SNEAK PEEK: Lansche 4.1 Loudspeaker

My little 10-watt Berning Seigfried single-ended OTL amplifier just got a new playmate: Lansche 4.1 speakers

$50,000.00/pair USD

DISCLAIMER: I've received my first two pairs of this speaker as their appointed North American distributor. One pair has been shipped off to one of my dealers, the other you will read about below.

Specs: 99dB sensitive, 20Hz to 150kHz performance, can sustain 115dB with low distortion.

This pair is in a finely finished in high-gloss lacquer, gorgeous maple cluster veneer. The 4.1 radiates elegance without pretension or vanity. (it is also be available in other wood finishes). At 12" wide x 20" deep x 45" high, it won't overtake the real-estate in your listening area but will compliment your environment as a piece of exquisitely-crafted furniture might.

Feel free to break out the flea-powered tube amps or "First Watt" style solid state amps for this one, you won't need much to make the 4.1 come alive. My Seigfried's max output is 10 watts, and I doubt that I'm using half of that capacity to hit big sound pressure levels.

In my listening area (19' long. 14' wide, 20' high), which isn't huge but it's not too small, either, I can't get the volume control on the Seigfried more than halfway up before this becomes really loud. Initially I wasn't able to tell how loud it had gotten until I left the room and realized - whoa! That's pretty loud! I think I'll use an SPL meter to set volume in order to ensure that I protect my hearing. The sound is so clean that you want to crank it up to concert levels ... no signs of distortion at any point so far.

The plasma tweeter and midrange have been sewn together seamlessly in the crossover. This was my major concern as I anticipated the speaker's arrival, as it would live or die on that aspect alone. Moving up the scale on piano, pipe organ, vibraphone, cymbals, etc. evidenced no audible transition between the mid driver and the tweeter. Overtones on strings, brass, woodwinds, cymbals shimmer and glow beautifully, naturally. Snaps and slaps on acoustic bass didn't sound disembodied from the main of the instrument, but were rather entirely and organically integrated. Air and breath around brass and woodwind instruments were also properly attached to the instruments, with no sense of artifice. The speed of the midrange driver Lansche has developed seems to match extremely well to the lower registers of the corona tweeter.

I had my wife sit down and listen to a track from Arthur Grumiaux, one of her violin heroes. After listening she looked at me in astonishment ... she was saying that she could hear fingerings much more clearly, and that details of his technique were more apparent now. I can't say that I was able to hear THAT far into the recording, but then again - she's the violinist. To my ears, the violin's tone and presence are remarkably correct. Both string and body are lent a natural and effortless authenticity, with gorgeous shimmering harmonics creating an aurora radiating from the instrument but never detached from it.

Mind Blower: Paquito D'Rivera + United Nation Orchestra : "A Night In Englewood" - Track 1: Snow Samba:
This is a mammoth big-band sound with monster percussion. Regardless of the loudspeaker I've played this on, there are times at which the band sounds like one giant instrument instead of a coordination of a group of instruments. In the huge passages it becomes difficult to distinguish separate musical lines happening behind the main thrust of this massive brass ensemble. Not so with these loudspeakers. You can pick out everything, and it all seems very natural and unrestrained. The explosions from all the horns are startling, and you'd think when that mass of brass musicians are all blasting at once that some details might get obscured. Not so. The speakers offer all the detail and nuance you care to pick out of the soundscape, even when the whole band is trying to tear your head off with huge brass tuttis.

Vocal dynamics and nuances are even more thrilling. From Cantus singing in ensemble, "What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor," to Ricky Lee Jones swinging on "Up From The Skies" - dynamics, inflections, detail ... all adding an extra dimension to the music I hadn't really appreciated before. Vocal textures are exposed more clearly, revealing character that seems to have been previously masked. As well, the guitar work on the Ricky Lee Jones track is opened up and more alive while the acoustic bass walking alongside has power and detail, body and weight, and you can hear the minute abrasions of the bassist's calloused fingers as he plucks the strings.

Full symphony is treated with equal aplomb. One of my favorite tracks is from Joaquin Turina's "Danzas Fantasticas" CD, recorded by Bamberger Symphony/Antonio de Almeida. The track, "Orgia," has a fantastic dynamic range and nice bouquet of musical expression. This may not be the definitive performance or recording, but it's not chopped liver by any means. The orchestra whips up into a heroic whirlwind theme with the same kind of aggressive rhythmic authority you get from a proper Holst's 'Mars' vignette (and by "proper" I don't mean von Karajan's - I prefer Steinberg's BSO recording for its aggressive tempo and accent ). The loudspeakers really liberate the orchestra, which had, in hindsight, seemed to have been encumbered by the weight of a heavy winter coat. Aspects of separate musical lines become once again more obvious from within the whole symphonic organism. This is the kind of transparency I expect from ribbons, but the problem with ribbons has always been with loud and complex passages - where they can tend to lose control of the picture. The 4.1's show to me what is possible in that regard - lending that level of utter transparency to even the most complex and powerful passages without "losing it in the corkscrew" - (for you Laguna Seca fans).

General comparisons/impressions - first blush:

Vs. "Dynamic" speakers, the 4.1 soundly trounces every single one I've ever heard, bar none. They are no match for the transparency and dynamic acceleration and contrast possible with the 4.1 speaker. As well, there is a sensitivity offset that lands the 4.1 well ahead of that pack. Coherence is on a par with the very best examples of dynamic speakers.

Vs. ribbons and electrostats, the 4.1 matches or exceeds in transparency, microdynamics, and surely exceeds them when it comes to holding it all together in complex and loud passages.

Vs. horns, it matches dynamic contrast, acceleration, and sensitivity without that ultra-uvular and shouty midrange that horns seem to impart.

The Lansche 4.1 seems to be throwing down a formidable gauntlet and daring all comers to take their best shot. With the 4.1's sensitivity, speed, transparency, seamlessness, and overall authority ... challengers shouldn't take up the glove with anything less than grave respect and a meticulously prepared Last Will and Testament.

So far, I'm decidedly impressed with the out-of-the-box performance and strongly suspect that this loudspeaker has the potential set the performance-bar considerably high. How high I have yet to find out, but it is sufficient to say at this point that the sky may be the limit. After all, with a 20-Hz-150kHz bandwidth, it remains a singular example of extremely extreme performance. I haven't yet gotten the special burn-in CD from Lansche, said to further improve the performance of the midrange especially. I can't imagine what that will be like, but I look forward to finding out!
Just looked at them on their site; God Chris, sucks to be you!! ;-)
Every time I look at pictures of that speaker with the "glowing eye" in the tweeter I hear in my head "I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave..."

LOL! "I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave ..."

Oh dear ... these will now be known as the HAL speaker.

Crap. When I sit down and listen tonight I'm going to look right into those tweeters and hear HALs voice. Thanks RW!


Cpk - It's not a bad job, all things considered! ;-)

I've just spent five days with one of Lansche's principles. We went to Santa Fe to install a pair at our dealer there (Santa Fe Audio Systems). What a treat! We were driving them with more than enough power from the WAVAC He-833 amplifiers, with a Wavac pre and phono doing the honors up front. Continuum Caliburn spun the LPs while the EMM Labs transport and Zanden DAC worked their magic. We installed a pair of my Dragon speaker cables for good measure, as well!

As we finalized the setup and listened, we heard things out of recordings that we never knew were there. A session with Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington proved beyond remarkable! Details from within the music were coming out from behind the curtain, just amazing stuff. Deep, tight bass coupled with liquid mids matching seamlessly to the hyper-fast treble of the plasma tweeter - like a magic carpet ride.

I did get the bad news, too, though. Lansche has raised the price to 36k Euros, which in today's money means damn near $60k/pair! That said, there's no other speaker in the world that can touch this for any price. I'm going to lock a price of $55k/pair for as long as possible, but if the Euro continues to punish - we'll have to respond.

I'll be bringing these to RMAF in October, as well - come check us out!

I owned a pair of Nº4, and I have some problems with the starting of the Corona, I appreciate some distortion on female soprano voices, and some oscillations on space field. This is not Acceptable on these prices!
hopefully this ad will sell one or two pairs.
You're a very lucky man, Chris! It is interesting that you say that the midrange matches the plasma tweeter. I just looked at Lansche's website and they claim that the conventional electromagnetic driver they are using is of their own design. Very interesting, I thought that the only way to get a midrange driver to match the speed of the plasma tweeter was to use a horn. Will have to reserve judgement until I get an opportunity to hear them.

I see that they have gone 3-way with this speaker? Powered woofer, passive midrange, and plasma tweeter. I think that plasma tweeter has a 4mm flame and can be crossed over as low as 2.5kHz. Do you know what frequency range the midrange driver is being asked to handle?
Hi Chris, how the Lanches compare to German Physics?

I don't know what happened with your No. 4's, as I hadn't heard tis speaker until the 4.1 - I did hear of a pair that came into Canada and was sold to someone in NY, but that it suffered shipping damage and was never quite right after that. Perhaps that was yours, but I don't know the whole story.

The 4.1 tweeter starts with no problems and is utterly clean and phase coherent from 2.5k through 150k

Come see us at RMAF - you may be ready for your second pair!

The tweeter actually has an 8mm flame, and the knee frequency of the crossover is at 2500 Hz, but the tweeter performs through to 1,500 Hz through the crossover band.

As for the midrange driver, all I can say is hearing is believing. They have managed to create a very special midrange driver that does the job seamlessly. The mid driver operates from 150 Hz through 2.5kHz.


Lansche vs. German Physiks

A story of Apples And Oranges

German Physiks is an omni speaker, and as such it does everything alittle differently. In fact, I am as passionate about German Physiks as I've always been, because nothing else out there can do what they do - not even Lansche.

GP's strength is in the reconstruction of reality in the soundstage, and it's uncanny the way they can completely unravel and project this way. Vast soundstages as deep as the sky populated by eerily real 3-D images. The organic sense of acoustic space is something that German Physiks does peerlessly. If it's in the recording, its projected in virtual reality in your listening space.

What GP can't do - what no other speaker can do - is dig all the way back into the deepest recesses of a recording and pull out detail buried in the mix. Only Lansche has been able to do this while maintaining the whole picture. Lansche's combination of drivers and technology is seamless, and all of it leads into the extreme transparency that Lansche uniquely delivers. I personally believe that no electrostat, no ribbon, no compression-driver in a horn, and certainly no ordinary dynamic driver can approach the dynamics and transparency of the Lansche.

I love both of these brands as they have accomplished extraordinary things by leaving traditional technology behind and by inventing superlative products based on unique principles.

If you come to RMAF, you'll get more than a taste of what these loudspeaker technologies have accomplished.

We interrupt this infomercial and return to our regularly scheduled programming for 1 minute.

And then back to the infomercial.
You're too funny, but I guess my enthusiasm for this stuff deserves the jab.
As the distributor it doesn't belong here.
Audiofeil,You see it and say it as it is.
Your humorous and right on comments are not limited to this thread.Great work
Ha! At least the disclaimer came in as the third paragraph rather than the 20th(?) paragraph.
So - Here's the deal:

I'd like to know who thinks that it's somehow dishonest of me to post to the forums, considering that I've put - in my opening post, and in capital letters:

DISCLAIMER: I've received my first two pairs of this speaker as their appointed North American distributor. One pair has been shipped off to one of my dealers, the other you will read about below.

If you think that my post or posts like this don't belong in the forums, I'd be happy to read your explanations as to why and discuss.

If I've stepped over an invisible line, I didn't mean to. I thought that - by fully disclosing my position - I was being up front and honest about my relationship to the product. I hope that I was pretty clear, but if I wasn't ... my apologies. My intention was to be perfectly, clearly up front about my relationship to the product and then share my experience and enthusiasm for it. As well, I hoped that I would then make myself publicly accessible to anyone who had questions, concerns, comments about the product and to answer them here - publicly - so that everyone could benefit from the information.

I think we walking a very fine line here. The further up the disclaimer is the more comfortable I am with this type of thread. Perhaps the disclaimer should actually be in the "question box". On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if the moderators felt that they were due an advertising fee.
I wouldn't want to discourgae designers and manufactures from posting their thoughts on their own designs and products, but I'm not so sure where distributors fit in with that logic.
While I see Bill's point, I think Chris correctly repells the "shill" tag.
Audiogon provides only one method to all of us to have interactive conversations about the products we enjoy. We all share the hobby, I just happened to have made a career out of it. Still, it doesn't diminish my love for what i do - and my desire to share it with others.

So here in the forums, I wanted to share my thoughts about the Lansche speaker. I thought that I did my level best to disclose my association with the product as their North American distributor, perhaps I should make that disclaimer even more prevalent.
Csommovigo there will always be a plurality of opinions as to whether it is acceptable or not. I enjoyed your post because at least I know there is someone out there who knows about a speaker which has intrigued me. If you have more to say, please don't stop posting on account of a couple of naysayers.
Well I received the wisdom from up on Audio high that it's ok to post to the forums so long as I disclose my interest in the business/industry - I was also told that I *had* done that, so no worries.

Thank you, Amfibius, for sharing your opinion on the matter. I had hoped to start a conversation about the speaker and the technology, answer questions or concerns, and talk about the "extreme performance" category, generally.

With regard to Lansche: One concern that had been voiced to me awhile back what about the production of ozone from the tweeter. The temperature of the flame is so high that it burns off the ozone - no inherent danger there.

As well, someone once raised with me the possibility that the tweeter produced too many positive ions. The company tested for ion emission and found nothing of consequence - it actually happens that the output of their laptop fan emitted a much greater amount of positive ions.

I think the concern here is that if us consumers are not allowed to offer items for sale, i.e., "advertise", then perhaps commercial interests should not either. It is a fine line. Answering questions about a product is one thing, a 14 paragraph "infomercial" is quite another. Your disclaimer is fine and makes it clear who you are and what you are doing, but, IMO, this walks like and ad, smells like an ad, and quacks line an ad. Giving us the basic facts is fine, but a little more discretion might have been appropriate. I don't think most mags would publish a "review" written by a distributor. Just my $0.02.
Hi Swampwalker,

Thanks for chiming in. I understand your point, but i respectfully disagree - that is to say, in terms of degree. You could make your argument at any point ... we can't argue degree of content, because opinions will differ there.

Let's assume you know nothing about Lansche - why would you? They're relatively new to the US audio scene. Let's also assume, then, that you might be interested in finding out more about them - but you don't know that yet because it takes someone like me, who takes the risk of distribution and brings it in to the country to tell you about it.

Of course this is a passionate hobby - we love this stuff, and that includes me. So I relate my experience with the speaker in order to raise some awareness and stir up conversation about it. Because I'm the importer, it seems to you like it "walks and talks like an ad." If I were a consumer, it would walk and talk like enthusiasm for a new product. Change no words except for those that identify me as the distributor, and you have a consumer review.

So, in essence, it seems that you are saying that - because I have a (well publicized) financial interest in the product, that alters the meaning and purpose of my post. It goes from consumer review to "informercial" simply because of my relationship to the product.

"Infomercial" is one of those pejorative terms that is meant to stir up instant feelings of distrust ... as if I'm selling miracle mops at midnight. So I'm not terribly impressed with the comparison, but it does identify the cynicism clearly.

Again - respectfully - I disagree. Any "civilian" audiophile excited enough about a product they have acquired to write a review and share that experience with fellow audiophiles hopes, at some level, that others will use that review to audition the product and get the same enjoyment out of it. Conversations will be started, questions will be asked, places to audition and purchase the product in question may be revealed.

So it goes with my review, as well. The product excites me, it belongs in the extreme-performance category with other exotic technologies, and you might not otherwise know about it if it weren't for me posting about it. At least it would take some time before you found out about it. You're a big boy - you can choose to read or not read what you want, and if my review irks you because I have a financial interest in the product ... move on. I've been very clear and up front about that from the start, so no surprises there.

The issue then becomes - do you trust me? Does the mere fact that I am the importer (and therefore stand to gain by cultivating your business) mean that I am to be instantly distrusted? For some, the cynical answer is "yes." I accept that, I know that ahead of time, I'm not looking to convert naysayers or skeptics.

For others, they may realize that in an industry that is withering away and in a price category that is unrealistic in an economic recession, I've taken on the risk of investing in this company not because I think they will sell like hotcakes to Audiogon'ers ... but because I believe it's a genuinely amazing product and deserves attention. For those people, my review may get them to visit us at RMAF and hear something that I think is truly remarkable.

Another thing is this - I don't sell these speakers directly, so this is not an advertisement. I've advertised price (which has since gone up) to qualify the price category that the speaker occupies, not to sell them directly to you or anyone else. Lansche will only sell through dealers, which we now have one of in Santa Fe, NM. I'll be looking to generate interest from other dealers with proper shops, as this product is a very high-end product that belongs in an appropriate environment. That means local dealers serving local customers directly, coming to their homes and setting up the speakers, etc.

So while I expect some cynicism from folks like you and Bill, if you take the time to think - what could my expectations possibly be by posting a review here, considering the exotic nature of the speaker and the high price? You might come to the conclusion that it may be as I have stated: I wanted to share my experience with a product that has impressed me significantly, to talk about it with others who might be interested in it, and to participate in conversations about it.

I believe, and Audiogon has confirmed with me directly, that the forums here are appropriate for reviews and commentaries from industry insiders such as myself -so long as I have been up front about my association with the product.

If you patently distrust someone like myself simply because I have a financial stake in the product, take a moment to think ... why did I bother to take the (considerable) risk to begin with? On Audiogon I'd fare WAY better to push a price-to-performance loudspeaker, sell them direct for a discount to the teeming masses from coast to coast, and move on to my next hi-fi bargain campaign. To automatically reject my review as an "informercial" and, therefore, untrustworthy misses the larger picture: It's extremely unlikely that it could ever generate a sale.

Take off the cynical sunglasses for a moment and consider, for a brief moment, that you incur zero risk by reading my words. Further, you incur zero risk by auditioning the speaker in a public forum like RMAF. Unlike an "Infomercial," nothing is being demanded of you. You don't have to "buy in the next 10 minutes and we'll give you an incredible bonus Atomic Blender completely free!" ... You can choose to read or not read, share or not share, but you cannot choose to buy. At least not from me.

So when you write, "Giving us the basic facts is fine, but a little more discretion might have been appropriate," I think that's too clinical. What fun is it to write about a glorious meal in a fantastic restaurant if it reads like:

We sat at a table. It had a white cloth and some silverware. A couple of glasses were there too, and someone poured water in them. After we ordered, a man brought a basket of bread. We ate some of that. Then some plates were delivered and on them there was meat. The meat looked cooked, and there were some vegetables on the plate, too. We ate the meat, it tasted good.

You get the idea. This is a hobby about a passionate interest in great sound, in moving musical experiences, in extraordinary technologies creating the illusion of incredible soundscapes. "The basic facts" just doesn't cut it. This stuff is phenomenal, and I write about it in the terms that I experience it.

If it's inappropriate for you, that doesn't make it inappropriate for someone else ... or inappropriate for Audiogon.

My $0.02.

Now we have $0.04 !

I don't see any problem if the disclaimer is there. And clearly the post doesn't violate Audiogon rules, or the moderators would not have allowed it in the first place....right?

So if you don't like this post, stop reading it at the disclaimer, complain to Audiogon about their rules, or go somewhere else like Audio Asylum, where everybody claims to be an expert on every topic, is completely nuts, and every post turns into a flame war.
Hi, Csommovigo i hear that the 4.1 are updated!
I have send the coronas to update and repair to Lansche,
but it comes without any modifications back!, This guys don’t gives any warranties
be carefully and observe the corona in time.
"04-24-08: Supsound
Hi, Csommovigo i hear that the 4.1 are updated!
I have send the coronas to update and repair to Lansche,
but it comes without any modifications back!, This guys don’t gives any warranties
be carefully and observe the corona in time."

Huh? Baking powder? Exsqueeze me?
has anyone compared the lanche 4.1 to the new 4.2? how much more does it cost?
Hi Chris- I just saw your reply and I'm a bit dumbfounded and I think, flattered that you took the time to write such a lengthy reply. Cynical I am. Way too cynical and sarcastic. Its a personality flaw. I say that honestly and with a straight face. Guilty as charged.

Yes you are passionate about what you sell/distribute. Nothing wrong with that. No I don't want you to describe your product as
"It produces low frequency sound from the woofer and high frequency sound from the unconventional tweeter and its so many feet tall and so many feet wide and you need to connect it to an amp or it won't work."
Yes you were upfront in identifying your relationship to the product, allowing me to skip the post if I desired.

Yes you have taken a major financial risk to import a bleeding edge product in a down industry in a down time.

Yes the approval of Audiogon is implicit in their allowing the post and apparently explicit in your contacts with them. If you look at my posts over the years (not that I would suggest that its an appropriate use of anyone's time), you will see that I have consistently taken the position that this site is "private property" and the owners set the rules. If I don't like it I can take my "traffic" and ads elsewhere. So far I think its the best site on the web for our affliction.

Yes I'm a big boy and I don't have to read your post if I'm offended.

And yes, I would love to hear the speaker if I can get to RMAF this year.

However, my general tendency is to treat with caution what I perceive as an "over the top" marketing approach. Maybe distrust is too strong, but color me skeptical. I also would note that I would hate to see a potentially break-through product fail due to "off-putting" marketing approach. Many of us remember the DK Integrated Amp donnybrook that was hashed out in these forums. I still think that an "announcement" or an "advertisement" would have been more appropriate. You and many others disagree. That's cool. As the old saying goes, "that's why they make chocolate and vanilla". I hope I haven't whipped up a tempest in a teapot and I hope the speaker line succeeds beyond your wildest expectations. I say that sincerely.

And Cathode- I wasn't my intent to flame Chris or anyone else. I thought I had expressed my opinion temperately. If you or anyone else was offended by my somewhat sarcastic tone, I apologize. Its a known issue with the Swampwalker Postwriter Mk 1, which I plan to address with an update later this year, once I have enough deposits to cover R&D, tooling, materials, and advertising. However, I do draw the line at using early adopters as beta testers, unlike our favorite OS developer ;~)