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Re: Heard an interesting rumor

7/30/2000 4:27 PM
Re: Heard an interesting rumor
It had been mentioned a few years ago that Peavey had explored the tube-making angle as well. The whole hazardous chemical line is a bunch of bulls*it, because the manufacture of transistors and IC's is just as (if not more) toxic as making tubes would be. The fact is the market doesn't justify the tooling and skilled people needed to do it right.  
I had heard Richardson was considering this at one point as well.  
I spoke to a gentlemen years ago at Tungsram's office in New Jersey, and he explained that they were going to be bought (GE eventually bought them I think ) to market and manufacture lightbulbs, as the market was so much better. Home Depot had zillions of them on the sales floor for quite some time afterwards. This was in the early 80's when Tungsram 6DJ8's and 12AX7's cost me about 75 cents wholesale ! 6L6'/EL-34's were like $ 2.00 each. Should have stocked up then....When you consider the simplicity of a lightbulb compared to a tube, you can appreciate why they would lean that way.  
The strange thing is that companies like Eimac, who make amateur and professional transmitting tubes hasn't explored this market. Heck, they have functioning factories and skilled people, It would seem to make sense.  
I had heard the Tung-Sol Factory is still standing, and theres a number of dilapidated tube making machines sitting around somewhere in Newark. At the rate Newark is being rebuilt, someone should check this out soon.  
Anyone have an address ? I'd be willing to go look.  
7/30/2000 6:12 PM
Steve Slick

I used to work for Raytheon. While there I was told by one of their old-time engineers that the environmental problems in making tubes wasn't B.S.  
You're right about ICs having the same problems. But in those cases, your volume is in the zillions and that lowers the unit cost and quantity demanded enough to make it worth the trouble. The market for vacuum tubes is just a fraction of that.  
As I've said before, I think the consesus in the business community is that digital modeling will in the near future completely replace vacuum tubes.  
Thanks God I'll never live to see it.  
7/30/2000 8:34 PM
Peter S

Unfortunately I think youare right. Digital modeling will replace tube amps much the same way TV dinners has replaced food in many instances. It's a sad commentary on our culture. The environmental and economic factors in the production of tubes are very real issues, but not ones that can't be overcome if the motive was there. Probably one of the biggest environmental problems the world has today is fossil fuel powered automobiles, but since the major oil companies stand to benefit from the perpetuation of this condition, most people don't expect to see a viable alternative in the near future. Even though technology exsists that could change this. The bottom line is that it's the bottom line that is the motivating force.  
Peter S
7/30/2000 11:46 PM
Carl Z

I wouldn't count on digital modeling to replace tubes any time in the near future. Granted the good ones have the "sound" of the tubes down pretty well but the way the amp reacts isn't even close to right. The kid rolling into GC with daddy's plastic isn't going to be able to tell the difference. But when he gets better and he plugs into the real thing it becomes shockingly obvious.  
Carl Z
7/31/2000 1:35 AM

I think the whole "replace tubes" thing is a joke..  
History is littered with the bodies of every engineer who "knew better" and his/her patents.. I'm not holding my breath. :-)  
Tubes carry on for the simplest of reasons.. here are a couple.  
1. they're STILL CHEAP  
2. they do what they do better than anything else.(PERIOD.) As one of the Manley's is quoted as saying, "vinyl no matter how nice is not leather.." (something like that anyhow) It's true. Some dig simulation is only as good as the program which is only as good as the programmer. eg: it will never be quite right.  
3. they are plentifull  
4. the circuits are simple, proven, reliable, *durable* and easy to mfr. (and sound great!)  
*how many SS amps are you going to see in studios 50 years from now?? Now how many '59 Bassman's are still out there going strong? How many SS amps can you repair in 15 seconds by plugging in a new component?  
WHY replace them? What's the deal? :-)
7/31/2000 2:38 AM
Paul C

I was an authorized line6 guy for awhile, and at one time a new "MOD" kit came in for an early amp. It was a big face plate sticker and a little box that said "Here is your new amp!". It was an EPROM...
7/31/2000 1:35 PM

I get people in the store who ask if we have any of the Johnson/line 6 amps. Invariably I end up stating my position: If you REALLY want one, buy it. Realize that you are essentially buying a computer. Right now I'm rebuilding a Thirty year old Vibrolux Reverb. The parts are readily available, the amp is easily serviced/rebuilt by ANY moderately competent tech,it WILL increase in value with time, is a design that is essentially still in production, And is one of the standards to which other amps compared to due to excellent design, and sound. How many 30 year old COMPUTERS can you say these things about?  
It amazes me how many people never think about this stuff before slapping down perfectly good money!
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