LARS By Lars

Possibly the most visually striking product I've seen at the show so far is the 20Wpc dual-mono integrated the LARS ($100,000). Designed by Lars Engstrom and hand-built in Sweden, the LARS has two separate chassis, one for each channel—with inputs also on each channel. An umbilical transmits control commands from the right channel to the left.

Each channel employs two 300Bs in push/pull configuration, a 6N9P, a pair of 6V6GTs, and two GZ32 rectifiers. The chimney effect at the top of the acrylic cages is quite impressive.

As was the sound of the LARS driving a pair of Amphion 620s ($5700/pair). The soundstage was immense and immensely dynamic, but the music never sounded forced. I can hear Art Dudley drooling over this one all the way from upstate NY.

And, oh yeah, they are drop-dead gorgeous visually, as well as aurally.

Jerry's picture

Wes, can you spell TRADE DEFECATE. How about Made In America Real World Prices. Top quote Art Dudley, Dec 08, "Why can't anybody in America make a really good-sounding $500 integrated amp-and perhaps more to the point, why can't a talented businessperson figure out how make a reasonable profit selling such a thing".

Stephen Scharf's picture

I'll second (or is it third?) those comments by the first two posters.The prices for high-end stuff is completely out of control....and the editors wriite about like it's no big deal. I wonder who's more out of touch with reality: the high-end audio journalists who act like like these prices are no big deal, or the businesspersons pricing this stuff.

Dave's picture

Ha, Look at the recent MAJOR price reduction by the maker of the Merrill- Scillia table... reduced by half!!Perhaps this particular designer got a clue that if he is to actually have any chance at all to sell any of his product he may have to live by market demand and get in touch with reality. OTOH,I don't seem to remember the journalistic reviewer being too strong on his opinion of value at the time of the review. Maybe if he had to pay retail like the rest of us he would have had a stronger opinion...Maybe not.

Stephen Scharf's picture

So, Dave, you're points are well-taken and completely consistent with my own views. IMHO, the prices for these components relative to the performance provided and what it costs to actually manufacture them is WAY out of whack. While our esteemed editors wax eloquently about the intracacies of inner detail, and lack of mid-bass bloom in these exorbitantly priced products, what's not discussed by the reviewers is the value proposition. If one uses the formula Value=Quality/Price, then high-end doesn't provide much at all in the way of *value* with these ridiculously-priced components. Everyone has to decide for themselves where their value-proposition "window" lies, but the prices being charged for the engineering specification being delivered is way, way out of line in high-end, if you ask me. Hence, the value proposition is quite poor. The ironic thing is that there is very little that is proprietary technology that would normally command this level of pricing....these are *commodities*,

Dave's picture

You know Stepen, when I look at this piece of equipment (The Lars) I actually wonder why the designer picked the price of $100K vs. say $1M or maybe $2M or? Could have also picked maybe $1000- but then everybody would probably think it was an inferior product...

Frank's picture

Another $100k amplifier.. gosh, that's wonderful. In genuine acrylic, no less...