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Old 24th March 2014, 09:20 PM
iamvos iamvos is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Greece
Posts: 2
Default Impressions on a XL upgrade

Hi all
I want to share my impressions after the upgrade I did to my Kel84 v.1 (year 2004).
I got the XL upgrade parts, plus the new version of KEL84 PCB with everything that is PCB mounted plus the Gold Plated Valve Bases.

In detail the XL capacitor upgrade consists of C4/5 0.47uF Soniqs SAX, C8/9/10/11 0.22uF Soniqs SAX, C12/13/14/15 ARD ROD (Starget),
minus the vishay capacitors (C1/2/3) 100uF 450V because I triple their capacitance for more stability and minus the relayboard because
my v.1 chassis was drilled for different centres and it was quite a trouble to fit it.

So after a succesfull upgrade I have notice that the sound for sure it has changed in many ways.
First I have more 'solid body' on sound with more tighten low frequencies with a 'booming' feeling some times. I used to have a lack of low frequencies.
So far so good.
The problem that concerns me is a 'muddy' picture on sound with an obvious lack in details, plus a noticeable roll off in high frequencies.

My aesthetic feeling is that the amplifier gives me a very very sweet and tight, but seamless (lack in details) sound.
In audition, things are satisfying in easy listening, like classical or smooth jazz piano trios, but when music becomes more complicated, like classical or jazz big bands things are getting muddy.
The same occures in Rythm and blues or Rock music.
Just to mention that my main speakers are still the same as before the upgrade, a pair of Klipsch RB-35, a sensitive speaker with a known emphasis in high frequencies
and that the same feeling applies to all of my inputs (cd, dac, turntable).

As far I am aware, when we talk about 'roll off or cut off in high frequencies' in amplification, usually we care about capacitors,
because valves and special the El84 is capable in handling a lot higher band of frequencies than the acoustic spectrum.
So I wonder if the upgrade (mainly in capacitors) was succesfull or not.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be very welcome and helpful.

Best regards
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Old 25th March 2014, 10:37 AM
bearded fiddler bearded fiddler is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Tervuren, near Brussels, Belgium
Posts: 134
Default Re: Impressions on a XL upgrade


After doing the upgrade I went back to the original orange drop capacitors. It's a view not commonly held on this forum, but I wasn't quite happy with the Soniqs caps either.

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Old 25th March 2014, 01:23 PM
bob orbell bob orbell is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: kettering northants.
Posts: 1,948
Default Re: Impressions on a XL upgrade

I too am a fan of the orange drops in the signal path, tried many so called top notch capacitors, but always went back to the OD's, just the same with expensive speaker cable and interconnects, they all make the sound too much in ye face, I like to listen to my music for many hours at a time, but it is good that we are not all the same. BOB
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Old 25th March 2014, 06:05 PM
Phil Y's Avatar
Phil Y Phil Y is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Bristol, UK
Posts: 759
Default Re: Impressions on a XL upgrade

Hello iamvos,

How many hours use have the new capacitors had? They will need many hours to sound their best. This effect can be heard with only 1 capacitor change and you have changed all of yours.

Regards, Phil
Commission for Dark Skies (CfDS)
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kel84, upgrade

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