In 2005 V-Cap launched the V-Cap OIMP series the ground-breaking Oil Impregnated Metallised Polypropylene film capacitor series, offering transparency, reliability, and unprecedented low noise; the V-Cap OIMP series found immediate, enthusiastic market acceptance. Building on VH Audio founder Chris VenHaus' twelve years plus of innovation in manufacturing, materials sciences and metallurgy he has taken the OIMP one step further to create the ODAM. The mission: To rival the performance of the very best film/foil capacitors on the market, with a lower cost and added versatility of smaller size. The result is the new V-Cap ODAM capacitor series, which sets a new standard for transparency, musicality, and reliability... in a compact form factor.
The V-Cap ODAM capacitor series is available in 14 popular values, ranging from 0.1uF 630VDC to 5.6uF 400VDC. Larger values will eventually be added to the range.
ODAM stands for Oil Damped Advanced Metalised. Let’s take a look inside because this unique design is very much the sum of its parts – each carefully chosen to maximize musicality, by minimizing internal vibration, optimizing electrical performance (i.e. DF and ESR) and improving reliability... all while greatly increasing part-to-part consistency.
Beginning with a new, custom-manufactured amorphous, pinhole-free dielectric with a smooth, consistent surface. This optimized surface offers a superior application of and fusion with the metallisation layer. It also forms a critical barrier to corrosive elements like oxygen & moisture while greatly enhancing the capacitor’s long-term reliability, stability, and self-healing properties:
- Superior adhesion virtually eliminates metallisation de-bonding with the dielectric, or the tendency for the metallisation layer to crack/craze when under stresses from winding operations, thermal cycling, plate micro-movements, etc…
- Uniform, consistent metallization layer that is virtually free from erratic fractal growth commonly found in the conventional metalised film. This optimized metallization yields far better consistency & density with more stable ohms/sq.
- 'Vacuum tube friendly' maximum heat rating of 105 degrees C... a 20C advantage over most metalized capacitors, without need to de-rate for voltage.
- Specifically engineered, hermetic glass seal ensures no fluid leakage and long-term reliability.
The effects of mechanical damping in capacitors have long been understood. Here too, the V-Cap ODAM series breaks new ground.
- The oil selected maintains consistent electrical and hydraulic properties throughout the operating range.
- The fluid impregnation & filling process has been perfected for complete winding penetration.
- THE ODAM series is a ‘wet’ capacitor, meaning the entire winding is not only 'impregnated' with fluid, but also immersed & hermetically sealed in it... forever...
- The unique combination of advanced materials and construction processes yields all the positive attributes of mechanical damping… but without the dark, resolution-robbing colourations and inconsistent performance/reliability over time that are known to be the Achilles Heel of many oil caps.
Meticulous attention to detail has long been a hallmark of the V-Cap line. The research focused on finding ways to further push the boundaries of performance, leveraging a symbiotic relationship between engineering, modern robotics/materials, and dedicated American experience & craftsmanship.
- Optimized electrical bonding of each winding section: When current is high, the electromechanical bond of capacitor windings can heat-up, resulting in permanent electrical degradations. V-Cap improved this critical bond for significantly better thermal stability. This results in higher current carrying capability, as well as more stable, and measurably lower ESR and ESL vs typical metalised capacitors.
- Dynamic tension control: As each capacitor is being wound, a sensor monitors film tension, while a computer dynamically adjusts the machine tensions as the winding gets larger and the feeder coils get progressively smaller. This results in a more consistent winding, without more tension at a specific winding segment vs another. This also helps reduce sample/sample variations.
- The new lead attachment process 'welds' the lead directly to the winding with a very consistent, specific placement. A precisely controlled high-heat burst eliminates the inconsistencies common with traditional lead attachment techniques and greatly reduces sample-to-sample variation caused by inconsistent levels of lead attach resistance.
- The lead material is cryogenically treated, 18 AWG solid core, tinned bare OFC copper (20 AWG for .1 uF).
The continuous quality control process includes material quality assurance testing, work-in-progress protocols, and a rigorous series of precise measurements throughout the build process. A key outcome is to minimize sample-to-sample variations, because even small deviations between L & R stereo channels may affect stereo imaging and instrument placement/separation within the soundstage.
- "White glove" handling: Special handling protocols minimize the potential for physical/electrical damage to the windings during production. This slows production down, but it also improves consistency from part to part.
- Employing a high-current final ‘torture test’ to ensure superior performance, consistency, reliability, and a lifetime of enjoyment in your gear. In fact, V-Cap capacitors are manufactured to such high standards and precision, they are backed by a lifetime warranty, to the original purchaser (when purchased from authorized dealer or OEM).
- The burn-in protocol means that your ODAM V-Caps will sound great right away, yet will get even better from there, as the new install settles-in.
The short lead indicates the outermost foil and should be connected to the lowest impedance path to ground. Another way to identify outer foil is the writing on the label flows towards the outer foil.
The ODAM and OIMP series capacitors have metal bodies that are electrically conductive. Ensure that the body doesn't make electrical contact with any other portion of the circuit other components or electrically LIVE circuit traces. Heatshrink, 3M foam tape, or silicone tape around the body may be used to help insulate, and protect from electrical short.
THE EARS HAVE IT
V-Cap has been testing the ODAM series since October 2017 with a select group of Audiophile component modification professionals, equipment OEMs, and highly experienced audiophiles who’ve heard nearly everything else on the market. Testing the ODAM caps in a wide range of applications, including speaker crossovers, inter-stage & output signal coupling in both vacuum tube and SS gear, as well as electrolytic power supply filter cap bypasses.
Sonic impressions submitted were (and continue to be), overwhelmingly positive. Regardless of the application, testers consistently highlighted attributes related to realistic timbre/textures, tremendous instrument separation, remarkable layering and imaging, accurate leading edges of instrument notes, incredible low-end slam/thrust, and the absence of any discernible sonic imprint.