This is the first of the many DIY tips and projects to come.

Let's get started with something very easy as a warm up. This is a well known electrical filter tweak amongst DIYers.

The X-2 capacitor, when attached to short between the Live and Neutral of your power supply, will act as an EMI filter. There are many ways to attach this cap. I've seen some attached to the insides of their wall outlet(please turn off your home MCB if you intend to do this, for safety's sake). I have heard of people attaching the X-2 cap to the home fridge wall outlet, to filter EMI at source.

If you look carefully at some high end products like Ayre, they have an X-2 cap pre-installed just behind the chassis mounted IEC power socket. Shunyata Hydra power conditioner have an X-2 cap fitted in to all their duplex outlets individually. That means if you have Ayre equipment or powering your hi-fi equipments via Shunyata Hydra, this tweak does not apply. In my case, I chose to incorporate the X-2 cap in to my power cord(used to power my Pass Alephs, which feeds directly off the wall outlet).



The cap value I used is 0.01uf rated for 275VAC, available from Farnell Electronics supply, order part no. 975-0630(the blue colored unit pictured above, note the X2 MKP on specs, you cannot short a non X2 spec cap). You may try use 0.1uf rated for 270VAC should you wish. The yellow X-2 caps in the below pictures are supplied by an electronics store in Puchong.



I shorted the X-2 cap between the Live and Neutral at the IEC end of the JPS Inwall power cord. I used Oyaide C-29 IEC plugs as they have a lot of space inside. Ditto for Furutech IEC plugs too. Hubbell IEC plugs are too cramp inside to acomodate an X-2 cap.



With the X-2 caps in both my power cords powering the Aleph monoblocks, I could discern a slightly quieter/darker back ground, tweeter hiss is noticeably lower in level(you'll have to put your ear right in front of the tweeter and listen very carefully!). With a quieter background, low level resolution once obscured is now more easily noticeable within the music. The bonus that comes with it, is the magical mid range bloom so associated with Shunyata Hydra is now also attainable via the X-2 cap tweak. Not exactly same, but pretty darn close(due to the fact that the Shunyata Hydra has other components inside that contribute to it's final sonics).

As with all DIY tips, the usual caveat applies. I cannot be held responsible over electrical shocks and any unforeseen injuries, damaged equipment or worst of all, death as a result of negligence. Should you wish to proceed but remain unsure or yet to have the necessary skills, please consult a qualified electrician.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Panzer, this is basically the concept behind the Shunyata, Audience and some PS audio stuff.. to make it even better, try using the cap-CMC-cap combo. I did the Felix (search in www.audiocircle.com) cascaded behind an isolation transformer, and I'm very happy with it.

Anonymous said...

You should not have tweeter hiss at all. Simply means there is more to be done.

km ng said...

Panzer,

I will hold you totally liable and responsible to the good shocks, unforeseen pleasure, damaged jaw (from dropping down to the floor) and worst of all, finding heaven on earth as a result of my amazed to death experience to your tweak.

My lawyers will be singing to you in due time.

Anonymous said...

KM,
You have no PLC at all?

Ck Cheah said...

Panzer,
Thanks for the tip,

Is this Current Limiting?

Would like to try on my Krell{not that different fr aleph in Gorging the electricity]

Allan said...

Panzer,

thanks for the post.it certainly add more color and excitement to this blogs.

I've always been interested in DIY stuff,and realize that I could better understand the audio more in doing some DIY stuff.

Any books you would recommend as a starter?

km ng said...

Anon of 8:14 AM,

I'm probably the only uncultured hifi animal here who drinks the hifi water unfiltered.

Consider me a soon to be extinct species who likes spring water.

Anonymous said...

KM,
Have you not tasted the X-2 poison, so another dinosaur bites the dust?
I do understand your logic, if you are a vinyl junkie, PLCs won't be at the top of your todos.

Panzer said...

anonymous 12.00am,

Thanks for the heads up on the Felix project. Looks very tempting and do-able for me, will surely be a great contender for my future projects(which I've got many lined up but not enough time to build). One thing though, what I've just posted is merely an easy warm up project to get things started.

anonymous 12.11pm

I agree, there's always more that can be done!

KM, what can I say? but X-2 cap very poisonous!

ck cheah,

I don't think it's current limiting, at least my Alephs didn't sound like they're being starved of power.

allan,

If you're asking about books, you can always look at basic electronics reference at MPH bookstores. I've seen them before, but like most enthusiastic starters, I learnt DIY the hard way, i.e. blowing up things, tripping MCBs and electrocuting my self. I wouldn't recomend anyone to learn my way. Lastly, I've had some good fortune at meeting some helpful senior DIYers.

ken said...

Penzer,

Been innterested in DIY,Where can i buy the yellow X-2 capacitor?( you've been mentioned in Puchong)

Thanks for the tip.