Shahinian Larc. How on earth

I had a speaker demo yesterday, of which more later. Lurking in the corner of the dealer I spotted a pair of Larcs and having always been intrigued by their totally eccentric design philosophy I asked to try them. Always wanted to hear something from the company.

System just an Atom and a 250.

The Larcs are tiny. Quite literally about the volume of a shoe box. 34 x 15 x 22cm. Yes that is centimetres. You could put them under your coat. They are very light. The two drivers are obviously also very small. They can be plonked on the floor without feet or spikes. They were mine for £2.8k

So how do they sound like that? Truly, ridiculously, astonishing. Sophisticated, creamy, surprisingly rich and very engaging. They also have bass. Not the most percussive but with fair depth and resolution that would put many to shame. Voices were simply gorgeous. Most amazing of all they fill the room. I’m aware they image ‘differently’ and I’m insufficiently analytical to explain how but close your eyes and these little things are incredible at filling a space.

In the end I didn’t buy them. My preferred speaker is a bit more dynamic and lively but I was sorely tempted. So if you are in the market for something truly different, if your musical tastes are more vocal, classical and perhaps like a fairly lush sound then put them on your list. I am so glad I have got to hear them. The dealer said that Shahinian aren’t making many units at all, and indeed none of their bigger models so it may be the company are struggling?

Can someone please explain how they manage to do what they do, and appear to reject all the loudspeaker conventions? Incidentally I heard the Neat Iota Alpha which may have some similarities with the angled top and diminutive size, although it seemed to sound more conventional but I don’t see other manufacturers doing anything like Shahinian.

Hope this piques some interest, or other people have heard them

Bruce

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Definitely something about Shahinians - I was a long-term user of Compasses.

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Interesting to see the Larcs mentioned again, as a picture was posted the other day in the system pics by @stkelly. Nice to see them paired with a NAIT 50.

Shahinian do make some very special speakers which seem to go against ‘expected’ design principles but work so well. Piqued by a review by Malcolm Steward I’d read in Critic, I bought a pair of Compasses a few years back when the Grandkids had take a bit too much interest in my PMC speakers and they end up staying for quite a while before Kudos Titans took their place. There is just something about the way they sound which makes music so relaxing and enjoyable to listen to.

Richard Shahinian died in 2017 and his son picked up the reigns. Pricing has gone a bit silly over the years and there is limited distribution, but John Burns of Pear Audio is a very helpful chap for anything Shahinian related.

Thanks for posting, Bruce - an interesting read. I still have my Compasses, so i should really get them out and give them a listen again as my system has changed somewhat since they were last used.

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I bought a pair of Larcs to use with my Atom, as it wasn’t really up to driving N-Sats properly, and I wanted something that would sit discretely in the living room. I did try them with a better power amp too, just out of curiosity, but they still work extremely well just with the Atom.
(Iota Alphas, by comparison, are massive!)

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…and I found to be disappointing.

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A friend has owned a pair of Obelisks for years and I always enjoyed the music played on his system. He has just upgraded them to a pair of Diapasons, I heard them briefly and was extremely impressed. I am looking forward to hearing them again. I do wonder why and how they sound so good because they seem to break all the rules of speaker design for my simple mind.

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I love my Diapasons. Spent a long time looking for something that could do orchestral scale effortlessly - as well as everything else.

Can second what has been written about John Burns at Pear Audio. Very knowledgable, down to earth, trustworthy and approachable. And never pushy.

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Used to hear Shahinians quite regularly at Phonography in Ringwood, where Phil March would demo them with enthusiasm. They always sounded good - I think it was Obelisks.

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“You could put them under your coat”. Wire -cutter, disguise and a return visit are in order L.

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I bought a pair of Larcs from Phil. Nice speakers and amazing for their size. More of an all rounder than Kans and more bass than later Kan versions.

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I’ve also heard the Larcs - some years ago at Winchester HiFi, so Phil again (he was servicing my LP12 at the time).

They were just plonked on the floor up against a wall.

Astonishing sound!

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But aren’t these positioned against their own design?

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Shahinian say they can be used in either orientation. I use mine as miniature floorstanders, but they can also be used on stands, although Shahinian’s ‘polydirectional’ designs don’t need the tweeter to be around ear height as per the guidance for many more conventional types.

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I heard them on some stands initially. Didn’t work well (and looked a bit silly too). Definitely better on the floor.

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Ok, thanks.
M

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I would have placed them exactly where they are shown

Lovely speakers

Hope things are going well

Best wishes

Ian

I have owned two pairs of Larcs, my first pair from a batch made in 2015. I had them several years run from a Naim Uniti 1 and pair of NAP-100’s used like monoblocs. This was an absolutely fun setup, and really, the Uniti itself drove them fine. Mine at the time were set on the floor, and later, I found they worked well on a very solid stand that had a top plate same size of the bottom of the Larc, standing upright. I liked the more ideal image height in my room at the time. I moved and ended up moving them along, only to regret it.

I finally came across a very recent almost brand new pair back in October of last year. Currently running them off of my Naim XS3/ND5XS2 combo, and sounding really mighty fine. They are still situated on stands as my older pair were. I love these things, and they suit my room and music perfectly! I have also owned Obelisks as well, and love those two.

I agree that Shahinian pricing has gone up quite a bit over the last several years. I do think they kept pricing low for quite sometime, and got caught up in the pricing of materials etc., and had to drastically adjust to stay in business. Here in the US, they have no dealers, it is best to find used or go direct to Shahinian/Vasken. Makes it tough to hear them here unfortunately.

Shahinian are certainly a different beast, if one takes their time with them, and pay close attention to setup, they can be quite addictive!

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Such a cool looking setup.

After a move sometime back, I was finally able to clear what will become my main room for music, re-set up my Nait XS3/ND5XS2 with my Larcs, enjoying it immensely even if it isn’t set up as it will be in the end. Such a simple two-box setup with such fun little speakers that sound bigger than they have a right to!

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Here is another pic of them upright on stands.

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