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Unread 10-16-2010, 08:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Shoot Out 2! I got a lot of caps in from Jonesy and decided to put them to the test.

Here are the candidates.





I thank Geo and Jonesy for great advice on testing gear. But I give a special thanks to Raz59 who went way above the call of duty trying to help me on my "magic box" project. I tried to make a box that I could send a loop clip to that would eliminate the player variable. Well, it was harder than I thought. Raz59 gave it maximum effort though and I really appreciate the help even though I failed. I tried a lot of things, including putting a pickup in the circuit, but I couldn't do it. Here's the damn box:



I punted and got up early this morning and just alligator clipped in the caps in the R9 and here we go:

Capacitor Shoot-Out Part 2!

Clips are about 50 seconds per cap, first open, then at 6, then closed. My 50's bee is not in there because I lost it or used it in something and sold it!!


Standard limitations apply on the utility of this experiment - my selections, playing, recording, digital compression, and playback equipment all affect the experience. In all of these attempts to isolate variables, I think it's probably best to take everything with a grain of salt and get a pair of alligator clips and find caps you are interested in and have at it.
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Unread 10-16-2010, 08:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Liked my own caps the best, LOL!
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Unread 10-16-2010, 08:43 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakeislove View Post
Liked my own caps the best, LOL!
that's the most fortunate result possible!!
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Unread 10-16-2010, 08:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

This is Great, thanks.
This keeps proving my point to myself.
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Unread 10-16-2010, 08:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kernelofwisdom View Post
that's the most fortunate result possible!!
Truth is I just followed Jonesy's advice. I'm utterly ignorant about the topic.
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Unread 10-16-2010, 09:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Sorry to put you through all that trouble...and thanks for the clips.

I got different results since the last test, surprisingly. Don't know if it really was the caps influencing it if it was the plectrum strumming the strings in a particular way that brought out certain harmonics that I find pleasant.
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Unread 10-16-2010, 09:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raz59 View Post
Sorry to put you through all that trouble...and thanks for the clips.

I got different results since the last test, surprisingly. Don't know if it really was the caps influencing it if it was the plectrum strumming the strings in a particular way that brought out certain harmonics that I find pleasant.
in this case i just used my fingers (and caught a nail sometimes) but I also played it on an old ac-15 instead of the carr rambler (or fender can't remember) I used last time... same pickup and guitar though.

And thanks a lot for helping in my project. Raz provided charts, schematics, everything that was possible to help, but it was I'm afraid about as difficult for him as trying to restart the mars lander by relaying instructions to a 2nd grader over a walkie-talkie!
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Unread 10-17-2010, 10:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

I really couldn't tell a difference in most of those, even with headphones, but the one that stood out as being the warmest were the Goodalls.

I personally did hear a difference in swapping out the stock ceramic ones for a Gudeman in the bridge and a Vitamin Q in the neck, supplied by Jonesy.

Could you hear a difference in each of them, by actually being in the room?
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Unread 10-17-2010, 04:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Clean demo was good now you need to do a demo on how they handle Distortion.
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Unread 10-17-2010, 08:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdotis View Post
I really couldn't tell a difference in most of those, even with headphones, but the one that stood out as being the warmest were the Goodalls.

I personally did hear a difference in swapping out the stock ceramic ones for a Gudeman in the bridge and a Vitamin Q in the neck, supplied by Jonesy.

Could you hear a difference in each of them, by actually being in the room?
No, not all of them - some seemed identical or close. Some did sound different with the tone knob at the 6. Probably really it would do better to clip them in but spend a bit of time with them to really tell if a person liked one better than the other.
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Unread 10-17-2010, 08:45 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

BTW, if any honest member wants to have a go, I'm glad to share a set of capacitors and alligator clips. Just mail them back to me and report in what you find.
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Unread 10-17-2010, 09:05 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

I definitely picked my own(Vit.Q) cap for the best too. I think it has the best overall balance with clarity. I was surprised to find out that I liked the Jensen 2nd best.
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Unread 10-18-2010, 04:14 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

I liked the Vitamin Q best too. 2nd was the Orange Drop.

Both are made by Sprague.

Can you see a pattern here...?
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Unread 10-27-2010, 08:59 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

I listened blind and took notes - kept the speakers close to my head and tried my best to give every cap the same opportunity - my winner was U (the only one I put a star by) - which happened to be the Gibson repro bumble bee I guess.

The caps I have in my PRS Singlecut (goldtop, 50s wiring) are orange drops and I made some not so nice notes next to that letter - I thought it was thin.

I also liked the CRL ceramic disc, Jensen, Russian K4Y-9 and nothing.

Thanks for doing an awesome demo.

Anyone know about the RS guitarworks bumble bee looking caps?
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Unread 10-27-2010, 12:40 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Didn't really hear a difference between any of them, except maybe a slight, subtle change of highs or lows here and there. But I think that's due to inconsistency in strumming (attack, timing, etc...).

So, for me this means that the caps don't really do much. And if they do, the differences won't matter unless you're playing by yourself in your bedroom. Because once a drummer starts playing, you're not going to be able to hear those subtle differences (if they're even there). But if all you want is peace of mind, then go for it!
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Unread 10-27-2010, 01:07 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

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Originally Posted by FourT6and2 View Post
Didn't really hear a difference between any of them, except maybe a slight, subtle change of highs or lows here and there. But I think that's due to inconsistency in strumming (attack, timing, etc...).

So, for me this means that the caps don't really do much. And if they do, the differences won't matter unless you're playing by yourself in your bedroom. Because once a drummer starts playing, you're not going to be able to hear those subtle differences (if they're even there). But if all you want is peace of mind, then go for it!

This may be quite true - BUT - if you play with your volume or tone controls any in a live situation, one cap may work better (cut through better) than the other. Being a bedroom and live tone snob, I just bought two PIO Russian K40Y-9 caps (.015 and .022) to replace my orange drops. Just changing the guitar to 50s wiring and the orange drops was an improvement on the tone and feel of my PRS Singlecut. She plays like a great PRS with a WF neck with the heart and soul of a vintage Les Paul. Love this guitar!
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Unread 10-27-2010, 01:20 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Cornell, Vitamin Q, Orange Drop

I've never heard of a Cornell, but it was nice.
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Unread 10-27-2010, 01:39 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

kernelofwisdom, Thanks for all that cap comparison work you have done. I was always skeptical about the notion that caps changed or effected tone. It's quit obvious it does now that I can hear them one after another. I have the Jensen's in both Gibson's and I think they sound pretty good to my ears. I didn't hear very much difference between them and the Bumble Bee Repro's on your shoot out, maybe it's just my ears.
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Unread 10-29-2010, 03:18 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FourT6and2 View Post
So, for me this means that the caps don't really do much. And if they do, the differences won't matter unless you're playing by yourself in your bedroom.
Proving exactly what I've thought all along. Caps is caps, total waste of money upgrading them IMO. People suggesting a change of caps and wiring is better than a pickup upgrade make me laugh.
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Unread 10-30-2010, 07:28 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

cap swap do make a difference... I do not trust how some test are carried out, though ... long thin wires, alligator clips, all those factors spoil the test to some extent.
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Unread 10-30-2010, 07:45 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

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cap swap do make a difference... I do not trust how some test are carried out, though ... long thin wires, alligator clips, all those factors spoil the test to some extent.
The last one I did I actually soldered in each cap. I don't think the alligator clips do much to degrade the test. However, any test is limited in that you can only do short clips to be fair to listeners' patience, and there is the limitation of recording medium, the playback equipment, compression of recording, - in my case the player - etc. The best is to try it yourself, of course, but the point of these things is to put some data points down. I have, because of this, even offered to loan out the whole set of caps to someone who would like to self test.

I think the alligator clips would be what I would recommend as you can speedily change caps if you are personally wanting to a/b them. If you have to solder each one, you obviously have to spend a lot of time between hearing each cap. If you dialed it down to one of a couple soldering is less of an obstacle of course.

However, the only test that works for an individual is the one that satisfies all the variables that might cause them skepticism and there is no perfect test I'm convinced.

As it is, I've got a couple more caps on the way (some real 50's bees and some more Russians - thanks Jonesy!) and I'm going to try to do a test with just a few and do some with high gain and a few more positions on the knob.

It's quite difficult to eliminate all variables, though I tried with the "magic box" rig I had cooked up!

To me, you can get a significant change if you change your pickups (i had done a boutique shoot out and an epi v SD shoot out) that is detectable by even the most amateur ear, like mine. The caps come in under that, IMO, and without getting into the controversy over what type is "better" you can hear differences as you roll them down. Giving guidance to people on how to choose a new cap, if they want one, can only be done by explaining the differences, which other people are much better at than I am, or doing some clips, which I try to contribute.

I haven't a/b'ed pots though, which I'd like to do sometime. I generally have used RS stuff. I do have a CR8 though that is bone stock, and it could be interesting to do clips as each piece is changed out (pots, caps, p/u's) and see how much "evolution" of tone occurs.
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Unread 10-30-2010, 07:51 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sixstring531 View Post
-snip-

Anyone know about the RS guitarworks bumble bee looking caps?
I think RS sells Luxe - I'm pretty positive I got my Luxe caps from them. Of course they sell the Jensens and stuff too. Anyway, I had another thread where I stripped the cover off the repro grey tiger and it was a nice PIO cap, but of course you are paying for the very nice repro cover and packaging vibe as much or more than the particular cap.

edit: link to the pics and i think the luxe grey tiger and bumblebee from luxe are alleged to be the same underneath but i haven't checked. http://http://www.kernelofwisdom.com/02-10/uncloak.html
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Unread 11-01-2010, 09:24 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Just got my PIO k40 whatchyoumacallits in the singlecut and first impressions aren't what I thought - a little too muddy for my taste - so I put the orange drops back in. Funny thing though, I had the neck pickup wired (the guitar is 50s wired) wrong - had (previously, before the PIO installation)the .015 cap going from the left lug of the tone pot to the left lug of the volume pot. It worked and sounded great to me before - but now I wired it correctly and when I turn the neck pickup down a little (with both pickups on) it's not as sharp as it was. Almost like it's taking a little tone out of it.

Weird. How did it work the way I had it wired before?
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Unread 11-04-2010, 04:04 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

has anybody here tried the Russian poly caps? K-73s... I'll be trying some that Jonesy kindly has sent me.
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Unread 11-07-2010, 11:42 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Great thread - just had a thought tho

has anyone tried soldering a couple of these babys to the pot lugs to make switching caps for testing simpler???

Component Socket 30 Pin - Detailed item view - Doctor Tweek DIY Pedal Parts in the UK

I have some on order for a pedal build - think I'll give it a whirl!
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Unread 11-07-2010, 11:53 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kernelofwisdom View Post
I think RS sells Luxe - I'm pretty positive I got my Luxe caps from them. Of course they sell the Jensens and stuff too. Anyway, I had another thread where I stripped the cover off the repro grey tiger and it was a nice PIO cap, but of course you are paying for the very nice repro cover and packaging vibe as much or more than the particular cap.

edit: link to the pics and i think the luxe grey tiger and bumblebee from luxe are alleged to be the same underneath but i haven't checked. http://http://www.kernelofwisdom.com/02-10/uncloak.html
I cracked open one of my Luxe bumblebees and it was a fast (high reliability) PIO cap
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Unread 11-08-2010, 06:11 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

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Originally Posted by cuthbertg View Post
I cracked open one of my Luxe bumblebees and it was a fast (high reliability) PIO cap

Hmm, seems now by these types of reports that Luxe is using whatever New Old Stock .022 PIO caps that they can source for there Bees?

I can understand and relate to that, because the available stock of those .022 NOS caps is really drying up fast.
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Unread 11-08-2010, 09:26 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

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I cracked open one of my Luxe bumblebees and it was a fast (high reliability) PIO cap
Interesting. The main thing you are buying with these I suppose is the relic outfitting on them which is well done.

There was a notion on planetz by a commentor that perhaps Gibson's pricing for their repros was justified by ultra tight tolerance testing by Gibson. I can't believe that as Gibson has never claimed it. I will do some capacitance testing on them when I get a few together to see how much they vary in that regard.

BTW if you have a pic of that I'd be glad to host it.
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Unread 11-09-2010, 04:48 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

[QUOTE=BTW if you have a pic of that I'd be glad to host it.[/QUOTE]

I don't at the moment, but I'm in the process of ordering some new pio caps with different values, so I'll crack the other one and take pics...
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Unread 12-21-2010, 02:36 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: New Capacitor Shoot Out.

As promised, I cracked my remaining Luxe cap and one that I got from Fake 58 here in the uk....

Unfortunately my .015 bumblebees got lost by USPS, so I thought bugger it and got some russian caps instead - which I am very plesed with, I'm probably going to bung the luxe one back in at bridge posistion if I cant find any russian .022s at a reasonable price
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