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Does the choice of diode for an AM radio matter, so long as its sufficiently biased? For example, will a 4001 work? Or maybe a high Vz Zener?

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    \$\begingroup\$ You want a small signal diode for best sound. I think any diode will work but I'm sure some will sound better. \$\endgroup\$ – MadHatter Oct 23 '15 at 0:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ What do you mean by "diode for an AM radio"? There are many possible applications of a diode in an AM radio (detector, RF-switch, mixer, power rectifier, voltage reference, indicator...). "4001" is not a component name for a diode (you probably mean "1N4001"). If I read "4001" it reminds me rather of a quad CMOS (NOR?) gate. \$\endgroup\$ – Curd Oct 23 '15 at 5:52
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If you're talking about the diode for the simplest detector, you want one with low forward voltage, like a Germanium diode or Schottky. More at http://www.techlib.com/electronics/crystal.html#Diodes

Beware that capacitance may matter too. See Schottky diode as AM detector?

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