The Four Seasons with Larry Staples of LSA Group/DK Designs
Though tired exhausted, in fact I walked in, only wanting to stand against a wall and listen. A group of friendly faces sat happily around a pair of LSA1 loudspeakers ($1000/pr), enjoying a bit of jazz. What I noticed, immediately, was that, though I was standing against a wall, in the back of the room, my listening position obscured by tables and chairs and people, I wasn't missing any of the music.
Larry Staples walked over. "Have we taken care of you yet?"
"Oh, I'm just listening," I replied.
"Well, we've got the LSA2s in here," he said, motioning to a second room. "Would you like to check them out?"
I'll admit: at the time, I honestly wasn't interested. Like I said, I only wanted to rest against a wall for a bit before going back to our hotel and calling it quits. But, sometimes, pushing yourself a little more, or doing something you wouldn't ordinarily do, leads to new and pleasing experiences. So, instead of declining:
"Sure," I nodded.
I followed Larry in, where he graciously offered me a seat and some time. I sat down and faced the impressive LSA2 ($2500/pr), a three-way floorstander bigger than what I'm normally interested in, but at a price comparable to that of my reference DeVore gibbon 3.
Larry popped in a performance of The Four Seasons (Vivaldi, I believe?). I know the piece, sure, but I can't say I'm familiar with it, and it's not at all something I would normally listen to. Nevertheless, I soon found myself thoroughly enjoying the rises and falls, the dynamic sweeps.
Larry sat slightly behind me, where I could, every now and then, discern the motions of his head, swaying with the music.
The LSA2's finely crafted cabinet curves from front to back, going from 8" to 9.25" in the center to 6" at the rear.
Larry explained: "I'll tell you where the design came from," he began.
"It was my wife and I, sitting down to listen to some music. We'd be sitting there together, you know, and I'd always be hogging up the sweet-spot. She'd be off to one side or the other, and she'd always end up complaining that all the sound from the nearest speaker was beaming right at her."
"So, I had to figure out a design which would allow for the music to be enjoyed from any area in the room."
At this point, Larry stands me up and leads me to a far corner of the room.
"You hear that?" he asks. "All the images are still centered solidly in the middle of the space. You don't get all that beaminess from one speaker. You can stand anywhere."
I move around the room, casually. Indeed: near, far, standing, sitting, to the left or to the right, everything sounds smooth and natural. I detect very little alteration in the size or placement of images, and the sound is never at all fatiguing. If anything at all, I find the music to be a tad polite. I'm just not getting that certain sense of excitement or intensity that I am attracted to.
Larry asks if there's anything in particular I'd like to listen to. I hand him my demo disc, and ask for track six.
Earth, Wind & Fire comes on, and it's all:
I'm longing to love youNot knowing what track six was before I requested it, I'm now blushing, completely embarrassed, only to be comforted by Larry's foot tapping to the music. He's obviously enjoying it, and I'm relieved. It's been far too often that I've felt embarrassed by my music selection at one of these shows, and it's refreshing to walk into a room where there are no biases.
Just for a night
Kissing and hugging and holding you tight
It becomes clear to me that Larry is a music-lover first, and the science he puts into his designs is geared towards making music that can be enjoyed by anyone, no matter where they sit or stand in the room.