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Thread: Guitar Amp Grade Capacitors ???

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    Supporting Member loudthud's Avatar
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    Guitar Amp Grade Capacitors ???

    I just read in the Kendrick newsletter that Kendrick is selling their own capacitors. Gerald claims they are modeled after the Sprague Atom caps with non-etched foil.

    Kendrick Amplifiers Online Store: 20UF 500 volt Filter Capacitor

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    WARNING! Musical Instrument amplifiers contain lethal voltages and can retain them even when unplugged. Refer service to qualified personel.

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    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loudthud View Post
    I just read in the Kendrick newsletter that Kendrick is selling their own capacitors. Gerald claims they are modeled after the Sprague Atom caps with non-etched foil.

    Kendrick Amplifiers Online Store: 20UF 500 volt Filter Capacitor
    custom printed mylar shrink tubes are getting reasonable I guess...

    he advocates a 70uf->220uf switch for Fenders,
    Kendrick Amplifiers Online Store: 220uf 350 volt filter capacitor
    wonder what the cap on the inside is? (kidding!)

    they are cheaper than Atoms..but most things are.

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    "These full size capacitors are perfect for upgrading the 70 uf 350 volt Main filter capacitors found on mnost [sic] Fenders. It keeps the amp in tune at louder volumes and discourages out of tune ghost notes."

    I used to have problems with my going out of tune, especially in drafty venues, but now with the great advances in electronic tuners I don't have to worry!
    I hear Gibson is coming out with a "Robot Amp", which re-tunes itself to keep up with the "Robot Guitar".

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    Senior Member fyl's Avatar
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    I just read in the Kendrick newsletter that Kendrick is selling their own capacitors. Gerald claims they are modeled after the Sprague Atom caps with non-etched foil.
    They look like Xicon or Richey OEM caps.

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    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
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    Much has been made about "regular" guitar amps creating a discordant sound with certain chords and/or notes, by GW (EVH's rapid beating of the major third?)

    GW: "The "out of tuneness" in classic tube amps is caused by inadequate filtering in the power supply.When more current is used, you need more filtering. Turn up your classic Fender (or Fender copy, reissue,etc.), Marshall or Vox and notice the ugly "out of tune" sub-harmonics - especially when playing a "B" or "B flat". Maybe I shouldn't have told you about those "out of tune" sub-harmonics found in other classic amps. Ignorance is bliss. If you haven't noticed them before, you most certainly will now. The GWSA tone is pure and "in tune" at any volume - thanks to a superior design in the power supply and highest quality American-made filter capacitors."

    If this "problem" is solved by different caps, preamp topology or the Buzz Feiten Tuning System is unclear in my mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tedmich View Post
    Much has been made about "regular" guitar amps creating a discordant sound with certain chords and/or notes, by GW (EVH's rapid beating of the major third?)(emphasis added)
    This could have something to do with equal tempered tuning - guitar design is based on an equal tempered scale, and major thirds will always beat on a properly tuned guitar, as they are significantly sharp compared to the pure major third defined by the harmonic of the fundamental frequency.

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    I've heard that "ghosting" on lots of recordings (AC/DC, VH, whatever), and I think it really bothers some people but unless droves of listeners are throwing these recordings out due to the "problem" I'm not really buying this. There was a thread on ghosting in Marshalls and IIRC I had to point out sections of a song where it was, so if it was non-obvious to someone who (I assume) plays guitar, then I think you have to wonder if this is actually some sort of universal problem.

    (sry) bit OT, but man have axial electros gone expensive! (Was checking out sources/prices for 100uF/350V for an old Guyatone.) 10x or more than a radial.

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    There is also the phenomenon of (sum and) difference frequencies which can add a low tone when playing two (or more) notes together. This can be really apparent when playing two-note intervals with a lot of distortion/gain, especially when you are bending one of the notes. You can hear the low tone of the difference frequency changing in pitch as you bend the played note.

    I believe this is a property of acoustics/physics and doesn't always mean there is something "wrong" with the amp.

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    Senior Member Regis's Avatar
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    Shoot, we're guitar players. Who cares about playing in B flat?

    B Flat is for those damn goatee wearing, beret topped, snooty ass jazz playing sax players.

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    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Regis View Post
    Shoot, we're guitar players. Who cares about playing in B flat?

    B Flat is for those damn goatee wearing, beret topped, snooty ass jazz playing sax players.
    then to hell with it!

    I have to take your word for this as I believe notes songs and keys are antiquated concepts which hold back my noise production.

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    Noodle of Reality Steve Conner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Regis View Post
    Shoot, we're guitar players. Who cares about playing in B flat?
    +1

    Interesting observations about beating, dissonances, tempering and so on, though.

    I think quite a few guitar players will subconsciously correct intervals like major thirds by bending one of the notes a little.

    I also agree that high gain gives you dissonant beats and throbs, power supply ripple or not.

    And finally, on the original topic, what's this about non-etched foil? The whole point of etching the foil is to get more capacitance for the same physical amount of foil. Half the capacitance in twice the case size, must be a good thing, right?

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    Senior Member fyl's Avatar
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    And finally, on the original topic, what's this about non-etched foil?
    Etched foil caps offer higher volumetric efficiency but show slightly higher ESR and can't stand as much ripple current as plain foil models.

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    All those vintage amps suffering from ghost notes is probably not for lack of being made with good quality, low ESR caps. It's more likely because most of those amps have OLD caps and/or grounding schemes that aren't ideal. GW is just using this phenomenon as a selling point. I'm all for better caps though. Some guy's say 'Low ESR, schmoe ESR. It doesn't matter enough to care'. I personally like low ESR caps for my builds. But I've read there have been times when a higher ESR cap improved overall tone. I think the subject is still up for debate.

    The amps I've been building lately use plain ATOM caps. I try to idealize my grounds and I get no audible ghosting. These are high gain non master volume amps that live with the volume cranked. Much higher gain than any vintage amp.

    GW is up to his snake oil sales techniques to infer that vintage amps used a lesser cap than the ones he's using. Too bad too, because if you weed out the BS the GW Signature amp pitch sounds pretty good anyway. Selling pseudo tech to pie eyed players just cheapens the picture for me.

    Chuck

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    audio example from around 2:40:

    YouTube - Van Halen - Drop Dead Legs

    I listened to this over and over until FINALLY it dawned on me what that was.



    I actually think it sounds kinda cool.

    another one, about 3:40:

    YouTube - AC/DC - Back in Black

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    Old Timer tedmich's Avatar
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    Ironman II cross promotion forced embed disable on AC/DC vids, but we get the idea.

    beating notes is how every guitarist tunes up right?

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    Bent Member Chuck H's Avatar
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    It's not beating. Dai was careful to find actual ghosting. Cranked Marshalls beat like crazy when you bend while playing more than one note and you can hear it all over the place (All Right Now-Free, almost anything from Angus, etc.). Ghosting is different and Dai did well to locate examples that show the difference. Ghosting happens because the musical note creates a differential tone with the power supply. Beating is usually the differential between two played notes. Although this phenomenon doesn't always seem to beat. It's often heard as a bassy drone underlying an upper register two string bend.


    Chuck

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    Quote Originally Posted by tedmich View Post
    Ironman II cross promotion forced embed disable on AC/DC vids, but we get the idea.

    beating notes is how every guitarist tunes up right?
    oh, I get it now. You thought that wasn't ghosting. Scratching my head for a second there.

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    Chuck wrote "The amps I've been building lately use plain ATOM caps. I try to idealize my grounds and I get no audible ghosting. These are high gain non master volume amps that live with the volume cranked. Much higher gain than any vintage amp. GW is up to his snake oil sales techniques to infer that vintage amps used a lesser cap than the ones he's using. Too bad too, because if you weed out the BS the GW Signature amp pitch sounds pretty good anyway. Selling pseudo tech to pie eyed players just cheapens the picture for me." I don't see that is what he is saying, he says that the Kendrick caps are modelled after Sprague Atoms, it's the value (100uf after the rectifier) that he is saying helps keep things together when pushed.

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    the kendricks caps look to be made in asia ( China, taiwan ?)

    I wont buy them but I'll buy Sprague Atoms or F&T

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    "the kendricks caps look to be made in asia ( China, taiwan ?)"

    Do you have anything to back that up with? If not, why post it. I don't see how that can be determined simply by looking at a photo. If you call/e-mail Gerald, I'm sure that he will tell you where they are made.

    But if we're going to play the guessing game, I'd guess US or German manufacture.

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    Senior Member fyl's Avatar
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    But if we're going to play the guessing game, I'd guess US or German manufacture.
    The lettering is typical of Richey, Xicon and other Asian manufacturers.

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    Xicon isn't a manufacturer...few of the accepted "brands" that we see are. Lettering & shrink wrap can surely be specified by the client?

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    Quick check, I can't find 40uf 500v, 20uf 500v in Nichicon brand? 450v seems to be the highest voltage.

    They are undoubtedly made somewhere, it's quicker to ask than to speculate.

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    Senior Member fyl's Avatar
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    Xicon has been producing caps since 1973 under the Transcap brand. Anyway this point is moot as they're phasing out their elco activity, replacing their products with Lelon-sourced models.

    http://www.mouser.com/pdfdocs/LelonXiconcaps.pdf

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    ALL asiatic caps have those black minus "arrow"

    I NEVER see that on US, German or other quality caps

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    Doesn't prove anything, doesn't even prove that all the caps with the Kendrick brand are manufactured in the same company...if you order enough caps from a company, I'm sure they'll give you pink shrink wrap with green arrows if you want.

    I rarely see Asian axial caps with a 500v rating, other than Illinois and Gerald is not selling them.

    Just ask him...

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    It's my experience with parts said that. But I don't have written proof from this company.

    But if I see a Strat with Epiphone peg head I will think it is not a Fender, but I had no proof, except experience.

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    Well, my experience says otherwise...but proof is proof, experience is experience.

    What did Gerald say?

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    Quote Originally Posted by stratele52 View Post
    ALL asiatic caps have those black minus "arrow"

    I NEVER see that on US, German or other quality caps
    One truism in USA and European manufacturing today is that there are two kinds of companies: those that manufacture in low-labor-cost countries, and those that are going broke.

    It makes me a little nuts to hear the mindless repetition of the idea that made in Asia equals low quality. Actually, it makes me a little nuts to hear mindless repetition of any convenient mantra.

    First, as noted before, it's quite easy to get a capacitor made for you with anything you want printed on the plastic sleeve. Second, how exactly do you know the origin of those "US, German, or other quality caps"? The odds are very, very high that the US, German, or other company gets them custom made in a low-labor-cost country and is just being quiet about it because of exactly the mojo myth that gets so readily bandied about.

    ==> NOTHING you see on a shrink-label gives you any assurance about where the part came from. <==

    I suggest you read this: Counterfeits for an introduction. It's probably worse if a product does insist it came from a quality manufacturer. That makes it a target.

    Second, I have real, direct, personal experience with getting stuff manufactured in Asia. I can tell you first hand what's real about it. Here's a sampling of reality.

    "Asian" is a convenient geographical term, not a monolithic group of people. If you ever want to start a fight, suggest to a Korean that he's Japanese, or a person from Japan that he's Korean, or a person from China that he's Japanese. Or Vietnamese, or, or, or. The "asian" you speak of is very large, and very diverse.

    They are, however, all either already or learning to be adroit businesspeople. They will sell you what you want to pay for, and what they can make money selling you. I personally lived through the era when "Made in Japan" was a synonym for "cheap junk". Ask the auto industry how that worked out over time.

    The villains, if there are villains, in the quest for quality are the USA/European MBAs who insist on selling the cheapest junk they can sell. You can get whatever you want from an Asian seller - including the cheapest junk possible. As well as counterfeits. But you can also get quality.

    There is a magic secret to getting quality anywhere. Hold on. It's...

    ==> You have to work at it. <==


    If you're willing to pay for quality, you can do it by simply writing big checks. That will (sometimes) get you good quality. Or you can pay for it by writing smaller checks and putting in the personal labor to get good stuff by educating yourself about what good stuff is and then going and working to get it.

    Sadly, there is a way to make lots of money by chanting the mantra that "only US/German/Euro/whatever is any good" and there is a section of the population that will not only accept that for the truth, they will repeat your advertising for you to show other uninformed people how much they "know".

    You want quality components? Put in the work to identify (a) what quality is, in numbers and not myth/legend and (b) manufacturers who provide that, no matter where the manufacturer is.

    You want quality that you can afford? You're going to have to work at it, not just repeat the mantra.

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    Old Timer Gtr_tech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dai h. View Post
    audio example from around 2:40:

    YouTube - Van Halen - Drop Dead Legs

    I listened to this over and over until FINALLY it dawned on me what that was.



    I actually think it sounds kinda cool.
    I think thats an octave effect (octave below). Thats what it sounds like to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gtr_tech View Post
    I think thats an octave effect (octave below). Thats what it sounds like to me.
    might be. I think he used one on one or more tunes (Mean Streets??). Also vaguely recall one inside his Bradshaw rack (a Boss).

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    Supporting Member Zer09's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Regis View Post
    Shoot, we're guitar players. Who cares about playing in B flat?

    B Flat is for those damn goatee wearing, beret topped, snooty ass jazz playing sax players.
    You mean like Chuck Berry?

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    Senior Member guitician's Avatar
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    The truth is..... If you want real quality....make it yourself!

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    the negative indicator and numbers/lettering looks similar:

    JESIN KOREA ‰¡Œ^“d‰ðƒRƒ“ƒfƒ“ƒT[450V100ƒÊ 22X40mm

    listed as "Jesin Korea". Haven't been able to find a website for the company so far.

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    Guitar Amp Grade Capacitors ; sounds like an oxymoron. I've read threads were guys believe it only costs a couple hundred dollars to build an 18 watt tube guitar amp, and now I see the cost for just one filter cap is over 5 bucks...


    In the old days, they used rolled paper and foil for filter caps. Maybe it's time to start rolling my own. "Probably would sound better too"!!!!!!


    -g

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