Is there a comprehensive resource, or guide/book, on how different types of resistors, capacitors, and transformers effect sound characteristics? I'm getting deeper into designing my own audio circuits, but it's not practical to purchase every type of capacitor/resistor to try in a signal path. Mainly I'm looking for how capacitors and resistors saturate the sound, and with what audible characteristics. Is it all just trial and error? I'm mostly interested in designing filters, EQs, and saturation effects boxes. Studio and guitar. Like, if I wanted to design a saturation/filter box that has an irony sound, but when I turn a knob, a creamy warm saturation blends in, and maybe another knob turn makes a crystal clear characteristic blend in.

Basically, I'm looking at these cool looking caps and components on this site: https://www.hificollective.co.uk/catalog/components/capacitors.html
, and they give a basic overview of their sound characteristics, but is there a more comprehensive guide / knowledge of this somewhere? Like, why and where would I use an oil cap, or a hand rolled cap? What does an oil cap sound like, and what if I combined it with a polypropylene cap. What would that sound like? Stuff like that.


Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2020, 09:35:33 PM »
Have you read Cyril Bateman's series of articles on capacitor sound? https://linearaudio.nl/cyril-batemans-capacitor-sound-articles, those articles are, in my opinion, the most comprehensive treatise on capacitor distortion, Cyril's views are completely objective, so if you are looking for what sounds "warm" or "in your face" or with "sweet highs", these articles are not for you, but if you trust hard figures then you'll find those articles very insightful, there is a lot of misinformation and voodoo in the internet when it comes to capacitor sound, specially amongst audiophiles, manufacturers who claim their stuff has "mojo" and you should pay $300 for a single exotic cap (https://www.partsconnexion.com/product50847.html), check out the description: "Copper foil has a noticeable positive impact on the “flavour” of the sound. This “flavour” of copper foil is best described as an even more neutral/natural depiction of vocals and instruments. This is paired with the enhancements in transparency and detail richness on an even higher level compared metalized polypropylene capacitors" , I really dont care for all that crap.

Also, Douglas Self's book "Small Signal Audio Design" covers the topic of capacitor and resistor effects very well, you should look into it.

When it comes to transformers, you can check CJ's posts here in the forum, and you can also check Jensen and Lundahl transformers websites, again, no mojo or voodoo.

https://groupdiy.com/index.php?topic=467.0
https://www.lundahltransformers.com/technical-papers/
https://www.jensen-transformers.com/application-notes/
« Last Edit: June 11, 2020, 10:18:59 PM by Dualflip »

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2020, 10:23:08 PM »
When it comes to transformers, you can check CJ's posts here in the forum, and you can also check Jensen and Lundahl transformers websites, again, no mojo or voodoo.
I would call  the claim of "World's Finest Transformers"
and "No Midrange Smear"  a bit of voodoo.

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2020, 10:28:13 PM »
I would call  the claim of "World's Finest Transformers"
and "No Midrange Smear"  a bit of voodoo.

Perhaps theres a bit of marketing, but every transformer datasheet is backed up with measurements to back up such claims, please tell me where is the voodoo in this https://www.jensen-transformers.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/jt-10k61-1m.pdf you wont see terms like "flavor", "resolving", "forward sounding" or any of that crap

If you want a ticket to the bullsh*t ride, check out this guy's videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MFWnr_wM1E
« Last Edit: June 11, 2020, 10:34:31 PM by Dualflip »

abbey road d enfer

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2020, 03:20:14 AM »
Is there a comprehensive resource, or guide/book, on how different types of resistors, capacitors, and transformers effect sound characteristics? I'm getting deeper into designing my own audio circuits, but it's not practical to purchase every type of capacitor/resistor to try in a signal path. Mainly I'm looking for how capacitors and resistors saturate the sound, and with what audible characteristics. Is it all just trial and error? I'm mostly interested in designing filters, EQs, and saturation effects boxes. Studio and guitar. Like, if I wanted to design a saturation/filter box that has an irony sound, but when I turn a knob, a creamy warm saturation blends in, and maybe another knob turn makes a crystal clear characteristic blend in.

Basically, I'm looking at these cool looking caps and components on this site: https://www.hificollective.co.uk/catalog/components/capacitors.html
, and they give a basic overview of their sound characteristics, but is there a more comprehensive guide / knowledge of this somewhere? Like, why and where would I use an oil cap, or a hand rolled cap? What does an oil cap sound like, and what if I combined it with a polypropylene cap. What would that sound like? Stuff like that.
You may find "resources" that claim to uncover all the subtleties of sound vs. component technology, but in the end the circuit design is the utmost parameter, even the way they are used can change their "character". A capacitor used in signal coupling may result in a "creamy" sound, but put in feedback loop, it may result in a "harsh" sound.
And remember, your "crystal sound" may be fuzz to others.
You need to forge your own opinion, and yes, you hacve to set up a test jig and listen how changing capacitor technology changes sound (or not). It does not take long to figure out that, bar some exceptions, the effects are of second order.
Don't take my word (or anybody's) for it, you need to do it.
Is a Chagall better than a Picasso or a Vermeer? Nobody can answer that for you.
After that, there are objective measurements that show definite differences in non-linearities between types of capacitors, but nobody as yet has been capable of translating them into sonic character description.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

ruffrecords

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2020, 03:39:21 AM »
 If you are serious about audio design then I recommend you invest in Doug Self's book Small Signal Audio Design which covers this topic and a whole lot more.

Cheers

Ian
www.customtubeconsoles.com
https://mark3vtm.blogspot.co.uk/
www.eztubemixer.blogspot.co.uk


'The only people not making mistakes are the people doing nothing'

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2020, 03:54:26 AM »
If you are serious about audio design then I recommend you invest in Doug Self's book Small Signal Audio Design which covers this topic and a whole lot more.

Cheers

Ian

I just got the new 3rd Edition! very well worth it. The hardcover is very expensive, so I got the paperback, either way I'll be replacing it in some years when the 4th edition comes out so no need for the hardcover, I own all three editions. The book is a masterpiece.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2020, 03:58:47 AM by Dualflip »

Newmarket

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2020, 05:30:16 AM »
Is there a comprehensive resource, or guide/book, on how different types of resistors, capacitors, and transformers effect sound characteristics? ...

You're getting some great sensible and knowledge based advice here. Please go with it and not disappear into "hi fi Magick ££££".
The money you'd spend on  D. Self books and any other info (I'll always recommenf "The Art of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill as a reference text for anyone wanting to learn anything serious about electronics) will be much better spent there than on chasing special components. And yes look up the Cyril Bateman info on caps (D. Self refers to this in his writings).

JohnRoberts

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2020, 09:19:54 AM »
Is there a comprehensive resource, or guide/book, on how different types of resistors, capacitors, and transformers effect sound characteristics?
I am not aware of any such comprehensive resource, perhaps because it involves mixing objective characteristics that can be defined and measured precisely, with subjective aspects, like how does XYZ sound? 
Quote
I'm getting deeper into designing my own audio circuits, but it's not practical to purchase every type of capacitor/resistor to try in a signal path. Mainly I'm looking for how capacitors and resistors saturate the sound, and with what audible characteristics. Is it all just trial and error?
Audio circuit design is pretty mature, while not trial and error, decades of design experience (and data sheets) inform most component selections.   
Quote

I'm mostly interested in designing filters, EQs, and saturation effects boxes.
Filters and EQ have  clearly defined transfer functions that can be objectively approached for accuracy and linearity. Saturation effects boxes involve intentional non-linearity that require subjective evaluations. In other words personal opinions affect results.
Quote
Studio and guitar. Like, if I wanted to design a saturation/filter box that has an irony sound, but when I turn a knob, a creamy warm saturation blends in, and maybe another knob turn makes a crystal clear characteristic blend in.
Those are not objective technical terms, with a possible unintentional pun (irony sound?).
Quote
Basically, I'm looking at these cool looking caps and components on this site: https://www.hificollective.co.uk/catalog/components/capacitors.html
, and they give a basic overview of their sound characteristics, but is there a more comprehensive guide / knowledge of this somewhere? Like, why and where would I use an oil cap, or a hand rolled cap? What does an oil cap sound like, and what if I combined it with a polypropylene cap. What would that sound like? Stuff like that.
Sounds like a marketing exercise.

Polypropylene is an above average capacitor dielectric so should not impact the sound. i.e. output will sound like the input.

It appears you are looking for advice about designing effects. That too is mature while perhaps not well documented, as there is generally no single best way to make an effect.

Good luck, study schematics of successful efx and try to reverse engineer what and why the designer did what they did.

JR
It's nice to be nice....

ruairioflaherty

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2020, 12:20:38 AM »
I just got the new 3rd Edition! very well worth it. The hardcover is very expensive, so I got the paperback, either way I'll be replacing it in some years when the 4th edition comes out so no need for the hardcover, I own all three editions. The book is a masterpiece.

I'm still on the first edition, is 1 to 3 a worthwhile upgrade?

(I know the answer but as a self employed dude in Covid times money is on the tighter side!)


Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2020, 01:56:04 AM »
I'm still on the first edition, is 1 to 3 a worthwhile upgrade?

(I know the answer but as a self employed dude in Covid times money is on the tighter side!)

I believe the biggest change was from the 1st to the 2nd edition, the 3rd has added material on EQs, loudness controls, tape electronics, guitar electronics and some other stuff because most of the MM/MC phono amps chapters were moved to the other book "Electronics for Vinyl", so if you are much into phono stages and dont want to buy EFV, then get the 2nd edition, otherwise get the 3rd. I might add that I am biased, I own every book written by Douglas Self, and I re-buy them everytime there is a new edition, my guess is that the next book that will come out is "Audio Power Amplifier Design" 7th edition but who knows!, its the only one that hasn't been updated in 7 years.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 02:04:23 AM by Dualflip »

ruairioflaherty

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2020, 02:16:19 AM »
I believe the biggest change was from the 1st to the 2nd edition, the 3rd has added material on EQs, loudness controls, tape electronics, guitar electronics and some other stuff because most of the MM/MC phono amps chapters were moved to the other book "Electronics for Vinyl", so if you are much into phono stages and dont want to buy EFV, then get the 2nd edition, otherwise get the 3rd. I might add that I am biased, I own every book written by Douglas Self, and I re-buy them everytime there is a new edition, my guess is that the next book that will come out is "Audio Power Amplifier Design" 7th edition but who knows!, its the only one that hasn't been updated in 7 years.

Excellent, thanks for that. I think I have everything he's put out except the power amp book, I need to pick up a copy.

All older editions, I need to update when I can.

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2020, 03:06:57 AM »
Excellent, thanks for that. I think I have everything he's put out except the power amp book, I need to pick up a copy.

All older editions, I need to update when I can.

The power amp book is the largest and most advanced of all his books, it is great if you want to learn how to make power amps, obviously, but also great if you want to design discrete opamps, power amps and opamps are the same thing with the exception of the output stage and the voltage rails.

Gus

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2020, 08:53:22 AM »
For guitar distortion and fuzz Class 2 and 3 ceramics can be fun. I think I hear the differences even at 9VDC however they are not meant for signal coupling.

I don't think I hear much or any  difference in well made film caps until there is a larger voltage difference from plate to plate (dielectric stress)
Example in a plate out  tube microphone amp input cap from capsule to grid and coupling cap from transformer to plate.

IIRC there was a famous  amp that had a poly and ceramic of some type  in parallel from the preamp to PI stage. I don't know the type because I have not seen inside the amps only schematics on the web.
https://blueguitar.net/new/schem/trainwreck/wreckxpr.pdf

IMO what people read on the web exaggerates differences in caps in circuits.  Anyway does the often little or no difference matter in the mix?

Listening in isolation and if you are concentrating you might be able to pick some stuff out but does it matter in end?

JohnRoberts

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2020, 11:20:06 AM »
I do not want to be Debbie Downer (again) but suggestions that you listen for yourself, is not suggesting that this is somehow unexplored territory. Non-ideal characteristics of mature components are well understood, but how these components get applied matters to how much you perceive.

For example a capacitor in a passive loudspeaker crossover will be far harder stressed, and show non-ideal behaviors far more than a simple DC blocking cap lightly loaded, etc.   

JR
It's nice to be nice....

abbey road d enfer

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2020, 11:59:07 AM »
For example a capacitor in a passive loudspeaker crossover will be far harder stressed, and show non-ideal behaviors far more than a simple DC blocking cap lightly loaded, etc.   
Exactly. Actually much of the bad rep attributed to some capacitors (and resistors, inductors,...) comes from the fact they were improperly used for a start.
Most caps exhibit non linear behaviour with regard to voltage. A very simple cure is to reduce the voltage across it. How can it be done? Easy, just increase the value or alternatively increase the impedance it is loaded by.
Even Cyril bateman, in his seminal paper, had to submit the caps under test to conditions that a good designer should avoid.
I'm not saying Bateman was not a good designer, I say he had to submit the capacitors to abnormal conditions in order to put in evidence phenomena that would be elusive otherwise.
This example of electrolytics in passive cross-overs is unfortunately one where reducing the voltage is not an option, since increasing the value would change the x-over frequency.
Only under the strictest cost constraints should anyone use 'lytics in x-overs.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2020, 03:12:00 AM »
Is there a comprehensive resource, or guide/book, on how different types of resistors, capacitors, and transformers effect sound characteristics?
You might find this chapter mildly interesting:
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=VMjkDQAAQBAJ&lpg=PP1&dq=merlin%20blencowe&pg=PA64#v=onepage&q&f=false


gyraf

Re: Guide / resource for components effects on sound characteristics
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2020, 05:00:00 AM »
Sometimes a picture says more than 134 words:
..note to self: don't let Harman run your company..


 

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