Username: Password:

Author Topic: Capacitors, again...  (Read 2291 times)

shobet

  • Welterweight
  • ****
  • Posts: 1582
  • Look into my eye...
    • http://www.dusksky.com
Capacitors, again...
« on: March 06, 2011, 02:31:36 PM »
I hope we have some experts here that can direct me down the right path for these little things. I've searched through all the previous posts on the subject but I'm still not sure of the information, so I'd just like to gather as many opinions from those who've invested time and money in this before I get the soldering iron out and start spending silly money on some expensive caps.

I'd like to know what people think of the various types of capacitors, e.g. paper in oil, paper in wax, with either aluminium, copper or tin as the conductors. Metallised Polypropylene, polyester, ceramic, mylar, etc. Are the expensive ones worth the extra cost? Are there particular ones that favour certain types of guitars and music for instance?

I'm also interested in how people perceive the difference in sound is it quantifiable? Also the various capacitance values, how do they effect the sound? Is there a preference for hum-buckers versus single coils? is there a better range of values to use in a strat compared to those used in a les paul? I think that the guitars from the 50s had quite high value capacitors in them compared to the modern ones we get. Is there a benefit to this or were they just using what they had lying around?

I know a lot of this is subjective and also depends on the guitar, but I'm sure some of you have been through this before and can volunteer their experiences. I feel like a toddler with all these 'why' questions.
There are 10 kinds of people who understand binary.
Those who do and those who do not.

shobet

  • Welterweight
  • ****
  • Posts: 1582
  • Look into my eye...
    • http://www.dusksky.com
There are 10 kinds of people who understand binary.
Those who do and those who do not.

Twinfan

  • Light Heavyweight
  • ******
  • Posts: 10528
Re: Capacitors, again...
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2011, 02:55:25 PM »
For me, I can't hear the difference between types.  The actual (measured) value is what matters most.

I tend to leave guitars with the caps they came with, but when I've replaced them I've use Orange Drops, Hovland Musicaps, ceramic discs and some old paper-in-oil types.  I'd happily use any of them in any guitar as I couldn't tell any difference between them.

HTH AMPS

  • Middleweight
  • *****
  • Posts: 5649
    • HTH AMPS
Re: Capacitors, again...
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2011, 04:55:18 PM »
Sprague 160P's are what you want, these are the old 'bumblebee' caps and I was in the camp of 'they're all much of a muchness'; until trying these, now all my guitars have them.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190509195607&item=190509195607#ht_500wt_1156


AndyR

  • Welterweight
  • ****
  • Posts: 4710
  • Where's all the top end gone?
    • My Offerings
Re: Capacitors, again...
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2011, 01:26:44 PM »
I'm almost with Twinfan on this - definitely the values make the most difference.

I believe I can hear a difference between "bod-standard" ceramic, orange drop, and PIO... but it really is a matter of taste rather than better or worse.

Also, I've found some guitars need PIO if they want to satisfy me, others sound dreadful with PIO and sound best with ceramic ones (in one case I think I've even reinstalled the cheap Far East things it came with).

In general, my experience is that, depending on the guitar, I usually far prefer either the PIO or the cheap ceramics. Orange drops, for me anyway, always seem to come 3rd on the testing.

But like I said, the value makes more of a difference for me... if all I had was an orange drop of the right value, that's what I'd put in and I wouldn't think twice or start fretting about replacing it in a hurry.

EDIT: I am still prey to this subject though :lol: - if the guitar likes PIO, I feel far more relaxed that it's got the more expensive option in it!
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 01:28:24 PM by AndyR »
Play or Download AndyR Music at http://www.alonetone.com/andyr

Twinfan

  • Light Heavyweight
  • ******
  • Posts: 10528
Re: Capacitors, again...
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2011, 02:08:16 PM »
But did you check the values of the components you were using with a multimeter Andy?

Your Orange Drop might say 0.022 but actually be 0.025 or 0.018?  Same for the PIO?  You need to find two different types of the same actual value to make a valid comparison, then hook them up via crocodile clips to do an immediate back-to-back.  In that testing situation, I'd be amazed if someone could tell the difference between cap types.

Philly Q

  • Light Heavyweight
  • ******
  • Posts: 18109
Re: Capacitors, again...
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2011, 02:44:10 PM »
But did you check the values of the components you were using with a multimeter Andy?

Your Orange Drop might say 0.022 but actually be 0.025 or 0.018?  Same for the PIO?  You need to find two different types of the same actual value to make a valid comparison, then hook them up via crocodile clips to do an immediate back-to-back.  In that testing situation, I'd be amazed if someone could tell the difference between cap types.

That's a good idea.  I've been reading this thread thinking that once I've wired up a guitar, I can never be bothered talking it apart again to see if a different pot or cap would make a difference.  It's too much hassle!
BKPs I've Got:  RR, BKP-91, ITs, VHII, CS set, Emeralds
BKPs I Had:  RY+Abraxas, Crawlers, BD+SM

shobet

  • Welterweight
  • ****
  • Posts: 1582
  • Look into my eye...
    • http://www.dusksky.com
Re: Capacitors, again...
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2011, 02:54:53 PM »
The crocodile clip tip is in a video on one of the links I referenced above. I need to get my arse out of the house and over to Maplins.
There are 10 kinds of people who understand binary.
Those who do and those who do not.

AndyR

  • Welterweight
  • ****
  • Posts: 4710
  • Where's all the top end gone?
    • My Offerings
Re: Capacitors, again...
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2011, 04:15:02 PM »
What's a multimeter? :lol:

Nah, I agree, for a true picture of what's going on, that would be the only way. But then there's ears, amps and all sorts involved as well.

And I must admit that I have difficulty accepting that with PIOs the guitars sound "smoother" to me and that with ceramics they sound edgier, orange drops somewhere between... but that's my experience so far.

Basically, I end up putting PIOs on most humbucker guitars, and PIOs on bright singles guitars (eg Roadworns), and ceramics on warmer singles guitars (eg CIJ/MIJ)...

It kinda works - and then I settle into Philly-mode :lol:

EDIT: Btw, orange-drops are only 3rd choice for me usually because they seem to be stuck in a halfway position - neither smooth or edgy - I usually want more of one or the other.

But above all, Shobet, the difference here is miniscule, really it is. Most of it's in yer mind afterwards that you've got the best caps possible for the job in yer luvly geetar - and sometimes it's worth a tenner or wotever for that piece of mind :D
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 04:18:47 PM by AndyR »
Play or Download AndyR Music at http://www.alonetone.com/andyr