Vacuum tube equipment

A. Joseph Ross
Thu Sep 1 00:21:14 EDT 2005

Now that I've read the archive of the discussion about vacuum tube
equipment, I do have some comments.

First, the RCA Victor radio I got does have a wooden cabinet, but the
speaker is attached to a plastic front, and it sounded just as good
when I had it operating outside the cabinet.

I have my own theory about vacuum tube equipment, and it has to do
with the quality of the product.  When I listen to WBZ on my car
radio, I'm not bothered by IBOC hash.  And on my car radio, I don't
have trouble sorting WCRB from the images of all the other strong
signals around -- even when the car is moving.  And I can hear WATD,
which I can't hear in my home except on my livingroom stereo, and even
there, only with a lot of noise.  Car radios are still made with a
high enough quality for the somewhat difficult reception conditions of
a moving automobile.

But home radios are not being made as well as they used to be.  I once
had a cheap AM-FM clock radio with tubes that I bought for $2 at a
yard sale sometime in the 70s.  I used it in my office and heard WCRB
with no problem.  In 1985, when moving to a new office, I thought I'd
get a new radio, and I got a nice wood-cabinet Sony radio.  The sound
quality isn't too bad, but the reception is definitely not up to that
old clock radio, which I'm sorry I discarded

I have a good-quality Sylvania solid-state table radio which I bought
in 1968.  It's a little more suceptible to FM images than the older
tube sets, but it has no trouble sorting out WCRB, either at home or
in my office.  Several months ago I decided to swap it for the Sony in
my office, and it manages to pick up WCRB with only occasional
retuning or adjustment of the antenna.

The Sony, here at home, is completely incapable of getting a 
consistent signal on WCRB.  Neither can the boom-box that I bought
last year at a yard sale.  Neither, in fact, can my Sony 2010 radio,
which is so excellent for short wave.

But I now have a Panasonic portable radio which I got for my mother
back in the late 70s.  It's a bit temperamental and requires careful
adjustment of the antenna, but it can get WCRB fine once that's done.

So, tubes or transistors, they're just not making them as well these

A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                           617.367.0468
 15 Court Square, Suite 210                 Fax 617.742.7581
Boston, MA 02108-2503           

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