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Thread: help choosing capacitors: mallory 150 vs juniper vintage tone vs orange drop ..

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    help choosing capacitors: mallory 150 vs juniper vintage tone vs orange drop ..

    I have a bill of materials, as far as the capacitance, values go, but I have no idea how to choose what kind of capacitor, aside from electrolytics.

    the juniper vintage tone are like 5x the price, in the 5.00 range, compared to Mallory 150.

    I have seem a negative comment on the blogs about using orange drop (Sprague 715).

    Can anyone help? This is fora clone build of a Fender Deluxe AB763.

    Thanks!
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    Woodgrinder/Pickupwinder copperheadroads's Avatar
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    Nice thread . Always a debate Sozo vs Mallory 150 as well ...it would be interesting to see what others think .
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    "UP here in the Canada we shoot things we don't understand"

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    Quote Originally Posted by copperheadroads View Post
    Nice thread . Always a debate Sozo vs Mallory 150 as well ...it would be interesting to see what others think .
    I've used the Sozo Blues for cap replacements on Fenders. No complaints from owners on any tone change. They say sounds like it did before it started sounding bad.
    If they're happy I'm for sure happy.

    nosaj
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    Thanks!

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    I've used the Sozo Blues for cap replacements on Fenders. No complaints from owners on any tone change. They say sounds like it did before it started sounding bad.
    If they're happy I'm for sure happy.
    Funny thing I get the same review when using Mallory 150.

    Some rare customers bring me a box or plastic bag full of Sozos or some other boo-tiki parts. They like their amps' sound too, but they're a bit cash poorer for it. So it goes.

    Time for some Sunday Funnies:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    Funny thing I get the same review when using Mallory 150.

    Some rare customers bring me a box or plastic bag full of Sozos or some other boo-tiki parts. They like their amps' sound too, but they're a bit cash poorer for it. So it goes.

    Time for some Sunday Funnies:

    Me , I'm tone deaf when it comes to that stuff, but I do know I love a cranked tweed amp champ or deluxe.

    nosaj
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    Thanks Leo. I needed that!

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    I know I want the thing to "sound good" but I can't quite quantify that statement. I do know that I hated, with a passion, the cranked sound of the period Fender Princeton Reverb I had. But deluxes or most others sounded awesome cranked. The clean sound was just fine, though. So, after lots of reading, I *think* I understand that it was the cathodyne phase inverter that made the nasty clipping. Hence the choice to build a Deluxe AA763 type chassis. Now Im trying to sort out the component stuff, spending way too much time on it. I thought this would be easy. Actually, before I started on this thing, I though folks would have BOM's posted with component sources! heh. No such luck.

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    More cap choices. Nothing at all bad about MPP's, metallized polypropylene. Mouser used to have what I take to be an in-house line "Xicon," now they sell very similar looking and sounding Panasonic. FWIW I always get 630V rated caps. DigiKey and I'm sure other suppliers have them too. The "brown chiclet" Panasonic MPP is cheapest of the choices, they're tough and sound just fine. What to use, what to use.... ?????

    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    I know I want the thing to "sound good" but I can't quite quantify that statement. I do know that I hated, with a passion, the cranked sound of the period Fender Princeton Reverb I had. But deluxes or most others sounded awesome cranked. The clean sound was just fine, though. So, after lots of reading, I *think* I understand that it was the cathodyne phase inverter that made the nasty clipping. Hence the choice to build a Deluxe AA763 type chassis.
    Maybe the inverter but did you ever try swapping speakers? Not totally, just patch one amp's speaker into the other amp's output. That kind of comparison would tell you a lot: maybe too much worrying over amp components when the major driver of amp tone is what speaker it's driving.

    There is something to phase inverter tone especially when overdriven but I luv to bits the George Thorogood sound he gets from his dimed Princeton Reverb. Plus I get to hear in-person an excellent local guitarist who uses Princetons on some gigs, Deluxes on others, sounds terrific on either. No worries building the Deluxe copy though, and you don't really need both norm & vib channels, simplify where you can.
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    Recently I switched an orange drop to a Mallory 150 for my V1 coupling cAp in my build because I was finding a slight unpleasantness to the distortion tone. The orange drop has a bit more "klang" to rhe pick attack compared to the Mallory which was a little lighter andsmoother sounding pick attack.

    The next day I felt like a total loser. Lowering the cathode resistor of my cold clipping stage from 27k to 15k made about 1000X more impact to the tone than cap brand change, which in retrospect was just a vain misguided attempt at troubleshooting little nuances of the tone To try to make the amp sound better

    Perhaps the Mallory had more capacitance and that was why it sounded a tiny tiny bit different.

    I almost went down the rabbit hole but you gotta remember valuable advice someone said that I think is true, something like , "you should only choose components by brand when you're at the point that changing any component by value makes the amp sound worse "

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    I know I want the thing to "sound good" but I can't quite quantify that statement. I do know that I hated, with a passion, the cranked sound of the period Fender Princeton Reverb I had. But deluxes or most others sounded awesome cranked. The clean sound was just fine, though. So, after lots of reading, I *think* I understand that it was the cathodyne phase inverter that made the nasty clipping. Hence the choice to build a Deluxe AA763 type chassis. Now Im trying to sort out the component stuff, spending way too much time on it. I thought this would be easy. Actually, before I started on this thing, I though folks would have BOM's posted with component sources! heh. No such luck.
    Somewhere I read and have experienced that "Perfection gets in the way of getting anything done." I am not a perfectionist though. I've done some junkbox build (Visually nasty looking point to point stuff, Sonically awesome to my ears) stuff salvaged from organs and other electronic devices only using new electrolytic capcitors nothing fancy just what was needed to get the job done.
    Leo fender didn't hunt stuff down(well maybe cheap stuff) to make amps. Don't sweat it just build it and troubleshoot the build out and you Will find what you like because you can tinker with it.
    nosaj

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nosaj View Post
    Don't sweat it just build it and troubleshoot the build out and you Will find what you like because you can tinker with it.
    Gets my vote. In fact, build it on turret board, makes it that much easier to swap out parts.

    Also, Juniper ? ? ? Maybe Jupiter, that's a brand name brought back after a long absence, wax paper capacitors. Heck even Fender has their own overpriced wax paper & comb kazoo kaps. They've caught on to the idea they can make money too, why not, from selling boo-tiki parts. Do they sound just like 1951? Let's take a trip in the time machine & listen.

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    Also it really depends what forums you ask the question on because here people tend to not be particularly picky towards a brand with magic mojo but on some other forums they could probably do a 10 page thread and be having a blast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsubulysses View Post
    Also it really depends what forums you ask the question on because here people tend to not be particularly picky towards a brand with magic mojo but on some other forums they could probably do a 10 page thread and be having a blast.
    That's why I love this forum. I have seen loooong threads on a few other forums where people basically say if you don't use brand Y capacitor, you're a loser and your amp will sound terrible.

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    Thanks everyone!

    Yeah, I admit a bit of analysis paralysis (not wildly so, though) on the first amp build. Maybe a little too worried about building something that sounds terrible. Im starting to order parts, have the boards ordered, and next orders to go out are the transformer order, caps tube sockets and chassis orders. I will post the successes and failures along the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsubulysses View Post
    Also it really depends what forums you ask the question on because here people tend to not be particularly picky towards a brand with magic mojo but on some other forums they could probably do a 10 page thread and be having a blast.
    About 3/4's of them probably never done anything to amp before and just repeat what others have said. Brands no so much important as a properly performing component, but when the customer is paying and says what they want I tend not to argue or get into semantics. It is much easier to just do the work rather than offend their knowledge of what is what.

    n
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    Senior Member Enzo's Avatar
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    Context is everything. I appreciate you want to use good parts, but obsessing over cap brand is over the top, to me. I look at it like you are building your first GoKart, and you are concerned over microbalancing the crank shaft in a lawn mower motor.

    When I install parts, I tend to prefer the yellow Mallorys, the orange drops are big oversized hunky things. The orange drops make for a less professional appearance, at least to me. Tonally, the thing is going to sound like a Fender, whatever you stuff in there.

    The differences in cap brand tone I feel are going to be minor compared to the overall tone. When people compre brands, I doubt many of those people actually analyzed the individual caps. A Mallory 0.02 versus an Orange Drop 0.02 might have different capacitance.
    Education is what you're left with after you have forgotten what you have learned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    When I install parts, I tend to prefer the yellow Mallorys, the orange drops are big oversized hunky things. The orange drops make for a less professional appearance, at least to me. Tonally, the thing is going to sound like a Fender, whatever you stuff in there.
    This is it, for me. My 62 Concert is STUFFED with a mix of Orange Drops and the cheapest "crap" caps one could find, as some indiscriminate "tech" (hack) did a "cap job" on it. I find it hard to believe that EVERY capacitor was bad from water damage, yet it has 90% of the original Carbon Comp resistors. It also has 4 Celestions in it. Nobody would EVER confuse that amp for anything other than straight-up 100% Fender.

    I agree with Enzo - ODs are oversized, especially when you're working in a cramped chassis. Which a Fender DR can be in places. They're just not that aesthetically graceful on an eyelet or turret board...

    Justin
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    Senior Member SoulFetish's Avatar
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    These guys are giving you great advice. Component values have way more impact on the sound of your amplifier that component brand.
    I used to focus on component brand type when I was just starting out. I would worry about whether or not I was using best "sounding" whatever. I developed vintage component fixation (Oooooh Bumblebee caps!), and realized that so much of it was based on other people's opinion and what would trend one way or another.
    You'll probably find you may like one type over another for subtle nuance type reasons. If one sounds good to you, and if it isn't going to damage anything - it is good. If your choosing materials based on how they sound, trust your own ears. But, I promise you, if you start chasing "mojo" components base on popular internet opinions, you'll end up running around with your head up your ass and go broke in the process. To give you an example, I have no use for carbon comp resistors. I think they're next to useless, drifting failures waiting to happen. But, my buddy loves 'em. We're both happy.
    I say that because honestly, there are important differences between component types and what kind of material they are made of. But, the least important difference is how they sound. They are manufactured with different applications in mind and one may perform excellently in one application, while may be completely unsuitable in another. I would encourage you to make your component choices base first on the criteria given in the datasheets. I know, it may sound boring or overwhelming, but trust me, that's where the good shit is.
    When it comes right down to it, Mallory, Illinois, and Orange Drops are all being manufactured or discontinued by their current owner, Cornell Dublier.

    ..Now, as far as Orange Drops, or Mallory 150's go, Go with Orange Drops. Mallory's sound like shit
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    I use whatever crap I can buy cheap that is adequately rated. My cap box is full of xicons and panasonics for the most part, along with cheaper off brand stuff for messing around with. I've not notice any particular difference in tone, however, mallory 150 series are super useful if you want to solder caps to the back of a pot as they're much less likely to end up shorting on the pot.

    Lots of high end amps use what would be considered cheap crap by internet mojo gurus. Take a peek inside a splawn; it's all xicons for polys and resistors and JJ's for the filters. They sound fine to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zozobra View Post
    I use whatever crap I can buy cheap that is adequately rated. My cap box is full of xicons and panasonics for the most part, along with cheaper off brand stuff for messing around with. I've not notice any particular difference in tone, however, mallory 150 series are super useful if you want to solder caps to the back of a pot as they're much less likely to end up shorting on the pot.

    Lots of high end amps use what would be considered cheap crap by internet mojo gurus. Take a peek inside a splawn; it's all xicons for polys and resistors and JJ's for the filters. They sound fine to me.
    Thanks Zozobra, that is awesome news. Xicons and JJ's it is!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    Thanks Zozobra, that is awesome news. Xicons and JJ's it is!
    I used Xicons and WIMA MKPs in several vintage Fenders for best results, also 2W metaloxide types as plate resistors, great sound, no crackling fireplace soundscape.
    Zouto
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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
    Tonally, the thing is going to sound like a Fender, whatever you stuff in there.
    Those words should be cast in bronze
    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikepukmel View Post
    Xicons and JJ's it is!
    IF I have it right, Xicon was a Mouser house brand and has been discontinued. Mouser may be selling off whatever they have on hand, but AFAIK it is an EX-brand. You'll find Panasonics to be much the same, perfectly competent caps, and for all I know it's possible Panicsonic may have made the Xicons for Mouser. Then again I could be wrong about any or all of the above.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zozobra View Post
    I use whatever crap I can buy cheap that is adequately rated. My cap box is full of xicons and panasonics for the most part

    Lots of high end amps use what would be considered cheap crap by internet mojo gurus. Take a peek inside a splawn; it's all xicons for polys and resistors and JJ's for the filters. They sound fine to me.
    I was recently saddened to see Illinois capacitor brand in the power supply of some Soldano amps. The crappest of the crap. Once in a while I see this brand leaking their electrolyte in Fender HR series that. Are less than 10 years old. HR series is a pretty bargain bin amp so it makes sense Illinois capacitors are in there, but not in the soldano, which retails at $2300 or so. That's just sad. Of course it was also loaded with those maroon coupling caps that are pennies compared to mallory's or orange drops. Still sounded good to my not so golden ears. Maybe because the circuit design is good and produces a good sound.


    I am into quality parts for reliability and good performance but the brand of part for tone aspect seems to be a bit of a stretch to me.

    My customers are way more into it than I am. Which makes me believe they only are because they don't know how to use a multimeter or oscilloscope. It really takes the mysticism out of it.
    Last edited by nsubulysses; 03-21-2017 at 04:50 PM. Reason: Being too rude to fender
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    Senior Member SoulFetish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    IF I have it right, Xicon was a Mouser house brand and has been discontinued. Mouser may be selling off whatever they have on hand, but AFAIK it is an EX-brand. You'll find Panasonics to be much the same, perfectly competent caps, and for all I know it's possible Panicsonic may have made the Xicons for Mouser. Then again I could be wrong about any or all of the above.
    Xicon's gone too?! The selection of film caps to choose from is getting slim. Do a search for axial film and foil capacitors in current production. It's depressing. CDE plans on moving the orange drop production, from Barre, Vermont to Mexico, and if we're lucky, they'll maintain production of the 150's. Hopefully Electrocube can provide some affordable options for us, but last I checked their prices were obnoxious unless you could find NOS or overstock.
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    If you are trying to duplicate the sound of a vintage Deluxe Reverb with your cap choices, then you have to remember that the vintage BF Fenders were using the 'molded' caps, which are known to be paper and polyester. Paper is hydroscopic and attracts water, so even though those molded caps usually still work fine, they likely don't work the same way as they did when new. Some other paper caps such as the yellow and red Astrons that came in the tweed and brown Fenders are almost always leaky today from what I have seen. The SF Fenders used the other blue polyester caps which were great quality, and also some used the brown polyester caps which weren't the best caps when new. Those two types often still function fine today, though the brown ones don't sound the greatest in comparison. Some of the vintage Fenders used Orange Drops also in spots, though they were polyester types rather than polypropylene. All of the Orange Drops are film/foil construction so they are huge in comparison to the metallized types, and they are made for radial installation rather than axial. The 715 and 716P Orange Drops are polypropylene, and you would want the 4PS series, or whatever their polyester types are these days if you wanted to emulate vintage sounds closer. The brown Xicons are also made for radial installation, though they are metallized so they are smaller. The Panasonics are radials too.

    If you use polyester caps, no matter the brand, you will get closer to the vintage Fender sounds than if you use polypropylene caps, but we're talking subtle changes. You get even less change if you are talking about different resistor types. With caps and resistors, if you change value of the part, then you will have a much more noticeable change. Metal film resistors will result in a quieter amp than if you use carbon comp or carbon film. Vintage Fenders used carbon comp. Just use good quality parts and build it, then after it is built you can experiment for yourself by swapping in different parts. Just make sure that you swap exact value for exact value or there may be tonal changes due to the change in value of the part. There are a lot of good quality caps being made today that sound fine in all kinds of good circuits.

    For myself, I have tried metal film, carbon comp, carbon film resistors, and have tried all kinds of brands and compositions of caps, including some vintage ones I have around, and sometimes I end up using a mix of types as it is more important to use the desired value rather than the desired brand/composition. That said, I try to stick with metal film resistors except in certain spots (very few) where I might want the carbon comp distortion as it makes the noise floor of the amp much quieter. YMMV.

    Greg
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    Senior Member SoulFetish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundmasterg View Post
    All of the Orange Drops are film/foil construction so they are huge in comparison to the metallized types, and they are made for radial installation rather than axial. The 715 and 716P Orange Drops are polypropylene, and you would want the 4PS series, or whatever their polyester types are these days if you wanted to emulate vintage sounds closer.

    Greg
    Not all orange drops are film and foil construction. Type 725M is metalized polypropylene, and type 425M is metalized polyester.
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    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    I donīt worry about that, since I donīt care about Mojo (never could see, hear or measure it, nor know its parameters so .... )
    Always bought the best *standard* parts I could find, meaning "wharever all serious dealers carry"
    Being in Argentina long years ago used Siemens (now EPCOS) polyester and electrolytic caps, or Philips (local brands Fapesa or Miniwatt) , what youīd call "mustards", not because of Mojo but because they were the "standard - good ones which were available" and as a second line: "japanese" caps, the ubiquitous green ones you saw everywhere in the 70s and 80s.
    Brand? .... who knows/cares? They were Japanese and the standard parts used in Japanese Electronics, which were good quality consumer products, no need for better endorsement.

    Today? I ask the counter guy by stating value, not brand, and all work fine.
    Anything made by Vishay, Fairchild, ST, etc. is good.
    Even "third tier" Taiwanese TREC (or is it REC?) electrolytic caps work well, meet printed specsand last a long time.

    A very small percentage might fail, whatīs normal for non-NASA Moon-Mission less-than-U$1000-each parts might show.

    Massive parts manufacturers have cleaned their act pretty well, not for us mere mortals but for monster manufacturers who make millions of end products in automated factories, and where a bad 10 cent piece can cause them thousands of dollars losses, part for part troubleshooting is NOT an option in new massive products, what they need is a product that is built in minutes and can be shipped in bulk, without special testing ... that *DEMANDS* good reliable parts.

    I trust WAY more (and that is an understatement) parts made by the millions than any "custom" small scale made one, go figure.

    Just as an experiment, close your eyes and imagine this: "sweatshop capacitor factory in India, not even in Mumbai or Delhi but in a faraway Northern Province, so they benefit from lower wages, less strict environtmental control, Tax benefits offered by Government who wants to lower unemployment"

    Now that you imagined it, check reality:

    This is the sweat shop (finishing)section. Click twice on images for max expansion or open in a new tab, because they are *large*


    This is the actual production section. Again enlarge fully:

    These are the actual film winding machines you see above ; enjoy closeups:


    This is the "film" in "film caps":


    This is s Third World Resistor Factory, same considerations:


    Not only NASA/AeroSpace or Military are strict customers, many others need same level of quality, such as Oil Rigs, High Speed Train controllers and such:


    so when I see people preferring ultra obsolete worn/age degraded stuff over way superior modern stuff *just* because it was the best in the World 40 or 50 years ago, my mind explodes.

    Outside view of the "Third World Factory" :
    Juan Manuel Fahey

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    Senior Member SoulFetish's Avatar
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    Juan, the only thing I want to know is: How were you able to embed such big pictures??!
    I've been trying to do that forever. Is it because they have an http address, and are not an attachment?

    (sorry for going off topic)
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    Senior Member SoulFetish's Avatar
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    Oh, and I see your point, Juan. But I've seen so many high end mass produced electronics fail miserably from component failure.
    But while I don't believe for a second that large scale manufacturing is incapable of high quality standards, at the same time I don't believe that it guarantees it either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoulFetish View Post
    Not all orange drops are film and foil construction. Type 725M is metalized polypropylene, and type 425M is metalized polyester.
    Sorry, I should have been more clear what I meant. I was mainly talking about the common ones used in guitar amps or available at the usual suppliers...the 715P, 716P, 4PS, etc. Most people don't search out the other types.

    Greg
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    Thanks to everyone, what a great discussion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoulFetish View Post
    Juan, the only thing I want to know is: How were you able to embed such big pictures??!
    I've been trying to do that forever. Is it because they have an http address, and are not an attachment?

    (sorry for going off topic)
    He has Mojo and doesn't even know it.


    nosaj

  35. #35
    Old Timer J M Fahey's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
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    Oh, usually avoid attaching images (specially schematics) because this Forum Server now and then crashes in mysterious ways and only serves a 1 pixel .gif instead of what itīs asked for.
    So I usually click the Image icon on top, paste the http link but do NOT select the "upload and attach" checkbox , just let Forum grab it from wherever it is on the Net.

    Mind you, sometimes they also disappear but in general itīs the lesser of two evils.

    As of modern parts reliability: yes, of course, a few fail, and we get to see *those*, precisely because we are Service guys ... that said if same products were built with old NOS parts they would fail even more
    WAY more.
    mikepukmel likes this.
    Juan Manuel Fahey

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