Saturday, October 17, 2015

Burning Amp 2015

Since I am Australian, I like to get a dose of civilization each year by going back to the home country. Since I live on the east coast half way between Baltimore and Philadelphia, I can go via LAX or SFO. I realized that the Burning Amp Festival 2015 in Redwood City, CA would be on roughly when I planned to go to Oz, so I arranged to stay a few nights with one of my nieces who lives in Alameda. Since it was a Saturday, it was no problem to cross the San Mateo bridge and trundle down 101 to Redwood City.

Admission was $25 and $10 for lunch (Indian)

I wandered around snapping photos but I did not take notes so just treat it all as DIY porn. It is all too easy to get mental overload at the variety of stuff so forgive me if I don't include descriptions.

The record with a bite out of it is a sacrificial record to be used while setting up the tone arm.

Several of the parts of this tone arm were created with a 3D printer. 

Since the Pass DIY community usually builds solid state (transistor) amps, I was surprised to see quite a few tube amps but it is an agnostic fest and celebrates the wider DIY community.

I won't go into the sound quality since most of the rooms or areas were not at all ideal. 

A Metronome.

I visited Cary Chin's Bottlehead room.

Cary in all his glory.

I was fortunate to have a brief conversation with Sigfried.

These were cute.

A wild room.

I was given a sample even though it was only 10 am. It was really interesting and oddly enough, reminded me of cognac. Medicinal purposes only, of course.

Tom is a fellow Australian from Brisbane who lives in California. He restores Sansui amplifiers.

An old pair of Alison 2 speakers.

Tom. I think we were both surprised to meet a fellow Aussie, particularly since we both come from South East Queensland. 

Impressive array system with a couple of subwoofers lurking in the background.

The lecture area getting set up.

Another home made tone arm. 

Prizes for the raffle. More prizes were added though out the day.

211 amp.

Power transformer for the 211 amp.

Beautiful wiring job.

These wild looking speakers use Eminence drivers. 

Another elegant amplifier. I really should try to develop the patience needed to do this kind of work. 

Interesting cone.

I forget which model Pass design this is but it was a very impressive build. Naturally it generates a tremendous amount of heat.

I did not find out what the drivers were on the open baffle but Montserrat Cabelle was sounding pretty good through them.

Roger Modjeski of Music Reference and RAM Labs brought along this distortion analyzer so that you could test your amp. He was also the third lecturer of the day with an excellent presentation on tube amp design for those who know more about transistors than tubes. I found the part about running tubes at higher voltages and lower current very intriguing.

If you are in the Bay area, you might be interested in the courses he runs at the Berkeley Hi Fi School. Part of the course involves winding your own transformers which I would find interesting.

The setup for the first lecture by Bryan Levin on Arduino based remote controls. 

The beating of the gong used to summon the lecture audience.

Charlie Laub talking about implementing DSP and audio streaming on the Raspberry Pi.

Nelson Pass is introduced.

Implementing Schade Feedback on a mosfet. Go to post #43 for a link to his slides.

I was fortunate to have a brief conversation with Nelson and thanked him for publishing the articles that got me into this hobby. I really enjoyed this fest, probably more than others I have been to because of the DIY emphasis. It was all very inspirational.