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The Myth of Unreliable Vacuum Tube Equipment

All too many audiophiles think of vacuum tubes as being unreliable, and this rant, along with the attached video attempts to discuss why this doesn’t have to be the case.

The unfortunate reality is that a few famous brands have a history of having difficulty keeping the smoke inside the box.

I think that we as an audiophile community are partially to blame for accepting poor engineering.

I have to admit it’s getting better (credit the Beetles), and perhaps the public has finally voted with their wallets and manufacturers have listened.

I’ve been following Mr. Carlson for quite some time, and in this video he restores an amplifier which was in use for decades, running 24×7 with minimal attention or servicing.  Even more amazing is that it lived in the top of a church bell tower – exposed to temperature extremes.

When you think about it, the Allies won World War II and they relied on vacuum tube communications equipment … in the field!

His teardown and repair makes for a good view, and in my opinion, lays to rest the myth of the inherent unreliability of vacuum tube based amplification.  One could debate his philosophy about feedback and capacitor selection, but that would be missing the point.  The main takeaway for me is three words:  simple, reliable circuits.

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