Larsen hifi 8
Scandinavian design and Swedish acoustic theory meet to deliver an alternative window onto sonic realilty.
Origin: Skillingaryd, Sweden
Do you need to place your speakers close to a wall? Do you like Volvos and Saabs? Have you ever been to Sweden? If the answer to even one is yes, then Larsen may be the speaker for you. If it's all three, it definitely is. Larsens are designed free of the tyranny of traditional speaker design. Anyone who says something is the "best" has no idea what they're talking about. Everything is subjective. What do you listen to? How big is your room? Larsens — like most Scandinavian audio — are designed to solve the problems of room placement.
"They look," says Noho Sound founder Alex Roy of the Larsen HiFi 8's, "like they came out of an audiophile time machine."
"But they sound amazing," says co-founder Chris Petranis.
"AND they sound amazing," says Noho Sound President Ron Kain.
Polarizing stylistically, the Larsens sound absolutely incredible where other speakers sound like s**t. Why? Because every other speaker is designed to sit away from walls, and they get worse the closer they get. The Larsens? They get better.
From The Absolute Sound:
"The Larsen Model 8 is to my mind a speaker that everyone seriously interested in audio ought to listen to and at as much length as possible, since one needs to adjust to its quite different approach to reproducing sound in rooms. There are things it does, and important things at that, that to my mind lie at the heart of actually sounding like live music. The approach is entirely different from the near-field, directional speakers that can also claim a really accurate reproduction of what is on the recordings, albeit in a different way. But the approach of the Larsen Model 8s has validity of its own. How speakers should work in rooms is not a very standardized matter. But the way of the Larsens is one of the ways that works. The Larsens, most impressively, really sound the way music actually does sound. The Model 8s are not just another try at making a speaker like all the rest except better, as so many high-end speakers are. Rather, the Larsen Model 8s are something special in their own right."
— Robert E. Greene, The Absolute Sound
Read Green's entire review here.
The Larsen story and theory is best explained in Stereophile's wonderful review of the Larsens:
"I wouldn't normally begin a review of an imported product with generalities about the culture from which it sprang, but this isn't just any imported product. It's a Scandinavian loudspeaker, and Scandinavian speakers are subject to a different and altogether more liberal set of rules.
For one thing, because they tend to be healthy and well educated, and because their governments are at peace and, for the most part, economically and politically sound, Scandinavians can take a joke. For another, Scandinavians are famous for not only having a loudspeaker industry—something that has thus far eluded Spaniards, Corsicans, Ethiopians, and the Maltese, among others—but also for the distinctiveness of the speakers they make. Like the Scandinavian people themselves, their speakers are intelligent, serene, uncompromising, outwardly serious and inwardly whimsical, outwardly tidy and inwardly complex, and a bit quirky.
Much of that applies to everything made and consumed in Scandinavia, from Volvos to Dux lounge chairs to Earth Shoes to Legos to salt licorice. Scandinavian speakers are exactly like salt licorice, if salt licorice could transform electrical signals into soundwaves."
— Art Dudley, Stereophile
You can read the entire review here.
And here's another stellar review, from Positive Feedback:
"The Larsen Model 8 speakers are very special performers with good timbre, a surprisingly extended frequency response and realistic imaging without requiring a large foot print hogging the middle of your listening room. The Larsen Model 8 speakers provide music lovers an opportunity to forget about gear and just enjoy music, highly recommended."
— Larry Cox, Positive Feedback
Read Larry's entire review here.
From the Larsen website:
"The sound of Larsen is to mimic the real world. When a good recording is played the timbre of it should be perceived as in reality. If a recording is done in a church it should sound as a church. If it's made in a studio it should sound as in a studio. Some speakers add focus in a way we consider a bit unreal. We like the more natural focus you have in the real world and that is a big part of the sound of our speakers. As a bonus this gives a wider sweetspot – almost as in the real world.
When it comes to our products you don't have to worry that they will be out of date in a year. We work continuously in developing them but when they are ready they will last for several years. And after that, if necessary, we can provide upgrades for all the speakers John Larsen has produced since the early eighties. We believe in evolution and not revolution when it comes to our products. The world doesn't need to be reinvented every 6 months.
Larsen's products are designed to have a fairly small environmental footprint. Most components are produced locally in Scandinavia. The approach to make the speaker almost completely integrated with the front wall and the room increases the efficiency and makes it possible to have e deeper bass from a smaller box. All that knew Stig as early as the mid sixties. Timeless engineering in a essence which we are proud to take to the future for your listening experience."
Larsen online: Larsen