Well, they are really crap, cheap drivers, terrible build, look and sound bad. That is what one shopkeep told me to my face. Strange I thought, I have had a pair of Model 4’s for over five years! Guess I was listening to crap all that time!
Seriously though, I did own the smallest model for all that time, the 4. I have only heard it and the next model up, the 6, so I have no opinion on the 8 or 9. What I gather though, is that the models all have the same family sound, just gets a little better and able to drive a larger room as you up the model range.
I loved mine, they work if you want something that goes up against the wall, like hard up to the wall behind them, unobtrusive, sort of an Omni, enveloping sound quality to them. They project a wide open stage with life like image size, and very good bass output for such a small enclosure.
They do like a bit of power, the model 4 that I had worked well in that good 50-wpc range on up. I am not sure you want to drive them with flea watt type stuff. Good solid state, or higher output tube stuff works. They are fairly easy to place in order to get the best from them. Just a simple, real world speaker, easy to live with.
To me, they just sound more like live music, not music hurled at you from a normal front firing monkey coffin. While not everyone will like their looks, or sound for that matter, if you can, give them a listen, preferably in your own home and system. Give your ears a chance to adjust to their presentation, as at first they mat seem distant, or not like anything else you have heard. I enjoyed mine a lot, still recommend them even though I have moved on to Omni Duevel Venus speaker system.
Also, Michael at Audio Skies, the US distributor is easy to work with, great guy. Hope this helps some! Have fun!
I heard a pair briefly at Capital Audiofest last year. I liked what I heard. Their somewhat unique thing is they are omni-directional and I believe are designed to go directly up against the rear wall which may be just what the doctor ordered for some.
i heard the flagship at the time ( 3 ish years ago ) at a shop in wine country ( Healdsburg, CA ) and they held up very well against the much more expensive Blades also on offer there..I think if you need an against the wall solution they present a very worthwhile audition
have fun, enjoy the music.
thanks so much for the feedback! Really helps to hear your thoughts on the design and sound of the larsens - with the 9s they seem to have put some extra effort into build quality and aesthetics - hopefully will run into a pair someday (seems like a speaker that truly has to be heard in person to know if you’ll like it ).
I listened to either the 8 or 9 at Axpona this year and was very impressed. To be honest I can’t recall the details but they were among the best I heard in a typically poor trade show hotel room environment. If you are interested, seek them out. It’s worth the effort.
One other speaker that gets a miss and is still available, the Direct Acoustics Silent Speaker. The looks may not be great, but the price to fun factor is in the extreme here. I owned a pair for a few years.
These can be placed very close to the wall behind them, tailor your bass response with that distance, work a little with toe for staging etc., good to go.
Another really fun thing which I tried briefly, and I believe was mentioned in Stereophile(?) review possibly, place a pair, so two pairs back to back, for an even more Omni presentation. It worked quite well. One had to be a bit more careful with positioning, but it worked quite well.
Many fun speakers out there to listen to, sometimes it is just taking the time and effort to search them out and hear for yourself what sounds good to your ears!
I heard some Larsens--6's??--at CAF 2018, set up on long wall of small hotel room. Listening sofa jammed against opposite wall. I was severely underwhelmed. And yes, surprise, surprise, there was no depth of soundstage.
sfmorris, I was a dealer for Larsen speakers for several years and had two pair in my home. Like all omnidirectional speakers they have a different presentation than direct, forward facing drivers. If you are a fan of live, unamplified music then you will find the Larsens a revelation. Music sounds like a live performance. All models exhibit good range and tone is lifelike and realistic, without coloration.
What twoleftears described above as no depth of sound stage I would describe as an accurate sound stage. The Larsen speakers exhibit no audiophile tricks or gimmicks. Also, they can (must) be placed smack against the wall so all you need to adjust is how far apart. Most times proper placement is achieved in five minutes or less.
I sold the Models 4, 6 and 8. The Model 9 was not designed when I decided to get out of the audio business but I understand that they sound great. The Model 4 is a steal, the Model 6 is a very good speaker but the 8 is a remarkable speaker for the price. I sold more Model 8s the other models combined. All models sound similar but there is more goodness as you go up the line.
Downsides: sure, like any speaker not one is perfect for all music, all rooms or all ears. As mentioned, there are no audiophile effects or artifacts. The soundstage is painted as a huge audio mural on the wall behind the speakers. Imaging is good but ot pinpoint, as in a live acoustic performance. And while I played all sorts of music though my Larsens they probably wouldn't be my first choice for heavy rock, metal or electronica.
Great, honest speakers that capture the essence acoustical music better than most. Interestingly, many of my customer that purchased Larsen speakers are/were professional musicians.
Really excellent and helpful insights! Re genres that are a good fit, is there a bit more you can tell me about why heavy rock wouldn’t be a great fit for them (just curios - I wonder if it’s something the newer 9s perhaps do better than previous models?)
thanks again to everyone!
sfmorris-I am not sure what is classified as heavy rock exactly...I have never been into metal, but my fare typically was a huge dose of classic rock, Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd and the likes, as well as various jazz, folk, acoustic, some electronica, a smattering of classical, and really, I felt like my Model 4's did it all pretty well.
Maybe with really heavier rock/metal, the speakers are not going to plumb the depths of hades, or give you that gut thump in the chest some may want.
On the new Model 9, I have no idea how it sounds, or what is different about the drivers, crossover, etc., as I haven't heard it. It looks nice in that typical Swedish way. Rather pricey, but maybe worth it, I don't know.
The best thing you can do is try to get a listen to them and hear if they fit your tastes. As I have said though, give them a bit of a listen, don't make a quick judgment on them, as they are a different perspective.
sfmorris, have you ever heard of Sonab speakers? They were designed by Stig Carlsson in Sweden. They are no longer produced but here is a website with lots of information, including design objectives.https://www.carlssonplanet.com/en/speakers/produced/sonab-oa-116/
As I understand it the owner/designer of Larsen speakers worked with Carlsson so utilized that experience to produce updated versions of that basic design.
I think the two main considerations will be 1) ability to place the speakers within an inch or two of the front wall (desirable for many people, particularly with WAF considerations), and 2) by design the soundstage presentation will be different from a uni-pole design placed out in the room (an advantage to some, disadvantage to others). So it starts with your listening objectives.
sfmorris, you might enjoy the Larsens playing Nine Inch Nails. But most heavy rockers are looking for high SPLs, which the Larsens do not generate. But neither does a live performance.
Are you old enough to remember the famous Maxell as with the guy in the chair, sitting in front of his speakers, and his hair is being blown back. That's my stereotypical (no pun intended) heavy rocker. The more air that is being displaced the better. Horn speakers need not apply.