Busting Tone Control Capacitor Myths!

Discussion in 'Tonefreaks' started by Bytor1958, Feb 7, 2014.

  1. HogmanA

    HogmanA Senior Member

    Messages:
    866
    Likes Received:
    489
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2009

    What happened to the gold?
     
  2. Brocko

    Brocko Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,946
    Likes Received:
    4,761
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2013

    I think it was eventually turned into Klon Centaur pedals.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,335
    Likes Received:
    3,130
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    I dunno.
    I had my vintage tweed bassman fixed recently and my tech swapped a noisy carbon comp for a identical value carbon film to make the amp quieter. After listening I had him put the old back in.
     
    2 people like this.
  4. skindley

    skindley Premium Member

    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    134
    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    The plexi sound came from a vintage marshall of a particular period.

    The sound coming from a stompbox to emulate the plexi sound of a vintage marshall from a particular period is an "emulation" of a sound and as such is not the authentic plexi sound.

    It's simply capitalizing on Marshall's brand and heritage to drive sales.

    Abstract I know ... I hope that explanation helps. Good luck.
     
  5. Stinky Kitty

    Stinky Kitty Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,140
    Likes Received:
    6,819
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2012
    Speaking only from my perspective, there are things that scientific methods and instruments can not measure.

    Can you measure the depth and qualities of my emotions? You might be able to measure the physiological and chemical changes within my body during emotional states, but can your instrumentation measure the emotional type and the depth of my experiences?

    If not, does that mean that my emotional experiences are non existent?

    There is a Sufi teaching parable about a young mole who looks at a piece of frankincense his mother is holding up. When asked to identify it, he says, "It looks like a stone." The mystics use the parable as a way of illustrating that misleading conclusions may be drawn from using the wrong sensory devices. The mole's eyes are his least developed sensory organs. Had he used his nose, the most developed organ, he would have perhaps been more accurate in his identification.


    What disappoints me is that the two camps can't agree to disagree. One side *must* be wrong for the other to be right.

    A mind that functions in swirls of gray, rather than in the simplistic binary polarization of black and white, can indeed hold opposing and irresolvable concepts as containing truth without mutual annihilation or resolution.

    Just my 2c from the sideline. I came here to learn, and appreciate all of the positive efforts and energies that have been expended.

    Disclaimer: This is my unique personal point of view and does not negate the observations, facts, opinions, views, beliefs, faiths, illusions, or delusions of any other person, or mole.

    Peace out.
     
    2 people like this.
  6. RambleFX

    RambleFX Senior Member

    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    503
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    It's cute that you've gone to David's and my profiles and websites to try and come up with new insults.

    Clearly aimed at me, I guess it's my turn to play troll bait. You're right, I never explicitly say that my pedal is indeed a pedal and not literally a Marshall™ amplifier. I'd be happy to discuss my circuit with anyone, but explaining it to you seems like an impossible task. I also have no desire to explain my full qualifications to you, but if you're going to try and insult me by calling me an "engineer", you can drop the quote marks. I know to you, that is a person who drives a "choo choo", but I had to go to school for 4 years and study math, and physics, and other stuff you don't believe in.

    You probably are upsetting some people on this forum, but since outing yourself as a troll with complete idiocy, I just find you amusing. Annoying...Still very annoying, but amusing.
     
  7. Stinky Kitty

    Stinky Kitty Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,140
    Likes Received:
    6,819
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2012
    Your wisdom brings to mind the debates by Noam Chomsky and William F. Buckley. Two men of diametrically opposed camps that were also the masters of debate, and as such, could usually find some common ground.

    In my humble opinion Chomsky's observation to beware the zealot of any type holds true. He opined that an extreme view of any type, by nature, precludes the discourse necessary to find common ground.

    The whole structure of the debate has been set up as an attack. The titles of these threads are a perfect illustration - Busting the Myth. This pits science as storming the castle, trying to disprove what some hold as beliefs. This structure by its very nature sets up the opposition you have observed that impedes *useful* discourse. And perhaps triggers people to be so defensive.
     
    2 people like this.
  8. skindley

    skindley Premium Member

    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    134
    Joined:
    May 1, 2012
    I suppose you think Carly Simon wrote a song about you? Don't you? :lol:

    Yet you wrote, "All this stuff is hardwired in to us, so if you want to test direct influence your tests need to be blind. Double blind. Super Extreme Mega Blind. I've studied many published and academic psychoacoustic testing methods and tried my best to remain true to their models. Few testers bother with this, so few tests should be viewed as having much (if any) merit in my opinion." - Official Luthiers Forum! • View topic - Tone capacitors

    Evidently your own words "purport" exactly what you deny now. One doesn't have to specifically state "scientific analysis of tone caps" to be identified as attempting to exactly that!

    You've also stated in the same link:

    "This is a brief summary, and I obviously haven't expounded on all the details here. I've tested many more variety of caps than shown here, I've kept tolerances incredibly close, I've taken steps to include tested leakage (intentionally introduced to favor possibility of positive results), I've closely monitored residual capacitance and resistance and effectively ruled them out as potential interference - if you have a concern of the reliability of the tests or results, I've heard it from others and taken it in to account in successive test designs and evaluations. I've argued this topic enough (obviously), and I'm not going to argue it any more. If anyone has a better approach which is equally reliable and repeatable, by all means go for it and post your results. As a skeptic, I still hold pledge to be open to contradictory results if they meet basic standards of reliability, but I've just not seen any yet.

    Until then I can say with confidence - to the best of my knowledge, it's all hogwash. Stick a Power Balance bracelet in your control cavity and it will yield results greater or equal to a boutique cap."



    You've got no problem demanding reliable and repeatable results from others, and have criticized other cap tests published to youtube (just like you) by others ... yet have issues when the same standard is applied to your own methods and conclusions. Your results are not reliable, valid, or repeatable.

    If and until you can rectify that none of the name dropping, huge-ass explanations, and condescension means anything ... you're just not credible.

    :lol:
     
  9. David Collins

    David Collins Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,066
    Likes Received:
    792
    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    You have an incredible gift of creative interpretations Skindley. I point out the efforts I've made to study established and accepted testing methods, and use this to better arrange reliable controlled tests to strive for the most objective and reliable results as reasonably possible within my resources. Now clarify please - how does this make my results less valid?

    How the hell is do you find that my own words regarding the depths to which I've engaged in study on these matters somehow "purport" any remote contradiction to what I've said here? I modestly decline to claim execution of a "scientific analysis of tone caps" (note: your original words, not mine), but since I also point out that I have edumacated myself in psychoacoustic testing and survey methods in order to hold closer to methods already refined and recognized as reliable, that I'm somehow contradicting myself? Is going to great efforts to attempt to hold as true as possible to scientific methods, yet humbly decline to acknowledge having achieved perfection toward this goal somehow incriminate me of hypocrisy, and make their tests less reliable than those who have made no efforts at all to study, follow, or even contemplate any methods of reliable scientific testing?

    Cue Twilight Zone music....

    My tests are repeatable. Anyone with a meter, a switch, a stash of caps, a guitar, a friend to assist with blind arrangement and switching, and the will to complete the tests without cheating can repeat this. The method is indeed very reliable, valid, and repeatable as a controlled listening test.

    And you think I'm trying to hold others to higher standards for evidence than my own? Please, give me a break. Where's the double blind listening test where anyone can demonstrate their ability to tell a smooth PIO from a gritty ceramic? Please, show me the tests you speak of, and explain how I am somehow holding them to more stringent standards than my own.

    You've spun some things pretty far before, but this one is stretched out so far that I can't remotely follow what's going through your head here.

    Anyway, back to my questions put to you. What is the evidence you base your opinion on, an who would you trust as an expert for consulting on this matter?
     
  10. DavidRamey

    DavidRamey Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,466
    Likes Received:
    1,414
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2013
    A lot of people think that the 1959 Les Paul Standard finished with a burst is the "Holy Grail" of tone from a guitar. The electrical tolerances were very large back then. Some of those guitars sounded wonderful and today they look like a worn out POS because they have been played for the last 55 years. The guitars that didn't have "that tone" were not played and today look pretty good and hanging on collector's walls. To duplicate that good tone, we need to duplicate those guitars as closely as possible. This is the difficult part of this because we can't even agree which of those components produced that tone. To make matters worse, some of the components are no longer manufactured. So we all go about it our own way to try to duplicate that tone. We can't use scientific method to prove one's opinion. Not everybody hears the same way as others. Some of us spent earlier years standing in front of 120 db Marshall stacks and it is a wonder that we can even hear anything.

    Now, back to the arguments (entertainment).
     
    2 people like this.
  11. ARandall

    ARandall Senior Member

    Messages:
    10,832
    Likes Received:
    6,022
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2012
    ^its a lot of these 'not manufactured anymore' components that help.....or I should say that these are the missing link - ALL components need to be looked at. A lot of the winders say that the composition of magnets has changed significantly, meaning one very important aspect of tone is almost un-reproducable. Others also fly the flag of vintage or NOS tubes for amps. I wonder if the same is true with some of the other aspects of the electrical circuit.
     
  12. Brocko

    Brocko Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,946
    Likes Received:
    4,761
    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2013
    Ctrl C, Ctrl V - the hallmark of a time wasting troll!

    If you are going to criticise someone's results, method or conclusions, you have to be very specific. Simply stating things like 'you tube compression masks results' or 'you haven't controlled the environment' are too broad. If you are challenging someone else for not being precise enough, you cannot then make that same mistake yourself. So, if you want to criticise the use of YouTube, quantify how much variance in the results that medium could account for, or what degree of influence it could have in specific numbers and parameters.

    If you cannot provide this level of criticism, you expose yourself as not having the necessary knowledge to make that type of statement - (as my old uni lecturer put it, you are just some guy talking down the pub). If you can, then thats great as you give the researcher help in refining those tests the next time round.

    Think on this next next time you criticise someone else's work.

    The same goes on the other side, when vendors are criticised for selling snake oil (something I have been guilty of in the past). Before undermining someone professionalism, honesty, integrity etc. you need to back up your statements with some hard facts and precision. You see it often - 'well I'm an EE, or a guitar tech and you are talking BS, but I don't have the time to give you a full explanation' . Sure but you had the time to jump on them and criticise them though...

    The internet makes it VERY easy to criticise others and in some ways the medium almost encourages it. This video gives a very good overview of this:

    http://youtu.be/UNCTNH9NWOo
     
  13. freefrog

    freefrog Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,170
    Likes Received:
    619
    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    David, I’ve read all your answers, quickly but with the uttermost attention.


    Brocko, thx for the nice story about the devil’s hat.


    Yeti, thx for your answer!


    QReuCk: I’ll reply below.


    Stinky Kitty: thx for your post about Chomsky and Buckley. You and me have the same perspective.


    I’ve liked many other replies but giving a “like” to each would appear as demagogic. :)

    Everybody: each of us has a life. Mine is as full as yours of time consuming realities that I won’t describe here. So my contributions will remain necessarily sporadic (although I type fast and always write too long answers).


    I must admit too that I’m tired: this anecdotic question of caps takes way too much place. It was initially associated in my mind with a pleasure to experiment and to share my findings. It has changed in a time consuming and vain struggle against the windmills of incommunicability. Not exactly what I’d like to do with my life.


    David,


    Here are a few reasons why I’ve avoided any peremptory conclusion and why the guitar cap question has been submitted to some students in electronics here:


    -blind test: it’s more or less easy to notice a tonal change with a familiar gear that WE play. It’s a whole another story to recognize what is the cause of a subtle difference between two tones equally unfamiliar and coming from something else;


    -IME, difference between caps appear to depend on the rig used and even on the caps themselves… IF there’s a difference, it involves many complex and subtle parameters making the result apparently random;


    -repeatable tests: the few screenshots that I have meticulously (and painfully) tried to make readable with “PhotoFiltre” appear to me as suggesting that at least some of my results are repeatable WITH THE CAPS THAT I’VE TESTED.

    The concrete difference between discrete components is something that we must keep in mind IMHO (see Cyril Bateman saying that SOME caps only are producing unexpected THD even at low voltage, despite of their normal measured specs).


    -About smooth PIO and gritty ceramic, I can’t help to recall that : http://www.mylespaul.com/forums/tonefreaks/85880-vintage-bees-50s-wiring-tone-test-comparison.html



    To be clear: my experience is mixed too.


    All the caps tested in my screenshots above have been tried in a guitar. If we forget the slight shift in resonant frequency, cap 1 could be considered as totally neutral. Cap 5 noticeably changed the tone, even with the pickup full up. The others were between these two extremes, changing the notion of “difference” in a moving target.
    Impossible to tell if I heard a difference because of the screenshots or if the screenshots were translating the nuances that I heard. Any choice between these options would be biased.



    Other remarks:


    -I’ve a cheap ceramic disk in my 2d Strat with Duncan’s and cheap no name chicklets in half of my 10 other electric guitars. Reason : I’ve noticed no clear difference in their sound with various caps.


    -Bill Lawrence (RIP) was one of the winders saying that caps make no difference. I’ve not been surprised by his statement because before to read it, I had tried various caps with a pair of BL’s (modern wiring) and had heard nothing special.


    -Same thing when I’ve tried several caps with Duncan Rails & modern wiring: no difference or at least, no benefit.


    -Same thing with a pair of Di Marzio or with a hot PRS pickup, always with modern wiring: if I had put a potato instead of the cap like Jonesy did, I’m not sure that it would have changed the sound to my ears.


    -It's another story IME with vintage style and/or hand wound / scatter wound PU's (not necessarily expensive: just those having this character, like the pair of Skatterbrane that I’ve won here).


    Especially when paired with 50 wiring, as soon as a pickup exhibits a bright clear transparent tone, has a good dynamics and is harmonically complex, unexpected changes start to appear between some caps of the same value (not with all of them).


    But it remains apparently random: a 47n / 100v Orange Drop tested with my Duncan SSL1's had no special tone to my ears and didn’t affect my screenshots. All the 22n / 400v of the same batch that I’ve tried in my amps and guitars, conversely, appeared to diminish the THD in the mids and to brighten the tone.

    -Same mixed experience with the vintage guitars that I've modified, refreshed or repaired for my friends. In some cases, caps don’t matter. In other cases, a change seems to happen – although it’s not necessarily noticeable through any amp or rig… And when the caps involved are measured, they have apparently normal specs.


    -That's precisely why I've started and keep to experiment with these things : how to decipher this random difference, that only some caps, guitars and amp /rigs send to my ears ? if this difference is an illusion, why does it reflects in my screenshots, through various tests ? Why does it disappear from the screens with caps which don’t alter the tone ?


    -Having worked hard to obtain the highest possible diplomas in my own field of competence, I don’t think to be naive and I consider to be intellectually trained against basic illusions. I’ve never denied the risk of experimental artifacts. Yes, professionals give me caps to test, lend me their testing gear, open me their lab at school, help me to refine my methodology and to calibrate the testing rig used, measure the specs of caps when I ask them to double check it. But it’s always me who do the tests (varying them way too often) and I’m just a hobbyist. Now, if I’m facing a vast illusion, it’s a pretty consistent one until now, since my screenshots reflect it through different tests.


    That’s all folks (God, we hope so).:lol:
     
    1 person likes this.
  14. Stinky Kitty

    Stinky Kitty Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,140
    Likes Received:
    6,819
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2012
    Thank you again freefrog for your well considered, well spoken analysis!

    It seems that this incessant debate is prime opportunity for one of the creative inventors here to develop a device capable of better measuring the qualities in question.

    Who ever invents such a new sensory tool will hopefully reap the benefits of the revenue from whatever new patents might be involved.
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. RambleFX

    RambleFX Senior Member

    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    503
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2011
    Freefrog, your testing methodology is exactly how I would tackle the experimental analysis of this if (I were more ambitious). Even though the circuit theory side of it shows a conflicting result, it was based only on frequency response. The data that you are collecting appears to show some nonlinearity, as you have pointed out. I'm not sure why that would be, which is exactly the purpose of tests like these, to better understand things. The whole perception debate is something entirely different. I'm not sure why the scientific process is met with so much objection on this forum, although it seems to be coming from just a couple people.
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. LtDave32

    LtDave32 Sua Sponte Super Mod Premium Member

    Messages:
    24,727
    Likes Received:
    67,321
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2010
    Mod note*

    We've been encountering a ton of reported posts concerning this thread.

    If it persists, and the usual suspects can't keep a conversation going without making things personal, I'll close the thread.

    Pity, because there's some really great info in here, and some great dialogue.
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. madryan

    madryan Senior Member

    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    225
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    This can be a legit factor. Resistors can be funny and old CC resistors in particular will often behave differently as they heat up. It's tough to get a feel for how a particular piece is behaving in a circuit at operating temps and whatnot.

    If I had to guess, what you heard as a difference was actually the resistor drifting slightly one way or another as it heated up. Carbon Film or Metal Film resistors tend to be quite a bit more stable.

    But, the other side of the equation is you can get the amp built, then tweak the tonestack to get it to sound exactly how you want it to sound and it'll sound that way consistently for the foreseeable future.

    I've done some plexi type builds with Metal Film resistors that sounded incredible. You just need the right values in the right place.

    Just my opinion, it's probably worth what it cost ;)
     
  18. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,335
    Likes Received:
    3,130
    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Could be, but the CC resistor was cold when my tech put it back in, it just sounded better right away, i couldn't put my finger on it and I'm usually not opposed to maintenance and replacing aged parts when needed. There was certainly no expectation bias on my part.
    My tech just looked at me and shook his head.:)
     
  19. madryan

    madryan Senior Member

    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    225
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Totally depends on where in the circuit the resistor was, how much current is flowing through it. It could have heated up in seconds, or it could have heated up in minutes, or not at all.

    Some stuff in the amp you never really hear. It just adds noise. I totally believe you though. About 80% of amp stuff is voodoo magic. It's fiddling with the thing to make it sound amazing and sometimes swapping in a particular part makes a difference, and I'm talking that particular, individual part, out of a bag of identical parts.

    It's weird.
     
  20. Alligatorbling

    Alligatorbling ★AstroCat★ Premium Member MLP Vendor V.I.P. Member

    Messages:
    41,302
    Likes Received:
    46,666
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    guess what i did to my gibson sg 60s special tribute night before last? i .... ::gasp:: pulled the caps out all together and have the tone knobs in there as dummy knobs lol

    each pup now has a volume control and thats it. =)

    i was running one of the pups thats in it now in a prs se one for a while with a single volume setup and really liked the way it sounded, so i went that route with both pups in this guitar.
     

Share This Page