resistor comparison test - tantalum?

i'm looking to do some resistor listening tests to see which parts i like the sound of most. most likely i'll test a single resistor as a series element in a shunt attenuator... a 15k fixed resistor with a 50k Noble shunt pot. brands i'm thinking of include Holco (though the poor mechanical integrity is making me wary of them), Caddock, BC, and Dale if i can find some non-magnetic ones. ideally i'd like to collect 6 to 8 candidates for comparison listening, using a rotary switch to select between them. anybody interested in the results of such an experiment?

in particular, i'm looking to try some tantalum resistors of the SMT variety. anybody try these devices or have any recommendations?
two that i know of are Venkel MELF thin film (tantalum alloy) and IRC PFC (tantalum nitride).

cheers,
dorkus
 
dorkus,

in your resistor test you should skip Holco because of the reson you named; then old ones (TMK revoked and no longer available) were nonmagnetic and sounded very good (but a bit mushy), but the new, reliable ones are magnetic (steel end caps) and sound ugly. You do not get the old ones anymore, so why bother with them?


Any tantalum i tried out so far was very good but those made by Shinko (also revoked but Qvortrup and Borbely still have stock) and by Corning are outstandingly musical and sonically correct.

I was always very happy with non-magnetic, non-inductive wirewound ones. Mills for instance.

Also into your test belongs the Vishay metal ribbon resisitor. IMO the best resistor available.
 
hi bernhard,

hmm, good point, i forgot that Holcos suck now (magnetic). i will probably not bother with them. i guess i'm obliged to try vishay but i've heard mixed things - some people think they're very transparent others find them edgy and and bright. i guess it depends on tastes and application, but i'll give it a shot. you're referring the S102 bulk foil types right?

i like Mills wirewound very much, but for small signal electronics they're a bit bulky. i'll see if i can find the Corning tantalum types - i'm assuming they're standard axial lead? i'm interested in trying some SMT types as well...
 

roddyama

Ex-Moderator
2002-01-19 9:25 am
Michigan
Hi Dorkus,

Here is the link to the partsconnextion. I just received an email from them saying that they had just got a large NOS supply of the Holcos. These are suppose to be the ones with all copper construction. They also have tantalums (don’t know what manufacturer)

http://www.partsconnexion.com/catalog.php

If possible, please include the Vishay/Dale 1% RN60’s in your experiment. If nothing else it will provide a reference to a widely used resistor.

Thanks,
Rodd Yamas***a
 
holcos

yeah, they're using steel (magnetic) endcaps now. most everyone agrees that ferrous material in a component negatively affects the sound. they were decent-sounding resistors when they had copper end caps but with the new steel construction i expect them to be degraded somewhat... non-magnetic Dales or the like are probably better options, for less money too. or if you have some $$$ to spare, Caddocks and Vishays are nice... also i hear BC makes a nice cheap resistor, non-magnetic too...
 

SuppersReady

Member
Paid Member
2002-10-03 10:26 am
UK
Hi Dorkus,

Yeah, I accept the point about ferrous material, the aim with my current project (Aleph 5) is to avoid such materials. But my concern was whether the Holcos were being dismissed simply because of the change of spec's, or have many people reported a degradation of sound quality.

Cheers

Paul
 
Welborne labs has old Holcos (and Roderstein MK3). I am about to make a major investment in time with a 23 position ladder attenuator and would be fascinated to receive some recommendations. I was thinking of either the MK3s or the Welborne Vishay Dale 1% metal films. BTW Welborne's prices are excellent and please dont finish his stock before I order mine. ;)
 
Vishay

All,

i have hear those complaints about the Vishays. My buddy Gerald Gessner als so said so for a while . But meanwhile he says, if the Vishay sounds edgy, seek the flaw elsewhere!

I have only used them in a few ocasions, but i never found them to be the source of being edgy, i agree with him. If Allen Wright reads this, i am sure he too will agree, i faintly remember he said something very similar to G.Gessner's statement.

All i can say about magnetic resistors that they make as queasy :yikes: ... and ready to escape the physcal discomfort as magnetic capacitors do. G.Gessner not only agrees with me here, he extends his paranoia to magnetic lead(frame)s of semiconductors too.
 
dorkus said:
i am pretty sure people have tried the new holcos and not liked the results (i haven't yet). but you can give them a shot yourself if you're not sure.

The guys at Parts Connexion say the new Holcos sound the same as the old ones,;) but I guess you can't always trust them. I've been using the old Holcos a lot and never had any mechanical problem. They sounded pretty good too. The BC resistors from Digi-Key are magnetic.

I woud suggest you to try the new Holcos and compare them to old ones, even if only for curiosity. I've got both but since you'll have the test rig I'll wait for your results.;)

Parts Connexion is selling some tantalums as well. How about Caddock MK132?
 
i have some leftover old Holcos i can test. i can try to get the new (magnetic) ones too but most of my dealers are not going to carry it anymore. my bad on the BC, i thought they were non-magnetic. caddock MK132 will be another to test as well. should i compare to TF020 too?

what's the difference between Vishay S102 and VSH types? they are both bulk foil but the latter is 1/3rd the price...

i think i will just get a 12-position rotary switch, so might as well test 12 resistors. here is the current suggested lineup:

1. Roederstein MK4 (old standby)
2. Holco H4 (non-magnetic)
3. Holco H4 (magnetic)
4. BC
5. Caddock MK132
6. Caddock TF020
7. Dale RN60
8. Vishay S102
9. Mills MRB-5
10., 11. Tantalum?
12. ???

the shunt element will be a 50k Noble pot. the switch will most likely be a C&K w/silver-plated contacts, unless someone can suggest a better reasonable-cost part.

p.s. where's a good place to get the Dales?
 
non sequitur question...

what kind of chassis RCA jacks do you guys like to use? i know Cardas and Vampire are popular audiophile brands but i'm a cheapie. Parts Express used to have these very nice Vampire-imitation jacks - gold plated machined brass w/teflon - for just $2.69 each but they don't have them anymore. :( i've been hunting for a replacement but other cheap parts i've seen are far inferior in quality. someone suggested a Radio Shack part that is not in their regular catalog, but available from their Commercial Sales division. it is also $2.69 and is supposed to be a reasonable Tiffany fascimile. i may give those a shot.
 
dorkus,
forgetabout rotary switch and pot as shunt element.
Otherwise you test rotary switch and pot wipers.
Been there, done that.
solder the components in and if you have to shorten them, shorten them with 2 pieces of wire, soldered together or not.
Then you compare resistor against solder joint and now you learn how the resistor alters the sound.

Do the same test with rotary switch and with pot: compare it against a solder joint.
You will be surprised, i promise.

There is no need for ABA switching; the changes are minute and you will have to listen several hours per component anyway to track focus sustain, long-term listenability, annoyance, positive or negative body sensations etc. and to note down time when your attention went down the tubes.

If the component noticeably alters the sonics on ABA switching conmpared to anohter one, it is in the red area anyway.
 

Terry Demol

Member
2002-04-07 3:12 pm
*
dice45 said:
dorkus,

in your resistor test you should skip Holco because of the reson you named; then old ones (TMK revoked and no longer available) were nonmagnetic and sounded very good (but a bit mushy), but the new, reliable ones are magnetic (steel end caps) and sound ugly. You do not get the old ones anymore, so why bother with them?


Any tantalum i tried out so far was very good but those made by Shinko (also revoked but Qvortrup and Borbely still have stock) and by Corning are outstandingly musical and sonically correct.

I was always very happy with non-magnetic, non-inductive wirewound ones. Mills for instance.

Also into your test belongs the Vishay metal ribbon resisitor. IMO the best resistor available.

I have just purchased some 2W Tantalums from Audionote UK
but noticed they have magnetic end caps!
Anyone know which ones these might be.

Thanks,

Terry
 
Dice45 wrote

forgetabout rotary switch and pot as shunt element.
Otherwise you test rotary switch and pot wipers.

While I agree on that, I'd like to ask the heretical question if a test that is comparing different resistors the intended way is a valid one at all ?
You are going to perform a test where one out of some dozens (if your signal path is minimalist !) of elements is changed.
I have a feeling that the outcome could be different for a different setup, while I can agree OTOH that it could show something like a coarse guideline.

I think the only valid statement about which component(s) is/are the BEST SUITED ones (I deliberately didn't say the BEST ones) is to compare it/them whithin the application it/they will be used for in the end.

Regards

Charles
 
phase_accurate said:
Dice45 wrote



While I agree on that, I'd like to ask the heretical question if a test that is comparing different resistors the intended way is a valid one at all ?
------------

Don't get discouraged dorkus. Unless all resistors are adding similar quantities of colouration then of course it will be a matter of preference in the particular set up you have. The objective here is to find which one is more transparent to the original source. The one that comes closer to a straight connection.Of course then somebody is going to pop in and say you'll have to do a double blind test for your results to be valid etc.