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Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?

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Posted on February 15, 2017 at 13:59:47
vbenonisen
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After looking at Andy Evans schematics of a simple but probably crazy good 4p1l amplifier I can't help noticing that he always uses russian teflon capacitors for coupling.

I've tried them in all sorts of positions (including power supply) and in my opinion they just lack musicality. Somehow they are paradoxical in nature because the sound is great but at the same time they make the music boring to listen to. I might add that I have V-cap Cutf's (also teflon) and they are not boring at all. So this has to be something different than teflon per se.

In an effort to find something on the web I came over this capacitor review: [PDF]Capacitor shoot-out - V-Caps (just search for the PDF file) and in that article the russians are described as somewhat mechanical sounding. I couldn't agree more.

Is there anybody else who has had this experience or is it something wrong with my ears (and at least one other pair of ears)?

 

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Never found anything better yet. , posted on February 15, 2017 at 16:14:47
andy evans
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I love the clean, detailed sound. I never found anything better yet. Maybe other teflons.

You could always try the Russian silver micas. They're nice as well. Prefer FT-3 or FT-2.

I never got on with paper in oils. too coloured.

 

People tend to like what they like., posted on February 15, 2017 at 16:43:55
Chip647
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You equate "musicality" to a particular, probably warmer, sound. Others equate "musicality" to absolute clarity.

Given that, are you unsure of what you hear and looking for confirmation of your preferences as both good and part of the majority, or are you trying to alter the preferences of others?

 

RE: People tend to like what they like., posted on February 15, 2017 at 16:57:31
Tre'
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Here's a test.

I know it doesn't answer everything (to start with there's no DC across the cap) but it's a worth while test none the less.

Place the cap under test between the output of your preamp and the input of your power amp with a switch that shorts across it.

(Make sure the knee of the filter is completely out of the audio band.)

To my way of thinking, when you find a cap where you can't tell when it's in circuit vs. out of circuit that's a good cap.

The more a cap effects the sound (even if you like the effect) the worse that cap is (technically speaking).

Tre'


Have Fun and Enjoy the Music
"Still Working the Problem"

 

RE: my vote is for the russian silver mica's too....., posted on February 15, 2017 at 18:28:29
vinnie2
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They are great caps.

 

Yep, posted on February 15, 2017 at 19:25:44
Salectric
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I guess it all depends on your reference point. If you are replacing a cheap Mylar cap, the Russian Teflon sounds great. But if you have a CuTF V-Cap available, you won't be using the Russian cap for long. The CuTF is my favorite coupling cap and I have tried most of the caps on the market including Duelund CAST. Of course the V-Cap costs a lot more than the Russian Teflon so I am not talking about value, just sound quality.

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 15, 2017 at 21:30:24
DAK
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Comparing a 15.00 russian teflon cap to a 150 "audiophile" cap is nonsensical. How can the extra 135.00 NOT sound better? It can not or your purchase was a waste. So, your question really is not a comparison but more an affirmation of your purchase.
The fact that you are not certain is exposed by your question. If you were certain there would be no need to seek the validation of others. The old cliche applies, "don't worry be happy!"

 

RE: People tend to like what they like., posted on February 16, 2017 at 00:34:14
vbenonisen
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To Chip647 I have to add that I do NOT equate musicality to a warmer sound. That's not what this is about at all. It's about a lack of foot-tapping/airconducting flow in the music.

And no, I do not seek to alter the preference of others. Why should I?

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 16, 2017 at 00:53:34
vbenonisen
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To DAK I have to add that musicality has nothing to do with the price of the capacitor. Trust me I tried cheap ones to. My point is that I'm finding it very interesting that good sound and good musicality does not always go hand in hand. And in many ways the russian teflons makes this point very clear. And to repeat myself this has nothing to do with warmth. It has to do with rhythm and flow.

 

RE: Never found anything better yet. , posted on February 16, 2017 at 01:08:30
vbenonisen
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To Mr. Evans: I have not tried the micas yet since they are a bit "small" in capacitance for my use. Nothing would have been better than if the russians were the best capacitors ever, but with my ears they just don't swing. Very very good sounding yes, but no musicality. Maybe I'm so unmusical by nature that I need something extra to kickstart my brain. If you like teflon treat yourself one day with a V-cap Cutf. They will blow your mind (after 600 hours of burn in).

 

1. It's not about money 2. What's musicality?, posted on February 16, 2017 at 03:23:38
andy evans
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"Comparing a 15.00 russian teflon cap to a 150 "audiophile" cap is nonsensical."

No it isn't. Especially with Soviet era stock. I use 4P1L tubes. They replaced 2a3s, 300bs and 45s which I had previously built with. I bought 150 for around $4 each. Even more true with the Russian teflon caps. Outside of the Soviet system and in other countries they would be substantially more expensive.

So what's "musicality"? Is it "flow", is it "foot tapping".......

It depends what you're listening FOR. I'm a professional musician. Doesn't make me superior in defining musicality than non-musicians, but at least it means I've spent many years trying to make sounds that are musical to my ears. My priorities are instrumental timbre and detail. I want to hear everything, not miss out on low level detail, and I want instruments especially vocals to sound as close as possible to the sounds I'm familiar with in real life. Those are my particular priorities.

I've mostly played with acoustic instruments, classical and jazz. An electronic musician might have other priorities. And that's the thing - priorities. You often hear "bass slam" as a priority. I'm a bass player. An acoustic bass doesn't "slam". That's an electronic artefact. Then we have all the other listeners that talk about "flow" or "foot tapping". Both good things and should be there, but how do you balance these against other priorities? And what about "soundstage"? It's of very little interest to me. I just want to hear the music - I can imagine in my own head where the instrumentalists were placed.

Bottom line - I don't think we can easily define "musicality". Clearly I feel the Russian teflons are musical otherwise I wouldn't use them. But all this is subjective.

You can always do as suggested - A-B test caps in line with the signal. Sure - they should be indistinguishable from no cap in the best of all worlds. But that won't happen, so we're back to subjective choices.

 

I have found that smaller is better......, posted on February 16, 2017 at 04:09:19
vinnie2
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I try to use the smallest cap value I can. Seems to work best for me. Trial and error until I find the size that gives good results.

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 16, 2017 at 06:44:24
bean
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Timbre, attacks and releases.

If your gear isn't musical, it likely screws up one or more of the above. Get them right, and pretty much everything else falls into place unless there are bandwidth and/or dynamic headroom issues.

YMMV, of course.

 

Timbre, attacks and releases - yep, posted on February 16, 2017 at 07:33:59
andy evans
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I'm always glad when other listeners prioritise timbre - that's "music to my ears".....!

Attacks and releases give more definition, and probably result in better rhythm - the foot tapping stuff which is quite real to my ears.

 

RE: Timbre, attacks and releases - yep, posted on February 16, 2017 at 08:29:22
bean
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Semi-serious amateur musician here. I know what acoustic instruments played by good musicians sound like, if it doesn't sound real, it bugs me.

Attacks/releases - "decay" is probably a better term than release - is more than rhythm, it tells me if the system can accurately reproduce fast, low-level micro-dynamics without smearing or omission. Soooo many audiophile systems that demo great on "girl with guitar" simply congeal into a puddle of mush on large complex classical or big band.

I'll get off my soapbox now...

 

agreed... feathery highs with superb detail... IMO superior to Russian teflons-nT, posted on February 16, 2017 at 08:39:50
Cleantimestream
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-!
The Mind has No Firewall~ U.S. Army War College.

 

RE: Timbre, attacks and releases - yep, posted on February 16, 2017 at 09:43:53
vbenonisen
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You musicians probably have some kind of brain that tracks the music like bloodhounds. Maybe I'm more of a poodle or something that need a little more of the "attacks and releases" to get the juices flowing. I don't know.

 

RE: Timbre, attacks and releases - yep, posted on February 16, 2017 at 09:48:59
sony6060
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I agree the Russian Teflon is a good capacitor, but is very neutral sounding. I like K40Y-9 better even if not quite as accurate as the Teflon.

 

Russian bashing has reached AA!, posted on February 16, 2017 at 10:14:39
DAK
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So, it comes down to put in some Vcaps and you will have a more "musical" experience than Russian teflon? That doesn't sound very "glasnost" to me. You best be careful, Trump controls all arms of the government now. You might have popped up on some pimply faced 22 y.o. Home Land Security computer screen.
Not serious! just trying to be topical.
Discussions about musicality is very personal and i should leave at that.

 

Why is it never about the money? Yet, .... , posted on February 16, 2017 at 11:11:06
DAK
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It must be good to be unfettered by financial constraints. My point was if you spend that much money for a cap, it had better sound better. If i installed those V caps i would probably have that mind set at the beginning. You read about them in the Capacitor Shoot out and the authors gave that Vcap one of the highest ratings. So, if i install them they will make my equipment sound better than the caps that have the lower ratings, right?
Well, i must disagree that to have a "musical" amp i need to install Vcaps and therefore, my amp with Russian teflons is not musical.
In my opinion is that the FT caps do their job with minimal influence if any. Their only drawback being their physically large size.
As far as "musicality" that sounds like a subjective term and i won't comment on something that is dependent on a listeners perspective.

 

+1, posted on February 16, 2017 at 11:22:46
Lew
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Love the SSGs. Not crazy for the Russian teflon capacitors. If I had to use an adjective to describe what I don't like so much, it would be "hard", but just a little. I only wish the SSGs were available at least up to 0.22uF. Otherwise, these days I like VCap CuTf. Quite a leap in cost from SSGs, unfortunately.

 

Question..., posted on February 16, 2017 at 11:26:14
Lew
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Do you remove the metal outer sleeve and replace the original leads? That, to me, might make a big difference, to me, in how the Russian Teflons sound. But when I tried to do it with a 0.47uF value, I destroyed the capacitor. Kind of off-putting but at least not a big loss financially.

 

RE:No i never did that but read about some did so. nt., posted on February 16, 2017 at 13:20:42
DAK
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.

 

RE: +1, posted on February 16, 2017 at 14:08:32
vinnie2
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I have found the SSG's work at lower values than you would think. Try them and you may be pleasantly surprised. Let your ears tell you if they are working. I have used them on several occasions where 0.22 was called for as a coupling cap with good results.
I think your description of the teflon caps is accurate from what I have heard. I bought quite a few of them years ago, but I just don't ever seem to choose them over the SSG's when voicing my creations. Going to sell them pretty soon and by more SSG's while I can I think.

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 16, 2017 at 14:15:38
sser2
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Your musicality problems are likely elsewhere. One common problem is source. CD is intrinsically non-musical, which is exacerbated by the fact that most CD players use electrolytic capacitors in the signal path. Coloration introduced by certain types of capacitors may mask CD harshness, whereas teflon caps just reveal it.

 

RE: Question..., posted on February 16, 2017 at 16:27:52
sser2
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If you are concerned about steel shell and leads of K72s, use FT or FCh types. One must thing with all Russian teflon caps is to electrically connect outer shell with one of the leads, and insulate the shell with polyester tape.

 

Evil Putin capacitors... (nt), posted on February 16, 2017 at 16:30:51
sser2
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nt

 

Here we go again., posted on February 16, 2017 at 16:33:10
Michael Samra
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First I want to say that I found the Russian K72 teflons to be mechanical sounding but not the FT2 and the FT3 Russian Teflons. The biggest problem with certain capacitors is their misuse in places where they could sound much better somewhere else.I was taught this from Jim McShane and Eli Duttman a long time ago,along with mixing cap types to get the best sonic flavor.
The teflon capacitor needs a long break in time. They do well when they are mixed with other capacitor types in the earlier stages of the circuit. Teflon capacitors are similar to paper and oil in that they love higher DC voltages across the dielectric because that aids with breaking in the capacitor.The more the teflon or paper in oil cap breaks in,the better it sounds.
We sometimes tend to stereotype things,due to past prejudice or heresay from others.We are all guilty of this at one time or another.
Keep in mind that the Russian capacitors we buy,are bought at surplus prices.If a .47uf at 200v FT2 was manufactured today,it would cost as much or more than the V-cap teflon because of its size and quality of materials used.This is why these capacitor shootouts don't always present an accurate picture because Russian caps are not going to generate advertising revenue for the publications as say, Auri-cap or V-cap would.
So to answer your question,Russian teflons are musical if you use the FT2 and FT3 types and give them time. I prefer the paper in oil K40y and Vitamin Q types overall,but not solely.I like the mix.

The only new production teflon caps I would even consider,are the Sonic-cap Plats. They are a teflon cap that was able to take the best sonic attributes of teflon caps and paper in oil caps, and somehow combine the two.If they were cheaper,I would buy a lot more of them.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong" H. L. Mencken

 

RE: Question..., posted on February 16, 2017 at 19:08:59
Jim McShane
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"If you are concerned about steel shell and leads of K72s, use FT or FCh types."

Don't forget the FT series caps have steel shells as well.

"One must thing with all Russian teflon caps is to electrically connect outer shell with one of the leads, and insulate the shell with polyester tape."

Why? If the cap is used as a coupling cap then at one lead you'll typically find high voltage DC with the audio signal riding on top of it. On the other side you'll find the next stage tube grid (most often) with a grid stopper resistor possibly in the way.

Those two connections provide COMPLETELY different electrical scenarios to expose to the shell. So what is the rationale for doing so? It seems to me that connecting the tube grid to the cap shell is asking for trouble from stray capacitance and possibly noise pickup as well.

So I am curious to find out what are you accomplishing making one of those connections to the shell. Can you share that? Thanks.

 

LOL, posted on February 16, 2017 at 19:16:02
Triode_Kingdom
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This topic has already been discussed by Flynn & the ambassador. Edward Snowden has a transcript.





--------------------------
Buy Chinese. Bury freedom.

 

RE: Here we go again., posted on February 16, 2017 at 19:26:48
Jim McShane
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Hi Mikey,

I can't speak to your reference to the SoniCaps (very little experience), but I totally agree with all that you posted about the Russian caps! You hit the price thing right on the head too - how much would a mil-spec Teflon cap with a metal shell and hermetic sealing go for if it had just been made?

Thanks for the post!

 

RE: Question..., posted on February 16, 2017 at 19:53:45
sser2
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Jim - this is about noise pickup by an unconnected piece of metal. These capacitors are big, so the shell, if not grounded one way or another, presents a good antenna for picking up stray electromagnetic fields. Same reason why transformer cores in low level audio transformers are electrically grounded.

One way to ground the shell is to strap it directly to ground. This is not good because this may add quite significant shunt capacitance to ground. The better way is to connect the shell to one of the leads, and use that lead as outer foil connector.

 

RE: Question..., posted on February 16, 2017 at 19:59:42
Tre'
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"Don't forget the FT series caps have steel shells as well."

The FT-2s I have are aluminum.

Some say the steel case of the K72s cause audible problems but I haven't heard that about the aluminum case on the FT series caps.


Tre'
Have Fun and Enjoy the Music
"Still Working the Problem"

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 16, 2017 at 20:09:49
tube wrangler
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There is and has always been, on this forum, a distinct bias
towards "saving money", and making slurs against those who spend what it takes to build great equipment.

Saving money is all in how you do it! Do you fall for the bullshit-- often given-- that a DIY project or finished project should cost "X"
amount of dollars (usually the proponents of this cannot do simple arithmetic and add-up their overall construction costs)-- or do they think it is too costly and is therefore a "ripoff", etc.-- or do you think about the best? That's your call, nobody is normally going to make your choices-- they're yours.

Whether you're saving money by using these cheap parts depends on
what your standards for playback are, and especially on speaker efficiency. Medium and Low-Eff. speakers just can't tell you how
superior the best capacitors are-- GREAT High-Eff speakers CAN-- if wired up with equally good (and expensive) cables, etc.

So, IF you want the best, then buying the best caps will save money in the long run because you'll never regret them and won't have to spend
additional money looking for better caps, and tearing apart equipment to put them in.

OF COURSE the V-Caps are LIGHT YEARS better than cheap, old-technology
Mil-Spec parts. Are they a sonic bargain compared to $5.00 a throw caps? Yes! Or maybe no-- YOU decide...

Are the $5.00 a throw caps ANY GOOD AT ALL compared to a $200.00 boutique capacitor?

Hah! WHAT a laugh! They're absolute TRASH compared to the $200.00 cap.

In practice, you'll just have to decide for yourself what level you
wish to play at. The better it gets, the more it costs initially, and
the more it saves in the LONG RUN.

It's the user's choice, one could say---

-Dennis-

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 16, 2017 at 20:55:30
sser2
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I wish it was like this: you pay $200 and you're guaranteed $200 worth of quality.
Unfortunately, it is more like this: you pay $200 and you are guaranteed $200 less in your pocket.
Russian teflon caps are NOT trash compared to anything.

 

RE: the problem with the silver mica is the limited values, posted on February 16, 2017 at 21:28:44
DAK
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AFAIK, .1uf is the largest capicitance value, please correct me if i am wrong, so one needs to parallel several to many caps to get the value you need.

 

Attacks and decays are most important to our hearing system in identifying characteristic timbre., posted on February 16, 2017 at 22:07:06
Timbo in Oz
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The continuous tone and its harmonics, (if the instrument can do a continuous tone,) comes third even when it is present.

This is unsurprising given percussion instruments, pianos, harpsichords and harps which don't do a continuous tone at all. And they still can be distinguished, even within a type, eg. Ziljan cymbals against lesser makes.

Amplifiers, and systems, need matching rise and decay times to get timbre right.

There's more! Much expression is in the attack and decay. ? Where the decay can be managed by the player.

Starting and stopping.


Warmest

Tim Bailey

Skeptical Measurer & Audio Scrounger


 

RE: Here we go again., posted on February 17, 2017 at 00:08:04
vbenonisen
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That the teflons love higher DC voltages is very interesting. When I think about my "trials and tribulations" I have always used them in low voltage setups. Maybe they just need more burn in time, let's say 1000 hours rather than 100. Thank you for the tip. I will investigate.

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 17, 2017 at 04:35:02
vinnie2
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Then there are those who think the only way you could possibly build a good piece of equipment is to throw money at it. They look down on those who try to get good sound at a reasonable cost. In short, they are audio snobs. Sounds like you are in that camp. I have noticed that some folks who sell custom gear tend to use that argument to support charging higher prices.

 

RE: read my posts below...., posted on February 17, 2017 at 04:41:59
vinnie2
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unless you are using large values, which I do not like as they seem to muffle the sound, it is not necessarily a problem. Experiment. As long as you are using the right voltage rating ain't nothin' gonna blow. Try different values and see how they sound. So far I have found the 0.1uf silver micas to be all I need for most coupling caps to the output tubes.

 

RE: FT-3s in action, posted on February 17, 2017 at 06:09:08
kitch29
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Used by themselves as output Caps they have an uptilted frequency balance; overly bright and detailed. That's a good quality for coupling caps, though, and where I've successfully used them.

Used in parallel with the frequency range limited (read "musical-sounding") Auricaps as Output Caps for an update of the simple George Wright pre-amp circuit they created a balanced result.

As far as throwing money around, everything matters: wire, caps, resistors, connectors, they all change the sound of the component. Some changes you have to listen so hard for though, the effort becomes the result. Et Tu, Heisenberg?

Each time I've gone way upmarket for something I can't build, like a phono cartridge, CD Player, or Cables, careful choices have been rewarded with results not found at lower price points. The "Giant Killer" category is mostly wishful thinking. The same is true for DIY parts that match the circuit.

Whether or not the changes are positive are up to the listener and listeners have varying perceptions, which is why this debate over what can be heard will never be resolved and there are so many brands, for example, of speakers at the same price point. Often, though, changes in parts go beyond nuances to quibble over IME, like a Darwin Inter-connect or Duelund CAST resistors, the former modestly priced but far more costly than DIY, the latter requiring a ridiculous $$$ outlay for a resistor but worth every penny.

I've been building for, listening to and making music for more than 60 years which doesn't make me an expert, just old. It does give me a certain perspective though.






 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 17, 2017 at 07:01:57
xaudiomanx
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Dennis,

I think the fact that something has to be better if it costs more has been gone over in a last posting about a certain pair of monoblocks. I would never disagree that more expensive parts won't make something sound better but at what point and against what as the next lower in the chain? I do believe your ears are in the league of George Reeve's ears and for the most part none of us have that kind of Superman hearing, especially as we age. Do you wear name brand clothes as well? Well! If you do they are all made at the same places the less expensive clothes are made. Just labeled differently!

But you are correct. No one is to say how something will sound. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

 

"use that lead as outer foil connector....", posted on February 17, 2017 at 07:22:02
Lew
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In your previous post, I don't think you made that clear, but it makes sense among the various alternatives.

When the Russian Teflon capacitors (of all kinds) were "discovered" by TubeDIY aficionados, there were several posts about totally removing the metal casing, de-soldering the typical low quality leads in favor of better wire, and some even encased the capacitor in PVC tubing or coated them with epoxy. That's what I was trying to do when I killed an 0.47uF FT series (I think it's FT, anyway). The idea of doing this mod seems to have died on this forum, but I am willing to believe it would make an improvement to the sound, which is why I tried it once. In this thread, no one has mentioned the efficacy of doing that.

It occurs to me that if you are going to ground the case to the "outer foil", by which I think you mean the capacitor lead that is attached in the circuit AS IF it is the outer foil, do you also have to identify which lead actually IS connected to the outer foil? Because if you do, I found that to be impossible, possibly because of the metal case getting in the way. Catch-22.

 

"work at lower values...?", posted on February 17, 2017 at 07:26:32
Lew
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I am not sure what you mean. Do you mean to say that where the circuit may call for 0.22uF, one could get away with a lower value of SSG and achieve the same cut-off (in the case of a coupling capacitor)? I always assume that you cannot fool with the math. Microfarads is microfarads.

 

RE: Here we go again., posted on February 17, 2017 at 07:31:31
Lew
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If you had your 'druthers, would you want a metal shell? I always assumed that the metal shell was a net negative and could have something to do with a sonic coloration that I think I hear. (I hasten to say, "I think".) I wonder whether sser's idea of grounding the case to the outer foil would make a positive difference in sound. But then, you have to identify the outer foil, which I found to be difficult to do with the outer metal case getting in the way.

 

RE: Question..., posted on February 17, 2017 at 07:59:45
Jim McShane
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Okay - so you are assuming one lead goes to ground then, yes?

 

RE: Question..., posted on February 17, 2017 at 08:00:30
Jim McShane
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I should have said "metal" not steel. My bad.

 

RE: Here we go again., posted on February 17, 2017 at 08:18:36
Jim McShane
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I have encountered no problems related to the metal shield/can at all Lew. I've soldered ground leads to the shell and listened to the caps with the shells both grounded and not grounded. I can't hear any difference. I find no audible difference based on the orientation/outer foil location of the cap.

Most of these observations were done with the caps installed in a "McShaned" Citation II amp and in some other vintage gear.

So in the circuits I deal with I'm not bothered by the shell at all. And I am VERY pleased with the sonics. My friend and Grammy Award winning jazz bassist Phil Palombi has a Citation II amp I built for him that uses K40 coupling caps. The K40 shells are ungrounded BTW. He says it's the best amp he's ever heard - and he has incredible ears. My own opinion of the amp's sound is equally high.

That's my $0.02 worth anyway!

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 17, 2017 at 08:19:11
Stuben
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It's all about the design and build. To isolate one particular component requires a perfect platform...doesn't happen...keep tweaking..

Stuben

 

RE: "work at lower values...?", posted on February 17, 2017 at 08:39:28
vinnie2
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That's what I used to think until I did some experimenting. I have always maintained that the numbers don't always tell the whole story, and I would rather trust my ears. As long as you use the proper voltage rating you won't hurt a thing by trying smaller microfarad values for the SSG's. Give it a try, you might be pleasantly surprised. I know I was.

 

Teflon caps $5 trash??? NO WAY, posted on February 17, 2017 at 09:15:17
andy evans
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OF COURSE the V-Caps are LIGHT YEARS better than cheap, old-technology
Mil-Spec parts. Are the $5.00 a throw caps ANY GOOD AT ALL compared to a $200.00 boutique capacitor? Hah! WHAT a laugh! They're absolute TRASH compared to the $200.00 cap.>>

I simply don't buy this at all. A teflon capacitor is a teflon capacitor. It's already a step up from other types. This is absolutely nothing to do with 'cheap trash'. The best of the Soviet era parts are huge bargains. We won't see that kind of production again.

 

RE: "work at lower values...?", posted on February 17, 2017 at 10:13:28
Lew
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Of course you won't hurt anything, but inevitably you are changing the -3db point. Whether you can hear the difference or not is quite another subjective issue. However, the difference is there for sure. Once in a while, I have found it possible to get away with a lower value coupling capacitor where it is also possible to double the value of the resistor that goes to ground, in a coupling mode. In THAT case, you don't change the -3db point. IOW, 0.22uF with a 500K resister is ~equal to 0.1uF with a 1M resistor, in terms of the -3db point.

 

Thanks, posted on February 17, 2017 at 10:14:57
Lew
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nt

 

RE: Question..., posted on February 17, 2017 at 12:12:59
sser2
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For coupling capacitors, the outer foil should go to the grid. This way it is statically grounded through grid leak resistor, and provides electrostatic shield for the whole capacitor. On many old caps there is a marking indicating the outer foil, so that a cap could be connected the right way.

I tried connecting caps both ways, and there wasn't much difference.

 

A lot of it depends in what amp an what circuit they are used., posted on February 17, 2017 at 13:24:06
Michael Samra
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I use them in my McShaned Eico HF-87 and they fantastic as output couplers.
The amp only has the output couplers and one decoupler per channel.The FT2s and FT3s do wonders for EL34 amps that are on the soft side.It does take time to balance out but they are fantastic when they do.
Here is another thing that wasn't mentioned. With the Russian teflons,you put your own leads on them and I use stranded silver plated wire. I also use them in the larger Sherwood S-5000. Synergy definitely comes into play with these caps.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong" H. L. Mencken

 

RE: Question..., posted on February 17, 2017 at 13:44:07
Jim McShane
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Ummm, I don't agree...

The proper way to connect the outside foil is to the low impedance side of the circuit. That is (in the case of coupling caps) usually the plate of the prior stage. The grid is a high to very high impedance point in the circuit - which will cause a noise voltage to be generated.

In many circuits the orientation is a non-issue but if it is go to the lowest impedance.

If you'd like to hear from a real expert follow the link below to Randall Aiken's site page. He explains WHY this is the best choice. It's excellent reading and he knows his stuff BIG TIME!!

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 17, 2017 at 16:47:19
Michael Samra
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WOW!
What you just wrote was unbelievably false in so many ways.First of all,the Russian caps are not 5 dollar caps.You are getting them for that price because of the surplus market but obviously,a super power military pays a lot more for stuff than the average consumer does.
An HP 8903 distortion analyzer was 18 thousand US dollars new in the late 80s.Today they sell for 600usd to 800usd on the surplus market.The point is,the govt and industry paid the big bucks already and we reap the benefits later.Does this mean they were a 600 dollar machine? NO!
I have the TFTF Vcaps and they are a nice cap but they are WAY OVER PRICED for comparative performance gain.I have the analyzers and the ability to test the sonic performance of these caps in a way most others don't. I have given the FT3s and my TFTF Vcaps a thorough sonic run and there are somethings I like better in each cap but both overall serve their purpose.The FT3 is a larger cap in physical size when you compare numbers. The Vcap teflon you see here is a 1uf at 600v and the .1uf FT3 is about the same size but lighter.The .47uf Russian teflon is much larger than the Vcap teflon tho and heavier. I tested the .1uf and .22uf Vcaps against the .1uf and .22uf FT2 and FT3 and I had slightly more definition in the upper frequency range but the FT2s sounded more natural and at ease. The big advantage for the FT series is I can use much better wire on them as opposed to the Vcap.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong" H. L. Mencken

 

It's all about the design and build. To isolate one particular component requires a perfect platform...doesn't, posted on February 17, 2017 at 18:44:48
Michael Samra
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BINGO.
People put way too much emphasis on a coupling cap,resistor,or a piece of wire when the truth is,it's all about circuit design.If you have a bad design,the best so called components in the world can't fix that.The signal path tweaks such as coupling caps and resistors are nothing more than fine tuning. The real change comes from the power supply upgrades as that's what an amplifier is.A DC power supply that we modulate with an AC signal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong" H. L. Mencken

 

Thanks for the info. (nt)., posted on February 17, 2017 at 19:11:44
sser2
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nt

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 17, 2017 at 20:19:10
shane.
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The term 'crazy good' throws me somewhat. You can simply DC couple the driver to the output tube, and with out cathode bias (RC) of the output stage by using either stacked or split supplies

It amazes me that this 01A (and whatever Gen2 means), is now toutet as the best input tube - I've been using it this way Pimm CCS loaded (yes, I've tried Ale's gyrator) for 15 years or so... and during that period have read that they preferred 26, 10Y, 31 and probably more.. and then they come around once again but with an RC coupled design.

C'mon. They put man on the moon ~60 years ago... and this aint rocket science.


Shane



 

RE: 1. It's not about money 2. What's musicality?, posted on February 17, 2017 at 20:32:07
shane.
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.. my father was also a psychologist - and I see familiar structure here.

Best way to play this game is simply not to play.

.. Yeah, I'm a musician as well, also front of house engineer in corporate venues for the last 10 years, Class A electrician and also electrical technical officer for the largest defence contractor in my country = so what?.

AM radio is the future :-)

Best wishes with all of that, but more to the content - direct couple and set the bias by means of manual adjustment.


Saves you at least two capacitors, and a whole lotta rosie.



Shane


 

RE: It's all about the design and build. To isolate one particular component requires a perfect platform...doesn't, posted on February 17, 2017 at 23:40:46
xaudiomanx
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I agree! The whole is the total sum of the parts and part of the parts is the circuit itself. I was never a believer that one piece of wire, one cap, or one resistor can make such a difference sonically. I think or I should say, I believe there is more to it than just one single entity.

 

RE: It's all about the design and build. To isolate one particular component requires a perfect platform...doesn't, posted on February 18, 2017 at 02:49:27
Michael Samra
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Exactly Paul
A lot of times I have put in particular coupling cap or used a particular cable and what happens is,we get fooled by the sonic change in a particular area of the spectrum.Our subconscious responds to it as a massive change when it's not and you notice it after periods of listening to familiar music many times.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong" H. L. Mencken

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 18, 2017 at 03:22:33
LinuxGuru
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These boutique snake oil parts have nothing to do with real world price / performance ratio.
Look at their web site. These super duper VCaps advertised with a ton of utterly useless blah blah blah and NO industry standard datasheet. $0.02 parts have data sheet with measurements, yet $100 don't. Possibly they will correct this in the future after 13 years of R&D lead by "collaborative effort of engineers, materials scientists, and some highly respected audio industry icons". These guys seem to be too modest to put their names on so great work.

Meanwhile consider using something like medicine without certification.
The fact customer's don't have to eat and digest these caps only saves sellers from state regulators.

 

RE: It's all about the design and build. To isolate one particular component requires a perfect platform...doesn't, posted on February 18, 2017 at 07:41:19
xaudiomanx
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I don't know how true this is but a good friend and well known tech in my area said to leave the UF as stock or close to it as possible. He realizes back in the early days of stereo the caps were limited in what was available but the circuit designers knew what they were doing and did it well, despite the lack of quality in parts back in the day. Can improvements be made? Very suggestive answer but he did say that when modifying values keep in mind the T/C's(time constants) and messing with them can make something sound out of balance(to bassy, too much highs, etc.). The idea was a flat response but is flat always the best way to listen? Thus either tone controls or messing with parts values to create a different sound.

 

RE: It's all about the design and build. To isolate one particular component requires a perfect platform...doesn't, posted on February 18, 2017 at 07:42:52
xaudiomanx
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People say they hear things when a change is made. But do they really or do they just want to believe it?

 

RE: It's all about the design and build. To isolate one particular component requires a perfect platform...doesn't, posted on February 18, 2017 at 07:53:37
cpotl
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The best way to settle that is by double-blind testing. And be always suspicious of those who claim DB testing is not trustworthy--they usually have a vested interest in claiming that!

Chris

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 18, 2017 at 12:13:01
Lew
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Just to add my 2 cents, I disagree with the notion that cost and quality (both sound quality and build quality) inevitably go hand in hand. We all know about scams in the audio business. On an experiential level, I like the CuTf VCaps perhaps best of all in values at or above .015uF, but where they will fit and where they can take the voltage, I would rate the Russian SSG silver mica caps at least as highly as the CuTf's, perhaps even more transparent, at values below .015uF. And we know those are relatively very cheap.

The Russian FT Teflons are way up there too. Problem for me is they don't often fit the available space. They're YUUUUGGGGE. And I think I like the VCaps and the RELs a bit better, but just a bit. With break-in, the Russkie caps might even level the playing field. Meantime, there are a slew of boutique capacitors and resistors that are just so-so in sound quality. Not bad, but not ground-breaking either, at very high cost.

 

K40 vs. Jupiter Copper vs. Duelund Cast PIO, posted on February 18, 2017 at 13:57:39
banpuku
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Over the past year I have spent many hours with 3 caps all at the same value (0.47uF). To my ears in my system, here is how I perceive their sonic signatures:

1. Russian K40 have the most beautiful color and tonal richness. They add some real life like qualities to strings (violin, viola, cello). They are not as quiet as the Jupiters nor Duelunds, and therefore the K40s don't have quite as good a soundstage as the other 2 caps. Transients are a bit softer. All this said, I use them as bypass caps on my 2A3 cathode caps (here, I use the ClarityCap TC 65uF with a 0.47 Russian K40 to smooth things out).

2. The Jupiter Copper Foil caps have a very very neutral sound. No coloration that I can find. They tend to sound a bit dry (NOT etchy) and therefore need some richness to balance them out elsewhere in the amp. Good transients and dynamics, with a very nice black background. Deeper soundstage than the K40s, but once again, the K40s are king when it comes to tonal richness.

3. Duelund Cast PIO are used as my coupling caps between the ECC99 and 2A3 tubes. The Duelunds have the most quiet background and give a deeper soundstage. Duelund's have a neutral to somewhat soft tonal balance, but no extra richness like the K40s.

Since I listen to chamber music most of the time, I need the K40s somewhere in the chain to add some color, but the Duelunds are clearly the most natural sounding and thus, my choice for the highly influential coupling capacitor.

You can't go wrong with any of these caps. I have no experience with the Russian Teflon's but thought you might benefits with an evaluation of the others including the Russian K40s.

 

Just try it! (nt), posted on February 18, 2017 at 16:13:01
vinnie2
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nt

 

Much prefer FT-3 to K40 , posted on February 19, 2017 at 01:44:27
andy evans
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No contest for me - teflons are cleaner and more detailed. Don't want "colour" or warmth.

 

RE: Much prefer FT-3 to K40 , posted on February 19, 2017 at 02:37:41
Michael Samra
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I use the FT2s in the larger Sherwood S-5000.Andy,keep in mind that the FT2s that are rated at 200v go 785vdc before they show any leakage.The voltage on these caps are way under rated.
The color and warmth disappears on the k40 over time as the cap breaks in.You still have a slight but not as much.Putting silver plated stranded leads on the K40s like I do with the FT2s helps a lot.
There is another Russian cap that is killer and that's the silver mica SSG.The biggest is .1uf at 500v but they sound fantastic.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong" H. L. Mencken

 

RE: It's all about the design and build. To isolate one particular component requires a perfect platform...doesn't, posted on February 19, 2017 at 06:57:07
Stuben
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With all that said, you can hear the differences in passive devices, particularly caps and output transformers of varying build and quality. I interpreted the term "Musicality" as a system attribute. I have to admit, I've never heard the term used before..:>)

Stuben

 

RE: It's all about the design and build. To isolate one particular component requires a perfect platform...doesn't, posted on February 19, 2017 at 07:05:06
Stuben
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BTW, I have used the Russian Military Teflons.

Very Nice results. I like em..

Stuben

 

RE: Much prefer FT-3 to K40 , posted on February 19, 2017 at 08:41:48
used-hifi
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Let me ask you a queston do the k72 teflon sound like the ft's?

I used a .056 1000v k72 for cathode bypass along with other capacitors and it ruined the sound has a very SMOOOTH/CREAMY vague plastic sound comes to mind, not too good IMO

I would like to try the ft series russian teflons. ? will they sound the same???


Lawrence

 

If we want to be "scientific", DB is all we have...., posted on February 19, 2017 at 09:52:22
Lew
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The problem is that snap judgements are just as problematic as unblinded testimony. To do it right, you'd need for the tester to be blinded for several listening sessions lasting several hours and listening to a variety of musical genres, using capacitor A (or whatever component A), for example. And then to go through the same process, blinded, using capacitor B. And then ideally back to capacitor A. After THAT exhaustive process, I might believe my own ears (but not necessarily someone elses). We think we know and can remember what something sounded like after 5-10 minutes, but we are delusional.

 

Try what???, posted on February 19, 2017 at 09:58:28
Lew
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I did allow that you might not readily hear the difference between a 2 Hz cut-off frequency in the bass and a 4-Hz cut-off, assuming you replaced a 0.22uF capacitor that was giving you the low cut-off point with an 0.1uF value. I am only insisting on the math, that one shouldn't kid oneself with the idea that, because you do not hear a difference, there IS no difference.

 

RE: Much prefer FT-3 to K40 , posted on February 19, 2017 at 11:52:14
Michael Samra
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Let me ask you a queston do the k72 teflon sound like the ft's?

Not from my experience.I have three boxes of the .1 at 500v K72s I bought back in 2004 and I used 4 of them and took them back out and put the k40s back in.I even tried to trade them for .1 600v k40s even up and nobody would do it.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong" H. L. Mencken

 

RE: If we want to be "scientific", DB is all we have...., posted on February 19, 2017 at 15:26:45
91derlust
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Agreed. External validity matters.

91.

"Confusion of goals and perfection of means seems to characterise our age." Albert Einstein

 

RE: Much prefer FT-3 to K40 , posted on February 19, 2017 at 16:46:20
used-hifi
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Sorry not asking for a comparo between k40's to russian k72 I am asking if the k72 sound like the ft series russian teflons?


Thanks


Lawrence

 

RE: Much prefer FT-3 to K40 , posted on February 19, 2017 at 19:46:30
Tre'
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"I am asking if the k72 sound like the ft series russian teflons?"

No. Unless you remove the steel case.

Something about the steel case on the k72 ruins the sound.

The ft series have Aluminum cases and sound great, neither adding or taking away anything.

Tre'
Have Fun and Enjoy the Music
"Still Working the Problem"

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 20, 2017 at 01:13:52
tube wrangler
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All so true! But, you can't try everything out there all the time.

What one can do is take a look at how the best parts are built-- get an
understanding of what they're doing and why. With me, reliability MUST come first.

After that, it's get the best of THOSE parts and apply them. When you
detect a sonic weakness somewhere, you can't just use caps to fix it.
The same caps do different things in different applications.

You just keep at it until all falls into place.

That's certainly rewarding, and a lot of fun to listen to long term.

-Dennis-

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 20, 2017 at 01:32:43
tube wrangler
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All of this depends what cap you are applying where, and what
your understanding is of that circuit. The same cap will work
differently in different places and will measure differently
in different circuits and with different test equipment.

Capacitor choices are best made according to observed performance
in a given application. People also have different musical tastes.

I have never found an application for any "Vitamin Q' style of
capacitor-- whether made by Sprague, CDE, Sangamo-- or others.

This is one class of capacitors that I will not use in anything,
period. Some also leak-- this is NOT ACCEPTABLE EVER-- not under ANY
circumstance!

I once had thousands of these, and I have had many hundreds of
Russian Mil-Spec items. The Silver/Micas, I could use in a very few cases, all the other Mil-Spec caps-- American or Russian were given
away because today you can buy much better, although I admit that this often costs more.

"Overpriced" means zero to me. I probably make less money than most
of you, but I don't like compromised performance when I know that
better can be gotten...I only care about the best performance and
Long-Term reliability. A component must have both and NEVER leak
anything-- not EVER. It must also never wear out, or change
sonically once broken-in.

I know DIY at home can tolerate some of these shortcomings, but
I'd rather go Jet-Skiing than tolerate ANY failure in something
I use for musical enjoyment--- I want THAT to run itself-- for
as long as I live.

If it requires any more attention than my Speed Queen washing
machine, or a great refrigerator, then I really don't want it.

-Dennis-

 

how can I remove the casing for the K72 ? nt, posted on February 20, 2017 at 02:29:24
akltam
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.

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 20, 2017 at 07:54:26
Lew
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As somewhat of an "audio cheapskate", I ignored the VCap CuTf's for a very long time, only because of cost. The most I'd been paying was for the VCap TfTf's and for the REL Teflons. Until I tried the CuTfs. I try to pick my spots, but they seem to be superior indeed.

 

RE: how can I remove the casing for the K72 ? nt, posted on February 20, 2017 at 07:58:25
Tre'
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Posts: 12231
Location: So. Cal.
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I did it with a tubing cutter. I cut as close to one end as I can then as close to the other end as I can.

The ends pull free and there's a wire connecting to the foil.

Once those are gone the can slides off.

I wrapped mine in plumbers teflon tape to keep the cap from unwinding.


Tre'
Have Fun and Enjoy the Music
"Still Working the Problem"

 

RE: If we want to be "scientific", DB is all we have...., posted on February 20, 2017 at 08:54:19
PakProtector
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Why not try training the ears like the expert wine tasters who can get down to village level in the origin? I am quite willing to wager heavily that the learning process is not blind.
cheers,
Douglas

Friend, I would not hurt thee for the world...but thou art standing where I am about to shoot.

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 20, 2017 at 09:59:52
Stuben
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A good outboard DAC helps a lot. Just use the CD player as a transport.

Stuben

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 20, 2017 at 11:11:04
Michael Samra
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Dennis
You just said the magic word from "YOUR EXPERIENCE"you wouldn't use a vintage paper in oil or teflon cap but tell this to the many people that do.I know a few audio amp and preamp manufacturers and the reason many don't use them is not because of sound quality,it is because they want caps they can buy off the shelf 10 years later. Cary used to use a lot of Vit Q caps and other vintage caps in certain places in their amps .When the supply ran dry,he switched over.Paper in oil caps have definite advantages if used correctly.They are very linear and stable with frequency change and Steve Bench shows this in his testing.
I'm sure a lot of people would love to have a Sherwood or Mcintosh tube amp with all Jensen Silver foil or Vcaps teflons in it but you would be looking at 4 to 5k in caps alone and that would be ridiculous for what you think you would gain.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong" H. L. Mencken

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 20, 2017 at 20:59:42
tube wrangler
Manufacturer

Posts: 1651
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Paper in oil and Teflons? Either can be some of the best. I think some
silver/micas are good.

Vintage? That's a lot more troublesome because capacitors have come a long, long way since even 2008.

Today's best caps are able to use a variety of technologies, and nearly
all of them if from really good manufacturers, are very much better than older stock of similar types-- in most cases.

Rel-Cap cu Teflons were always very good, and the old Sidereals were
another great performing exception. They were so good that they could be used in world-class equipment today!

Those are exceptions. If you've got an old "Mac" or a Marantz, Citation, Dynaco, or whatever, you should toss-out ALL of those capacitors-- some of today's "cheapies" will easily outperform them. Ditto for "Vitamin Q's"-- those things are really medium-grade by today's standards.

G.E., especially, made a series of round motor-run paper-in-oils.
These are excellent even today-- only the round ones have high performance.

It's to each his own with capacitors.

-Dennis-

 

RE: Much prefer FT-3 to K40 , posted on February 21, 2017 at 14:25:02
Michael Samra
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Lawrence
Sorry if I didn't make myself clear but the K72s don't sound like the FT series at all IMHO.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong" H. L. Mencken

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on February 21, 2017 at 14:37:55
Michael Samra
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I never liked the Siderials at all..When they became Auricap,they improved a lot.The old 160P I would take out amps to replace with Siderials sounded better with the 160p. Here is the thing.Capacitors have come a ways but the the principle of what they hasn't changed.I like SonicCap teflons a lot.The 160P black beauties will outperform a any metallized cap as long as it's good in a Mac. On the phase inverter to voltage amp in a Mac amp,if you use anything but a paper in oil or paper in wax cap there,it will sound harsh,brittle,and compressed. These are the .047s.


"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong" H. L. Mencken

 

RE: Much prefer FT-3 to K40 , posted on February 21, 2017 at 17:00:59
banpuku
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Andy,

Just ruminating, but what are you thoughts on the real life "color" and "richness" of string instruments. I am not a musician, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. When I listen to chamber music (which is about 95% of the time), the strings can sound chalky white / grey, they can sound silver / grey or they can sound colorful with rich tonality. Tonight I replaced the Duelund Cast PIOs with the Russian K40s. Immediately the color and rich tonality came back to the strings. I can't say with 100% assuredness, but real life string sounds do have color and are very rich. Probably richer than any of our systems will produce. IF this richness and color is accompanied by great transients and dynamics, then we have something more lifelike than not.

Of course, my idea of "color" and "richness" is purely subjective and system dependent. So, while the K40s are sounding mighty nice tonight in my system, they might not compliment your system or others like it compliments mine. Please let me know your opinion on this.

Thanks,
Pat

 

RE: LOL, posted on February 26, 2017 at 02:54:42
PakProtector
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who was it with the signature that said something like:

when Khrushchev said, 'we will bury you' it is unlikely he meant in surplus electronics

cheers,
Douglas

Friend, I would not hurt thee for the world...but thou art standing where I am about to shoot.

 

when Khrushchev said, 'we will bury you' it is unlikely he meant in surplus electronics, posted on February 26, 2017 at 11:37:53
Michael Samra
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But what a nice thing to be buried in. I bought 1000s of K40y and teflon capacitors from Eastern Europe thru the years and now I but all the .1 at 400v and .22 at 400v and .047 at 1000v I get my hands on.The .047s at 1000v,I use in Mac amps from the phase inverter to voltage amp.
I just bought another 120 of the .1 at 200v teflon fT2s.Those you can use up to 780vdc with no leakage but I only use them in place of 400v and 600v caps.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong" H. L. Mencken

 

RE: Do russian teflon capacitors lack musicality?, posted on March 4, 2017 at 11:04:59
Michael Samra
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I agree!

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong" H. L. Mencken

 

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