Peter Allan once sang ‘Everything old is new again’.
This is certainly true of this industry – vinyl is once again the source of choice for many people, even reel-reel recorders are threatening to make a return (although, despite claims to the contrary, I cannot see cassettes making a comeback).
There has also been a distinct uptick in the demand for vintage audio with stores such as Classic HiFi in Newtown catering solely to that market. Any well-presented equipment from the 1960’s and 70’s that makes it to our secondhand shelves is quickly snapped up.
Some years ago Yamaha paid homage to that period with their high-end products, releasing a new range of components that closely resembled their product offerings of the 1970’s. To their credit they also ensured that it sounded as good as the best that is available today.
It was probably only a matter of time before someone took the initiative to come to market with something that looked like it was straight out of that era – and that company is LEAK.
LEAK is one of the pioneers of modern-day hi-fi, formed in 1934 in Britain. The LEAK Delta 30 and Delta 70, released in the early 1970’s were classics of their day, and are still sought after by enthusiasts.
After a hiatus of 40+ years LEAK has released a new amplifier and for the first time, a CD transport. The LEAK Stereo 130 amplifier is based on their Stereo 30 amp, released in 1963, which was the worlds first commercially based all-transistor amplifier. However, like Yamaha, this is a very modern design incorporating the very best of modern technology. As expected it features a high-performance phono stage, while analogue line-level inputs and optical, coaxial and asynchronous USB digital connections accommodate external CD players, computers, network streamers, TVs and more. The Stereo 130 also allows streaming music from a phone, tablet or music player over aptX Bluetooth.
It also sports a high-quality headphone amplifier, and surprisingly in this day and age, bass and treble controls.
The most distinctive aspect of this amplifier however is its appearance, which is a throw-back to the designs of old. Despite the current technologies utilised this amplifier looks like it comes straight out of the 1960’s.
To complete the package LEAK have also released a matching CD transport – LEAK’s first foray into disc technology. The LEAK CDT CD Transport is, as the name implies, a transport only. Given the fact that most amplifiers today have excellent DAC’s on-board it surprises us that more companies have not gone down this path. This unit features a slot-loading mechanism and uses a read-ahead digital buffer to reduce disc-reading failures.