Category Archives: chronicles

My first transistors

In the early 1960s, tubes still ruled consumer electronics. Family equipment was dark, and smelled of hot Bakelite or grilled dust. It hummed with a sound which we do not yet know that he was well on guitars. We began to listen sounds from elsewhere. Funny little flashy devices went invading our teenager bedrooms and participated in their clutter. They diffused sharp sounds that slammed well with rock and Roll or Brit Pop. It was a completely different sound than family equipment. We spent our sixties adolescence between these two sensations: muffled brown old receivers and bright orange pocket transistors, such as between blues and pop.

When we opened our pocket radios to replace the battery, we finded out these tiny stuffs that would become essential components of the twentieth century : transistors.

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Germanium comeback

The long era of synthesizers provoked a return sometimes offensive, sometimes conservative to guitars. This brought back into fashion both vintage instruments and equipment. Guitars, amps, stompboxes, all the electric guitar chain turned back to its roots. That did not stop the digital mutation, which is a hugh scale phenomenon, but brought back to light the technical aspects that built the culture of the electric guitar. The return to grace of tube amps represented a major phenomenon. On his humble level, the rediscovery of Germanium seems to be another signifying axis.

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Look at them caps !

Components are as humans: their look and reputation are superimposed on reality.
When I started in electronics, there were hardy components that were not afraid to show their machining traces. Then I saw industrial series colored like pop art paintings, pretty miniature pearls but of poor sounding, or conversely cheap looking stuff sought for their performances, and military components with an astounding sound sensitivity under their shielded shell .

I would like to tell you two adventures that catched my eyes or my ears, or both.

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