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Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

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  • Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

    I'm not posing a question to be answered. I'm sharing the experience I'm about to have trying to answer this question for myself. Currently I don't know the answer.

    I have a Lepai amp that came from the factory with the input cap reversed on the polarity. Shortly after I fired it up, that cap blew up and made a smokey mess, so PE sent me another one free of charge.

    I now have 3 Lepai T2020A+ amps; one that has been used for 2 months, one brand new one, and one with a blown input cap.

    The assumption is that a $20 amp will probably have the cheapest and lowest quality components available. "If they could use duct tape and cardboard to make it work, they would." I have purchased the following parts to replace all of the caps on the broken one with higher quality ones, in addition to replacing all of the caps on the other two amps if the difference proves to be large enough. At a bare minimum, the better quality components will increase the longevity of the amp.

    3x Polypropylene Film Capacitors 0.10uF 450VDC 5% (to replace the red one to the right of the Tripath chip)
    https://www.mouser.com/Search/Produc...-ECW-F2W104JAQ


    18x Polypropylene Film Capacitors 0.47uF 450VDC 5% (to replace the blue 474 low tolerance ones)
    https://www.mouser.com/Search/Produc...-ECW-F2W474JAQ


    1x Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors - Leaded 16VDC 5600uF (for fiddling around with as a larger input cap than the 4700uf)
    https://www.mouser.com/Search/Produc...67-EEU-FR1C562


    6x Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors - Leaded 50volts 2.2uF 20% (direct replacement)
    https://www.mouser.com/Search/Produc...47-UKW1H2R2MDD


    6x Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors - Leaded 50volts 1uF 20% (direct replacement)
    https://www.mouser.com/Search/Produc...47-UKW1H010MDD


    6x Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors - Leaded 25volts 220uF 20% (direct replacement)
    https://www.mouser.com/Search/Produc...47-UKW1E221MPD


    3x Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors - Leaded 16volts 470uF 20% (direct replacement)
    https://www.mouser.com/Search/Produc...47-UKW1C471MPD


    6x Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors - Leaded 16volts 100uF 20% (direct replacement)
    https://www.mouser.com/Search/Produc...47-UKW1C101MDD


    3x Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors - Leaded 16volts 4700uF 20% (input cap replacement)
    https://www.mouser.com/Search/Produc...47-UKW1C472MHD


    One thing that stood out the most is the that the factory output film caps have a tolerance of -20%/+80%, which is the worst tolerance rating for a capacitor and I believed to be chosen solely for the purpose of cutting costs. Whether or not that's true will be determined tonight. Those in question will be replaced by 5% tolerance polypropylene caps, and the electrolytic caps will be replaced with identical specification "audio grade" Nichicon caps.

    The factory 3300uf input cap will be replaced by either a 4700uf "audio grade" Nichicon cap or a 5600uf "low ESR" Panasonic cap. I will try both as they're identical in size to see if there's any difference at all. My guess is there won't be. The purpose for larger input caps is to regulate the flow of power better since I have noticed the LED surrounding the volume knob dimming more and more under hard bass beats as the volume is increased, after which point the amp simply shuts down.

    I will be re-testing and comparing these amps after each set of caps I replace to listen for any changes. I have a very good ear for this kind of thing so I'll try to explain the differences I hear (if any) to the best of my abilities.

    Stay tuned, and feel free to provide any input or speculation you want to.
    Modding the Lepai T-Amp

  • #2
    Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

    Very interested in the results!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

      Oh the antici...

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

        ...pation.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

          Originally posted by AMC View Post
          Oh the antici...
          Originally posted by AMC View Post
          ...pation.
          haha, don't hold your breath just yet. I can't get to these till I get home from work anyway, so it will probably be another...6 hours till I get started.
          Modding the Lepai T-Amp

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

            So what is the cost of the upgraded capacitors in the amp? Also, what did it cost you to find a better PS?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

              Originally posted by kmibb View Post
              So what is the cost of the upgraded capacitors in the amp? Also, what did it cost you to find a better PS?
              $10 shipped for the better power supply. I'm sure there are better options as I didn't spend a whole lot of time looking for cheaper alternatives.

              The caps were $10 per amp.
              Modding the Lepai T-Amp

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

                My un-educated guess is that it's much more plausible for capacitor changing to have some audible effect in the pre-speaker part of the audio component chain...
                "...this is not a subwoofer" - Jeff Bagby ;)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

                  Originally posted by critofur View Post
                  My un-educated guess is that it's much more plausible for capacitor changing to have some audible effect in the pre-speaker part of the audio component chain...
                  No doubt, that's been tested and proven by some people, but rarely do you hear of anyone taking apart their amp to replace the caps in there with higher quality units.

                  Just a few more hours and I'll get to work.
                  Modding the Lepai T-Amp

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

                    If you can hear it, it can be measured. So, with that said, I'd much prefer real data over subjective thoughts.
                    If you have the means to measure the line out for distortion, FR, etc, that would be more well received than what you heard.. At least to me.

                    Even something as simple as rightmark measurements would certainly go a long way.
                    ErinsAudioCorner.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

                      my little lepai stopped working yesterday. the blue light started going from dim to not. then stopped working. i have not opened it up yet, but when i do i would love to fix it if its not beyond my skill level.
                      " To me, the soundstage presentation is more about phase and distortion and less about size. However, when you talk about bass extension, there's no replacement for displacement". Tyger23. 4.2015

                      Quote Originally Posted by hongrn. Oct 2014
                      Do you realize that being an American is like winning the biggest jackpot ever??

                      http://www.midwestaudioclub.com/spot...owell-simpson/
                      http://s413.photobucket.com/albums/pp216/arlis/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

                        If I can hear it, ill send two of them to someone on this board for testing. Is there any free software I can use for testing with a good microphone?

                        Package got delayed till tomorrow. Silly UPS. Ill post an update tomorrow.
                        Modding the Lepai T-Amp

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

                          Arlis I can probably fix it. Plus no shipping. Just give me a call when you're making a Rockford run and we can meet up.
                          Craig

                          I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

                            yes sir, i can do that. eric has already shipped the new one. he said he has one to and likes it alot. would you like to look at my sure amp too?
                            " To me, the soundstage presentation is more about phase and distortion and less about size. However, when you talk about bass extension, there's no replacement for displacement". Tyger23. 4.2015

                            Quote Originally Posted by hongrn. Oct 2014
                            Do you realize that being an American is like winning the biggest jackpot ever??

                            http://www.midwestaudioclub.com/spot...owell-simpson/
                            http://s413.photobucket.com/albums/pp216/arlis/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Can you "hear" a better capacitor?

                              Where is this progress?! I was waiting for it yesterday!

                              Comment

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