I am a Cap Sniffer Now

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by bob barcus, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    treble is your friend. treble can't be added to passive transducers in passive circuits, only removed.

    all passive pickups are born with the maximum amount of treble they can deliver. the instant a pup is wired direct to a jack, some amount of treble in the signal gets "lost", and then THAT is the max amount of treble you'll ever hear from that specific pup.

    remove the leads from the jack and wire that pup into a switch, a few pots, and a "tone" cap (aka "mud cap", because all that a "tone pot" can do is shunt treble to ground = "mud tone"). now lots more treble has been shunted off and out of the signal path, even when the "tone pot" is on "off" (which is why some of us make tone pots into no-load tone pots).

    the rest of the tone pot's "tone" is in the metered value of the cap used, and how YOU perceive how the resulting signal sounds throughout the sweep of that pot's wiper.
     
  2. CHUCKHDTV

    CHUCKHDTV Tele-Holic

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    He said it
     
  3. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I am gonna hit the easy button:

    1.) NO CAP THREADS
     
  4. Gautfrid

    Gautfrid Banned

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    You know, when people who make guitars and guitar components - like Mr Kirn and DiStefano come on here and debunk all the 'tone' voodoo, it makes it difficult to choose who to believe.

    Professionals or 'golden ears'?

    Hmmm tough call :rolleyes:
     
  5. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Farads is farads.
     
  6. ItchyFingers

    ItchyFingers Tele-Afflicted

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    I use the little green chicklet shaped 25 cent ones. I find the highs are higher, the lows are lower and the mids are midier. All in fun. The dirt cheap ones do me fine. My hearing is shot anyway really.
     
  7. FallsRockShop

    FallsRockShop Tele-Holic Vendor Member

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    So....if I follow what you're saying....the labeled tolerances mean SQUAT. That means that they're either lying, or it doesn't mean squat. I think people, especially novices without meters, need to understand that, although two identically metered caps will sound identical, the printed tolerances dictate how close they are going to be to what they expect.

    Here's the best analogy my brain can come up with to get folks to understand what I'm campaigning for here. It's a true and factual statement that two cans of Coke, mixed with the exact same amount of syrup and water, will taste exactly the same. Everyone who's playing with a full deck would agree with that. But, imagine that you had 25 cent coke and dollar coke. With dollar Coke, they guaranteed +/- 1% the proper amount of syrup. Most people couldn't tell the difference if the mix was 1% off right? However, 25 cent Coke advertises +/- 15% tolerance in the amount of syrup. So, if someone grabs two different cans of 25 cent Coke, they may have TOTALLY different experiences. One could be bland fizzy brown water and the other sweet syrupy goo. However, the crowd drinking dollar Coke wouldn't understand what the 25cent Coke people were griping about, because every time they reached for a can, it was the same.
     
  8. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    it's not that simple... caps are notorious for being inaccurate... and of the different architectures.. PIO are the absolute worst for accuracy.. further...none of the signal that passes through a cap ever makes it to the output jack... None...

    so you guys that have bought into the cap caper 'splane how that works.. a signal passing through the cap to ground and is dissipating into oblivion.... how is that heard..

    Now... a residual effect does happen.. the presence of additional capacitance in the circuit can cause other values, influencing the signal, to shift. . . you DO hear the results.... ,but.. it is not a quantifiable result... each guitar will result in a different sonic signature...

    Or.. to say it another way. . two identical caps placed into the circuits of two identical guitar's circuits, will produce different results...

    now that being said... generally the cap is a inexpensive part...and easy to change... so go for it...you got nuthin' to loose, except a few bux... unless you go for the gold foil caps.. cost now approaching a thou... yeah.. 1000 bux... so just how nuts are ya?

    rk
     
  9. Reeek

    Reeek Tele-Holic

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    Ron,

    Thanks for making your point with tactful respect.

    Rick
     
  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Guess I'll just stick with my preference of one pup wired to a vol pot.
    I like to fill the extra hole in the control plate with a second output jack for seated playing, though I also like the more airy sound with the hole open.

    And I heard that there's a new kind of volume control that lets you turn down without losing any loudness!
     
  11. NewPort

    NewPort Tele-Meister

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    Totally agree, especially about the hearing being shot. I try to set my guitars up nice and bright and occasionally I ask my wife if the treble hurts her ears. I like them bright enough to drown out the constant ringing in my ears.
     
  12. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    the single most important aspect of your guitar is... how do ya "feel" about it... yep.. the good 'ol touchy feelie interface.. nothing tangible... just how do ya like it.

    be it the knobs, the cap, the nut, pups, paint.. whatever... my recommendation is.. get what you have always felt would produce the best guitar you have ever wished for. And, the good news, you do not, are not and should not have to justify your decisions.

    I just hope whatever reasons you muster to rationalize a choice is based on factual info, not marketing hype, or mythology.

    Few things do actually make a significant difference, and the cost of whatever you are changing has absolutely NO impact on the quality of what you hear… except as how the “McGurk” effect impacts your perception.

    But Modding ‘em into something you believe is superior is as important as the guitar actually, in reality is, being something superior. Either gets into your brain and can make or break your relationship with the instrument..

    Here’s an example.. couple of years ago, a pickup was introduced, wound with pure silver wire… the logic being, since Silver is number one on the list of conductivity, it would “improve” the sound.. Copper is number 2, there is some bazaar alloy used in super conductivity experiments that is #3 and good old Gold is number 4.. Although Gold is shown as #3 on lists comprised of only natural occurring elements. Aluminum is 5 and Calcium is 6, so don’t bite your fingernails while standing in a puddle, with your elbow plugged into a live circuit… I hate it when I do that.. :eek:

    so the pup is introduced with all the hype and fan-fare . . In the mean time the company that makes the wire, a German firm, is not interested in hype, they wanna know the truth regarding the application of their product, the silver wire, as applied to pickups. And they want to know it in the Scientific context… meaning the results can be reproduced in any scientific lab, by any qualified technician. They contact the number one “go to” guy on the planet as far as pickup science goes… Bill Lawrence… He, for many years acted as consultant in all things pickup related to this company that manufactures the wire used by about all “serious” pickup manufacturers world wide.

    Long story — short… Bill Finds no quantifiable indices suggesting the superiority of Silver wire over copper… and in fact, number two, copper, is superior to silver in every category tested, except conductivity.

    But.. there are those that think Silver superior… so for those guys, it is.. because the McGurk effect will make ‘em think they are hearing superiority over copper, despite the reality. That effect is real and directly impacts your “melding” with your axe…

    So go for it… just do so informed.

    Ron Kirn
     
  13. bob barcus

    bob barcus Tele-Meister

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    go to you tube and write in capacitor shootout ...thats what got me going...Also in my 100watt Marshall SLPri I changed all the couplin caps like in my vintage 69 and 70 that made a noticable difference,and I just used different caps in my Fenders and Gibson I like the 160P
     
  14. bob barcus

    bob barcus Tele-Meister

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    Cap Sniffer

    Oh yeah almost all the caps I used were off + or- 10%The first 160P was a .047uf It was really a .063uf...But compared to a CD cap it "seemed" brighter and had more ring....It does not matter all pickups are the same too... Right?
     
  15. guitarzan13

    guitarzan13 Friend of Leo's

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    Suspected Troll post.... IMHO :lol: :eek: :D:cool:
     
  16. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    .047 to .063 is 34% off spec
     
  17. LowThudd

    LowThudd Friend of Leo's

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    Caps in the amp are a high voltage active circuit, not a low volt passive system as in a guitar. Apples and oranges.
     
  18. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    beat me to it....

    caps in a active electronic circuit have a completely different reason for existing... and in Esoteric electronics it's not unusual to see very expensive caps used..

    Caps in the guitar are caps at their most basic...

    If we were talking transportation, the caps in your guitar are butt scootin' down the road, and those in the likes of Audio Research, Ayres, Mark Levinson. etc.. are like toolin' around in a Ferrari..

    rk
     
  19. noahl

    noahl TDPRI Member

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    This won't answer the question, but it will give us all something to shout about for another page. Our argument boils down to: Do caps do what they do to electrons in only one way? Or do different caps do slightly different things that are all broadly the same but individually different?

    Here's another way to look at it. A pickup magnet does a certain thing, but different magnets do it in audibly different ways. Same with wire. Same with strings. These are all physically involved in the electron-moving phenomenon that is a guitar circuit, right?

    Now, we agree that these differences create audibly different tones. But we don't allow for this in caps. Why? Is this because no matter they're made of, as long two caps have the same capacitance, they have the same tonal result? I don't understand why 600,000 Ph.D. electronics engineers worldwide can't answer this for us instantly.

    Here's another way to look at it: Is a cheap pot bad because it might break, or because somehow its resistive material "harms" the tone? Did my luthier insist on changing the switch on my Asian G&L because it would conduct the electrons better and improve the tone, or just because he didn't want it to break in a few years?

    Another way to look at it: Strings, coils and magnets create the contours of the magnetic field that gets pulled through the circuit. These contours are represented by electrons, and presumably the electrons for two different tones are somehow arranged differently when they enter into the circuit. In a passive circuit, can anything happen to this arrangement other than to have parts of it entirely removed ("rolled-off") as it moves toward the amp? If two caps "cut" above the same frequency in a tone pot, do they "cut" 100 percent of the electrons that make up that segment of the tone? Or can some bleed through in an audible way, and in different audible ways with different cap materials.

    In a way, I'm asking "Does a capacitor have a 2-dimensional effect on the electrons or a 3-dimensional effect?" I think that people who aren't engineers or who haven't done a tight, flaw-free A/B test are simply assuming that "because caps cut rather than create, they all have to cut in precisely the same way, based only on what's below or above a certain frequency."

    I don't have any answers. I hope someone proves someday that the 40-cent Radio Shaft chiclet caps are state-of-the-art in passive circuits. But I don't think I've ever read a cap thread that asks the questions I'm asking -- in effect: "What IS tone where electrons are concerned, and what does a cap do to those electrons?"
     
  20. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Right...
     
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