ETF05 Pictures & Comments


« Back to previous page

I try to make some comments and deliver background information - from my point of view - to some pictures. This time we were lazy and made only a few photos. Only this is the reason why many other very interesting things and setups of the ETF05 are not mentioned here.

Please click on a pic to load the high-res version in a new window.

First things first: I want to thank everyone, the event-managers Christian Rintelen + Wolfgang Braun and all the participants who made this really great meeting happen!


This snapshot was taken short after arrival. This year I had carried with me some class-A power amps with different power triodes and pentodes to the ETF (e.g. 211, 1626, 6P14, EL8). I brought also three different phonostages with triodes (e.g. 6SL7, ECC83, 7025). One for the contest. Some of these amplifiers were put here on the table. At the left side you see my wife Andrea. The young gentleman in the background is Peter Zöllner. His DIY-work reminds me in a sympathetic way of the old Al Bryant of Texas whose home brewer story was printed in Sound Practices issue 11. That is because Peter uses also baking pans as amplifier chassis. I remember also his pretty Coral fullrange speakers and his professional CD-player made by Denon.


No doubt the Eckmiller fullrange speakers presented by Alexander Kriegel were one of the bright highlights of the show. These more than sixty years old german PA-drivers with their strong electro magnets are very rare collectors items. And they make music! The sad part of the story: you do not have a real chance to find another pair of this drivers today. It is nearly impossible. That's why Alex can be very proud of it.

Also on the picture you can see an amplifier of Alex in a blue box. It is an SE power amp with E406N and C3g Tubes, two regulated power supplies equipped with EZ 80/81, EL86, EF80 tubes and 85a2 voltage regulator plus many other unusual components inside. Alex uses for example Thoeress output transformers with amorphous cores.

The second amp on the picture is my latest prototype. It was built in the workshop of my friend Hans-Peter Voelpel using my retro style components. Hans-Peter was also the man who had the idea to try the EL8 beam power tetrode in a new HifFi amplifier design. A grey shining beauty invented by Valvo. It was used in simple 'Grundig' home radio sets. One famous model of this old german brand was called the 'Heinzelmann' and it was produced in the fifties. The early Heinzelmann, when Grundig started his business shortly after world war II, was sold as a DIY-kit to radio amateurs. That was because the germans were not yet allowed to produce their own radio-sets in these after war days.

The Homepage of Alexander Kriegel ak-tubes.de


One of the most impressing systems for me is the 'Installation exemplaire' of the French team. I really liked it very much - the big system with it's great sound.  Yes - I could hardly afford speakers and gear like that. But if this would be possible, I'd love to have also a similar system in our living room. On the picture above the 3-or-4-way-system which is based on huge Onken woofers is build up. It is a very elaborated system. Not the average stuff. You can visit the homepage of Melaudia for more information: melaudia.net 

As I see it, the french audiophiles have their very own style, their own know-how and do-how. May be like the famous cuisine francaise. French hifi is not very well known in the germany audio scene.  I've seen and listened before to a very similar setup in Rueil Malmaison nearby Paris, when I visited my audio-friends of 'Melaudia' in may 2005.


The nice vintage Garrard 301 turntable is from Hartmut Quaschik. I knew it already from last year. But this time Hartmut had mounted a twenty years old Schroeder arm on it and used very precious pickups. Miyabi brand, Red Rose and so on, things which I normally only know by name. Standing on the right, my latest version of the '5691/1626-Ultra-Fi-Darling' and my new EL8-Amplifier, assisting the experimantal two way speaker system hooked up by Ralf Gibbemeyer.


Here we try one of my phonostages in combination with Hartmut's choice of step up transformers.


Next picture was taken in another dungeon. There was a place somewhere hidden in the back of the basement, where Franz Gysi (Switzerland) and the danish friends around Bjørn Aaholm also were in with some audio gear. On the picture you can see a horn device from Ralf Gibbemeyer. I learned that this high/midrange horn from Lansing is called 'die Arschbacke' (Sorry - I cannot translate this) and that it has a very low WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor). I am happy that I do not have problems like this with my wife ;-)  As always, Ralf flew in from Shanghai and it took him approximately three days (and nights) to come out with something good sounding at least. By the way - the blue amps on the floor are made by Bernd Uecker. The speakers left hand are from the Danes.


The french 'Melaudia'-system with the 845SE of Francois Dinois in place.


Some RIAA-Units are waiting here for the phonostage shootout with more than twenty participants. My phonostage 'Groovers Delight' was very quickly out in the first round. It was surpassed by a miniature candy gift box from Steve Bench, filled with pencil tubes. Wow - that was kind of a hard competition. Most listeners agreed, that all devices under test played at a relatively high level. I learned Steve is not only famous for designing very cute circuits. As anyone could see, he was also a long time survivor in the shootout. That means his electronics proved to be really TOP in sound quality.

Another very interesting device can be seen right in the middle of the picture. Look for the three grey boxes. This is a Pultec-like equalizer with L-C-R RIAA-filter-modules presented by Pierre-Francois Brand from Switzerland. Left side, the device with the copper chassis - this must be the winners unit, Peter van Willenswaard.

Next one is a picture of the phonostage I had built especially for the shootout. Christian Rintelen had named it 'Groovers Delight'


   

This is another configuration of the french systems. The 'red' SE mono blocks with the 211 Triode were some of the first tube amps I ever had build, when I dicovered the tubes for audio. The schematic and the full story is covered on my DIY-Pages. As a beginner big tubes like the 211 or 845 had fascinated me most. Nowadays I prefer smaller low power tubes, because I believe that they are able of better sound definition. It was a great honour for me when the french guys allowed my 'red' amp to play in their wonderful system. One also can have a close look at their active crossover (en francais: filtre actif Preyale) on the second picture.


 

Another view. The 'dangerous' preamp was made in Austria - as far as I know. The other pic shows the back side - with my Darling amplifier 'powering' the horns of Ralf.


 

This is again something special! Thomas Schick from Berlin showed his legendary Klangfilm Speakers. He also had a nicely restored Garrard and a very simple and straightforward made DIY-Tonearm. The most important components here are the ultra precision bearings he selected. Ok - that is exactly what I like. And so Andrea begged Thomas to build another one for me as her gift. We will visit the Berliners next year. Below the table you see some amplifiers. Michael Ulbrich's 'Boxer Engine' which I already knew in different levels of perfection, the beautiful made 845 from Francois Dinois, my EL8-SE et cetera.


Last but not least, there were very attractively designed horn speakers which came from Austria, where also serious hard core audio maniacs live. As David Haigner said, his system was already brand new and not really ready to play. But the sound already was promising at that point. There was unfortunately a digital crossover in the signal path in the experimental stage and one had to find the appropriate amplification. I enjoyed this speakers! As I had two other power amps free, these were used here for a try. Because I had already planned to work on a active tube-crossover design and the appropriate amplifiers that could fit such a system, I will travel to Vienna after the winter time to come and see what can be done...

Best regards, Johannes LeBong


« Back to previous page