Larsen HiFi 8 loudspeaker Manufacturer's Comment

Manufacturer's Comment

Editor: We are very grateful to Art Dudley for all his high praise and many accolades of the Larsen 8 speaker in his insightful and positive review. We appreciate all his efforts. As Art rightfully states, the Larsen 8 is a speaker for music lovers who want to forget the gear, sit back, and enjoy their music. When you do that, the Larsen speaker makes you "immensely happy," as Art writes.

Larsen speakers continue the development of the highly acclaimed Carlsson Acoustics OA-52, which Stig Carlsson developed in the 1980s with John Larsen. John Larsen worked with Carlsson for 16 years, and when Stig Carlsson died, Larsen took over production of Carlsson Acoustics speakers and further improved on that innovative design to create the Larsen speakers.

Unlike conventional speakers, Larsen speakers are designed to work with the room, not against it, by eliminating early distorting (first) reflections. To eliminate boomy bass and early reflections, conventional speakers must be placed far from the walls, in an attempt to ignore the room. This means they perform very differently, depending on the room and the placement in the room. But we all listen in rooms with walls.

The effects of the room are incorporated into the design of Larsen speakers, which are designed to be placed against the wall. We then created a cabinet and a crossover that incorporates that first reflection from the wall right behind the speakers. This placement, combined with the unique positioning and angles of the drivers, flanked by absorption material, virtually eliminates the wall behind the speakers, and eliminates early sound reflections from interfering with the initial direct sound from the speaker. Both the bass and the tonal balance of the Larsen speakers therefore sound much more consistently the same, regardless of the room, and the speakers offer a flat frequency response when set up correctly.

John Atkinson's attempts to apply irrelevant, conventional measuring techniques to this innovative speaker design, in an effort to somehow make the speaker fit those methods—as if it were a conventional, symmetrical box speaker placed against the wall—makes his measurements quite misleading. And nearfield measurements like these are not possible with many drivers firing in various directions. Larsen measures to determine how both speakers actually perform in the room—not how they would perform in a room without walls.

To measure how Larsen speakers actually perform in the room, we measure at the listening position—and not only the direct sound of the speakers, but the total sound, which includes reflections from the room. This is just like in a good concert hall, where direct sounds from the instruments blend with reflections from the walls. Voices and instruments heard without these reflections lose their natural timbres. The human brain knows that reflections are a fact of life; not hearing reflections sounds unnatural.

We are therefore very happy that Art's ears were "immensely happy" when listening to the Larsens, and invite all music lovers to come and enjoy Larsen speakers.—John Larsen, Larsen HiFi

To clarify: In the Measurements section that accompanies Art Dudley's review of the Larsen 8, fig.7 was taken at the listening position in my room, and does, therefore, include not just the direct sound of the speakers, but also the reflections from the room boundaries. The in-room measurement is not at odds with the quasi-anechoic measurements in figs.3–6.—John Atkinson

Larsen HiFi
US distributor: Audio Skies
4602 Greenwood Place
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(310) 975-7099

NeilS's picture

Do Stereophile reviewers have access to John Atkinson's measurements when they write their reviews?

John Atkinson's picture
NeilS wrote:
Do Stereophile reviewers have access to John Atkinson's measurements when they write their reviews?

No. It is very important for them not to see the measurements, because there would be the danger that they might then hear what they see.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

NeilS's picture

Much appreciated.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

There is a very interesting Manufacturer's Comment on this review's measurements in the current issue, along with a reality check by JA.

corrective_unconscious's picture

Speakers which are theoretically bizarre are almost always interesting, and this one appears to have you listening to every single driver off every single driver's axis, (although it's hard to see where the one that is _partially obscured by a metal plate in its head_ is aiming.)

I was once pleasantly surprised by a little, costly FJ "The Ohm" in a short audition, but at least that one had the tweeter aiming forward. Not sure how many of the drivers in the multi way Shahinians aim at the listener.


Everybody remember the Yamaha speaker shaped like an ear?

Hi-Reality's picture

I listened to the Larsen 4s (the little brother of Larsen 8) at T.H.E. Show Newport and was very impressed. The acoustic guitarist on the playback track was in-the-room and playing.

Independent of the gear price, I didn't quite succeed to experience this level of realism at the show in any other room!

Thank you for this review.

Regards, Babak
Hi-Reality Project