Hello, my name is Jac van de Walle, I was born in Holland, and I have been an electronics enthusiast ever since I was a kid. My first project was when I was 6 years, a Crystal Receiver, which was fun, because we lived close to the sea, and there were a few pirate radio stations out there, with quite high transmitter power. So these would be easy to receive. The antenna signal was so strong, you would hear all kind of voices and noises, just by putting this is series: The Antenna wire, an OA79 diode, a crystal ear plug, and the ground wire. It was fun to do, and somehow appeared logical. But I remember, I switched it always off afterwards, so the transmitter station would have no problems because if me. So my knowledge of electronics was a little but limited. Understanding the tuning circuit came later, so when that part didn't work (which was often so) I teared it down and start from the beginning again, 5 or 8 times, until it worked in the end, and the result was very inspiring.
later I added an OC13 transistor, working on only one 1.5 Battery, to amplifiy the audio signal. These OC13 cost 2.75 Guilders, I remember the high price. So appr 1.50 Euro, and they last far too short when you are 7 years old. So, an OC13 was my standard birthday whish. That that was always a problem when I damaged my transistor again. The poor device could only do 5V and 10mA, and the fact that it had specifications didn't occur to me. My father sometimes would buy me a new one, but not always.
I once had an OC13 with a broken off lead wire. I managed to open up the glass case, and re-solder a very thin copper lead to the chip. Those chips were not contacted with welded bond wires, but it was clearly visible, the wire was soldered on there. So I tried to re-solder that fine drop, and it worked. For this, I wound a single filament from a stranded mains cable, around the tip of an solder iron, and by cutting it off at the right place, I could find a spot which just hot enough to melt that little drop, with the heat of the copper wire itself, and then it was attached nicely. It was not even hard to do.
OC13 (the unlucky number) were rejected OC71. Philips did that very clever, they set up this OC13 part number with lowered specifications, and many rejected transistors (with too much leakage or too low break down voltage) would pass the OC13 specifications still.
This is the comany PM Quakkelstein, in my birth town VLAARDINGEN, who was selling surplus electronics. When I was 13 years old, color TV was coming suddenly. Each and every familiy would watch TV together from 19h to 23h in the evening. Having a TV was essential. A new color TV would cost appr. 900 Euro, which was 1/5 of the price of a new car. Due to the high price, many would just use their old B&W TV until it needed a repair.
Wheras specially the older Philips types without printed circuit boards were good quality. Actually build very nice, with a special made 800 Ohms loudspeaker for an output without SE transformer. These had a relatively long picture tube, so they could do with not so high acceleration voltage. I believe it wa 16kV. I just measured that voltage by drawing a long spark from it. Many suffered mainly from dirt inside, because everybody was smoking in those days. They circulated a lot of cooling air, and some smelling layer of dusty "stuff" would be on everything. That layer was a bit sticky, the old timers amongst us will remember this. If I see a picture of such a TV, I have that smell in my memory still. The picture tube was black and white, but when good, it was very sharp and bright too. Looking back, these were milestones of miniaturisation and technology. I found these broken TVs were very easy to get for free. I picked the Philips, and without understanding much about the details, I could repair 50% of them, and the broken ones were for free parts supply. They would sell for appr 25 Euro, when working again, and I could make some money with that as a kid. This money I spend at PM Quakkelstein, and books about electronics, whch were for sale in the local radio shop, near by. After 5 years, that "business" dried up, and nobody wanted to have a B&W TV any more. I repaired quite a few in those days.
I finished my graduation in electronics in 1984, and started my first job in R&D, designing Analog to Digital converters and switched mode power supplies.
In 1986, I went to Germany to start working for Hewlett Packard, as an Application Engineer, and later as a field sales engineer. In those days, it was a privilege to work for Hewlett Packard. At least everybody felt so, myself included. The company had an artificial subculture, like a society. It was still original when I joined, and the founders Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett were still on duty. You would be terribly mistaken, when you think they build this company out of nothing, just by coincidence. These two founders always made rules for overall processes. With this I mean processes, which involve the whole company as such. For them, the factor "people" was a very important one, if not the most important. In their own way, they were keeping the company on the main course, and I am sure they had put into some simple rules as well. Though such rules were of course not always openly published.
JAC-Music was founded in 1993, originally as a hobby, building 845 based SE amplifiers. Tax wise only making loss. In 1994 I got in contact with the AVVT Electron Tubes company by coincidence. I kept in touch, and in 1998 they asked me to do their worldwide distribution. I agreed, and at that time the business was very small, and there were only three tubes in the program: 300B, 32B an 52B. For me this was just for the interest I had in it, and the business was only small. I convinced Alesa Vaic to expand his product range, and we went through a very innovative period. We were the first to re-issue a single plate 2A3 tube, and mesh tubes, and other nice tubes like the AD1, PX4, PX25, and the 274A. Today, you can buy a new made single plate 2A3 from several factories, but we were actually the FIRST to re-issue it. That was in the first days of the internet, and we were so happy we could gather inputs from people on the rec.audio.tubes Usenet forum, which was free at that time, and "the" medium to publish your information. It may seem hard to believe, but having a website came later. We didn't know exactly how to build a 2A3, so we started with a modified 300B but we couldn't get the characteristics like a real 2A3. Later we changed the construction to get a true 2A3. This was the first single plate 2A3 build ever since the big companies stopped with it, in the 1950's. No tube company had that tube available. Think of this while you can buy a 2A3 now from China, and Russia, and from Yugoslavia, that the first re-issue 2A3 I had on my desk made by AVVT. It looks terrible, but it works good. This tube is some piece of HiFi history!
Quickly after that, we made a mesh version, with real 2A3 characteristics, and it was the first re-issued MESH 2A3 tube, that we made that way. I still have this tube, it looks very nice, and it works perfect. It's a milestone of today's Retro-Tube-Technology. This was the first mesh tube ever re-build again, and we never changed anything fundamental to the design of that tube. The initial ideas for a mesh tube came from some of our friends from the New York tube scene. (thanks Dave Slagle!) Today, there are many factories building 2A3. They are all followers of our ideas. Most of the marketing work was done by me, and the technical work was by Alesa Vaic.
A break through we had, when I bought for Alesa a tube tester, of which I knew it was a bit off calibration, the reading was a tiny bit too low. They had to pass any tube by this tester, because I had exactly the same one here, but with normal calibration. Later he understood, his tester was a bit "weak", but like that we would never have a discussion about a tube that was only "just good" on his tester, as it would be "fine" on my (good) tester. He accepted that.
As quality improved, business was picking up, though lifetime of the products to my opinion could have been a lot more better.
Then things went faster, sales started to rise suddenly. It was good business now. Then In 2002, unexpectedly I received a three lines email from AVVT, telling they decided to do all sales them self. At the factory some good people were fired by his wife Agatha. I never understood the big idea behind this. All I could see is, AVVT polarized people against them. Myself included. The distributor network that I was taking care of, was send an email by AVVT, they can now all buy directly. Some just called me first thing to ask what was going on.
Then something happened, which AVVT had not expected. Some people including myself, teamed up against AVVT, and we started up a new brand. It was the only thing to do, and things went fast. We tried to be as good competition as we could, though we had to start with little business. Distributors had to choose. If you sell AVVT, that is fine, but then you don't sell EML. The Hong Kong Dealer choose for AVVT, and all the others choose for me. You have to understand, this was before the internet, and before Ebay. The main communication tool was called a fax machine. In the same year, AVVT closed down. Alesa tried a carrier as amplifier builder, but that did not work out good.
Today, EML produces a complete line of High Power Triodes that are unique in performance, appearance, and most of all in quality. Also we have re-made some original tubes as the first company. The 45 that we introduced, was later picked up by the Chinese factories. Added to this are now some limit-breaking tubes, like the 1605 which is the largest single plate triode of it's kind.
For my hobbies I have almost no time. That is keeping my Hammond Organs in good condition. I own an original B3 tone wheel organ, born in the same year as myself. It has a mechanical tone generator, and all tubes electronics inside. The B3000 I have, is a 1970's CMOS version of the B3, with the original Leslie Tone cabinets. Unfortunately I don't have the time to play them very much. Here is a sound sample of the B3.
I am looking to grow the product range of JAC-Music, offering nice and interesting products, some of which may be hard to get elsewhere. It is just these DIY products that we want to offer simply from stock here in Germany.
My Technical background:
1984 Received my Engineering degree at the HTS in Rotterdam. Specialty: Energy, and High Voltage Electronics.
A final word: Thank you for the many nice and interesting comments I received on this page :)