Leema Antila review

The Leema’s sound is rich without being sanitised, sparkly but never harsh, and punchy without being hard – a near-perfect player Tested at £2495.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

This stylish player is one of the most accomplished one-make hi-fi systems we’ve ever heard


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    Perfect balance and neutrality lends itself to all music

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    incredible detail and timing

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    great build and styling


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    Won’t entirely satisfy deep-bass fans

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Can Leema do no wrong? We've previously seen only three of its offerings, but each has received the coveted five-star verdict. It can now add a second pair of speakers – and even a complete system – to that monstrously impressive list.

It helps that from the first moment you lay eyes on a Leema product, you know that you're dealing with something special.

Unique, appealing design
The styling of the big CD player and amplifier is industrial-chic, its cooling fins and machined holes combining to pleasing effect. The speakers were not what we were expecting, being extremely thin and compact floorstanders. However, they're unique, and not unattractive.

But styling counts for nought if performance underwhelms – though this Leema set-up couldn't be more impressive.

Much of its success is down to its neutrality; sound is rich without being sanitised, sparkly but never harsh, and punchy without being hard. It's this carefully balanced tightrope act that means the system suits all musical genres. If you fancy a bit of Arvo Part's Tabula Rasa, the Leemas respond with delicacy, richness and exceptional detail.

Try Farewell on the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon soundtrack, and the background drum beat that can so often sound slow, stodgy and hard to follow is punchy, dramatic and clear. If you're more in the mood for some of Enter Shikari's disco-metal mayhem, however, you'll discover a performance with exceptional coherence, timing and attack.

There's even a surprising level of bass, considering the fairly diminutive size of the Xone's drivers. True, these speakers don't go as deep as some rivals – in fact, they even seemed a little lightweight to us at first – but over time the true genius of their realism, balance and punch becomes abundantly clear.

Power allied to control
Also surprising for a speaker of their stature, the Xones like to be pushed rather hard by the electronics. This system can go ear-achingly loud without ever straining or losing composure.

In short, this is as close to one-make perfection as you'll ever get.

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, Reading 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.

Read more about how we test