AN Niobium versus Tantalum resistors?

Has anyone compared the two? Non-magnetic versions.


I read an interview where AN said something like "The Niobium are amazing when used correctly in conjunction with the tants". Hm.

thanks in advance


Thanks. Didnt quite find anything comparing their sounds, but good info none the less. If the Niobium are being integrated to their higher end systems, sounds like they are a full evolution to the tants. In particular, I’m looking for more lower end weight and fuller musical information over my Takman metal.


And sounds like the silver AN resistors are more picky about placement, which makes sense but I don't go down the road of silver in my system.

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Takman metal film are the best value for money out there. Shinkohs do not sound better in all locations.

Niobium prices set new standards for resistors…..ouch….

Don't know about the AN Niobium but the Takman carbon film should give you what you're looking for. Recently put some in signal path of my Coincident Statement pre, looking for that exact fuller musical presentation you're looking for, they did the job. I wasn't looking for more lower end weight specifically, didn't notice a lot of change here.  BTW, AN parts are nice, added two Seiryu caps at same time as Takman, replaced Nichicon FG, very nice. I've used the Kaisei caps in past also very nice.

So, more to the story :


I tried both Takman carbon and metal - also replacing generic metal. The carbon were super awesome for low end weight and realism, but they no doubt have a compressor effect (in pro-audio lingo) or smoothness (in hi-fi lingo). They just had weird, softness issues. They were also notably less transparent and higher noise than the Takman metal. They gave me the musical information, but with less clarity. I burn-in several hundred hours with my testing.


I tried to run Takman metal on the + and carbon on the -. Worked very well at first, then I felt fatigue after a couple weeks, like something wasn’t quite right. It was like parallel compressing lol.

So I returned the Takman metal and the overall coherency is back, but I’m jonesing for the best of all worlds. Willing to pay the price for AN Niobium.. their Kaisei have had no downside for me when it comes to low noise and transparency. Considering Takman carbon are like 10+ years old design (?), and Niobium is from last year...I have to imagine there are advances.

If you sign up for the SHF forums you could ask the question there you would likely get some good responses. And I would say give the AN resistors a shot they do make excellent sounding parts.

Hey clustrocasual I really appreciate your resistor comparison and thoughts on the Takman. If you do get a chance to use AN Niobium don't hesitate to update us here.

I am about to do a resistor upgrade in my already modded amp and there seems to be no consensus on what to use, unlike say with power supply caps.

listen for yourself, and don‘t buy into the boutiques sound better everywhere trap. Work out where you need to spend the money

Just went through some resistor comparisons between choices for Khozmo and Hattor preamps and my SMc buffer.  I have not tried the AN Niobium resistors.

In my Hattor preamps, I tried the Takman metal film and liked the sound but I actually liked the Amtrans AMRG Carbon Film Resistors better.  They just sound so musical in the Hattor Big preamp compared to the Takman REY metal film resistors in my Khozmo passive, which also sound good but more precise.  I have not tried Takman REX carbon resistors.

 In my SMc buffer/preamp, the volume control (that I removed from the circuit) used AN Tantalum resistors, which were very musical with a smooth groove.  I replaced the VC in the circuit with two Audio Note Silver Tantalum non-magnetic 2W resistors .  Those AN silver resistors sound very nice having body, resolution, and musicality.   In summary, my favorites (of what I have heard) for preamp use are the Amtrans AMRG Carbon Film Resistors and the Audio Note Silver Tantalum non-magnetic 2W resistors.

Now, the best resistors I've used are the Texas Component TX2575 (Vishay z foil). For transparency and resolving powers none better.

absolutely brilliant as the shunt resistor in a stepped attenuator. If you put them everywhere the effect can be a bit OTT. YMMV

MItch2 - I have to imagine the Amtrans carbon have a similar sound to the Takman carbon..I tried a tiny Amtrans picoF film cap and it was too wishy washy for me in this application. So I am not sure what to think of Amtrans. Musically rich...but too veiled. Seems a very specific sound, in some ways a shortcut to tubes if you put them in a class D.

I am passing on naked resistors due to a point Takman brought up in their papers.. which is that naked is going to be a victim of induced current, which means magnetism.. this is the same reason Furutech has special grounding and demag in their connectors. Those competing magnetic fields are a no-no if you are going for rock bottom noise. Which I am in this application. Also... Takman pointed out the bodies can be a point to add vibration countermeasures. I won't say I'm not curious about the Vishay...but... based on what works for me, I am not sure.

What I like about AN so far, is they seem to do a good job bringing the musical information of their inspirations - Black Gate, Shinkoh et al, but with less veil and noise. I am trying to order the Niobium and will report back.






agisthos- What I’ve learned so far is see if you can learn what kind you already have, and if you don’t want to deviate from their signature (dynamics, 3d stage, etc) then find a superior brand of the same design. If you want to experiment with the total presentation, then explore the other kind.

I am passing on naked resistors due to a point Takman brought up in their papers.. which is that naked is going to be a victim of induced current, which means magnetism.. this is the same reason Furutech has special grounding and demag in their connectors. Those competing magnetic fields are a no-no if you are going for rock bottom noise. Which I am in this application. Also... Takman pointed out the bodies can be a point to add vibration countermeasures.

not trying something on the basis of what you read in a paper published by a competitor, is rather unsound practice IMHO. Until you have heard a naked Vishay z foil replace another resistor in the direct signal path you can not begin to comprehend what they can do.

As I stated before, they are not a panacea, and must be used judiciously as their utter transparency can prove too ruthless and become overtly clinical when used exclusively.

In my Khozmo passive, the shunt resistors are the Takman REY metal film resistors and the single fixed series resistor in each channel is the Vishay z foil naked resistor.  As described by PW,

"their utter transparency can prove too ruthless and become overtly clinical" 

This becomes a personal choice but they are revealing for sure.

Regarding the Amtrans AMRG resistors in my Hattor BIG preamp, I believe they offer a couple of levels of resistors - mine are the black carbon film resistors.  All I can say is that they sound very nice with a good balance of detail and musicality.  The big Audio Note Silver Tantalum non-magnetic 2W resistors I used to replace the Shallco VC in my buffer also sound very good and seem to be well-balanced.

My favorite combination is using the z-foils in series positions and the AN silver tantalums in shunt positions. The higher wattage silver tants sound a bit richer but don't fit everywhere. 

I haven't tried the Niobiums. 

Takman's take on induced noise makes sense with the naked Vishay, but then, induced noise would predict lower transparency, resolution. I believe pretty universal experience TX2575 highest resolving, transparent resistor. Issue with these, wattage and lack of flavor, as previously noted these won't supply your needs.


In any case I'd like to hear your impressions of these resistors if you decide to try.

 these won't supply your needs

excluding compoents from consideration based on pure speculation made on the basis of what you read is rather unwise IMHO.

@pesky_wabbit I very much doubt the Z foils will deliver what OP desires in this particular case, reason I suggested Takman carbon films over Z foil.

And my suggestions not based on pure speculation as you speculate in regard to my experience. I have in fact been using the Z foils for years, many in my Merlin BAM, in previous dac, in former phono stage, in Art Audio Carissa Sig, in my present 300B monoblocks. So, plenty of experience, again, I doubt these will give OP what he desires. Also, wattage will be of concern, TX2575 just over 1/4 watt, yes, you can stack for greater wattage capability. In the end I believe OP is on correct path, he's done due diligence here.

Caddock MK132 have the signature the OP is looking for.  These are discontinued, however their replacements the MK232 should fit the bill as they share the same construction and have undergone only minor changes for Rohs compliance.

I've heard many things about the Z Foils and the Takman paper regarding their design is a logic aligned with many experiences I've had. We all have to prioritize based on the synergies and brands that resonate with us. In a perfect world, I would love to try them. Absolutely the only way to know anything for sure is to try it yourself.

If the AN resistors are too euphonic or feeling too inaccurate, I might go to the z-foils. Just when I think I master the logic of my DIY, I will get shocked with a failure and go searching in new territory :) Isn't that the truth?


Regardless..doesnt sound like too many people have tried Niobium.

doesnt sound like too many people have tried Niobium

think the price has scared a lot of people away. Would be most interested for you to post your findings 

I spoke to AN again, and they refused to offer qualitative remarks, saying it all depends on the balance and they do not use all Niobium or even all Kaisei in their equipment. Not surprised there. Still, I am placing my order.


I finally found a review, google-translated from Polish :


Tantalum resistors, such as several versions of Audio Note or Shinkoh, sound sweet, dynamic and slightly rounded, especially in the mid-bass. The relaxation of these resistors can take away too much coldness and sharpness, or unnecessary tension in the sound. Bold bass adds bulk to the sound when it is too thin and contoured. The voices move forward and fill. Their disadvantage is the lack of the deepest bass and excessive sweetness.

Rikens play super neutral and have deep bass. The mountain is resonant. If the source is too sharp, it may sound too lean. With a well-balanced system, this is the best choice.

Z-foil pulls out teeth during the burn-in process, then it is very neutral. Great for shunt volume attenuators.

Takman REX is bland and neutral.

You can write for so long, but we have to focus on AN NIOBIUM 2W.

Each resistor requires a laborious burn-in process and it is no different in this case.

The first hours are my full fascination with the sound! It is somewhat reminiscent of the best 2W tantalum resistors. We have a thick sound, full of proper weighting. It looks like it’s an absolutely perfect resistor. We have an amazing detail completely unheard of with such a mass of sound. In addition, we have a stretched, clean treble and very deep bass.

Then it is worse because we experience what with Z-foil resistors in the burn-in process, i.e. the sound becomes too sharp and flashy. It doesn’t reach the size of Z-foil, but it can be painful.

After about 30 hours, everything stabilizes. What do we get in the end?

The sound is ideally even from the top to the bottom of the band.

The tone is brilliant but not the golden and sweet richness of tone that tantalum resistors have.

There is no specific thickening of the middle bass. The resolution is higher than that of tantalum resistors. You have to be a little careful with them. I recommend gradual changes and trials and mixing of AN Niobium with other types of resistors. Replacing all of them with AN NIOBIUM can be too painful for the ears.

Is it the best audio resistor in the world? Maybe....

Based on the HiFicollective website, the AN Silver Tantalum resistors are more than twice as expensive as the AN Niobium resistors.  In the audiophile world, the price of two of them to use as series resistors in a shunt type VC should not break the bank.  They actually do sound great in my buffer - a touch of body and glow.  My Khozmo passive that uses Takman REY metal film with two zfoils in the series positions sounds very "clean" in comparison (when used with the buffer).  Maybe I should let those break in a bit more before judging, however, the Amtrans AMRG resistors in my Hattor passive sound just right when used with the buffer.  The only way to figure out what you like in a particular application would be to actually try them.

obviously there is reasonable sufficiency... sound is affected by any details, resistors are not as noticeable as capacitors, transformers...
Qvortrup likes to praise himself...
I would have bought Vishay for myself - and forgot ...

Yes but it is like asking the comparison of two of the same herbs - I had this problem recently with oregano. One brand was so sharp and bitter I could not find any place for it whatsoever. I think its possible to talk about the intrinsic qualities of a component irrespective of where you put it, like comparing 3 oregano on their own.

Decided to try Z-Foils on the input signal coming into the amp, and then Niobiums in the feedback position which seem to exaggerate the color of whatever is used in it. AN is finally sending them my way.

As for silver Tant/Niobium : I cannot stand silver or rhodium in my system because I like the warm fundamentals which always seem to vanish with the slightest rhodium component, so I am fearful of trying these, but I heard they may be different. They are expensive to try.🤔

well. it appears you have taken the plunge. Will be intrigued when you report back..

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I added the Z-Foils first. This is for the resistor which the interconnect immediately connects to, so I decided to make this transparent. The Niobium will go downstream in a feedback circuit.

First impression is surprise. I was told the Takman create artificial junk on the highs which exaggerate dynamics (reminds me of WBT), and sure enough this is true! Overall, a feeling of going from a cheap camera lens to a Zeiss or Leica. Pure, uncolored, rich and deep. Noise floor radically dropped over the Takman REY, and those were radically less noise than the REX or generic metal. Resolution increased nicely. No color whatsoever, like looking through high-grade glass. It is nice for my application! These seem good anywhere you do not want the resistor to exist, so to speak. Filling an entire system with these would be odd unless you were totally confident on all other components. 

There is some burn-in going on, so I will take them to 2-300 hrs and then add Niobiums. Obviously AN are aware of the Z-foils, so I am expecting the same but  maybe more humanity or color, maybe tuned toward voices or acoustics.

glad the Z-foils worked out for you at the input, they really are transparent. Yes, filling an entire system with them can be a bit overwhelming, and too much of a good thing.

I’ve had the Niobiums in a couple days, also replacing Takman Metal. Knowing the improvement the Z’s did, initially I’m not super impressed.

I had hoped for the radically low noise/linearity of Kaisei, but these are more on the carbon/tant vibe of "smoothness". Dynamics a touch reduced over any metal I’ve used, a slight compressor effect. Resolution and noise floor is pretty good, not amazing. These are the "closest" to metal that I’ve heard, coming from something that is not metal. But still, when you switch to techno music, the roundness and inaccuracy is apparent. Even solo acoustic feels like I lost the dynamics and fatigues me a little with the "evenness". I’m going to try Z-foil in this 2nd position and I think that will work for me here. If you find your metal resistors too sharp and clear but hate carbon, these are probably what you are looking for. They are musically very nice..but I can’t live without the dynamics I had.

I think its definitely a matter of finding the right seasoning for your application.


How long are you leaving the resistors in place? I would assume there would be at least some break-in involved.

Typically I use the full 300 hours my Furutech solder needs, so its painfully slow. Audionote recommended 100hrs for their resistors. In fact, the Niobium are making some I’ll report back after a couple hundred hours. But for example, EL caps and metal resistors begin too thin and clinical in my experience, very slowly opening up and feeling natural. These have been the reverse.


Likely I will try the Z-Foils in place, because I suspect the Niobium are going to sound very similar...the price point is identical.In the studio I want maximum transparency.


But for my hi-fi, I want relax... today I added the Niobiums there, coupling the VCap ODAM’s to the El84 cathode, replacing some metal foil. I like the results already. The most brittle recordings of ancient instruments and 1970’s Japanese jazz which sounds like a tin can are totally listenable, which the metal always had trouble with and the carbon turned into nice but flat boredom.


I was concerned the Niobiums were too tubey and compressed sounding, so I swapped all the resistors to Z-Foil. There was instant gratification of low noise and high resolution, but after several hundred hours they did sound thin and there was an extremely "metallic" felt-texture. Tingy, metallic, pingy. Acoustic guitars and flutes and especially vocals were metallic to the point of sounding like my loudspeakers became tin cans. It was unenjoyable for everything but showing off slick sounding techno music.

In this case, I would prefer Takman or a mix of Z and Takman, because Takman have crispy and gross highs, but are FAR more musical overall than Z foils. 


I put back in the Niobiums which had 150 hours on them, after AN reassured me I should continue burning them in.

Now at over 300 hours, I can say the sound is fantastic. They became tighter from bass to treble, with no slowness or compression, but much more music comes through than Z-foils. The felt-texture which began woody and waxy now is more like "felt" (think of the felt hitting a metal string in a piano), which is very low fatigue. Acoustic guitars sound natural, bass is warm, highs contain a ton of information - tambourines and cymbals are rich and natural. Imaging is easily as precise as the Z-foils, but with an analog feeling and not metallic.. overall a perfect resistor! Just keep in mind they really do take well over 200 hours!

While I was concerned at their ’tubeyness" at first and combined them with Z-foils, I am ordering more for the circuit and think I can go full-Niobium. Just bear in mind its a very long burn-in.

@clustrocasual - Thanks for the updates. Have you tried the silver tantalums? 

Are you using the silver Niobiums? What wattage parts are you using? 

I've been using the silver Tantalums, but haven't tried the Niobiums.

They are .5W because of space issues, I was not able to go higher. I use standard Niobium, which are higher resolution and fuller sounding than Z-Foils, as a comparison. They are the highest resolution resistor I have tried so far and the tone curve feels natural and nothing weird, no rhodium/silver tilt etc. Just a great improvement to the Takman sound I was getting before. You lose a touch of "exciting" metallic felt-texture, but its worth it for the naturalness of the music. And that part is totally subjective anyway.

Have not tried tants but read many reviews of them before deciding. There’s a website which said the Niobiums are "musically" on a higher level than silver tants, although the silver tants may give some improvement in certain areas.

I want to try the silver Niobium this summer. At first I thought I needed them because these began VERY warm and dark, even at 100+ hours. Then they shifted bright and brittle. They went back and forth until you get both warm and top end, but then they are sluggish. Thats when I removed them. But when I put them back, the next 150 hours cleaned and tightened up the sound and they are super solid now. Even bass-heavy techno music sounds as tight as metal resistors, but like a flood gate of music and transparency comes out.


your results with full Z-foils mirror my own. Ideally I use a mixture of Z-foils and Takman metals, with a few Caddock MK132 (very full, bold and assertive) and Shinkoh tants (musical and finely textured) thrown in for flavour.

The MK132‘s are very good at balancing the  Z-foils in circuit.

I recommend replace one position of either the Takman or Z-foil with Niobium. I tried a few combos of this.. small differences of these locations, but in all cases the improvement of Niobium was great!

I replaced the VC on my preamp with two AN Silver Tantalum resistors, turning it into a buffer.  The AN silver tants are huge in size and while maybe not exactly neutral they sure are musically enjoyable, IMO.  I have an outboard passive VC with Takman metal film shunt resistors and Vishay z-foil series resistors and it is comparably a little hard (but neutral) sounding compared to my other outboard VC that uses Amtrans AMRG Carbon Film Resistors, which I find to be a good combination of musical and detailed.  I doubt I would gain anything by replacing the AN silver tants with AN Niobium, but it would be easy to do.

It is Interesting how incredibly subtle aspects of complex field expression (current and voltage), as combined with molecular noise, all time shifted in some manner, as a slur or as a displacement in time and level of transient edges (the only part that matters to the ear--it is all we hear!) (that takes on aspects of a hysteresis curve, in written graphic expression) can combine to alter our understanding of an audio signal reproduction.

Where, knock on wood, the haters have yet to arrive. To speak, and share, without receiving undue abuse.

Sure is nice we have so many boutique parts available to us these days. My present recipe has combo of Takman Rey, Rex and Z foils in various equipment. AN Niobium more resolving than Z foils, that's really saying something!

@teo_audio I've come to liken it to comparing high-end glass for lenses. Zeiss, Leica, or a simple prism from grade school show you what happens when turbulence and time shift occur with light - prismatic effects, halo, chromatic aberrations. Electricity moving through materials (as wave or particle) subject to the same issues. Hence why we call it "colorations" to sound. My $0.02.


I was wondering why the cosina lenses I found at VV (value village) on the ’wall of shame’ (bags of stuff, priced) had such value, on line. then I looked closer. bubbles. likened to Leica. (waiter! take this old stuff away! bring me some fresh wine!)

Then the explanation to people that it’s not about the bubbles themselves.. but how they formed, why they formed. Boutique, or pinnacles.. can be like that.....

Yes thats especially similar with NOS tubes. Somehow people accept tubes work on this principle, but not cables, resistors, caps...all are nothing but materials which energy flows though, coloring the behavior and result. But I guess some people feel the rain, while others just get wet.

Where, knock on wood, the haters have yet to arrive. To speak, and share, without receiving undue abuse.

Even the word tantalum suggests one may reach for something but never grasp it.

If we combine Nobium and Tantalum, maybe we get straight to a product called Humerus?
(Which would be a great name for a tonearm.)

Is this supposed to be the modern rewriting of an odyssey, from the perspective of the audiophile?