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Audio Grade or General use Caps

Discussion in 'McIntosh Audio' started by KellyVB, Mar 15, 2017.

  1. KellyVB

    KellyVB New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Want to start re-capping my new C26 that got off E-Bay that replaced my C24 and my 2505 that Iv'e owned since new in 74. , noticed on Mouser there is an audio grade section and a General use section. There are few and far between choices in the audio grade but found almost ALL I need in the general use section. Are general use caps ok to use in our gear? Thoughts???

    Also was always told that we can go up in working voltage but not down. 45 volt to 50 volt etc.

    Thanks
    Kelly In San Antonio
     
  2. KellyVB

    KellyVB New Member

    Messages:
    16
    ALSO, what do the tolerances need to be, been lookin at the -10 to 150% stuff. Is the tolerance important since these are not clock or timing circuits??
     
  3. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,090
    Location:
    West Michigan
    I have used a C26 and a MC2505 to try many "improvements" both good and bad.

    There is so much positive references to "audio grade" caps that I believe there must be something to it even though I can not always explain why.

    Yes they are limited in availability and often pose mounting issues due to size and lead diameter. The cost difference is minor unless you go way out on the limb for the very boutique caps.

    Looking forward to others posts......
     
  4. KellyVB

    KellyVB New Member

    Messages:
    16
    SO, can I go ahead and use the general purpose ones? Also asked this in another thread but will ask you c_dk, what about the tolerances I'm looking at the -10 to 150% range,
     
  5. Searing75

    Searing75 Active Member

    Messages:
    204
    Location:
    Olean, NY
    Use general purpose in power supply, and use audio grade in the audio path. That's what I try to do in my MC2105 and C32. All Nichicon.
     
  6. Classic_CJ

    Classic_CJ Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    575
    I use Nichicon and/or Panasonic caps, choosing for 105 degree temp rating and low impedance, for example FC and FM series in Panasonic and PW series in Nichicon. Similar types from other reputable makers are likely fine also. Lower impedance will usually mean a somewhat larger case size, but since these newer caps are all way smaller for a given value then the old ones anyway, this usually makes little difference.

    I am dubious about the value of the supposed audio caps, and do not use them. For example, when a company says they use a silk dielectric for "smooth" sound, my gut reaction is "oh, really?" But then, my personal philosophy re: recapping is to do it to improve reliability first. If the sound improves, that's good, but it's a secondary benefit. I have yet to have one single customer come back over the last decade-plus and say the sound was worse after I've re-capped a unit.
     
    Hyperion likes this.
  7. MACKIE1975

    MACKIE1975 Active Member

    Messages:
    397
    The cost difference between the 2 caps are minimal. Go with the best cap. The labor is the one that count. Just like when you repair your own car. You already save the money on the labor. You should buy the best available part (like OEM)
     
  8. ConradH

    ConradH AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,907
    Location:
    Canandaigua, NY
    I'm with CJ. If there's any measurable aspect of "audio" caps, no manufacturer has published it. Going up a voltage range has a far more obvious effect on losses (esr or dissipation factor) than anything else. Try not to use anything less than a 16 volt rating. Once you're into well known name brands like Panasonic, Nichicon, Chemi-con or Rubycon, the quality will be very good. I've also gotten very good Sprague parts from Vishay. Choose non-specialty general purpose parts, not parts optimized for ultra low esr (made for switching supplies) and use a low leakage series for anything tied to volume controls and device gates and bases, typically interstage. My guess, and it's only a guess, is that when one parameter is highly optimized, something else comes up short. I've been buying one value up on larger snap-caps, as they always come in near the minimum spec. One value up will be closer to original, unless you want to increase it a bit more. If you can get long life 105C parts, so much the better, but don't agonize if you can't. Most solid state stuff runs very cool in most locations.
     
    Hyperion likes this.
  9. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,090
    Location:
    West Michigan
    I remember the Audio magazine writeup in the 80s detailing the modifactions of Philips based CD players which highlighted Walter Jung's cap research....

    I had to suffer through Lewis Lepnick's excessive gushing over the Rotel MCD855.....every JGH want to be just had to take one home to audition......again the Philips schematic showed the modifactions, hand written in.....mostly cap upgrades.

    I remember opening up various mainstream manufacturers high end attempts full of Elna and Nichicon audiophile caps.

    I have a Cary 300b unit currently in the shop full of a marketing managers wet dream, it is full of all the well known boutique caps, a who's who so to speak.

    Is this all marketing? There is a recent post of a member extolling the virtues of using polypropylene film caps over any other. What are they hearing?

    I do not have to keep quiet anymore. I want to know what members are hearing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  10. ConradH

    ConradH AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,907
    Location:
    Canandaigua, NY
    I don't know what anybody else is hearing, and what I'm hearing is all in my head, so I comment mostly on things one can measure. A polypropylene cap, if you can live with the size, is very near to a perfect cap. The losses (esr or dissipation factor) approach zero. Only specialized gear can measure it at all. Dielectric absorption is very low. Voltage breakdown is typically very high. In a bridge residual measurement, they produce almost nothing, compared to Mylar (polyester), which is pretty horrible. Now, tell me which way you'd like your audibility argument, as I can make a very good case either way. :dunno:
     
    Hyperion likes this.
  11. c_dk

    c_dk Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,090
    Location:
    West Michigan
    Back to the OPs questions.....the single rail power supplies of the early Mac transistor gear will greatly limit your choices in parts, especially the multicaps.

    Few audio grade caps will meet the high voltage and capacitance values needed so in many cases following the examples made in tube equipment restorations are valuable.

    Multi billion dollar international corporations allow their designers and engineering teams put their professional reputations on the line in favor of designing, marketing and using audio grade caps, when the price is a few dollars difference why not follow their educated lead.

    The continuing audible improvements that have been verified dozens of times from restoration/recapping using audio grade caps wherever possible has been so reliably successful it makes no sense to change course.

    I look forward to other members experiments in trying their own approaches to reinvigorating this classic audio equipment.
     
  12. ron-c

    ron-c AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,075
    Location:
    N. Ca.
    As far as through hole parts McIntosh uses Nichicon Rubicon electrolytics and WIMA Poly caps in all current products. We are talking audio path here.
    Power supply caps is where 105 degree long life comes in.

    Thanks,
    Ron-C
     
  13. dshoaf

    dshoaf That high voltage buzz Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,728
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    I've restored the 60s vintage gear with boutique caps (Auricaps before they got stoopid expensive) and with the more common Orange Drop type caps. Frankly, I didn't hear any appreciable difference. Today, I'd use Illinois Caps or Orange Drops for the most part.

    Capacitor material technology has come a loooong way since the 50s. The fact is that 40-50 year old caps, when new, had only a +20/-80% tolerance. That's unacceptable today. Further, the temp ranges were lower. Lastly, almost all of the ones used by McIntosh, Fisher, Scott, etc, were pretty much the same from a materials and spec standpoint so the design and manufacturing were what set them apart.

    Today, we're blessed smaller cans, higher capacitance if needed, and far tighter tolerances. Why compare old vs new or even pedestrian vs boutique cap sound?

    Anything we use today is better without paying boutique prices.

    Cheers,

    David
     
    ron-c likes this.
  14. KellyVB

    KellyVB New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Would anyone DARE get caps from E-Bay (I'm prepared to get SLAPPED for asking this) I actually found most of the ones I need there at better prices than Mouser

    Kelly
     
  15. SaturationPt

    SaturationPt AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    473
    Location:
    N.E. Indiana
    I prefer not to. If I know the seller's reputation maybe, but honestly other than the big filter caps, I don't think that there's $50 to be saved in an entire re-cap, and not having to do it again (or have degraded performance/sound) is worth that to me.

    Slapped? I hope not. I just think that you're rolling the dice a little more on evilbay plus I prefer to avoid giving them money even indirectly.
     

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