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Would you pay $130 for a resistor?

Electronic circuits are packed with resistors. Normally they cost no more than a few cents each. But this one, from a vintage vacuum tube mic, is on sale for $130 US dollars. $130 US dollars!

It is always interesting to keep an eye on the Pro Audio section of eBay. I firmly believe that you don't need expensive or classic equipment to make good recordings, but anyone who didn't have a certain degree of interest in equipment would probably never have gotten into audio in the first place.

So here we have an interesting item... A resistor, on an eBay 'Buy It Now' for £80 UK pounds, which equates to around $130 US dollars.

(Please bear in mind that eventually the item will be bought or the listing will expire. Sometime after that the page will disappear, so view it while you can.)

Now this isn't any old resistor, it's a resistor for the vintage Neumann U47, which some would say is the best mic in the world, ever.

And it isn't just the resistor, it comes with a clamp and two mica insulators. If you're looking for the actual resistor in the photo, I think it is the curved piece just below the metal clamp at the top.

Now one thing is for sure - resistors are not rocket science. A resistor is like a conductor, except less conductive. Or you could say it's like an insulator, but less insulating. Somewhere in between in fact.

How much would you expect to pay for a resistor? Well normally it depends on how accurate you want its resistance value to be, and how much current you expect it to carry. A few cents will cover most eventualities.

My guess would be that if you had a Neumann U47 that was in need of a new resistor, a few cents spent on a modern component would do the job perfectly.

But perhaps, just perhaps, some of the 'goodness value' of the U47 resides in this resistor and without the exact replacement part, the mic just wouldn't sound the same.

I have to say that I doubt it, but if you have a U47, then you might as well keep it in as original a condition as possible.

Over to you... Would you buy a resistor for $130?

By David Mellor Thursday April 14, 2011