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Topic: What is the buzz: the V-Caps?

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Posted by Romy the Cat on 08-06-2007

Recently there is a lot of talk amond the audio hoodlums about the reported benefits of the V-Caps capacitors.

They have good press and good feedback from DIYer and manufactures, the web sites that sell them push the “right buttons” of the reader’s awareness… I was wondering if those caps are really good. I never used them personally.

We know that each few month there is new and new “revolutionary” part pop up on the market, those that are “the single greatest improvement “. We all fools look at this… try and… I’m sure all of us have a large box with “tried greatest improvement” that turned out to be just the “Sonic Paradise for Morons”. I certainly do not say that V-Caps are in the same boat – I just do not know…

Purely rationally, the ultra expensive V-Caps might not be necessary the greatest things of all. The V-Caps are tin foil caps but for the ultimate choice I would like to see cupper foil. The Teflon caps that I used in past were also not the greatest thing, in fact I did not like them at all. I presume that V-Caps might be different then the other Teflon caps…

However, what annoys me is the fact that the very same people who today drop saliva about V-Caps a few years back had expressed the same idiotically-exuberant behavior about the Black Gates capacitors, Hovland capacitors, the silver wires and the similar crap.  So, should I be informed or alarmed?

I do not mind to try V-Caps but what would I accept as a credible feedback for those who promote the advances of V-Caps? Continuing my other thread about meaningful Audio Critiques I would say that I personally would like to observe the LEVEL OF CRITICISM at which the V-Caps company (or their reviewers) would evaluate the accused imperfections of their competitors. I would like to see a list of clearly enumerated and clearly identified problems that other caps have and then a statement that V-Caps do not have the above mention problems. That would inform me that they are serious.

Otherwise I will be forced to read the enthusiastic feedback form Audio Morons™ who go all over themselves claiming that V-Caps made “each single instrument to sound separate from others… “.  That kind of “review” is making me worry…

Romy the Cat

Posted by Paul S on 08-06-2007

It seems like lots of folks use parts to try to tune/voice their systems, and the V-Caps are just another option, IMO.  No matter what people think of new parts as they break them in, they will eventually tire of the overall sound from their systems and/or they will become open to a change.  My own theory on this is that as long as the change is not obviously for the worse, it may be percieved as "better" for any number of objective or subjective reasons, even when the listener in quesiton is basically not equal to describing exactly what it is he is newly moved by.  I have not tried the V-cap because my sources say its primary attribute is "focus", at the expense of some other qualities, and this jibes with what I have heard from other Teflons I have tried.  I drew fire from you when I mentioned that the (stupidly expensive!) Teflon/poly "co-mingled di-electric" Cardas caps did a good job in my phono stage.  My choice in this case was based on simplistic trust in the component's designer, however, rather than any loyalty to or built-up expectaitons about either Teflon or Cardas, per se.  In other words, it was dumb luck for me that they "worked" to provide the ambiance and overall performance I wanted but had not gotten from other caps I had tried in that position.  Since this is the only place I've tried them, I can't offer anything else.

I try to listen through the blathering superlatives and spurious criticisms that form clouds around the latest and greatest to get to any meat available when reading about parts.  I find I can usually get a pretty good idea if I boil down a number of descriptions/opinions from various sources, some of whom I use as "references" not because I agree with them but because I can +/- count on my own reactions relative to their descriptions and proclamations.  Of course there is apt to be a measure of consensus at any one site due to herd mentality, and of course the paid reviewers must be read with a Thesaurus and a salt shaker close at hand.  My own approach has been to just mentally delete (or at least severally temper) the hyperbole.  Don't we all fall for things "too violently" now and again?

I forget just now who makes it, but I seem to recall that there is a copper foil Teflon cap available.  Might be a Rel-Cap. It is expensive.  I think Percy may still offer them.  One "technical" problem for me is that Teflon notoriously "cold forms", so I wonder about its performance over time.  Of couse I will tattle if the Cardas "co-mingled dielectric" caps go south, either in fact or to my fickle mind.

Has anyone given any thought to price versus cost (versus performance...) of these "exotic" caps?  Anyone for Deulund?  I think these are 6-nines OCC copper and hand-made Japanese paper infused with oil from milked-alive Antartic-cycle sperm whales (hence the cost/prices).

Romy, I did do a fair amount of fishing trying to find a "consumer" source for a matched pair of ElectroCube 950Ds. These puppies may not be expensive but they are "exotic" in their own way because hard to source for average chumps with little use for large-ish quantities of them.  Sometimes I opt to piss money rather than time.

Best regards,
Paul S

Posted by drdna on 08-06-2007

I tried the V-caps in my system and it changed the sound.  This is not a big surprise.  Any time you change caps, even to the same cap, it is not broken in and you have been soldering and tinkering with your system, and it needs time to settle a bit, I think.

It's not magic.

People spend so much time on capacitors because they are probably the weakest point in a circuit, as it is not just electrons flowing through metal.  Any time you can get toplogy where the electrons are just flowing through metal, I sounds better to me.  When you use a capacitor it is a lot like getting at the end of a long line at the grocery store and expecting that the clerk knows what items you have in your basket based on the collective murmurs of everyone else in line.

You have to think of the limitations of the design of a particular capacitor and where it is going to be placed in your particular circuit.

But you knew that.

Based on my studies, I would like to see tungsten capacitors made more available, but the cost (even a 0.05 mFd capacitor will cost about $500) is prohibitive.


Posted by Romy the Cat on 08-07-2007

Here is a good material with Chinese capacitor shootout

It looks like more or less intelligent writing, thought the caps sitting between stage and caps sitting in feedback work differently (constantly charged vs. constantly recharged). Still, I think they too much pleased with Russian Teflons, which are very bad caps. BTW, I herd that someone injecting Russian Teflons with some kind of special juice making them to sound better…

Rgs, Romy the Cat

Posted by Paul S on 08-07-2007
Well written article, I think, and he is good enough to share right away that he is a "vintage" guy, and an AN guy, which helps me contextualize his observations, even though he does not reveal the nature of the $$$$$$ "ultimate horn speakers" (Decware???).

I have tried quite a few of these caps, not as bypass but in larger values, without bypassing them.

For one thing, I agree that the Mundorf Silver is very interesting, but it is also obviously too rich harmonically, like those "instrument-type"/Helmholz cabinets beloved by the Japanese and a vocal contingent of the French.  This Silver cap might well be fun to play with in certain settings; it is "unique", for sure.  I have different priorities as far as "rankings" of the other caps go, but I can't say I disagree entirely with his descriptions, per se, as far as they go.

I also use big black Solens myself, in crossovers, and I agree with his observations on these: slow.  For me, it's a matter of getting around the Solens at, say, 100 uF, without a 1' square pile of something else, along with the concommitment blobs of solder, etc...  Time and space work in Solen's favor.  BTW, Solen makes the "Mundorf" caps, too, FWIW.

He can keep the Russian Teflons, and any other Teflons that sound like a better version of the Russian Teflons.

So far, the $$$ co-mingled Cardas is the most "natural" cap I've tried in a location where the cap is so very audible.  We'll see how it holds up.

Adrian, please feel free to chime in about the V-Caps...

Best regards,
Paul S

Posted by drdna on 08-08-2007
As always I tend to play around, experimenting with components in my equipment a little bit.  I strongly believe not enough emphasis is placed on topology and the physical layout of the circuit, as sometimes people forget that a circuit is a physical collection of dynamically interacting electromagnetic fields, not to begin to think about the quantum wave mechanics involved in delivery of electrons here. 

However, I will say in this application I find the V-Cap is very pretty, but I reject it for the same reason I reject many expensive components, as they do not share my objectives.  The low level resolution is exquisite but this is at the expense of audio neutrality.  Some aspect of musicality is excluded to provide the fien resolution and we end up with very detailed sounds but somehow the music is lost.  In this application I use the Jensen copper oil capacitor which I enjoy for its transmission of the musical neutrality, which I mean to say it delivers the soul of the musical event more accurately, even though I cannot hear every last detail.

Posted by Romy the Cat on 08-08-2007

 drdna wrote:
…… people forget that a circuit is a physical collection of dynamically interacting electromagnetic fields……

Isn’t it might a separate VERY large subject?

 drdna wrote:
The low level resolution is exquisite but this is at the expense of audio neutrality.  Some aspect of musicality is excluded to provide the fien resolution and we end up with very detailed sounds but somehow the music is lost.

Adrian, that was it! It is exactly why in many cases I am suspicious to hear from other audio people their comments about the “quality of sound” from various passive parts. The audio people do not look for “correctness” but rather for immediate quantifiable gain in mostly irrelevant characteristics (like resolution and etc). There are a number of products in market (including capacitors) that are made “just to impress” during evaluations. They are very bad products. I certainly, since I never used them do not say that V-caps are one of them….

There are other two very interesting subjects: how the caps “sound” in relation to:

  •  ….where they are located. The supply, bypass, blocking-coupling, signal, signal to ground, speakers, cathode, filaments, feedback positions all my have own idiosyncrasies as the caps will work differently and do the different things in these applications.
  •  …what is before and after a capacitor. I have seen as combination of passive parts did affect the output.

Rgs, the Cat

PS: BTW, it would be very interesting if you try my 950 cubes… You might be very surprised.

Posted by Romy the Cat on 08-25-2007

The Netherlanders Tony Gee after geting sick to fight with his stupid Fostexes and Lowthers have his run over capacitors.

The Cat

Posted by Romy the Cat on 01-18-2008

 Paul S wrote:
Romy, I did do a fair amount of fishing trying to find a "consumer" source for a matched pair of ElectroCube 950Ds. These puppies may not be expensive but they are "exotic" in their own way because hard to source for average chumps with little use for large-ish quantities of them.  Sometimes I opt to piss money rather than time.
The Electrocube caps, and I trued most of them typically are crap but not the 950 series. Even the 945 series sound very poor. The 950 is totally other ball game.

The 950 Cubes are no exotic. They are very available from Electrocube with $500 minimum order. If you try to fish them one by one then you have problems as need to look when retailers have left over from a large party.

Whoever would like to try the Cubes here is a rare opportunity:

Phone: 800-605-2323 
Fax: 800-605-3836

As now they have 90 paces of 950B1E205M that is 2uF 400V caps, $7.49 each. I like them quite a lot and I feel that they are at the level of RTX polystyrene, with slightly better upperbass, with slightly less aggressive transients and slightly more evenly balanced all-together. The Electrocube 950 is my preferred cap in Melquiades and pretty much everyone where need plastic caps, though in my phonocorrectors I use RTX.

The Cat

Posted by Paul S on 02-09-2008

One supposes good sound, but... come on, they can't be THAT good (can they?)...    Deulund tabs on the bottom of the page

They also say Jensen on them, meaning, I ass-u-me, that Jensen makes them for the Deulund fellow, just as Solen makes the M-Cap Supreme series.

If you insist, Deulund also makes other very boutique stuff, like resistors and coils.

As curious as I am I cannot bring myself to try these caps.

I wonder if the silver ones will go up in value over time, with the silver market?

Best regards,
Paul S

Posted by Muse on 02-10-2008
Hi to everybody,

I have used those caps: teflon V-caps, AN copper, Jensen copper, Siemens at the signal path of a tube power amplifier (300b SE) application. V-caps are technically very good, very clear, less microphonics, but missing something diffucult to decribe, they sound to me a little dry and not very exiting. Let's say not very musical. On the other hand, I think AN copper and Jensen copper are not very different compared to each other, I can say a little microphonic and warm compared to V-caps. The one that I really like is the Siemens (sometimes sold under the name of Epcos) MKV (B25839) series but not anymore manufactured. Still could be found through Ebay or some other sources. I found them as precise as V-caps but very musical. As an analogy it is like the difference between a good analog (Siemens) source and digital source (V-caps).

I used Mundorf silver for to upgrade my old speaker's (Klipch Forte) crossovers, overall it was better than the old caps, but cannot remember the details, it was long time ago and I'm not using those speakers anymore.


Posted by Paul S on 02-15-2008
Just saw these on the Stereophile cheap ads page.

I have used the AuriCap and it is OK, if you have to have a cap.

I have not tried these new Teflons, and I did not try to find the not-plainly-posted-by-the-goods price.

May I ass-u-me that the coy pricing means "expensive"?

"They" say that we can't get copper/Teflon or copper/co-mingled because they can't get the copper (foil) for it.

Yet the copper foil seems to be available for the $$$$ PIO?  (Not that I want to pay for the larger values of these...)

Best regards,

Posted by Romy the Cat on 04-07-2008

I am not sure who those people are. It might be Arthur Loesch or someone who cashes out on Arthur Loesch… it might be whoever and I have no idea about the credibility and seriousness of those people. I heard Arthur Loesch does not do Audio anymore, so… it might be some kind of dealer with a mask of Mother Teresa…

Anyhow, they have page dedicate to “A Methodology for the Comparison of Passive Audio Components or the Great Capacitors shoot-out”. You might find it worth to read.

Rgs, Romy the caT

Posted by Romy the Cat on 04-29-2008
I am now involved in incredibly interesting project (tell you later about it what have firm result) where I need to use a between stages a cap that cares 1V and practically no current. The best film caps that I tried were 100V-400V and they actually did not sound good. The best results I was able to get from lowest voltage electrolytic cap. So, somebody stop me!!! This is very critical application and I am in a verge to settle with electrolytic. Are any good quality file caps the rated for 16V?

Rgs, Romy the caT

Posted by Paul S on 04-30-2008
This is a signal cap?

Regardless, I'll bet we all use either Blackgate or Elna Cerafine.  I like the latter, most of the time, and they are OK on cathodes, if you must have a cap.

Apart from the high-pitched "rushing" (if the circuit is prone to it), Blackgates are far from the worst alternative.

But I would think you'd go straight to your computer caps...

All caps suck; what're you gonna do?

Best regards,
Paul S

Posted by horny on 06-04-2008
Obbligato Caps:



Posted by Paul S on 03-10-2010
What's the deal with all these expensive, small value caps?  Are people paying this kind of money to bypass their cheaper couplers, or what?

This spiel contains a lot more "technical information" than the Duelund, Audio Note, etc., so I guess it's more "official".  Still, what are we supposed to use these for?  Line level x-overs, perhaps...

Anyway, for those who have been waiting for Teflon di-electric AND copper foil...

Paul S

Posted by Steradian on 03-11-2010
Chris VenHaus comments, "The original production TFTF's are still fine at 600V, including the older, larger values over 0.47 uF (that were subsequently de-rated to 300V for NEW production). It was only when the NEW DuPont Teflon was supplied, that we felt we needed to derate the caps accordingly. Whether it was a tooling or reformulation at DuPont, we don't know, but something changed and newer film from our supplier wasn't making our conservative ratings any more."

This is speculation and only one possibility, but I wonder if the reason for the new CuTF series copper foil and teflon caps is because this unexplained change in the teflon supplied by DuPont forced a redesign of the V-Cap.  The TFTF series was said to be "neutral" without peer.

Posted by Paul S on 03-11-2010
The "reason" for the copper foil and Teflon film caps is to offer for sale the penultimate fantasy cap, with silver foil and Teflon film being the "ultimate" intellectual destination at this point and the obvious next move "up", if this copper batch flies off the shelves.

Of course, many audio products are touted as "phenomenal", with no noted problems, when they are introduced.  It is only when sales begin to slow that the pitchmen find something "even better" that betrays the suddenly-obvious flaws of the slow-selling former SOTA fill-in-the-blank.

My question is rather, what are we supposed to do with the limited values they offer these caps in?

Best regards,
Paul S

Posted by JOHNR on 07-27-2016
I have run each of these for long periods and can validly comment.

My power amp circuitry is a 6N1 based Mu Follower driving a 2A3 in turn driving a 3K Tamura amorphous core OPT.
The 6N1 tube is a special military type that is not freely available.

There are two caps in the circuit, a 0.15 uF 250 volt coupling cap within the MuF and the 2A3 cap is a 0.22 uF preferably 630 volt type.

These caps are noted in order of use over the past 3 years as the 2A3 grid drive......
The vcaps both old and new type (said to be caused by a change of Teflon type) will give you dynamics, musicality and everything else.
They do not take much to run in either.

The Jupiter early version, is a little coloured but gives a nice P.I.O. sound.  You will enjoy the music and will see no reason to change
The larger brown bodied version is superior and delivers what you want i.e. clean and fast dynamic and above all else, music!
Running in takes months but not years.

The Duelands are a bit special in a number ways. 
They took a year to run in.  At first the sound was the same as the VCAP.
And a bit like new Black Gates, each musical band changed over this extended running in period so I could never tell when the running in had completed.
I am still not sure if it has completed even today.
BTW, Jensen did have a role in these but not anymore.  Go to their website for their story.

During this period, no changes were made to the power amps themselves.

The most favoured cap in my experience is the vintage Jensen PIO BUT, it is the 0.22 1600 volt version.  The other voltages are somewhat slow. 
Alas you will not find them anymore.  I bought mine in a  job lot 20 years ago.


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