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Capacitor upgrade in crossover - You CAN'T handle the TRUTH! - Part 3

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Your update in a previous thread considering age altered caps is kind of limited, since you only included several of your old capacitors, all the same age and brand.

According to the results you got, considering a difference of capacitance with age, would you recommend a crossover rebuild (same design and part specs) after a period of two to three decades?
 

SIY

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However, if expensive capacitors do not make any change in the sound, why are they used by speakers manufacturers at all? If they all sound the same, why don't we just see a basic $3 crossovers in speakers, especially in ones under $1000-$1500 price?
Marketing for a particular niche.

Well-engineered passive speakers will very often have very ordinary parts, which is a good thing- "ordinary" parts will have been built for function, not for a story.
 
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Marketing for a particular niche.
Well-engineered passive speakers will very often have very ordinary parts, which is a good thing- "ordinary" parts will have been built for function, not for a story.
I do suspect that for a hi-end stuff, but for more affordable speakers it would be strange that a marketing income of fancy caps exceeds their expenses.
 

SIY

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I do suspect that for a hi-end stuff, but for more affordable speakers it would be strange that a marketing income of fancy caps exceeds their expenses.
"Fancy" is a relative term. I haven't seen $300 capacitors in $400 speakers.
 
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ctrl

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Thread Starter #145
Replacing one part with another of identical specs and getting the same result makes sense. However, you have to agree that there are many similar threads, posts and experiences from different users, who all claim they hear some difference.
You already answered yourself in your question: "they claim".
Where have you ever seen measurable evidence that the differences between capacitors (which do exist and are measurable, as I show) are relevant in the human hearing range?

But since there are always people who believe that all these measurements are not enough to describe the audiophile reality, I am currently preparing (whenever I have time and inclination) a fourth part about high-end capacitors. In this part there will be recordings for each tested capacitor, so that everyone can check for himself if differences are audible.

In order to make the differences between the capacitors as blatant as possible, I bought a high-end capacitor especially for the tweeter - Jantzen Alumen-Z-Cap.
I've never spent this much money on a capacitor before, but you guys are worth it to me;)

The fourth part of my series compares capacitors for around 0.3€ (cheapest remaining stock), 1€ (remaining stock, standard film capacitor, normal store 3€) and the high-end capacitor for almost 40€.
1610541562950.png
That should settle the matter once and for all.
Perhaps, contrary to expectations, there is a clearly audible difference, as it is always described in the "many similar threads, posts and experiences from different users" - I am curious about the result myself.
.
 

beagleman

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Hello to all folks around, I registered just to follow this thread.

Replacing one part with another of identical specs and getting the same result makes sense. However, you have to agree that there are many similar threads, posts and experiences from different users, who all claim they hear some difference.

Agreed, some difference may come from age-altered specs of old capacitors that were replaced with a brand new ones. However, if expensive capacitors do not make any change in the sound, why are they used by speakers manufacturers at all? If they all sound the same, why don't we just see a basic $3 crossovers in speakers, especially in ones under $1000-$1500 price?
I seriously doubt that a manufacturer would bother to put better caps in a relatively cheap speaker, if they don't do anything at all. Most of buyers (especially buyers of more affordable equipment) doesn't have a clue about that stuff and the rest of them won't really care.

Manufacturers tend to make decisions not only on sound quality, but what they think or feel will sell to certain demographics.

High priced caps and separate high and low frequency binding posts are part of that equation.
 
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I am approaching this topic again from a different direction.
I have a NAD M33 with DIRAC LIVE in operation and have the following experience.
As soon as I want to improve my listening experience with DL, I get a lifeless and cloudy sound (even with my corrected problem area of 50-100Hz only). According to the DL manufacturer, there should be no deterioration! Interestingly, I am not alone with this experience, as you can read in other forums.
I am assuming that the reproduction potential of high-quality loudspeakers cannot be fully captured by measuring microphones (i used a UMIK-1 and the original supplied measuring microphone). The DIRAC LIVE corrected result sounds now like a mainstream loudspeaker which is unacceptable to my ears. Other users have improved their listening experience using speakers which do not sound like e.g. an Avantgarde Acoustic or a large B&W with suitable equipment.
For me this is a indication that the measuring method is probably the bottleneck here. It could be the same with the capacitor measurements.
 

beagleman

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I am approaching this topic again from a different direction.
I have a NAD M33 with DIRAC LIVE in operation and have the following experience.
As soon as I want to improve my listening experience with DL, I get a lifeless and cloudy sound (even with my corrected problem area of 50-100Hz only). According to the DL manufacturer, there should be no deterioration! Interestingly, I am not alone with this experience, as you can read in other forums.
I am assuming that the reproduction potential of high-quality loudspeakers cannot be fully captured by measuring microphones (i used a UMIK-1 and the original supplied measuring microphone). The DIRAC LIVE corrected result sounds now like a mainstream loudspeaker which is unacceptable to my ears. Other users have improved their listening experience using speakers which do not sound like e.g. an Avantgarde Acoustic or a large B&W with suitable equipment.
For me this is a indication that the measuring method is probably the bottleneck here. It could be the same with the capacitor measurements.

You are saying that DIRAL LIVE does not sound right, after correction?

Or could it be, you are used to the original sound, and not used to the corrected sound yet?

I only ask, as I had the SAME exact experience, but after a few weeks, now feel the opposite.

I was used to the uncorrected sound, now feel the uncorrected sounds worse, after some time.
I feel, if anything, the listener is the biggest variable, or component that can be drawn into question.
 

levimax

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I am approaching this topic again from a different direction.
I have a NAD M33 with DIRAC LIVE in operation and have the following experience.
As soon as I want to improve my listening experience with DL, I get a lifeless and cloudy sound (even with my corrected problem area of 50-100Hz only). According to the DL manufacturer, there should be no deterioration! Interestingly, I am not alone with this experience, as you can read in other forums.
I am assuming that the reproduction potential of high-quality loudspeakers cannot be fully captured by measuring microphones (i used a UMIK-1 and the original supplied measuring microphone). The DIRAC LIVE corrected result sounds now like a mainstream loudspeaker which is unacceptable to my ears. Other users have improved their listening experience using speakers which do not sound like e.g. an Avantgarde Acoustic or a large B&W with suitable equipment.
For me this is a indication that the measuring method is probably the bottleneck here. It could be the same with the capacitor measurements.
Just because you do not prefer the sound of the DL filter does not mean measurements are missing anything... I am sure the DL filter results are measurable.... you just don't like them.
 
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ctrl

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Thread Starter #150
According to the results you got, considering a difference of capacitance with age, would you recommend a crossover rebuild (same design and part specs) after a period of two to three decades?
After thirty years, it certainly doesn't hurt to replace all electrolytic capacitors with new ones.

If electrolytic capacitors are installed in the crossover to the tweeter, I would replace them with film capacitors.

Of course, it would be best if you measured the capacitance of all the old and new capacitors, then it would be easier to determine the cause if there are any undesirable tonal changes after the replacement. On the other hand, at least as far as the crossover is concerned, your speaker sounds again as the designer intended - even without measurement (if the new capacitors are okay ;))

For capacitance measurement you can use Arta-Limp. The software is available in a free version - there you cannot save results, but this is not needed for RLC measurement. However, the familiarization with the topic "measuring with Arta" is very time-consuming and you need some electronic components.
 

levimax

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After thirty years, it certainly doesn't hurt to replace all electrolytic capacitors with new ones.

If electrolytic capacitors are installed in the crossover to the tweeter, I would replace them with film capacitors.

Of course, it would be best if you measured the capacitance of all the old and new capacitors, then it would be easier to determine the cause if there are any undesirable tonal changes after the replacement. On the other hand, at least as far as the crossover is concerned, your speaker sounds again as the designer intended - even without measurement (if the new capacitors are okay ;))

For capacitance measurement you can use Arta-Limp. The software is available in a free version - there you cannot save results, but this is not needed for RLC measurement. However, the familiarization with the topic "measuring with Arta" is very time-consuming and you need some electronic components.
Old capacitors is an interesting topic. I only have a "capacitance" meter and every old cap I have ever checked has measured within spec as far a "farads" are concerned. However in some "broken" equipment which exhibited signs that pointed to bad caps in the PS when I replaced the old properly measuring caps with new ones the problem was solved. So in addition to capacitance and ESR is there anything else that goes wrong with old caps? Do they need to be tested "under load"?
 

SIY

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Old capacitors is an interesting topic. I only have a "capacitance" meter and every old cap I have ever checked has measured within spec as far a "farads" are concerned. However in some "broken" equipment which exhibited signs that pointed to bad caps in the PS when I replaced the old properly measuring caps with new ones the problem was solved. So in addition to capacitance and ESR is there anything else that goes wrong with old caps? Do they need to be tested "under load"?
Leakage (electrical and chemical).
 

BDWoody

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Old capacitors is an interesting topic. I only have a "capacitance" meter and every old cap I have ever checked has measured within spec as far a "farads" are concerned. However in some "broken" equipment which exhibited signs that pointed to bad caps in the PS when I replaced the old properly measuring caps with new ones the problem was solved. So in addition to capacitance and ESR is there anything else that goes wrong with old caps? Do they need to be tested "under load"?
Make sure you wire them up properly...

 

Killingbeans

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However, if expensive capacitors do not make any change in the sound, why are they used by speakers manufacturers at all?
Because they make for a good story that sells. We all like products with attention to detail, and the myth of crossover components is a cheap way to score some points on that account.

If they all sound the same, why don't we just see a basic $3 crossovers in speakers, especially in ones under $1000-$1500 price?
If you open up a good speaker that doesn't have stories about the crossover as a central part of the marketing, you'll find that they actually DO have those "cheap" and "nasty" crossovers in them :D

As soon as I want to improve my listening experience with DL, I get a lifeless and cloudy sound (even with my corrected problem area of 50-100Hz only). According to the DL manufacturer, there should be no deterioration! Interestingly, I am not alone with this experience, as you can read in other forums.
Yeah, an accurate bass response does sound disappointing at first. It's not "exciting".

I had the same experience when I tried to EQ a pair of headphones for the first time. It sounds flat and boring to begin with.

It takes time for the brain to recognize and appreciate the control and authority of a good flat bass response.

Let your brain do some burn-in, or just enjoy the room modes without correction.
 
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You are saying that DIRAL LIVE does not sound right, after correction?

Or could it be, you are used to the original sound, and not used to the corrected sound yet?

I only ask, as I had the SAME exact experience, but after a few weeks, now feel the opposite.

I was used to the uncorrected sound, now feel the uncorrected sounds worse, after some time.
I feel, if anything, the listener is the biggest variable, or component that can be drawn into question.
I'll put it this way. I also listen to live acoustic music from time to time. When I listen to well-recorded material of a similar music genre with or without dirac through my speakers, I can already hear that after the DL correction, some things are no longer available, including the impulse-fidelity. It sounds further away from a live session.
 

Killingbeans

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Old capacitors is an interesting topic. I only have a "capacitance" meter and every old cap I have ever checked has measured within spec as far a "farads" are concerned. However in some "broken" equipment which exhibited signs that pointed to bad caps in the PS when I replaced the old properly measuring caps with new ones the problem was solved.
The farad value stays the same. It's the ESR that goes haywire.
 

trl

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Not sure if everyone else posted before, but I find this project the perfect candidate for using DeltaWave. Recording the audio under the same conditions, then comparing them with DeltaWave and see the differences.
 
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In order to make the differences between the capacitors as blatant as possible, I bought a high-end capacitor especially for the tweeter - Jantzen Alumen-Z-Cap.
I've never spent this much money on a capacitor before, but you guys are worth it to me;)

The fourth part of my series compares capacitors for around 0.3€ (cheapest remaining stock), 1€ (remaining stock, standard film capacitor, normal store 3€) and the high-end capacitor for almost 40€.
.
After thirty years, it certainly doesn't hurt to replace all electrolytic capacitors with new ones.

If electrolytic capacitors are installed in the crossover to the tweeter, I would replace them with film capacitors.

Of course, it would be best if you measured the capacitance of all the old and new capacitors, then it would be easier to determine the cause if there are any undesirable tonal changes after the replacement. On the other hand, at least as far as the crossover is concerned, your speaker sounds again as the designer intended - even without measurement (if the new capacitors are okay ;))

That's going to be some interesting reading! I'm gonna hold of my crossover rebuild until then. I don't have the time, nor equipment, so I'll have the crossover rebuilt. At least there will be someone to blame then :D:D It would be a good idea to measure the old cross tho.
How do you test for that?
Try sniffing :D:D
 
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