We all know who said that. But it's true also for the Vacuum Tube State of the Art Conference. New organizers Carolyn and Michael Kilfoil have resurrected this event in the Pacific NorthWest after original founders Dan and Eileen Schmalle of Bottlehead took a break for the last four years. Remember that the original installment of the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest had its conceptual gestation as a quasi dovetail run against VSAC's every-other-year schedule. With RMAF's focus by now having grown well beyond VSAC's DIY core, reviving the original event which was keenly focused on the men and women with soldering guns, basements and a fiendish penchant for glowing bottles and the speakers that love 'em was an idea whose time had come. Again.

Resident NorthWestern moon man Stephæn has contacted exhibitors for some preview news to post in parallel on AudioAsylum and in our pages. He rightly reasoned that a little friendly promotion of our hobby and for this decidedly hobbyist -- rather than crassly commercial -- event was a worthwhile cause for the enthusiast's press. Without further ado and with thanks to Rod Morris for syndication permission; to the VSAC management for putting together the do in the first place; and Stephæn for the initiative, here we go in no particular sequence:

The original Vsackers of Bottlehead: "Here's a sneak peek of the Bottlehead Room. We are now about 85% complete. Nine Paramount amps per channel, one on the RAAL ribbon tweeter, four wired in series for the ATD midrange and one on each of the Exodus woofers. Today the two FPIII chassis based mono bass/mid crossovers that are on the top inside corner of each tall rack are being completed. The speaker cabinets will have felt on the front. The center rack will have the stereo mid/tweeter crossover and a preamp. Of course there are 6000 other details left to take care of - hell, I've got three whole days left. Source will be tape, natch. It's been a very long three weeks getting this all together ..."

The First Lady Of Tubes. That's how at least informally, we refer to Kara Chaffee of DeHavilland. "Our room will feature the very first showing of my latest amp, the Model 50A KT-88 amp with interstage transformer that'll make 40 watts a side in full triode mode. In 1954, The Fisher Radio Corporation designed an awkward looking duck called the Model 50A. It was an amplifier that cut very few corners. It used an interstage transformer to drive a single pair of triode-mode power tubes. It got about three times the power normally available from a pair of triode-wired pentodes.
It used dual tube rectifiers and had a choke-input power supply among other niceties. The net result of all this was an ultra sweet, dimensional, powerful sounding amplifier that ran the power tubes very conservatively. I had the good fortune and opportunity to rebuild some original 50A units. The more I listened the more I came to understand that the sound was special and the set of design choices made by Fisher in 1954 were still as impeccable as they were 50-plus years ago. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to build an amp that embodied the essential features of the original 50A while taking some advantage of modern capacitors and materials. The tube complement is 3 x 6CG7, 2 x 6CL6, 2 x 6CK3 or similar rectifiers with a 9-HP pin base, and 2 x KT88 (or 6550, 6L6 or EL34). The base price will be $7,250/pr."

Randy Bankert of Sonist will bring his Concerto 2 with "integral waveguides, EBS bass tuning, 95dB, 8 ohms, 40-40kHz, biwireable and biampable, $2,495/pair retail. Our speaker models are designed to work well with low-powered SET amps such as 45, 2A3, 300B, PX25, EL34 (in triode mode), 845 and other directly heated triode single-ended amplifiers. Although designed to work well with low-powered SET amps, these speakers can also handle upwards of 200wpc with push-pull tube and solid state amplifiers."

Paul Birkeland will help teach/lead the amplifier construction class and bring "one of my 6C33B prototypes running Magnequest iron plus the Bottlehead balanced Seduction II prototype and finished Foreplay III prototype. I will be sharing a room with Front Panel Express. The Cold War beast sports one 6C33 per channel driven by two 6S2Ss. The power supply is solid state for the 6C33s and the driver supply is tube rectified with a 6C5S, then a Bottlehead hybrid shunt regulator using the 6N8S provides separate regulated B+ for each channel. To top it off, the negative bias supply for the 6C33 is also shunt regulated with an SG3S gas tube. All these tube names sound a little funky as I stuck with their Russian names. Output iron is the venerable EXO-800 fed by those massive BAPC plate chokes. Coupling caps are KBG/MGBO Russian PIO, sockets are NOS Russian military..."

Pete Riggle Engineering and Audio, manufacturer of the VTAF™, VTA on the Fly, the VTAF Teflon Upgrade and the Counterweight for the Common Man, will be showing (and selling) his VTAF units installed and playing on Rega, SME, Linn and Sumiko tone arms and Garrard 301, Thorens TD124,and Merrill Scillia Research turntables. Cartridges in play will be the Denon DL103, the Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood and the Shure V15 Vx MR. Non-PCB Motor run caps that have proved respectable for loudspeaker crossover network applications will also be offered at $10 each for 12.5 microfarad 370 Volt AC units which can be configured in multiples to achieve a wide variety of capacitance values.

Grant Fidelity will be demonstrating the new RITA-880 'KT-88' Tube amp, the A-534 '300B' Tube amp, the MDVD-100 Tube DVD Player and the MCD-100 Tube CD Player as shown in the picture below. Also shown will be the CD-327a Tube CD player and their cabling and power conditioning products. "With luck," says Ian Grant, "the production sample RITA-340 will be on display for the first time ever."

Adria is a 10-year old TAG (Talented and Gifted) student at Westridge
Elementary School in Lake Oswego, Oregon. She currently studies piano performance with Mrs. Elizabeth Stern. At age 7, Adria made her Carnegie Hall debut as a winner of the Bradshaw and Bruno International Piano Competition, performing Romance, Op. 1 by Rachmaninoff. She was also a winner in the piano duo category in the same competition. Adria competed in multiple divisions the 2007 US Open Music Competition in Oakland California and won 4 gold medals, 3 silver medals and a bronze medal competing against pianists up to age 18. Adria is the winner of the 2007 Chamber Music Society of Oregon Concerto Competition.

She is performing all 3 movements of the Mozart Concerto No. 24, K. 491 in C minor with the Oregon Sinfonietta on May 18th, 2008. She has just been named the 2008-2009 Chamber Music Northwest Young Artist Adjunct Fellow. Adria was the youngest finalist in the 2008 MetroArts Young Artist Debut Music Competition and has been a consistent winner in the Oregon Music Teacher Association's solo and concerto events. Before moving to Oregon, Adria studied piano with Mrs. Julia Kruger. She was the winner of 2004 and 2005 United State Piano Duo competitions as well as a winner in Texas State Bach Competitions in 2004 and 2005.

Adria gave her first solo concert at age 9. And she continues to give solo concerts in different venues. She performed in the master class given by Dr. Scott McBride Smith in the 2007 Portland Piano International Festival, and the master class given by concert pianist Michael Roll in 2008. Adria's other master teachers include Professor Jean-David Coen of Willamette University, Professor Alexander Tutunov of Southern Oregon University, Professor Victor Bunin of Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music in Moscow, Professor Jack Winerock, Mrs. Janet Guggenheim and Dr. Cary Lewis. Adria will perform at VSAC. Also scheduled to perform are Jacqui Naylor, San Franciso-based vocalist and songwriter; John Standefer, past winner of the National Fingerstyle Guitar Contest; John B. Connolly (and friends); and Traci King

Jeffrey W. Jackson of Experience Music, Inc. tantalizes with this cryptic message: "We were due to get in the car this AM. Didn't happen yet but we have quite literally a ton of gear in tow... an SE amp that weighs over 400 pounds... and Goto 5-way speakers. Coffee brewing. Driving within the hour. Looking forward to seeing everyone."

With one of VSAC's core attractions being the Craftsman's Room where DIYers get to showcase their stuff, there's simply no telling what all attendees will see - and be able to listen to. Watch for more coverage here as well as Stereophile's blogs where Steve Mejias and Jason Victor Serinius too stand by to update info as it comes in. No sooner spoken than the next announcement rolled in.

Eficion LLC, a start-up audiophile loudspeaker maker, would be showing speakers with a honeycomb structured aluminum ribbon tweeter housed in laminated bamboo. "Our woofer is a breakthrough as well, employing an innovative copper shorting ring and damping coil to reduce bass distortion and tighten the bass response. Or own matching stand is constructed out of heavy duty MDF with rubber balls for the loudspeaker to rest on. Internal components include Mundorf M-cap Supreme capacitors for crossovers, Teflon insulated OCC cable for interconnections and even the port is made of aluminum instead of plastic."

And how about those seminars? From ABCs of Electrical/Electronic Measurements with Charles King to Vacuum Tubes - NOS vs. Current Production by Charlie Kittleson; Turntable Setup Clinic with Kurt Doslu to Tubes & Transformers with Oliver Archut and many more, attendees are expected to - um, bring brains and note books. Yep, this is a hands-on event organized like a temporary uni campus. Good stuff!