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Author Topic: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors  (Read 4877 times)

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Online Deke609

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V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« on: July 17, 2019, 05:49:43 AM »
I’ve been playing around with different parafeed and interstage coupling caps this year and have settled on a combination that works for my tastes: V-Cap ODAM and V-Cap CuTF (no affiliation). The CuTF (copper foil and Teflon dialectric) are well known and well regarded, so I won’t say anything about them other than that they are, to my ears, excellent, and they are pricey.

The ODAM caps are new to the market (released end of May this year). ODAM stands for “oil damped advanced metallized”. What follows details my experiences with and impressions of them.

TL;DR version: great sound in a small, easy to install package.

The ODAM caps may be of particular interest to Bottleheads because, besides sounding great (to my ears), they are (1) small, and (2) less expensive than copper or silver foil caps. Their small size is a standout feature. Copper and silver foil caps are huge and heavy, and can be challenging to install in amps with limited free space. Case in point: I installed 3.3 uF Audyn True Copper Max caps in my SII-2A3. They measure 63mm x 60mm (approx. 2.5 in X 2.5 in). I didn’t want to rebuild or modify the wood base that I’d already finished with copper sheet cladding. To make the caps fit, I ended up removing the MourQuiet attenuators and input selector switch, and moving the power on/off switch to the rear of the amp  (in retrospect, I probably could have left the power switch where it was). Even with all that front space of the amp cleared out, the Audyn caps barely fit. Had I used ODAM caps, which are lighter and smaller, I could have installed them with no modification to the amp layout: a 3.3 uF 630 VDC ODAM measures 1 in X 1.9 in.

Were it not for the small size of the ODAM caps, I likely wouldn’t have tried them, on the assumption (which I now think is very wrong) that a “metalized” plastic cap couldn’t compete with copper or silver foils. In my SII-45 amp, I previously had Clarity Cap CMR (metalized polypropylene) as parafeed and interstage coupling caps (4.7 uF and 0.1uF). The CMRs lived up to their name and gave me more “clarity” (detail), but to my ears sounded sterile and lifeless.  I eventually added 4 X 0.1 V-Cap CuTFs, 2 as bypass caps for the 4.7 uF CMRs and 2 as replacements for the CMR interstage coupling caps. I’ve mentioned the sonic results in other threads. Suffice it to say that I was very happy with the CuTFs (and still am).

After adding the CuTF caps, I greatly preferred my SII-45 over my SII-2A3 for all music except strings. The 2A3 amp did a much better job on violin and cello. In comparison, the 45 amp was great for string resonance and emotion, but something about the leading sound of bow on string was off: too much resonance without any sharpness.  The relative superiority of the 2A3 for strings only increased when I added Duelund 0.01 uF bypass caps to the Audyn parafeeds and CuTF 0.1 UF caps as couplers, and later swapped in EML 2A3 mesh tubes in place of JJ-2A3-40s.  With those changes, the SII-2A3 rivalled the 45 for all music. The EML mesh tubes brought about half the “magic” I heard in the 45 but, together with the Audyn/Duelund/CuTF combo, with greater detail and “realism”.

I figured the bottleneck in the SII-45 amp was the 4.7 CMRs. Problem: the only way to make 4.7 uF Audyn copper foil caps fit (or any other foil cap) would be to add 2 or more inches to the base. So I decided to try ODAM caps instead: 2 X 2.2 uF ODAMS with 1 X 0.22 uF and 1 X 0.1 uF CuTFs, for a total of 4.7 uF. It was tight, but I managed to fit them all in the stock position without any mods to the layout (Yes, I know I have too many “bypass” caps – I will try removing the 0.1 CuTFs sometime in the near future).

V-Caps take a long time to break in and stabilize. On my first listen after installing, everything sounded washed out and flat. There was no bass and no dynamics.  This was expected as I previously installed CuTF caps in both the SII-2A3 and the SII-45 and knew I was in for a wild ride while the caps were breaking in.  But after 100+ hrs of burn-in, the 45 amp started to sound stellar. It equalled the 2A3 amp for detail and dynamics, but with much more “emotion” and “depth”. I don’t know how to describe the sound: it just sounded really good and immersive to me.

After another 50+ hours of burn-in, I find the 45 amp superior (for my tastes) to the 2A3 in every respect. Now when I compare the 45 amp to the 2A3 amp (for strings and everything else), the 45 is the more detailed and dynamic and “realistic”. In comparison, the 2A3 amp sounds a bit congested, with an exaggerated or forced sounding leading edge.

So, if you’re thinking about trying different caps and don’t want to modify the amp layout or base (or even if you do), you might want to consider ODAM caps.  I’ve only listened to them bypassed by CuTF caps, so I have not experienced how they sound by themselves, but my guess is that they sound very good and will make a great match for your favorite flavor of bypass cap. Of course, as always, the usual caveats apply: YMMV, system/component synergies matter, etc.

Of potential interest to Beepre owners: Chris VenHaus, owner of V-Cap and VH Audio, plans to release a 10 uF 250 VDC ODAM cap later this year. I plan to replace my 10 uF Clarity Cap CMRs with them.

I am so pleased with the ODAM/CuTF combo in my 45 amp that I have rejigged my plans for my upcoming Kaiju build. Prior to learning about the ODAM caps, I picked up a pair of enormous Miflex 10uF 600 VDC copper foil and oil caps b/c come hell or high water I wanted the sonic benefit of copper foils in my Kaiju. To make them fit, I had planned to make a new and larger chassis. But after hearing how the ODAMS/CuTFS compare to my Audyn/Duelund copper and silver foil combo (even with CuTF coupling cap), I’ve made the hard (on my wallet) decision to go with 3 X 3.3 uF 630 VDC ODAMs bypassed by 0.1 CuTFs as parafeed caps instead (When I asked him, Chris V said he had no plans to make a 10 uF 600+ VDC ODAM cap). As a result, I no longer need a bigger Kaiju chassis.

Now the question is what to do with these preposterously large 10uF Miflex caps? Can anyone tell me if the Jagers use 10uF caps in the x-overs? If not, I need to find these things a new home.

Cheers,  Derek
« Last Edit: July 17, 2019, 06:00:20 AM by Deke609 »
Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Kaiju (w/ DCFil and EML 300B) or Stereomour II (2A3 [EML Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B])  -> Audeze LCD4

Offline dth31

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2019, 07:56:13 AM »
I agree that the ODAM capacitors are surprisingly good.  I had built my Paramount 2A3's with Obbligato parafeed capacitors.  I had found the Obbligato's to be a good, warm, relatively inexpensive capacitor in other amps.  I've recently been switching back and forth between the 2A3 Paramounts and several different 300B amps I've built, and while I had a clear preference for the Paramounts, I felt they were missing some of the detail and "shimmer" of the 300B amps.  I therefore decided to replace the Obbligato's with 3.3 uF ODAM's.

The ODAM's are superior (to my ears) in virtually every way.  I still have the warmth, timbre, instrumental body, and yes BASS that I loved about the 2A3 Paramounts.  But now I have sort of the best of 2A3s and 300Bs: more detail and "shimmer" too.  In addition, backgrounds are blacker and instruments better separated.  To be honest, I'm not sure I would change anything about the sonics.  Just outstanding!

I just wish the 630V ODAMs came in a size larger than 3.3 uF!

Online Deke609

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2019, 06:42:25 PM »
I just wish the 630V ODAMs came in a size larger than 3.3 uF!


Yeah, I hear ya.  Paralleling them is the only option. Fortunately, Chris V. will tightly match the caps if one selects that as a value-added option. The 6 3.3uFs I recently ordered are very tightly matched - well under 0.5% variance.


I share your take that they offer both great detail and "shimmer" - clarity and liveliness and coherence all at once. A very pleasant surprise. I hope the ODAM pricing remains "reasonable" (by boutique cap standards). I suspect they will become very popular.


cheers, Derek
Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Kaiju (w/ DCFil and EML 300B) or Stereomour II (2A3 [EML Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B])  -> Audeze LCD4

Offline carlsor

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2019, 09:49:14 AM »
I am a happy owner of a Mainline headphone amp.
I want to report another success story with ODAM capacitors.

I built a PH16 tube phono preamp with parts upgrades throughout. I ran into a space problem in the first coupling position of the RIAA circuit and settled for a 0.22uf Solen SM film & SN foil which was small enough. The 0.1uf V-cap TFTF I tried first sounded great but was the wrong value for the RIAA curve. After I learned about the ODAM and discovered that it was the same size of the Solen SM I bought a pair and broke them in first using my Mainline. Yesterday I installed them in my PH16. The improvement was immediate and huge! Harshness and congestion gone! More resolution. More musical sounding. I Highly recommend ODAM capacitors as an upgrade to all Bottlehead owners.

Online Deke609

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2020, 01:01:35 PM »
Of potential interest to BeePre owners: Chris Venhaus now has 250V ODAM caps in 10uF, 12uF and 15uf.

I just received mine - 2 x 10uF, matched at 10.02.  They'll be going in my slightly modded BeePre, where I presently have absurdly HUGE 10uf 600V Miflex KPCU copper foil caps. I have no listening impressions to report b/c I won't be installing them until later this summer when I find the time and gumption to do the metal work for the final rebuild.

The availability of larger capacitances (12uF and 15uF) is interesting. I didn't even think to ask PB and PJ about the advisability/effects of going up a bit in capacitance -- and instead just ordered the stock value.  So if anyone else is thinking of picking up a pair, it might be worth checking with the experts here before committing to a value.

cheers, Derek
« Last Edit: November 11, 2020, 01:55:48 AM by Deke609 »
Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Kaiju (w/ DCFil and EML 300B) or Stereomour II (2A3 [EML Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B])  -> Audeze LCD4

Offline juihung

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2020, 06:13:33 PM »
Hi,

  I have a Mainline.  Will the 250V ODAM caps in 10uF be compatible?  The Dayton caps have the same specifications, which I thought will be a suitable change.  But I thought I should check first.  Thank you for any advise.

With regards,
JH

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2020, 05:47:09 AM »
If they fit, they would certainly work.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline faskenite

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2020, 11:28:43 AM »
Would these be an option for the Moreplay?

Offline Thermioniclife

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2020, 11:55:27 AM »
Who are you kidding, you will have them installed by the weekend ;D
By the way check out my Don Garber 2a3 amp in general discussion if you haven't already done so.
Lee R.

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2020, 04:41:15 PM »
Knowing what I know about the Moreplay and planned upgrades, a 10uF upgrade cap would be a decent plan.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline juihung

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2020, 06:27:50 PM »
If they fit, they would certainly work.

Thanks, Paul!

Offline juihung

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2020, 10:26:16 PM »
Ordered a pair of V-Cap ODAM 10uF 250v.  They fitted nicely.

Sounds amazing! Retains the sound signature of Mainline, as detailed, resolving, transparent. It's so hard to describe the differences, but I will humbly give it a go with my limited exposure to the sonic world.

The soundstage is wider and deeper, with more layers and positions to the front and back.  I could also hear the differences in the materials used for the instruments, especially for the drums.  The speed is very fast.  So fast that in one of the songs, the drumming created a sound pressure effect.  It wasn't bad.  It still sounded natural, and with a dose of realism.

I listened with a HD800s headphones.  With the V-Cap ODAM, the overall frequency range seems to be balanced out.  HD800's pitch seems to be tamed.  This allowed the mids and bass to come through stronger.  But the highs' details and clarity are still there.

I just have to mention that the voltage for the -reg on the Regulator Board come up to 3mV.  It couldn't come to 0V.  I checked the connections, the resistance, all were ok.  I figured it's probably negligible, hooked it up and started listening to it.  So far so good.  But anyone knowing otherwise, please let me know.  :)  I will hate losing my Mainline because of the 3mV.

Overall, I am so happy that I took the plunge with the V-Cap ODAM capacitors.  Thank you for introducing them!
« Last Edit: November 10, 2020, 10:28:57 PM by juihung »

Offline Paul Birkeland

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2020, 06:23:08 AM »
Well those don't put too much stress on the available space there!

Yes, 0.003V is plenty close to 0V.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Online Deke609

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2020, 06:41:23 AM »
Overall, I am so happy that I took the plunge with the V-Cap ODAM capacitors.  Thank you for introducing them!

How long have you listened to them? Like a lot of other capacitors, I found that the ODAMs went through an initial rough period and then progressively got better, starting with the highs, with the bass being the last to show up. I'd be interested in knowing whether you experience(d) the same thing.

cheers, Derek
Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Kaiju (w/ DCFil and EML 300B) or Stereomour II (2A3 [EML Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B])  -> Audeze LCD4

Offline juihung

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Re: V-Cap "ODAM" capacitors
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2020, 02:28:50 PM »
I have playing through them for about 10 hours.  A mix of burn-in, instrumentals, vocals, pop.  My experience is similar.  The bass has started to shine.  It's not overwhelming.  More of the textures and speed.  When the wings of a bird fluttered across, the effect was like I could feel the air beating, moving.  What an astonishing experience.

It's not very different from the stock Mainline.  The V-cap ODAMs sound like they dig deeper, wider, trailing longer when vocals trail off.

I can't wait for them to reach their full potential, if there's more.  I have been trying to hit the emotional spot, and they are feeling close.

« Last Edit: November 11, 2020, 02:36:20 PM by juihung »