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Old 22nd January 2010, 09:19 PM   #1
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Default tantalum cap

What's the advantage to use tantalum caps instead of electrolitic for cathode resistor bypass ?

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Old 22nd January 2010, 10:17 PM   #2
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I have heard tantalums sound bad. I bet you would be happier with a good
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Old 22nd January 2010, 10:33 PM   #3
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Some tantalums sound bad, some don't, but they are all rather unreliable and should not be used in critical circuit positions. All I have seen are low voltage - they were used as cathode resistor bypass caps in the olde dayes because of very compact size.

Nowadays, there are outstanding small electrolytic capacitors that are better, better sounding, more reliable, cheaper, and more available in more flavors than tantalum types. Where you see them is in old schematics.


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Old 23rd January 2010, 05:46 AM   #4
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Tantalums are exquisite capacitors, as long as you aren't pulling peak currents, which you certainly aren't in anything tube (peaks of 500mA even for a big stinking amp? ha), as long as you avoid reverse bias (duh, a tube is also a diode, and it's supplied with DC anyway), and as long as you avoid excess voltage (maybe not as easy with >>200V in reserve, but a cathode in proper running order won't change very much unless the tube itself goes Chernobyl, in which case the popped tantalum is the least of your worries).

Sound? It won't sound any different from anything else. Even the highest transconductance tube will have a cathode impedance way greater than even the crummiest aluminum electrolytic on the market. It's a silly proposition.

The better question is why you would bother spending money on tantalums when electrolytics are more than suitable.

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Old 23rd January 2010, 08:13 AM   #5
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I was looking at this schematic Jean Hiraga 12AX7 Single Ended KT88 Tube Amplifier Schematic

I found interesting the level of details in the choice of components. Then I started to found explanation mainly for the use of mica and tantalum capacitor.

I was also surprise that I could not found anyone who actually assembled this amp.

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