European Triode Festival 2005


European Triode Festival 2005

The last time for the annual ETF event at the great Bodensee location. Next year it will be held in the Netherlands for the first time. The phono shoot out and Thomas Mayers System (hence the new Rolling Stones album, ‘A bigger Bang’) is covered on many other web reports, so I will concentrate on my subjective experiences on this yers event.

For me the ETF is always an opportuity to listen to gear that can hardly be found any where else. Since I am the lucky owner of a pair of Siemens Eurodyn, aka Klangfilm speakers we ( from left Thomas Schick, Michael Ulbrich, Peter Siking all from Berlin) formed a little team to present our system.

The system consisted of my Garrad 301 with a custom made 12 inch tonearm. Denon 103R and Ikeda 9 cartridge.

Michael Ullbrich brought his ‘Boxer engine’ 2A3, as well as the 4683 amp.

Peter brought his redesigned DAC along with the Rega transport.

The speakers are mine again, the trusted Siemens (Klangfilm) Eurodyn. (No bass, no treble, but a lot of music as one of the French said…).

After some tweaking and eleminating faults the system performed reasonably well on Saturday.

The sources

My Garrad 301, with transformer power supply. The tonearm was made with my lathe and mill facilities, it uses high precision ball bearings. These were selected by low tolerance and low friction and low noise. It was the first prototype. Read more about it here.

A Rega Planet CD transport with a modified DAC. The DAC was redesigned to non oversampling by Peter Sikking. Amongst the best CD sound you can get.

The French team

The audiophile teaming up was very much inspired by the French group ‘Melaudia’.

Their huge system was in the same room like our ‘Berlin’ system.

Here it is:

With Onken W Bass Bin, TAD drivers, Multi amplification, well see the Link above for their website for more information

Together with the interesting front end a truly authorative presentation. Remarkable was the performance of the Mono cartridge (the red one).



A little snapshot from some of the Melaudia members, accompanied by two Danes (on the right).

I would like to thank Jean Michel Le Cleac’h (with the laptop) for measuring my Siemens Eurodyn speakers and his hints for speaker improvement.


The Danish, Swiss, German room

Here is the room packed with a couple of systems. One afternoon we were listening to Ralph’s JBL 2360 horn with the very interesting BMS coax mid – and treble driver. In the corner position not really convincing.

Later that evening, night, early morning, the same guys came into the room with a listening session going on. Meanwhile the JBLs have moved next to the Danish three way speaker. I leaned over and asked Ralph what he did to his speaker setup. The answer was startling: ‘ No it isn’t hte horns playing it’ the 3 way speakers from the Danes ( Bjoern Aaholm & friends).

Wow, that is the ultimate compliment for a speaker when you really believe another speaker is performing. It was ‘invisible’.

After a while a couple of other guys entered the room and everone was fooled again. and they have heard the one or other system before…. Great fun. The bass performance of the Transmissionline box was really good, deep, non resonant, authorative but unobstrusive.

A short Transmissiononline working well below its resonance frequency might be the trick.



No good sound with no good source… see below.

Garrad 301 Grease bearing, Schröder 1 arm, Red Rose cartridge.



Later , very much later, the JBL were playing again. This time in the middle of the room. Now they were also playing great. Very detailed, controlled but still sweet. Hm, this JBL BMS combo combined with the danish transmission line….



The German vinatge room

And now for something completly different…

Chances are rare that you ever hear a system like this.

The speaker is an Eckmiller Coax design from 1943. A field coil speaker with a unique design. The wooden box mimics the dimension from the rare information about this speaker icon.

Powered by a Telefunken V73 combo or a RE 604 single ended amp.(Details on this amp later).

All this stuff was brought by Alexander Kriegel.


The source is an Orpheus Silex, an Australian broadcast turntable accomapnied by some very fine ingredients: Schröder arm and Lyra Titan. Courtesy of Frank Schröder.

Together with the Eckmillers a beautiful sound was created. Sweet and unagressive yet detailed.



The Austrian acoustic lab

From Austria some cool designs.

Made by acoustic engineer David Haigner. He told a little group about his research and projects, including a seven meter steel concrete horn for a theatre- concert venue in Vienna. He researched the Waveguide flare for his horns. A substantially different approach compared to Tactrix or exponential designs.

Thank you for the very interesting talks!



Amp listening session

Dietmar Hampel brought his spectrum analyzer, Michael is working on his BSS to compensate for the measured dips and peaks.

Thanks a lot to Dietmar

Saturday evening everything ‘recovered’ and played very nice. I took the opportunity to swap some amps. It turned out in a nice listening sessions with a lot of superb amps. We started with the RE 604 amp from Alexander Kriegel. The amp setup allowed the change of power tubes with a switchable plate resistor. Swapped to the Philips E 406 it became magic. Triode sound to die for. My personal favourite.

Thank you Alexander.


After that Michael Ulbrich installed his 4683 amp with his self made output tranformers. Yes this combo works. Pleasure continued.

Please note Alexander’s amp now fitted with the E406.


Then the chapter ‘The power and the glory’ was opened.

The mighty fine 845 amp from Francois Dionis put us into the realm of two digit wattage, a real blast with 104dB/W speakers. So did his Digital amp from Flying mole, the little Black Box in front of the 845. The complementing strengths of these amps should be heard in a Bi amping setup…

Here is a great tip from Francois, a software frequency network. Just use the simple audio player ‘Foobar’, with the ‘Channel divider’ plug-in. Well a decent multi channel audio hardware is also required so is a matching ASIO driver. (Windows only)

Hey, where is Johannes Le Bong’s ‘Heinzelmann’ amp in this session? It uses the amplification tube EL8 known from a Grundig radio. The small amp showed that simple straight designs can achieve a very good sound. Did anyone doubt this? Not me.

Overall this year there were a lot of good sounding systems. Different in character, but all with an agreeable blend.

The input from several discussions talks, measurements. Moments of listening to great music. The ETF is a must in my calendar.

Not to mention the ‘Listening Enhancers’ in their various forms from French beer and champagne to German red wine! (Thanks Bernd) and other fluids whose destination I can’t be sure of anymore….

Time to power down everything, see you next year in the Netherlands.