But there is another approach to creating such a theoretical capacitor and that is to see what other applications may fit your list of desired parameters. For example, looking outside of the audio realm and into the RF, Microwave, or higher frequency bands one may find an "off-the-shelf" capacitor that is designed precisely to your wish list, just at the wrong value or size or voltage. As the frequency increases upward from the audio band, the values of capacitors used in these higher-frequency bands decrease. So even though you may find a design that is theoretically perfect, it may just be too small to be of any use.
But therein is the rub. If you use these small capacitors in conjunction with a well-made large value capacitor (i.e., use it as a shunt capacitor), you may get the best of both worlds. What I considered to be an excellent design is the lowly glass dielectric RF capacitor, a design that has pretty much fallen from favor in conventional applications because of high manufacturing costs. Let's see what benefits using such capacitors could offer:
Does this list of design parameters sound like the same list you may have theoretically considered? I presume that many of the characteristics are indeed. The bad thing about such capacitors are that they are only available in the pico-farad range (10e-9 farads - or - 0.x, 0.0x, or 0.00x micro-farads); the good thing about capacitors is that you can place them in parallel to obtain larger values. So despite their tiny individual values, larger paralleled values are possible, just at a higher final cost.
First, the sound is wondrous when shunting Mundorf Supreme capacitors. Although these capacitors sound marvelous by themselves, shunting them with these nano-Farad capacitors brought out a clarity that was otherwise veiled. Tiny brush whisks on snare drums came to life as did inner detailing of double-bass string plucking.
One of my favorite albums for identifying acoustic assets or shortcomings is the superb 24/192 version of the "Wake Up Your Ears" sampler by Audiogon. Track 10 - You Haven't Done Nothin' - is a delightful jazz offering featuring double-bass, saxophone, drums, and vocals by Jen Chapin where this recording captures a significant amount of hall ambiance along with a very wide dynamic range. This allows you to listen deep into the music and appreciate the timbre and tonality of each instrument. The sax "pops" as the lower registers are artfully massaged into musicality blending with the hushed background grunts and whispers of the percussionist. Where these intonations were always there, they were thrust into the forefront with the aid of these tiny ultra-high quality capacitors.
Another thing I noticed was that not all capacitors responded in the same manner. For example, the Obbligato Gold series I use on the super tweeter sounded softer and less pronounced as if the ESR was high compared to the Vishay MKP it replaced. So these tiny capacitors are not the "magic bullet" to solve all of your audio dreams but I would give them a shot. Buy the largest values you can find and then parallel them to create at least 0.001uF in total capacitance. Voltages are typically 300V, far more than adequate for most crossover networks but your ears must be the final judge in tuning your network to your drivers and wires.
So there you have it. Glass Capacitors. Who'd a thought? Grab 'em while you can.
The Vishay 1837 Review and Modification
Mundorf Supreme Capacitor Review - Part 1
Mundorf Supreme Capacitor Review - Part 2
Capacitors: All Things are NOT Created Equal - Part 0
Capacitors: All Things are NOT Created Equal - Part 1
Capacitors: All Things are NOT Created Equal - Part 2
Capacitors: All Things are NOT Created Equal - Part 3
Esoteric Shunt Capacitors - Part 1
Esoteric Shunt Capacitors - Part 2
Yours for higher fidelity,
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Copyright © 2015 by Philip Rastocny. All rights reserved.