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Leema Xero review

Attractive set that adds depth and expression although it does miss a step when it comes to the bass Tested at £750.00

5 Star Rating

Our Verdict

Perhaps not a true all-rounder, but the Xeros are loaded with talent. Matched to a sympathetic system, these are thrilling speakers

For

  • Swift, articulate and detailed sound from a teensy cabinet
  • dynamic and revealing too

Against

  • Short of low-end oomph

Last November, we ran the First Test rule over Leema's diminutive Xeros and found them to be peculiarly misnamed. ‘Heroes' might have been more appropriate for these diminutive charmers

Xero is visually highly attractive
Pulled from the box, the Leemas are just as visually appealing as the first time we tested them.

The real-wood veneer is smooth and expertly applied, and the fact that the two drivers occupy so little space (the tweeter is just 25mm and the mid/bass driver a mere 100mm) in what is already a very trim cabinet adds to their pocket-sized appeal.

Around the back, there's a necessarily small reflex port and sufficient speaker binding posts to allow for biwiring.

Leema xero has a depth of detail and expression
There's very little that's small-scale about the way the Xeros perform, though. No matter if the music is as complex as Rahsaan Roland Kirk's The Black and Crazy Blues or as spare as Four Tet's Ribbons, the Leemas attack it with determination and usually come out on top.

They're endlessly revealing, dredging up fine details in a recording that lesser speakers simply ignore, and that level of insight makes for a vivid and vibrantly musical picture.

Utterly faithful to source material, the Xeros are achingly expressive through the midrange, lending a real first-person immediacy to vocals and a weight of emotion that few rivals can come close to.

Fast, precise and unquestionably controlled, the Leema's powers of resolution are quite startling at first. The integration between the two drivers is exemplary, and their faithful musicality encourages you to fritter hours away on long listening sessions.

All good things...
For such vanishingly small loudspeakers, the Xeros have admirable scale and dynamic heft – and the seamless integration between the two drivers means that even the weight of a complete orchestra in full attack stance can't wrong-foot them.

Of course, we're obliged (and actually quite keen) to criticise where criticism is warranted, and these Leemas are not without foibles.

Pallid low frequencies
They're emphatically not the most robust or fullest-sounding speakers in this test, and they're not about to fill your listening room with quaking bass. In fact, bolted on to an unsympathetic system, the Xeros can sound quite pallid in the low frequencies – even when backed right up to a wall to let that rear port do its thing.

But we think that's solvable. Accept that these speakers can sound a little stark, and match your system accordingly – an extended session evaluating speaker cable should be able to put a little flesh on the (fast, precise, fluent) bones of the Xeros' bass reproduction.

And once that's done, you'll have a teeny pair of speakers with a list of talents longer than a full-size floorstander.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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