Capacitor Debate


Silver Member
Username: Jwbulger79


Post Number: 327
Registered: Nov-04
ok. i've read many opinions saying caps are a waste of money. i've also read that caps can really help your bass response.
so...assuming your alternator is up to par and supplying plenty of power for your system (for this example say you have a 150A alt. your system at full volume and your car with all accesories on pulls 130A)...


additional questions for debate:
-do brand names matter for caps? why?
-are caps necessary for smaller systems (<500 watts)?
-how many farads per watt? 1 farad per 1000watts?

anyone with experience with a cap, voice your opinion.
anyone with links to add to this debate (posts by someone who knows what they're talking about, technical data, etc.), post them.

Unregistered guest
I JUST installed a cap. into my system because the lights were dimming quite a bit with the bass. A cap will definitely help the sound of your system, since the battery takes a certain amount of time to "give up" the electrons when a large current is drawn (huge bass kick). The cap is there to basically have a bunch of electrons in storage ready for quick release when the amps need them.

Anyone who says caps are a waste of money doesn't have a big system, doesn't know anything about electricity, or both.

Here's a link I found googling "capacitor car audio":
you shouldn't necessarily trust people who are trying to sell you something, though.

From a common sense perspective, you probably don't really need a cap. unless your dash lights are dimming with the bass. At that point I think it's safe to say that a cap would help.

I run 500W RMS using 3 amps, along with a cap, EQ, LCD screen, PS2, 6 speakers total... all installed myself. 1 farad is all I need for my amps.

Silver Member
Username: Jeremyc

Kunsan AfbSouth Korea

Post Number: 560
Registered: Jun-04
Well your partialy right. A cap will help a little with the big base note, however it will not help with dimming lights. Remember the battery doesn't supply your stereo when the car is running, the alternator does, unless your demands are allready more than the alt can handle. So by adding a second methods of storage (the cap) you are adding to the problem. The only true way to fix the problem of lights dimming is upgrading the alt, or turning the stereo down. If you have any question check out this link.

Silver Member
Username: Fishy

Tamarac Ft.Laud, FL USA

Post Number: 726
Registered: Sep-04
If a cap is going to help at all acoustically it will be with transiensts such as kick drums, etc where there are "sudden" current demands. It will not help your system sound any better on extended bass drops. Thats where a good alternator comes in. While it is generally accepted that given an adequate alternator/wiring a cap will "help" your car's electrical system there's a big debate on whether this actually translates to an audible improvement in sound quality especially with amps that utilize regulated power supplies. If you're technically inclined or if you don't mind sifting through a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo there's plenty of extended threads dealing with the subject to be found in the "Richard Clark" section here:

I have a 2 farad digital cap in my system and if given the choice I'm not sure I'd drop the 150 bucks on one again. I originally had a PPI Pro Mos 2050 running a pair of 10w3's(~400 watts @ 2 ohms bridged) and after installing the cap drum hits did "sound" snappier, but I'm not sure how much of this was due to the "expectation factor", i.e. it sounded better because I expected it to. I may have been in in some way unconciously justifying that added $150 expenditure.

Where I really noted a difference was when I upgraded to an Xtant 1001dx running with a bit of headroom @ 500 watts. The pro Mos 2050 was PPI's first attempt at a high current cheater amp and was the predecessor to the vaunted MOS 50 and Pro Art 50 units(gimme some love Isaac :P). Altho those two amps were apparently capable of producing 400 watts I'm not so sure about the 2050. That Xtant may have been more than a mere 100 watt upgrade as it is considered underated by many especially at 2 ohms.

I guess my point is that sure, a cap may help, but there are probably plenty of more cost effective ways of improving your system. A HO alternator is usually almost always a prerequisite to a cap, but that too may not improve the way things "sound". It could, however, very well save your electrical system if your stock alternator is being sorely taxed. On the other hand I spent 300 dollars shipped for a used 1001dx in pristine condition which has dramatically improved the way my system sounds and to be honest the best thing I may gotten out of my cap was that lil digital voltage display. I've moved it to my dash and now have a constant stream of info on the status of my system electrically. This is probably way more beneficial then a lil bit of voltage "stiffening".

Gotta justify that 150 bucks tho. :-)


Silver Member
Username: Sancho886

El Cajon, CA US

Post Number: 109
Registered: Jun-04
whats a 1001dx?

Silver Member
Username: Fishy

Tamarac Ft.Laud, FL USA

Post Number: 736
Registered: Sep-04
Here's a 1001d: %26

The only difference I think is the case. The dx has a chrome finish whereas the d has the old style brushed stainless which I think looks classier. I kinda wish I'd gotten a 1001d to match my 4180c, but wasn't aware of the differences at the time. They still look pretty good together.

I need a to get hold of a digital camera so I can post a pic of my Explorer install. I've got each one mounted on the back of the rear seats. Nothing fancy, but very impressive looking nonetheless and totally stealth with sub box in place.

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