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WakeWorld Discussion Board » >> Boats, Accessories & Tow Vehicles Archive » Archive through February 10, 2003 » Stereo gurus - Info about Farad Capacitors « Previous Next »
By A. P. (bigdad) on Saturday, January 11, 2003 - 11:30 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
One of my big projects this winter is to redo the stereo system in my boat. I'm going to add tower speakers and upgrade the subwoofer. I plan on using a PPI(400 watt)amp for the sub, PPI (200 watt) amp for the bow/cockpit speakers, and a Kicker (120 watt) for the tower speakers. All wired with 4 ga wire. I'm thinking about getting a farad capacitor for the sub but not sure if I'm going to need it. I understand the reasoning for a farad cap for cars because there are a lot more electrical systems going on (A/C, headlights)and it helps keep the juice going. But with a boat there really aren't any electrical systems that are on and I wonder if I really need a cap. My question is this. With the amount of wattage I am running do I need a farad cap? Will I really hear any difference without it?
By Ben (big_daddy_ben) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 12:14 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I added a second battery (thought that was enough) running two amps. I have an 1100-watt amp for my woofer and a 1500-watt amp for my speakers. Come to find out that my stock alternator was only 25 amps and the stereo was draining my batteries. I had my alternator rewired to 100 amps and added a separator between the batteries. Havenít had problems.
By Grant (mtbmudmachine) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 12:19 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Confusha say: when you get close to 1000 watts you should use a 1 farad cap. The alt on your boat has alot of work. The heater, stereo, lights, ect. A cap isn't going to make or break your system. It is just a good thing to do and will help not put sutch a load on you alt.
By Grant (mtbmudmachine) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 12:32 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I copyed this from a car stereo web sight

"What is a capacitor?" may be the first question to come to your mind. A capacitor is basically a miniature battery. It is able to discharge its stored energy virtually instantaneously, and it is able to recharge in a matter of 2 seconds or less. If you have a decent sized stereo and your bass is hitting hard, chances are you've noticed that your headlights and the interior lights (speedometer, etc.) of the car dim. Basically what is happening is that your stereo is pulling the overall voltage of your car beneath 11 or 12 volts, which results in less power for the other electronics of the car.

Normally having your lights dim in this manner really isn't a big deal if you don't have a big stereo. If you do, then you should read the batteriessection to learn more about power consumption and storage. If you are out in the country, you can see everything just fine at night. In the city at night, there is so much other light, having your lights dim isn't a big deal. But true audio fanatics don't want this to happen.
Capacitors are measured in farads. What a farad actually is, I'm not really sure. But the more farads a capacitor has, the more power it holds. Capacitors come in a few different variations: 0.5 farads, 1.0 farads (by far the most common version), 1.5 farads, 15 farads, and now 50 farads.

A battery can't discharge the needed amount of power quick enough for an amplifier, which results in the dropping of voltage, dimming of lights, etc. etc. A capacitor will never hold as much power as a battery, but it is able to release its power faster than a battery. A new battery paired with a capacitor is a good combination for any stereo. The battery charges the capacitor, and the capacitor provides the quick bursts of energy that an amplifier needs (especially if it's powering subwoofers).

There is one simple, yet important part of capacitors to remember: sometimes just one capacitor will not do. The rule of thumb is that you should have a 1.0 farad capacitor for every 1000 watts that you have in a stereo (the 0.5 farad version is good for 500 watts, and the 1.5 farad version is good 1500 watts). The larger 15 farad and 50 farad versions are far more expensive and are not used in everyday applications. They are also a different shape, being more cube-like and not tube-like (which normal capacitors are). They also use a different kind of technology, which allows them to hold more power without being 15x the size of a 1.0 farad capacitor. As far as I know, only AlumaPro makes the 15 and 50 farad capacitors.

On a side note, for SPL competition, the usage of capacitors is still somewhat controversial. Some people believe that capacitors will hinder instead of help, but when Alma Gates broke the SPL world record about 7 years ago or so, she had about 30 1.0 farad capacitors, putting them into the spotlight up to the present day. However other people just wire the batteries straight to the amplifiers, and I don't believe this is a safe thing to do for the amplifiers, but those people stand by their methods. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

Another added benefit of capacitors: unlike most other things in a car stereo, a capacitor is cheap! You can buy a Stinger 1.0 farad capacitor for about $100 to $120, depending on where you buy it from. So, in this case, you can never really have to many capacitors. Especially when you could buy a few capacitors for the price of an amplifier. However, in some sound quality competition applications (as well as in SPL competition applications), capacitors are almost always used. For everyday use I would recommend a capacitor, but if you're planning on competing ask around and see what other people say or just email me and I'll tell you my opinion.

The picture above are of Stinger 1.0 farad capacitors.

By A. P. (bigdad) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 12:33 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I guess I should clarify that I don't have a heater or lights so there really isn't any drain on the battery except the stereo. Is a farad cap a good idea/needed even for the amps that run the highs. I thought it only helps with sub amps when they need to draw extra power.

Grant - I was looking at your sub and if I remember correctly.... didn't you make that yourself? I was wondering if you could tell me how you did it (materials used)

Thanks for the info.

By Grant (mtbmudmachine) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 1:47 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
We made the sub tube out of 1"inc MDF rings. We took 1 inc MDF and routerd out 32 rings then they were all nailed & glued to each other one on top of each other making a tube then we used formica to wrap around the outside of the tube
By Roy Finney (wkerat) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 3:53 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Aren't you supposed to lose a good amount of sound with a cylindrical enclosure due to the wavelenghts in the enclosure? If i recal correctly a sphere shaped enclosure would theoreticaly be the best followed by wedge shaped and some others. Then the two worst are perfect cubes and cylinders...This is what I have heard/learned from Car audio so I was wondering if you noticed any difference with your enclosure?
By Psyclone (cyclonecj) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 5:37 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
On the Cap issue, lots of "experts" have opinions both pro and con on whether they help. They are hooked up in parallel with your battery, close to the amp. I wanted to see for myself, so I bought two (relatively small, by car stereo standards) 330,000 uf caps for 10$ea from MCM electronics. I hooked up one, and while playing a CD, touched the hot conductor to the cap (neg was connected). The difference is very noticeable. I mean it's not a subtle difference. I hooked the other one up in parallel and mounted them. It makes the sub hit harder.
I have noticed that the sound of most can style speakers has a lot of standing wave distortion. If you want to know what that sounds like, put a home stereo speaker in a corner, equal distance from each wall. If you play around with the distance, you will hit a spot where there are resonances and cancellations of certain frequencies, depends on the distance and the frequency content of the music. Some Dynamat (stick on damping material) inside the can helps a bit.

By Grant (mtbmudmachine) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 6:17 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Roy: Im haven't heard my W7 in any other box so I wouldn't know if it would sound beter in another box?? The reason I used a tube is because I couldn't get the Air space i needed for the w-7 in a square box, Plus its very tight space where it's mounted. Psyclone your right about moving you speakers around to find the best placment. Unfortunatly I can't move anything around there's no room "Make it "Mount it and "Forget it. It seems the boats I have heard that hit real good have the subs hitting or driving into the side of the boat I think I would try doing it this way next time. However when the passenger seat is down and your sitting in it It hits Very hard and clear.
By kyle wells (baschralper) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 6:28 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I can back you up on that. I thought it was very loud and clear...

By Psyclone (cyclonecj) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 8:01 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
That's what I had to do too. You only have so much space to work with in a boat. I was just talking about demonstrating what standing waves sound like. You can do a hell of a lot to improve the sound of a less than ideal enclosure with damping material, even cheap old fiberglass inside the box.
By Rod Rinnert (deltahoosier) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 9:13 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
If I am not mistaking....the reason for a Cap in you system, is due to inductive load. In a car, you have a long electrical path from the front of the car to the amps. That means that the electricity that will not flow when you need it. Like trying to go running and breathing through a straw. Most people run wires that are way too small for the current needs and the time constant required for music reproduction. My guess would be that people with wires that are too small will notice a bigger difference by adding a cap. I bet that the amplifier power supply design will help with this issue as well. Even with a cap, the demands on your electrical system are still the same. I would like to see some data on boats though. The batteries are usually very close to the amps. Like in our boat, it is within two feet. I am not going to spend any cash on it anytime soon :o) Just my two cents..... Hope everyone got/ gets to ride this weekend or soon at least.
By Doug Hanson (xtigeman) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 10:00 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I unhooked my (3) caps on a 4,400 watt system. Don't use them. I have heard both sides of the argument, but the numbers don't lie . . .

Caps have one (1) use and that benefit will not be realized unless your system is optimally wired using 0 guage before the distribution blocks and 0 or 4 guage to the amps.

If you use a cap, don't use two (2) batteries. But in reality, we are probably talking about differences that are not even close to being audible.

Why spend $ 100.00 to $ 200.00 on something that will not cause any audible difference. Spend the extra money on high quality wiring and high quality battery terminals.

By Psyclone (cyclonecj) on Sunday, January 12, 2003 - 10:26 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
There is more resistive component than inductive when you are talking about DC supply to an amp. BUT, they have a similar net effect. I have never believed in the high dollar cable, it's total hype, but inexpensive huge cable makes a difference. I have an 8 gauge cable to my amp about 4 feet from my battery, and there is an obvious difference in bass response with a 330k uf cap. I can't fit a bigger cable in the connector, and a big cable with a small termination doesn't do anything for the situation. It is a cheap fix. Doug, please tell us what you know about phase shift and other esoteric considerations with extremely high powered systems. Inductive and capacitive reactance can cause phase shift in signals, kind of delaying the signal, and it is frequency sensitive. Meaning that highs usually pass more quickly than lows. It is a consideration when you get into radio and microwave frequency, anyone that tells you that you can hear it in audio frequency is on the pipe. Especially in a boat. I think that the foam used in seat cushions has more filtering effect than cabling. Or, the amount of vibration of the trim panel to which the high dollar 6.5" speaker is mounted. If it moves AT ALL instead of the speaker cone, the sound is filtered and different. If you read and believe the literature that accompanies the high dollar components, you will believe anything. Keep in mind that the noise floor in a boat is about 95db,
that means that it is loud enough that OSHA would require both earplugs and earmuffs, without the stereo!

Anyway, hope everyone had a good weekend. Doug, I know you are pushing the envelope with your system, and I just like to play devils advocate. I would like to hear your system someday, from about 1/4 mile away!

By A. P. (bigdad) on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 12:04 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I appreciate everyone's input. Doug, thanks for chiming in. I was kind of waiting for you response. I read earlier that you rewired your system. If you have any pics I definitley would like to see them.

However I don't think my decision on whether or not has been made any clearer on whether or not I need a farad cap. Pscylone is making some good points but Doug definitely knows his stuff also. Guess I could spend a couple bucks on ebay for a 1/2 farad and see if it makes a difference.

By Psyclone (cyclonecj) on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 12:24 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Try it. You people that read this and are curious are not so foolish as to believe the BS. I bought a 10$ cap from MCM electronics. I don't have a $15,000 system in any vehicle or residence that I own. I never will, it is not necessary to spend that kind of money for the best sound reproduction possible. I don't worry about what other people tell me sounds good or bad. I don't read "reviews" on a piece of wire. All I can say is that it makes a noticeable difference to add a small cap on the 500 watt systems that I have tried it on. I don't get sucked up into the hyperbole that is high end audio. It has been a joke since the '50s when it all started. Why are you not buying $3,000 silver foil coupling capacitors from Japan for your system, they provide more "inner detail" They also make the silence sound "more black" as do the the $300 AC power cords with "shielding" It gets to a point where you have to say you hear a difference because you start to realize that you got suckered into spending money for something that makes no difference. Ever have your ears tested? I'd be very surprised if you can hear over 12k. Guess what, gold plated connectors do nothing but empty your wallet. I can say, Doug, that I am glad that you are a lawyer. What comes around goes around.
By Dan Sullivan (danno) on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 8:45 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Isn't 4 ga wire about the equivalent of 1/4 inch threaded rod? are you using that in place of about a hundred pounds of water ballast?
By Bob (bob) on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 7:38 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
gold plated connectors help me because i run in a salt environment
A.P. , i think your forgetting the main load (your ignition system on your boat that runs your motor- efi is even more-electric fuel pump and all)
If caps dont help why do you suppose amp manufacturers put them in ALL their power supply's, hell your running DC anyway (i know -i know the alternator isnt putting out pure dc)
If they help prevent headlight dim in cars then they must be keeping the voltage running the output chips closer to their optimum levels
What happens when the voltage on a basic amp drops? The output from the amp starts to clip if the gain is set near the top

By Doug Hanson (xtigeman) on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 7:48 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Sounds like a bunch of jealous jabs. I can hear great and my wallet is steadily getting fatter no matter how much I spend since you ask.

I can truly say that it is obvious someone has never heard the good stuff or high end gear. Ignorance is bliss . . . I don't read the literature. I let me ears do the testing. . ., but my focus is home systems where speaker wiring and cables will make remarkable difference.

I have heard the $ 5,000, $ 10,000 and even $ 12,000 systems in boats and they are no where as clean and pure or as full sounding as mine. Mine is so perfect, I did not even need to install a high dollar eq/parametric etc. Was it worth 17K, that depends. Would I do it again. Who knows. Is it audibly different from any other system in a ski boat, you betcha. I guess it just compensates me for my insecurities by knowing that I truly have the baddest sound system in a boat on this planet.


Here is the most intelligent discussion ever about CAPs. The teacher in this discussion is Richard Clarke who is the man held in the highest regard in car audio circles due to his knowledge, expertise, numerous patents and products, and his unmatched award winning sq and spl vehicles. A good discussion, but until one know the very basics about the chargin system, wiring and your amps, it may be a difficult concept to grasp. So read it throughly and do not skip any parts if you are interested.

By Doug Hanson (xtigeman) on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 8:07 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post

The best single thing I ever did on my boat was to change all of the wiring. Who what a difference it made. My voltage went from running ebtween 11.5 and 13 to a steady, never dip below a 13.5 to 13.8 range once I took the capacitors out.

I will see if I can track down any photos of my wiring and the fused distro blocks and etc. They are trip. If you like, I could find the model numbers for the wire and distribution blocks I use.

Pay extra for the good 0 guage wire that is directional. This is the single most important purchase for you entire system. Good wire ain't cheap though, but the difference it can make inunbelieveable.

Run the zero guage either to or as close as you can to the sub amps. Use quality hardware that won't erode and that has the most conductivity. If you get your system wired correctly, you will have absolutely no need for a CAP unless you enter the realm of 5,000 to 10,000 watts and then the cap is only good for stablization issues. It will not increase your voltage and has been mismarketed as doing such.

BTW, the use of 8 guage totally defeats a system over 500 watts. Then adding a cap in that 8 guage line is counter productive and causes an actual decrease, albiet small, in the actual voltage seen at the system. Why, you may ask. Simply click on the above link and learn.

By bruce walker (bruce) on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 8:14 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I still think you should have scrapped the stereo and taken Brett up on his offer to give you a new Tige.

On another note, (no pun intended) my best friend just moved to Memphis and he'd be a great third. He has logged over 10,000 hours on one boat... no lie. Y'all should hook up.

By Grant (mtbmudmachine) on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 8:59 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Doug you shouldn't be so modest, Thank God we have you here on this board. (I know you have helped lots of people here on WW) But knowing "that you truly have the baddest sound system in a boat on this planet" must be an awesome responsibility that is not taken lightly, Please use your power wisely and lead us to the stereo Heaven.
By Psyclone (cyclonecj) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 3:02 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I've read that article before, the last time you posted it. Here is one written by a PHD. He is so smart that he doesn't have to use big words like Richard Clark.

It concerns supercapacitors which are kind of in between a battery and an electrolytic as far as power density and discharge rate. He discusses in one section how caps can/will be used to reduce wiring requirements in high peak applications, exactly what we are talking about. I realize that cable larger than 8 gauge would help, but if the connector doesn't have the surface area to handle it, it is a total waste. What about inside the amp? Is it wired with 1 gauge supply wire? Or is it built on a circuit board like all the rest? Caps can make up the difference. Don't know about brand names or anything, personally. The car stereo dude doesn't know his butt from a hole in the ground. He knows electronics 101, things go much deeper than the depth of his snobby comments. The fact is, caps can discharge exponentially faster than a battery is capable of. This guy explains how caps work with DC, talking about ESR as if it is a static value. If he had attended engineering school, he would understand that ESR=Dissipation Factor*capacitive reactance(XC) That means that ESR changes with frequency. Like low frequency audio. It also changes drastically with temperature.So, an ESR figure for DC does not apply, in practice it is a fraction of the DC rating. Plus, he says at the end of the article that after he did his "calculations" he decided that it couldn't possibly make a difference, SO HE HAS NEVER EVEN TRIED ONE. He's full of crap. Try it. It works. It is a bandaid, certainly. But it works. Directional wire!! I love it, there's an ass for every seat. Please explain how the electrons know which way they are going. Oh, I also liked the one post in that article where the guy ridiculed people who buy "silver twisted pubic hair of God" wire. Do you use that too?

By Darren Yearsley (ralph) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 3:37 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Bruce, what sort of boat was it?
By Tim Krutz (timmy) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 4:22 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
instead of spending money on directional wire, spend the money on a good physics course that discusses electricity. or for a little more knowledge, some electrical engineering classes might suffice.
By Grant (mtbmudmachine) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 4:44 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Phyclone : "Thatís pretty funny" I was kind of thinking the same thing to. I know that Home Audio will never compare to Car or Boat audio. They are two different worlds. What works in one application and theory might not work in other. I know that "high end cables" can make a huge difference in home audio. But Iím unsure how much of a difference they make in car audio. I think it's more the gauge of your wire than the brand or direction that would make a difference. I don't know If Anyone could tell the difference between Gold Plated connections and directional wire of the same gauge. Iím not saying what Doug said is wrong , I just know I couldnít tell the difference, Everyoneís ear is very different what sounds good to you might sound like crap to me.
By Psyclone (cyclonecj) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 5:11 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I don't doubt for a second that Doug's system is the baddest thing going, I just don't believe all the hype that passes for science in the audio world. Home or car. It's kind of like the splitfire spark plug thing. If they were actually able to increase gas mileage, they would be OEM on every vehicle sold. Think what the big three auto manufacturers spend to meet CAFE standards, a set of plugs would be small potatoes.
There is an excellent book on BS in high end audio, it's called Audio Reality by Bruce Rosenblit. He does spend part of the book selling his tube amp designs, but it is still a great book.

Gold plated connectors are actually gold over nickel over brass. There is no difference other than corrosion resistance, which is an excellent reason to use them on a boat.

By JDBindyke (aquajack) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 5:55 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Wow, My head hurts after reading all this stuff.

What we really need to come up with is a special "directional" sub (regular subsonic waves and frequencies have no direction) that when placed on or near the swim platform would send special Ugatrole radial-microwaves thru the water's skin and in turn flatten out all waves and motion for over 4 square miles of water surface.

Thus increasing "Butter-ocity"

If anyone can help me with this project, , , I'll let them use my Walkman, it sounds grrrreat!!!

jk, by the way!!!

By Doug Hanson (xtigeman) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 8:02 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Grant, That was some funny shitz. Its lonely at the top, but at least I know where I stand. It does get a bit frusterating when little lambs are strayed away by trickery occurring in the garden of eden.

Maybe one day I will see the light and go to best buy for an install. They will surely tell me the benefits of CAPS and explain why their is no difference between a Rockford Fossgate and a McIntosh Amp.

My Cable issue is more of a why not. I have heard the differences dramatically on home systems. Whats another $ 500.00 or so for zero noise balanced cables with platinium serated tip and etc. I have seen different cable require diffierent tweekings on a digital eq I have. Wires must be doing something. The issues is whether it is audible.

When I replaced my old 0 guage with all 0 qguage directional (other issues in the wiring were different too), I definitely noitced a .1 to .2 voltage increase at various volumes.

If you are using just middle of the road equipment, my tweeks might not be for you. I would be ridiculous for someone with Fosgate amps and kicker speakers to instal $ 500.00 in RCA cables $ 300.00 in speaker wire and another $ 600 in power cables. The wiring would costs more than the entire system and you are not working with real tonal clarity to begin with.

By Doug Hanson (xtigeman) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 8:05 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post

Tell him to give me shout. 292-4380. What part of Memphis and where is he working. Just trying to get an idea if we are in the same part of the town.

By Tim Krutz (timmy) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 9:23 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
cable size, shielding, and balanced lines all make a difference.

bass can be directional. look at line array effects in an open air environment.

By Grant (mtbmudmachine) on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 11:28 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Doug" Is there a Difference between Fosgate and McIntosh? Is it kind of like the difference between Tige and Mastercraft, If you know you know there a difference?
By Kevin Geary (wakescene) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 6:22 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Well this thread just got interesting!!!

I have been involved in the Audio Circles since 1994, and seen and heard just about everything till I read Psyclone's comment: "I've read that article before, the last time you posted it. Here is one written by a PHD. He is so smart that he doesn't have to use big words like Richard Clark"

So now you guys are competing thru secondary resources, interesting???

I built a box for my tower.
4-6.5"JL speakers and a 4x40watt/rms Coustic amp. No eq, no line driver, no quality cable, just generic and straightforward. It pushes 117db at the swim platform, CLEARLY!!!

How ya like them apples!

By Tim Krutz (timmy) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 6:51 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
yeah but kevin, did you measure phase vs. frequency? ;)


By Kevin Geary (wakescene) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 7:02 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
C-weighted on a Audio Control DB meter, using Pink noise from the IASCA test disc!

Pink noise from what I remember is not Phase relational, and Freq in pink noise? well if put together correctly, and I think the IASCA one is, has all of them!


By A. P. (bigdad) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 11:03 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
The thing about Stereo systems is, you have to make sure you don't have a weak link in any part of your stereo system if you want it sound its best. You can't buy quality directional wires and cables and run Jensen amps and think it would sound good. Vice Versa you can't have quality amps and buy your cables from Radio Shack and expect to have your stereo sound it's best. That's why when I decided to build my sound system for my boat I didn't want to have a weak link.

I started to read the article posted by Doug but then I began to have nasty flashbacks from when I took Calculus in College. However Richard Clark was very convincing and the use of math is good tangible proof that something will or will not work. I also read the article posted by Psyclone. Equally impressive and you canít help but think a Cap has to help an amp run at itís optimum running capacity. But it made me just think that if you look hard enough you can pretty much find anyone who is willing to say anything to support your argument.

As for my original question about whether or not I need a Cap?....... Clear as mud.

Hey Doug, if you donít think Caps donít workÖ. Can I have yours and try them out?

By Bob (bob) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 3:56 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
wouldnt a clear test be connecting an ammeter to the terminals on the cap and actually see if current is going into and out of the cap to the amp and from the bat/alt??? Also why wasnt this ever discussed since its a very simple test with quantative results-IE: the cap had 50 amps going in and out when the bass was hitting hard??
By Doug Hanson (xtigeman) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 7:16 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Yep. Try them them out and I have the lowest ECR or whatever of any CAPs made.

Think of it this way. Your system should never been down to the point that it is drawing off your battery. The battery is only 12.4 at best. A CAP basically keeps you car electronics stable when your amps draw down into the battery or suck the alternator power below 12.4. Then the CAP comes into play to take some of the drain off you battery so your lights won't dim.

IF YOUR system is wired properly, it should not drop down to 12.4 volts and the a cap would be useless. My system even with a little 135 amp alternator does not dig down into my battery and remains above 13 even when it hits hard. No need for CAP under the sceneraio.

CAP will not give you a noticeable improvement in sound. It will resolve car electronic issues and lights if using cheap 8 guage wire placing high loads on your charging system.

A CAP will not increase voltage. It will actually decrease it, but it can be used to stabilize. It will not work as a stablizer unless your system is wired optimatly. And then and only then, caps with very low ECR should be used. Otherwise, the cheap CAp will impair your system performance due to how long it require to get charged back up.

The Long and the short. Buy a cap and spend $ 150 or so for a decent one and you will see no improvement in your over sound. You car lights might not blink as bad, but sound will have no audible chnage.

Take that money and buy high dollar wires and terminales. You will then increase you volts, become stablized, and will not need a ACP because you will remain above 13.0 or 13.5. In a perfect world at least.

Under either scenaria, the CAP is a waste of $ 150.00 unless you like the way it looks in your set up or unless you are sick and tired of your lights dimming when the bass hits.

By Joe Umali (dakid) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 7:27 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
How is a system wired "optimatly"? haha!

Okay, I had a cap in my system when people were first using them...a looooong time ago!

If the units (I'm saying "units" 'cause you'd be waisting money if you didn't have units such as a head unit, amps, crossovers, etc.) are getting the required voltage, wouldn't they perform better, thus giving a noticeable improvement in sound?

By Doug Hanson (xtigeman) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 7:30 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
RF V McIntosh. RF is a good power amp. McIntosh excells in that it is class A, uses top grade components, and utilizes filters that are second to none on a stock car stereo amp. The sound between the two is completely different.

A cheaper amp that has very strong filters and produced sweet flat mid is JL Audio and PPI. I run my PPI through McIntosh filters/crossovers and the PPI sound very close to the McIntosh amp.

Also, McIntosh utilizes regulated power supplies and hit full stride even at 11.5 volts up to 14.4. The THD also stays below .00015 whether the amp is in 2 ohm, 4 ohm, and 8 ohm. The amp remains full rated power at 8 ohm which is not easy task for a car audio component. Plus they just sound the best. That be the reasons that McIntoshes are the shitz.

By Joe Umali (dakid) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 7:33 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
By the way, I ran 4gauge power cables that led to a distribution block that branched out to my amps, crossover and e.q., using 8gauge cables. My RCA jacks were Monster Cables.
By Joe Umali (dakid) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 7:35 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
McIntosh = High Dollars!
By Keith (rkg) on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 8:08 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Hey Doug,
does your email in your profile work? Sent ay an email few days ago.

By Ken (kschroeder) on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 6:44 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
I read the article you posted earlier from Richard Clark.. That's very informational, unfortunately about two weeks to late for me as I just spent $150 on a CAP... I read somewhere that CAP's were effective at filtering engine whine. Is there any truth to that? Is the CAP just another example then of marketing taking advantage of uneducated customers, such as myslef?

By Psyclone (cyclonecj) on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 11:54 am:    Edit Post Delete Post
Pink noise is wideband noise. It is by definition AC. If it had no AC in it, it would be called DC. If you read an engineering text instead of a car stereo magazine, you might know that. Anyway, no point in arguing with people who are determined to believe what they want to believe. If there is "directional" wire available, who holds the patent on this revolutionary substance that defies the laws of physics? It sure as hell isn't copper!
By Psyclone (cyclonecj) on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 1:08 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
The only reason that I mentioned that the guy has a PHD in electrical engineering is because Richard Clark says his degree is in Psychology.

Rockford Fosgate and McIntosh are still bound by the same laws of physics, no matter how good their lawyers are! :-)

By Tim Krutz (timmy) on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 3:39 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
psyclone .that psychology degree might be more useful to him than you might thing. psychoacoustics plays a huge role in audio and human hearing perception. if you spend (waste) a bunch of money on "directional" cables and you think it will sound better, it will sound better to you. this plays a big role into marketing and such of audio components. if the 'experts' (marketing) tells you that something sounds better, and you are not a well informed consumer, odds are that it will sound better to you.

anyhow, I don't feel like typing anymore in this post so I will leave it at that.

By Bob (bob) on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 4:00 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Doug explain to me why all amps have caps inside them if they are not useful for stabilizing the input power? This is something the magazines look at when testing amps, to make sure they are rated well in heat as well as other things.
By Doug Hanson (xtigeman) on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 6:39 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Directional wires are the manner is which the wires are stranded and balanced. It is not that it is a single piece of wire that is directional. Took a look at some for yourself. Won't change your sound, but I did get a steady .1 to .2 increase in volts when going with these wires.

Psychoacuotics: I have installed several $ 1,000 + head units in hopes of improving sound and these high dollar fancy 8 to 16 volt head units sounded worse than my Loley Clarion Pro 925. I have also had less then expected results with numerous speakers and amps. I have also swapped RCA and speakers cables out numurous times until I finally find a cable that I like (Zeronoise ZN 60, but they are pricey). I think my ears are faily tuned in on this shitz. At least my system is dead silent between songs and pure during songs.


Different roles? Different purposes. The focus is on keeping you volts going to the amp above 13.3 or so. A big deep bass hit can drag an improperly wired system down to say 12.0 volts. The CAP would then discharge in an effort to keep the single note in the power range of the amp. Mcs don't sag so not an issue with Mcs.

After cap discharges its millisecond hit, it may take a second or two to recharge so you have further dips between cap recharging when system around 12.5 or lower. The caps also have to charg back up. So in effecft you get a:

Boom (13V), Boom (12.0 with CAP), boom (12.0 cap charging), boom (12.0 Cap Charging), BOOM (CAp discharging. In the meantime, your charging system is busy recharging CAPS and you stay around 12V.

If you wire it right, you will never dip below 13 and the CAP will never be needed.

Richard Clark is an engineer. I think he was pulling someone's chain. I have not read the article in a while. If you can find any information on him and what he has done, he is a very interesting guy and very involved in development of well known high end home and studio electronics.

I have extensively metered my system under different scenarios and I have digital read out for volts, amps, and temp for each of my amps. I have spent a lot of time playing around with various set ups and found peak performance without the CAPS so I took the out. There was definitely no improve in dbs with the caps and my voltage seemed more stable without them. I like the way they look and all and still have one in the boat for looks . . .

Every woonder why the better installers stay away from CAPs and dual batteries unless CAPs are requested. Best Buy will push them on you, but the better guys around here with their own shops doing custom work and probably needing to sell CAPS more than those guys at Best Buy generally say stay away from CAPs.


I have around 4,000 unopened emails that clogged the server and says out of disk space, I have not got around to resolving this issue.

By Doug Hanson (xtigeman) on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 6:42 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post

Forget the CAPS and buy amps with regulated power supplies that wont dip when the voltage dips. Then your probablems are solved.

By Doug Hanson (xtigeman) on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 7:08 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post

Just looked back at that article for the first time in about a year. Your reading is about like my writing. He dropped the psychology stuff, which was basically nothing more than a joke, and he has degrees in physics and he is a PE.

Interestingly, you guys hooked on CAPs don't even spot the obvious and only flaw in Richard's deductions. His ESR figures are off a bit and much higher than today's new high dollar capacitors which does affect his bottom lines if one took the time to look up the ESR on the new caps. His test subject is the Alumapro 15 farad CAP and those Alumapros are horrible and have high ESR.

BTW, Richard has used capacitors, just not that 15 farad POS Alumapro. He used a capacitor in one of his record setting cars, but he did not use it in a manner in which we would use it. It was also not hooked into his sub woofer system. He basically fabricates from scratch everything, including the amps, the crossovers and etc.

Rather than make knee jerk comments about his education, him never using caps, and etc. that are not even factually accurate, do some research into CAPs, their functions, charging systems, and mainly ESR. You might then being able to make an intelligent argument numbers wise.

By Tim Krutz (timmy) on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 8:46 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
speaking of caps, it will likely be recharged with plenty of time to spare before the second bass hit. i say likely, cause I don't feel like calculating the time constant on a simplified RLC circuit, and i need to leave myself some room if I am wrong.
By Tim Krutz (timmy) on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 8:49 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
BTW doug, you have the right approach, by listening to see if you like it.

I am certain that the cable performance is a matter of the total amount of outer surface area of the material, shielding, and quality of material in the wires. if you switch the ends of the wires around, i doubt that there will be any difference that is measureable.

By Doug Hanson (xtigeman) on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 10:02 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
It's during that recharge, that your system's voltage is taken lower to some degree. Those Alumapro have such crappy ESR, it take seconds before they recharge.

If talking directional, it is the manner is which the strands are wound twisted or what ever. It is SUPPOSED to give a funnelling effect. I fully realize that these 0 guage directional lines may simply have more strands and/or purer wire and etc., but for what ever reason, they work.

By Bob (bob) on Friday, January 17, 2003 - 6:50 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Also Doug you said"
Think of it this way. Your system should never been down to the point that it is drawing off your battery. The battery is only 12.4 at best. A CAP basically keeps you car electronics stable when your amps draw down into the battery or suck the alternator power below 12.4. Then the CAP comes into play to take some of the drain off you battery so your lights won't dim.

IF YOUR system is wired properly, it should not drop down to 12.4 volts and the a cap would be useless. My system even with a little ēēēēēē 135 amp alternator does not dig down into my battery and remains above 13 even when it hits hard. No need for CAP under the sceneraio. "
Everyone pulls the throttle back to turn around and pick up a fallen rider so you would almost always be running off your battery then unless your alternator puts out 100 amps at 800 rpm?? Where can i get and how many children do i need to trade in on one of those alternators??

By Doug Hanson (xtigeman) on Friday, January 17, 2003 - 7:45 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
My system remains at or near 13.0 volts when in idle. Go figure.
By Grant (mtbmudmachine) on Friday, January 17, 2003 - 9:10 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
Doug 13.0 volts at Idle. Hummm Sounds like you need a cap!


By Psyclone (cyclonecj) on Friday, January 17, 2003 - 9:29 pm:    Edit Post Delete Post
I have not read every post by the guy, I read the one that you linked to. In that post he said he did the math and decided it couldn't work. That's what he said. He also said that he was a headshrinker. I couldn't care less, but he doesn't understand simple AC/DC theory. I know exactly what equivalent series resistance is, how it is calculated, even how it is measured with sophisticated lab test equipment that costs more than your boat stereo. He missed, and you don't understand the fact that although we are talking about DC supply, it is an essentially unregulated, unfiltered pulsed DC supply from an automotive alternator feeding a battery in parallel with a large filter cap at the input (inside) a simple audio amp. The more expensive it is, the simpler it is. There are probably less parts in your McIntosh's than a Rockford Fosgate. That is a good thing, by the way. With a huge draw from a highly inductively reactive load (speaker) you superimpose an AC signal on the DC supply. That is why you see the dash lights pulsating when the bass hits. Adding a (reasonably) large electrolytic cap in parallel with the battery and the amp DC supply cap "stiffens" the power supply of he amp. The aforementioned AC signal changes the ESR of the cap that you might add and the ESR of the DC supply inside the amp. It is a dynamic value, not a fixed value. You cannot continue on and do all the math that guy does if you don't understand that. That was my whole point. Yes, If you add bigger wires, it reduces the voltage drop, which reduces the AC modulation of the DC signal, and changes ESR of the supply, which includes the amp power supply. Most amps have a regulated supply so they fight this current change. Bigger wires reduce noise drastically as they lessen the resistance effect (ESR) of the DC supply wire acting like an antenna and picking up stray RF noise. This is very important in modern boats with tons of electronics and stray RF. If you add a cap, and I don't know about excessively huge caps, like different brands of 15 Farad caps, I just know about the characteristics of electrolytic caps, they will suck up some of that AC and damn sure discharge faster than the battery. ANY battery. Period. Even a yellow one with cool blue neon lights around it. That was the point of the article I linked, how scientists and engineers are using different types of caps to do exactly what people are using caps for in DC supplies to audio amps. Specifically, reducing wiring requirements DC supplies to highly reactive (inductive and/or capacitive) loads. If you looked at it, which I suspect you didn't, it explained in detail the differences in power density (how much)and discharge rates (how fast)between different types of batteries and different types of caps. I didn't really expect you to read it. You have way to much financial and emotional investment to look at this subject objectively. We all are aware of the fact that you have the baddest sound system in the world. You remind everyone on this and other boards every time someone posts. Not everyone is willing or capable of spending 17k on a boat stereo. Why do I even know how much you spent? Because you make it a point to tell everyone. What difference does it make to anyone but you? My only reason for responding to this and your other posts is because you put out a lot of information, some of it is dead-on, some is internet BS. Directional wire is nothing but BS. When it comes to your opinion of amps, speakers and CD players, line level wiring, etc. that you have arrived at by listening, I have absolutely no problem in taking seriously your advice and experience. I have asked you for it. To be honest, to parallel a 15 farad cap with an amps DC supply would have a drastically different effect depending on a given amp design, probably not good, regardless. It is so far out of the realm of what is reasonable that no amp would "need" it. Most people are trying to spend a few bucks improving what they already have, making incremental improvements. Nobody else is considering using a Mcintosh amp with a 15 farad cap. I can say from experience that a cap of 1 farad (huge by engineering standards) or even 1/3 of that placed in parallel with the DC supply on a basic car audio amp, will tighten the bass up considerably for minimum expense. Anyway, I am done posting on this one, its time for this post to die, but I know that you will not be able to resist having the last word...
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