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Combining caps to get a value - is there a difference?

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  • Combining caps to get a value - is there a difference?

    No, this is not restarting the Holy War...

    I want to get a 600uF cap value and don't want to sell one of my kids to get it.

    Is there a difference (other than a few cents) in paralleling 200uF + 200uF + 200uF electrolytic caps and 500uF + 100uF electrolytic caps?
    All of the electrolytics are 100V rating.

    Thanks in advance.
    Andy.

  • #2
    Not much difference. The ESR of one combination might be lower than the other, but that will depend on the particular caps. Caps have a maximum current rating too, but as long as you're below that in each cap you should be OK.
    Francis

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    • #3
      Use a good brand, smaller values are easily adjusted and reused for other projects, but if there's a deal on larger values, save yourself some money.
      And in twenty years, start checking them every ten or so.

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      • #4
        If I may tag onto this - how about trying to emulate the performance of a higher performance capacitor by combining a large NPE and a smaller Poly or Foil cap? Back in the day we were told this could be accomplished by just using a very small parallel poly/foil cap, like 0.1uF or even 0.01uf. Since then I have read that, if one wants to attempt this, that the higher end cap should be no smaller than something like 10% of the total - so in this case maybe a 500uf NPE and a 100uf foil/poly to make the 600uf total.

        Has anyone experimented with this? I hate to use an NPE anywhere but sometimes when the values are large it sure is tempting!

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        • #5
          ^ here we go down the bypass cap hole...
          John H

          Synergy Horn, SLS-85, BMR-3L, Mini-TL, BR-2, Titan OB, B452, Udique, Vultus, Latus1, Seriatim, Aperivox,Pencil Tower

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          • #6
            DOH!! No, please. I don't want to open up any huge philosophical debate on this. This has probably been argued to death on here - I will search it out. Forget I asked.

            Coexist people!!

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            • #7
              Thanks, I ended going with the latter, by flipping a coin (and that combo was a few cents cheaper).
              I am planning on building Tony Gee's Black Box speakers as an upgrade to my garage Lyras (both 10" 3-ways).
              I didn't quite realize how much the XOs were and ended up using a few electrolytics in the woofer circuit to save $100+...they were still over $400...sheesh.

              And Dukk, just to try and stay inline with the original design, i am going to bypass all the electrolytics with some poly caps, just for fun.

              Thanks, Andy.

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              • #8
                The main issue with multiple caps would be that not all caps charge and discharge at same time. Some people believe this " smears" the sound. I have used multiples and really have not noticed much difference. I know some people that swear by it and some that would never do it. Try it and see if you can hear a difference and report back.
                craigk

                " Voicing is often the term used for band aids to cover for initial design/planning errors " - Pallas

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                • #9
                  Yes there is a difference. The fact that people have been doing this for 30 years and that people still think it is controversial here is why I don't bother to get in the middle of this stuff here.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by andykriech View Post
                    And Dukk, just to try and stay inline with the original design, i am going to bypass all the electrolytics with some poly caps, just for fun.
                    You're a rogue Andy!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by craigk View Post
                      The main issue with multiple caps would be that not all caps charge and discharge at same time. Some people believe this " smears" the sound. I have used multiples and really have not noticed much difference. I know some people that swear by it and some that would never do it. Try it and see if you can hear a difference and report back.
                      I would modify your advice a bit......

                      "Try it blind and see if you can truly tell a difference and report back."

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by fdieck View Post
                        Yes there is a difference. The fact that people have been doing this for 30 years and that people still think it is controversial here is why I don't bother to get in the middle of this stuff here.
                        I think the controversy, (as with most of these audio disagreements) almost all times, the listener is Vividly aware of what they are listening to.
                        So expectation can easily color the outcome, and rarely does anyone do a true blind test or even an actual A/B comparison, but they simply use what they prefer and claim it as improved or better.

                        There is usually a claim but with no controls or proof.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kevintomb View Post

                          I think the controversy, (as with most of these audio disagreements) almost all times, the listener is Vividly aware of what they are listening to.
                          So expectation can easily color the outcome, and rarely does anyone do a true blind test or even an actual A/B comparison, but they simply use what they prefer and claim it as improved or better.

                          There is usually a claim but with no controls or proof.
                          Yes. Extraordinary claims deserve extraordinary proof.
                          Francis

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kevintomb View Post

                            I would modify your advice a bit......

                            "Try it blind and see if you can truly tell a difference and report back."
                            You are right. I always do blind testing. just assumed most people do. I know what happens when you assume things. You are correct, blind only testing.
                            craigk

                            " Voicing is often the term used for band aids to cover for initial design/planning errors " - Pallas

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                            • #15
                              Well, I am not sure that I would know how to blind XO change testing to myself...how does one do that?
                              andy

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