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pat_in_dfw

How do you know if a speaker needs new caps?

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I have several pairs of older Klipsch speakers as well as other brands.  Given the age of some, I would suspect that new caps are in order.  But how can you tell if they need to be replaced?  I listen to each set and they sound great.  Without having a new pair of a given speaker to A/B compare, I can't tell if what I'm hearing is how they are supposed to sound or if something is wrong.  Being in my mid-40s and working in pro sound for so many years have not been kind to my hearing in the upper frequencies.  I've EQ'd enough rooms and run test tones to know that my hearing tops out around 12k or 13k.  What exactly is the sound to listen for if caps are bad?  

 

Thanks,

 

Patrick

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Well I have never A/B new verses old caps. But they do age so you could do one speaker and convince or deny the fact yourself. It doesn't cost much to do it. You can do it several ways through Bob Crites,parts express...ECT..,,   Buy the caps yourself and replace or send entire crossover out to get it done. I would recommend you do it though.

I'm pretty sure it will make them sound better even to you.

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I had unmolested 1978 Khorns with Type AA network.  They sounded great to my ears, they could get loud, had good dynamics.  When I put my ear to the tweeter horn near-field I could hear bits and pieces of HF sound, not a true note, more like parts of notes.  For instance if I heard a trumpet, I did not hear a full trumpet out of the tweeter, just traces of the high end of the trumpet.  I would describe the overall integrated sound as "smooth."

 

I upGRADED (not upDATED) the entire crossover network to a Crites A-4500 along with a new SEOS Waveguide 12" and compression driver that was more robust.  It may not be fair to compare the sound the crossover allowed because of the way components were changed.  Nevertheless here are my subjective impressions.

 

There is now a LOT more acoustic energy coming out of the tweeter.  If I unhooked the squawker I would still hear the entire range of the trumpet coming out of the tweeter, not just bits and pieces of the high notes.  I now here make and female voices in their entirety from the tweeter where before there were just very light sounding reinforcing sounds, not entire octave ranges, kind of like overtones instead of whole notes.

 

The sound coming out of the tweeter seems to reinforce the mid sound to make for a more dynamic sound, a more impact sound, a more "live!" sound especially at mid to higher volume.

 

I don't know if that description helps or muddies the waters, but that is what I heard with the changes.

Crites A-4500 top 01-03-17.JPG

Khorn SEOS DNA-360.JPG

Khorn SEOS right top view.JPG

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Most would say to trust your eyes, rather than your ears.  If looking at a calendar tells you the caps are 30 years old, replace them -- the caps, not your eyes.  I'd do one side at a time to get a comparison.  Whether a difference were perceived, or not, I would go on to replace the second set.  Decades old caps are due to be refreshed.  One caveat, if a difference were perceived and it is perceived to be worse, you might consider leaving them alone.  

 

If the value of originality is an issue, consider leaving the original networks alone and getting new complete replacements.  I've always had great results dealing with Bob Crites at critesspeakers.com.

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You can always sell your old networks here on the garage sale... they seem to sell quick... especially when I'm in a buying mood. :)

 

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10 hours ago, pat_in_dfw said:

I have several pairs of older Klipsch speakers as well as other brands.  Given the age of some, I would suspect that new caps are in order.  But how can you tell if they need to be replaced?  I listen to each set and they sound great.  Without having a new pair of a given speaker to A/B compare, I can't tell if what I'm hearing is how they are supposed to sound or if something is wrong.  Being in my mid-40s and working in pro sound for so many years have not been kind to my hearing in the upper frequencies.  I've EQ'd enough rooms and run test tones to know that my hearing tops out around 12k or 13k.  What exactly is the sound to listen for if caps are bad?  

 

Thanks,

 

Patrick

 

EDIT:  I see you are confirmed.  PM me about whether you have a pair you could transport to Hope.

 

Are you coming to pilgrimage? Do you have a smaller set you can tow along with you?  Maybe Heresy, LaScallas or Cornwalls? If you are coming and can bring a set, we can get you lined up with the parts to bring, several very knowladge people will be there that can rebuild one side and you can sit there and listen right there, and everyone interested can learn (like me) what it's all about.  If I have enough lead time I can make sure the right tools are there, possibly an ESR meter with the right test leads, etc.

 

Send me a private message on here if you are coming and would like to do this.

 

I seem to recall seeing your name as an attendee, but you should come anyway, there is going to be  a Klipsch Pro sound set up by @Chief bonehead that is supposed to be pretty mind blowing. 

 

Travis

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, wvu80 said:

I upGRADED (not upDATED) the entire crossover network to a Crites A-4500 along with a new SEOS Waveguide 12" and compression driver that was more robust. 

   wvu80,

So your newer tweeter/crossover is playing from 4.5kHz up whereas your old AA net was approx 6kHz and up. Not to say your old stock net did not need recapping but the crossover point change is going to sound different also.

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8 minutes ago, jimjimbo said:

Travis is on it!!

Have got to find someone with ESR meter with Kelvin clips, hmmmmm.  Know anyone who has bought one recently?

 

 

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6 hours ago, DizRotus said:

Most would say to trust your eyes, rather than your ears.  If looking at a calendar tells you the caps are 30 years old, replace them -- the caps, not your eyes.  I'd do one side at a time to get a comparison.  Whether a difference were perceived, or not, I would go on to replace the second set.

Exactly, they change so slowly, to me it would be impossible to know by listening. I have only one experience with new caps, it was AA crossovers with very old original caps. I was rather shocked at the difference, overall the sound improved and it was not just a little change. Much clearer and cleaner, I though the sound was Ok until I heard the difference.  Personally I stay with a stock design, just my choice. 

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8 hours ago, DizRotus said:

If looking at a calendar tells you the caps are 30 years old, replace them -- the caps, not your eyes.

LOL!  :lol:

 

That there's funny.

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3 hours ago, babadono said:

wvu80,

So your newer tweeter/crossover is playing from 4.5kHz up whereas your old AA net was approx 6kHz and up. Not to say your old stock net did not need recapping but the crossover point change is going to sound different also.

Agree, I'm with you.

 

That's why I used so much detail because there is a lot going on when changing from that stock 6 Khz XO point to the lower 4500 Hz point.  I do like the new sound compared to the stock sound but we are probably comparing apples to oranges, ie, my info is not much help.

 

The only thing that might be remotely helpful is that in my opinion I like the new sound.

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How do you when you need new caps? The age of the cap should be the first way of determining if replacemts are needed. As far as hearing the difference, its subjective but what I can notice about old caps is a lack of focus in the soundstage. Its there, but in a somewhat blurry type of sound. Old caps can sound decent to some people, but when you install new decent caps, you will immediately notice an improvement in realism. A much sharper true sound, and more full sound. Some say new caps can provide a brighter sound, but the new brightness is just the sounds that were lacking from the original old caps.. so you are actually missing out on a full sound with the old caps. 

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Yes I am going to the Pilgrimage. I have several speakers to sell there and I wanted to know if I needed to re-cap before selling if it would add value. Or alternately if NOT recapping would adversely affect the value.

 

I have a set of Cornwalls and LaScalas of my own that have original crossovers. Based on what has been said it seems like those need new caps regardless.

 

Thanks for the advice and info. The recap training session sounds like a great idea.

 

Patrick

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42 minutes ago, pat_in_dfw said:

Yes I am going to the Pilgrimage. I have several speakers to sell there and I wanted to know if I needed to re-cap before selling if it would add value. Or alternately if NOT recapping would adversely affect the value.

 

I have a set of Cornwalls and LaScalas of my own that have original crossovers. Based on what has been said it seems like those need new caps regardless.

 

Thanks for the advice and info. The recap training session sounds like a great idea.

 

Patrick

Don't know what you are planning on bringing, but as long as they sound OK now, I don't think you're going to gain a bunch of value by recapping at this point.  You can leave that to the discretion of the potential buyer. 

 

As far as doing a listening A/B test, I would recommend that you bring any tools and components that you will need to do a recap.  You should be looking to order those items very soon.   I will bring an ESR meter that can be used to check some caps.

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I have a pair of 85 LaScalas that I'm bringing to sell. It has the original crossover. Since the crossover is easy access without opening the cabinet this would be a good one for the re-cap demo / training.

 

What would I need to buy? I know Crites sells a kit but is that the best route vs finding caps that are the correct value from elsewhere? What value caps would I need to buy and what quantity?

 

Patrick

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