First came the war on filament lightbulbs. Now we’ve heard of a planned EU directive banning valves and vacuum tubes across the EU from 2019. The as-yet unannounced piece of legislation cites “an unsafe, inefficient technology invented in the 1920s” and is, we understand, to come into force from 1st January 2019.
The announcement was allegedly posted on a website run by the European Commission that outlines technical standards applying to all EU member states. The piece was, it seems, pulled a few hours later, yet our staff received a copy from an anonymous email address from someone within the EU legislature.
Spearheading the new law, apparently, is Switzerland’s EU commissioner on technical affairs, Helmut Ampless. He is quoted as follows:
This ancient so-called technology is inherently unsafe and should be banned as soon as possible. It’s easy to electrocute yourself on these little things, and imagine if a child broke one and was sucked into its vacuum. It’s terrifying.
‘Illegal’ guitar amps?
If promulgated, this order will obviously have a huge impact on all manufacturers of tube-based guitar amps and other studio equipment. It’s currently unclear if owners of tube amps will have to destroy their precious equipment before the deadline. Could owners of ‘illegal’ amps face fines for merely owning one of these “unsafe” pieces of equipment? Transistor technology is unaffected by the ban, however. Could this pave the way for a new renaissance in solid-state amp technology? Presumably everyone will be compiling IRs of all their valve amps before it comes into effect in an attempt to circumvent it.
We’ll keep you posted…
UPDATE: By now you will no doubt all have guessed that this was our April Fools Day article. How many of you were really taken in by this? Let us know in the comments.