by Anthony Kershaw
I’ve known Lars Hansen of Hansen Audio for five years. He’s a serious man and passionate about his family of loudspeakers. I’ve reviewed most of his lineup. He called me last week to organize a visit to the Hansen offices in Toronto to see and hear the newest, largest and most expensive speaker, the aptly named Grand Master. Audiophilia was to be the first audio publication to see and hear the new speaker. I was honoured.
The official unveiling is at CES in January. Audiophilia will be publishing the first review. The serious listening will take place as soon as the speakers return from Las Vegas. Today, they were hooked up to $175,000 worth of Tenor Audio preamp and mono amps, which look and sound marvelous. Hansen will be using the mighty dCS Scarlatti four box digital front end at CES. If you’re there, be sure to schedule a sit down.
The Grand Masters are indeed grand. At 650 pounds and over six feet high, they make a hell of a visual statement. Hansen and I listened for a short time. Initial thoughts. Incredible soundstage (large, large, large) and very precise imaging, delightful timbral accuracy (you have to hear Sinatra’s Only The Lonely on these speakers!), and a well-nigh perfect seat at the musical event. I once wrote that ’sometimes, it only takes one note’. It seems the Grand Masters can capture one’s imagination immediately.
At US$239,000.00, these loudspeakers will be the manna of millionaires. The workmanship is to die for. Hansen Audio’s piano black finish and manipulation of the proprietary materials is nonpareil. It continues on a huge scale with the Grand Masters. I can’t wait to get my hands on them, if only for a short while. BTW, the photo does not even coming close to doing these speakers justice. The subtlety in the undulations on the cabinet to help in radiation and defraction would need Annie Leibovitz on her best day to capture the curves.