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Stock coupling caps (Read 1430 times)
Steve Deckert
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If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

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Stock coupling caps
07/06/09 at 15:15:00
 
Quote:
Steve,

Yeah I went back and reread everything and then went over the schematic and I was like "ah hah!" silly me. Anyhow, I got the board finished last night, I'm very happy with it. I will get everything tucked neatly into my chassis this week. One question for you tho. The 2 .1uf 400v caps, I'd seen several people comment that they didn't want to put .15 cent caps on a $300 amp kit heh. I just happened to have some leftover audio grade .47uf 400v polypropylene caps from another project. Do you think there would be any problem in using those in place of the ones that came with the kit?

Thanks for getting back to me. I'll have pictures soon Smiley

Paul Wells


Paul,

The amp will work with .47uf caps, but it will work better with .1uf caps.  As far as the stock caps go, cost had nothing to do with choosing them.  The 0.1uf 400v polyester radial film cap, being small in size is far better than most people realize.  Around here we affectionately call them "Green weenies" and they possess a certain signature that no other cap has.  It's a perfect balance of everything without being spectacular at anything.  It serves digital well.  It also sounds good right away without having to be burned in for several hundred hours.  It's a sure shot in every circumstance.  

My recommendation is start with the stock cap and get the amp broken in for a month first.  This will give you a solid reference point.  Then swap the cap out with a .1uf 600v polyurethane or Teflon film and foil and you'll be able to appreciate the difference.  

BTW, before you even consider getting better caps make sure you have a good source and cables.

Steve
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Steve Deckert
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If the 1st watt
sucks why continue?

Posts: 2425
Re: Stock coupling caps
Reply #1 - 07/08/09 at 18:20:00
 
Quote:
Well it's official... you have ruined me sir.

Even my little SET mono block at work that I built, I don't think it sounds quite as good, granted I listen near field and this little amp does sound good... the Zen was staggering in comparison. I have parts to build a pair of the mono's so I will do that and then do some side by side listening, at supposedly 1.25 watts it's right up the Zen's alley. I picked up where I had left off last night, finished my last solder joint, pulled up the voltage checks, put the cheapest (cost) tubes that I had into the amp, a 6n1 and a pair of 6p15p's, flipped the switch and sure enough, the tubes lit up, no smoke or popping sounds, woohoo! Voltages checked out very close to yours albeit slightly lower than the posted values but within the tolerance.  So connected a source and the totally crappy speakers I have on my bench in the basement and viola we have music. I must have gotten a bit of something on that large black resistor because I got a wisp of smoke off of it that caused me a brief tense moment but otherwise nothing bad happened. Shut it down, took it upstairs, displaced my long standing main amp and connected it to my CD Player and speakers. I started off with some Diana Krall, the difference between this amp and my old PP was simply jaw dropping. I put on Andrea Bocceli... wow, Melody Gardot and Madeleine Peyroux... I'm just in awe. I tossed my Jack Johnson in, I have barely a couple hours on the amp... if it gets any better as it breaks in I don't think I'll be able to stand myself but since I went to the trouble of putting it together I'll give it a try Wink I was half tempted to take the day off to stay home and listen to it lol. Pictures will follow just as soon as I can get them off my wife's camera and I get the final finishing touch on the amp. So far though in a word, amazing. WAF on this amp is very high so I should have no problem getting her to go for the ZSP1 next muwahahahaha!

Paul

PS. you were right about the Green Weenies lol. I will track down some alternative caps later for now I'm just going to enjoy it as it breaks in.


Glad you're enjoying it Paul, it catches most people off guard like that!

Steve Grin
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Alan H
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Re: Stock coupling caps
Reply #2 - 07/22/09 at 08:04:28
 
I'll second that experience!

And the two leaps forward - the CCE mod gives the amp noticeably more clarity and muscle (exactly as Steve's paper). Also replacing the signal caps with two 0.1uF v-caps  - a second leap forward of about the same magnitude (and that's from cold, before the infamous 400h break-in). For those who have done neither there are real treats in store!

Perhaps the proof of the pudding for me - I haven't bought so many new CDs in ages!
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