Capacitor question


I have BAT VK-150se amps powering SF Amati Homage speakers. I replaced the stock BAT/Jensen POI caps with CuTF V-Caps. There is a lot more detail now, however, the sound is thinner, brighter and fatig
davidbrinknyc
Greetings,

Those caps take at least 500 hours to break in. You will need to also re-voice your interconnect and speaker. I use the copper cutf from v-cap and they are warm and lush with an organic presence. You may want to try several different copper teflon speaker cables like vh audio Chela diy cables. Speaker cables will sound so different now. The caps are so transparent you will hear REAL cable differences. A very good upgrade in need of break in and fine tubing. Enjoy, Jallen
Before you change any cabling in your system you should look into upgrading the stock 24" Belden wire from XLR to PCB inside the VK150SE.
A recap will usually sound different at first. I remember when i recapped my preamp, i was disappointed. It sounded boring and lifeless, after a month or so it became a new machine.
Just wait for things to settle before making more trouble for yourself.

You need to run signal through the amp for several 100 hours before you can make any decision about the sound. It will be tilted up for some time.

Personally I would have gone for a Duelund Cast or VST as a replacement for the Jensen if you liked the character of the BAT, but wanted more BAT so to speak.
Hi Chad,
Which Duelund capacitor did you use and in what application(electronics or speakers)? Were the results what you expected and did you also use or consider the V-Cap Cu?
Regards,
Charles,
Hi charles1dad,

I used Duelund both as coupling caps in my tube amp and in the xover. I tried all the usual suspects Mundorf silver/gold/oil/ and the silver/oil, clarity cap ESAs and others. All good.

I was advised that the vcap had a slightly clinical presentation if not a touch Hifi. The Vcaps also take ages to burn in and sound good.

I liked the Mundorfs a lot. The silver/gold/oil being great if not a tad energetic in the highs. Lots of detail like the vcap but with some beauty space. They will sound forward and change about for a hundred hours or so then settle to a more balanced but still highly detailed sound.

The duelunds are just utterly complete. Straight from new. They sound natural and while detailed, the detail is not rammed down your throat. It has dimension image density and plenty of textural tone. Lovely and as they burn in they just get better. If you want real and not hyped it has to be duelund.

If you need more energy on top try some mundorf in the amps power supply. Try as bypasses if they will fit and keep duelunds in signal path.
Chad,
Thanks for your input, it`s always informative and appreciated.
I did decide to order the Duelund CAST for my speakers(only need 1 pair). I hope my results match yours.
Regards,
Your Vcaps still need to settle in. Yes, CAST caps are more organic and musical without sacrificing any detail. However those Vcaps are nice and need some 400 hours......
You mean you've changed PIO coupling caps? Why did you make this decision? I've always considered stock BAT equipment perfect and no need to upgrade unless it comes to the point of repair. As far as I know Jensen PIO are great coupling caps and good sounding...
Did you chat with VK? 500 hours of break-in? It may take half-year while other circuit elements getting older... Technically does not make sense except for toy purposes seriously.
Yeh, some caps take that long to sound their best. Them are the facts and listening over time has proven it out. One can certainly do better then Jensen PIO caps, but one has to suffer the burn in time with Vcaps.
@David- Teflon has one of the lowest Dielectric Absorption rates, which makes it one of the best dielectrics out there(next to air and vacuum). It also takes the longest to burn-in(worth it though). This little item removes a lot of the pain: ( http://phonoclone.com/diy-rack.html ) Should you decide to build one: Note the last sentence of the instructions, as your caps are non-polarized. Hopefully, when you installed the caps, you were aware of the orientation recommended for most of the better film caps: ( http://www.v-cap.com/installation-notes.php ) ( http://jimmyauw.com/2010/04/24/observing-inner-and-outer-foil-of-some-popular-capacitors/ )
David, I ran pink noise from my tuner for 2 weeks 24/7 with the tube bias turned way down and a fan on the amp. Then a day of break.in disc.I believe the reference recording version. Then a listen confirmed that break in was complete and worth the time. The caps should be very organic. If not, its not the caps. I have many friends using the VCap cutf and none have bright issues or clinical sound. patience---Jallen
You may want to parallel the vcap with POI to get the mixture of sound. Play with the values.
Its not a good idea to parallel coupling caps. Different caps have different 'speeds' on account of their dielectric constants. The result smears the sound- that seems the best way to describe it.

You are always better off just giving it your best shot with the best cap you can afford. V-Caps are some of the best out there. Do give them some time to settle down.
I have a pair of VK-120s which I have modified extensively, including VCaps. My experience is consistent with others'; the detail will remain and the fatigue will subside with break in. I second Dgarretson's recommendation of the interconnect wire change; very inexpensive mod even with the priciest wire you could find.
Cathode, BTW a friend with VK-120s just replaced all 14 electrolytics in the input and driver stages of each monoblock with 110uf/700V film caps. This was the most significant improvement in sonic performance of many internal modifications, but required an expansion chassis. This mod is on my roadmap. PM me at davidgarretson@verizon.net if you want to see the photos.
Dgarretson, i`m some what surprised that an amplifier at this price level would use "14" inexpensive electrolytic capacitors.I can imagine the film caps would be much better sounding.
Regards,
Charles1dad, I'm not familiar with every BAT product, but their SE-series tube preamps have offered optional parallel bundles of PIO film caps to bypass or replace select electrolytics. This option has not been available in VK tube amps, but REX may have it. However, an all-film power supply should surpass it, assuming no cost or size constraints. IME the power supply of a VK tube amp is enhanced with addition of film cap bypass and discrete Schottky rectifiers-- sounding cleaner and faster without sacrificing the smoothness of tubes. Ditto after replacing the stock PIO interstage coupling caps with V-Cap or my own ClarityCap MR. However some owners-- perhaps the OP is among them-- may prefer the silkier and prettier twinkle of the house sound.

ClarityCap OEM Sales
Charles1dad - The electrolytics in the stock amps are absolutely standard for something at this power level and price point. To my knowledge, BAT isn't a nonprofit organization.

Recently, I needed to repair one amplifier due to one electrolytic failing; decided to replace all. Panasonic TS-ED's were substituted. I used these a lot at work. The proverbial bee's knees; audiophile designer electrolytics are trivially better and preposterously more $.

I have no doubt that an all film PS would be a noticeable upgrade, but would cost well north of $1k for a pair of VK-120s, which I just can't swing right now. Audio dollars being spent on building a Vacuum State RTP-3D =)
Hello, Dave. First of all, I wouldn't panic - as the nature of the teflon dielectric is that it needs some time to settle-in. The exact mechanism that causes this with teflon dielectrics is unknown, but is well documented with Teflon insulated (or more properly referred to as Fluropolymers like FEP, PFA, PTFE etc...) cables/wire, also.

Things should settle down near the 60-100 hour mark, and then will continually improve from there. This improvement isn't linear however, and there may be a 'two steps forward, one step back' progression as you move through the process. Full break-in is achieved at 400-500 hours. It's worth the wait, and many customers have noted they ENJOY this journey through burn-in.

IF this issue persists at the 400-500 hour mark, I would encourage you to revisit your speaker positioning (toe-in / rake angle). I recently had a V-Cap customer note a similar experience, and it was determined that his original speaker positioning was overcompensating for the dullness of the previous oil caps in his amps. Once the speakers were dialed in for the 'new' balance, he was floored at the improvement.

Good luck, and please shoot an update to the group, once you've moved closer to the 400-500 hour mark, and have re-tweaked your speakers.
Thanks for all the replies.

When I posted this I had about 200 hours on the V-caps so they are partially broken in. Will another 200 hours of burn-in really improve the sound that much?

Maybe I should look at changing my cables. I'm currently using Clear Day double shotgun speaker cables and Nordost Purple Flare interconnects. I would really like to get rid of the glare. I would like the system to sound more like music and less hifi.
Don't change your cables just yet. Yes another 300 hours will make a difference.
I second grannyrings opinion. My amp went from being boat anchor material to reference level playback. I have several friends with the same and some with different caps and we do comparisons. The v-caps are reference level to my ears and they have ended my search for a better cap. The first 200 hours gets them barely listenable, the next 300 take them to the next level. I have little interest in spending 500-900.00 or more per cap from Audio Note or Dueland, especially when I hear of others who do the comparison and go back to the VCap. They could be considered a bargain considering what some are asking for their caps.
Get ready for some fun. Jallen
Chris, what is the quickest and easiest way to cook the caps out side of the amps?
Hello Cathode,
My question was based on curiosity and considering value/sonic performance cost ratio.No BAT is`nt a non profit organization,that was`nt my point at all(I`m a strong supporter of capitalism and free enterprise by the way).My perspective is why not use the better sounding film caps in the power supply and charge accordingly.The companies can get better pricing on these parts than an individual buying in the aftermarket. For example my 300b SET has an all film power suuply and retails for less than the BAT(I assume a profit margin is factored into my amplifier)If my assumption is wrong then I stand corrected.I see amplifiers and speakers that are 20,000 dollars and higher that sometimes use1- 2 dollar caps or cheap resistors(some companies, certainly not all). It just seems in 'some' cases they could select higher quality parts that`s all.
Regards,
Hi Jallen,
You know people who directly compared V-Caps to Duelund(CAST or VSF versions) and preferred the V-Cap 'sonically' or in terms of relative value?
Regards,
Charles1dad, in an SET The power supply is a lot more critical than it is in a fully differential amplifier! IOW an all-film power supply in such an amplifier will not have nearly the effect that it has in an SET.
Charles, not all agree that smaller value film caps can replace or sound better then those big can computer grade caps in the power supply. The film caps used in these power supplies are usually far lower uf values and proponents say that these small values are better and all that is needed with film caps in the power supply.

Others say no to this idea and say you need lots of capacitance that can only come from those large can computer grade caps. For example my tube preamp is loaded with those large can caps and has oodles of capacitance. It sounds heavenly and the builder argues that smaller value film caps just don't cut it. Other builders use the film caps with success and thus not all agree... Surprise:-)

I am currently building a tube amp using large can Mallory caps with uf ratings as high as 3300uf in the power supply. Sure I am putting them in series, but the total capacitance of the supply will still be far higher then film caps.

This subject intrigues me and I may actually try using some Clarity TC film caps in my power supply after I have had a good chance to listen to the large can caps.
ATmasphere,
I appreciate the clarification. I did`nt know power supply quality is more crucial in a SET amplifier.It makes sense as I know the maker of my SET refuses to use electrolytic capacitors.

Grannyring,
I agree with you, this topic and the different approaches are intriging. Some believe in large power supply capacitance storage and other builders don`t. There`s always more than one sucessful pathway.
Regards,
Charles, not all agree that smaller value film caps can replace or sound better then those big can computer grade caps in the power supply. The film caps used in these power supplies are usually far lower uf values and proponents say that these small values are better and all that is needed with film caps in the power supply.

Others say no to this idea and say you need lots of capacitance that can only come from those large can computer grade caps. For example my tube preamp is loaded with those large can caps and has oodles of capacitance. It sounds heavenly and the builder argues that smaller value film caps just don't cut it. Other builders use the film caps with success and thus not all agree... Surprise:-)

I am currently building a tube amp using large can Mallory caps with uf ratings as high as 3300uf in the power supply. Sure I am putting them in series, but the total capacitance of the supply will still be far higher then film caps.

This subject intrigues me and I may actually try using some Clarity TC film caps in my power supply after I have had a good chance to listen to the large can caps.
@David- I included, in my last post, a link to instructions on the quickest and easiest way to cook caps, outside of an amp.
i always believed janson caps to be the best caps you can,
buy except the ultra expense durland mega caps at over $1,000,
each???
I did some extensive listening tests with about 15 different capacitors in the signal path. One of my main projects was the BAT VK5 SE preamp.
First I will say there are lots of good posts on this thread. They are very helpful, and are obviously from experienced members. Especially helpful are the experiments with power supply capacitors. I find they do make a positive difference, and are especially critical in SET amplifiers. SET amps are very sensitive to PS capacitors. Easy to ruin the sound with a polypropylene bypass. All polypropylene is a different story.

The stock BAT coupling caps are Jensen types, but with copper leads rather than silver leads found on the Jensen capacitors normally sold. This makes them quite a bit better than with silver leads. I have found this true on many, many types of capacitors used for signal. BAT has a reason for ordering them with copper leads, EVEN though they are cut off to 1/4"!

To make a long story a little shorter: the stock capacitors are hard to beat. Only the Duelund Alexanders, Aerovox, and some Russian capacitors were better in some ways. They also had the weight and tone in the lower range that all dry film capacitors lack. I have listened to just about all of those available except the Copper V-cap, and the Duelund Cast. The Duelund Cast will not fit without long leads and chassis modification.
I did not like the Tin foil V-caps, and this was after more than a week on a cable cooker, and another week or so on a tuner. But that's my experience. Many people like V-caps, but there are some who do not.

Without going into detail on interconnects, I would not recommend Nordost interconnects with the V-caps. I suggest Kubala-Sosna, Townshend Isolda XLRs, and MIT Oracle. These have worked excellent on the BAT preamp, both in stock form and after parts modifications. Final choice will involve the connecting component, as well as the BAT preamp.
That was a mistake and you hear the difference. The only upgrade that can work for you without "stepping on the toes" of the amplifier's sound quality would be to bypass thoses caps with .05-ufd CRC hermetic teflons that are available through eBay. And let's not forget tubes. Victor Khomenko BAT's designer is limited to what is readily available in terms of tubes. You don't have that limitation. Although there is only one brand of the power triodes, you have the option to experiment with the front-end tubes to dial in your amplifiers. I am a rabid audiophile with a BAT preamp that has those same caps. I can tell you that with those caps still in place and not bypassed, my preamp has yet to get in the way. Tubes on the other hand can make it glorious or crap.

My two cents.

Walt D'Ascenzo
I would recommend putting some small bands around them to stop them ringing. They will burn in eventually, but damping ringing has been found effective such as in my adcom dac that was "modified" in such a manner.
Wdascenz,
Might it be too early to say david made a mistake? Based on the replies from those familiar with the CuTF V-Caps they need many hours before one can draw accurate conclusions. Now it`s certainly possible that after complete burn-in david may find he prefers the original capacitors. Time will tell.
Regards,
Following a thread in 2009 of David Garretson about improving the BAT 150SE , I did all the mods in my two BAT 's VK1000 , ofcourse including the Vcaps.I also had to replace all the Nichicon 10000mFd caps due to not having anymore flat top caps.They have been replaced by 100V types
but we had to make a new capacitorboard.But the Vcaps did indeed take more time to run in , but after that all what was promised came true , ,improved definition , speed , ambient retrieval, more detail and better bas definition.So
Davidbrinknyc have patience , you will not disappointed