High End By Oz, Lansche, Thrax, Hifistay, Rotel, S.I.N. Audio, Albedo

A real drum kit at the Florida expo? Standing in the second-floor hallway, I could've sworn I heard just that. Five seconds later, reality set in when Dave Brubeck's famous piano chords joined Joe Morello's 5/4 jazz groove. It was the recorded sound of Morello's drums on "Take Five" that had emanated from the Embassy Suites' Kennedy Room, where High End by Oz, a Connecticut distributor, was demoing its wares. (I sincerely love it when my brain gets tricked like that. The last time it happened was at the 2022 Pacific Audio Fest in Seattle, where the sound of a real piano came from the Joseph Audio room as I stood just outside it. I checked. Nope: speakers.)

Taking pride of place in the Oz system were the German Lansche 5.2 loudspeakers ($49,500/pair in Macassar ebony), three-way floorstanders outfitted with proprietary Corona tweeters that, I kid you not, glow purple. The company says that these transducers have no voice coil, no magnets, and no membrane—capping that claim with "All there is, in fact, is light and air." There's obviously a little more to it than that, some of it seemingly of the mad-scientist variety: think "ionized gas clouds" and "combustion chambers." You can read up on the technology in John Atkinson's review of the earlier Lansche 5.1.

In size and price, the 5.2 is second from the bottom in a five-model lineup that tops out with the 9.2, which costs slightly north of $250,000/pair. "You will never see the 9.2s at a show," High End by Oz founder Ozan Turan said confidently. Not that he's not proud of them. It's their weight, he explained: more than 700lb each. That's okay for one-time delivery to a well-heeled client, but too taxing for temporary shows. The 5.2, meanwhile, is no featherweight (190lb per speaker), but at least it's luggable and dolly-able.

It's also sonically striking—so much so that the High End By Oz room rocketed straight into my personal Top 3 of all the systems I heard at the Florida expo. I'll ID the other two in a wrap piece; for now, let's focus on the Lansche speakers and their associated equipment.

The electronics in the room were from Bulgaria-based Thrax: a Dionysos tube preamp ($27,000), a Maximus MkII Silver DAC ($38,500), and two Teres MkII hybrid class-A/B monoblocks ($37,500 pair) with 6N6P twin-triode tubes. Rounding out the setup: a S.I.N. Audio PSD-10 power distributor ($20,000), a Hifistay Mythology rack ($6250 per shelf), and cabling by Albedo.

Everything sounded expansive, creamy-rich, and maximally engaging, at least on the demo tracks that played while I was there: Brubeck's "Take Five," Alan Parson's "I Robot," and finally "Pasodoble," a graceful, beautifully-recorded piece for piano and bass, performed by Leszek Możdżer and Lars Danielsson. Would I like to have listened to some hard-driving rock also, and maybe a symphony orchestra? Well, yeah. But in the material I did hear, there existed a form of virtual reality that made my heart beat just a little faster.

Speaking of speed: transients were light of touch and superbly defined, and seemed immediate. The bass and midrange stood out both in solidity and cleanness.

Now for the playback device, which Ozan Turan jokingly called his "secret weapon." Would you believe...a $299 Rotel CD player? Turan's reference transport went kaput a day before the show, so he drove to a Best Buy and bought the Rotel stand-in. I told him I was happy there was at least one thing in the room I could afford, and we laughed. But dayyum—even with that relatively lowly Rotel front end, the system sounded formidable, and that's nothing to laugh at.

Allen Fant's picture

Outstanding! RvB.
Great article and photos. Good to read that Ozan made the trek from CT.
High End by Oz, also represents Hemingway Audio Cables.