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Sansui AU Alpha 707MR total recap: Elna Silmic II or Nichicon

Discussion in 'Exclusively Sansui' started by strobo, Feb 25, 2018.

  1. strobo

    strobo New Member

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    9
    Dear fellows.

    I'm planning to substitute all electrolytic caps of my Sansui AU Alpha 707MR. Since it uses discontinued Elna Silmic caps (1st version), I'm in doubt between using Elna Silmic II or NIchicon ones to replace them... My fear is that the sound of the amplifier is changed too much, especially sounding "lean"...

    There is a technician in Japan who only uses Nichicon caps on Sansui alpha restorations. He uses Nichicon FG Fine Gold and Nichicon KZ Muse caps at the circuit and power supply boards. And in place of the original Silmic "back-to-back' pairs, he uses one bipolar Nichicon Muse ES type. (See here: http://amp8.com/sansui/707/a707kx.htm )

    So, what do you suggest? Elna Silmic II or Nichicon?

    PS: I'll use Nichicon Super Through for the big reservoir caps.
     

     

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  2. Hyperion

    Hyperion Roobarb & Custard Subscriber

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    Use Nichicon Muse ES - you won't be disappointed.
     
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  3. strobo

    strobo New Member

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    Ok, but Nichicon Muse ES are bipolar (non-polarized) caps and fit only in a few positions. Anyway, could you please describe the sonic improvement of Muse ES over original Elna Silmic 1?
     
  4. Hyperion

    Hyperion Roobarb & Custard Subscriber

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    I am afraid I can't do that with any authority, but I know that Nichicon Muse ES are an extremely good capacitor, and I use them whenever I need an audio path bipolar electrolytic capacitor, additionally they are generally highly regarded by others here and elsewhere.

    And replacing two electrolytics with one that is purpose made must be an advantage?

    In any case discussion about the relative merits of Nichicon Muse ES vs 'Elna Silmic I' can only be academic now, as I assume 'Elna Silmic I' are no longer available. So I presume you will use Elna Silmic II for the remaining positions.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  5. phonomac

    phonomac Active Member

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  6. strobo

    strobo New Member

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    Yes, in place of original "back to back" Silmic I pair, I can use one single Muse ES (bipolar), or one single Elna RBD (bipolar), or even a pair of Silmic II. In this case, I guess that Muse ES should be a better option.

    For the other positions, I read somewhere that Elna Silmic II have a softer top end than the Nichicon, but was just an isolated personal opinion. I also heard from someone that Elna Silmic II are "sterile" and Silmic I are warm and coloured...

    That's why my doubt between use Silmic II or Nichicon KZ and FG. I would like to keep the sound as close to the original. Does anyone else have an opinion?
     

     

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  7. Hyperion

    Hyperion Roobarb & Custard Subscriber

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    I think you are 'overthinking' this, any or all of your suggestions above will yield excellent results. People talk a lot about the 'sound' of capacitors, but I think achieving a good result depends on careful capacitor selection along with being aware of their particular function and exactly 'where' they are going. You wouldn't (I wouldn't), fit an 'Audio Grade' electrolytic into the smoothing circuit for the protection relay supply for example. Keep your eyes open for upgrade opportunities, like replacing a low value electrolytic with a quality film capacitor is almost always a good thing to do.

    Just be consistent with your choices, this has worked for me many times.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 6:18 AM
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  8. strobo

    strobo New Member

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    Sorry to disagree (in part). Remember that I'm not necessarily looking for upgrade mods. Although the options are all good, they will produce different sound results. I'm just trying to figure out which one would be the closest option to keep the original sound. My guess would be Silmic II, but it's just a very vague hunch.
     
  9. phonomac

    phonomac Active Member

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    Have you owned the amplifier from new? And if so how good is your auditory memory? Otherwise I think you have never heard the original sound. All amplifiers deteriorate over time, it's a fact of life. Even one that has sat unused on a shelf for 30 years from new will not sound as the designer intended.

    So I think we all end up having to make a decision based on assumptions about the voicing of equipment. For a unit from the era that yours belongs to I think that Sansui would be looking for a very clear and open sound, not necessarily warm.
     
  10. strobo

    strobo New Member

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    Why complicate what is very simple? If the Silmic I were still available, I would have bought them and would not even have opened this topic. I did it for the purpose of hearing from anyone who has experienced a similar situation, and could help me to decide with more concrete information, cause I know and I like the original amp sound, and cause I don't want to do experiments nor risk a result that does not please me. That simple. ;)
     
  11. pete_mac

    pete_mac Super Member

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    Personally, I tend to use Silmic IIs when recapping the later Alpha Sansuis as I find them to synergise well with the sound of these amps. I'm also swayed by the fact that all of the upper-end Alphas used Silmics (the originals, not the II model of course) throughout. I also follow @czubsi 's suggestions regarding careful use of polypropylene and polystyrene bypass caps in select locations (which reflects their application in other high-end Sansuis of the era) and find them to work well.

    That said, not everyone likes the Silmic II sound.
     

     

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  12. Hyperion

    Hyperion Roobarb & Custard Subscriber

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    Unfortunately it isn't that simple for many of the reasons mentioned by the learned posters in this thread. In fact it is a highly controversial subject with no 'one' correct or certain answer.

    You could range around getting opinions from the most experienced techs, their answers may not necessarily be the same regarding specific capacitor choices. And having gathered all the information and made your choice, and changed all the capacitors it could still turn out sounding exactly like what you are trying to avoid. This could be for a variety of reasons actual or imaginary, including those regarding Acoustic Memory and other psychological effects.

    And when all is said and done it is the design of the amplifier that dominates the overall sound, not the manufacturer of the components within it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  13. strobo

    strobo New Member

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    Thanks. Do you know if there is any unanimous point for some to dislike Silmic II sound?
     
  14. pete_mac

    pete_mac Super Member

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    It doesn’t work that way with capacitors. There’s no such thing as a unanimous view point. :)
     
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  15. strobo

    strobo New Member

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    Hmmm, sorry. I thought there might be some considerable subjective feature ... Something like bright, or lean, or warm, or dry, etc ...
    I asked the designer (Mr. Oshima - aqualab Japan) but the communication is very difficult. He said me to replace with Silmic I... Unavailable. :confused::biggrin: But, between Silmic II or Nichicon, he recommends Silmic II.
     
  16. rickb119

    rickb119 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I used Silmic II to recap my AU-919 several years ago. Sounds just fine!
     

     

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  17. czubsi

    czubsi Active Member

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    You are trying to break open the door ...
    I wrote - use Silmic II everywhere !!!
    It's not true that Sansui only used Silmic!
    Look what is mid-AU07 (the other half had other capacitors ...)

    I know that everyone likes to talk - but not everyone should ...
    People want to help but often say what they think - listen to the facts because 707 will be a memory and not Sansui ...
    The gentleman with amp8 earns quick money and does not save Sansui, and I do not think that's what you mean, right?

    First set it up well then replace it
     

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    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  18. pete_mac

    pete_mac Super Member

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    Ah, good point Paul! I forgot about the Silmic II Alpha gold!
     
  19. slimecity

    slimecity Super Member

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    Dropping new capacitors or a certain type into a circuit could improve the sound.

    However another variable on "gains" of doing this is the circuit design. This is arguably the most important element.

    Another variable is people's subjective perception of sound, after doing a recap.

    Yet another variable is your speakers and source. And another one is the sound of your room.

    This is what people mean when they say the topic is subjective.
     
  20. strobo

    strobo New Member

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    9
    Thanx, @czubsi! Yes, I intend to keep Sansui's soul. Therefore, I will only use Silmic II in all locations, even in the back to back pairs.
    And for the big caps I think of using 2 x nichicon Super Through 10000uf x 80V, what do you think?
     

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