Author: Wayne Parham


Big News!

Lone Star Audiofest and T.H.E. Show Announce Groundbreaking Partnership

Premiering T.H.E. Lone Star Audiofest in Austin, TX in Late Spring 2025

Austin, TX – July 8, 2024 – Lone Star Audiofest and T.H.E. Show, America’s longest-running HiFi show, are excited to announce a landmark cooperative venture. This collaboration will culminate in the premiere of a new event, “T.H.E. Lone Star Audiofest, sponsored by T.H.E. Enterprises,” set to take place in the vibrant city of Austin, Texas, in late spring 2025 (May 2-4).

T.H.E. Lone Star Audiofest aims to create a brand new unparalleled experience for audiophiles, industry professionals (both budding and seasoned), amateur hobbyists, and music enthusiasts alike, focusing on introducing the industry and community to the very best in the next generation of new, bespoke HiFi designers, DIY-builders, artisans, and engineers. Combining the rich heritage and extensive network of T.H.E. Show with the dynamic and innovative spirit of Lone Star Audiofest, this event promises to be a major milestone in the HiFi industry.

Bespoke and DIY exhibitors at the previous Lone Star Audiofests and T.H.E. Shows include JWM Acoustics, Raven Audio, J. Porter Studios, Black Ocean Audio, Infigo Audio, Pi Speakers, Austin Acoustic, AudioKinesis, GR-Research, Audio Crafter’s Guild and more. T.H.E. Lone Star Audiofest 2025 looks forward to renewing exhibits with brands from previous years as well as bringing in brand new audio designers (so if that’s you, get in touch).

About the Event:

Name: T.H.E. Lone Star Audiofest

Date: May 2-4, 2025

Location: Austin, Texas (venue announcement forthcoming)

This new venture will offer a unique opportunity for exhibitors and attendees to explore the latest in high-fidelity audio creation, discover groundbreaking products, and engage in insightful discussions with like-minded creators and attendees. With Austin’s renowned music scene and vibrant cultural landscape, T.H.E. Lone Star Audiofest is poised to become a key destination for HiFi designers, creators, and enthusiasts from around the world.


Lone Star Audiofest has always been a great place for everyone in the industry to get together, and it has specialized in introducing DIYers and start-up companies into the audio community. Our word-of-mouth ‘show up and setup’ approach has garnered us great local popularity. It’s clear on the basis of exhibitor and attendee feedback that it is time for us to grow. This new show is a blending of approaches, which promises to get the word out to people that never knew we existed while allowing us to retain the laid-back intimacy that the Lone Star Audiofest has always been known for,” says Wayne Parham, Owner of the Lone Star Audiofest

T.H.E. Show has a long-standing tradition of excellence in the HiFi industry, and we are excited to embark on this new journey with Lone Star Audiofest. Together, we will create an event that not only celebrates audio innovation but also fosters a sense of community among audio enthusiasts. And I want to be absolutely clear – this is not ‘just another audio show.’ This will be a totally different experience for exhibitors, attendees, and yes, even press who are hungry to cover new and never before heard of brands!” says Emiko E. Carlin, CEO of T.H.E. Enterprises and President of T.H.E. Show

About Lone Star Audiofest: Lone Star Audiofest is described as the “Woodstock of high-end audio shows,” because of its open-ended draw to anyone and everyone in audio.  It has historically appealed to DIYers, passionate start-up companies and semi-retired industry experts that offer audio products and services.  The Lone Star Audiofest has always had a laid-back feel, where the public can explore these companies, audition their products and interact directly with company owners and engineers.

About T.H.E. Show: T.H.E. Show is America’s longest-running HiFi show, dedicated to presenting the latest in high-fidelity audio, home theater, and consumer electronics. With a rich history and a strong commitment to excellence, T.H.E. Show has become a cornerstone of the HiFi industry.

Lone Star Audiofest may be found at

T.H.E. Show may be found at

Media Contacts:

Sophie Assencoa

Rose City Media Group


Ruminations about the Lone Star Audiofest

First, a brief reflection about LSAF 2024. From my perspective, the number of attendees was pretty much as it always is. I saw lots of new faces this year though. Most years, we have a bunch of regulars and a few new faces. Seemed like this year, there were more new people.

But for any of you that have attended LSAF over the years, you know how it is there. It’s a small show. I don’t think we’ve ever had more than a couple hundred attendees. Seems like we usually hover around 100 to 200. I think that’s what we saw this year too.

We may be small, but we’re the “in crowd.” We’re a bunch of passionate audio engineers and technicians, and many of us have “mad-skills” and technical chops. We’re the professionals that are cited as references, people that have written extensively and solid, well-respected audio experts. Examples are guys like Earl Geddes, James Griffin, Danny Ritchie, Pete Millett and Keith Larson.

I probably shouldn’t even have started “name-dropping” ’cause most of our exhibitors are experts in their field of specialization. My list wasn’t complete – there are many more experts at LSAF each year. We give seminars every few years, and when we do, people can get free lectures from the people that literally “wrote the book” in their audio specialization. So my point is, while LSAF is small, it’s got chops. We’re the ones that know. I’m proud of that.

But 2024 was light on exhibitors. We had some regulars that couldn’t come for understandable reasons. One of the big ones was a conflict with T.H.E. show in Los Angeles, which was my mistake from moving the show date to June. I inadvertently created a scheduling conflict with them.

However, this scheduling conflict set in motion a chain of events that has become quite interesting.

A couple months before the LSAF 2024 show, I checked on the registrations at the hotel and found that many of our regular exhibitors weren’t registered. I began to reach out, and that’s when I found out the reasons some wouldn’t be coming. That’s when I discovered that LSAF 2024 conflicted with the SoCal T.H.E. 2024 show.

I couldn’t believe I did that. So I wrote an email to the “info” email address for T.H.E. show, introducing myself and apologizing for my oversight. I also asked that we coordinate so that we didn’t have scheduling conflicts going forward. I explained that LSAF had been first weekend in May for decades, but then recently shifted to first weekend in June. I contemplated simply moving the show date back.

T.H.E. Show’s Emiko Carlin replied, thanking me for the concern and asking if we could talk by phone. It was just easier to have a discussion by phone than through email exchanges. So of course, I agreed.

She said she was intrigued by the approach of our little show, and by its uniqueness. And so she wondered whether we could maybe do some sort of cooperative venture. Rather than scheduling around each other, perhaps we could support one another’s shows, to combine efforts in some way.

To me, this is an exciting idea. For a long time, LSAF has enjoyed its unique “stone soup” show approach, but it has always suffered from a lack of exposure as a result. In contrast, T.H.E. Show is the “juggernaut” of audio shows – ever since way back when it was independently associated with the Consumer Electronics Show in the Las Vegas St. Tropez. By coordinating T.H.E. and LSAF, we might be able to gain exposure by proximity.

The problem is, of course, how to combine a “pay-to-play” show with a “stone soup” show. We discussed various ideas, like a form of tiered approach, or perhaps two separate shows in the same venue or nearby venues, or maybe having a show with an entry-level that’s low-cost but giving additional value-added services for those that can afford it.

While considering these things, we have to consider the exhibitors that participate. There are three basic types of exhibitors at LSAF:

First is the small shops, kit makers and DIY enthusiasts and support companies. My main focus is, and always has been, to support this group. They are often entrepreneurs just getting started, and/or semi-retired company owners making and selling audio gear. These are small shops that really need an affordable show. They generally sell direct and have no showroom or dealer network.

That’s the core of LSAF, and it was the driving motivation when starting LSAF. So for these guys, we need a show that gives classy but reasonably-priced suites or some other similar venue that allows the vendor to have a sleeper room and a show room at low cost. They can’t just have a booth – they need to be able to setup their demo systems. And they cannot afford advertising, so they have to promote the show and themselves by their own means.

But soon after the show began, a second type of exhibitor class appeared. Some companies grew enough that they could afford a little more and they started going to larger, more costly shows. I call this kind of LSAF exhibitor a “crossover exhibitor,” because they have grown large enough to crossover from our essentially-free show into a “pay-to-play” show. They usually continue to participate at LSAF, but they start to exhibit at other shows, like AXPONA, RMAF (when it existed) and T.H.E. show.

And of course, some companies are large enough to go to all the audio shows. That’s the third type of exhibitor. They tend to have a really polished presentation, and I find that all the other exhibitors – the “type 1 and type 2” exhibitors, by my little rubric – tend to aspire to be like the “type 3” exhibitors. These are the guys that set the standards. Everybody wants to be like them.

So our goal is to be able to support all these types of exhibitors. I am hoping we are able to leverage a relationship with T.H.E. to be able to maintain the same low-cost and intimacy that LSAF has always provided, but also to be able to benefit from the marketing and reach, and perhaps the other value-added services like live music performances, that a show like T.H.E. can offer.

Emiko Carlin seems keen to make this happen. She wants to keep the uniqueness of LSAF – we’re the only show like this, catering to DIYers with a great degree of technical skill – so I have guarded optimism we can cooperate in some way. We bring to the table something different than all he “pay-to-play” shows. But we are small, as a result of our “stone soup” show model. Emiko is a marketer, and so her T.H.E. show can bring to us some exposure, which may potentially benefit everyone.

The task at hand is how to merge them in a way that allows T.H.E. to maintain the profits it enjoys from being a traditional “pay-to-play” show while keeping the low-cost, technical zeal and intimacy of LSAF’s “stone soup” approach. We are looking at ways to develop a whole new show model that combines the best aspects of each.

Stay tuned. We’re going to create the most unique audio show there is.

Related reading:

The Future of LSAF

2024 Show Reports

This year’s show was another wonderful time, but it felt a little “heavier” to me without one of its long-time regular exhibitors, John Busch. John was always at the show with some fabulous loudspeaker creations. Sadly, he passed in the summer of 2022.

John’s estate graciously offered a lot of his equipment to the Lone Star Audiofest, which we raffled Saturday evening. So many people got wonderful equipment from John, keeping his memory alive.

Beyond that, the rooms were always busy, but as usual, people were able to stay in each room for extended periods, listening to several songs and talking with each exhibitor. That’s one of the best things about LSAF, in my opinion – how approachable the exhibitors are and how easy it is to engage in meaningful discussions.

Just as importantly – or maybe even more importantly – it is wonderful to be able to sit and listen at length. It’s never a hurried thing, and you never feel that you need to get up and move along. Everyone can spend time in each room, auditioning and discussing things.

See the show reports for this and other previous shows:

Reserve your room

There are two types of rooms available:  Exhibitors and Guests

There are a variety of room styles available for each, which you will be able to choose from when you make your reservation.  Examples of various styles are rooms with two double beds and rooms with one king size bed.  Both styles are available for guests and for exhibitors.

The difference between exhibitors and guests is that exhibitors are grouped together whereas guests can be located anywhere.  The hotel knows to make every effort to locate exhibitor rooms together.

If you are not exhibiting equipment, please reserve your room as a guest.

You can make your reservation by telephone or online.  The cutoff date is April 1st, so be sure to reserve before then because you may not be able to reserve your room after that.

The phone number for reservations is not posted yet.  We will announce that soon. When making reservations by telephone, be sure to tell the staff that you are a LoneStarAudiofest Exhibitor (group LSA) or a LoneStarAudiofest Guest (group LAF), whichever the case may be.

Online reservations can be made at the links below:

2023 Show Reports

Norman Tracy – LSAF’s Positive Feedback liaison and exhibitor extraordinaire – commented that this show secured the future of LSAF. It was the first show after the corona-lockdowns and it was the first year at the new venue.

All feedback was positive, both about the venue and about the show itself. Visitor traffic was busy Friday and Saturday. Sunday was slower, as usual. Some exhibitors hung on through the afternoon, but many left by checkout time on Sunday. So – just like most other previous shows – the best weekend day to visit was Saturday. That’s the one thing that sometimes disappoints – if a new visitor shows up Sunday afternoon, they usually only get to see half the rooms.

But most of the usual exhibitors were there and a few new ones came too. There was the typical-of-LSAF mix – everything from expensive high-end to quality-obsessed DIY gear. This show brings examples of expensive high-quality gear that can be purchased, delivered and setup right out of the box, straight from the dealer. It also has examples of gear that’s equally high-end, but less expensive because it requires the purchaser’s “sweat equity” in the form of DIY plans, kits and partial kits. There’s a little bit of something for everyone at LSAF each year.

See the show reports for this and other previous shows:

LSAF – New Date, New Digs!

The Lone Star Audiofest is moving! We’ve had a good run at the Embassy Suites Park Central in North Dallas, but we’re changing venues this year.

Lone Star Audiofest will be held at the Embassy Suites Galleria in Dallas, Texas. The cost will be $129.00 per night. The parking charge is waived for LSAF exhibitors and attendees. Furniture can be moved, but it must be moved back before checkout. Alternatively, they will move furniture for you if needed for a flat-rate charge of $100.00.

It is near the Park Central property where we’ve met for the last ten years – just four miles west of it, actually. The room layouts are very similar too. So it will have much the same “look and feel” as prior shows.

One thing that’s different though: The carts are not very good for moving large equipment, so you might want to bring your own cart. You can find them at Lowe’s, Home Depot and for $50.00 to $200.00.

Embassy Suites Dallas Galleria



Bar, restaurant and lounge

Guest room

Banquet room

Meeting room

Embassy Suites Galleria Floor and Room Layout

A little bit of history:

Our first show in 2005 was held at the Tulsa Embassy Suites. We called it the “Great Plains Audiofest” and it was there in 2005 and 2006. We decided to move the show to Dallas in 2007, and changed the name to “Lone Star Audiofest.” We initially held the show at Embassy Suites Market Center in 2007, and then moved to Embassy Suites Park Central in 2008, where it was held until 2019. We moved the show to Embassy Suites Galleria in 2020.

When choosing where to go in 2020, we evaluated Market Center, Park Central, Love Field, Frisco and Galleria. All were Embassy Suites properties. We settled on them a long time ago because of the two-room layout. We also like the free breakfasts and happy hour from 5:30 to 7:30. How fun is that? A two-hour happy hour!

We had a good run at the Park Central property, but it had been getting a little run down, so we had considered moving for the past year or two. We liked our old familiar spot, but between the decline in the neighborhood and the increasingly worn out furnishings there, we were getting ready to move.

And then John Busch of Manzanita Audio Solutions gave us the nudge at the last show in 2019 – He threw down the gauntlet and wrote Hilton corporate about the condition of the Park Central property. So they sold it.

No kidding! Hilton sold the property to Interstate Hotels and Resorts.


At first, we were hopeful they might improve the property, so we considered staying. But upon investigation in October 2019, they hadn’t updated the rooms yet and I’m not entirely sure they will, certainly not to the level we would want. They can’t improve the neighborhood, which has become a little bit “wrong side of the tracks.” So they were out of the running.

But we’ve always liked the Embassy Suites properties. I had found that way back in 2005 when I searched for hotels for the first shows in Tulsa. Same thing when we moved it to Dallas, where we looked at many other options, but came back to the Embassy Suites. The way they have a sleeper room with a door separating it from the “living room” makes these suites perfectly suited for exhibitors at the show. The living room becomes a show room for our sound gear, and the door to the sleeper room provides privacy for personal effects.

So I looked at Market Central again. Truth is, it is very much like Park Center right now. I don’t mean to be insensitive, but the homeless are everywhere in that area. There is a “homeless neighborhood” at the expressway turnaround, under the bridge that supports the highway right next to the hotel. So while I empathize with the plight of those unfortunates, I don’t think that’s where we want the show to be.

Love Field is a nice property, and it is similar in size to both Park Central and Market Center. Each of these three properties has eight stories with approximately thirty rooms per floor. Frisco is a nice property too, but it is considerably more expensive, at over $200/night. All the others are in the $120-$140 range.

Then there was Galleria. What attracted me to that property is it is a little smaller, being only six floors. It feels more suitable for our show. It is also in a nicer neighborhood, one that I hope won’t decline for years to come. Galleria has two ballrooms (Remington I and II) and a conference room, so we can have seminars there and exhibitors needing larger rooms can take advantage of those. And it has the same free breakfasts and happy hour that we have enjoyed.

The rooms are almost exactly like Park Central, so if you’re familiar with past shows, you’ll feel comfortable with the room layout. See the room layouts available (shown above) One difference is that all rooms on each floor are the same. At Park Central, there were four rooms on each floor (near the corners) that were a little larger. This isn’t the case at Galleria. They’re all the same there, with only very minor differences between rooms. Some have two double beds, and some have a single king size bed, for example. They also have handicap-accessible rooms. But for the most part, the rooms are all almost the same, especially in the living room.

The cost will be $120.00 per night. So that keeps us at an affordable price point. As usual, each exhibitor will book their own room. The hotel staff will keep us all on the same floor, unless we fill a floor and must spill over onto another.

There are 24 rooms on each floor that are great for exhibitors, all facing the atrium. There are an additional 7 rooms on each floor that are down a hall at the ends. Those aren’t desirable for exhibitors, but may be used by LSAF guests. The hotel knows this and will avoid placing us in those rooms. The rooms down the halls at the ends are x00, x01, x08, x09, x16, x24 and x25, where “x” is the floor number. All the other rooms facing the atrium are nearly the same and are perfect for exhibitors.

2019 Show Reports

Attendance was noticeably higher this year, especially on Friday. We hand out free AudioXpress magazines each year and this year we ran out by midday Friday. So thanks to everyone for coming to the show!

There were storms the week preceding the show in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri but they cleared out on Thursday. The whole weekend was beautiful!

We had our usual eclectic mix, with lots of high-end and quality-obsessed DIY gear represented. This is so typical of LSAF, and has become what people expect to see and hear.

Price points were varied too, with many rooms showing affordable gear and some rooms with systems more expensive than most peoples’ homes. So we truly had something there for everyone!

See the show reports for this and other previous shows:

2018 Show Reports

The weather was absolutely gorgeous all weekend, which set the tone for the show. I don’t know if it was just me, but I thought everyone seemed to be in an especially good mood. I think LSAF 2018 was our best year ever!

There were lots of rooms with a little bit for every taste. We had rooms with direct radiating speakers. We had three rooms with horns or waveguides. And we even had one room that was dedicated to headphone listening.

Price points were varied too, with many rooms showing affordable gear and some rooms with systems more expensive than most peoples’ homes. So like I said: We had something there for everyone!

See the show reports for this and other previous shows:

Seminars at LSAF 2018

Sunday, May 6th:

11:00am to 12:00 “It’s all about Relationships (Between your Equipment)”, by Barry Thornton
12:00 to 1:00pm “Tape History Seminar”, by Charles King    
1:00pm to 2:00pm “Crossover Electronics 101”, by Wayne Parham    
2:00pm to 3:00pm “Speaker Placement and Room Interactions”, by Todd Binnix
3:00pm to 4:00pm “Digital Audio Demystified”, by Steven Solazzo

“Stone Soup”

Stone Soup is a folk story that was passed by oral tradition for quite a long time. Several versions exist throughout Europe, all having a similar theme. The first written record of the story was published in 1720 in France by Madame de Noyer. But it is likely that the story passed orally down through the ages long before any written record was made.

Noyer’s version of the story is set in Normandy, northern France. Two Jesuits come to a farmhouse, but only the children are home. The Jesuits, who are hungry, convince the children that they are not begging for food, but in fact they are self-sufficient as they have a stone that makes soup. They tell the children that all they actually need is fire, a pot, and some water, and that their stone will do the rest.

In other versions of the story, soldiers come to a town and ask local villagers to participate in making their “stone soup.”

A fire is made ready, a pot put over, water is added, and the stone is dropped in. When the water is hot, each person is asked to contribute some small bit of food to the soup. This and that are added until, finally, a truly fabulous soup has been made. It is a story that always has a happy ending. Everyone always seems to have a good time making the soup, and the soup itself is always loved.

The moral of the story always seems to be that with cooperation and a little effort from everyone, a great task can be performed.

In modern times, we see this in the computer industry as “open-source” projects. The first open-source projects were mostly games and other “hobby” projects but before long, some pretty sophisticated software was being offered as open-source projects, including operating systems, compilers and other large scale complex systems.

The history of open-source computer software (and open standards in hardware too, for that matter) is actually pretty interesting, in my opinion. I’ll describe it, in brief:

In the early days of computing – back when computer systems filled rooms or even whole floors – people that had access to computers were so few that software was only used or even seen by a small number of people. It was often shared back then, without regard to intellectual property rights. There was a “natural boundary” that protected the intellectual property – very few people had access to computers, so there was very little need to protect the software. Almost nobody that might have copied it could have used it.

Back then, most software that wasn’t user-written was bundled with the hardware. The hardware manufacturer provided the operating system, languages and diagnostic tools with the system. But you could only get the software if you bought the hardware.

By the 1970s, minicomputers were much more popular, and microcomputers were on the horizon. So the stage was set for a need to address issues of intellectual property in the digital realm. By this time, computers were starting to become numerous enough that software developers began to sell their creations both to corporate users and private individuals.

Software was not considered copyrightable before the 1974 US Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works decided that computer programs, to the extent that they embody an author’s original creation, are proper subject matter of copyright. After that, software developers began to distribute their products in a way that resisted modification and copying, usually as compiled object code and often times with a hardware or software key. Software was often licensed rather than sold. This was the beginnings of “closed-source” proprietary software.

A similar but opposite reaction was the beginning of freeware, shareware and “open-source” software. In some ways, this was like the way things were before 1974, when programs weren’t copyrightable. Software made available like that was freely distributed and was sometimes called “freeware.” Other software was distributed with a notice asking for a donation, or sometimes provided in a limited version which could be “unlocked” after a donation was sent. Still another form is what we now call “open-source,” which is software that is made available for anyone to use – sometimes with restrictions on commercial use, sometimes not, depending on the open-source licensing model.

Open-source these days is very much like a “stone soup group.” It is placed in a central repository and made available to everyone. Even more significantly is the fact that the central repository can be modified by others. The repository is controlled by the product owner, which is usually the original author or originating team. They control access to anyone that might modify the code. In this way, the software is continually modified, improved and updated by people that are interested in the project. It is “policed” by the product owner, who reviews any potential updates before allowing them to be merged into the repository.

What is amazing to me is how the tech world has changed in the past few decades to embrace this model of software development. As I said above, in the 1980s, you really only saw games and small hobby programs distributed in an open arrangement. By the 2000s, there were a lot of sophisticated systems that were beginning to be distributed as open-source, including operating systems like Unix/Linux, databases like PostgreSQL and MySQL and popular languages like Java. But even still – in those days – companies would often refrain from using open-source software for fear of malfunction or “bugs.” When a corporation purchases proprietary software licenses, there is an expectation of support and a potential for liability mitigation. So corporate America was still largely run by proprietary code.

But not for long. I knew the world had turned when I saw IBM promoting Linux to its customers over its own version of Unix called AIX. This was around 2006. Prior to that, IBM wouldn’t even work on a machine that had open-source software on it. It was taboo – a potential loophole that might damage its own intellectual property rights. It did not want to risk the chance of litigation, so it always had a “Chinese wall” around any installation that might have open-source software on it. But by 2006, IBM embraced the open-source versions of Linux, and even promoted its use on its hardware. The world had indeed changed.

Now days, some of the most sophisticated systems are created, improved, distributed and supported by an open-source, “stone soup” model. The latest machine learning or “artificial intelligence” software is made available this way, as are many operating systems, computers languages, tools and even office applications like word processors and spreadsheets.