The Hub: Lone Star Audio Fest - what, NO promotor?

Texans tend to go their own way, so it's not surprising that the Lone Star Audio Fest is run a little differently from most. Billing itself as "the Woodstock of high-end audio shows" (don't expect nudity, though), LSAF operates under the principle of "want to book an exhibit room? Talk to the hotel". Oh, and let the Lone Star guys know, and they'll put you on the exhibitor list of the website.

That's right: if you want to be an exhibitor, you book the room through the hotel (in this case the Embassy Suites Dallas-Park Central), and pay THEM. This may sound elementary to the point of imbecility, but it's worlds apart from the way most shows operate.

And, oh: there's no admission charge. The show is free.

Feel the need to sit down? Go ahead.

Costs of high-end audio have gone up faster than those of Defense Department toilet seats, and those include the costs of exhibiting at shows. Even the less-expensive shows will cost a couple grand, and for many guys graduating from the garage to the open market, that may be a whole year's profits, if not more.

So, some years ago a bunch of guys led by Wayne Parham of Pi Speakers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, put together an ulta-low cost show, with no booking fees other than the room costs. What few costs there were, were covered by donations.

The tradition continues in Dallas, with many exhibitors showing horn-speakers and tube amps. Audio Mirror will be showing their SET amps; Sean Ta's Artemis Labs will have their John Atwood-designed push-pull tube amps and Frank Schröder-designed turntable and arm. In the horn-speaker realm, Affirm Audio will be showing a new field-coil driver developed by Bob Spence which is likely to allow the use of "affordable" and "field-coil" in the same sentence; along the same theme, Jon Ver Halen's Lowther America will likely show the Lowther-based field-coil designed by Dave Slagle and Jeffrey Jackson. Less-easily categorized exhibitors will include interesting aluminum-enclosured speakers from Jumping Cactus; Duke LeJeune's Audio Kinesis speakers, which are always worth a listen; and the wonderful little amps from Seth Krinsky's Virtue Audio. Of course, Wayne Parham of Pi Speakers will be there, too.

And where there is an audio gathering, one can assume Albert Porter will try to be there with his camera and his unique sense of humor. This show is practically in his back yard (about 4 miles away) so he will be photographing it for AudiogoN and verbally jabbing as many exhibitors as possible :)

There are many more exhibitors than those mentioned above, and the current exhibitor list is of course subject to change, given the open-exhibition policy. Because that policy offers a real opportunity for newbies to show their stuff, here is the schedule for attendees AND exhibitors:

Friday, May 14th3:00pmCheck-in and setup3:00pm to 6:00pmExhibitor rooms open to the public6:00pm to 8:00pmPrivate showings, exhibitor rooms open optional8:00pmExhibitor rooms closed for the nightSaturday, May 15th10:00am to 6:00pmExhibitor rooms open to the public6:00pm to 8:00pmGroup dinner for all who wish to go together6:00pm to 8:00pmPrivate showings, exhibitor rooms open optional8:00pmExhibitor rooms closed for the nightSunday, May 16th10:00amExhibitor rooms open optional12:00pmCheckout time

Have a good time! Bring a friend! It's FREE!!
This was the first audio show that I've attended and I'll go again. If you heard it is laid back you heard right. Here's a couple of things I can report about.

The speaker designer from Jumping Cactus drove in from Tucson. Talk about a self effacing system, he used a Rega table and arm and a Dyna PAS pre, for example. He uses aluminum enclosures ala six figure YG Acoustics speakers. Three of em with an outboard crossover. I couldn't hear any coloration to the sound at all. He gets my sleeper of the show award.

One guy, a former high end store owner in Kansas, simply attended and set up his personal system with some Gallo satelites and a sub. He turned me and us on to a Buddy Holly CD the tapes of which were made in 1955. It was so beautiful I asked if he would let Duke give it a spin to demo his new AudioKinesis speakers. Duke said he spun it 5 or 6 times. His wife was a beautiful woman. I'm not talking out of school, I told him I thought he was a lucky man (hell, he looks like me!). He approved.

When I saw the new AudioKinesis speakers I thought it was a big departure from what I've seen of their designs and wondered if I would like them. Well, I did. They were so good on Simon and Garfunkel Live in Central Park, so sweetly detailed and genteel I thought, man, if this was all you listened to, these are the ones. Then he played Hugh Masakela's Stimela. Doggone if I didn't think the same thing! I made it a point to send browsers over to his suite.

I thought the GR Research open baffle V2 speakers were terrific. Timztunes from north Houston like me asked why I would set aside my Meridian actives for a pair and I said cause the sound was not limited by the enclosure. That and because they could be so adenelin pumping exciting. They were very quick and dynamic. Very terrific.

Other fine speakers that I heard included Wayne Parham's 3 Pi's. Wayne is also the publisher of Electrostats from Some handsome and great sounding two way floorstanders from Sonist whose main man would also pour you a glass of what appeared to be a rare Scotch-

Scott Clark was there with his science class project winning speakers and I think all comers were mightily impressed. That is a human interest story Texas Monthly or someone should get a hold of.

I didn't get round to a lot of rooms cause I had to man a post, so I can't offer more and there were a lot of exhibitors. Great hotel for this purpose, too, with an open bar at dusk.