Burning Amp Rekindles Next Saturday

Burning Amp is back. Perhaps the world's largest DIY festival—only the European Triode Festival begins to rival it in size—the mostly annual festival returns to the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday, October 17, after a year's break to regroup and scout out a new venue. Now ensconced in a far more comfy 16+ room office venue in the South Bay—Interana Headquarters at 305 Walnut Street in Redwood City—Burning Amp promises at least 15 DIY systems plus an exciting group of presentations.

"One of the most important parts of the show is that you can talk audio with old friends and finally meet online friends face to face," says Mark Cronander, who via his DIY forum handle, Variac, has taken responsibility for making the show a success year after year. "We come together because we love getting in there, building and experimenting with things, and comparing the differences between them."

What Cronander might have added is that this year, due to what seem to be infinitely better acoustics than at the prior Fort Mason location, it may actually be possible to schmooze without rendering all attempts at critical listening sheer folly. Nor, it is hoped, will some exhibitors still find it necessary to pad the walls with heavy blankets.

There are many additional changes for the better this year. One is the replacement of the former funky lunchtime barbecue with catered Indian cuisine. Another is a slight drop in the entry fee. Rest assured, ye of little faith, all the usual coffee, rolls, snacks, and drinks remain available gratis to attendees.

If advanced interest is any indication, Burning Amp is poised to surpass its customary attendance. Not only will folks find lots of comfy chairs and couches on which to schmooze, but they'll also discover four workshops scheduled throughout the day: Bryan Levin's 10am talk, "Arduino Based Remote Controls," Charlie Laub's 10:45am "DSP and Streaming Audio," Roger A. Modjesky's 1:30pm, "Tube Amp Designs and Principles," and Nelson Pass's eagerly anticipated 3:00pm presentation, "My Latest Amp & Other Tales From The Crypt."

"We love getting the inside scoop from Nelson Pass each year," says Cronander. "He always has something new and brilliant to show us. Even if a few of the concepts are over my head, it's fun to be around people who grasp every detail."

If the gods and goddesses of the internet prove amenable, there will be live broadcast of Pass's presentation, as well as the others, via a link to be posted on the Burning Amp website.

There will also be many new exhibitors in addition to the customary big three: Pass, Siegfried Linkwitz (about to celebrate his 80th birthday), and Ti Kan. Cronander foresees several large speaker systems, a three-channel demo in which the center channel is derived from stereo left and right, a completely restored system from the 1970s, and lots more. Scroll down the page here for the expected rundown.

Final set-up begins at 8am, with doors opening just in time for the opening workshop. 4pm brings a swap meet, and 4:30pm the raffle. 7pm is posted as the official close, although it's doubtful that everyone will have had their fill by then. With my move from the Bay Area due to out-of-control home prices making coverage impossible, it's gratifying to know that more people than ever may be able to get a taste of Burning Amp via online broadcast. Nothing, however, can match the fun of being there.

Mike Rothacher's picture

The easiest place to catch all the coverage, both LIVE and recorded will be: www.youtube.com/c/mikerothacher

Following on Twitter is also suggested: @audiohobby

holgerb's picture

BA is for sure far from being the world's largest diy festival. The European Triode Festival has more than 100 participants and fills three days. The German Frickelfest has 85 participants, runs for five days and has about 20 rooms with all kinds of diy setups.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Burning Amp attracts close to 200 people. My statement is correct, unless your use of "participants" refers to the number of displays.

Variac's picture

As organizer of the Burning Amp Festival I am in a position to report on quantitative aspects of this year's show, as well as some personal observations, as I there for the setup session Friday night, the show Saturday, and the re-establishment of the floor Sunday as an office workspace for Interana- a software startup company. We had a paid attendance of over 250 people, no doubt helped by the new location in Silicon Valley. We had 3 large systems in the main open area, which was large enough to have little interference between them, 6 medium rooms, and 11 smaller rooms. The variety of systems was amazing as was the vibe in each room- some with bare walls and floor, others with couches, lamps and carpets poached from the surrounding open space.

The lunch, with veggie options, was delicious IMHO and many I talked to agreed. Add 4 presentations and the ever-popular Raffle of donated parts, and it was an amazing day. Since this was the first year in the new venue we learned a lot about how to use the space which should make next year even better!

Mark Cronander