Unpopular Opinion

Over the weekend Myself and my Origin Audio Electronics partner in crime, Freddy Gabrsek, went to the shop of mad electronics scientist, Ken Stapleton, for a little help on a power supply issue for one of our custom built microphone preamps. For those who don’t know, my studio Euphonic Sound, has mostly custom built recording gear (hi-fi analog preamps, microphones, and compressors), Freddy and I started Origin Audio Electronics (boutique pro audio and research and development shop) about 15 years ago and we’ve been developing all kinds of high end recording devices ever since. Whenever we run into technical issue we call Ken.

Ken showed us some tube based guitar gain pedals he is currently making (three tubes per pedal…freaking deadly sound). Anyway the particular tubes Ken selected for his new pedal design are old Russian stock probably from World War 2. These particular tubes are not glass they are steel. They are steel because they were designed to withstand a nuclear blast. Ken was blowing our minds by saying things like, “in the event of a nuclear explosion all electronics would go down accept for the tube based electronics. A professional touring guitarist is not likely going to be subject to a nuclear blast, however pedals do get thrown around and dropped quite a bit (problematic if the tubes are glass).

Anyway this got me to thinking about all of the “military grade” components Freddy and I have purchased over the years to use in our Origin Audio products. And all of the other audio and instrument manufactures who also used military surplus. I never quite put it together like this but now I see there is a direct connection between the technological advancements coming from the military industrial complex and popular music production over the last 40 years. Musicians and music culture has benefitted from these advancements in enormous ways. Music would have evolved and sounded much different if it hadn’t been for military R&D fuelled by war mongering humans. Isn’t it kind of ironic when you think of all the bands that have put out anti-war songs that were produced by technology that was developed for military use. Does this mean that as musicians we have blood on our hands? Heavy question. If there was ever an unpopular music biz truth, I think this one takes the cake.

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