Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

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Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by msegarra » Tue Jul 20, 2021 2:50 pm

I accidentally bought a box of 1/2 watt resistors instead of 1/4 watt I’m not sure what to search in order to figure out if they are useful for synth diy because I want to build some synth diy guy projects wasn’t too much like $13 maybe but I think I can use them for extra leads if nothing else.

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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by Katherine Alicia » Tue Jul 20, 2021 2:58 pm

I`v found them to be perfectly useful in the past, they`re just physically a little larger but they do the same job, probably not going to be much use for premade PCBs though unless you mount them in an upright position.
And sometimes the leads are bit thicker and don`t play nice with breaboard.
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by msegarra » Tue Jul 20, 2021 3:01 pm

Oh ok I thought the value was somehow different thanks!

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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by joem » Tue Jul 20, 2021 3:53 pm

The wattage listed for resistors is the amount of wattage they can handle without burning out. This is why higher wattage ones are usually bigger than lower wattage ones. Signal-wise, there's no difference (unless your circuit for some reason relies on them burning out or breaking down -- which isn't a good idea, you should use a fuse instead). You can always use higher wattage in place of lower wattage, assuming you can fit the higher wattage ones in the required space. Using lower wattage resistors in place of higher wattage resistors may or may not work depending on the circuit.

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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by MikeDB » Tue Jul 20, 2021 7:07 pm

Whilst the Johnson noise will be identical, if of the same construction, higher wattage resistors usually have slightly lower Excess noise than those of lower wattage. If they fit the PCB, use them.
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Tue Jul 20, 2021 7:46 pm

MikeDB wrote:
Tue Jul 20, 2021 7:07 pm
Whilst the Johnson noise will be identical, if of the same construction, higher wattage resistors usually have slightly lower Excess noise than those of lower wattage. If they fit the PCB, use them.
I have been researching resistor noise lately for a high end project I'm working on. The best information I could find was about metal film vs metal foil and about low PPM having lower Johnson noise. Not sure my comprehension is correct or if I made a mistake. This is very interesting about higher wattage resistors being lower noise. I know a guitar amp maker who only uses NOS KOA spear carbon comps that he sorts for value. I'm not looking for carbon comp but I wonder if metal film KOA spear any PPM is any different than metal film vishay 50ppm for low Johnson noise?
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by MikeDB » Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:31 am

No resistor can have lower Johnson noise - that's purely a factor of the resistance and the laws of the universe. It's the Excess noise that varies. Generally good brands of any type will have similar excess noise. Carbon the most, wirewound the least. I know some guitar amp makers swear by carbon but then they swear by valves as well - some people want more noise rather than less :-)

But the volume of resistive element does inversely affect excess noise, and so a higher wattage resistor should be lower excess noise.
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by jorg » Wed Jul 21, 2021 8:09 am

EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Tue Jul 20, 2021 7:46 pm
I know a guitar amp maker who only uses NOS KOA spear carbon comps that he sorts for value.
That's idiotic. He's deliberately adding noise to his products.

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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by Katherine Alicia » Wed Jul 21, 2021 8:51 am

LOL, I kinda thought that when I saw the new MPC firmware, Diode clipping, distortion and lo-fi are considered a Good thing today it seems.
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:09 am

jorg wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 8:09 am
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Tue Jul 20, 2021 7:46 pm
I know a guitar amp maker who only uses NOS KOA spear carbon comps that he sorts for value.
That's idiotic. He's deliberately adding noise to his products.
People buy his amps because they sound exactly like an old marshall Plexi. The goal is to make a perfect clone. The goal is not to improve the original design. If it was changed to have better resistors the value of the amp would go down. Guitar players like to use sounds that they have heard before on famous records. They don't like to be the first person to have something that sounds totally new. If you take away all the noise and distortion every guitar player would have the instrument sounding like a modern jazz record through a Fuchs 7 watt amp. Compare to meshuga using a Mesa boogie road king or a triple rectifier.
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by jorg » Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:52 am

EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:09 am
Guitar players like to use sounds that they have heard before on famous records. They don't like to be the first person to have something that sounds totally new.
To a lifelong electronic musician, that seems so sad and pathetic. Where's the fun in that kind of repetition?

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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by Kevin Mitchell » Wed Jul 21, 2021 11:58 am

jorg wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:52 am
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:09 am
Guitar players like to use sounds that they have heard before on famous records. They don't like to be the first person to have something that sounds totally new.
To a lifelong electronic musician, that seems so sad and pathetic. Where's the fun in that kind of repetition?
I think that comment mostly fits into the DIY world. The main reason why I had gotten into DIY synths and stompboxes was to recreate classics and imitate songs I've grown up to. While there are plenty of options on the market, if you want something done right you're better off doing it yourself. Or just shell out an unreasonable amount of dough for something I could throw together in a weekend ;)
Who says you can't make new sounds with old circuits?

On the 1/2 watt resistor subject, hold onto them. You'll never know when you'll need them! Like for vintage synth or amp repairs. Or if you're in a pinch you could always use these in place of a resistor of a lower power rating.

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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by MikeDB » Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:01 pm

jorg wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:52 am
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:09 am
Guitar players like to use sounds that they have heard before on famous records. They don't like to be the first person to have something that sounds totally new.
To a lifelong electronic musician, that seems so sad and pathetic. Where's the fun in that kind of repetition?
I totally agree. There's an excellent Rick Beato video



where they discuss how even most of the great guitarists still only have a few unique sounds.

Imagine if Keith Emerson or W Carlos had restricted themselves in that way.
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by emmaker » Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:27 pm

jorg wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:52 am
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:09 am
Guitar players like to use sounds that they have heard before on famous records. They don't like to be the first person to have something that sounds totally new.
To a lifelong electronic musician, that seems so sad and pathetic. Where's the fun in that kind of repetition?
Electronic musicians are no different. Why do you think Moog is still making Minis and Behringer is cloning stuff and selling it.

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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:53 pm

clone of a clone of a clone ladder filter
http://www.stgsoundlabs.com/products/po ... ter_mu.htm

something new, unique, and innovative that barely gets any mainstream attention
https://northcoastsynthesis.com/product ... r-vcf.html
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by jorg » Wed Jul 21, 2021 1:31 pm

MikeDB wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:01 pm
I totally agree. There's an excellent Rick Beato video
where they discuss how even most of the great guitarists still only have a few unique sounds.
Imagine if Keith Emerson or W Carlos had restricted themselves in that way.
Beato is a curmudgeon like me. ;) I'll check out that video.

So many guitarists seem to think that there is one perfect tone, consisting of ear-splitting distortion. And that's all there is to sound. Sad.

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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by jorg » Wed Jul 21, 2021 1:35 pm

EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:53 pm
clone of a clone of a clone ladder filter
http://www.stgsoundlabs.com/products/po ... ter_mu.htm

something new, unique, and innovative that barely gets any mainstream attention
https://northcoastsynthesis.com/product ... r-vcf.html
Fair point. VIntage circuits certainly have their place, but there is a lot of fun to be had in extending and improving those ideas. If we just keep copying, we lose the original spirit of EM.

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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by MikeDB » Wed Jul 21, 2021 2:59 pm

jorg wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 1:31 pm
MikeDB wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:01 pm
I totally agree. There's an excellent Rick Beato video
where they discuss how even most of the great guitarists still only have a few unique sounds.
Imagine if Keith Emerson or W Carlos had restricted themselves in that way.
Beato is a curmudgeon like me. ;) I'll check out that video.

So many guitarists seem to think that there is one perfect tone, consisting of ear-splitting distortion. And that's all there is to sound. Sad.
Not all of them, but most yes. Have a listen to the Carl Palmer Band where's he's deliberately not had a keyboard player but instead has a guitarist re-interpret Emerson's work. It's definitely derivative obviously, but in place quite interesting.
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by lickspittle » Wed Jul 21, 2021 4:21 pm

EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:53 pm
clone of a clone of a clone ladder filter
http://www.stgsoundlabs.com/products/po ... ter_mu.htm
"revision 2"

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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:15 pm

lickspittle wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 4:21 pm
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:53 pm
clone of a clone of a clone ladder filter
http://www.stgsoundlabs.com/products/po ... ter_mu.htm
"revision 2"
Damn. You right. Definitely not a clone. My mistake. I was basically making the point that arp copies Moog and people clone arp and Moog 50 years later. This is more popular than new designs. There lots of finer details I skipped or messed up.
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by jsleeio » Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:42 am

MikeDB wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 12:01 pm
I totally agree. There's an excellent Rick Beato video



where they discuss how even most of the great guitarists still only have a few unique sounds.
that is indeed a good video

it reminded me of this recording: https://www.veojam.com/watch/1336680864

historically we very rarely (Spanish Fly, Could this be magic?, Finish What Ya Started, 316... did I miss any?) heard Eddie Van Halen playing acoustic guitar, yet in the little jam section in the middle of this recording he 100% still sounds like him to my ears, despite the totally different tone vs. his unmistakeable "brown sound"
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by MisterJ » Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:18 am

One thing that is useful for both DIY and repair work is to have lots of spare components. You just never know when you might need something and having it ready on hand and not having to wait for an order to come in is nice.

In terms of quality, the need for a higher quality component depends on the circuit design and with resistors, precision is more likely to be important than noise.

Music technology thrives on the past. I don't think anyone would make vacuum tubes these days if it wasn't for musicians. Not to mention analog modular which my instructor in an electronic music class more than 30 years ago was trying to steer me away from and have me work with FM and sampling when I wanted to do projects with the the Serge modular in the music lab instead of using the more recently purchased DX7 and Emax.
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by MikeDB » Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:04 pm

MisterJ wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:18 am
Music technology thrives on the past. I don't think anyone would make vacuum tubes these days if it wasn't for musicians. Not to mention analog modular which my instructor in an electronic music class more than 30 years ago was trying to steer me away from and have me work with FM and sampling when I wanted to do projects with the the Serge modular in the music lab instead of using the more recently purchased DX7 and Emax.
'More than 30 years ago' Modulars were unstable beasts that needed constant love and attention just to produce the same sound twice. So I can see your instructor's point of view. He may even have begun when we used unijunctions to create something resembling a sawtooth so a DX7 would seem like it was from another planet.

Despite people looking to the past, many modular designs now are probably far more stable and hence repeatable as they have better components. For example compare the current SSI range of chips with those they replace from decades ago. Same for many other classic designs updated by Cool Audio, etc.
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by PrimateSynthesis » Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:23 pm

MikeDB wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 5:31 am
No resistor can have lower Johnson noise - that's purely a factor of the resistance and the laws of the universe.
Ackshewally, thermal noise increases with temperature. So since 1/2W resistors are larger, they have more surface area to dissipate heat. Not that it matters 8-)
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Re: Are 1/2 watt resistors useful?

Post by MisterJ » Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:10 pm

MikeDB wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:04 pm

'More than 30 years ago' Modulars were unstable beasts that needed constant love and attention just to produce the same sound twice. So I can see your instructor's point of view. He may even have begun when we used unijunctions to create something resembling a sawtooth so a DX7 would seem like it was from another planet.

Despite people looking to the past, many modular designs now are probably far more stable and hence repeatable as they have better components. For example compare the current SSI range of chips with those they replace from decades ago. Same for many other classic designs updated by Cool Audio, etc.
The time period was 1987 to 1990. The instructor was actually pretty young, in his late 20s as I was. He was just more into the newer technologies of the time and wanted the students to know how to use them. We were required to start with the modulars but when we had done that, we had to do projects with the newer equipment. Fortune sided with me for a while, the Emax in the music lab was stolen and for a couple of months I did monster patches with the Serge and tracked them with the Tascam 38 in the lab. I bought a TSR-8 last year to transfer my old Serge pieces to digital and remix them. I might eventually release them to a mini album on Bandcamp just because they are so different from what people are doing with modulars today.

The irony of the whole thing is just how much the classic Serges are valued today. The thieves would take the Serge and leave the Emax these days and I could never afford to buy one as big and complete as the one I worked with. Bare Serge panels with no chassis or power supply go for thousands of dollars.

I don't remember the Serge as being unstable in any way and the one analog synth from that era that I've got working, a Korg DV-800 Maxi Korg is phenomenally stable considering both the components and their age. I have to adjust the tuning of one of the oscillators every now and then but it's a pretty small drift. I don't think repeating the same sound twice is what gets people into modulars then or now. It's more about the complex soundscapes you can make with them. One of my fellow students called it the "Serge Jungle".

I'm amazed on how simple the circuitry of some of the classic analog synths is. I've been inside some Emu modules and the circuits were mostly built with 741 op amps and CA8080 VCAs.
Contact resistance is the root of all evil!

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