Frequently Asked Questions
What is the black line on the mustard standard and vintage capacitors for? Are your caps polarized?
No the capacitor is not polarized, the black line indicates the outside foil of the capacitor.
Which direction should the outside foil go?
My rule would be: Connect the outside foil terminal of the capacitor to the lowest impedance side of the circuit. For coupling applications, orient the capacitor so that the outer foil connects to the “incoming signal” and the inner foil to the “output” side of the circuit. Signal sources are almost always lower impedance than signal loads.
For tone control circuits it is not as simple to define the signal in and signal out terminals of the capacitor. Tone control circuits operate with significant AC voltages across them. For the case where one end of the capacitor is grounded [simple treble cut circuit] the rule breaks down. The signal source should not be connected to the outside foil in this case; the outside foil should be connected to ground.
What is break in and how long does it really take?
All electronic components take some time to perform at their peak (break in). It takes about 20 hours for the materials to start to settle in and 100 to be fully broken in. I say don’t worry about it just play, the parts get more relaxed and clear sounding as time goes on. Please see our break-in page for more details.