Busted A Cap

The other evening I cranked my somewhat old HT system to test out a new USB optical audio interface. Next day I noticed a lack of treble in the left speaker. Hmmmm.

The main speakers are Yamaha NS200s, over 15 years old. At first I thought I’d blown the tweeter but continuity was OK and swapping with the right speaker’s was conclusive. Pulling the woofer from the bad speaker, I discovered a capacitor in the crossover had blown its end off. I cut it free.

bursted cap
Its a 160VAC 2.7uF paper capacitor. Without getting all fancy, I figured a 250V 2.7uF metal film polypropolene should be a suitable replacement. At my age I’m hardly a golden ear and modern polys seem to have a good reputation in crossovers.

I didn’t want to take the crossover out, its glued and stapled in place and mechanical things give me the shits. So I left a lot of the original leads in place and used barrier screw terminal blocks to attach the replacement cap, which is smaller and has radial instead of axial leads. Glued everything down (including the terminal block screws), with two screws per connection I figure it will be adequate given the speaker isn’t doing the deep bass anyway.

This shows the front of the HT setup, the room is huge so the 40″ TV (6 year old LA40B650) looks comically small but we usually watch TV from beanbags so its adequate.


The TOSLink SPDIF interface is a Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro II.

Audio Advantage

Its working extremely well feeding 5.1 audio to my Yamaha RX-V595 amplifier. The amp only supports standard AC3 and DTS, none of this modern 24bit 96kHz stuff. When that becomes a problem I’ll set up an external decoder or get a new amp, instead of downconverting it in the HTPC.

One note with the Audio Advantage – you need to install the driver from Turtle Beach’s website as the default that Windows 10 installs doesn’t offer the digital out. You can force Win10 to use the TB driver and that creates a separate digital out sound device. With that selected for my media player, all I had to do was enable SPDIF passthrough in my audio decoder (LAV Audio Decoder) and my amplifier’s display and AC3/DTS test files absolutely confirm that each speaker is being individually driven.