Best Relays for signal path

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I've been browsing Mouser looking for relays for my soft start power supply and for my speaker protection circuit.

Does anyone have any specific suggestions for a good, audiophile quality relay?

There's so much discussion on resistors, capacitors, etc that are in the signal path, but here's something that's smack dab in the signal path that we feed DC or (gasp) AC into :bigeyes: I'm surprised no one has produced some $548 version of a relay :D

I like the hermetically sealed varieties but they are expensive.

Does anyone have brand suggestions?

P.S. Yes, I did do a search, didn't find much. :(

I meant I searched the forum for mention of specific Relay brands. I've found plenty of relays.

I checked out the pickering site, and under 'high power' they go to 40w; the type 100, 101 isn't even that high.

Maybe I'm not being clear :confused:. I want something with relay contacts rated for:

1) 1500w power supply soft start
2) Speaker protection. At least 100w, preferably 200w.

What I'd like to know is has anyone tested high power relays for THD, S/N, etc?

(edited to replace janneman with "Jan")


No one in their right mind would use Pickering. Expensive,
long delivery time, poor quality and reliability. If you're
looking for reed relays, look to Coto. For non-reed
small signal, I'd give guarded endorsement to Aromat
TX-S (if hand tested/selected) or SX series.

the voice of experience, with 10's or 100's of thousands
AX tech editor
Joined 2002
Paid Member
Best relays


Sorry, I goofed. I just reacted on your heading "relays for signal path".
For speaker protection I use with no problems a specially developed relay by amplimo (the people that develop the toroid OPT's for Menno van der Veen). The relay uses a primary wolfram (I think in English it is Tungsten?) 100A contact, bridged with a lower current gold contact.


I have good experience with pickering, but will check out Coto nevertheless.

Jan Didden

Try to get some of those relays used by the telephone companys in their distributon racks.
They can stand some Amperes and are extremely reliable, also the contacts don't tend to frie together, an important issue in a protection circuit.
Usually they use 24 V solenoids.


Peter Daniel said:
Mercury wetted relays: are they any good for signal?

Yes they are the only one without contact bounces and can work down to zero ampere but unfortuneatly they contain mercury. Since a couple of years they are forbibben to sell (here in Europe) except for replacement parts. But this type is only suitable for small loads

But since we talk speaker signals check relays with hard silver (AgNi) alloy contacts. Avoid silver cadmium (AgCdO). The Swiss brand ELESTA is one of the best but also not the cheapest.

Contacts with wolfram (tungsten) is only suitable for loads with high inrush currents such as lamps. I gather that the speaker relay always switches on (and very seldom off) with no or litte current, go gor hard silver instead.

NIAS has many good relays. The SD type is excellent for small signals and for large signals they have similar types;td=2;cs=dynaweb1.wv;td=2?target=ancestor(idmatch(ID,MECH_ENG_CV));showtoc=yes;stylesheet=dynaweb1.wv

Check the SF type. They have a similar type which don't is a safety relay but I can't find the name. I have this relay in a subwoofer.
Joined 2002

When I was putting together Data Acquisition and Control Systems, mercury wetted relays were the only relay we would use in a control feedback circuits, and then only in rare situations. I don't know what it might do to the sound, but they were 16bit analog signals that we were switching, so signal integrity was crucial. These were low level signals (mA) that we were switching.

I have attached a pic from the 2000 Allied Electronics cat. These are similar to the kind we would use for emergency cutoff of high current circuits. Again, I don’t know how these relays will sound, but if I were to use a relay on my DC buss, it would be these or similar.

Rodd Yamas***a


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