The Cardas Room Setup Guide: FAQ: System Setup

A collection of questions we've received over the years about setting up a system

Page 1 1 2 3

Golden Capacitors

Q.) Dear Mr. Cardas, I'm thinking of installing your caps as couplers in my rebuilt Harman Kardon Citation 2. The amp's a brute, mighty hot. Will your .22 or .47 600V film caps withstand the heat?

Also, if you can find it in your heart, how might you compare their general sonic characteristics compared to the Auricap? Thanks and keep making great products.

A.) No problem with the heat, you would melt the solder before the capacitors had a problem.

I have not experienced the Auricap. Our caps settle quicker and have substantially higher voltage tolerance than anything I  have tested. Thank you, George

Binding Posts

I am in the process of building a pair of Pass, Zen V4, balanced monoblocks, and I will need binding posts (2 or 4 pairs for the amps and possibly 4 more pair for speaker replacement). What posts do you recommend for sound?

The internal wiring will be point to point, with any non parts leads being high quality silver. My speaker cables are also DIY high quality silver, biwired, with each pair being of 12, 22ga solid core conductors, individually stuffed into PFA tubing and braided. Mark

A.) Hey Mark, Sounds like you are looking for some Cardas Patented Binding Posts (CPBP) with pure silver posts. Thanks, George

RCA Caps Lower Noise Floor

Q.) Hello, My name is Michael Angelo. I own and operate The Music Palace recording studios in Long Island, NY.,  I recently bought 27 RCA cover caps for the unused RCA jacks in my preamp. I currently use the Kinoshita MSP-1 pre-amp and kinoshita mono block HQS4200 amplifiers.

In my high resolution monitoring environment I can really hear more than most audiophiles and I must say the RCA caps make a huge difference in my system. My only concern is eddy current potentials with using a lot of these plugs with my pre-amp. Are they non resonant? I noticed by using the plugs the sound has a blacker backround, seems much quieter and I hear more detail, but the sound went just a little harsh. I was wondering if the caps could be exciting the preamp at all, or I am just hearing bad digital... I use a linn CD-12 player. Thank You, Michael

A.) Hi Michael, The Caps are non shorting and add nothing to the signal, they simply screen the system from RF.  They can make a change and, as you have noticed, it is generally an improvement. What most people notice, sonically, results from a lowering of the noise floor. Better clarity and sharper imaging are just two of the more obvious observations. At times the noise floor can obscure other things in the system like hardness. Lowering the noise floor only makes what is below it more obvious, for bettor or worse. Thanks, George

Digitizing a Record Collection

Q.) Hey George, I require some audiophilic advise and I think you are the guy who can give it. I'm doing some massive recording from turntable, to receiver, to computer.

If I align the cartridge to my tone arm by sight alone, what's the most I will lose in output?

  A.) Just a bit of focus over doing it by ear. Try listening to white or pink noise on headphones while tweaking alignment. The difference should be audible and the ultimate adjustment should still look straight to the eye.  

Q.) Should I bother getting a gauge of some kind?

  A.) If you have a Cardas Sweep Record just look at the reflection of the cartridge in the smooth black portion of the disk.  

Q.) I can't seem to adjust the tonearm height anyway, so I just made sure the bottom of the cartridge looks parallel to the record and the front looks parallel to the shell.  Sufficient?

  A.) That is usually pretty close on most cartridges. It is better to error on the low side in the rear. Most of the time this is another adjustment that is best done by ear.  

Q.) I've vacuum cleaned all my records, but heard somewhere that playing them wet improves the sound due to the cooling and lubrication effect.  Is that true?

   A.) Well yes, but I like to use Groove Glide.

  Q.) What do you think of those programs that filter click/pop/hiss?  Do they destroy the sound along with the noise?

  A.) Yes, they usually do, but it's is a judgment call as to when to use such programs. They can be a life saver on a really noisy record.

  Q.) What recording software do you recommend?  I've tried a few, but it's tedious to test them all.

   A.) I use SoundForge. It has an excellent tool box and is easy to learn. 

  Q.) Any other advise?

   A.) Get some good earphones, like the Sennheiser HD- 600.  Keep average levels at 16 db to 20 db. Make sure you have a fine line cartridge with a good tip to keep surface noise down. Have fun, George