The Third Annual Burning Amp DIY Festival

The Burning Amp Festival is almost upon us. The day-long DIY (do-it-yourself) love fest, held within yards of the San Francisco Bay, attracts a good 150 DIYers from around the world who engage in the annual ritual of demming their homemade gear for other avid audio enthusiasts.

Scheduled for Sunday, October 18 at Sausalito's Presidio Yacht Club near the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, the event has again been publicized on the over 100,000 member strong forum. The forum is international in scope—it began in Australia—meaning that Burning Amp is one of the few large-scale DIY events that take place around the world.

This year, Burning Amp is returning to its initial vision of attendees auditioning each other's equipment. After an hour for set-up starting at 10am, the schedule promises two hour-long amplifier auditions, another two for speakers, and a fifth hour for source and line-level equipment. Members who last found their often fantastic-looking gear relegated to static display are this year pretty much guaranteed the opportunity to play it for others.

Mark Cronander (forum name Variac), who is running the show with the help of Denmark's Christian Viller (cviller), expects a full day of auditions. To insure that no one monopolizes the proceedings, volunteer "amp wranglers" will take charge of matters in both large demo rooms.

This year promises two star presenters. The first, former NHT speaker designer Jack Hidley, who runs Audio Consulting Services, will compare good and bad loudspeaker crossover designs. Attendees will see and hear the difference between a crossover designed by the books and another that has been optimized using computer analysis. Cronander praises Hidley as "always very helpful and generous."

The other star presenter is the unofficial hero of the DIY community, the one and only Nelson Pass. Although the extremely generous genius has always arrived with a truckload of goodies—from hard-to-get parts to nearly completed amplifiers—which he contributes to the eagerly awaited afternoon raffle and give-away, this will be the first time he has given a full presentation at Burning Amp. Pass's "Design and Construction of a Beginning Amp," which will include a demo of a working version of an amp, is scheduled for 2pm.

Burning Amp's mouthwatering 4pm giveaway will appeal to every DIY enthusiast under the sun or, as is sometimes the case, enveloped in Bay Area fog. In addition to speakers and speaker parts from NHT, and electronics and open-baffle speaker parts from Pass, Linear Systems is expected to contribute demo amps and J-FETs.

"Your stuff doesn't need to look beautiful," says Cronander. "Just bring it." Although pre-registration is lovely, it's fine to show up with the $20 registration fee in hand. For more information, contact Mark (Variac) at