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Capacitor "Sound" in Microphone Preamplifier DC Blocking and HPF Applications: Comparing Measurements to Listening Tests

The sonic effect of capacitors in various aspects of audio electronics design has long been discussed and speculated upon. Recent publications have tested many of these theories through rigorous distortion measurements of a variety of capacitor types under several test conditions. One particularly interesting result is a measurable increase in 2nd harmonic distortion for electrolytic and PET type capacitors when a DC bias is applied. This article repeats these measurements for a set of capacitors commonly used in +48V phantom power blocking applications and high-pass filters in microphone pre-amplifier designs. These physical measurements are then compared to the result of double blind listening tests in order to examine the audibility of these capacitor distortions as well as explore their sonic effect on various program materials.

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