Arcam SA30 with Lulon and Jamicon Capacitors

Hello guys

I realized there is a lot of photos online with the interior of the Arcam SA30. Caught my attention the power supply capacitor branded as Nichicon. Just opened mine to check if there is some ways to improve the HW and just found Lulon Caps and Jamicon. Do you know why the difference? Is it a cost issue or just design and sound decision using


the Lulon and Jamicon?
The following video shows the interior and you can see the differences.

Regards

My guess is that it was a supply chain decision to use the other caps. I personally would not change the caps until the warranty period was up. But if you do decide to change them, I have had great success using the Nichicon Audio Grade caps when I recap vintage gear. Let us know if you change them out and you opinion of the change in sound.

Ken

Thanks Ken! Could be an issue with the supply chain, but that was a huge downgrade in quality. There is a lot of better brands of caps and not expensive. Even the use of non audio variants of these brands are a better choice. I am really quite disappointed with that decision. One of the things I checked in the inside pictures was that.

  • Rubycon
  • United Chemi-Con (or Nippon Chemi-Con)
  • Nichicon
  • Sanyo/Suncon
  • Panasonic
  • Hitachi
  • FPCAP or Functional Polymer Capacitor (ex-Fujitsu caps segment, which was bought by Nichicon)
  • ELNA

Besides Japanese manufacturers there are also several US and European vendors that make high-quality capacitors. Probably we won’t meet any of the below cap brands inside a consumer grade PSU, at least their electrolytic offerings, but we decided that it still worth mentioning them.

  • Cornell Dubilier (USA)
  • Illinois Capacitor (Currently owned my Cornell Dubilier)
  • Kemet Corporation (USA)
  • Vishay (USA)
  • EPCOS (TDK company, Germany)
  • WĂĽrth Elektronik (Germany)

Thanks again for the response

Just be glad it’s not Samwha :slight_smile:

LOL! But honestly for the price range better parts should be used

Regards

Yes and no :slight_smile:
Of course we are expecting better/best parts, and that’s natural.
On the other hand manufacturer chooses what he find suitable/good enough.
I would expect Arcam to know what they are doing. Yes, capacitors can impact sound, but with properly designed power supply, they really shouldn’t. It’s a class G amp, meaning they had put a lot of attention to power supply. Might be, that capacitor quality doesn’t have any impact on the sound.
That leaves us with reliability. I would assume, that caps they are using now should be good enough to provide years of trouble-free operations, granted their parameters been chosen correctly (meaning they are not working on the edge of their params).
At least i see it this way :slight_smile:

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Hi Felix, thanks for the response.

I have spent more than 20 years repairing, modifying audio equipment and I can confirm the Caps are a huge part in the sound quality and reliabilty.

My concern with this case is if you check the inside pictures of the SA30 in the majority of the reviewers pages you will find the BIG NICHICON Caps in the power supply , not the Lelon and Jamicon. That influenced a lot in my decision to buy this AMP. My suspect seeing the evidence is that they maybe send prototypes or devices as you want to call it with better parts and of course will sound better. These is not a conspiracy theory, is a Fact and the evidence is online.
Audio need the lowest ESR possible in caps, best values of leakage current and low Tangent of loss angle (tan δ). If we investigate about the caps used in the SA30, at least the batch I got they used third and fourth Tier Caps, that means low cost production and I see them fail a lot!

If you check all the ARCAM DVD series , CD series from the PAST, there is no one Chinese Caps. You will find Nichicon, Rubycon, ELNA, United Chemical etc. They last forever and they were not tagged as HIGH END equipment. If you open any ARCAM from the gold ERA, or Sony you won’t find these Chinese caps.
My point here is that for the price point of the SA30 I think better part must be used, in the price range of the SA30 there is a lot to check and compare. As I mentioned above, the pics with the NICHICON CAPS in the Power Supply influenced a lot in my decision to buy this amp, of course the features were a plus to. But knowing the quality of parts used maybe I could not buy it. Class A, AB, D, G etc need the better power supply possible, the better parts possible to sound as is best, there is not doubt on this.

I agree with you. I had noticed the quality caps used before I bought my SA 30. I will probably pull the top off and have a look myself. But if they are Chinese, I will wait until the warranty is up to swap them out. But I can say, whatever caps are in mine, it sounds might fine. I love my Class G amp.

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Sure thing, my warranty expires in December. I am starting to looking the parts. The ones I would like to find are the signal path!! I mean input caps and replace them all for Jantzen or any metalized polypropilene . A huge upgrade is to replace the regulator of the DAC!! The power supply is very bad, LM317 and Jamicon caps. Change that to belleson or sparkos discrete regulators will boost the sound quality.If you find them(signal caps ) please let me know.

Regards

Hmmm…what’s up with that??

Men, I do not know. Right now I am not sure what is true here with this device. So disappointed with Arcam

I am thinking to sell mine

I think the difference in sound quality between this device and Hegel is the quality of the parts. The amplifier technology is quite similar, different names. Just spent the whole weekend checking the parts inside and there is not high quality in them. Even the signal caps are Chinese Jamicon 10uf /16v NP The o -amps are not bad , but I would like to har for example and sparkos here. There is a lot a potential but cheaply made,

Cheers`

The difference in sound quality between this device and the Hegel, at least for 90% of the rooms out there that aren’t acoustically treated, is Dirac Live. Caps, conditioners, cables, and even speakers (within a reasonable range of course) make much less of a difference than digital room correction.

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I have to disagree with you. In my case Dirac make the things worse. My amp came to live replacing the stock power cable and playing with speakers cables, pro grade. My speaker is a very good one. Better parts will sound better for sure. Better caps in the signal path, audio grade sounds better! tried myself and did not want to believe it. Is like to replace an electrolytic caps in the tweeter section in any crossover, night and day. Hegel sound better, not so far but it is. They are British Brands and they use almost the same technology, Hegel did not call it Class G but if you read is the same principle. If you check Hegel parts are supreme and cost more of course. I know expensive is not always better but in this case is a fact. This device designed with these Chinese caps are not meant to last. If you ask in the workshops when electronic are repaired, every technician will tell you the same regarding the Chinese caps. After few years they will fail for sure.

Fourth-Tier Caps

This group includes the rest of the capacitor brands. When you see one of these brands in a contemporary PSU, you’ll know that the manufacturer set lower-cost production as a priority instead of reliability over time. We are listing only the popular cap brands that are usually found in low-cost PSUs, but we are well aware that many other low-cost cap brands exist and there is a good chance that you’ll find them in non-branded PSU, and even in some branded units.

  • G-Luxon
  • Su’scon
  • Lelon ----------- looks here
  • Ltec
  • Jun Fu
  • Fuhjyyu
  • Evercon

Imagine this in audio devices. Audio is very complex, and need good parts to last and perform well.

Hegel is Norwegian, not British. It is no doubt a quality brand, I’ve heard a few of their amps myself and I liked them. It was casual listening, though.

There is also no doubt that better components will last longer and will probably sound better. If you find this is so important, you can change the capacitors yourself or with the help of a technician.

On the other hand, if DL sounded worse than no DL, then you probably did something wrong during the measurements. Unless you have a perfectly treated room of course.

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Sure. The reason of this post was the misleading information of this device. Is not clear why all the reviewers has the pictures with Nichicon Caps in the Power Supply etc. They based their criteria with that particular device, not the ones we got. I mean they are different for sure. I compared the inside pictures with what I have at home, and is not the same, maybe don’t sound the same. I am not sure. I am pretty sure a lot of people like me based their decision checking the reviews and pictures, knowing there are quality parts inside.

You are right to point that out. Although my guess is that most magazines must have used the pictures Arcam sent them, that probably belonged to a pre-production unit (I remember a back panel photo without the HDMI-eARC input). If you look closely, most of the magazines - especially UK ones - use the same picture of the inside. HiFi magazines in Greece have shown the inside as it is, i.e. with Lelon caps. Same thing with Stereo magazine in Germany.

Was it wrong of Arcam to send pre-production pictures with different components? Sure. Did they do it on purpose? I don’t know, but it was wrong anyway. Did they send “tweaked” amps to reviewers, different than the ones sold to the public? I seriously doubt it, because the magazines above that have taken their own photos show Lelon caps, and because I don’t think two new amps would sound different due to the caps alone.

BTW, the Hegel H190 has Nover capacitors in the PSU filter, an obscure brand nobody seems to know anything about and therefore even more “suspicious” than Lelon.

My advice: stop obsessing about the caps and enjoy a great sounding amp. If you can’t because the components’ quality is a top criterion for you, and you don’t care about streaming, room correction etc. buy an Accuphase or a Luxman that are built like tanks at a corresponding cost and call it a day.

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Man, agreed with you in some points. There is not obsession about capacitors, I am engineer with more than 20 years of experience. I have done a lot of experimentations and I am pretty sure these cheap components are a bottle neck in performance and reliability. I like the sound of the Arcam, but for the price tag, the should use better parts at least in the power supply and signal path.The Lelon caps are not reliable, they do not last as the Japs. You know for sure in a few years the amp will fail. I have seen them fail a lot in Power Supplies, etc. I have a lot of Arcam devices, CD player CD 73 for example, other amps from FJM series, and they use Nichicon Gold, Rubycon, etc, nothing cheap and the price tag was not the same, I mean lower.

Just a clarification about this point

BTW, the Hegel H190 has Nover capacitors in the PSU filter, an obscure brand nobody seems to know anything about and therefore even more “suspicious” than Lelon.

Nover capacitor are designed for Audio, Low ESR , a lot a engineer have them as a great choice for the Japanese caps like Panasonic, Nichicon, ELNA. Lelon is not even close.

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