speaker capacitors-----leave alone or does it open pandora's box ?
opened up my speakers and noticed that they use Audyn capacitors. while the speakers sound good, are there better capacitors out there ? and if yes, could these be changed out and if they were, what effect does it have on the sound
wondering also could better drivers be bought for the speakers ?
Audin is the good brand , but they have 4 different lines from very cheap regular lines to pure copper top of the line. I get chance to open very expensive (15K ) aluminum monitors from famous brand ( i dont want to mention) , and was surprise to see cheapest Audin capacitor( red color , about $1 value ) they use in crossover
The TruCopper are limited in values and very very expensive compared to the reds. If memory serves, they start around $20 for 0.1uF, that's pretty pricey. Building up say a 4 uF cap would run you around $120-$150 each. This is why I recommend you try them out as bypass caps to start.
For far less, I'd recommend the Clarity CMR range, with Audyn 0.1uF bypass on values larger than 4-5 uF.
Again, these are BIG parts. You best be prepared to wire them. :)
It is a MUCH easier thing for a newbie to buy some bypass caps and listen. Cheaper too.
Top end copper foil caps from the likes of Duelund, Jupiter and others have never done anything but improve the sound in dozens of my speaker and electronics upgrades and modifications. Same with Path Audio resistors in my projects. While it is certainly possible that these parts would harm the sound in some piece of gear, I certainly have never heard it.
So I would like to know which hyper expensive caps sound so bright? Perhaps Mundorf Silver or SGO on the wrong tweeter and electronics combo. We listen to complete systems, not just caps. Perhaps Vcap Teflons? But not good film and foils I have used from Jupiter, Duelund, Auydn and Jantzen (Alumen Z).
It is amazing the level on sonic improvement that can be realized with smart cap, inductor and resistor upgrades in speakers. Most builders use run of the mill and “cheap” crossover parts in their $20,000 speakers. They do it to save money. That simple. Yes, one must take into account the sonic goal of the upgrade, the preferences of the listener and the other system components. Match all new parts within 1% and watch Parts that will change resistance. Smartly done crossover upgrades do wonders for reasonable cost and you can keep your speakers and system in tact without selling or buying gear.
Those red ones are Audyn Q4 capacitors. I replaced them in my tube preamp with the Audyn Cap Plus - white and much larger, and the improvement was significant. True Coppers are supposed to be better for certain applications but they have a very long break-in period, especially larger values. Not tried them in speakers. I've also tried Jantzen Z-superior capacitors in a couple of speakers and one other tube preamp and I personally found them more balanced than the Audyns and take less time to even out. I was also told by a couple of (tube) preamp designers/manufacturers that if switching brands when upgrading capacitors you may need to adjust the values to get the improved sound quality. Others with more experience can chime in.
You make lots of statements based on your experience that are pure opinion
Here is your first mistake: it is based on experience and experimentation. That is not pure opinion. I make speakers and experiment with capacitors. Have you?
and they’re not very resistant to scrutiny.
This is your second mistake. The OP can easily scrutinize my suggestions by spending $40 on caps and trying them out.
All I’m saying is look at the actual specs of the things and experiment instead of obsessing about price tags, ad copy claims, and the opinions of folks on a forum. Sorry that ruffles your feathers.
Third mistake, this is exactly the opposite of what you have been saying. Sorry if that ruffles your feathers. In fact you made a number of claims about what matters without discussion about personal experience. You seemed to be relying on information from others without actually trying it yourself.
Erik, as usual you are speaking from experience and I have long valued your speaker posts. You have a great deal of knowledge born out of your actual building and tweaking experience with speakers. Thanks for supporting this forum with your knowledge. Much to discover and learn regarding speaker upgrades and it is fun!
Just FYI, I have measured capacitance, and ESR (equivalent series resistance) as I have modded speakers.
I have been fortunate enough to speak with capacitor manufacturers about this particular subject, and their experience mirrors my own: neither ESR nor absolute capacitance explains perceived sound quality.
For a while, there was a belief ESR mattered, probably because film caps were universally better than bi-polar electrolytic. From my experience it does not make a difference so long as you properly compensate for loss in ESR with additional resistance. Some high ESR films sound better than low ESR film caps. The original Clarity MR come to mind as relatively high ESR film caps(but my memory is now foggy).
@Kosst - See, your recommendation for Solen’s seems much more reasonable. I will say I’ve only tried Audyn’s top end, the TrueCopper, and these at the suggestion of SpeakerDoctor (RIP). At Solen's low end I have not been very impressed. I think if the OP wanted to experiment with top end Solen bypass caps, and maybe some Mundorf Supreme’s he’d learn a great deal.
If you look back at my first suggestions, I keep trying to suggest the OP spend moderate amounts and experiment for himself. I think that was the last paragraph in your previous post, right? How much is a pair of Solen top-end 0.1uF caps? Probably pretty easy to try out.
I will say, Mundorf top end caps are weird. Magico is a big fan of them. Now, as I often say, BUY WHAT YOU LIKE!
To my ears, the Mundorf supreme’s scintillate. They aren’t bright so much as they sparkle. Like they saturate the top end with color.
Again, BUY WHAT YOU LIKE, but that’s what I hear, and many, many love that. I prefer the calmer and translucent waters of the Clarity line myself, but that doesn’t prevent me from hearing the differences and understanding some are really going to want to bring that sound home.
It is amazing the level on sonic improvement that can be realized with smart cap, inductor and resistor upgrades in speakers. Most builders use run of the mill and “cheap” crossover parts in their $20,000 speakers. They do it to save money. That simple.
This is something I’ve never quite accepted about high end audio. If the sonic improvement is “amazing” by flipping $1 caps for $40 caps, why wouldn’t the builder do that themselves? To fetch $20k for your speakers you gotta sound amazing; and the return on cost for being able to sell them in another tier should be huge. So why don’t they do it? The only answer I can come up with is that it doesn’t make a difference; or the difference it does make doesn’t fit the sound the builder is going for.
If I can make my $10k speakers sound like $15k with $300 worth of parts... why didn’t the guy do that and sell them to me for $15k?
It’s more like flipping $12 caps for $150 caps. Jupiter copper foils etc... Flipping $.35 Resistors for $30 resistors. It adds up and after dealer mark up the end price of the speaker is increased substantially. I have performed $2000 crossover upgrades that would increase the price of a $15,000 speaker to $25,000 after dealer mark up etc... The mark-up can be immense on high end gear.
Also, not all designers buy into more expensive parts sound better. They miss opportunities for SQ improvement. Many designers and builders spend time designing and building and have little time or inclination to obcess over how various caps and resistors sound in their design. This tedious task of part rolling and carefully listening is a different body of study and knowledge.
Until and unless you try it for yourself and learn, I’m afraid you will always scratch your head and wonder. Knowledge in this area of audio tweaking takes a great deal of time and effort. No way around it. You have to educate yourself through hours of trial and error with much work and careful listening. It is different from pure design only interested in a part that adheres to spec. Many builders laugh at the notion of “boutique” parts as I have had those conversations. I don’t blame them because these parts can be expensive and they don’t have the time or personality for such tedious and “questionable” endeavors.
At the same time there are plenty of builders that do offer these boutique parts and simply charge for them. They buy into and understand parts make a difference beyond just meeting spec. So it is happening and being offered by builders who know Duelund and Juputer film/paper and foil caps, as well as others, sound better than Poly caps.
Lastly, it is possible to replace a $10 Solen Fast Cap with say a $60 Film & foil cap from Jantzen (Alumen Z) and improve the sound of a given HEA speaker. The speaker set may have 4-8 total caps to replace. Also, you can also improve SQ with $4 Mills MRA resistors over sandcast. The total cost of this moderately priced upgrade is say $400. Some builders after all the mark-ups would sell this upgraded speaker for $2000-$2500 more! This is a very competitive business and one that is hard for the manufacturers to make enough money to stay in business. Every dollar matters and they do watch costs.
I replaced the bottom of the line Solen caps and sandcast resistors in my $14,000 Dali Epicon 6 speakers with $600 worth of part upgrades in the crossover. The result was very pleasing to myself and family. The improvement in sound quality before and after burn in was easily discerned and appreciated. It made a very good set of speakers even more to our liking. The Solen caps sound more closed in and rough compared to the Jupiter film and foils I used. The sandcast resistors also sounded more ragged compared to the more nuanced and refined Path Audio resistors. Dali has a long standing relationship with Solen and they spec their parts. I seriously doubt Dali has listened to their Epicon speakers with the parts I used. They simply used the same approved vendor they have always used. They needed to hit a certain price point and therefore spec’d the part used for these reasons.
Us DIY guys know that nice SQ improvements can be realized with our skills and effort.
^^^^^ You ask a question I've also been wondering about. The tube preamp that I modified cost under $1K new and the cost of the capacitor upgrade was under $70 and took me under an hour to do. It would have probably been cheaper for the original builder buying them bulk. The sound improvement was significant. I don't get it either...
For parallels in cars, you cannot take a Yugo, put fancy tires on it and make it a Maserati, but there are certainly a number of performance tweaks available for most cars.
There's also an issue of component cost to retail price. Using normal distribution chains, you need to charge 10x your component costs to make money. Adding $100 in capacitors needs to translate into $1,000 or more to be worthwhile making.
I don't believe every speaker benefits from new caps, nor every tube preamp, nor do I necessarily believe all caps are worth their cost. I do however think that there's an interesting place for the careful listener to tweak.
If you are truly interested, I encourage you to consider building your own speaker kit. There's a number of them available from Parts Express, Madisound and others. You can learn a great deal, and tweak to your heart's content.
From my experience, the improvement from swapping the right caps is greater than rolling tubes (Of course, I roll tubes, too). Please be aware that the process of testing different caps can be very fun, and at times painful and costly.
I have tried caps of many different brands (a few names like Mundorf, Jantzen, Solen, Audyn, Jupiter, Obbligato...) and series (from their entry caps to top caps). Now, I have all Jupiter Copper Foil caps in my amp and speakers. For speakers, I use bypass and for amp, I use direct. I also have tried different resistors in my speaker. And now, the Path Audio resistors are in my speakers. I am very happy with my system and have stopped wondering "what else..." for a while if you know what I mean.
The Audyn True Copper Max is my favorite, too. Note that Audyn has True Copper and True Copper Max. The manufacture suggests that the Copper is for speakers, and the Copper Max for both speakers and amps. I would suggest trying an Audyn True Copper 0.1uF as bypass as erik_squires suggests.
Lastly, people have different tastes, experiences and beliefs. I am speaking from my own experience.