IAD GmbH describes the solutions from LEAK HiFi, the CD transport LEAK CDT and the stereo amplifier LEAK STEREO 130, which will be available in Germany from August 2020. Noble wooden cabinets are to be paired with the most modern equipment and thus transfer the sound qualities of a traditional brand into the modern age.
You have to look back a very, very long time to see the history of the LEAK HiFi company. As early as 1934, H. J. Leak & Co. was founded in England by Harold Joseph Leak. Not surprisingly, tube amplifiers were at the heart of the company’s business at the time, not only for sound reinforcement solutions, but also for the beginnings of what is today understood as hi-fi. As a result, the company’s heyday was in the 1960s, when it offered not only amplifiers, loudspeaker systems and tuners but also pickups.
The company International Audio Group, IAG for short, has now set itself the goal of reviving the LEAK brand and is of course continuing the heyday of the English hi-fi smithy in the 1960s. Instead of bringing just a hint of retro-touch into the game, the company is in fact relying entirely on the charm of these long gone years, presenting solutions that seem to be out of time, using noble wooden cabinets, but with the latest technology and contemporary equipment inside to meet the demands of a modern audio system. There are two solutions that make a start and are intended to function as perfect playing partners, the CD transport LEAK CDT and the stereo integrated amplifier LEAK STEREO 130.
Both solutions present themselves, as already described, with a noble wooden cabinet, just as if you were dealing with a vintage HiFi solution. The fronts are accordingly made of aluminium and even the controls are based on the models from the good old days. Of course, the backs of the units also have an aluminium plate and on the top of the amplifier you’ll find a cover with ventilation slots.
The LEAK CDT is, as we have already mentioned, not designed as a conventional audio CD player, but rather as a pure CD transport. It does not have a converter itself, but can offer some very interesting features.
The developers have chosen a slot-in drive, which means that the retro-style front does not have a drawer, but only a discreet slot, which doesn’t cloud the overall impression and doesn’t look too “technically modern”. Even the display on the front blends in very harmoniously in this respect and the buttons for playback control look like they came directly from an “old” tape recorder anyway.
A particularly high-quality mechanism was used here, which ensures reliable operation. In addition, they rely on a separate housing for the drive, which ensures optimal shielding. A high-precision, temperature-compensated oscillator and a separate power supply also contribute to the fact that the data can be read out free from external influences.
A USB port on the new LEAK CDT also allows corresponding storage media to be used as a source and AAC data to be played back in addition to WMA, MP3 and WAV data.
Of course, signals leave the new LEAK CDT solely by digital means, either via an optical or coaxial S/PDIF interface.
While the CD player has no real connection to the company’s heyday in the 1960s, apart from the design, this is not the case with the new stereo integrated amplifier.
The LEAK STEREO 130 is modelled on the LEAK STEREO 30, a legendary transistor amplifier dating from 1963, which proved to be an extremely successful solution and this is exactly where the LEAK STEREO 130 is intended to take up the challenge.
The new LEAK STEREO 130 is intended to be a modern, versatile stereo integrated amplifier, with the manufacturer emphasising its numerous input options.
First and foremost, of course, there are analogue inputs, two of which are available as a pair of RCA sockets. In addition, there is a further pair of RCA sockets, behind which there is an integrated phono preamplifier designed for drives equipped with MM pick-up systems.
First and foremost, in order to serve as the perfect playing partner for the CD transport just described, the new LEAK STEREO 130 is of course equipped with a D/A converter, and one that is quite impressive. Via an optical as well as coaxial S/PDIF interface or a USB port, sources can be connected here for processing via an ESS Sabre32 Reference ES9018K2M DAC. Via the optical and coaxial S/PDIF interface, the DAC supports data in Linear PCM format with up to 24 bits and 192 kHz, via USB the full potential is available, so that DSD up to DSD256 can be processed in addition to data in Linear PCM format with up to 32 bits and 384 kHz.
Another option for the particularly flexible integration of sources is Bluetooth, so that smartphones and tablets can be directly “wirelessly” integrated in order to play their own content, but also content from the network or from various music streaming services. This is done via the Bluetooth profile A2DP with the codec SBC or aptX.
It should also be mentioned that the new LEAK STEREO 130 also provides outputs, namely a preamp out, and also an optical and coaxial S/PDIF interface. Also 12 V trigger connections are not missing. This stereo integrated amplifier also has a tone control, a balance control, and a surprising headphone connection in the form of a 6.3 mm stereo jack socket directly on the front.
The LEAK STEREO 130 is not a performance miracle, that’s something to keep in mind. However, with two times 45 watts from loudspeaker systems with an impedance of 8 ohms or even two times 65 watts from speakers with only 4 ohms, it delivers enough power to fill a typical living room with rich sound in combination with highly efficient solutions.
The fact that the German distributor IAD GmbH recommends speakers from Wharfedale, especially the Wharfedale Linton, should come as no surprise. Especially as this combination should actually form a good team, if only because of the optics…
The new solutions of the LEAK HiFi brand should soon be available in specialist shops. Both systems are offered in two design variants, walnut and silver. In the second variant, the solutions are available without the elegant housing in fine wood, which makes them a lot smaller.
The LEAK CDT in walnut measures 326 x 145.1 x 283 mm and weighs 6.9 kg, while in silver it measures only 302 x 117.1 x 278 mm at 5.3 kg.
The same applies to the LEAK STEREO 130, where the walnut version measures 326 x 146 x 276 mm at 8.3 kg, while the silver version measures just 302 x 118 x 270 mm and weighs 7.02 kg.
The difference between wooden case and not is of course also reflected in the price. For example, the LEAK STEREO 130 in the walnut version requires a budget of € 899, while the silver version costs only € 799. With the LEAK CDT, the walnut version costs € 649, whereas the silver version costs only € 549.
Getting to the point
The company International Audio Group, IAG for short, has now set itself the goal of reviving the LEAK brand, and in doing so is naturally continuing the heyday of the English hi-fi smithy in the 1960s. Instead of bringing just a hint of retro-touch into the game, the company is in fact relying entirely on the charm of these long gone years, presenting solutions that seem to be out of time, using noble wooden cabinets, but with the latest technology and contemporary equipment inside to meet the demands of a modern audio system. There are two solutions that make a start and are intended to function as perfect playing partners, the CD transport LEAK CDT and the stereo integrated amplifier LEAK STEREO 130.
|LEAK CDT Silver € 549,-
LEAK CDT Walnut € 649,-
LEAK STEREO 130 Silver € 899,-
LEAK STEREO 130 Walnut € 799,-