with lower audiophile capacity.

Your mileage may vary.


Thanks, that's good to know! Forget that.

What I mean by 'proven to industry' is something that isn't "Audio Only".

Other than that, I don't care.


A search for "Capacitors" is pretty useless. FWIW, I DID search for some more definitive search terms on typical manufacturers I did see on a few web sites (Mouser among them) and didn't see very many applicable hits, i.e. Nichicon, Mallory, etc.)

A search for "Precision Capacitor"

yields basically nothing. There's a lot ot capacitors I haven't seen discussed.

Wet Tantalums? Organic Polymer? Film, Polyester? Polypropylene?

Xicon has some 2% Polyester Film, but stuff like Jam points out is invaluable, that's typically not on spec sheets.

Frankly, good design principles override the need for precision 'anything' but precision components are usually also higher quality. I'm just looking for some good high quality components without paying for the snake oil.

So what brands do YOU care about?
Thanks Petter, that helps.

I was looking for electrolytics as well as some pico farad caps, I was really shopping a pricelist for all the parts, so I basically need everything.

I have some stuff in stock, but I'd rather buy everything at once to get a good rate (I'm building six),
Re: Caps

HarryHaller said:
Most all these caps have been discussed. I guess nobody will use the search feature of this sight.

How do I search for "Elna" if I didn't know their name ahead of time? :rolleyes:

A more usefull reply (that is, if you want to actually HELP instead of flaming) would be:

John, we've discussed this to death. Try searching for:


I just need a pointer. You remember discussing this, but it's usually in the middle of some other thread, and that's hard to search for, especially if you don't know the word to search for. The term you gave, "Capacitor" is waayyy too broad. I mean, come on!

I have no problem doing work but I'm not going to read every page of your 'capacitor' search.

Sonnya, Jam, that gives me something to go on, thanks! :)
You want flames?

I have gathered capacitor imformation from all over the net and posted data sheets and sources as well as pictures of the inside of good amps to show what they are using. I gave a link for the page on the search results that disscussed reasonable priced caps. Some people are greatful for that information and will even do a little work to get it.

You start with a disparaging remark about one of the best sounding caps made, just to stir up the **** and get bent out of shape because everyone didn't jump in with what you wanted to know. I'm am sorry that you are too impatient or confused to use the search engine and learn something in the process.

Tell me who the flamer is again?

Maybe that will generate some traffic.
IBM has this nifty little way of writing manuals, wherein they use lots of acronyms that only mean something if you're used to IBM-ese. You can look in the index or in the contents and not find what you're looking for...unless you already know what you're looking for. So it goes.
In some ways, this site is like that. On the one hand, if you search for 'capacitor,' the search engine returns a tag for 80% of the threads on the site. On the other hand, if you don't know the proper keywords, you're stuck.
I suppose that people could just try to backtrack through your posts, but perhaps...just perhaps...folks grow weary of wading through pictures of pop singers, movie stars, silly postcards, and other such childish nonsense in order to find information that is of use.
Your manners are atrocious.
Quit bullying people.
Grow up.
I know spoiled children who behave better than you do.


Currently I'm looking for crossover parts for my new speakers, so I gathered a small list of capacitors. Some of them are recommended for use in amps as well.


Mcap supreme
Reliable (try a search on this word on google :D :D :D )

"Second best"


Hope this can be usefull in your search. You need to combine the brand names with other words like capacitor, crossover and audio to get anything usefull (esp. on Reliable)

Go for it Grey! Isn't liberating to rant once and awhile? I am curious about all these people I am bullying.... can you give me some names? While you're at it tell us what you think of Jocko, he won't mind, he enjoys conflict. By the way the guy was asking about capacitors which I don't remember you having much experience with or preference with. I am flatered that you are so familiar with my post , and I find it a little suprising. Feel free to offer any technical advice or moral guidence, if you still are inclined to read them in the future. I am sorry for hogging the forum and will leave you to answer the questions dealing with beginers, simple technical issues, those with no sense of humor, and other pedestrian concerns. I wish you well and look forward to your 2000th post and read all your post. You do such a good job with the simple technical questions that one has to go in search of other topics to discuss. I am 45 and there seems little hope of me growing up if I haven't by now but I will work on my manners. Thanks for your input and let me reasure you that I don't think any less of you than I did before your catharsis.



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I hope you guys don't mind my pictures yet. Talking about speaker crossovers, here what goes into some very expensive speakers. This are $85,000 Dynaudio Evidence loudspeakers crossovers. As you can see Solen caps and regular resistors.
Thomas, as to your findings I can recommend both Hovlands and MIT RTX, which I used in my crossovers. None of them alone was perfect, but mixed together they sound pretty good. I believe that Lynn Olsen also recommends Hovlands caps for Ariel speakers.


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For what it's worth...
Solens are A-OK in my book. I usually use Solens bypassed with the MIT polystyrene (RTX?), but since supposedly those are going to go the way of the Dodo bird, I'll have to start using something else, possibly Hovland. Don't know. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. Used a butt-load of them in the power supplies for my tube amps (currently down for a rebuild of the output stage--going back to the class A setup I was running for a while, albeit at a heavy wattage penalty).
I have a few of the old polypropylene Wondercaps hanging around, mostly 4uF and .1 or .01 uF (forget which until I go grubbing in boxes for parts). They're decent. No opinion on current product--now called Ultima or some such.
Silver-mica caps are good for small values, meaning less than 1000pF. From there to .1uF or so, I try to locate polystyrene caps (Mallory used to have a complete line of them). Between .1 and low hundreds, I use Solens and/or MITs, then electrolytics from hundreds on up. I used electrolytics for the 220 uF caps in the Alephs, not Solens; sometimes I opt for a more compact circuit, and the Solens are pretty big to sneak onto your average circuit board.
As far as electrolytics go, I generally use Mallory computer grade for the big cans and Panasonic FC for the smaller things.
No opinion on Black Gate, et. al. Haven't tried them. At some point, I'll do another cap comparison, but it's expensive and time-consuming. At the moment, I have other fish to fry.
Incidentally, I suspect that the Dayton caps are OEM Solens, but don't know that for a fact.

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