James Sweeney

Here's what James Sweeney has to say about his experience with the V-Cap CuTF series installed into his eF806s linestage:

"Hi Chris. I recently I purchased a pair of .22 uF 300V CuTF's from you. Initially, I clipped them in as power supply bypasses in an eF806s (tube)-based linestage, and later clipped them in parallel with the coupling caps of the linestage's output (each channel had a .68 uF 200V k40y-9 PIO in parallel with a .22uF 300V current generation TFTF V-Cap [This has changed several times since]. So, kluges all around, nothing in its final or proper configuration. But still, they were amazing. The impressions that follow are true for both positions, but much more so for the coupling cap configuration:

1) The first impression one has is that the music becomes incredibly day-lit, in a warm and natural way. Where other caps might sound closed-in and claustrophobic, or dark, or spot-lit and aggressive, or moon-lit and spectral, the CuTF allows through a much greater range of tonal colors, in proper balance with each other, in such a way that one can follow the timbral shifts of an instrument, or group of instruments, as they're playing, in a natural and relaxed way. One isn't having to supply, mentally, the colors one knows must be there. Violins have an easy balance of string and body tone, the leftmost keys of a piano have a natural (and impressive) weight and harmonic structure, the rightmost, a proper brilliance without hardness. Female voice has the proper balance between head and chest tones. I have an old EMI Victoria De los Angeles "The Very Best Of" which I'd never really liked, no matter how my system improved. Her voice always sounded cold and somehow meager. With the new caps, she sounds more nuanced, more palpable, more natural, more beautiful--and ultimately, more moving.

2) Second, one notices a great rhythmic sureness, again without unnatural insistence. One can easily follow the connected subtleties of tempo as musicians adjust to each other, or as an individual musician adjusts to the sound he hears reflected by the acoustic environment in which he's playing, and by the emotional environment he is creating in memory. Along with this rhythmic sureness comes a greatly enhanced sense of natural musical energy, without the hardness and glare which often accompany audio presentations considered "dynamic". I think a great deal of this is because:

3) The CuTF's do a revolutionary job of conveying low level low frequency information. As a result, aspects of attack and decay, venue geometry and instrument placement, depth of field, vertical scale, relative position, foreground and background, all present themselves more naturally and completely. In particular, the harmonic envelopes of instruments playing together coexist and inter-penetrate with less interference or muddling than I've ever heard before. So multiple voices, piano with violin, the different elements of an orchestra, can to a much greater extent be heard simultaneously and separately. Music has its proper porosity. The fog that curls around the smallest bits has receded one level, or more, down the pyramid. Some of this was hoped for, from the shift from tinfoil to copper, but I was less prepared for:

4) the improvement in high frequency content relative to the TFTF-- which itself did a much, much better job than any other cap I'd ever heard in this area. There's a sense both of greater information and greater sweetness-- a poor word, because it can suggest sugariness-- greater delicacy and completeness. Listen to a recorded slide guitar, or a mandolin, and one is reminded what a pleasure they must be for the musician who can play them well. If the TFTF, at least before being fully broken in, had some of that Fluoropolymer "cleaner than life" quality, the CuTf has it much less or not at all. (Again, not fully broken in). Along with this goes:

5) Great delicacy and fineness of texture. I used to think I preferred the recorded music of smaller ensembles (Mozart's sonatas for violin and piano, Szeryng/Haebler) because the music came through with greater clarity, but now I can better appreciate large orchestras, because their greater weight and scope now compete much less with the textures of the individual instruments. As a result, much more of the emotional content of the music makes its way through. I think large swathes of the history of audio-- giant woofers, ultra high powered amplifiers which can only be moved with a forklift, room-swallowing cabling-- have been failed attempts to retrieve this emotional content we always knew had to be there. In the past it seemed one always had to choose between an honest, but austere, somewhat impoverished, presentation, or one that was bloated and thick, overwarm, singers with 10 foot diameter heads, etc. If the CuTF's cost roughly 1.5 as much as the TFTF's, I think they're worth 3 times as much. And if they seem expensive as capacitors, they're cheap as system transformers. I just got back from an audio show in the Bay Area, and am persuaded one could have better sound, more emotionally satisfying and informationally rich, from a modest system done right, using these caps.

Downsides: In my limited experience, if, as a power supply bypass, one CuTF sounds good, two will sound still better. And, if you have some degree of red-green color blindness, the paler coloring of the new foamed-Fluoropolymer insulated leads will make it more difficult to distinguish one from the other. :>). Thanks-- will definitely be buying more when I can."

James Sweeney
Berkeley CA


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