Reel-to-Reel for Life

June 1, 2021 § Leave a comment

Ultimately, though, the valve comeback surprised everyone. In 2021, tube supplies are no longer an issue, and the dark years of dodgy valves from China are pretty much over. Indeed, the standards for many tubes today are as high, if not higher, than they were when tubes were the sole electronic device prior to transistors. Just look closely at today’s best 300Bs, 6550s and KT88s; the more recent KT90s, KT120s, and KT150s; or the smaller input tubes such as ECC88s from the specialists. Tube-o-philes have, indeed, been blessed.

If you now substitute “LPs,” “vinyl,” or “records” for every mention of valves or tubes above, it’s the same state of blessed rescue, but with an even greater, more successful rebirth because the appeal of LPs is broader than that of tube electronics. Whatever the numbers, though, the point here is that not once but twice the hi-fi industry responded to resurrections of dead or near-dead technology, and the music biz revived a deceased format. As one who witnessed the decline and rebirth of both, I remain stunned.

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