Thursday, 26th November 2015.

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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Posted on Friday, 13th May 2011 by Auw Jimmy

My cheap L/C Meter has arrived. With this new tool, I can play and explore more, especially things related with inductance, like Choke or Inductor. Although this is not the most accurate meter, but should be enough for typical daily usage. Before, I plan to take the Tonghui L/C Meter, which costs around 4x more. But this probably later on the future as this Tonghui is not easy to get. So at this moment, this cheap meter should work fine.

Below is the measurement result when measuring our previous DIY Choke.


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Posted on Friday, 10th September 2010 by Auw Jimmy

I have received some emails asking about “what is this Jensen 4-pole” and “what makes it different from other”. I will write down short explanation about it.


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Posted on Monday, 16th August 2010 by Auw Jimmy

It’s been a long since I promised to write this article: A comparison between Audio Note Copper Foil Mylar-in-Oil, Jensen Copper Foil Paper Tube, and Jensen Copper Foil Copper Tube. Some of my blog readers already email-ed me to ask about this. Due to my main job, I couldn’t finish this article immediately. So just this weekend, I spend few hours to have a listening session on this three capacitors.

Below is the test bed. A little bit awkward, but at least it works flawlessly!


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Posted on Sunday, 16th May 2010 by Auw Jimmy

I plan to compare some capacitors from Jensen and one from Audio Note. The two from Jensen are Jensen Copper Foil Paper-in-Oil (Paper Tube) and Jensen Copper Foil Paper-in-Oil (Copper Tube). From Audio Note, I have Copper Foil Mylar-in-Oil (I believe this is Copper Tube also). We gonna have a serious battle later since those 3 caps are using different “recipe”. Both Jensen are Paper in Oil type, but with different enclosure. While the Audio Note has similarity with one of the Jensen with Copper Tube, but with Mylar instead of Paper. Audio Note claims the Mylar will provide better combination between sonic reproduction and the reliability.

Shall we prove the result? Later… We must wait after the burn-in session, probably in 100+ hours.

For the burn-in session, I sealed the Copper Tube caps with plastic. This is to prevent the oxidation of the copper tube (both Audio Note and Jensen Copper Tube oxides very fast in my environment due to high humidity, thanks to the purity of the material used also). I should prepare a transparent heatshrink for a good looking appearance, but no time to find one now. Perhaps you will ask why there are 2 pair of Jensen Paper Tube? One is my friend’s, to join the burn-in session before used on his system.


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Posted on Saturday, 24th April 2010 by Auw Jimmy

I just got my Oscilloscope, so I can play more fun with my DIY stuff. Ok, let’s start with some basic “game”, to find the inner and outer foil of a capacitor.

Basically, most of the capacitor, has what we call the inner foil and outer foil. Because, most of capacitor’s construction is based on the winding of paper or other conductor (silver, copper, gold, etc), so we will have a start position (the inner foil) and the finish position (the outer foil).

Although for the film type capacitor, it’s just fine to connect positive or negative to the inner or outer foil. But due to some reason, it’s preferable to connect the outer foil to negative side or to the “nearest” negative side (input side on coupling application).

Why? Because the outer foil will catch the outside interferences. So better if you can put this outer foil to the place nearest to ground or negative pole. So it could completely transfer those unwanted noise faster to the place where it should belong – the ground.

Some capacitor like Audio Note, Jensen, Auricap, Hovland, VCap, etc usually marks their capacitor with different color lead or print some black line to mark the negative side or input in the coupling application. Some other popular capacitor, like Mundorf, doesn’t seem to care about this, means no marks at all. So you got to check it by your own. Other capacitor like Duelund, which uses the Stacked Foil design, I believe doesn’t have any polarity (it’s not winded, but stacked).

How to do the test with Oscilloscope? Simple by testing both leads, and give some “interference” outside the capacitor (touch by hand or put some electric field interference e.g. high voltage cable, etc). The side with higher noise, means the outer foil.

Below are some picture from my own measurement on some capacitors.

Audio Note Oil Filled Mylar Capacitor. The black line marking on the capacitor’s body means the negative or input side. We can see the noise is quite big if we put the positive probe on the side which has black line marking.


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Posted on Tuesday, 23rd March 2010 by Auw Jimmy

After some crazy on the middle of the night decision, finally I decided to purchase the Duelund CAST Silver (CAST Ag) Capacitor. My friend bought my CAST Copper (CAST Cu), so this leaded me into a final crazy decision, to buy the CAST Silver.

The 1 uF and 630 VDC version of Duelund CAST Silver will cost you around US$ 900 each or around US$ 1800 pair. The 0.47 uF and 630 VDC version will cost about 5-7.5% difference, maybe different between retailers.

And don’t forget you have to wait around 2 months, not included shipping time, to get this at home – even if you have the money.

I was surprised to see that the outside appearance of this damned expensive CAST Silver was completely the same with my old CAST Copper. C’mon I spent over 2 times for this caps but with same appearance? Did you buy AMG with standard appearance? 😉 At least I expected extra muffler, some body kits, new xenon head lamps, and some shinny grille.


The only different was, on the backside. You could side the sticker wrote 99.999% SILVER :)


I must wait several days or weeks, before I can judge this capacitor. But I do really anxious to hear how does it sound!!!

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Posted on Tuesday, 23rd March 2010 by Auw Jimmy

I acquired another varian of Jensen Film Caps, the Copper Tube. Basically, Jensen has 4 enclosure models, the cheap Aluminum Tube, then the Paper Tube, Copper Tube, and Ceramic Tube. So far, I have no interest (or budget) to try the Ceramic Tube, so I take the Copper Tube  (hope I made a good decision).

Inside, all of them should be the same. Just the enclosure is different. But I note a significant different in weight between the Aluminum Tube and the Paper or Copper Tube.

After several hours of break-in session, soon I will held a session between my favorite Paper Tube vs Copper Tube. This should be interesting, since Copper Tube is more expensive, and should provide an advantage – less interference, thanks to the Copper natural behavior.

But we must wait several days, or week, until they pass the break-in period.


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Posted on Tuesday, 23rd March 2010 by Auw Jimmy

At the end or journey where good electrolytic caps is getting more difficult to be acquired, I think I have to consider some alternatives. I love Black Gate and Elna (Cerafine and Silmic), but those are getting rare and expensive. So far, I can live with Jensen 4-pole electrolytic at my Tube HV power supply, but I’m thinking cheaper solution for general purpose usage.

For now, I think this Axial Electrolytic Capacitor from Jensen could fulfill my needs. It’s quite small. The 10.000uF and 16 VDC size is about the size of average thumb. I thought it would be big 😉

I think this gonna be cool for filament supply application.


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Posted on Saturday, 12th December 2009 by Auw Jimmy

Just arrive, could be my last “considered high end” capacitor… I welcome you, Audio Note Copper Foil Mylar in Oil 0.47uF/630Volt.

I do love the beautiful elegant copper appearance from this capacitor. It just wonderful and good looking (maybe I’m too bored with “brown paper” from Jensen and Duelund). How does this thing sound? Will see, later, don’t expect me to test it soon, since quite busy these days.



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Posted on Sunday, 11th October 2009 by Auw Jimmy

Still remember my other “stupidity” here? After several hours of investigation, I finally decide that the Jensen Copper Foil Paper Tube is not a good capacitor for bypassing purpose. The music will lose most of its detail. YMMV, this is based on my investigation. Feel free if you have other opinion.

On the other side, I still have the “Classic” Jensen Copper Foil Aluminium Tube. Surprisingly, this capacitor works better on the High Voltage bypass section! The price of this capacitor is only 1/3 of the Paper Tube. I will give some more listening test, but so far I would stick with this “Classic” Jensen on the bypass section. This “Classic” capacitor gives warmth sensation without losing the details.


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Posted on Tuesday, 18th August 2009 by Auw Jimmy

After you read this, perhaps you would expect a better system to test the capacitors. So today, I visit a friend, and test the capacitors on his system. We can call him, Mr. X. Here is some brief of Mr. X audio system.

Below is the power amplifier. Powered with RS241, RE604,and 6J5. Rectifier is RGN 2504 (later we try Klangfilm RGN 4004). OT is Tango. Currently powered with Jensen Copper Foil Capacitor and old NOS Western Electric capacitors. FYI, RS241 is claimed by most audiophiles as best sounding tube amplifier (forget 300B or 2A3) – and it’s really proven, if you have chance to hear it. This is an ultimate Single Ended tube amplifier (if you really know what do RS241, RE604, and 6J5 really mean to an audiophile).



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