Audiophile or Idiot?

Some say there is a fine line in DIY audio between rational overengineering and then “audiophile overkill”. This is then on the next line out, between “audiophile overkill” and “plain stupidity” 😀

More of less since I started building amplifiers I have been hearing that electrolytic capacitors in the signal path are bad and they sound bad – yet many successful (and great-sounding) amplifiers including the original JLH, the Zen v4, the J-Mo buffer and so on have electrolytics in the signal path, so what is up?

During my recent trip to Japan I found a way to perhaps try and clear up some of this “myth” – in the form of a good offer on some gigantic polypropylene capacitors that I had to jump on. “Cheap” is obviously a wonderfully relative term, but suffice to say that I did not pay anything like what I have seen similar sized caps advertised for elsewhere.

Obviously using these caps present some practical challenges – they are huge! Instead of trying to design a PCB for them, I designed a small PCB to use as the terminals and then mounted the PCB and the caps on an aluminium back plane. With a few different holes the terminal boards will support several different combinations of caps so although I don’t expect to need any more, it does make for a more versatile design.

The caps alone measure app. 63×115 mm (standard 330ml can for comparison below) and when assembled, each module is roughly 190x180x70mm high. This actually means that with these modules as the output caps, the amplifier circuit itself will have to be fairly compact in order to fit everything into a standard 2U chassis… 🙂 The total capacitance per side is 990uF/250V meaning they should be suitable as output caps for headphone amps down to a load of app. 32 ohms.

Any good suggestions on what these should be used for? 😀


5 Responses to Audiophile or Idiot?

  1. Walker says:

    Do you have a LCR meter (or whatever)? In addition to doing any listening tests it might be nice to measure leakage resistance, etc. I assume that the “bad sound” is supposed to come from electrolytics’ non-linear characteristics, so that would be something else to measure anyway.

  2. Pingback: Project files: Little helpers – Capacitor boards | theslowdiyer

  3. Pingback: April fools… | theslowdiyer

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