Thursday, 23rd October 2014.

Posted on Sunday, 31st March 2013 by Auw Jimmy

The first thing that we have to do before doing some mods activity is to find out who is where, why, and doing what. We can easily exclude when and how ;)

First, we need a AVO Meter. Any brand will do, as mostly we are testing for continuity only. Mostly, it will produce a ‘beep’ sound if it detects conductivity. Any cheap meter will do, started from $5. But I prefer a good tool, so I use my Sanwa PC510.

1-TracingXonar

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Posted on Saturday, 23rd March 2013 by Auw Jimmy

Removing the capacitor from a through-hole PCB never become an easy job. But for the sake of modification, that is the only way and surely no way back.

I spent nearly one hour to remove those 6 capacitors on the power supply PCB of Asus Xonar Essence One and cleaned up all the holes (6 capacitors means 12 holes).

With bare eyes, the holes looked clean and neat. But in ‘microscopic’ level, I still can see some dirt. But I think that should be fine.

By the way, LM358 should attract some attention here ;)

Xonar-PSU-Caps-Hole

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Posted on Monday, 18th March 2013 by Auw Jimmy

Still remember Asus Xonar Essence One DAC? It’s time to disassembly the power supply. It’s separated on small PCB. Good design as this makes my life more beautiful, although it’s not an easy job to disassemble it.

It has 3 power supply rails: One 5V, and two 12V (positive and negative). The regulators used are the low dropout one, LM2990 and LM2940.

The first target to be improved is the capacitors. I could see some values on by storage bin which could suit. Hearing the sound, I think adding some Silmic would be best, although Black Gate NX could be very-very interesting (but my supply is very limited).

PSU Top

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Posted on Sunday, 17th March 2013 by Auw Jimmy

I believe you still remember this one? I think it’s time to give a short review of it.

As comparison, I will use Jensen 4-Pole capacitor as both has same capacitance (470 uF).

Caveat: The Jensen 4-Pole has been used for quite some time as it’s my reference electrolytic capacitor. While this new ‘No Name’ capacitor is currently fresh from the oven. Quite unfair for the comparison, but from my experience, the ‘talent’ of capacitor should easily leave an impression on first sight, I mean, first listening test ;)

So, what is my first impression?

This new ‘No Name’ capacitor has more ‘analogue’ sound. The vocal is sweet enough for an electrolytic capacitor, but not too sweet. The resolution also clearly ahead of the Jensen 4-Pole. The staging, depth and width, also much better than the Jensen 4-Pole (quite obvious on 月光小夜曲 by Cai Qin). Dynamic and headroom also not limited. Quite interesting. It just has more timbre and more ‘sweet’ harmonic along the music. Norah Jones, Cai Qin, and Livingston Taylor easily on this ‘No Name’ capacitor side. So, I can easily say this is more musical than the Jensen 4-Pole. The different is easily recognized on several seconds after the music played.

Am I saying this new ‘No Name’ capacitor has no weakness? Not really.

The speed is a little bit slow. This is quite obvious when playing ‘Black Magic Woman’ from Patricia Barber. During the last 3-4 minutes to the end of the track, we can hear and test the speed of the system (best part of the track actually). I can say this ‘No Name’ capacitor has the dynamic, power, and everything (including the guitar distortion which I prefer this capacitor instead of the Jensen 4-Pole). But it just seems like to play the music easily and constant speed (which eventually translated into a bit slower, especially when compared to Jensen 4-Pole). I could say it lacks (a bit) of pace?

Despite the speed, it has everything to make me fall-in-love at first listening test (my fall-in-love at first sight should be my wife;). Tonality wise, it’s musical. Staging wise, it’s deep and wide. Harmonically wise, it’s rich. Resolution wise, I don’t think we can have a lot of electrolytic could outperform this one. Male and female vocal? For me, it’s no contest against the Jensen 4-Pole.

The pace reminds me of too much Kiwame resistor. But Kiwame will hide the detail and resolution, while this new ‘No Name’ capacitor will keep the detail and resolution there, plus all the timbre and harmonic.

Will see how this will perform in next several hundreds hours. With additional extra of speed, this would be perfect!

Or, maybe it will need some extra tuning ;)

TestingJimCaps

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Posted on Sunday, 3rd March 2013 by Auw Jimmy

Before your mind gone wild, let me give you a clue: This is not a film capacitor…

Specially designed capacitor based on my ‘short’ experience testing a lot of capacitors.

No name yet, until it passes the sound quality test – which will come soon (hope so, finger crossed).

SpecialProject

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Posted on Sunday, 16th December 2012 by Auw Jimmy

During a lazy Saturday afternoon, there was a person asked on one of the mailing list about the orientation of the Bennic FPP capacitor. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any Bennic FPP on my shelves. Only XPP was available. So here you go, the Bennic XPP Capacitor orientation check.

From the measurement, we can see that the outer foil of this Bennic XPP capacitor located on the left side (as we read ‘Bennic’ word from left to right). So theoretically speaking, this side should be use as input on the signal application or ground on the power supply application.

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Posted on Sunday, 15th April 2012 by Auw Jimmy

Jensen has 4 types in their Copper Foil Paper-In-Oil line-up capacitor. Actually, they are same capacitor, but only has different chassis or enclosure. Unfortunately, the different in enclosure produces different sound (and eventually different price). I’m not saying the most expensive is the best one (at least for my ears). That’s why it’s quite interesting to try them. Jensen has 4 types of enclosure/tube: Aluminum, Paper, Copper, and Ceramic. I have tried 3 of them (Aluminum, Paper, and Copper). It’s time to get the last one, the Ceramic tube to fulfill my thirst on this ‘oily capacitor world’. Before you got disappointed, there will be no test result on this post as I must pass around 100-200 hours break-in period first.

Below are some reading which could be interesting:
Battle of 3 Capacitors
Extreme Capacitor Battle 1st Session
Extreme Capacitor Battle 2nd Session

And below is the appearance of the Jensen Ceramic tube capacitor.

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Posted on Saturday, 7th January 2012 by Auw Jimmy

After the Part I has been done, now I continue to the Part II. On this 2nd part, I will see what’s wrong with the Marantz PM400AVK.

Simple testing method is to try it on other speaker. Initial diagnosis is the volume control problem, as I could hear some cracking and intermittent no sound on the speaker. But sometime the problem could be solved after turning the volume up and down. Definitely, initial problem is on the volume control. So let’s take a look inside.

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Posted on Tuesday, 15th November 2011 by Auw Jimmy

So far, Auricap is one of my trusted capacitor brand – in power supply section. I still remember ‘few’ years back (when using this capacitor for the very first time) and comparing with Solen, Hovland, and Bennic XPP in my very first DIY speaker. Sounds familiar – if you were ever there.

Now, time has changed, but Auricap remains there. Affordable and sounds quite natural capacitor. I receive information from my colleague that Auricap releases latest type, the XO series. Not quite sure why Auricap uses XO as their new model. Probably as this new capacitor also available in very larger version (100 uF++, if I’m not mistaken).

Auricap is still my favorite in power supply section, after Solen. Well, so far if you are thinking a full film capacitor power supply, then Solen is a nice and realistic choice, as they are available in large capacitance, adequate 400-630 VDC, and definitely affordable price. Now, with the arrival of Auricap XO, which also offers large capacitance and high voltage, then the different is all about money (and performance to justify the cost).

I order 0.1 uF / 400 VDC and plan to use them in power supply section of my new Aikido Preamp.

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Posted on Wednesday, 12th October 2011 by Auw Jimmy

I ordered Duelund CAST Cu capacitor few months ago. I already have Duelund CAST Ag (Silver) on my Aikido Preamp. But I wanted Duelund CAST for my future amp (probably it’s gonna be another abandoned project?). As the CAST Ag price is very not reasonable (around US$2500 or more for a pair of 1 uF/630 VDC), then I think the CAST Cu is the best option (around US$ 1200 a pair). I also ordered my Alexander by Duelund capacitor (less than US$ 200 a pair of 0.47 uF/900 VDC), just to ‘finalized’ my passion on it (how bad it could be?).

After around 3 months or so production, finally the goods arrived on my home yesterday. When I opened it, I got a surprise. Duelund changed their chassis design for the CAST capacitor. See below.

I think the design is more likely a ‘small car battery’. Quite nice, since the new design is smaller and it’s ‘boxy’ design could fit on most PCB easily, compared with the old ‘moon cake’ chassis design.

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Posted on Tuesday, 11th October 2011 by Auw Jimmy

It’s interesting to hear how does this low end capacitor would sound. So I eventually try to obtain it. I just can’t stop my passion in this. Sigh…

Priced at very low value (just a little bit more expensive than Audio Note Mylar version), this Alexander capacitor from Duelund got ‘unique’ 900VDC rating. Based on its specification and capacitance availability, I’m quite sure this is more for electronic circuit instead of crossover.

Interesting to hear how does it sound. I also order the new version of Duelund CAST Cu capacitor. Although they are at different level, but at how much? That would be remained as question, until I try it.

All I need is some more time… :)

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Posted on Tuesday, 30th August 2011 by Auw Jimmy

I have been a fan for Black Gate for quite long time. My first time impression probably nearly 10 years ago. I forgot whether I heard SKz or WKz at that moment, but I did remember the beauty of tube amplifier, smoothed by those Black Gate (probably not just Black Gate who contributed for the amazing sonic at that moment).

But 10 years back, I didn’t dare to play hundred of Volts for designing tube based equipment, then high voltage Black Gate such as SKz or WKz was out of my consideration. I got some and sell some… Mostly, I preferred to play with NX series, which very common in low voltage application (as low as 6.3 Volts). Very useful in D/A application. Some people say the Black Gate NX (especially the HQ – High Quality version) is very good in D/A coupling application. It produces very neutral sound, transparent, almost nothing (like direct coupling). But some people don’t like this kind of ‘sterile’ sound. Not analog, some people complaint.

Actually, other best application for Black Gate NX series is on the power supply smoothing section, especially on the D/A side.

I still own several N/NX/Hi-Q series, FK series, F series, PK series, Standard series, C series, and off course, the latest acquisition, SKz/WKz series.

All the latest WKz series (not WK, SK or SKz) will have a green ‘Goddess playing harps’ and  ‘Heart of Muse’ text. Actually, Black Gate is not the only one who uses ‘Muse’ in their capacitor series. We also can find Nichicon who uses ‘Muse’ in their line up. Term ‘Muse’ itself (one of them) could refer to any of 9 daughter of Mnemosyne and Zeus. Still on the same mythology, each of the Goddess possesses specific art or science. Probably this one loves music…

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