August 1, 2009

X-2 Capacitor Filter Tweak.

This is an old post of ours in the blog we previously contributed to.

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.

15 November '09

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