Many of you probably know of Steven Hill’s great company Straightwire but I am wondering how many of you know the origin of the term?
Back in the mid 70’s a number of high-end community members started using the term a “straight wire with gain” to describe the ultimate amplification device – meaning an amplifier with no more degradation than that of a short piece of wire. This was the mythical “do no harm” amplification device everyone would strive to build.
In the later period of the 1970’s J. Peter Moncreif, of the magazine IAR, started using the term a “straight wire bypass test” describing a clever means of comparing any amplifier product to that of a simple wire.
Move forward to the early 1980’s and we were struggling to find a simple descriptive word to help our customers figure out a new feature on our preamplifiers. Originally labeled 0dB/-20dB, this was a switch that allowed the user to bypass or engage the internal electronics in the preamp – trouble was no one understood what the switch did (except engineers).
So we borrowed the two words straight and wire and combined them into Straightwire, labeled the switch choices Straightwire/Active and voila! Everyone instantly understood the purpose of the feature.
What’s in a made up name? Understanding.