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Calling John Kelley Brown

11/16/2004 7:23 PM
bob pCalling John Kelley Brown
going one step farther into the hysteria over using expensive caps in guitar applications...  
 
R&SGutiarworks sells quite a bit of cap upgrade kits for LPs to the tonehounds at the LPF and the Axehouse. There is no shortage of people who will swear that replacement of the stock caps in a $5000 1959 LP Reissue will improve the tone. The typical improvement that R&S sells is a M-150. A more expensive upgrade is the Hovland. Even more extreme upgrades among the LP crowd are PIO caps and vintage NOS bumblebees, black beauties, etc.  
 
This confuses me a bit, because if you look at the schematic of the LP tone control circuit, the sole purpose of the cap is to select frequencies that are passed TO GROUND -- parts of the signal that are removed from the signal path. So all of the hype has to be about sonic differences that are attributable to how well caps of different compositions compare in shunting unwanted signal to ground. Go figure.  
 
Putting this in perspective, these same guys tend to swear that vintage pots sound better than new produciton pots! as a result of stories like these, i tend to take alot of the cap mojo statements with a grain of salt.  
 
on a related note, i remember haivng a phone conversation with John Kelley Brown after he replaced all of the coupling caps in his Transatlantic with (iirc) AudioNote PIOs. He's a definite tweaker and he has ears that are better than most dogs', so I tend to trust his observations. After installing PIOs Kelley said that he heard a difference, but couldn't quite put his finger on exactly what the difference was. There was some speculation on his part as to whether some of the difference may have been attributable to subtle differnces in the values of the PIO caps relative to the caps that they replaced. I haven't phoned him in quite some time, so maybe in the time that has passed he's gotten a better handle on the situation, and maybe he can describe his observations in a bit more detail.  
 
Kelley, if you're reading this, please chime in!

 
Replies:
Dan Its funny. The RS Guitarworks upgra... -- 11/16/2004 11:42 PM