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ETF. What is it? ETF is a gathering of enthusiastic DIY fanatics with a focus on tubes or valves as the English call them. About 100 attendants from around the world come together over four days of building, audi(o)tioning, discussions, listening, eating, drinking and even more drinking. The majority brings with them complete systems mostly built and designed themselves. These systems vary from small to really large.

A bit of history. ETF is held each year at the end of November, beginning of December. Back in 2000 ETF started as an initiative by Kurt in Aarhus/Denmark. He called it ATF with 'A' for Aarhus. The first 3 years that's where ATF was held before attendants decided that the initiative should circulate in Europe. Now the Germans took over the organisation, ATF was renamed ETF and held in Germany for 3 years. Then the Dutch hosted the event for 3 years and by 2010 the French were in their 2nd year.

Stella Plage. This little village is located at the Northern French coast in Normandy close to the Belgium border. Here ETF rents the vacation resort Stella Maris from Thursday through Sunday. This means hotel rooms, a good size dining room and about 7 large halls in which to host audio systems and presentations.

Program. From Thursday to Saturday evening there is a comprehensive program consisting mostly of lectures, system demonstrations, live music and the annual shoot-out which this year was about midrange horn/driver combos. Lectures are presented by the attendants but each year year there's also a so-called mystery guest. These mystery guests are well-known personalities to audio DIYers and often famous engineers from the audio trenches. This years the mystery guest was JC Morrison known for his articles in the early underground magazines Vacuum Tube Valley and Sound Practices, certain Fi audio products and today for his engineering at Silbertone.

The festival. Most people arrive early or midday on Thursday and immediately start unpacking cars and setting up their systems. Since there are about 5 big rooms available, multiple systems get erected in each. This is followed by listening, merging systems, modifying components and discussions in an almost non-stop flurry until Sunday morning when a communal brunch completes the festival to signal that everyone should pack and leave. What follows are brief impressions on some of the lectures, the shoot-out and some of the stuff that was brought along to convey an idea of what it is all about. - Rob Hubertse, Holland -
Single-ended amplifiers by the French featuring mostly KR Audio power valves. The source was a netbook connected to a DIY converter.

A newly designed RIAA amplifier by Frank Blöhbaum on its maiden voyage with an EL84 push/pull design with DIY turntable and 40cm bamboo tonearm (Blöhbaum designed the Thorens preamp and power amp and also contributes to TAC).

This year the program started on Thursday evening with live music amplified by French DIY amplifiers.

Next morning Frank Blöhbaum presented a lecture about his newly designed tube-based crossover.

Frank demonstrating his tube-based crossover.

Guido Tent was showing his impressive “100 triodes per channel” amplifier. 50 x 6N3P double-triodes were paralleled for each channel to produce about 100 watts built on a 1-meter square board and called Centi-are.

Centi-are in the dark.

Preparing for the shoot-out of the driver and horn combos. Each was listened to and voted for by the audience. Each A/B session was in mono and consisted of 2 music tracks resulting in a winner and a looser. The audience crowned a vintage Klangfilm combo the victor.

Combatants lined up for battle.

A very energetic lecture by JC Morrison showing his circuits had JC encourage everyone to use his circuits hoping to prevent a commercial patent- :)

Joachim Gerhard of Sonics' lecture was about open-baffle speakers with rear-firing tweeters and his research on the subject.

Silbercore amplifiers, Silbertone RIAA amplifier, DIY CD player and DIY push/pull amplifier.

A test rig 300B amplifier by Retrosound.

ETF had not only audio but also test gear.

JC Morrison explains his Silbertone design. To the left is a 833A SET by Christof Kraus.

Menno van der Veen performing measurements on (what else?) transformers.

More information about ETF can be found here and links to far more photos here.