Blackgate Caps

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Cressy Snr
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#16 Re: Blackgate Caps

Post by Cressy Snr »

ed wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:24 am I wish I could get excited about this stuff, I really do.

Back around 2005 or so there was all this talk of golden ears and spending loads of money on boutique parts because some people said these parts removed the errors in the reproduction(don't even mention the word better).

well, I put my head above the parapet and said, quite honestly, that I couldn't tell the difference most of the time. There were exceptions, of course, such as better iron.

At the time Greg said to me that if I get more practice at listening I will get an idea of the differences and maybe develop ' golden ears'.

Since then nothings has changed for me.

I am only prompted to post because I've been listening to Scala radio recently(not a lot though) and the sound is not one I like. I realised that it sounds exactly like a post-production process that I use in the studio called an exciter. It then occurred to me that the end user(listener, hifi officianado or whatever) has no idea what the engineer has done to the recording to make it sound like it does.

Take that one stage further and apply it to the expert that states this bit of kit makes the cello sound real or the guitar sound authentic or when you change this bit to a boutique component then the whole thing sounds much better.

Yes, I know we're all different and do this diy thing for different reasons but I thought I'd get on my soap box and light the controversy bonfire again.

It's fine to listen to the equipment, It's just that I prefer the music......the line to join the firing squad starts over here!
Like you Ed, I have no idea what ‘golden eared’ means. It’s highly likely, nay an absolute certainty, that my attention span is too short to be a Golden Ear.

I do however, carry around a certain sound inside my head; something that I have worked towards for the past twenty years, which broadly argues that there must be no midrange hardness of any description in the sound that comes out of the speakers, even if it (and TBH it rarely is) part of the recording, and interestingly, it’s been push-pull pentodes and single-ended ultralinear operation and big single drivers, that have provided most effectively, the desiderata.

I went through a phase of using boutique components at much cost, when I first started DIY, around 2005, and basically got nowhere. Interestingly the only ‘boutique’ components that have ever provided an utterly fab sound (see above for my requirements) were some red, hand-built coupling caps Greg lent me, that I can’t remember the name of. These were really rather special. Sadly, I didn’t follow up by buying my own and the time has passed where I would be interested in such things. I’ve found a niche now that works for me.

For my own amp builds these days, I use JJ or F&T, 500V electrolytic can caps in my power supplies, and Mallory/ Jupiter ‘Astron’ tubular, or Sprague Orange Drops for coupling stages. Mills for cathode and anode resistors, Arcol carbon composition for grid stoppers and Sprague black/green electrolytics for cathode bypasses. None of these are particularly expensive. Together these components, which apart from the Mills resistors are mostly found in guitar amps, combine to give the kind of tone I hanker after.
Last edited by Cressy Snr on Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“The sound you love today may not be the sound you love tomorrow, and with tube circuits you can continually retune your gear to what reflects your current vibe...so you can get even down deeper into your truth.” (Harvey Rosenburg.)
JamesD
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#17 Re: Blackgate Caps

Post by JamesD »

I like the wkz in power supplies although I'm down to one 500V one and one 350V one left and I'm saving them for a rainy day :-)

I've also use 60s and 70s German PP and PP in veg. oil power caps from AskJanFirst - they are big ugly and good in psus and he has them in values up to 160uF (Delta caps of 80uF a side - parallel two side for 160uF) and the price is right. He has NOS stock and used stock and I often buy the used as these caps were seriously over engineered in the first place - they were designed for 415VAC use so good for about 1000VDC use. These, to my ears, are better than most electrolytics I've tried and almost certainly cheaper than audiophile electrolytics.

Cathode bypass caps - I never really got on with Blackgates here - probably as I don't leave my amps powered all the time - I tended to use Elna Cerafines or Silmics or when I can't get them PPs with PIO bypass and a Russian teflon bypass. I did use Mundorf silver in oils a couple of times and liked them a lot but they are expensive for anything other than coupling...

James
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#18 Re: Blackgate Caps

Post by Ant »

I've always liked elmas as bypass caps, samhwa or jj psu caps and I like wima Durolit as coupling caps. But try getting the wimas these days. I did have some green mullard coupling caps that I liked aswell
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Greg
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#19 Re: Blackgate Caps

Post by Greg »

Cressy Snr wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:31 pm Interestingly the only ‘boutique’ components that have ever provided an utterly fab sound (see above for my requirements) were some red, hand-built coupling caps Greg lent me, that I can’t remember the name of. These were really rather special.
Dynamicaps.
Cressy Snr
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#20 Re: Blackgate Caps

Post by Cressy Snr »

Greg wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:21 pm
Cressy Snr wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:31 pm Interestingly the only ‘boutique’ components that have ever provided an utterly fab sound (see above for my requirements) were some red, hand-built coupling caps Greg lent me, that I can’t remember the name of. These were really rather special.
Dynamicaps.
That’s ‘em.
Thanks Greg. :)
“The sound you love today may not be the sound you love tomorrow, and with tube circuits you can continually retune your gear to what reflects your current vibe...so you can get even down deeper into your truth.” (Harvey Rosenburg.)
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Paul Barker
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#21 Re: Blackgate Caps

Post by Paul Barker »

I would say Dave Slagle if Pieter has retired, but pricey. However on topic, people paid a premium for Black Gate WKZ’s which made a small difference at first, but if amp left on after months they’re head and shoulders.

Likewise with transformers best sound entails much more costly to wind in materials and effort/skill so that’s why you pay considerably more. But to get you’re sound head and shoulders above 98% of transformers you’ll need more💰
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pre65
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#22 Re: Blackgate Caps

Post by pre65 »

My Audionote copy pre amp was built by Philip Ramsey (he of Bluebell Audio) and has got a few Blackgate caps inside.

But I can't tell what difference they might have made over "lesser" caps.
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#23 Re: Blackgate Caps

Post by IslandPink »

Most of my comparisons were done a few years ago, when some of the BG's were still available.
I did a comparison of WKZ's vs Polyprop/oil with a film/foil btpass, on the final PS cap for the Aurora amps, and it was almost indistinguishable , but then that's class A PP. I can't remember what I tried for SE P.S. vs BG's, but I put the 220u/350's on the latest tweeter amp.
With the 300B cathode caps, and 2A3, I had several options on there, and the NH non-polar Black Gates were definitely the best, by a small margin, from Cerafines. There was a small amount of HF 'grain' with the Cerafines that was gone with the NH's. The normal Black Gates were not a lot better than ordinary electrolytics.

In the phono amp I tried various things on cathodes and decoupling PS caps, and things were pretty well-distinguished there.
The red NX ( is it ) caps like the 470u/6.3 and 1000u/25 were definitely the most transparent, and the VK 22u/350's for decoupling were the ones that stayed in there and haven't been touched since. I still have three new ones of these.
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