Capacitor test # 1


OK, this is the most difficult text I ever wrote on the Lampizator page.
I am putting on the table all my credibility and reputation.
At the same time - I am sure of my opinion more than ever.
And I am willing to challenge anyone who does not believe me.

The test of a capacitor in series with signal path between my Philips CD-940 CD DAC chip and the amplifier was conducted in semi- blind condition.
I knew which caps are inside the comparator, but I did not know which is A and which is B.

The A-B switching was possible on the run, while music played. I was sitting in the sweet spot and with eyes closed I flipped the switch. Only one cap pair was in the path at the time.
There were NO OTHER capacitors in the entire signal path from DAC chip to speakers, ONLY the caps under test. So the differences were not "diluted" in the other capacitor signature, which would mask the results.
Music material was optimized to be:
1. testing high trebles - Carla Bruni with tons of brushes and finest plankton
2. Deep powerful bass - Twozywo Sztuczne Live Na Zywo
both recordings with 3-d space and atmosphere of a live event .

I made over 20 switchings on each song with each capacitor pair.
ERO roedenstein 2,2 MKT foil caps served as benchmark or reference, and always stayed in the Comparator machine.
Second pair was selected randomly from 30 pairs ready for the test.

The result exceeded my wildest expectations. I knew that the differences will be small, especially with similar caps.
But nothing prepared me for THIS.
Just imagine, that there was no difference whatsoever.
3 hours of switching, and I was so desperate to hear any difference that I used the most extreme caps to compare, not only X to ROE, but X to Y.
Like the 2 uF oscon electrolyte of  a size of match head, and Siemens PIO 2 uF of a size of cigarette pack.  And no name electrolyte 10 000 uF / 16 V which I use for heater circuit rectification filter. What a horror of signal decoupling cap.
Still, no mater what song, no matter how deeply I concentrated - there was NO DIFFERENCE WHATSOEVER. Nil. Niente. Nada. Zadnej. Nikakoj. Nihuja.

 I mean - you may THINK or at least EXPECT that there should be a difference, but I KNOW it because I actually tried. There is so much self suggestion when we want to believe there should be a difference,  for Christ's sake - MUST BE, but our sense of hearing can't possibly have a memory long enough to compare in between soldering of different caps.

Even when I listen to one cap and I cough in the middle - I can't compare the sound pre-cough to post - cough. The subtle differences are all a product of our imagination, and OUR NEED TO JUSTIFY the effort and cost to import and install premium caps over the standard ones.

Of course I am not suggesting that all caps in all applications and in all roles will sound the same.
I am suggesting, that in signal decoupling - the difference - if existing - is so small, that it is below human treshold of hearing and it is safe to call this INDIFFERENT and go on with life concentrating on differences two magnitudes larger, like operating point, tube selection, tweeter selection, bass reflex tuning, listening seat positioning, tweeter resistor value, etc etc.

Now I will conduct identical test but under 100 V DC of offset and with 20 x stronger signal and we will see (or hear) if the difference will eventually surface.

Meanwhile we can remember to use a small, decent, closely matched pair of caps for signal decoupling with adequate volt rating and adequate size and forget about the quality issue.
My choice will be the 33 uF / 25 V Os-con, polarized with plus towads the signal source. That costs 75 EU Cents and will do the job more than well while occupying almost zero space.

A disclaimer - I did not have the caps considered to be really superb like Teflon V-cap, Audionote Silver PIO, or Mundorf Gold.

Now I can imagine the audiophile forums being triggered. I will be called a moron, an idiot, ignorant, loonatic, vinoholic, Third Kaczynski, Artur Boruc of Audio, etc. OK. go ahead, I don't read forums anyway.

But I am so sure of my opinion, that I challenge anybody willing to come here to the FIKUS CAPACITOR CHALLENGE:
You can bring any capacitor you want,  the size between 1 and 10 uF of any construction and any price* and you defeat me if you can blindly identify from 10 A-B switchings at least 7 times your cap correctly (only 2 times more than statistical 5 average like a coin toss.). You listen, I switch, you name the cap.
Furthermore - I will give you the possibility to choose my cap from three: An oscon, ROE MKT and a tantalum. You pick the B capacitor from these three trying to nail me.
One condition: your cap can not cost more than 50 x the price of my cap retail.

The winner will get The Lampized CD player - any choice from my collection of 20  !

The first winner erases the challenge - it will be reset and closed.

Loosers pay me 100 Euro in cash.
The visitor taking challenge may bring a helper and draw group decisions.