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bencat

Will two identical Amplifiers with different Smoothing capacitors sound different

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Super Wammer

I am going to put this here and in the two channel section as I want the answer from two different view points .

I have an active speaker system I have made at home with a pair of KEF 103 Speakers with the passive crossovers removed and the driver connected directly to four 4mm inputs . I use a MiniDSP DDRC 24 unit to provide both the digtial crossover and a DIRAC Live DSP room filter .

The Speakers are powered by a pair of Quad 405 amplifiers that have both been converted by Fidelle Audio and input and output matched . So far so simple . However one of the 405 units has already been fitted with a pair of 10,000uF Elna Cerafine mains smoothing Capacitors while the other as advised by Peter at Fidelle was fitted with two 15,000uF Gold Tune Capacitors .

So all things being equal these are two fairly identical amplifiers except of this one component . Should this make any sonic difference ? Would this make any difference in the amplifiers overall ability to perform ?

It was my intention to fit these amplifiers one per speaker with each amplifier handling the bass output on the right channel and the treble output on the left cahnnel for each speaker . So a single stereo amplifier for the left speaker and the other stereo speaker for the right speaker.

Currently I have tow amplifiers one of the Qaud 405 units for the bass for both speakers and a Trio Basic poer amplifier for the treble for both speakers . This currently sounds very good indeed .

So when the second Quad comes back would it still be better to go with the one amp one speaker or use the 15,000uF amp for the bass and the 10,000uF for the treble .

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I put an answer a few days ago in the 2 channel place.  Here, what I’d say is that in the Quad 405 era, notionally identical amplifiers sometimes sounded different.  (For context, at that time I worked on Saturday only at a busy Hi-Fi and record shop in Surrey). I’m thinking mainly the few British brands we carried, like Leak, Quad and Armstrong, and the occasional Sugden.  This didn’t seem to arise with the Japanese makes like Trio, Sansui, Akai, Marantz and harman/kardon (some of which were US made).  

I can’t say I was especially aware of it myself, but the manager was a keen-eared chap, and he would try several models to find one he deemed better.  Sadly, in those days, about 10 to 20% of new stock went up in smoke within a few seconds or minutes of switch on.  I don’t recall any great credence being paid to brands of components.  Our repair guy just bought whatever he could get from various suppliers, like Farnell and RS.  Whatever one thinks of today’s mass production in the PRC, I’m sure it’s much more consistent!

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Super Wammer

I wouldn't have thought there would be any difference in sound between amps with different makes of smoothing capacitors, and the amount of ripple a 10,000 uF is going to filter out compared to a 15,000 uF is going to be minimal and just not likely to be audible. I would think that tolerances on components in the signal path will be far more audible.

Are the boards in both amps the same generation? There are numerous "issues" documented HERE  Much more likely that would lead to more pronounced differences in sound.

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Super Wammer

Hi Ed the four baords of the two 405 units I have have all been matched by Fidele Audio and both upgraded with new op amps etc very similar to the Keith Snooks outline. Both units have had the senistivity reduced and the current limiting removed . According to Peter both these units are Mk1 and the baords are all very much from the same time period. So given the identical changes to both they are as close as you can get to being identical except for the different Mains Smoothing Caps . I think there will be no difference and palying the newly returned unit today set up as Elna Cap unit for Treble and the larger Caps for the Bass evrything sounds pretty good to me . I plan to swithc things on Friday and make it one amplifier a speaker and then do another complete DIRAC measuring session and see if there is any difference .

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Super Wammer

Well I now have the two Quads back and working . Wednesday and Thursday I ahd them set up with one for the bass and one for treble . It sounded good but if i am honest not as good as the Trio/Quad set up (and yes I did do a complete new measurement for DIRAC Live with Quads) .

Today I have amde the complete set up switch and gone with a single stereo amp for each speaker . This sound s not only better than the Quad/Quad for Bass and Treble oit also sounds better than the Quad / Trio arrangement . In fact it is now the best sound I have been able to get out of this system todate with the main improvement now being seperation and imaging which is much stronger .

I have no thought that any of this is due to the different Mains Caps i just think for me in my system this arrnagement works and sound better.

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