1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Sprague Orange Drop Capacitors - Worth it?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by kyral210, Aug 30, 2008.


  1. kyral210

    kyral210

    Sep 14, 2007
    Manchester
    On all my basses and guitars I have installed Orange Drop capacitors as they seem to be pretty highly recommended. This was more of a 'why not' mod as I tend to rewire everything overtime to get 'my setup' just right.

    Now, I have nothing bad to say about them, but then again, I don't notice a massive improvement? Is there any real reason to replace stock capacitors with Orange Drop caps or is it just hearsay?

    CAPOD68.
     
  2. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    When a cap is in series in the audio path, carrying the signal, you can hear a difference. When it is not in the audio path, only performing a "control" function in the circuit, then you cannot hear a difference. The cap used on a passive tone pot is not actually in series in the audio path, it just bleeds the highs to ground, so odds of it making a difference in that application are very small.

    Yes, some people will say they hear a difference, but we very often fool ourselves into thinking we hear something that isn't there.
     
  3. kyral210

    kyral210

    Sep 14, 2007
    Manchester
    I think it is yes and no. When I got my Epiphone Thunderbird all three pots were 500k. I switched the tone pot out for a 250k pot, and changed the capacitor to an orange drop while I was at it. After my mod, I had effectivly turned the tone down 50% perminantly.

    The point I am making is that even when the tone pot is at 100%, there is still some charge running through the capacitor, and this it is in the circuit in an active way permanently (although it may only be in a small way).
     
  4. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    That only shows the amount of highs bled to ground due to changing the pot value, it tells you literally nothing about any effect the cap may have had.

    It is "in the circuit", yes, bleeding some small portion of the signal to ground potentially at all times. But the output of your bass does not include any of the signal that was bled to ground, therefore it does not include any audio that passed through the cap.
     
  5. kyral210

    kyral210

    Sep 14, 2007
    Manchester
    very few guitars/ basses include audio signals passing through capacitors (though some do in rare cases). Therefore your comment is kind of redundant. I was mealy saying that the capacitor is always a part of the overall tone, be it large or small in contribution.

    Regardless, I soldered an Orange Drop Cap (0.047) into my Schecter C5, EMG loaded bass. I jumped. I don't know if this is only in my mind, but the whole bass sounds more alive, more exciting all over! My strings are pretty sold and no other parts were changed as far as signal processing is concerned. I am now experimenting with the tone knob, but the sound is definitely smoother and more 'musical' than before.

    I swear that the Orange Drop Capacitor is far superior to the standard EMG cap! For £0.80, it is a great mod and will now enter my 'essential' list of mods I do to all my instruments.
     
  6. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Every active bass contains at least capacitor in series with the audio path. Every preamp contains at least one capacitor in series. <-- That comment was redundant.

    Enjoy the difference you hear. ;)
     
  7. In a passive application changing from one capacitor to another brand of capacitor with the same rating may make a slight difference, but it will probably not be significant. The real difference comes when you change the capacitance, say from .022 to .82 or even .1. The increase will allow more highs to be rolled off. One of my favorite mods is to replace the caps with a .1 . It worked for the '50's Precisions, and to my ears it still works.
     
  8. GlennW

    GlennW

    Sep 6, 2006
    There is a difference between types of the same value. The OD 225 polyester film is sort of roundish/wavey sounding while the OD 715 polypropelyne film cap is a little dryer/punchier. Then there's the Mallory 150. At about $1 each it's worth trying them out, and in different values as well.

    This is a '60s Kay with a .1uF cap...notice the tone control is closer to the neck.
     
  9. Well, I just ordered the .5uf and the .47uf Orange Drops for my project P, I'm going to see if I notice any difference, but I honestly doubt I'll be that discerning.
     
  10. GlennW

    GlennW

    Sep 6, 2006
    If those are the values you ordered you'll notice mud flow from the top of your chimney. Maybe you meant .05 and .047? ;)
     
  11. Strangely enough, I work on electronics for a living and didn't catch that... ;)
     
  12. chicago_mike

    chicago_mike

    Oct 9, 2007
    Chicago - LA - Rome - Dallas
    Endorsing Artist : Genz Benz
    The only difference youll hear is when you use a dfferent valued cap in a passive tone roll off. All it will do is bleed from a certain frequency on up. Try it on a fretless and youll swear youll get more mwah or something with the right value cap.

    Orange drops come on a couple different flavors. THe 715 and 716 being the most common for audio and control circuits. Some people swear by silver mica for the tone roll off....M'kay.

    What your hearing is a better solder joint than the origional. Thats my guesstimate.
     
  13. spode master

    spode master

    Jan 21, 2007
    Woah if you halve the value of the POT you will need to increase or double the value of the cap for it to perform the same.

    You will also have to change your volume control and anything else in relationship with the tone pot or things are going to effect how the circuit performs.

    There are some hard set rules of electronics that most designers follow to get predictable results.

    Just changing component values often wont provide desirable results.

    Antone-
     
  14. spode master

    spode master

    Jan 21, 2007
    What may be worth it is to get a rotary switch with multiple poles and put different value capacitors on it. This works great for passive pickups as a variable tone shaper.

    Les Paul incorporated one of these on his old Triumph bass.

    Basically it changes the Low pass of the pickup. It will also effect the q of resonance of the pickup.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.