DALLAS (PTA) — Based on the horn-loaded studio monitors of yore, Wayne Parham’s company Pi Speakers take that traditional voicing and liven it up, along with the addition dual-flanking subwoofers, the system really turns up the fun levels. Wayne’s room sounds great, but also embodies the spirit of the show. Definitely a must “sit down, have a beer, and hang out all afternoon” type of room.
The history of the Lone Star Audio Fest can be found in Wayne Parham’s exhibit room. It goes like this — back in 2001 a fella by the name of Mike Baker started a small audio show in Lima, Ohio. That show sprung out of the audiophile message-boards of early days of the internet. The genesis of the show was the people in these forums discussing the tube amplifiers and speakers themselves were building. Attending or even thinking about showing at commercial expos like CES, was out of the question. Pi Speakers’ Wayne Parham was an attending member of those early shows, and considering like most of the exhibitors at this small Texas show, building hi-fi equipment is more hobby than industry. Eventually Wayne Parham started his own forum where a handful of small DIY manufacturers began posting about and sometimes selling kits to interested and handy DIY builders. Wayne at the time was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma and decided it was time to start a show of his own, much closer to home. With fellow DIY’er Norman Tracy, Wayne started the small DIY show that would later change venues and become the Lone Star Audio Fest back in 2005. Over the years the show has been confronted with the urge to grow and become more commercial, but the founders stay solid in their position to keep the show as humble and nearly cost free to attend and exhibit. The small DIY’er is their prime focus. The Dallas show is organized by the attendees and their sweat equity is the main ingredient of their proverbial stone soup.
Now to Wayne’s other baby, the Pi Speakers. When he developed the Four Pi loudspeaker, his goal was to create a studio quality monitor with pro-sound components. Products like this from JBL and Klipsch others already existed, but to Wayne’s ears were a little too harsh sounding. The Pi Speakers are smooth, but built for precision. Utilizing high-efficiency drivers, and in recent years the addition of flanking Three Pi Subwoofers to augment the low-end in stereo.
The Four Pi is two-way horn loudspeaker, with large 15-inch woofers, a compression horn tweeter, and a front facing port. Power handling is a ridiculous 600 watts per channel, but that need not be called for as they are also extremely efficient at 98db sensitivity. Capable of playing down to 40hz and at volumes up to 123db, one might wonder how on earth we’ve come to this point of audio madness but that’s an existential question equally compounded by the sometimes enormous costs of the hobby. Leave those questions for the shrink.
The Three Pi Subwoofer is a true high-fidelity subwoofer. It uses a single 12” subwoofer driver in a ported cabinet. Dimensions of this perfect cube are 20” all around. Power is relegated to outboard amplification only — that is unless you were to build one in yourself. If so, do try to keep the power to under 400 watts. The recommended use of the subwoofers is in a pair, with each subwoofer on the outside flanks of the main loudspeakers. The best placement for them is below (as the monitors need stands), beside, and behind the mains. To achieve the best blending, these subwoofers are made to smoothly up to 300hz, which is far higher than needed or will likely find themselves in the duty of, but the capability is there to easily pair with the all of the Pi Speakers models.
Sounding more like a single pair of speakers than a 2.2 system, the Pi Speakers and Subs did impress. The smooth top-end and less than shouty mid-range I was promised was quickly delivered. The bass integrated smoothly with the transitions from thunder, to rumble, to bass tones. More importantly, these loudspeakers were a lot of fun to listen to. Detail and flavor abound with the larger than life sonic picture.
– Four Pi Loudspeaker – starting at $1,000 pr (or $400 for the kit version)
– Three Pi Subwoofer – starting at $500 ea (or $150 for the kit version)
– Tube Integrated