this review is pathetic and deserves to be revised, how can you compare this to the audiolab dac, its harsh and edgy and its build quality is no where near the quality of the leema, your reviews are becoming somewhat of a joke on other sites and this review quite frankly sums it up.
We can only report as we find. Our sample of the Leema wasn't impressive for the money.
Hmmmm not sure what to say really. I have two of these DACs and oddly they are connected to completly different rigs but with the exact same result. THEY SOUND SUPERB. I'm no music snob and I do agree that not all HiFi gadgets are easy to use. In fact some are too complicated to even begin to understand how to use. But i have a rule of thumb and I'm afriad that this DAC passes that test. My wife can use it. In fact better than I. So there you go NOT COMPLICATED at all really. Set it and forget it*. Simples. Now for those that think I am being rude I am not. I have time to read manuals my wife does not, nor needs to hence this IS a simple to use DAC.
Now for sound... well I have this as a desktop DAC in my office and firing a pair of NHT PRO's off balanced cables. PS They sounded rubbish on phono's - just so you know. Said I was no snob! I use all manner of rubbish FLACs from PC to mobiles (MTG) USB etc and all are very nice thank you. Probably I could have spent less - but so what. The master plan is yet to evolve...
Now to the other system. Secrelty whilst not a music snob (I can't play nor sing nor write) I do like to listen. I like three things with music. Sweet sound to make me want to listen, separation to vanish into another world Sleep factor (ie calming effect).. I get all these things with my little DAC as a source pre-amp for my rather pricy rig (my Mercedes cost less).
So when it comes to musicality I think that we need to make our own call. BTW My system is flat to 15-20hz and sounds rather good with this DAC it makes me jump out of my skin when a half decent recording cathes me unaware (Rhiana!)
Oh, full circle my wife also LOVES the sound of the music and likes to dance when I sleep.. each to their own I suppose.
*We flick from TV (a custom input mode that we created) and CD - by Press Nob, Turn Nob, Press Nob. As for the remote never used it. Don't need to.
I give this DAC Four and a half Stars. It would get Five is My phone could connect to USB In.
I purchased the Leema Elements along with a Logitech Squeezebox Touch (one of the last ones as these great devices are now out of production).
The two items are connected with a digital coax cable, and a pair of Ruark Prologue II speakers and a Rel sub-bass. The Leema and Squeezebox replace a Linn Classik with which I've been pretty happy for about 10 years.
The Leema sounds superb. The sound is dynamic, strong, musical. There's plenty of detail. The bass is warm an has plenty of extension. There's huge volume if you have understanding neighbours.
Playing a wide range of music, from classical to rock and pop, you can see great detail in the music, almost three dimensional. Voices are clear and have strong presence. Yet the sound is always musical, not too analytical. (Admittedly the speakers are "sweet", not quite as precise as say B&Ws which I feel can be a bit metallic).
I have tried to understand this "timing" issue that What Hifi seems to take issue with, but really cannot detect any such problem at all. I feel this is an unfair criticism of this great UK-made bit of kit.
I would agree that the menu is a little quirky, it reminds me of programming simple microprocessors in the 80's. But for me, I just set the display to time-out after 30 seconds, and control your volume from the Squeezebox! I never touch the Leema (haven't even used the remote). But there of course is a nice volume knob if you want to control it by hand, which has a soft bumpiness as you rotate it.
This is a great bit of kit of the money (I got an ex-demonstrator from Sevenoaks Hifi for just under £1,000), and it's brilliant to have all this in one compact box, it looks like it will be me for a while now.
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