View Full Version : what are the best "bang for your buck" capacitors ?


clairtone
04-13-2007, 05:00 PM
to do a re-capping :)

my next project is recapping my tube amp - I want to start next week and im looking for the "best bang for my buck" capacitors, I dont tihnk I can afford auricaps, maybe some of them. whats the best place to buy auricaps? are they only available thru audience? how are "audiocaps" www.audiocaps.com

anyone have any experience?

your help is greatly appreciated :)

- matt

Paul C
04-13-2007, 05:13 PM
Rather than saying this brand or that brand cap is "the best", I get the most bang for my buck by wisely choosing which caps I will use for a particular application. There are places where it will not make a difference in sound, and some where it may.

For example, in a crossover, I will use electrolytics in the woofer section for a parallel cap in a second order network, or in the zobel (impedance compensation). These caps are usually of large value, and their useage in the circuit will not be affected by use of electrolytics which are much cheaper than poly-film caps.

In the tweeter or mid section I will use poly film caps, and the Dayton caps from PE or Bennic (same) from Martin Sound do a good job.

For your amp or receiver, it depends on the function of the cap in the circuit, but also, will another type cap even fit? That is of concern, too.

mhardy6647
04-13-2007, 05:29 PM
I like the lowly Sprague (SBE) "Orange Drops" just fine. 716P probably slightly preferred over 715P, but the former are larger.

If size and cost are still an issue, the quite modest "Illinois" caps are OK,too.
VTV (astonishingly) supplied these in a Marantz 8B re-hab kit. I skeptically installed them (the Marantz deserved far better), but, y'know what? The amp still sounded fantastic with them aboard.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v223/mhardy6647/Marantz8Bafter.jpg

Both brands are available most everywhere, e.g., www.tubesandmore.com

jcmjrt
04-13-2007, 06:29 PM
The IC caps are also what TerryD recommends for Mcintosh amp rebuilds.

available at www.tubesandmore.com under capacitors, tubular.

If you are going to put big buck caps anyplace, then the most benefit is typically from the final coupling caps.

Rich
04-13-2007, 07:34 PM
Well, I needed to order some bits and bobs, and took the opportunity to buy some budget capacitors to recap my Kenwood KA-3020SE - Rubycon ZA and ZL, Panasonic FC, and some Vishay polyesters for bypassing. Can't comment on them individually, but they certainly cleaned up the sound over the Elna caps fitted as standard. The two Elna Cerafines I removed are now sitting in my USB Audigy2 soundcard, and they're a definite improvement over the standard coupling caps.

There is no hard and fast rule when choosing capacitors for their sonic performance - it's all down to individual taste, from what I've seen when researching. Panasonic FC's are supposed to sound extremely clean and uncoloured(to the point of possibly sounding flat, dull and non-dynamic), the Rubycon ZA and ZL are supposed to be better than Blackgates - with more speed, openness and vividness in the soundstage than anything else available.

Bit of information on the commonly-available, sensibly-priced capacitors here (http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=10315). I've no experience with the more expensive boutique stuff, made from silk fibre, goats milk and petrol. :)

From my limited experience of the Rubycon ZA and ZL series, I'm very impressed. They are very clear and dynamic, though they also let a little(and I do mean a little) background noise through whereas standard caps didn't.

Sounded bloody horrible to start with though - lots and lots of noise and hum. To the point where I had to sit down with a magnifying glass to see what I'd done wrong. The hum was because the PCB wasn't earthed very well(*cough*at all!!*cough*), and the background noise vanished after 30 minutes or so.

You guys in the states seem to have more choice of readily available components. :)

--Rich

dnewma04
04-13-2007, 08:54 PM
most of my capacitor use has been in passive preamps where i tend to use Solen, bennic, Dayton, and recently some Janszen.

rulerboyz
04-13-2007, 09:16 PM
The capacitance range is also going to be an important determining factor.

Solen: The SM series is the most affordable film/foil they offer. Prices are comparable to multicaps.

Multicap RTX are Polystyrene Film & Tin Foil caps available from Parts ConneXion. Range from 0.01uF to 3uF. Are about $8 and under for most common values.

Silver Mica caps can be used for the small range pF, from 1pF up to 2000pF are commonly available. About $1 or less each. You can find some slightly larger values on ebay.

Something a little fancier in that same pF range is Relcaps RTE (510pF to 8200pF). Usually about $5 each.

PakProtector
04-13-2007, 10:17 PM
hey-Hey!!!,
It sounds like you won't be able to use the large motor-run oil caps. The metalized polypropylene makes a very nice cap. PS caps are going to allow a different selection than coupling caps. None of the modern film caps are a lot larger than their vintage equivalents. You can sub a poly/tin cap for an old metalized paper cap without much trouble. Putting a pop can sized oil cap in place of an electrolytic would be another story.
cheers,
Douglas

clairtone
04-13-2007, 11:34 PM
hey-Hey!!!,
It sounds like you won't be able to use the large motor-run oil caps. The metalized polypropylene makes a very nice cap. PS caps are going to allow a different selection than coupling caps. None of the modern film caps are a lot larger than their vintage equivalents. You can sub a poly/tin cap for an old metalized paper cap without much trouble. Putting a pop can sized oil cap in place of an electrolytic would be another story.
cheers,
Douglas

How big are the paper in oil caps ? I was looking at some Audio Note caps online but the site didnt mention anything about their size... they seemed reasonably affordable, if I used only a few in strategic places

soloz2
04-18-2007, 10:52 AM
well each cap has a slightly different job and to get the best performance you may need to get a couple different brands and within brands a couple different series to really get at what you're looking for.

A good place to start for some relatively cheap caps would be Panisonc FM series. They are good caps that don't break the bank

Nichicon caps can cost a little more, but I think they're better and they make a few series specifically designed for audio purposes.

Blackgates cost more, but they make amazing power caps (and if you have to have a cap in the signal blackgate would be my first choice)


I just modded my X-fi Xtreme music. I replaced the 220uf jamicon power cap with a Blackgate 1000uf standard series, the 22uf 16v decoupling jamicons with nichicno KG series 22uf 25v. I also swapped the op-amp for a better one :D

DanH
04-18-2007, 11:52 AM
I have had good results using these. They are not expensive and the 1% tolerance rating is nice too.

PakProtector
04-19-2007, 05:42 PM
actually, any electrolytic will give a good bang for a buck if you connect it backwards.
cheers,
Douglas

jcmjrt
04-19-2007, 06:08 PM
actually, any electrolytic will give a good bang for a buck if you connect it backwards.
cheers,
Douglas

Ya' know, I'm glad that I haven't personally experienced that one...but that may be because I heard that it was REAL fun...so I check all polar electrolytics at least twice.

PakProtector
04-19-2007, 06:25 PM
Ya' know, I'm glad that I haven't personally experienced that one...but that may be because I heard that it was REAL fun...so I check all polar electrolytics at least twice.

The ones with the vents aren't as good as the ones with a weak spot pressed into the bottom.

Douglas

jaymanaa
04-19-2007, 07:20 PM
It's really amazing how much "stuff" they are able to get inside such a small can.:D

GordonW
04-19-2007, 07:28 PM
actually, any electrolytic will give a good bang for a buck if you connect it backwards.
cheers,
Douglas

You know, that was the first thing that came to my mind, reading the title of this thread. Twisted evil minds think alike, I guess. :D

Hooking a small electrolytic cap across a switched wall outlet (like many older homes have) can make a crude, somewhat dangerous, but surprisingly EFFECTIVE burglar/intruder detector... or so I've been told. Somebody turns on the switch... and BANG!! :D :D :D

Please, NOBODY actually try this!! :no: :no: :no:

Regards,
Gordon.

NeedForSpeed
04-20-2007, 01:00 AM
A fellow AK'er suggested SOLEN caps and a MILLS Resistor for my HPM100
recap, and that combo made a huge difference. It was like the speakers
were in a closet all this time. Dayton/Kimber/Panasonic have been mentioned
here, but not all had the values I needed, and mixing and matching did'nt
sound like a plan.

ARRAY
04-20-2007, 01:40 AM
to do a re-capping :)

my next project is recapping my tube amp - I want to start next week and im looking for the "best bang for my buck" capacitors, I dont tihnk I can afford auricaps, maybe some of them. whats the best place to buy auricaps? are they only available thru audience? how are "audiocaps" www.audiocaps.com

anyone have any experience?

your help is greatly appreciated :)

- matt

I wouldn't put too much faith in any one cap. Don't spend an outrageous amount on some exotic cap. Think along performance lines, rather than brand names.

gearhound
04-21-2007, 07:50 AM
For audio equipment and guitar amps, I like the Dayton 1% caps just fine.
For electric guitars, I use Sprague Orange Drop caps.

Steve