Capacitor Upgrades, Worth the Scratch?

Capacitor Upgrades, Worth the Scratch?

Capacitor upgrades are perhaps the most contentious subject in the audio world. At the shop our individual opinions range range from agnostic to conditionally supportive. But one area where we can sometimes get behind it is in speaker crossovers.

Speaker crossovers that are built with bipolar electrolytic capacitors can have big problems over time. Because speakers deal with such low impedances and specific frequency responses, the capacitance drift and rising impedance of a aging electrolytic will eventually start to affect the sound. The relative volumes of the different drivers can get out of whack, and the crossovers frequencies can be thrown off, resulting in dead spots or bumps in the frequency range. Upgrading these to film capacitors will solve those problems and head off future reliability issues.

The most common symptom that lets us know a speaker crossover needs attention is that all the drivers make sound but the two speakers sound different from one and another.

Recapping a crossover can be a fun DIY project. If you want some advice on getting started, you could drop our electronics meetup next Tuesday. Or if you don’t want to tackle it yourself we’re always available to knock it out.