SPEAKER PASSIVE CROSSOVER ASCENSION
THE CONUNDRUM WITHIN THE ENGIMA IS A LOW IQ PARADOX
JENSEN WAX IMPREGNATED COPPER FOIL
INDUCTORS AND OIL CAPS TO THE RESCUE
"THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS"
Are you ready for another one of my nice big healthy doses of pain. The kind of pain you have to feel to gain. I return once again to the dismalosity of passive crossover parts juxtaposed to the refinement of your tube electronics.
All of you savvy tube savant are searching for the Wholey Harmonic, as you should be, swapping jive about tubes, circuits and parts, and then when you step back and take a nice relaxing puff on your Havana cigar what do you see? Thousands of dollars worth of electronics generating a music signal traveling down your speaker cables to your passive crossovers which is hidden in shame because it is made up of $10 or less parts.
In my article "Lift Your Crossover Fog" I talked about the benefit of getting your crossovers out of your speaker boxes and upgrading the parts, and I got a fantastic response to this.
In the same way rust never sleeps, I never stop fishing for more refinement and I came across the A/S TOBIAS JENSEN capacitor (Denmark) web site (www.jensencapacitors.suite.dk) and ordered their catalog and they were kind enough to send me some samples of their wax/paper dielectric copper foil inductors and their oil capacitors for crossovers, which look like honey glazed slices of toast talk about strange in a world of round yellow capacitors.
Why do single-ended triode fanatics choose oil caps as coupling caps? Because plastic sounds like plastic, and any time you use a plastic film capacitor you get a plastic film capacitor sound which is okay if you like that flavor of capacitor coloration. To me plastic caps are too close to the type of coloration that you get with transistors. Someone at Jensen has got very good bat ears, because they clearly state that they don't like the sound of plastic dielectric on their inductors, which is why they use wax/paper and they are right. According to Hans Jensen, CEO of the company Mr. Steen Dueland of the Copenhagen Hi fi Club, was the force majeur behind this work. Congratulations Steen.
JENSEN is also a primary manufacturer of oil coupling caps and are probably the company that is manufacturing the ones you are using.
PAUSE: Anyone who tells you that they are using a capacitor that has no coloration, please tell them to contact me so that I can arrange to get them a free hearing aid. The point being, once again, we must make artistic choices in an imperfect world, like triodes versus pentodes, single-ended vs. push/pull. No capacitor is perfect, and no measurement test with noise will tell you how they will work with a music signal. I also want to warn you against using any film cap that has multi-stranded wires.
I vote for the JENSEN path. So far these are the best sounding foil inductors I have experienced, and the combination of JENSEN foil inductors and oils caps compared to my previous combination of foil inductors and polypropylene film is better in every regard. Please don't ask me to get all emotional about the improve I hear. I hear it with both single-ended triodes and with OTL amplifiers. There is greater clarity, harmonic authenticity, and in a game of relatively, there is relatively a lot more of what I love in music.
Okay I give up and it is quite shocking the difference between the Jensen parts and the film caps and other brand of foil inductors that using plastic film insulation. I am quite surprised at how there has been a ascension of voluptuous wholeosity to the sound of my passive crossover. Something that I only usually expect with a tube crossover. I am not saying that I am equally the performance of a tube crossover but it is such a big improvement over my already extremely high quality crossover parts..that it is comparable to a major improvement in power supply which is expensive and complicated.
Anyone who is using horn speakers must do the Jensen transformation. If you can't do this retro-fit yourself find someone to do it for you. Shall I say this another way it is probably equal to the next upgrade in speaker quality.
If you electrostatic speaker has a crossover you know what to do. I also can recommend this modification for all mini monitor speakers and I am willing to bet you an 8 track tape that you will find that what you love in these speakers is expanded.
As you know from my other articles I think that oil capacitors are essential in the power supplies of tube amplifier, and now I extend that opinion to speakers .if they are the quality of JENSEN.
When you see those ads in audio magazines in which speaker companies show you pictures of their crossovers, what they are showing you to a nice big bunch of cheap parts, and because no one, and let me repeat that, because no one is talking about this subject, you might be impressed. Don't be.
ONCE AGAIN MY ADVICE: Get your crossovers out of your speakers. Just substitute the values of the inductors and capacitors with Jensens. This means you will have to get a piece of plywood because these parts are much bigger than what is normally used. This is a completely non-technical upgrade, that I am certain will improve the quality of your aural matrix, the way it improved mine.
I also think that anyone who is interested in the unique beauty of directly heated triode is compelled to either use a tube crossover or go the Jensen upgrade route.
I hope I will soon be able to test Jensen power supply capacitors.
Another really cool example of how the Internet is accelerating the audio revolution.
e-mail Dr. Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg: firstname.lastname@example.org
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