July 23, 2020 at 1:33 pm #8417UK SentinelModerator
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LEAK (UK) returns with Stereo 130 amplifier and CDT CD transport
Back from the mists of time, LEAK the renowned British Hi-Fi manufacturer returns with its first products since the mid seventies: the Stereo 130 integrated amplifier and CDT CD transport.
Clearly if you plan on resurrecting a name synonymous with technology from another era, you want that name to deliver a certain level of expectation. In the case of LEAK that means a certain retro design preconception along with classic analogue engineering. Of course, here we are 40 years on from the company’s last product so the advances of the last few decades means there’s cutting edge digital technology present too.
LEAK Stereo 130 integrated amplifier
The first product out of the gate is the Stereo 130 integrated amp which is a descendant of the very first commercially available all-transistor amplifier from 1963, the Stereo 30, which was instrumental in paving the way for future solid-state amps.
The Stereo 130 recreates the classic Hi-Fi look with an optional real wood enclosure and a tactile front panel. Behind the scenes though, the latest techniques and technologies bring this classic transistor amp design bang up to date.
At its core is a Class AB power amp with a 200VA toroidal transformer that draws on decades of amplifier design experience.
Feeding the amplifier, are a raft of inputs including a low-noise, JFET-based MM phono stage for vinyl fans as well as analogue line-level inputs plus optical, coaxial and asynchronous USB digital connections for 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.
Digital-to-analogue conversion is handled by an ES9018K2M Sabre32 Reference DAC chip which is complemented by specially devised circuitry, including op-amps selected for their synergy with the ES9018. Independent power supplies feed all critical stages of the Stereo 130’s digital and analogue circuits and this, along with the careful layout, supports the extraction of maximum detail and expression from every input source.
As well as audio sources that connect directly, the Stereo 130 can also stream music from a phone, tablet or music player over aptX Bluetooth.
The character of the sound can be adjusted via the treble and bass controls on the front panel but these tone controls can also be bypassed to provide the shortest possible signal path to the analogue volume stage, which is controlled by a motorised ALPS potentiometer.
For those wanting late night or private listening sessions, there’s a dedicated headphone amp stage with current-feedback circuitry, and the gain bandwidth and high slew rate make it suitable for all manner of headphone variants.
The degree of adaptability of the Stereo 130 integrated amplifier makes it compatible with many contemporary loudspeakers but if you want a nod to the retro stylings that the 130 sports then LEAK’s sister company, Wharfedale, has some 60s inspired designs.
LEAK CDT CD transport
Designed to match the look of the Stereo 130 amplifier ‘hub’, the LEAK CDT CD transport provides a compact disc playing partner for those who still like to return to their hard copy disc libraries.
Bringing in technology from another sister company, the CDT uses the same slot-loading mechanism found on Audiolabs’ acclaimed CD players and is thus able to play scratched or damaged discs using a read-ahead digital buffer to reduce read failures.
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)
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)
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.
Are you tempted by the classic Hi-Fi era chic of LEAK’s newly launched Stereo 130 amplifier and CDT CD transport. Why not let others know what you think of this news.
In a completely sane world, madness is the only freedom (J.G.Ballard).
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