The Brooklyn Wilderness in the 1940s

Sigmund Freud was right. The first five years of our lives determines our future, and I didn’t see television for the first time until I was nine in 1950. Living in the all vacuum tube wilderness of Brooklyn was exciting for a young boy. Our family was living in constant fear of attack by the Japs or the Nazi who at any minute could land on the beaches of Coney Island. At night my father patrolled the streets with his helmet and gas mask because he was an air raid warden.

In the 1940s Brooklyn was a frontier settlement of ethnic cultures, and many of you may not be aware of this: in the same way the Basques, the Irish and Scotch, who were very skilled sheep herders migrated to the West and established sheep ranching, the Jews of eastern Europe, who were skilled pastrami and corned beef herders, migrated to Brooklyn and established their flocks there. The most thrilling experience for me, as a boy, was going to the roof of our house and looking out and seeing the swarming herds of domesticated pastramis and corned beefs, like the buffaloes of plains, grazing the hills and valleys of the Brooklyn wilderness. The families of shepherds who owned of these flocks also posessed our tribes ancient secret knowledge of delicatessen. This explains why Jewish people are mavens ( a maven is a Jewish connoisseurs) of pastrami and corn beef. My Uncle Ben, wearing nose plugs, could smell a lean pastrami sandwich five miles away if the wind was blowing right. Both Woody Allen and Jackie Mason, as boys, worked in delicatessans, where they learned the meaning of life, and Alnico. Did you know that there are at least one thousand variations of texture, aroma, and flavor of pastrami and corned beef? Of course you is all the same...we find mavens where ever there is sensual, cigars, brandies, Scotch, caviar, sushi, Saki, truffles, triodes...and speaker magnets.

The point being that my sensitivity to tridoes and speaker magnets is rooted in being raised in a culture where men pride themselves in being extremely sensitive to delicatessen. Not everyone cares about the subtle flavor of pastrami or speaker magnets. Most can’t tell the difference in flavor between ferrite and Alnico. That doesn’t make them bad people, but on the other hand that doesn’t negate the enormous difference in flavor that exists between a White Owl and a Monte Cristo..between Thunderbird and Dom Perignon..between a 6550 and a 300B....if you get what I mean?

So I have asked America’s speaker magnet mavens, those men who have the capacity, and can taste the difference between ferrite and Alnico to share with us their maven views of speaker magnets, but before I do that let me share with you some delicatessen maven orthodoxy...pastrami and corned beef must be eaten with fresh baked Jewish rye bread with lots of caraway seeds. The meat must be overstuffed so it is impossible to get your mouth around it. Never use white bread or a roll, and never use mayonnaise, only spicy mustard. Accompanying the sandwich must be a very sour dill pickle, and at the very least you should drink a glass of vintage Brooklyn Champagne....seltzer, and most importantly say your prayers before you eat this sandwich because there is good chance that it will give you heart failure, indigestion or a stroke. (Note: I recommend Katz’s Delicatessen on Houston Street in NYC is a very holy place that welcomes deli mavens of all faiths)

The same is true for Alnico speakers...there is an orthodoxy for their use and it centers around directly heated triodes, and they too demand that you say your prayers before savoring because their stunning beauty may cause heart failure.

Firstly, let me address the rumors that I am about to announce that I am running for President on the Triode Guild Ticket. I am not confirming or denying those rumors, but I can imagine how these rumors got started. American needs new leadership. The kind of dynamic leadership that would put the greatest country in the world back on the 16 Ohm Alnico standard....the loftiest of places. Yes, it is true that I feel very strongly about Alnico magnets, and here is why, and what I am doing to insure their return, so we can all get to the next higher stage of triodosity. Perhaps, some day I will need your remember you heard about the return of 16 Ohm Alnico first in Positive Feedback, and your servant, Gizmo, The Techno-Shaman of Coolosity of Positive Feedback made it happen for his righteous bros’.



You can tell by heavy spiritual harmonics that I am working very hard to become the audio industry’s first living saint...St. Gizmo, The Patron Saint of Audiomaniacs (remember that Presidents are always religious). Because of decades of decadence this is going to be difficult to achieve, so I work very hard at it, which includes only having sex once a year....on my birthday...which is immediately followed by my yearly birthday cigar. I live a very quiet monk-like pious life that is very devoted to artifying the harmonic/space/time continuum in an expanded aural matrix©, and because of this my audio system undergoes constant day in and day out tweaking and has reached a very subtle level of tune. I have been tweaking the Westminster Royals now continuously for fourteen months, so I was very excited about celebrating my birthday last November 28 with new levels of musical ecstasy, but I had no way of knowing that the Angel of Death would be dancing with me.

It is very difficult for any of us to keep a perspective on the progress of our life. It is difficult to step back and get a sense of the ebbing and flowing of time gone by, so on this most special annual occasion, while I was dancing naked with my Goddess girlfriend, I had a breakthrough, a flash of insight, and I, all at once, realized the enormous progress I had made in manifesting the scoopulosity of my Nth Dimension of Music Hyper-Space. This caused me so much joy and elation that I picked up my hairy 300 pound, six foot seven, femme fatale in my arms and twirled her around my head, planted her feet on the ground and then in our naked primal splendor we tangoed back and forth like wild Spaniards on fire... and I was an amalgam of music, sexual longing and amazing grace..and then ..there was a sharp pain in my chest....and I was shooting up a long tunnel filled with Liberace’s music towards a very bright light.

This was not a scary feeling for me because (1) I was raised in Brooklyn and spent my Saturdays on the wild rides of Coney Island (2) My mother watched Liberace’s television program almost every day and (3) I watched every talk show from Regis and Kathy Lee to Oprah and read every book that was ever published on "near death experiences", so I knew I was now in "Stage One" of such an experience. So I was real chilled out expecting very soon to be in the place where angels hang out .

How can I describe my surprise when, at the end of the tunnel, there was Peter Qvortrop dressed like The King of Single Ended Triodes , with a crown filled with directly heated triodes, an ermine cape and holding a staff. In a very matter of fact way he just looked me over, stuck his head out, sniffed me and nodded for me to pass, and pointing......that a way....

How can I describe fields filled with real Western Electric 300Bs, gently swaying in the wind like an Iowa corn field? Or the miles and miles of wild triode vines with their succulent fruits: pre 1940, 211s, 845s, mono plate 2A3, and those millions of bees buzzing over there by the blue KR 300Vs. No, they weren’t bees; they are swarms of 1944 6SN7s. In complete awe I silently watched a gaggle of audiomaniac angels with their tiny wings fluttering, floating above these fertile fields of triodes plucking fresh tubes from their green sockets. Look at all of those pink adorable audio cherubs. Can you imagine the thrill of seeing Andy Singer, Gordon Holt, Joe Roberts, Herb Reichert, Dennis Had, Gordon Rankin, John Stronza, Mike Le Fevre, looking like chubby pink humming birds on steroids hovering over the fresh fields of triodes?

Up ahead I could hear this amazing music so I quickly jogged down the path and came to a very large iron bridge that crossed over a very turbulent river that had carved itself deep into the earth. I could feel a beautiful magnetic energy coming from the bridge, in spite of the fact, that the rushing water below was very frightening.

I got up the courage and started crossing the bridge when a very gnarled old man appeared at the end of the bridge, waving his hands and yelling out to me....."If you cross this Alnico bridge, you can never return". The old man looked like a one hundred year old Guy R. Fountain. I stopped and thought for a moment, but the tug of the music was soooo powerful that it pulled me closer to the old man, and then I looked down at the turbulent river beneath me and the old man yelled out again..."That river is from the run-off of the tears of men who weep over the beauty of Alnico and triodes".

As I gained consciousness in my hospital I knew I had a near death experience, and had spent a few brief moments in Triode Heaven. I was given three important lessons:

(1) Be very careful when listening to speakers with Alnico magnets if you are 55 or over. Be sure to keep oxygen, a medical alert device, and nurse close by.

(2) Don’t dance naked on your birthday, and maybe it isn’t such a great idea to have too much excitement on one night.

(3) Heaven is Alnico and triodes, and once you’ve gotten into that harmonic space, there is no going back.



I heard a rumor that the Japanese government, to stimulate Alnico speaker immigration to Japan, offered any American or British Alnico speaker citizenship, and lifetime free room, board and medical care. How else can you explain why almost all of the Alnico speakers in the world now live in Japan? Go ahead and try and buy a pair of vintage Alnico speakers in Japan, or ask your buddy who has a guitar amp with Alnico speakers if he wants to sell.

In the same way it took America a couple of decades to wake up to 300Bs and single-ended triodes, we are now waking up to the artistic truth-if you want to know one, you have to use the other. Those of you who are pontificating about triode beauty and are not bonded to Alnico, well you are riding a rice burner....if you know what I mean. I ask for and give no triode quarter, and the truth is made from spring can bend for a short time, but it soon snaps back.

There is an alchemy between triodes and Alnico that is more profound than beer and pretzels, ketchup and French fries and ice cream and cookies. You all know the feeling when you have "chemistry" with a women, when one plus one equals one hundred. That is what happens with Alnico and triodes...and our Japanese audiomaniac bros’ have known this alchemic musical bliss for decades.



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