It is so easy to get ‘speaker blindness’ at shows like Sound and Vision – The Bristol Show. Yes, audio quality does differ but most of the speakers are rectangular wooden affairs. There are, of course, alternatives. One such brand that I have long enjoyed is Larsen, and I happened to catch John Larsen and the Larsen 8 speakers at the show.
While I shall admit that Larsen speakers are mostly rectangular in shape, the real clever stuff happens on the top by way of an angled speaker. Furthermore, the cabinet design actually utilises audio reflections, rather than trying to avoid them.
The Larsen 8 loudspeakers being used in the demonstration were hooked up to Exposure components being fed juice via IsoTec power cables and conditioners.
Larsen 8 speakers
I was told that this placement actually uses the wall to increase bass extension all the way down to 23 Hz. When asked if this means annoying the neighbours even more, Larsen simply replied “no more than conventional speakers”.
Atop the cabinet is a true-sounding 7-inch mid driver operated up to 2.5kH, partnered by a clear and transparent 1-inch polymer dome tweeter. Naturally, this is also a ScanSpeak unit with proven fluidity.
The stainless steel plate around the light polymer membrane of the tweeter enables it to reproduce the upper octaves with more body. There are actually a further two tweeters hidden under the horizontally flat part of the cabinet top. These are two more 1-inch fabric-dome tweeters spaced 4.5-inches apart.
Another 7-inch ScanSpeak woofer driver is sat within the cabinet operating up to 300Hz to produce deep and precise bass out of the side ports.
Larsen 8 demo
The first demo used a CD of pipe-organ and choral music through the Exposure rig. As a quick aside, I am glad that this room was using Exposure kit. The reason for this is that in the actual Exposure demo room the crew were busy loudly chatting with team-mates from other rooms. I don’t mind a bit of whispered chat but their conversation was actually louder than the music being played. I left the room within 2 minutes seriously disappointed.
The organ and choral track brilliantly displayed the ability of the Larsen 8 to cover a wide range with clarity and precision. The low-end was deep yet clear and the choristers voices rang through the room. You also got a great feeling for the room that it was recorded in. The natural reverb of a church.
The overall feeling was natural and transparent. I was amazed by the 3D sound stage that was being created in a small hotel room.
Larsen went on to play some pop music and even this was entertaining as you got a real sense of the singers’ emotion.
Larsen 8 conclusion
From my limited time with the Larsen 8s I found them enjoyable. They produced well-scaled audio from quite a compact package. I also like the fact that they appeared to be position agnostic. This is a distinct benefit if you have limited space in which to place your hi-fi system.
Price and availability
The Larsen 8 are priced at around £5,000 and people in the UK can contact Sound Fowndations for more details.