What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Thu, 11 Aug 2011, 12:37pm

Leema Antila IIS Eco

Tested at £2995
100100
5

The Antila wasn’t broken, but Leema Acoustics have fixed it nevertheless, and taken performance to another level

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For

  • Realistic, natural sound
  • driven delivery and expert timing
  • solid build

Against

  • Cheap remote
  • noisy transport

Since the original Antila CD player was launched in 2007 there have been three so-called upgrades. Now, we’re onto the fourth, and this MkIIS Eco.

Yet the word ‘upgrade’ doesn’t really do it justice. Leema has introduced new Quattro Infinity DACs, with shorter signal paths, claiming these help to lower noise and crosstalk and promote a greater separation of sound.

There’s a new audio motherboard, and brand new firmware, while the Burr-Brown receiver chip of old has been swapped out for a Wolfson component.

Eco standby mode
The ‘Eco’ in the new title comes from a new standby mode, to bring the player in line with various ‘green’ regulations. Hardly incidental changes, then. But how will they affect sound quality?

Well, the character of the player hasn’t changed. The Antila still produces an honest, realistic rendition of your source material, whether you’re listening through RCA phono sockets or the balanced XLR connectors.

Edges of notes and instruments are expertly defined. The detail of each pluck and the texture of the sound of each string is breathtaking.

Drive and drama

Spin The Battle from the Gladiator OST and the Antila has no trouble bringing the drive, drama and large-scale sound to your listening room. The Leema has expert timing and an ability to drive home the dynamic shifts contained within a track.

This is one of the real entertainers at its price point.

Finish and build quality, too, are fantastic. The Antila instils a real pride of ownership. Only the remote control looks and feels insubstantial, and the CD mechanism is noisier than we’d like when loading.

Leema has turned a five-star player into an even better five-star player.

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