The Important and Almost Forgotten Part of Vacuum Tube Technology or...
"A Good Vacuum Is Hard To Find"
Article by Karl Lozier
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Vacuum tubes are being used with increasing frequency in audio equipment. Many, perhaps a majority of serious listeners are convinced that vacuum tubes are simply a must for a truly musical-sounding preamplifier. Tubes are also being used more frequently than previously in high-end audio equipment. This is creating ever-increasing demand for tubes. Manufacturers are expanding plant capacity; new plants are opening. New materials and techniques have been developed and the best new tubes are physically and sonically or at least the equal if not superior to the best of the old stock of by-gone years.
However a new problem is rearing its boding head. With pollution seemingly everywhere - land, sea, and air - really good clean vacuum is almost impossible to find! Since the political upheaval in Russia, workers are no longer wiling to even enter shafts to lodes of the known largely untapped reserves of vacuum in Mongolia. Then the relatively weak earthquakes near the Andes Mountains were strong enough to cause ground faults to shift and allowed vacuum reserves to become seriously contaminated. There have been unconfirmed rumors for many years of untapped sources of vacuum in Andorra. However as I'm sure you know, that country has both France and Spain as its suzerains; guess how tough it would be to ever get mutual agreement with that sort of arrangement to tap into vacuum reserves if any do exist in Andorra. Finally, the continued working of reserves in Madagascar's largest mountain caused a terrible and unexpected implosion. Basically all has been lost there.
All this background information has been quietly contained until Dave Glackin let some of it slip while talking with Keith Herron some time ago. It's high time our readers are informed. Keith Herron is putting together a project with
Enjoy the Music.com™'s resident nuclear physicist, Dick Olsher. Briefly, they plan to create a large new vacuum source by setting off a relatively small nuclear explosion under the "right conditions and at the perfect place". The exact spot has not yet been determined. Leslie Olsher says, "Dick can do anything"; Keith Herron's associates are "a bit more dubious". Tony Cordesman says, "stay away from the middle-east with that damn thing". Steven
Rochlin says that
Enjoy the Music.com™ will cover the seminal event from beginning to end from a spot closer than the closest safe spot. Gene Pitts says he wouldn't touch the project with his longest ten-foot pole. Michael Bishop wants exclusive permission to encircle the ground zero area with microphones at ever increasing distances, just in case the closest ones don't survive. If successful the vacuum created will be frozen as a liquid at absolute zero and transported in specially modified tanker railroad cars originally designed for unpasteurized milk.
If this doesn't work Hank Wolcott is going to work with Herron to perfect a project on a larger scale to retrieve the vacuum from NOS (new/old stock) tubes to use in new tubes now being produced. The NOS tubes don't have to be audio tubes. The larger the tube the better and easier to work with. They are working on a specialized technique to pressurize the vacuum, which will enable them to hopefully be able to put almost twice as much vacuum into each new tube. Jim Aud says that only his liquid filled/shielded cables will work reliably in a pressurized vacuum environment. Ray Kimber has serous reservations about that statement but will go along with it starting the project as connections would still use his DiAural techniques. Unfortunately, my calculations, admittedly rounding off the traditional formula of pi r squared to an easy to use "2", indicate that only 30% as many new tubes (+ or - 25%) as old will result. Initial production runs will be only for Herron and
When informed of this project word has it that EveAnna Manley was heard to mutter something like "only a couple of men could even think about it once". It has recently come to light that working directly with vacuum can easily cause serious problems and the pressurized vacuum is doubly dangerous. Probably by a process of osmosis, vacuum is absorbed into the blood stream. It winds up in mainly the cerebrum and cerebellum. The result could be termed "vacuum head" which then causes the term "air head" to be a real oxymoron. At the moment the only known cure involves standing on one's head for at least 20 out of every 24 hour period of time. It has been theorized that using workers used to common yoga-like positions such as head down/feet up would be immune to the usual resulting problem of "vacuum head". For music lovers everywhere, let's hope one of these projects is fruitful. A good clean vacuum is so hard to find.