What's new for 2006

OK, HERE WE GO AGAIN............ but it seems like the nightmare is here for real this time. BlackGate has ceased production! This information is directly from the Japanese exporter. We had never reported rumors before either, but circumstances changed over time in the previous cases to give the BlackGates a little more lease on life. This time it's the real thing! Will someone buy the rights to the name and have them made in China. Maybe a copy will ensue called say "CarbonGate" or something. I mean, really, who knows? The bottom line is that if you want a Signature or Platinum mod from us then the finish line is looming near. Yes, the Platinum and Signature will live on in a different form and we might find a way to make them equal or even better than the current versions. We have been working on this for some time and we have made some progress already. This is just a word to the wise. We'll try to meet your needs for these great caps but we can offer no promises. (02-16-07)



EXPLANATION: As many of you know Hafler and other companies that were using the TO-3 metal can Hitachi mosfets cannot source them anymore. Only dwindling quantities are available on the spot market. Several years ago most makers switched over to plastic mount transistors which performed essentially the same. This is not too helpful if you need a repair on an older amp that has bad mosfets. We chose to use the Exicon devices for repairs since they appear, by specs, to be even a bit better than the originals. After repairing several amps with these it occurred to us that these repaired amps were sounding good indeed. We set up some listening comparisons and we like these even better than the originals. So we can repair the older amps, even at comparable costs, but read on for more fun.

WHAT CAME NEXT: In a stroke of genius :-) we decided this was a valuable service to improve the sound of the various amps that use Lateral Power Mosfets. We tried them in various Hafler amps with great results. 

THE RESULTS: They have consistently sounded more open, notably more three dimensional and focused - i.e. great soundstage. They have solid, powerful deep bass with well defined fundamentals and tremendous octave to octave timbre and balance. There is a sense of speed that lends a quick delicacy to the mids and top. The overall experience is substantially more natural. We think it is worth every penny. Future Musical Concepts and Musical Design amps will feature these.

WE RECOMMEND: The product line has direct replacement parts which have similar specs yet they lend all the sound qualities mentioned with just a one-to-one parts swap. 

FOR EVEN MORE FUN: Versions with doubled current are available in both metal and plastic cases. It's great fun to take a Hafler DH-120 or B&K ST-140, which both had a single pair of outputs, and give them a much more powerful sound with tight extended bass by using these to greatly increase the current available to the speaker. Any amp with a single pair of outputs can really strut it's stuff! We've even used these in a few of our Musical Design D-75B amps to make them sound like they have smooth, sweet, endless power. The double current versions (far rt. below, far left for older amps) cost a bit more but they can really put a smile where it belongs. 

You just have to hear one of our modified amps with these devices. We'd gladly compare it to anything! It's a stunning experience in the best of systems! (11-13-06)

Update! These are selling well and customer reaction is positive to say the least! (02-15-07)


WE WAITED UNTIL AFTER NOV. 1........to raise the price of the SuperConnect IV cable to $79/0.5M,  $89/1M, $99/1.5M and $109/2M. (11-13-06)


ON OCT. 1 WE HAVE TO INCREASE THE PRICING OF THE SUPERCONNECT IV ...... so you may want to order now. Sadly copper prices are skyrocketing with no end in sight. Our raw materials costs are double what they were five years ago. We have steadfastly held the price, but reality must have its day. (08-04-06)


NEW!  OUR PLATINUM AND PLATINUM ULTRA MODS WILL NOT ALWAYS ...... be available! Unlike the case with the resurrected BlackGate these resistors will disappear. We have been buying these from the NOS (New Old Stock) market for several years and when they're gone, they're gone. I have been informed that some of the resistors will not be available after we placed our current order yesterday. More and more - we can't get the parts we need. It is possible we will adjust our design a bit to use parts which are available, but the end is inevitable. Those of you who are wanting a genuine Platinum product should step up your schedule. (04-20-06)


NEW!  AT THIS POINT A LOT OF MAKERS............ might not lay their cards on the table, but I guess we're different. Look for a Platinum SE in our future and, of course, a Platinum Ultra SE too. We have carefully listen-tested many resistors, including the audiophile darlings, against our reference Platinum. None stood out - save one! This, mostly unknown to audiophiles, sleeper part that will be used in the future in the above models. It has the added attraction of being available in ALL values and at reasonable prices. Ok I said "reasonable", not cheap but, yes, pocket change compared to the Platinums. The parts are "mil-qualified, 100% tested" - yes each part- and they have "established reliability" for inclusion in sensitive military applications. That's a far cry from the cheap imported resistors used in most audio gear and several steps above the quality level we've seen in very expensive components. These are 90% or more of the sound quality of the Platinum parts by listening consensus of local audiophiles. These, you would think, would lead to vastly reduced pricing on the Platinum SE and you're right. Now in the case of the Platinum Ultra SE the price will likely stay about the same or just a tad lower. Why you ask! We like the results of using a new English MOSFET to replace the original Hitachi MOSFETS in the Hafler amps. We like it quite a bit, so it seems logical that they should be in an "all-out assault" like the Platinum Ultra! (04-20-06)


NEW!  BEAUTIFUL SOUND DESERVES BEAUTIFUL COSMETIC TOUCHES........... so we are asking for your opinions on the idea of offering an attractive face panel for the Hafler DH-200, DH-220, DH-500, XL-280 and XL-600. We have seen, especially with the DH-500, a lot of damaged faceplates over the years. The smaller amps suffer too many bent heatsinks. Why it took us so long to think of doing this please don't ask - some kind of mental constipation I presume. So please call or drop an email, jhillig@musicalconcepts.com, to give us some direction.  (04-20-06)


AFTER MESSING UP TWO BATCHES IN A ROW............ our cable manufacturer finally got lucky. Many of you who have been waiting for SuperConnect IV interconnect cables can finally get these great cables again. We apologize for the delays, yet it was out of our control.  (02-12-06)


THE LC-500 CAPS ARE BACK..........and in stock. The LC-500 caps are our replacement caps used in the Hafler DH-500, XL-600, some Adcoms and, of course, by intrepid custom builders. It seems our manufacturers are getting fashionably late. We hope this means the economy is humming right along. (02-12-06)


THE INCREDIBLE UP AND DOWN OF "BLACKGATE RUMORS".......... we now have a "definitive" statement from the Japanese exporter to clear this up. We are told that the case for continuing production went to court and a settlement was reached to continue BlackGate production for "several years". Assumptions that we made regarding the idea that a new manufacturer would be making them appears to be incorrect. They will, apparently, continue to be manufactured by Rubycon. This is good news indeed. Those of us "holding our breath" over this can now relax! 

It is worth reminding all of you that you can see our collection of BlackGate parts by clicking on Musical Concepts above, then click on Components and then BlackGate or click here. Each part has a hyperlink so that you can view a picture of the part. 


The following items appeared in our 2003 "What's New" and now it seems appropriate to add these notes here!

After listening to these phenomenal caps for a while, I just had to add the following to our components page, repeated below.

FK series has a different sound quality as compared to the N and NX series, but with it's own powerful rewards. It's very natural with awesome bass, great inner detail and still it is smooth as silk. Yes, reduction of noise, distortion and improvement of ESR is quite beneficial in 'digital' power supplies. They have a special excellence in switching power supplies which are getting ubiquitous in most digital equipment. These are polarized capacitors unlike any you've ever heard. 

SIZE DOESN'T MATTER, performance does - Abandon your concern with how large your present power supply caps 'should be'. These will outperform them. Do you have an outboard capacitance supply with an entire farad in it? Forget it! The BlackGate FK 10,000uF/100V parts easily outperform our own 39,000uF/100V LC-500 caps we use in the Hafler DH-500. This is a new paradigm. It rewrites the old thinking about power supply caps needing to be large as possible. They need to be as good as possible first.  These large computer-grade filter caps for the main power supply of your solid state amp are simply in a different league than standard type filter caps. These large can types used as the power reservoir for a solid-state power amp demonstrate, for us, the clearest indication of the superiority of the BlackGate technology. The sonic improvement over 'computer-grade' caps is truly shocking. It is sort of like comparing a bicycle to a car. What's to compare? Incredibly tight bass totally in a class by itself, wide dynamics and totally effortless reproduction -ultra-fast, ultra-clean, ultra-everything, comparable to high performance film caps. Truly astonishing - one of the few very expensive items in the audio world that are worth every penny! The FK is available in smaller radial lead parts for the front-end of a power amp, preamp power supply, DAC/CD player power supply. Sweet, sweet, sweet!!!!  See a Hafler DH-500 with our PA-3B Platinum Ultra dual-mono amp.  (1-19-03)


The BlackGate praise just keeps on comin'! We spoke to an audiophile this morning who had just put the BlackGate (BG) FK 10000uF/100V caps in his Phase Linear 400, an old but well liked amp. He also put BG caps in feedback loop and power supply areas. He has also put some BGs into his pair of classic tubed Marantz 8B amps which drive the electrostatic top end of his system. He was so impressed after installing the BGs in the 400 that he decide to listen to the amp on the system in full-range mode. He was blown away by how great the amp sounded. Since the Marantz 8B sets such a high bar, that was quite a compliment. 

A few days earlier we had sold some of the BG FK 100uF/100V caps to a customer who already had installed the Platinum mod into this DH-500. He was extremely impressed by the improvement in an amp that had already blown his mind. These fit on the PA-3B or stock Hafler boards where the front-end power supply caps are installed, two per channel. If you haven't thought about it, I remind you that the standard caps in that position, in the Platinum mod, are 2700uF/100V, they're pretty good caps and 27 TIMES larger!!!!!!!!!!!! Hard to grasp isn't it!!!! This cap, the BG FK 100uF/100V, has garnered about the highest praise in improvement per dollar of any we have sold. It is only $19.95, so your set of four for any Hafler amp and many other amps is less than $80. They offer a towering improvement, almost unimaginable for the bucks until you hear it. This is now our fastest selling BlackGate!!!!!! (04-21-03)