Less But Better: The Braun TG-1000 Tape Recorder of 1970

Braun_TG_1000_!972_picIt’s very hard to find vintage BRAUN hi-fi gear in the states; i’ve seen some amazing BRAUN receivers in Canada, but they either were not sold here, or poorly distributed, because they just ain’t around.  Sporting a design aesthetic that would be popularized in the NAD, ADS,  and PROTON lines of the 80s, BRAUN kit owed it’s beautiful, so-far-ahead-of-its-time character to Dieter Rams.  Rams put his stamp on a huge range of goods for BRAUN; I once found a Rams-designed mini desk fan (!) that was shockingly valuable as a collectors item.  Anyhow, here’s a great synopsis of the career of a man who’s ideal could be summed up as Less But Better:  CLICK HERE.


Via Wikipedia, here are Rams’ ten principles off good design.  Enjoy.

  1. Is innovative – The possibilities for progression are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for original designs. But imaginative design always develops in tandem with improving technology, and can never be an end in itself.
  2. Makes a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic criteria. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could detract from it.
  3. Is aesthetic – The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
  4. Makes a product understandable – It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
  5. Is unobtrusive – Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.
  6. Is honest – It does not make a product appear more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
  7. Is long-lasting – It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
  8. Is thorough down to the last detail – Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
  9. Is environmentally friendly – Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
  10. Is as little design as possible – Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

RCA Solid State Audio Projects c. 1968

RCA_1968I’d never been particularly interested in learning solid state electronics.  There just didn’t seem much point; considering that you can buy a 4-channel Sytek mic preamp for $900, there just ain’t much to motivate anyone to DIY ss kit.  Tube stuff is another matter – it’s a different sound, and well-made ‘real’ high-plate-voltage, transformer i/0 tube gear is super-expensive.  So I learned to make the tube gear both for my own studio and as a way to make some add’l income by custom-building for other engineers.

All that being said, there is an undeniable appeal to be able to build something useful that doesn’t require a heater circuit and the attendant 60-cycle-hum battles that come from those hi-current windings.  Solid state is just easier, which is prolly why it has won-out in the world of consumer electronics, if not necessarily in the pro-audio world.  In my endless diggin for ancient tubes and transformers and bakelite meters I invariably come across stashes of ole germanium and silicon transistors, and I recently decided to take the plunge and try and cross this bridge once and for all.  Cos I can talk tubes and tube audio circuits up+down, but frankly I don’t know shit abt solid-state and maybe it’s time I learned.


The old RCA Tube Manuals have always been my primary source of information for my tube-audio builds and experiments.  The circuits that they recommend are the most solid, reliable, and practical that you will ever find.  I trust them implicitly.  And why not?  After all, this was the company that made the tubes themselves!  So when I decided to try and get into SS, I started with the RCA Solid-State Hobby Circuits Manual.  In the scan above you will find a mic preamp, a line-level compressor, and a fuzz pedal.  I’ll be building all three eventually and I will LYK how it goes.  In the meantime, if any of y’all beat me to it, drop us a line and report back,,,

RCA_SS_MicPre_Schem RCA_FuzzBox_1968_schematic RCA_SS_Comp_1968



Rock Scene mag c. 1980 presents: The Connecticut Rock Report

RockSceneMag_Sept1980_coverDo YOU think Ted Nugent is sexxxy?

“ROCK SCENE” was a musician-oriented newsprint rag published out of Bethany CT from 1973 – 1982.  Now, Bethany is a sorta non-place just north of New Haven perhaps most notable for its Book Barn.   So the fact a new-wave/punk-loving magazine came out of here back in the day is pretty amazing.  NEways, I was flipping thru some cartons of old garbage at the Flea Mkt recently and I came across the 09/80 issue. Top story: CONNECTICUT ROCK REPORT.


Being a rocker in CT is kinda like being a (what) in (where).  So, CT rockers of ’80: we salute you.  You are our past, and our future.

Crayons_FlyingtigersAbove: The Crayons.  The Flying Tigers

PArt2Above: Lytes; Eyes; Fast Fingers (Ewwwww (-Ed)); Jett

Part3Above: Napi Brown; Toys; The Orange Group

Part4Above: The Simms Brothers Band; Frankincense & Myrrh; Back To Earth Band




BTW: some absolute nutcase, glob bless him, has scanned EVERY FKKN PAGE of EVERY FKKN ISSUE of ‘Rock Scene’ and you can waste a ton of  yr employer’s money by clicking this link