It seems that there are certain people on today's rockin' scene who are trying to revive the 'old is best' philosophy that has been our bugbear ever since the Sixties. They seem to want to live in some impossible imagined version of the Fifties, where even people like Eddie Cochran are held to be 'uncool', because, friends, Eddie 'was not a hep-cat'. What a load of hên cachi.
Let's get something clear here. There is NOTHING wrong with recording on multi-track transistorised equipment. It's what you play and how you play it that counts. Of course it helps if you have a sympathetic engineer who understands about our sound. There are now people going around who say that the DJ's should use vintage equipment, too. These people are cranks. Hey, how about all those transistors from the Fifties?
Let's be honest. In some given situations, valves (tubes) can sound better. This tends to be when things are somewhat stressed. The reason for this is that a valve is a voltage amplifier and a transistor is a current amplifier. Valves are also inherently more linear, and require less negative feedback built into the circuitry to provide a flat response. Transistors produce uneven harmonics (outside the musical scale) and valves even harmonics (much nicer), but true hi-fi is, by its very nature, the faithful reproduction of the recorded sound, and it doesn't matter what you use if it's up to the mark and operating within its given parameters.
Of course, if you wanna be a valve purist, fine. Expect to have to carry a lot heavier stuff from gig to gig. Another thing, forget about ceramic magnets on your speakers, to be Fifties you'll need the good ole blue cobalt stuff. Basically, be prepared to put your hand in your pocket in a BIG way! To learn more about this, we suggest you nip off to your local library and read up on 'Hoffman's Iron Law', and how it affects the relationship between the amplifier output and the speaker. It's interesting stuff, but may be a bit cerebral for our rather limited purist friends.
Even your vinyl records have sound that has been through a digital delay line. Any record mastering plant will tell you that. Effectively, you've as much chance of being a Fifties purist as you have of being a 100% vegetarian!
Let's throw away this stupid snobbery and get down to making music that can sound 'authentic' without having to sound dated. Let's use valves for certain effects, and having got them, let's be realistic and use transistors to reproduce that sound in a practical way.
For those of you who want that totally authentic Fifties sound, there are thousands of records made in the Fifties that you can buy. The original beats the reproduction every time because it has that inherent unself-concious spark of creativity. However, if you want it in stereo with some of today's technological advances built in, then you've got my vote. Hell, a Fifties Chevy is a nice lookin' car, but it would be nice to be able to go round corners quickly and brake efficiently! Come to that, a decent heater and comfortable seats would be cool. A good stereo CD player built in? Now we're talkin'!
Now you may not agree with all this. Let's hear your point of view, but remember that the person who has written this is old enough to remember the Fifties, DJ'd on the rockin' scene for 15 years (5 of them professionally), has a bloody big record collection and has some background in electronic engineering. He's also a self-opinionated egotist! He also has a lot of technical manuals from the late Forties and early to mid-Fifties....
Here's what someone sent us: "Rockabilly bands today are pale imitations of the '50s.Trying to distance yourself from the original music just makes you a modern smoovie b*st*rd. I've decided to shop elsewhere for my rockin' music. The proper 1950's stuff. Must be depressing knowing that none of the modern Rockabilly bands that you promote on this site will ever do Jack ****. Good riddance!!" Of course, he didn't give us a real e-mail address, but we could see that he'd been searching our site for rockabilly. Here are the names he searched for: colbert hamilton + darrel higham + kitty little. Yeah. The proper 1950's stuff. Right. You work out what's in this guy's head!
"Authenticity only becomes an issue when you don't have it." Earl Scruggs
This page was built using only authentic 1950's equipment running under Windows 57