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  • Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

    So many times I hear people say something like "I finally got the mills resistors to replace the generic ones I was using and they sound so much better".

    But, how many have done blind tests? Bias can be incredibly strong. They cost so much more than cheap resistors, if you were to just buy a bunch of various sizes for all your building/testing etc. But, to buy a set once in a while for a finished design is a fairly cheap upgrade, *IF* they actually do make a difference.

    I don't want this to turn into a nonsense debate like the ones over speaker cables - but, I do want subjective opinions based on scientific tests.

    I suppose, if you have heard differences, but not done blind tests, go ahead and describe, but with the disclaimer that it wasn't a blind test.


    As an aside: I want a DIY event where we listen to speakers without seeing them first, I wouldn't be surprised if bias had MORE effect on the judging than the actual speakers listened to. If it looks sweet, you WANT it to sound good, and your ears generally hear it as you see it.
    "...this is not a subwoofer" - Jeff Bagby ;)

  • #2
    Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

    mills are non inductive so with a tweeter they may sound better then an inductive resister that was used and the mH was not accounted for..
    if a low cost non inductive was used it would be hard to tell them apart. i think a lot of times people may have end an induction problem by using mills.

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    • #3
      Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

      I would think that any audible difference would correspond to SOME measurable difference:

      Do conventional cheap wirewounds add some sort of distortion to the signal that the Mills do not? (Especially when running hot?)

      Is the inductance of the conventional resistor sufficient to roll off the highest audible frequencies?

      I'm not sure what other variables might apply here, but the above could be easily tested.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

        Originally posted by critofur View Post
        So many times I hear people say something like "I finally got the mills resistors to replace the generic ones I was using and they sound so much better".

        But, how many have done blind tests? Bias can be incredibly strong. They cost so much more than cheap resistors, if you were to just buy a bunch of various sizes for all your building/testing etc. But, to buy a set once in a while for a finished design is a fairly cheap upgrade, *IF* they actually do make a difference.

        QUI don't want this to turn into a nonsense debate like the ones over speaker cables - but, I do want subjective opinions based on scientific tests.

        I suppose, if you have heard differences, but not done blind tests, go ahead and describe, but with the disclaimer that it wasn't a blind test.


        As an aside: I want a DIY event where we listen to speakers without seeing them first, I wouldn't be surprised if bias had MORE effect on the judging than the actual speakers listened to. If it looks sweet, you WANT it to sound good, and your ears generally hear it as you see it.
        We conducted a blind test at a DCDIY event in about 2004 at PJay's house in Northern VA. Darren Kuzma was there when he was working for Parts Express. We installed Dayton non-inductive el cheapo resistors in one of a pair of high quality speakers, and Mills in the other, and allowed people to switch back and forth. No one heard any difference, and I remember walking into the room while Darren was taking the test. He didn't notice me, and I still can visualize him straining to hear a difference. I think he was expecting to hear something extra from the Mills.......but nothing. That said, I buy Mills, because the leads are much sturdier and I use resistors over and over. In the long run, the Mills are cheaper.

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        • #5
          Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

          Originally posted by framus View Post
          That said, I buy Mills, because the leads are much sturdier and I use resistors over and over. In the long run, the Mills are cheaper.
          I'm with you, Dennis. The Dayton's leads are fragile! I no longer use them.

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          • #6
            Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

            First I'll say that I haven't done any tests to hear if I could tell a difference in resistors. However, I've read similar threads in the past along with measurements that indicate that even the amount of inductance in "inductive" wirewound resistors is not enough to cause any changes within the 20-20kHz range that speakers operate within. I believe that Daryl was one of the guys who presented evidence in this matter but I could be wrong (I could even be wrong about the amount of inductance if my memory has failed me).

            I'm glad that the original poster indicated that listening bias of a known device can often cloud perceptions because I am a firm believer of this phenomenon.
            RJB Audio Projects
            http://www.rjbaudio.com

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            • #7
              Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

              I'm with Dennis, if you do a lot of voicing and changing up XO's the Eagles and Dayton just don't hold up. MIlls feel like quality and I prefer them.

              I also suspect that the range of individual differences in innate and learned perceptual skills muddy up findings in blind testing. Flipping back and forth may not be the best approach to listening for subtleties.

              Also, a trivial difference at the mean does not capture individual experiences in perceptual skills nor is there really a way of controlling for the precise musical passages...... etc. etc. AB is interesting but largely uninformative I think. Differences that do exist are apparently subtle. I would not presume to tell anyone they did not hear a difference.

              I was at the AB of caps in DC a few years ago - and I could hear no differences in that context, but one or two people did reliably do so. Even so, I am certain that I hear subtle and not so subtle differences in caps in some applications - speakers and electronics. I have no doubt that it could be small differences in values or some other critical (perhaps unknown) characteristic or construction of the component - but I have little time or interest in cap matching and such trying to figure it out. It obviously isn't magic. But I could care less, if I prefer the sound.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

                The main reason I can see for people disliking A/B testing is: the disappointment of not being able to hear a difference that they want to be there, that was thought to be there.

                Listener bias has been proven to be able to have a significant effect. One that I propose may often be far more significant than a difference that can only be heard by a small minority when carefully TRYING to do so in a controlled setting - I propose that such a small difference is almost always outweighed significantly by other factors such as: the listening room, source material, electronics, driver choice, baffle layout, crossover design, diffraction, driver to driver variation, etc.

                Having said all that - factors that I would guess to be significant in resistors would include: thermal compression (non-linear behavior w/different power levels), lack of durability leading to change over time, and, if you don't test each one/each combination of resistors that you use in crossover, piece to piece variation. The small levels of inductance measured in the basic Parts Express 10W and 20W wirewound resistors seems to be insignificant?

                Well, now that I've said that - how do Eagle resisters compare to Mills? At less than 1/3 the price I'm not quite so hesitant to try. And, are there alternative sources for resistors of equal quality to the Mills at far more reasonable (IMHO, lower) prices?
                "...this is not a subwoofer" - Jeff Bagby ;)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

                  Originally posted by brianp View Post
                  I would think that any audible difference would correspond to SOME measurable difference:

                  Do conventional cheap wirewounds add some sort of distortion to the signal that the Mills do not? (Especially when running hot?)

                  Is the inductance of the conventional resistor sufficient to roll off the highest audible frequencies?

                  I'm not sure what other variables might apply here, but the above could be easily tested.
                  the answer is yes high watt inductive resistors can roll off the top end. of course most crossovers dont use 50 watt resistors or 5 10 watt resistors. I agree that the mills and eagle resistors are better made. here is a link to a 2 ohm 50 watt resistor that will roll your tweeter off.


                  http://www.newark.com/vishay-dale/rh...tor/dp/01F9897

                  this has an inductance of .22mh it will start to roll off at 5700hz, but using a 50 2 ohm resistor like this in a tweeter network is not a common thing to do.

                  Using a 10 watt 2 ohm inductive resistor
                  the mH is .04 ROLLOFF STARTS AT 31000hz. So if you are going to have issues with rolloff it looks like high powered tweeters needing very large powerhandling resistors would need the noninductive resistors. Since it is likely to be progear using large powerhandling mills are tougher then daytons.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

                    I found that MOX resistors do sound different than Mills. Mills have a warmer sound to them.
                    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

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                    • #11
                      Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

                      Originally posted by critofur View Post
                      The main reason I can see for people disliking A/B testing is: the disappointment of not being able to hear a difference that they want to be there, that was thought to be there.
                      I think you underestimate the real appeal of a mills resistor. Forgive me for generalizing but the ones to suggest this psychological suggestibility always have some cheap angle. Being cheap...sometimes you win sometimes you lose.

                      When you're buliding a project that takes you six months and you've have rubbed and sanded the finish for 2 weeks, do you want to see a clunky looking generic wire wound resistor on your circuit board or a nicely crafted device like a Mills resistor. You are partially correct in the fact that you will feel better about using a mills resistor because in the face of the unknown or untested you know you've erred on the side of quality. Why don't you run "peace of mind" through your psychological filter and decide how much more important that maybe than anything else when it comes to the sound of a system. See AJinFla for reference to his wine example. Tricked or not they the expensive wine tasters are having a better time. Most DIY speakers have rough edges that resistor brand choice will make little difference in the outcome, but knowing you've taken every logical precaution to make the speaker the best you can....ahhh.

                      Most people buy audio tweaks because they are relatively cheap and in the face of the unknown its something to try. Most high-end speaker wire is bought simply because it is now an accepted practice and the fancy wire looks appropriate on a $30,000 system. Having a 20 guage 8ft zip cord wire simply makes one uneasy that they have left something out when trying to maximize the performance of their system. not everyone is an engineer or has that kind of mind. Its like having to buy cheap tires for your M3 or Cayman, its going to bother you.


                      For the record I do not use Mills resistors as a regular practice, nor do I believe I can hear a difference all things being equal and properly assembled.
                      Yeah I built a couple speakers....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

                        Originally posted by philiparcario View Post
                        the answer is yes high watt inductive resistors can roll off the top end. of course most crossovers dont use 50 watt resistors or 5 10 watt resistors. I agree that the mills and eagle resistors are better made. here is a link to a 2 ohm 50 watt resistor that will roll your tweeter off.

                        http://www.newark.com/vishay-dale/rh...tor/dp/01F9897

                        this has an inductance of .22mh it will start to roll off at 5700hz, but using a 50 2 ohm resistor like this in a tweeter network is not a common thing to do.
                        Curt's Speaker Design Works

                        "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
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                        • #13
                          Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

                          I did a crossover change on some speakers with very revealing ribbon tweeters using some Ratshack resistors because I'd read on some audio board about someone mentioning they were "surprising transparent" sounding. I later found the Dayton resistors I had wanted to use in the first place and put those in. Let me tell you, that guy's meaning of transparent is way different than mine. Wiring it up so I could switch between the two resistors by moving one lead, the Dayton's sounded alot clearer that the Ratshack resistors. I later tried some Mills's and there was a small difference. Nowhere near the difference between the Dayton and the Ratshack tho'.

                          Duely noted that these were not blind tests and the Daytons only cost about $.25 ea more than the Ratshack resistors.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

                            I thought we had covered all this "wow what a difference" stuff already?

                            Btw, for those whose excuse is that blind tests mask the "differences" to below perception threshold levels or fail to show that there was no difference (prove a negative), can you explain how the existence of these "differences" (missed by the scientifically valid test) are being ascertained in the first place? Via?

                            cheers,

                            AJ

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Do Mills resistors REALLY sound different?

                              Originally posted by philiparcario View Post
                              the answer is yes high watt inductive resistors can roll off the top end. of course most crossovers dont use 50 watt resistors or 5 10 watt resistors. I agree that the mills and eagle resistors are better made. here is a link to a 2 ohm 50 watt resistor that will roll your tweeter off.


                              http://www.newark.com/vishay-dale/rh...tor/dp/01F9897

                              this has an inductance of .22mh it will start to roll off at 5700hz, but using a 50 2 ohm resistor like this in a tweeter network is not a common thing to do.

                              Using a 10 watt 2 ohm inductive resistor
                              the mH is .04 ROLLOFF STARTS AT 31000hz. So if you are going to have issues with rolloff it looks like high powered tweeters needing very large powerhandling resistors would need the noninductive resistors. Since it is likely to be progear using large powerhandling mills are tougher then daytons.
                              If the resistor inductance is on par with the inductance of the tweeter voice coil, there will likely be no drop off at all in the high frequency performance.

                              If your tweeter has a rising impedance, a purely resistive L-pad can cause a rising output with frequency. An inductive resistor would mitigate that problem.
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