Green: no electrolytic capacitors

 

The Rhythm 1.1 is the first active audio component to completely eliminate aluminum electrolytic capacitors – those black and grey cans that stand up on all your components’ circuit boards.

Why does this matter?

  • Electrolytic capacitors don’t sound very good: compressed, overly warm, lacking in dynamics.
  • They are filled with chemical sludge that is classified as “hazardous waste” by some electrolytic manufacturers.
  • They are famous for failing, sometimes by exploding.  This leaks sludge onto the circuit board, wrecking most of what it touches.
  • All electrolytics gradually fail, losing their capacitance over time, so that after 5-10 years it becomes necessary to “recap” your unit.

The film capacitors that we use in the Rhythm 1.1’s power supply do not have these problems.

What are the benefits of eliminating the troublesome electrolytic capacitor?

  • Serious clarity.  No more of the congestion, bass bloat, or “damped down” sound that electrolytic capacitors are known for.
  • Improved linearity / accuracy.
  • Improved dynamics: more accurate, more open.
  • Improved timing.
  • A more environmentally-friendly audio component.
  • A more reliable and longer-lasting audio component.

Electrolytic capacitors are cheap.  A typical one costs less than $1.  A higher quality one is still around $3.  Because they are cheap and provide tons of capacitance in a small size, electrolytic caps are used by all manufacturers of active components.  Except Backert Labs.  The Rhythm 1.1 uses polypropylene capacitors in every position that handles the music signal.  V-Cap™ polytetrafluoroethylene capacitors for the power supply.  Tantalum capacitors for the filament/heater supply.  And polypropylene capacitors for the regulator.

No electrolytics.  Better for the Earth.  Better sound.