types of capacitors

Frequently asked questions on capacitor types, ratings, brands, use and abuse.

types of capacitors

Postby elfo106 » 05 Sep 2008, 23:55

Hi everyone,

i'm a bit confused with the type of capacitors i should use when i'm building a stompbox using a existing shem because the schem don't say what type of capacitors are used

for instance, ok..i know when they use a polarized or non-polarized capacitor, but is a polarized electrolytic or tantalum one? the same for non-polarized...is ceramic or polyester ??

there are no difference between electrolytic or tantalum and ceramic or polyester ?

thanks
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby JHS » 06 Sep 2008, 17:07

The type of the material and the type of the cap has an audible influence on the sound.
Often that's the reason why clones don't sound like the originals.

Same with diodes, trannies, ICs, Rs.

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Re: types of capacitors

Postby elfo106 » 06 Sep 2008, 17:51

i thought it was as you said so i agree but if it is there is any reason why the schematics dont say d material of the capacitor is used in original? diods is a bit different because there are no 4148's with diferent materials..so a 4148 is a 4148 i guess...
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby mojah63 » 07 Sep 2008, 14:51

Find a gut shot of the fx you are trying to emulate. Usually but not always you can get an idea of what type of caps are used. There is a lot of info here to search through. Here's a site in Japanese: http://www.effector-repair.com/ There is a German one too that I can't remember offhand. What are you trying to make?
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby elfo106 » 07 Sep 2008, 18:32

by now i'm trying to do a TurboRat by Proco, but sometimes i do a stombox for my friends that play guitar...

i dont understand much about music but i now a bit about electronics so my problems are some minor issues....

in electronics in generals i dont see difference between the types of capacitors i used but when we are talking about the sound there are really some differences

(sorry about my english :? )

thanks
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby petemoore » 08 Sep 2008, 19:38

Plenty of boutique talk about offering what the other boutiquer doesn't.
brownies are good for a touch of grit in FF Q1 B/C position [to squelch RF and a touch of highs], but a film of about the same actual value and HF rolloff didn't sound 'fizzy'. I repeated that swap. Someone else told the same story once, film stayed there, anymore I use JD's Axis Face method of FF HF rolloff.
Then you get into the high end.
['middlin' caps are all excellent IMO, visit GEO for an idea of the miniscule distortion amounts we're talking about, so infanitecimally small that...you should breadboard long circuit and try Poly's then say Silver Micas or whatever].
If you are building extremely sensative test equipment [say medical circuits], where tolerances actually matter to a degree [as far as accuracy and/or cost], especially when mass producing, using super tight tolerance capacitors may allow a design to work, work better, or not need so much adjusting to work accurately.
I voice my circuits to taste anyway, not that 10% tolerance isn't accurate, sometimes I want a smaller value input cap than the original design.
As far as hearing tolerance differences...I tried that on input caps until I was blue in the face...one cap marked .01uf sounded exactly like the next one marked .01uf, pretty dern close to the one marke .022uf.
Some have tone knobs I rarely set to 1% or even 5%change, ballpark is close enough, drive yourself nuts trying to find differences in the minute changes.
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby mojah63 » 09 Sep 2008, 14:26

elfo106 wrote:by now i'm trying to do a TurboRat by Proco


There are gut shots and comments here:
http://www.freestompboxes.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1189
http://img85.imageshack.us/my.php?image=procpedala004yq5.jpg

Looks like greenie poly film, some electrolytic, a few ceramic caps and carbon film 5% resistors.
If you have the schematic than you can figure out which go where...

pf - ceramic, >1uf - greenies, <1uf - electrolytics
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby TragicTravisty » 09 Sep 2008, 20:19

what are the actual differences in different types of caps?
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby elfo106 » 12 Sep 2008, 13:28

thanks mojah63, i saw in one picture of that link a hiden capacitor...it looks like a ceramic but...is green, i dont think that one is polyester!

there are green ceramic capacitors ?

thanks

i'll try to show you what is the capacitor i'm talking about..
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby elfo106 » 12 Sep 2008, 13:33

there is it!

Image

is the one in the red circle i made
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby darrenbkl@gmail.com » 13 Sep 2008, 06:52

metal film caps and metallized polyester caps is it the same?
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby Rocket Roll » 13 Sep 2008, 10:46

You can find a lot of (although a bit HiFi oriented) info about picking capacitors and differences between capacitors here: http://www.reliablecapacitors.com/pickcap.htm

Some additional explanations about "real life" capacitor and resistor use could be found in John Curl Interview (pages 10 to 18): http://www.parasound.com/pdfs/JCinterview.pdf
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby darrenbkl@gmail.com » 18 Sep 2008, 04:45

film cap is polarized or non polarized cap?
for non polarized,generally which one is better? and for polarized?
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby mojah63 » 18 Sep 2008, 16:54

I think the small hidden green cap is a ceramic type... Yes they do make green ones...


No cap is "better" they are different and the reasoning in boutique land could be anything from "I auditioned thousands and this is the combination I love, to It was the only thing I had hanging around, Or cheapest I could find" Some people like greenie poly caps some like panasonic metal film some like Tants. some like np electrolytic.. Some hate them too... Everyone has their reasons, whether it can be objectified is another story. The only thing I objectively can say is I built two rangemasters a while ago. One had an AVX box metal film output cap the other had a greenie. Same value, rest of the parts where identical. Well they sounded different and I didn't think much of it at the time. A few weeks ago I was debugging my hotcake clone (sounds great) and I was putting a 1khz sine wave though the circuit and tracing it. I found my mistake then looked up and saw my 2 rangmasters and thought I'd put the signal through and see what comes out. The AVX one had a nice symmetrically clipped sine wave but the Greenie had a distortion on the leading edge. I pulled the greenie and plugged in an avx... Guess what the output wave looked like my other, now they sound the same too. Having said that... My hotcake clone has a lot of greenie caps and it sounds great.

So the best cap is what works for YOU Experiment....
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby darrenbkl@gmail.com » 18 Sep 2008, 17:46

metal film caps,is it means metallized polyester cap? where can i find it?
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby darrenbkl@gmail.com » 18 Sep 2008, 19:31

for coupling caps,must it be polarized? how to calculate the capacitance that i need for a particular circuit?
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby darrenbkl@gmail.com » 19 Sep 2008, 05:21

ok thx :applause:

comparing polyester and polypropelene,which one is better in term of noise?
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby MoonWatcher » 14 Oct 2008, 23:13

mojah63 wrote:The only thing I objectively can say is I built two rangemasters a while ago. One had an AVX box metal film output cap the other had a greenie. Same value, rest of the parts where identical. Well they sounded different and I didn't think much of it at the time.


I think that this tends to put a bit more focus on when different cap types will sound different.

I find that output caps are probably the single most noticeable spot where different types will become apparent. If you take apart a few boutique boxes, it isn't surprising if there's a different type of material used for the output cap. The "hot boutique output cap" currently seems to be tantalum more than anything else that I see, these days.

I also find that certain caps will cause a much more audible byproduct when used in op amp biasing circuits, and similar shelving designs that are pushing a fairly wide band of frequencies. I prefer nonpolarized materials, and really dislike tantalums used for this sensitive spot.

I find the most amount of hype to be with any cap that is passively bleeding off high frequencies. I've tried numerous tests to attempt to come up with something measureable (either through perception or equipment), but have so far not succeeded.

And typically if I do hear an audible difference, there is usually a tolerance difference of 7% or more.

My advice is to start with the cheap stuff and see if you can get a circuit to sound good with with those. Lots of boutique boxes out there that use nothing but greenies and ceramics.
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Re: types of capacitors

Postby Fuzzer » 15 Oct 2008, 04:17

I thought the rule of thumb was to avoid the usage of Tantalum caps for coupling tasks.
The Freestompboxes Forum search function is soo great, use the search function..., the S E A R C H function.
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