Gerhard Haas Experience Electronics, Herbrechtingen, Germany (1/17/1952 – 1/28/2020)
I met Gerhard Haas for the first time during an annual Elektor expert meeting somewhere in Germany, where he arrived together with his long-time friend Michael Kaim, the founder and owner of BTB Elektronik, Europe’s largest tube supplier. It didn’t take me long to understand that I had just been introduced to two of the world’s most experienced and enthusiastic tube experts. At the time I had just started to work in audioXpress, and we quickly started exchanging ideas on how to expand the editorial coverage from high end to other tube audio applications, and explore the fascinating world of lesser known tubes.
Short after, Gerhard Haas submitted an article about the Wah-wah’s effect pedal (which he originally signed as “Paul Hendrix”), quickly followed by another one about the KT 88 and KT 120 power tetrodes, and another about a Class-A headphone amplifier. And we established a plan to translate more than 10 different articles from German to English, most of which were previously published by Elektor in their Roehren Sonderheft editions, but they had never available in English before. Gerhard had written most of the articles for these Elektor “Tubes Special Edition” magazines, including bylined articles using alias.
Gerhards’ talent and extraordinary work was the pure result of dedication and passion – he always described himself as an amateur, and always insisted that his projects should be available as low-cost DIY kits so others like him could also learn. But he certainly had a natural instinct for audio electronics and a contagious enthusiasm for high quality audio experiences, always considering the complete chain, always powered by tubes. “Whether guitar amplifier sound or Hi-Fi, a 2nd-harmonic-focused amplifier sounds better,” he wrote.
I know that much of the richness and detail of Gerhard’s works never fully translated from his original text in German to the published version in US English published by audioXpress. The German language represents a significant challenge for many publishers and always requires carefully translated work. Sometimes we would be dumbfounded to read paragraphs of text with a less than obvious inherent humor. Describing the Russian 6C33 tube, Gerhard wrote: “Such a high degree of resistance to vibration and shock is perfectly appropriate for the use in fighter jets, tanks or warships. Therefore, this tube could be used for beating people to death without damaging it. These characteristics are less important for hi-fi purposes.”