I am very interested in the sonic qualities of vintage tuners. Given their age (at least 30 years or or nearly so) the capacitors in them may need to be replaced. Much has changed in the electronic components industry and in the Audiophile arena so it is at least possible that replacing the capacitors in vintage audio equipment may provide benefits.
I have several tuners that will be receiving ‘capacitor enhancement’ to coin a phrase if I may do so. I have been Googling capacitor information and reading all that I can as to what, where, when, if and why to use or not use certain capacitors.
This includes replacing caps because they are old, because of changes in technology, because of changes in manufacturing techniques, to restore original sound quality, to improve longevity of the tuners, to improve the electronic performance of the tuners and with any luck, ultimately, to improve the sonic qualities of the tuners.
The articles that were published by C Bateman in Electronics World starting in July of 2002, while perhaps not the final word on all of these topics, certainly represents a cohesive and comprehensive jumping off point for investigating the above mentioned reasons to replace caps, or not.
In reading through the articles I realized several things:
1. Bateman began his investigation with an obvious bias. As an expert capacitor designer (which I am convinced that he is, not that he required my endorsement LOL) he was very skeptical that any such sonic difference existed.
2. His position was that any perceived sonic difference from one type of cap to another, if any existed at all, could be quantified empirically.
3. That there are many people that do not have the background to receive the fullest value from the papers he published. That is to say that even though they have the ability to discern even very subtle differences between two systems that are not the same, they have not had the experience performing the measurements that Bateman refers to or have not studied some of the materials or methods he talks about. Nor do I claim that I do.
4. That his conclusions are not clearly and cohesively stated.
5. That the path he took during the course of his investigation while excellent, was a bit circuitous. Since the papers are sequential and build upon the preceding paper it might be helpful to have a ‘map’ of the route he followed.
So I was having a hard time following the papers and found it necessary to make notes so that I didn’t get (too) lost. LOL It occurred to me that others might appreciate a ‘Cliff Notes” version of the Bateman articles.
I am going to open a Bulletin Board section to Tuner Heaven where I will post my notes as well as my thoughts on his, and perhaps other, investigations on capacitors, hoping to take care of #5 above.
I will also do my best to clarify items 3 and 4.
I too have a bias. Even though I do not thoroughly understand what sonic differences may occur, with the use of different capacitors , I am inclined to believe that there are sonic differences that can be discerned.
I am hoping that by providing what information I can and providing a focused forum and repository for that information will foster ongoing discussion and investigation and little by little, improve our understanding of the effects and benefits of replacing capacitors.
I welcome all contributions whether they be additional viewpoints, corrections of my errors, other technical investigations of capacitors and most especially questions.