Switching valves

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It’s remarkable how easy it is to get a little piece of information and turn that into an all inclusive proclamation. Dark clouds on the horizon mean rain. Hospitals are full of sick people, therefore hospitals make people sick. Lots of people bought this album, so it must be good.

One of my favorites is “transistors are switches, therefore they do not make good analog amplifiers”. Or, its cousin “Vacuum tubes are valves, therefore they’re best for making amplifiers”.

We get hopelessly mired in prejudice for or against a particular concept when we form our opinions based on partially correct information. It’s true transistors can be used as switches and it is also true vacuum tubes act as valves. But we can also flip the words around and have exactly the same meaning.

The very first digital computers were built from vacuum tube valves used as switches (which is where the term “bugs” came from).

There’s plenty of reasons why transistors sound the way they do compared to vacuum tubes and vice versa.

Ascribing incorrect information to them doesn’t help our understanding and discovery of the real culprits at play.