The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

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

Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby FiveseveN » 14 Nov 2012, 01:50

But we do know. We know dielectrics are not all the same. We know all about parasitic properties and microphonics and piezoelectrics and the distortions they lead to. We also know how poor our ears are at analysing the properties of sound and how poor our brains are at interpreting and remembering them (this is why we use scopes and such tools in the 1st place).
We know enough to measure the afterglow of the Big Bang to 18 µK from 45.7 billion light years away and not only the length but also shape of individual covalent bonds.
And still you insist that we don't know enough, that there are things we can hear but can't measure, can't model and predict.
There are no rigurous scientific tests on this matter (and other claims of the golden-eared) because no scientist would take them seriously.
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge. (Charles Darwin)
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby Shiny_Beast » 14 Nov 2012, 04:03

No one would take it seriously? There's been a reasonable amount of attention given to this by people on their own time, are you dismissing them as well as their results? I think funding is proably a bigger reason why there isn't a giant study into the secret life of audio capacitors.

Even so, because I can't prove with our amazing technology, that is sure this tme that we are looking at the inner peel of the onion, that all caps don't sound the same, they must? I'm not sure it's only the golden eared that hear a difference. Most of the anecdotal stuff I read online perusing threads like these contains people claiming to hear the difference, or at least favour certain types over others. I fall down on the side that I tend to believe this, you are requiring proof that the difference exists. I don't have it, but like you said, that doesn't make me wrong, whether we can watch evidence of the big bang between channels on our tvs or not.

I'm not sure nasa cares about the fidelity or transparency of audio capacitors, but like I have said, most of the engineering types I've seen weigh in on this tend to be more interested in citing reasons for than against and generally open minded that such differences exist and are quite possibly audible. Still I'm no so much arguing for or against, other than remarking that I don't think science, logic and common sense has your back so to speak. Besides, "we don't think so, so we haven't looked, so it must not be true because there is no evidence" isn't really a scientific proof.

I'm not sure what kind of tools exist to analyse complex audio waves, but I doubt they tell the whole story, regardless of our amazing ability to grow hanging tomato plants. In the absense of conclusive data one way or the other I think a rational mind would conclude the possibliity is quite real, at the very least becaue of the different materials used. Add to that the convinction of many people that work in related businesses, and I don't see how it's an open and shut case. And while it's not my personal mandate on this matter, I don't see how anyone attempting to apply "the scientific method" would either.

For the record I don't believe in 20 second AB tests either. typically distortion and ratty top ends make a better first impression. And even beyond that, while our ears perobably work fine, our minds can get in the way. Live with two pieces of gear for a reasonable amount of time and you'll realize which one you prefer, if either I suppose.
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby Shiny_Beast » 14 Nov 2012, 04:11

FiveseveN wrote:And still you insist that we don't know enough, that there are things we can hear but can't measure, can't model and predict.


probably, I'm saying one marshall with red drops would be probably be a differnet experience than one capped with mustards, even if the caps were all magically identical in capacitence. Apparently we don't yet understand why.
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby Shiny_Beast » 14 Nov 2012, 05:16

FiveseveN wrote:Yes, yes, but take a close look at the experiment conditions:
The signal level was held constant at about 70 volts RMS at 600 Hz across the capacitors. (for about 26mA signal current)

That's quite a bit more energy than what you'd find in a stompbox, perhaps by two orders of magnitude. Surely nobody denies nonlinearities caused by parasitic properties and idiosyncrasies of the dielectric or construction. But can one hear them? And in what context? And is he really hearing the effects of these nonlinearities or the difference in actual capacitance or the ammount of money they spent or the pretty coloured stripes or whatever some tonesniffer thinks about those particular caps?
Wasn't this made clear some 50 pages ago?


I'm curious how you dismissed this article, you won't find these voltages in stomp boces, but I think they are right in line with guitar amps, and other tube amp gear. While these tests might raise more questions than they answer, it's an interesting test, and I don't completely understand it, it's clear that it points to differences based on construction. Differeneces that line up with common conceptions of the cork sniffers if I'm not mistaken, ar at lesat that ceramic can be bad and paper in oil transparent. While it's unductive reasoning, and we are taking the authors word at the validity of the tests, I fail to see how the effects of striped packaging talked about it a previous post singularely makes the results on this page mute?

I respect that you question mythology, I just find myself questioning yours. It's pretty commonly excepted these days that resistor construction in high voltage amplifiers can make a difference, wasn't this something people would have poked fun at 10 years ago? that tales from the tone lounge site sure does. I know, just because one component gave up the goods doesn't mean another will. But it get's hard to keep reading about how sure people are "this time" over and over.

I don't want to convince anyone caps have tone, I really don't know for sure, I just don't think it's that illogical to suspect that they do.

I don't mean to go back through the thread looking for fodder, at least I hope I'm not lol, I just was re-reading parts of this thread and I'm familiar with that page as well.
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby FiveseveN » 14 Nov 2012, 13:48

Still waiting for all them scientimatific tests.
In the meantime please reread what I've said about confusing aesthetic values with objective properties.
Might also want to take a look at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYTlN6wjcvQ
Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge. (Charles Darwin)
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby Shiny_Beast » 14 Nov 2012, 19:01

FiveseveN wrote:Still waiting for all them scientimatific tests.
In the meantime please reread what I've said about confusing aesthetic values with objective properties.

I htink I read that post, and I;m sure you're right, but it doesn't directly discount anything we are talking about, it just provides a possible explanation given the presumption that you are right.

logic
given a, b is probably the case

you
because b is the case, a is true


FiveseveN wrote:Might also want to take a look at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYTlN6wjcvQ

[/quote]

Oh yeah, those pointless mythbuster videos lol, ya if you think that's conclusive of anything, well...read what I said about 15 second listening tests. Some guy switching opamps in tube screamers with a bunch of people sitting in lawn chairs 20 feet away while some guy wanks on a guitar for 10 seconds at a time. Recuding the claims of others to the rediculous so they can be easilly proved wrong is not rally making a valid point.
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby FiveseveN » 15 Nov 2012, 16:08

You voted for the guy with the magic underwear, didn't ya?
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby Shiny_Beast » 15 Nov 2012, 18:52

FiveseveN wrote:You voted for the guy with the magic underwear, didn't ya?

Nice, anything else junior?
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby juanro » 15 Nov 2012, 19:06

Reading this thread is like watching a train wreck frame by frame. :horsey:
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby FiveseveN » 15 Nov 2012, 19:08

anything else junior?

It's pointless to try having a conversation with someone who has his fingers shoved firmly up his... ears.
You say science is "on your side", yet fail to produce any relevant data and furthermore show consistent ignorance of the scientific method: the importance of defining and isolating factors, control, abstraction and bias.
In a few posts you've managed to use all the usual fallacies that emerge during this kind of discussion and which have been noted in this thread before. I am not a fan of droning repetition. Moving on.
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby Ice-9 » 15 Nov 2012, 20:32

I can instantly tell the difference between capacitors. As an example a tant bead and a ceramic cap of the same values. They obviously look completely different. :lol:
It's fairly straight forward, if you want to start it , press start. You can work out the rest of the controls for yourself !

No silicon heaven ? preposterous ! Where would all the calculators go ?

For this message the author Ice-9 has received thanks:
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby FiveseveN » 15 Nov 2012, 21:29

They also sound different when you tap them against the table :D.
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby Shiny_Beast » 15 Nov 2012, 21:34

FiveseveN wrote:
anything else junior?

It's pointless to try having a conversation with someone who has his fingers shoved firmly up his... ears.
You say science is "on your side", yet fail to produce any relevant data and furthermore show consistent ignorance of the scientific method: the importance of defining and isolating factors, control, abstraction and bias.
In a few posts you've managed to use all the usual fallacies that emerge during this kind of discussion and which have been noted in this thread before. I am not a fan of droning repetition. Moving on.


You are an idiot and an insulting one, I'm not going to bother requoting myself to pick apart all your circular arguments, misdirection and presumptions. Everything you just said is more true of yourself and all the circular BS you've provided in this conversation. Move on all you want, you dragged this down to this level in the first place.

moron
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby GuitarlCarl » 16 Nov 2012, 00:03

Here let me stir it up some....
When I'm wiring guitars, (which I do more than I build pedals) I do like the sound I get from Orange Spragues but I think its about quality more than type. I KNOW that HOW I introduce the signal to ground thru the capacitor makes more difference than what type of cap I use. See 50's Gibson wiring vs Fender's modern way vs Import stuff vs special wiring like the Eldred mod...

Why we mostly use RC networks when an LRC network can do so much more is what really makes me wonder...

My russian PIA caps are smooth in my tele... but better than poly? I don't know.
I want it to sound like bees buzzing around in a 55 gallon drum...
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby Intripped » 16 Nov 2012, 00:43

well, we know and i think that it's also scientifically proved (i'd like to see scientific demonstrations anyway) that capacitors do suond differently in tube amplifiers
why then it's so heretic to discuss about differencies in low voltage circuits?

i agree with Shiny_Beast

sooner or later i'll breadbord a full circuit with different types of caps, matched in capacitance, with many switches for cap-swoping.
this is the only way to know
...why nobody has done it yet?
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby FiveseveN » 16 Nov 2012, 00:49

GuitarlCarl wrote:Why we mostly use RC networks when an LRC network can do so much more is what really makes me wonder...
But a guitar's circuit (with passive pickups) is a LRC network. If you're referring to stompbox designs, well audio inductors are fairly large, prone to noise, harder to source etc. Gyrators ("fake" inductors) however are reasonably common.

Intripped wrote:sooner or later i'll breadbord a full circuit with different types of caps, matched in capacitance, and with many switches for cap-swoping.

How will you be evaluating the difference between the devices under test?
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby Intripped » 16 Nov 2012, 00:59

FiveseveN wrote:
Intripped wrote:sooner or later i'll breadbord a full circuit with different types of caps, matched in capacitance, and with many switches for cap-swoping.

How will you be evaluating the difference between the devices under test?


with my ears, for start. then if the difference will not be audible maybe i'll go for more scientific tests
how do you evaluate caps' differencies in tube amplifiers?
i could do the same with my bread-boarded circuit
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby FiveseveN » 16 Nov 2012, 01:16

So you'd only try to be more rigurous if the results don't match your expectations?!
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby Shiny_Beast » 16 Nov 2012, 02:40

Intripped wrote: i agree with Shiny_Beast


Thanks, I just want to clairfy, while I tend to think there are differences, I'm not interested in proving it, my point is simply that this whole "burden of proof" business is BS in this conversation. It presumes that there being no difference at all is the rational stance, I just don't see it that way, in fact, I tend to see it the other way around, there is every reason to suspect subtle differences exist. The no difference guys claim their point of view as an unrefutable fact, so AFAIC they are the ones that need to prove it. Most of the rest of us simply have an open mind to the possibility.

After reading thorugh this thread again and reading through many of the liinks, I think it's obvious that sonic differences do exsit, at the very least dependant on the circuit and situation. The question is now, in what context are we talking about and can we hear them.

I bought mustard caps for my Marshall clone simply because that's what was in the originals, and I want it to sound like the originals, so why not cover all bases. there's other reasons, it's cool , fun, retro etc...Still I'm not willing to take the word of 50% if the internet gurus out there that say there's nothing to it, regardless of how much they poke fun at the other half.

Couple things here that should be straightened out for everyones good

Just because you think there is a difference between cap A and cap b doesn't mean you down with the $80 signal caps sold in the audiophile coommunity. It should be obvious this thread is trying to get to the bottom of the basic premise, but I don't think that's always clear to everyone.

Just because you think there is a difference between cap A and cap b doesn't mean you think it's because of pixie dust. Maybe it's certain kinds with the heat in tube amps, maybe it's certain types when the voltage swing is close to the limit, maybe it's certain types with high leakage in certain places in a cercuit, if it makes a difference it makes a difference.

A lot of the research done is blind listening tests, while the scientists will jump on me for this, these tests can only really prove that a difference exists. I know it sucks, but it's the truth. All they prove is whether the difference is there in a blind listening test, in the same way all IQ tests prove is how well one performs in an IQ test. Now if the argument is "can you tell the difference in a short blind test", well then that's a different argument, one that might be answered here in a test?

Here's my take on that. I doubt I could tell the difference beyween my old POS sony 5 disc loader cd player and my cambridge if you just jumped back and forth for 20 seconds at a time in a big average room. I might be able to pick one from the other but I doubt I could tell which was which under such circumstances. Maybe I could, I dunno, it's not important to me. I doubt anyone else could either except trained audio guys that know what to listen for. Now based on that pme could argue that my Canbridge is a waste of money, which I don't believe. I can hear the difference living with it day in and day out, less ear fatigue, general sense of enjoyment, more interested in playing CDs etc...not scientific, good enough subjectively for me.

I'm not trying to convince the world. I'm not saying blind tests are pointless, but because I hear a panel of 15 people couldn't hear the difference under some test, well that proves the difference either, doesn't exist, is too subtle to notice or is too subtle to be of consequence. While the latter is a reasonable conclusion, it's only valid in the context of the test parameters. Like did you take a room full of kids at a party listening to one stereo all night, then listening to another all the next night, then ask them which they prefered? We can only assume care was taken to provide comprehensive test results. Even so, what are we trying to prove here, that the difference is even remotely audible, or that the difference is of no consequence? I assume the former.
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Re: The 'Sound' of Capacitors..

Postby GuitarlCarl » 16 Nov 2012, 03:51

FiveseveN wrote:
GuitarlCarl wrote:Why we mostly use RC networks when an LRC network can do so much more is what really makes me wonder...
But a guitar's circuit (with passive pickups) is a LRC network. If you're referring to stompbox designs, well audio inductors are fairly large, prone to noise, harder to source etc. Gyrators ("fake" inductors) however are reasonably common.


I know that a pickup is a coil but ... not strictly an inductor, wouldn't the introduction of a magnet change it's roll in the circuit? I do know an inductor from a wah makes a big difference while a dummy coil ( Fender has done this in a strat ) only acts to make the circuit quiet like a humbucker, and neither has a magnet. Sooo... I don't think the pickup is actually part of an LRC tone control, it's the sound generator...
I want it to sound like bees buzzing around in a 55 gallon drum...
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