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Old 11-02-2011   #1
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Default Tweeter Caps

Searching some ms8 info. I came across "capacitor protection for tweeters in an active setup." I am surprised at what a universal standard this practice is and in the tons of reading I've done here in 2 yrs., I only barely recall stumbling on this issue before. I've never had any popping issues before but I just hooked up my ms8 (haven't turned it on yet) and I've read some popping issues associated with it (remote turn on delays etc.). Now, I am properly scared of having to pour further amounts of money into the enormous bottomless pit that has been my excursion into a good system to replace my L1 pros.

My system now lingers in limbo (off!) until I can protect myself, I suppose. I'm still just a novice to stereo tech. and I don't know crap about no cap. I've always searched FIRST and learned everything I've needed but, I really do not want to learn capacitors and all the associated nominclature (language of electronics) I'd need to feel confident I have it right. Then I'd have to order it and wait, damn!

Can some kind soul recommend the right size capacitor for me? I would like it to be far enough below my xover with minimal slope to have negligable effect on sound. I'm planning a cross at 4khz @ -24db with power at (below) 75w @ 4ohms. I wouldn't mind the freedom to play with a hi pass as low as 2.5khz. Bipolar, special materials, $5 or $15, Idk it's only two items. Could I get them from Radio Shack?

Finally, a cap goes in the pos+ wire on the tweet, right? Should it be close to the amp or to the speaker?

I'm sorry to ask this for an answer that surely exists here, in the forum but I'm going to be driving a lot this weekend and would hate to listen only to exhaust note the whole time while shipping my caps takes til next week.

thanks

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Old 11-02-2011   #2
 
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

Get a non-polarized capacitor. A polarized one will work in either direction as long as there is no significant DC component to the amplifier - which there shouldn't be, but that's one of the protections that using the capacitor offers in the first place. It also helps protect against you accidentally hooking up the wires wrong (e.g. sending a woofer signal to a tweeter) or using the wrong filter frequency (e.g. 400Hz instead of 4kHz). It also helps prevent the tweeter from being damaged if you enter clipping because clipping redistributes the power into different frequency ranges than the non-clipped signal would be. It will not improve the sound quality when things work properly.

Passive Crossovers, Capacitor and Coil Calculator

Fill in the impedance and frequency; the value you want is C1 in the first-order crossover section.

Keep the frequency a good bit lower than the frequency you use in the MS8 or else you will audibly affect your sound with it. The lower you go, the less protection it offers, but the higher you go, the more audible and limiting it will be as far as changing things later - though you can always change the capacitor as well...

Another protection option: fuses or speaker circuit breakers from Parts Express. They don't offer the same exact protection as a capacitor but they also aren't as audible since they don't have much capacitance or inductance to modify the signal by a significant amount. (They do have a little bit of reactance - pretty much anything does - but again, much less than a capacitor as a capacitor is specifically meant to have reactance)
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Old 11-02-2011   #3
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

I suggest using the crossover on your Kenwood KAC-X4R to protect your tweeters because you already have it. I hate to break it to you but a cap is going to be completely useless if your MS-8 spazzes out and sends a full range signal to your tweeter.

I only use the best: Alpha Damp, Blues, HAT, Linear Power, Massive, and Ultra. Anything else is a compromise!
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Old 11-02-2011   #4
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadeByMonkey View Post
I suggest using the crossover on your Kenwood KAC-X4R to protect your tweeters because you already have it. I hate to break it to you but a cap is going to be completely useless if your MS-8 spazzes out and sends a full range signal to your tweeter.
This is not true, the cap will keep DC power and low frequency out of the tweeter no matter what you send it....that is why people use them. An active xover will not protect the tweeter from what the amp sends such as a turn on pop or blown amp outputs, or anything else that could make the amp send those signals to the tweeter. Sometimes a failing ground can cause an amp to emit strange signals. The caps themselves cost nearly nothing, calculators are all over the net to tell you what ones you need, all you have to do is put them inline at the tweeter though you could put them anywhere after the amp far as I know.

You can still overdrive the tweeter and blow it up with normal high frequency the cap will pass to it. Some passive xover use a light bulb for this as it naturally limits with more current and does not blow like a fuse. However I don't know how you size a tiny lightbulb for that purpose, but it will limit power of any kind. DC might still blow the tweeter eventually with a lightbulb and no cap because it is constant full power, it would heat more than an alternating current from audio, at least at same peak voltage. Also DC makes no sound from the speaker so you don't know it is happening unless you see the cone stay in/out in its physical movement and that is hard to do with say, a dome tweeter.

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Old 11-02-2011   #5
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by sqshoestring View Post
This is not true, the cap will keep DC power and low frequency out of the tweeter no matter what you send it....that is why people use them. An active xover will not protect the tweeter from what the amp sends such as a turn on pop or blown amp outputs, or anything else that could make the amp send those signals to the tweeter. Sometimes a failing ground can cause an amp to emit strange signals. The caps themselves cost nearly nothing, calculators are all over the net to tell you what ones you need, all you have to do is put them inline at the tweeter though you could put them anywhere after the amp far as I know.

You can still overdrive the tweeter and blow it up with normal high frequency the cap will pass to it. Some passive xover use a light bulb for this as it naturally limits with more current and does not blow like a fuse. However I don't know how you size a tiny lightbulb for that purpose, but it will limit power of any kind. DC might still blow the tweeter eventually with a lightbulb and no cap because it is constant full power, it would heat more than an alternating current from audio, at least at same peak voltage. Also DC makes no sound from the speaker so you don't know it is happening unless you see the cone stay in/out in its physical movement and that is hard to do with say, a dome tweeter.
So you are saying that all those drivers roasted as a result of tripping BitOnes and MS-8s would have been spared had the end user placed a simple cap in the circuitl? A simple cap protecting a tweeter at 400 Hz versus 4kHz as the Op wishes to do will still allow enough damaging frequencies through to roast the tweeter.

I only use the best: Alpha Damp, Blues, HAT, Linear Power, Massive, and Ultra. Anything else is a compromise!
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Old 11-02-2011   #6
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by MadeByMonkey View Post
I suggest using the crossover on your Kenwood KAC-X4R to protect your tweeters because you already have it. I hate to break it to you but a cap is going to be completely useless if your MS-8 spazzes out and sends a full range signal to your tweeter.
worst response ever! nothing here is true, please do not listen to any of it.

listen to what shoestring said.

Quote:
So you are saying that all those drivers roasted as a result of tripping BitOnes and MS-8s would have been spared had the end user placed a simple cap in the circuitl? A simple cap protecting a tweeter at 400 Hz versus 4kHz as the Op wishes to do will still allow enough damaging frequencies through to roast the tweeter.
in most cases yes. although it may sound really bad, it will not instantly destroy a tweeter like a burst of DC or an electronic crossover on the blink would. for me personally I would not use 400hz for protection for a 4khz tweeter. if you are running a 4khz 24dB/oct slope, then an additonal 6db/oct at 2khz wont mess up your slope and 2khz should protect the tweeter against most any damage.

Original post whore!
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Old 11-02-2011   #7
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonrage View Post
Get a non-polarized capacitor. A polarized one will work in either direction as long as there is no significant DC component to the amplifier - which there shouldn't be, but that's one of the protections that using the capacitor offers in the first place. It also helps protect against you accidentally hooking up the wires wrong (e.g. sending a woofer signal to a tweeter) or using the wrong filter frequency (e.g. 400Hz instead of 4kHz). It also helps prevent the tweeter from being damaged if you enter clipping because clipping redistributes the power into different frequency ranges than the non-clipped signal would be. It will not improve the sound quality when things work properly.

Passive Crossovers, Capacitor and Coil Calculator

Fill in the impedance and frequency; the value you want is C1 in the first-order crossover section.

Keep the frequency a good bit lower than the frequency you use in the MS8 or else you will audibly affect your sound with it. The lower you go, the less protection it offers, but the higher you go, the more audible and limiting it will be as far as changing things later - though you can always change the capacitor as well...

Another protection option: fuses or speaker circuit breakers from Parts Express. They don't offer the same exact protection as a capacitor but they also aren't as audible since they don't have much capacitance or inductance to modify the signal by a significant amount. (They do have a little bit of reactance - pretty much anything does - but again, much less than a capacitor as a capacitor is specifically meant to have reactance)
Thanks dragonrage, heading to the calculator momentarily. Does "non-polarized" (doesn't work in either direction?) mean it should be in the pos+ only?

Thanks as well, to everybody else for the continued discussion, it's all been helpful!

KW-DDX814, L1 Pro, L6, MS8, XD600/6, HD750/1, RSSHO315
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Old 11-02-2011   #8
 
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

POLYPROPYLENE CAPACITORS from Parts Express ship same day and come with 45 day money back guarantee. Free Shipping Available. Order free 10,000 product catalog.
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Old 11-02-2011   #9
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

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Originally Posted by jimjam View Post
Thanks dragonrage, heading to the calculator momentarily. Does "non-polarized" (doesn't work in either direction?) mean it should be in the pos+ only?

Thanks as well, to everybody else for the continued discussion, it's all been helpful!
no nonpolarized means is has no polar direction (meaning it does not have a positive or negitive) you must get those kind for audio since you are using them with an AC signal.

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Old 11-02-2011   #10
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

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Originally Posted by jimjam View Post
I am surprised at what a universal standard this practice is and in the tons of reading I've done here in 2 yrs., I only barely recall stumbling on this issue before.
Same here. *Now* I know how essential this is when running active, from my own tweeter destruction experience. I guess this topic is just not as exciting as sound deadening or whether Class D amps sound worse than A/B. Live and learn, I guess.
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Old 11-02-2011   #11
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

Just to be certain here, the capacitor should be spliced directly in the pos+ wire?

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Old 11-02-2011   #12
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

Is this a non polarized cap? I noticed at PE they list caps that specifically are called "non polarized".

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Old 11-02-2011   #13
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

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Originally Posted by jimjam View Post
Just to be certain here, the capacitor should be spliced directly in the pos+ wire? Is this a non polarized cap? I noticed at PE they list caps that specifically are called "non polarized".
You can splice it in on either lead. And yes, those are non-polarized.
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Old 11-02-2011   #14
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

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Originally Posted by jimjam View Post
Is this a non polarized cap? I noticed at PE they list caps that specifically are called "non polarized".
I would hazard a guess and saw all the caps sold on Pe are non-polarized style.

and yes, polypropylene caps are certainly of that variety.


as gokiburi said, you can put it in either wire and it will be put "inline"


-------------[]-------------
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Old 11-02-2011   #15
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

They are indeed nonpolarized, I went to Solen's website to be sure. I don't want to lead anybody wrong.
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Old 11-02-2011   #16
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

You need non-polarized because the AC audio signal changes polarity all the time.

I size the cap to the lowest the tweeter should play, if you tweeter can go to 2K you may or may not (usually not in my case) run it that low, so I would size the cap for a 2K high pass. (This will give you -3dB at 2Khz, or 50% power there) I like to use larger dome tweeters. Its only a 6dB slope so it does not cut like higher slope does, you should make it high as you can. Your active xover will add its slope to this passive, once you get down to it, if you do. Yes it is still possible to blow the tweeter because if somehow you have no xover on it then it will be at its lowest xover (say 2K HP at 6dB). But if you get a pop or DC it will protect it, some failures you will hear it and turn it off, etc....so it is way better than nothing.

It is typical to put it on the tweeter +, but since it is AC power you don't have to.

Home speakers have always used caps, though some use second and better order xovers that have higher slope than just a simple cap. Most coax and some comps use only a cap on the tweeter for the xover it is very common.

Any capacitor that is polarized should have a big arrow on the side showing what lead is what: + or -. Non polarized do not.

Pioneer 880PRS~boston comps/alpine coax on Kappa 4 Z~back to Alpine mrd-m500 v12 on pyle 15s IB. But now have a new car, this will take a while to figure out.
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Old 11-02-2011   #17
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by gokiburi View Post
You can splice it in on either lead. And yes, those are non-polarized.
thanks

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Old 11-02-2011   #18
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by gokiburi View Post
They are indeed nonpolarized, I went to Solen's website to be sure. I don't want to lead anybody wrong.
much appreciated!

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Old 11-02-2011   #19
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by sqshoestring View Post
You need non-polarized because the AC audio signal changes polarity all the time.

I size the cap to the lowest the tweeter should play, if you tweeter can go to 2K you may or may not (usually not in my case) run it that low, so I would size the cap for a 2K high pass. (This will give you -3dB at 2Khz, or 50% power there) I like to use larger dome tweeters. Its only a 6dB slope so it does not cut like higher slope does, you should make it high as you can. Your active xover will add its slope to this passive, once you get down to it, if you do. Yes it is still possible to blow the tweeter because if somehow you have no xover on it then it will be at its lowest xover (say 2K HP at 6dB). But if you get a pop or DC it will protect it, some failures you will hear it and turn it off, etc....so it is way better than nothing.

It is typical to put it on the tweeter +, but since it is AC power you don't have to.

Home speakers have always used caps, though some use second and better order xovers that have higher slope than just a simple cap. Most coax and some comps use only a cap on the tweeter for the xover it is very common.

Any capacitor that is polarized should have a big arrow on the side showing what lead is what: + or -. Non polarized do not.
I'm looking at a 24uF. It covers 1500hz. My L1s have a resonance of 700hz. Doubled that's 1400hz. I've have had a good setup with my tweets crossed in the 2khz range before. Buwalda has made a convincing argument that this is a bad area to split up the vocals range but, I would still like the ability to play with it w/o interference. Opinions...

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Last edited by jimjam; 11-02-2011 at 03:34 PM..
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Old 11-02-2011   #20
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

I have heard many systems systems that were crossed at 2-2.5khz and sounded very nice. if you have an EQ, you can usually compensate, some, for the filter.

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Old 11-02-2011   #21
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

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Originally Posted by minbari View Post
I have heard many systems systems that were crossed at 2-2.5khz and sounded very nice. if you have an EQ, you can usually compensate, some, for the filter.
Am I getting into an increasingly dangerous zone to only block (by capacitor) 1500hz and below? Am I at a point of increased diminishing returns in this area? That is, is 2khz much, much more protection than 1.5khz or are they pretty close?

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Old 11-02-2011   #22
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

don't a cap at 6db change the phase 90 degrees?
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Old 11-02-2011   #23
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

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Originally Posted by wooferdog View Post
don't a cap at 6db change the phase 90 degrees?
I think it's supposed to be low enough below the xover point that it is negligible but then again, that's my limited understanding.

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Old 11-02-2011   #24
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

I'm too lazy to do the calculations, 90 degrees sounds high though, pretty sure that occurs at a frequency low enough to not matter.
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Default Re: Tweeter Caps

Quote:
Originally Posted by wooferdog View Post
don't a cap at 6db change the phase 90 degrees?
Up to 90* depending on the filter itself. But I'm not one to claim that you can hear such a change. It's certainly not ideal but oh well. You can use an all-pass circuit to modify the phase if you want. Linkwitz recommends that. In fact, he considers it a requirement.
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