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Author Topic: Fake caps?!?
el reclusa

Posts: 25
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Post Fake caps?!?
on: August 4, 2015, 20:14
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A friend of mine builds some well-regarded amps. He also repairs amps, and posted some photos on Facebook today of something that shocked and appalled me.

He had an amp on his bench from a highly regarded maker of fancypants anplifiers. Said amp is five years old and needed filter caps. The failed caps are the expensive blue can types that people pay a hefty premium for, and are supposed to be vintage spec voodoo stuff. Long story short, what he siscovered were regular-ass cheap Chinese caps you can get at Radio Shack hidden inside fancier looking big blue enclosures!

Sheesh. What is the world coming to? He posted pics in a private group, I asked if I could share them, if he's ok with it I'll post them here. I'm stunned.

Oinkus

Posts: 236
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Post Re: Fake caps?!?
on: August 5, 2015, 04:06
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You haven't seen the Gibson Bumblebees that sell for $125 , same thing. Cheap ass chinese garbage with striped covers.They been doing that stuff for years now.

el reclusa

Posts: 25
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Post Re: Fake caps?!?
on: August 5, 2015, 05:59
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Those actually came up in the same thread...

mwseniff

Posts: 149
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Post Re: Fake caps?!?
on: August 8, 2015, 08:15
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We used to see this sort of thing from a couple of importers even back in the 1980's for replacements in hifi amps. To be honest the power supply filter caps with this sort of replacement were Ok as long as they could handle the voltage. Also anything inside the feedback loop made trivial if any difference for the most part. This is based on listening tests, you couldn't really measure a difference. However if I was paying for Bumblebees I would be irked for sure if they were other caps in disguise. But the thing is a lot of the old caps even new were pretty variable in actual capacitance, leakage and trasient response sometimes the less perfect ones could sound more pleasing to the ear even if the were less accurate. It used to be some caps were rated at -20% | +100% for the capacitance voltage ratings were usually plus or minus 20-25%. As we used to say close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and capacitors. For me the bottom line is the actual sound produced by the amp, I always trust my ears over esoteric measurements and with guitar amps the proof was in the guitar playing. I always played an amp while playing backing tracks or music thru a PA to simulate something close to stage condition. Sometimes I would use the amp at band practice in my basement studio to test mods etc. it was amazing the stuff you would find. I used to keep a orbital sander with an extra piece of rubber on it clamped to the chassis or even FX pedal during bench test to simulate performance conditions. I found a lot of problems that way including microphonic caps replacing them made a huge difference and it mostly occured with American made caps rather than foreign made. That may be due to modern techniques more than anything.

el reclusa

Posts: 25
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Post Re: Fake caps?!?
on: August 17, 2015, 16:08
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I agree- as long as they sound good, I could care less. It's that people are paying a lot more for fancypants stuff that's really sackcloth britches, as it were.

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