Call 'em condensors, cans, caps, or capacitors --
they're all the same. Caps are designed to do one thing -- store electrical
Caps like exercise! They tend to degrade with
age (and non-use) and their failure can wipe out expensive tubes and
transformers. Re-capping is an important part of restoring safe and reliable
operation of your vintage H.H. Scott tube gear.
Caps are composed of two electrical conductors separated
by an insulator called a dielectric; and they can be constructed using a variety
of materials: Foil and film, metal and air, silver and mica, mylar, metalized
polystyrene, polypropylene, etc.
They come in endless sizes and shapes and the
unit of capacitance is the Farad. Your vintage H. H. Scott unit will have two
basic types of capacitors: electrolytic (larger) and non-polarized (typically
Electrolytics are the big cylindrical guys in
the power supply (typically found above the chassis) designed to remove or
filter the AC "ripple" from the power supply AC-to-DC rectifier.
Basically, the electrolytic is polarized: only letting current flow in one
direction. These large caps act as reservoirs, filling up with rippled current
and letting out a "smoothed" current. 'Lytics can do their job so
well they can store a lethal charge for days or even weeks, so use caution!
Caution: 'lytics were generally not designed to last more than about ten
years, so it is highly recommended you or a qualified technician replace them.
Non-polarized caps are relatively small. They
come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can look a little like candy
(orange) drops, rolled paper tubes, little discs. They can radically affect
the tone or sound characteristics of circuit. Some of the more modern
(expensive), so-called premium or "super" caps, can sound
"dry" and "harsh" when used in vintage H.H. Scott tube
gear. It may be more art than science, but experiment with good foil and film
type non-polarized caps to retain that warm, vintage, original H.H. Scott tube
sound. Replacing your tired and worn-out signal-path coupling caps is
inexpensive and generally will result in a noticeable sonic improvement.