Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

the difference between paper and oil caps and the orange drop types??

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by rjtwangs, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    That is a way "loaded" question... there are multiple levels of "science" that come to bear...

    first, we all hear differently.. ALL of us.. so what one guy hears could be completely lost on the next guy... and for those that think their hearing is "superior".. that can be a curse too.. because, typically "better" hearing occurs in the upper frequencies. That's where the articulation, definition, clarity all occur...

    the problem, if you hearing is more acute at the higher frequencies... what sounds normal to someone else can be overly bright to you...

    Then there's the room in which you're playing.. the acoustic signature.... it can erode or magnify various frequencies.. so ya have to ask, is it the very subtle change the cap made, or is it the Paneling on the wall..

    and that's why a guitar is the consummate study in compromises..

    Then there are those with extremely acute hearing, like Dog ears... they exist... those guys can hear the difference in a solder connection..

    However hopefully we're talking about the average guy... even that is fraught with issues... by time were young adults everyone's hearing has eroded simply due to the noisy environment we live in.. so again, we are all hearing differently.. and we actually learn to detect specific ranges of frequencies due to the sociological environment we're raised in..

    Now to the cap.. for all practical purposes any difference in anything you hear after switching a cap.. would be due to value variances. Capacitors are notoriously unstable.. with PIO caps being the absolute worse.. so if you choose a hand full of caps, all .047 mf, they can actually "read" any where around that value and be quite acceptable, and within spec... but each would result in a very, VERY, subtle different sound.

    Now the good news... any difference in the sound, resulting from change in the cap would fall far below the threshold of noticeability in a situation where the guitar is being used as intended, thus changing the cap, looking for a revolutionary change in the guitar's voice is a waste of time...

    But, since they're relatively inexpensive... and the change is easy.. and since "you're" never gonna know for sure unless you get in the game, go for it.. that way ya know for certain..

    I recommend going in, clipping the existing cap, connect two wires where that cap was connected, let them hang out of the guitar, and while you're playing and without looking, have a friend change caps as you noodling.... you're gonna be surprised when ya remove confirmation bias from the equation..

    But.. since my detractors love to find fault with what I say... here's David Collins...



    I kinda liked the sound of the Paper clip... :p but I don't know if it was an OEM clip or just the house brand, like "Staples"

    any of "you guys" wanna continue the argument after that, you're just hopeless... just another zealot... rantin' and raving... :rolleyes:


    rk
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
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  2. rjtwangs

    rjtwangs Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Age:
    70
    607
    Jan 18, 2010
    Reston, Virginia
    I've listened to this experiment now 6 times and my old ears hear no difference in ANY of them....I'm not sure there even was any changing of the caps....maybe my ears have lost something over the years( lots of LOUD music )....but I now believe I have the answer I was looking for....Many thanks to all who've posted and thank you Ron Kirn for making it a bit easier for me.

    RJ
     

  3. sjtalon

    sjtalon Poster Extraordinaire

    Tell me, out of curiosity, why do you need to know (or care) what someone ELSE thinks as far as something audibly, which is 99.999% subjective ????????

    These things always go on and on and on and on and on, and in the end...............................jack S comes of it.


    The best thing for anyone to do is not give a rats * about anything technical, or what someone ELSE thinks something will SOUND like, and get a pile of caps (they are CHEAP) hook them up with test leads, and run the gamut.

    YOUR geetar, YOUR ears, YOUR satisfaction in what YOU want the tone cap to do for YOU when YOU use it. Then a person can spend time playing the dang thing.


    .02 and such as

    Happy pickin'
     

  4. rjtwangs

    rjtwangs Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Age:
    70
    607
    Jan 18, 2010
    Reston, Virginia

    I suppose I'm not the brilliant genius you are.....I didn't know something, so I asked those who know more than I know....sorry if that offends your obvious sensitive nature....

    RJ
     

  5. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    for those listening critically to David's example.. note in case ya missed it.. he is not accessing 4 different caps, he is accessing 3 of the same cheep caps and one of the same value, in a rather costly PIO cap... thus to support the conjecture of those "pro PIO. there should be a pretty obvious change in One position as his assistant flips among them. there was not... thus his point...

    The point if the illustration is, there was no notable difference between any of them, including a paper clip...

    rk
     
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  6. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Tele-Afflicted

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    Thus, substituting the name "acoustic oil" for "snake oil" in capacitor tone tests.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017

  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    I used to do lots of experimental wiring arrangements back in my youth, and still do a few now.
    But there is an awful lot of stuff I just don't care to buy and build and mod and test in hopes of finding some little gear secret that will "improve" my music.

    So I'm all for looking stuff up on the net.
    Generally if something is genuinely useful and important, there will be a pretty solid (if argumentative) backing for the premise.
    Other stuff seems to have lots of debate and argument but little or no solid clear evidence and support.

    Evidence and support like "you don't understand" is not very compelling, and there seems to be a lot of that in the realm of guitar tone cap mojo.
     

  8. sjtalon

    sjtalon Poster Extraordinaire

    Well looks like I better back out of this one. I in no way thought my comments would lead anyone to think I was a brilliant genius, thank you.

    As far as being offended, not in the least, but is seems you are. And for that I am truly sorry to hit some nerve.

    Best of luck in your quest, and I do sincerely mean that, my Tele friend.
     
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  9. rjtwangs

    rjtwangs Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Age:
    70
    607
    Jan 18, 2010
    Reston, Virginia
    I apologize for my sarcasm....but I was simply being honest. A poster below said he'd been doing experimental wiring arrangements since his youth.....I've never wired ANYTHING, I had a friend come over to help me wire my stereo! Electronics is not something I ever understood, was never able to grasp it. Someone below said that to say " I dont understand is not compelling, it may not be, BUT, what it is, is the truth....I never ever meant to ignite a debate, I just had a question....
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017

  10. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry TDPRI Member

    79
    May 30, 2017
    Silicon Valley, CA
    I'll put myself in the "have difficulty explaining things to non engineers" camp. One problem is that although analogies do exist in the physical world, whether or not they are intuitive is another question. I thought "shock absorbers in your car are a good example of a low pass mechanical filter" - lots of the little wigglies are smoothed out yet you still feel the big bumps. Yeah, but what does that have to do with guitars? Uh.... ok. And colored glass is an common example of an optical filter, but it's not at all obvious which colors are "higher" frequency than others unless you already know this info. What does that have to do with electric guitars? Ok, you got me there.

    One thing I find frustrating is that there are a lot of REALLY BAD REALLY WRONG non-technical explanations, coming from what one would hope were reputable sources, e.g. Dirk Wacker's articles in Premier Guitar. "It's in a magazine so it must be right". The people who have studied physics and electronics just go back to the fundamentals, which as far as I can tell, we all agree on, but because those concepts tend to involve math, they mean nothing to the people who didn't study that stuff. It's not to denigrate non-engineers. From what I can tell many of you have actual social lives and find it possible to converse with other people and even meet members of the opposite sex. I'd like to be able to do that! ;)

    The one statement I keep hearing that drives me bonkers is "your audio signal doesn't go THROUGH the tone cap, so it can't affect your sound". Uhmmm.... you can hear the effect of the tone cap right? So it IS affecting your sound even though the audio signal doesn't go "through" it.
     
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  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    OK so maybe some posters state it as you quote above, and I'd agree that is is dead wrong to suggest we cannot hear the effect of the tone cap in the circuit.

    But for the sake of the factual basis of the idea, maybe you can clarify this argument for us.

    In a low RC filter, what we hear is what passed "the filter".
    The filter consists of a cap and a resistor.
    The filter is low pass, but the cap is high pass.
    All of the frequencies pass, but they are split into two destinations.
    One way to the amp and the other way to ground.
    The resistor reduces the amount of whatever frequency range gets through the cap.
    The high frequencies above whatever threshold the cap value allows, pass through the cap to ground.
    The lower frequencies below whatever threshold the cap value doesn't pass, are not shunted to ground, and thus remain to go on and be amplified; or in other words: pass the low pass filter.

    So in this scenario, do we hear the high frequencies that passed through the cap to ground?
    Or do we only hear the portion of the original signal that did not pass through the cap to ground?

    If what we hear is the portion of the signal that did not pass through the cap to ground, how can we hear what the cap did do to those frequencies on their way to ground?

    All we can hear is the portion of the signal that didn't go through the cap.

    And because the cap allowed a bunch of high end to be shunted to ground, we hear a sound that's missing a bunch of high end.

    However, we do not hear that high end that went to ground.

    Please don't tell us again how we can hear the changed tone. We know that.
    Tell us how we can hear any of the signal that went through the cap to ground.

    This has been endlessly debated and I've never read anything that explains how we hear what passed through the cap.
    And yes I've read about low pass RC filters.
     
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  12. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    57
    Mar 2, 2010
    Maine
    My comments were intended to support your choice to ask questions instead of buying lots of parts and performing your own double blind tests on caps.
    My "you don't understand" comment was directed at those who state that we don't hear what gets shunted to ground because we don't understand how they hear what got shunted to ground, or some such argument that it seems neither you nor I can understand.
    There is plenty of solid evidence that pio caps are snake oil.
    We the "buyers" of such snake oil are not supposed to understand it.

    And you didn't ignite the debate, you only stepped into its hissing path.
     
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  13. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry TDPRI Member

    79
    May 30, 2017
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Hmmm okay you want to hear "only" the signal that gets shunted to ground? Interesting idea... let me think about it.

    1) Disconnect the cap lead going to ground.
    2) Connect that lead to the (-) input of an op-amp.
    3) Connect the (+) input of that op-amp to ground.
    4) Connect a 1k resistor from op-amp output to the (-) input.

    The op-amp should be powered from a split supply.

    Because of the way the op-amp works, as long as the output does not clip, the (-) input will be at the same voltage as the (+) input - namely, ground. So-called virtual ground. So the cap combined with the resistor feeding it, will still function as a low pass filter (at the junction between the two).

    The op-amp will convert the current flowing through the cap (aka the shunted signal) to a voltage at the op-amp's output. How big that voltage is depends on the resistor going from op-amp out to the (-) input, however the feedback resistor's value does not affect the frequency response at audio frequencies.

    I welcome corrective input from any listening techno weenies.
     

  14. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Tele-Afflicted

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    ...and show the result (say of a 1KHz sinusoid) on an oscillograph display!

    Even better would be a swept sinusoid, say from 82Hz-1.4kHz, roughly the guitar range.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017

  15. rjtwangs

    rjtwangs Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

    Age:
    70
    607
    Jan 18, 2010
    Reston, Virginia

    You know what they say, put two guitar player's in the same room give them the same guitar and the same amp and they'll both hear DIFFERENT things....this goes for acoustic guys too...I'm also in the Martin Forum ( the UMGF ) it's the same thing over there....this has been a good experience, thanks to all of you guys for your comments and your patience.....but be warned.....I may have MORE questions....

    RJ
     

  16. DavidP

    DavidP Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 16, 2003
    Vancouver, BC
    Well, after 5 pages of 'discussion' on this perennial topic, I do think its time to haul out the 'bunny with pancake on head' pic as my contribution... Actually, here it is!
     

    Attached Files:

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  17. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Tele-Afflicted

    May 10, 2017
    Tucson, AZ
    Sorry, but that is a WAFFLE in the bunny's head, not a PANCAKE (the Devil made me do it)!
     

  18. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    71
    May 1, 2003
    Jacksonville, FL
    boy howdy have I tried to put that out there before too... guys just wanna argue.. stuff like Facts, or usability simply aren't allowed..

    Here's how I see it... Music is an art form... you as the artist get to choose whatever "brush" you wanna use, you also get to choose the color, and, you get to choose if the paint is oil or water based...

    the point being as in painting where no "better" brush exists, and even a stunning painting can be produced using ZERO paint brushes (note that you "guitar's gotta be made of wood guys") they can also be produced on something other than "canvas"...

    ya never hear artists arguing about which brush, which Paint maker, which medium to paint on are "best" ya just stand there sipping a little wine... admiring the painting... why can't you guys do the same.

    Sure, different artists will have their personal preferences ya know, what THEY just want to use, but they don't go around telling other artists they're using the wrong paint brush, or wrong palette...

    The guitar is JUST a tool, no one gives a hoot what guitar you use... as long as you use it well... these incessantly argued subtitles are for the most part, low residual "noise" all existing well below the threshold of any practice application... and true major changes, like the choice between a Strat and a Les Paul are meaningless too...

    Had Jimi, Clapton, SRV used Gibsons, no one would be thinking a thing about it.. SRV's #1 would just be a Les Paul, not a strat.. and you would never know it.... Jimi would have played a 335 upside down instead of a Strat.. big whoop... No one would have ever suggested anything other too..

    all this constant whining, arguing, beating dead horses about nothing is well, nothing.

    rk
     
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  19. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Tele-Afflicted

    Dec 3, 2012
    Austin, Texas
    Pretty much. Guitars have very low voltage low bandwidth signals.
    1. With a passive guitar tone control, the capacitor sends high frequencies to ground, so you never hear anything that passes through the capacitor.
    2. The value of the capacitor determines the frequency cutoff point, so changing from a .015 to a .047 will change the frequency around which highs are send to ground. (Technically, it's a bit more complicated, as stated above, there is an variable RC filter, due to the pot value and taper determining what strength of the signal goes to the tone cap. Then there's vintage wiring v. modern wiring, where the volume pot lug is different).
    3. The capacitor type won't matter. The capacitor value will make a difference in how the tone control acts. This presumes that the pot is not replaced with one of another value. Most Teles use 250K pots.
    Use a ceramic, or an orange drop for greater stability, although it probably won't matter. Anything more is just spending money for something that doesn't make a difference.
     
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  20. RLee77

    RLee77 Friend of Leo's

    May 15, 2016
    Silicon Valley
    This has always been my experience too… if there is any difference at all, it is so slight that it could be completely overshadowed by picking the strings two inches closer to the bridge or neck, or using a different cable. In the big scheme of things, it isn't going to make a difference.
     
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