Larsen speakers: 4.2 or 6.2??. Has anyone heard or own them??


I would like to know if anyone has auditioned or owns either the above Larsen speakers. If so, is there a major difference in the sound quality between the two models which would warrant spending over $2200 more for the 6.2 speaker  

(There is a large price difference: approx. $2200  vs $4400. Seems like a lot of money for a two way speaker despite the fact that the design eliminates most placement problems and can be placed against the wall ( so say the few reviews I read of both models)

 How might they compete with either the Ohm Walsh Tall, or Magneplanar. 7 or 1.7i ?.   From what I recently read  both Magneplanars do not work well in small or even average medium rooms, and require a lot of placement adjustments to get them to sound right

Thanks,

S.J.

sunnyjim
I have listened to the 6 & the 8, but I didn’t compare them to the other models you mention (and I don't own them).Having said that, onto the experience: they were both very conveniently placed against the front wall (we still played with small angles & right-left positioning, but against the wall gave the best sound). They both gave a realistically 3D soundstage, albeit not very focused like, say, a medium-sized ATC. The dynamics are OK, again not like an ATC, but well above average). Overall, the 8 gave a fuller, larger and more convincing sound—but do note that I listened to classical music, full +100 instruments orchestra. The 6 are not very big, which may be an additional advantage.
BTW, we used a 100W class A amp that was only just enough to power them! Switching to the big MF nuvista (8000? 800?) gave a bit more ease to the system.
I have owned all three models of Larsen speakers, 4/6/8 and I used to be a dealer for these.  I think that Larsen speakers provide excellent sound, excellent value and are very easy to live with due to the easy placement options: 1- find the longest wall in the room, 2- place the speakers directly against the wall (no toe-in), 3- move speakers apart or closer together until the you hear the best imaging, 4- pour a cup of your favorite beverage and enjoy.

I don't understand your comment re: the price difference between the Larsen 4 and the Larsen 6:
Seems like a lot of money for a two way speaker despite the fact that the design eliminates most placement problems and can be placed against the wall ( so say the few reviews I read of both models)
I can think of a lot of 2-way speakers that are more expensive than the Larsen 6.

In any case, the Larsen speakers all provide a recognizable house sound; the larger/more expensive models just provide more of it in larger rooms.  Larsen's are some of the most tonally accurate speakers I have ever heard.  A fair proportion of my clients were professional musicians (think more vocalists, classical and jazz music rather than hard rock.)  That's not to say that everyone will agree that these are the best speakers, nor would I.  But I will say that the Larsen's are probably the speakers most easy to live with that I have ever owned.

I have owned Ohm speakers and Maggies.  Both have good points and things they do well.  But neither was, to my ears, as good as the Larsens in my rooms and playing the music I listen to.  Not by a long shot.

One last observation: I am friends with the Michael Vamos from Audio Skies, the NA distributor for Larsen, Gamut and Pear Audio.  Michael has every speaker he sells available for listening in his home.  Yet many times I would go see Michael and he was listening to a pair of Larsen 4s.  When I asked hi why he wasn't listening to something more expensive his answer was that the Larsen 4s always amaze him at how good they are for the money and that they make him happy.  I can't think of a more apt description.

Thank you to gregm3 and to br3098 for their comments.


To br3098. You mention that you "used to be" a Larsen dealer; If so, did you drop the line and why.

My previous comment about the wide price difference between the models 4.2 and 6.2 was only to ask and highlight what made the 6.2 more expensive by almost $2100. I e-mailed Michael Vamos from Audio Skies  and ask him the same question;. he claimed the materials in the drivers and cross over network were of higher quality. The question  always is:... do price differences accounted for by better construction materials necessarily produce a better sounding speaker to the one below it in price?  I would give the 6.2 more consideration than 4.2 if I was convinced that its performance warranted the extra dollars.

BTW, Mr. Vamos referred me to a dealer in Los Angeles called "Common Wave" that carries Larsen  speakers and  is closer to where I live.

Thank you for you comments and advice

S.J.

sunnyjim, I closed my dealership over two years ago.  It was a side business and as much as I love music and gear it was waaay too much work for the paltry return.

John Larsen is a great guy and the Michael Vamos at Audio Skies, the U.S. distributor, is awesome in his passion and support for Larsen and his other lines.

It is imperative that Larsen speakers be matched to your room size.  I have installed these speakers in small rooms where the 4 just sounded better than the 6.  There is an improvement in bass response as you move up the Larsen chain, and the 6 and 8 have more detail than the 4 in rooms that support those models.

Not to contradict Michael but we all know that pricing for audio gear is not as much based on labor and materials as what the market expects.   I think all the Larsen speaker models (4,6, and 8. I don't have any experience with the new 9) are all a hell of a deal for a full range speaker that works well in just about any room.

sunnyjim, I think with most speakers of this type, Larsen, Ohm, Shahinian etc., you either like their presentation and get what the designers are trying to attempt, or not. They are different in various ways to direct firing speakers.

I have owned all of the above speakers, various Ohms, a couple of Shahinian, and also, Larsen Model 4.2's, which I had for over five years and enjoyed them greatly. I think Bill above, summed things up very nicely(Hello Bill, we have talked a couple of times, been awhile though!). Much like Ohm speakers, the family sound is there amongst all models, just as you go up the line, as Bill said, you just get more of it. Room size is important, just as much so with any speaker.

I totally enjoyed my time with the Larsen, and placing them as Bill mentioned above, try to keep them from being crammed into corners, and give them a bit of space to breathe on all sides, they are hard to beat for just listening to music and enjoying, no fiddling around etc. For me, this was huge, for once I had a speaker that I could just forget about messing around with things, they made great music, simply put.

I have never had a pair of speakers for five years, let alone a bit longer, so that is saying something. I cannot answer your question as to the "worth" of the model 6 over the 4, at the additional 2K price. Only you can make that call using your own ears. I also wondered that myself for awhile, as I was thinking of moving up the Larsen ladder at one point. But I never bothered, as the 4.2 I had were just doing the business and I had no real reason to change them.

One thing about Larsen in general, they are not, nor ever will be the popular choice. I have had other dealers basically make fun of them to my face, and try to explain why they are not a good speaker etc. Yes, really. Thank goodness then I never listened to their advice. Funny how that goes though. But, if you like what they do in your room, your gear, your music, why not? For people that require a speaker that goes up against the wall, and do not have room for some of the speakers that require huge room space, these are great speakers to try. They visually get out of the way, give you your floor space back, and to my ears, sound quite wonderful. Are they the last thing on detail, imaging, all the usual buzz words. No, maybe not, but what they do is really very good across the board, besides, I listen to music, not buzz words. Take it for whatever it is.

In the end, it took a good deal bit to get me away from the Larsen 4.2, and I listened a lot to other speakers. I think in the end, it was more of a system thing, and not just speakers themselves, so don't make the mistake of not listening to speakers on your own setup, it is after all a "system". I now have a pair of Duevel Venus speakers, and yes, I like them more than the Larsen 4.2 in a few ways, but honestly, I too could have lived on with the Larsen had I not changed my entire system a bit over a year ago. This will probably be it, at my age, and time of my life, other things have more priority.

If you can though, give yourself a treat, give the Larsen a good listen, just do not give up on them too quickly, which I find is what happens all too often when people try Omni or Omni types, they do present things in a different way, and many will not allow themselves time to adjust to it. Not to mention, I think the industry has not done much to persuade a person to try this type of speaker, instead giving the same old reasoning: Look at all the box speakers out there, how can we be wrong? Omni's are just a fad, a one-trick pony, etc... etc....The main thing, use your ears, not reviews, not my suggestions, or anyone else's for that matter. And for goodness sakes, anyone trying to listen to speakers out there, have fun darn it! It isn't life or death, music can be fun!!!!

Is that Tim?  Howdy!

Duevel speakers?  Wow, how... esoteric.  But seriously, you should describe them in this or another post.  I have never heard them or even seen them but I would love to hear more about your impressions.

Back to sunnyjim's original questions: as frazeur1 says, either you like the musical presentation provided by omni speakers or you don't.  I listen to a lot of live acoustic music and I think that omnis sound and feel closer to a live performance than other types.  But if you have always listened to canned (reproduced) music or your live musical experience is limited to amplified rock concerts (not that there is anything wrong with that) then you might not appreciate the staging and imaging that omnis provide.

At shows I have had guys complain about the lack of high SPLs from Larsens or horn speakers.  My answer is how much SPL do you hear or feel at a live venue? The correct answer is zip.

My biggest complaint is that, with the exception of a couple of decware models, almost all omni speakers are fairly inefficient so most tube amps are not a real option.  It's an inherent "feature" of the design.  My Larsens and Shahinians always sounded better w/ SS amplification.

Hi Bill, yes, it is indeed me! I appreciate your thoughts in the above post made to sunnyjim on how most Omni's sound with regard to live music, that also sums up a good bit of my thoughts as well, and probably why I do enjoy the Omni thing more than the typical monkey coffins.

Also, I have felt that the Larsen and certainly Shahinian(Obelisk in my case at the time) are better with solid state in general, ones that can deliver a decent amount of current to properly drive them. There are exceptions, and no hard, fast rules here, as I also enjoyed my Larsen 4.2's with Croft Series 7 amplifiers, not powerhouses, but SS though.

Hmmm, maybe I will touch on the Duevel Venus a bit here, but do not want to detract from the OP's question about Larsen here, and besides, pardon the heist of something I believe Richard Shahinian said, "Trying to explain how a speaker sounds is like trying to describe how certain foods taste". I find it difficult at best to put things in terms that mean something to the reader.

At any rate, the Venus is a wonderful speaker, and at similar pricing when I bought them to the Larsen Model 6. They cost a bit more to get here though. And as I mentioned, I still hold the Larsens very highly, and very well recommended! Michael Vamos of Audio Skies is also a real gent and pleasure to deal with, or just talk about music and stuff!

The Venus is built very nicely, typical of most German hifi, quirky looks in some ways too. What I do like about them, is that they seem to be more efficient than just their specifications show. They seem to have a crossover that isn't power robbing, and maintains a real coherence between treble/midrange and bass end. Very smooth and seamless, a fairly easy to drive. My 55 wpc LinnenberG mono's drive them very well, and never seem to run out of gas with them, in a decent sized open plan room(My former listening room, 16' x 15.5' and adjoining half wall to kitchen/dining area). My Croft amplifiers at similar spec also do well with them. And they really shine on the end of an Octave V70SE!

Anyway, as to sound, lets see...Organic. Tone. Drive. All of those oddball buzz words that are used so often, that I have to stop and think at times, what does it really mean? The Venus sounds more like real music to my ears than the Larsen, maybe not by a lot, but it seems more natural, less mechanical or hifi, and the Larsen is a speaker that I don't consider any of those really.

Both the Venus and Larsen are not large speakers, yet the design of each really does a very good job with the bass end to. I would call it fairly even on the bass end of things, both very natural performers. The Venus is solid to slightly below 40 Hz, and I do tend to think the published specs on the Larsen bass end to be just a touch bit optimistic, but it is good regardless. Only the listener can say if it is extended enough. The Venus just feels and sounds as if it has more meat on the bones, a fuller midrange, to heck with specs.

The upper end and midrange on the Venus again, sounds more natural to my ears, the Venus could be considered slightly, very slightly, not as extended in the very upper end as I would maybe like at times, but it is a very small amount of time-and gee, if we had tone controls, shock, horror, we could adjust slightly for that...OMG.

The Venus being more Omni than the Larsen by design, can sound a bit more open in space. This too, can bring about some issues with placement, maybe it isn't quite as "simple" to place as Larsens are, but neither one is a tough thing to get reasonably right. If you are buying an Omni, give it some room, the Venus is a fairly small speaker and doesn't take up a ton of space either, just don't shove it against a wall or corner, although it does need some of the wall boundaries to make it sound right. Every room is different, adjust to taste.

I find where the Larsen are very simple and easy to situate for the most part, the spread being the big thing with them, they are pretty much fit and forget. Yes, you can use the SD footers or a base, I played with both and came to my own conclusions with them, they are just very unfussy, and that is wonderful after having some speakers that drove me nuts trying to get right, tweek this and that. By the time I got around to the Larsen, it was like heaven!

The Venus are very similar, easy to situate, but spending time with them, playing about with speaker to wall distance, brings rewards. Also, while this may seem quite ridiculous, I found that toeing in/out of the bass port on the rear of the speaker(Why I wonder, on this particular model, was the bass port not situated in the center of the cabinet, firing down to the floor? Would seem more ideal, but what do I know?), or swiveling it, with relationship to the wall behind the speaker, you could in effect, slightly tune the bass port and how it interacts with the room. Not huge differences, but there you go.

I also find it interesting when we try to shoe-horn a particular speaker to a certain type of music, and I too have been guilty of this. A speaker doesn't know what it is playing, and certainly within its scope and capability, should just convey whatever is being sent to it. My listening is kind of all over the map, jazz, rock, some country, folk, a little classical, reggae, pop, and these do justice to it all. Sure, maybe if I was in to hip-hop, or rap, something that required huge bass wallop, these might not do. So, there you go. The Duevel, as well as the Larsen do justice to these categories, no problem, again, I just prefer the Duevel a bit more.

At any rate, I like the Duevel. No, I really love them. Are they vastly different to other Omni speakers? No, not hugely, but enough to make these keepers, and I have had my share of Omni speakers over the years to know what I like. Yes, I wouldn't mind hearing the bigger brother/sister, the Bella Luna, but then at the moment, I really do not have room for them, and the Venus just fits and works in my current space which is 11.5' x 14', 9' ceiling.

Also, and lastly, as I have gone overboard and written a novel instead of being simple and to the point, I touch again on build. I am kind of anal about this. The Larsen as well as Ohm and some other speakers, are built to just get the job done, and maybe are a bit utility in build. Nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, it is to be admired in this world of excess these days(Not to mention, keeping something priced right)! But I do appreciate how nicely the Venus is built, the veneers, the saucers made from ply, it just has a nicer look and feel, physical heft to it. It is something that you need not make excuse for having it in a living room. Sure, one pays a little more to hopefully get a little more too.

Anyway, off the Duevel soap box here. They really are great speakers, and if you are fortunate to get to hear them, do so. And I would be remiss if I did not put in a small plug for the North American distributor, Pascal Ravich of Mutine in Canada, as yes, he is the man for Duevel here in the US, and I found buying from him to be simple and no hassle. Just know what you want going in and don't dilly dally around. He prices them to current exchange rates, which is pretty damn great in my opinion, you don't get blasted with the retarded "margins" that most distributor/dealers peg on you no matter what the current rate of exchange happens to be, and yes, everyone needs to make a living, but....Okay, enough said. Sorry for the tangent!

If anyone needs to hear more, let me know, will be happy to carry on elsewhere, and sorry sunnyjim, to have somewhat hijacked your thread here! Apologies! And Bill, hope all is well, take care!

Tim


Tim:  We exchanged a few emails on AK a week ago.  One question on the Larsen 4.  What in you opinion is the minimum amount of power should I use for these?  I don't listen at thundering levels, but don't want them to get sloppy due to insufficient power.  Thanks,

If I had to say, my opinion in an average sized room would be 50 wpc minimum. I think that the Larsen do like a bit of power to them. I played around with my Model 4 powered by a Plinius 8200 integrated for awhile, and while a lot of the power available from that beast probably went unused, turning up the wick a bit on things, energised the speaker really well, and I thought it was a nice match.

Also, I have used my Croft Series 7 amplifier on them as well for quite a long period of time, and it is good for about 45 wpc, but isn't the end all, be all of current delivery, but it sure sounded nice at very reasonable levels. FWIW...

Special thanks to Bill and Tim for their extensive comments and advice.  I did get to hear the Larsen 4.2 today at a local dealer, and was impressed by the sound and the outstanding sound quality of the midrange and mid treble.  The top treble sounded a bit pinched or restricted to me and not totally clear. That being said, the 4.2 provides a high level of musicality and excellent balance.

I was pitched the merits of the 6.2 which are NOT being displayed in this showroom  in favor of the 8.2 which I think is a mistake. I don't want to "imagine" how much better 6.2's model is supposed to be without hearing them, especially since they are $ 2200 more as I mentioned before.  I was listening through the NAD Roon amplifier and streamer, but would have preferred to hear the speakers through a good CD player like my own. However, the salesman/owner was able stream the 2 CD I brought with me, that is Fleetwood's "TUSK" and the re-mastered "Living Stereo" recording of "Scheherazad"  (Reiner, Chicago Symphony). Both excellent recordings

I think Larsen made a marketing mistake pricing the 6.2's at $4300. Besides having to cover manufacturing costs, and R&D, etc, etc, $3500 or $3700 would in my opinion been a more viable and competitive price point. The competition in this range( though not the same design or sonic goals)  is Revel Performa 206 F  and the PSB T-2. Yes, they are both traditional box speakers, and are much large and heavier. They occupy more space and are subject to careful room placement, and this is where the Larsens have the edge.   Will keep you posted. 

S.J..

   

Thanks for the update S.J., glad you took the time to listen to the Larsen, regardless of if you end up with a pair or not. Most wouldn’t have even bothered, so good for you! Hopefully you will find what you are listening for!