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In the Forum: Analog Playback
In the Thread: The K&K SE hybrid phono stage: a report
Post Subject: Caps du JourPosted by Paul S on: 2/6/2010
Remember the death and "re-birth" (via good electricity) of the big Cardas caps?  Well, it finally got to where things were not made good enough anymore by good electricity, so I went on the hunt again.  This time I settled on Sonicaps from Sonic Craft, namely the 5.1 uF 200V film and foil Gen. I, "bypassed" by .033 uF 450V Platinum (teflon).  Notice I did not go down in value from the Cardas, what with the R in this case being 10.5k Ohms.

To my knowledge, these caps are single-wound, nothing "special" except high-zoot electrical specs, and someone actually did targeted listening listening to them through development.  Right out of the gate, they were quieter than what the big Cardas had become, but withal the new caps obviously needed breaking in, so I hunkered down and endured them for 50 hrs or so before listening seriously.  At this point, my ambience is back, and song lyrics are easier to make out than ever, without "listening in" to hear them, and without vocal "highlighting", other than what the mix provides.

I suppose it's funny that I have never tried the TRT Dynamicaps, since what they say at their website while talking about them is pretty close to exactly what I think about caps, what they do wrong and how they should be made to sound.  Maybe I should have tried the Dymanicaps, but I have heard TRT's other cap models, each of which were preceded by similar spiels, and I was not impressed with them.  Still, I refer readers to the TRT site/Dynamicap spiel, for educational reasons, if nothing else. And, who knows, maybe they are OK.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch:
Likewise, I am not impressed with the Sonicaps; but I am pleased, if you know what I mean.  After only 60 -70 hrs, they are pitched considerably better than the Cardas were, apart from a brief period when the Cardas "settled" through to the right spot; but then they kept on going down, as HF went AWOL.  Also, bass with the Sonicaps is already as good as the Cardas ever were.

I admit that I actually like some of the classic "audiophile" stuff, like spatial ambience and extended frequency response, and the Sonicaps are starting to do a nice job with these things.  However, I first have to have adequate tonal variation that comes from saturation, FR harmonics, timbral balance, texture and intent, or I just don't care about the other stuff.  And the Sonicaps are moving in the right direction with these things, too, already plenty more than where the Cardas had slid to before I replaced them.

Being as greedy as I am hopeful, it seems like these caps are good enough now and they seem to be getting better.  I can't say whether they are fairly priced, but I can say I've paid considerably more for what ultimately turned out to be less.

Of course I'll cry like a spoiled child if these go bad, too...

Paul S

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