Cap construction for Tone control?

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Cap construction for Tone control?

Postby Pearly Grapes on Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:50 pm

What are the recommendations for the type of cap(s) across an amp's tone control(s)?
Paper in oil? Ceramic? Mylar? No difference?
I'm having a 50w EL34 amp built point-point (no turret board).  I'll usually be running a low overdrive pedal in front of it. 
The builder is an 'older' electrical engineer who loves dealing with tube circuits.  But he isn't a musician and can only rely on his instruments & my ears. 

This is his prototype 
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Thanks!
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Re: Cap construction for Tone control?

Postby Unit_1 on Sat Nov 02, 2013 4:50 pm

well i've heard of woody's before but mostly cars!!!!

pio are the quietest, mustards not as quiet and a bit more breakup, metalized film orange drops in comparison to the previous mentioned caps are muted and somewhat lacking in harmonics

nos astron pio caps are almost identical to the russian k40y caps, but don't be fooled by the russian k42y caps, they're a three way hybrid designed to stand up to Siberia to the Sahara and are almost as muted as orange drops

jupiter caps are as close as i've found to original fender yellow "blue point" astron film caps. sweet, chimey and clear.

sozo makes a 'replacement' for yellow mustards but i've found them to be a lot buzzier than real mustards

sozo also makes a blue colored replacement for the blackface blue molded fender caps, but i have not had a chance to try them. those who have said they liked them.

mojo makes some new pio caps, but while they were nice and quiet they didn't have the harmonics of the nos astron or russian caps. would not recommend.

for the pf range of caps, most people use the silver mica caps instead of the ceramic for better definition.

hope this helps, pm me if interested in buying all the caps you need from one source. i have the pio russian, some astrons, and a large collection of mustards, also quite a few .1uf sprague vit-q, which are also awesome caps.
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Re: Cap construction for Tone control?

Postby Pearly Grapes on Sat Nov 02, 2013 6:07 pm

Hey Unit_1; He calls it Amp on a Stick. Ha!
It's full 1" oak board that's several decades old. The one he's building me sounds great so far. We're just tweaking it.
Thanks for the detailed reply. I'll discuss your reply with him.
Best
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Re: Cap construction for Tone control?

Postby Unit_1 on Sat Nov 02, 2013 7:59 pm

on a stick humor! lol, i love it!

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The ability to play/make music is a gift that not everyone gets. Those of us who have it should use it.

Asimov:Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today — but the core of science fiction, its essence, the concept around which it revolves, has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.
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Re: Cap construction for Tone control?

Postby JimmyR14 on Mon Apr 14, 2014 9:46 am

I recently built two nearly identical amps recently - both 5F4 circuits built with MM transformers and Sozo caps. The first one I used yellow Sozos, because I have always had good results with them. the second I tried Sozo Blues, and they sound good too. There's not really a huge difference in tone that I can discern. Both amps are extremely quiet thinks to some grounding advice I found here, and both sound wonderful to me. Perhaps the Blue caps amp is a little clearer/brighter? They both have sparkling highs and very clear, tight lows. From what I can tell I am happy with both amps but possibly give the edge to the blue caps version. I have the same tubes in each amp but there are bound to as much difference in the other aspects of the amp than just the coupling caps.

And I guess that's the whole point. Coupling caps are just one part of the amp. As much as I don't like orange drop caps I have heard some good amps which use ODs. If I was to build another pleix style amp I would probably use the new Sozo yellow next gen caps. I doubt I could tell the difference with anything "better". I have used the regular yellow Sozos in plenty of amps, particularly plexi, and had just great results. But if something else in the amp is crap then the amp might not sound so good anyway. And in a lot of ways the speakers and cabs you use have the potential to make greater difference to the sound.
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