One of the biggest names of the mid-twentieth century British hifi scene, LEAK is back with its first products since the late 1970s

British audio brand LEAK has returned with its first products for more than 40 years. The LEAK Stereo 130 is an integrated amplifier featuring “state-of-the-art” circuitry nestling within a classic LEAK exterior, while the LEAK CDT is a matching CD transport.

British Hifi

Founded in 1934, LEAK is one of the most important names from the early years of the British hifi scene, responsible for many technological ‘firsts’ throughout the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. For example, the Point One series of valve amplifiers introduced in 1945 were the first to reduce total harmonic distortion to 0.1 per cent, while its Sandwich speakers heralded true-piston cone action by sandwiching polystyrene foam between outer skins of stiff aluminium foil. Such was LEAK’s engineering excellence that its 1955 Trough-Line FM tuner is still held in high regard.

LEAK Stereo 130 Amplifier

LEAK Stereo 130 Integrated Amplifier

The all-new Stereo 130 is a descendant of another LEAK classic, the Stereo 30 integrated amplifier, which arrived in 1963 as the first commercially available all-transistor amplifier. It spearheaded the use of transformerless transistor output stages over then-standard transformer-coupled designs, paving the way for future solid-state amps.

LEAK Stereo 130 Amplifier rear view

The Stereo 130’s aesthetic resemblance, with its optional real-wood enclosure and invitingly tactile front panel, isn’t the only nod to its ancestor. The engineering behind its circuit design embodies the Stereo 30’s pioneering spirit, too, utilising the latest techniques and technologies to bring this classic transistor amp design bang up to date.

Connectivity

With its connectivity also benefiting from such modernisation, the Stereo 130 can form the heart of a high-performance, multi-format audio system – ready to deliver vinyl, CD, Bluetooth-streamed and USB-stored music.

A high-quality, low-noise, JFET-based MM phono stage welcomes turntables, while analogue line-level inputs and optical, coaxial and asynchronous USB digital connections accommodate external CD players, computers, network streamers, TVs and more. Hi-res PCM (up to 32-bit/384kHz) and DSD (up to 11.2MHz/DSD256) files are supported. The Stereo 130 also recognises the convenience of streaming music from a phone, tablet or music player over aptX Bluetooth.

At its core is a Class AB power amp that draws on many decades of amplifier design experience. A 200VA toroidal transformer is followed by 2x15000uF reservoir capacity.

Dedicated Headphone Amp

Headphone users are well catered for thanks to a dedicated amp stage with current-feedback circuitry.

It also features an ES9018K2M Sabre32 Reference DAC chip to handle digital-to-analogue conversion. The layout of the Stereo 130’s digital and analogue circuits has been carefully applied, with independent power supplies feeding all critical stages.

LEAK Stereo 130 Amplifier without wooden case

Tone Control

Bass and treble tone controls – a feature passed down from the original Stereo 30 – enable sound to be tailored to suit the varying characteristics of different analogue and digital sources. If preferred, these tone controls may be bypassed to deliver the shortest possible signal path to the precision analogue volume stage, which is controlled by a motorised ALPS potentiometer.

LEAK CDT CD Transport

For the many people for whom CD remains a crucial part of their musical diet, the LEAK CDT is the Stereo 130’s ideal CD-playing companion.

The LEAK CDT is a dedicated CD transport incorporating the same slot-loading mechanism as the CD players and transports made by another of LEAK’s sister-companies, Audiolab. It uses a read-ahead digital buffer to reduce disc-reading failures, able to play scratched and damaged CDs that are unreadable by conventional mechanisms.

LEAK CDT

By mounting the transport in its own, electromagnetically shielded enclosure, and including a dedicated power supply, the digital signal extraction from any CD is as accurate and precise as it is possible to achieve. The master clock is controlled by a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator, enabling the digital output from both coaxial and optical sockets to exhibit vanishingly low levels of jitter (digital distortion). In addition, the coaxial output is fed from a differential line driver to ensure a flawless digital signal reaches the accompanying DAC. As well as spinning CDs, the LEAK CDT features a front-mounted USB input, enabling playback from USB storage devices. FAT16 and FAT32 formatted devices are supported, and WAV, AAC, WMA and MP3 files can be played, with file navigation available via the front panel controls and remote handset.

Vintage Styling

The LEAK Stereo 130 is available with or without a real-wood walnut enclosure, at an RRP of £799 and £699 respectively, while the LEAK CDT is priced at £549 with and £449 without its optional wood enclosure. Both are available from August.

LEAK CDT Rear View

Specifications

LEAK Stereo 130

Digital Inputs 1x USB Type B; 2x optical; 1x coaxial; Bluetooth 4.0

Analogue Inputs 2x RCA line-level; 1x MM phono

Digital Outputs 1x optical; 1x coaxial

Analogue Outputs 1x RCA pre-out; 1x headphone out; speaker binding posts

Digital Inputs – Max Sampling Frequency USB: PCM 384kHz / DSD256; S/PDIF: PCM 192kHz

Power Output 2x 45W RMS (8Ω); 2x 65W RMS (4Ω)

Dimensions (WxHxD) 326x146x267mm (inc. wood enclosure)

LEAK CDT

Transport Mechanism Slot-loading with read-ahead digital buffer

Digital Outputs 1x Optical; 1x Coaxial

USB Port FAT16/FAT32 devices; WAV, AAC, WMA and MP3 files

Dimensions (WxHxD) 326x146x283mm (inc. wood enclosure)

Get all the latest Hifi News with Hifi Pig here!

 

You must be logged in to leave a reply.

Real Time Web Analytics