Larsen Intrigues

John Larsen was on hand to show off his eye-catching Swedish-made Larsen 8 loudspeakers with SD feet ($6995/pair), which are distributed by Audio Skies. Meant to be placed against the wall for full control and bass response, they can descend to 23 or 24Hz, and ascend 20kHz. "They're designed to play with the room, not against the room," Larsen explained of a design that claims to eliminate distortion-creating first reflections. The angle of the tweeter also creates a wide soundstage that was given a run for its money on Telarc's recording of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.

I found the sound warm and smooth, but lacking requisite bite on top. That, of course, has everything to do with the rest of the system, which included the Kid Thomas turntable and Cornet 2 tonearm with a MM cartridge and the optional power supply, Classic phono stage MM, GamuT CD3 Red-Book CD player, GamuT Di150 dual mono integrated amp, and not yet available cabling. Note that no room correction, equalization, or bass traps were in use, and the turntable stand and electronics shelf were intentionally bargain-basement variety.