Leema Stream review

Speedy, insightful delivery, but this CD player is let down by lacklustre bass and can lose its cool during tricky musical passages Tested at £1270.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Another good but not quite great player whose speedy, insightful delivery is let down by a lacklustre bottom end. Now replaced by the Leema III


  • +

    Solid, simple build and design

  • +

    good detail

  • +

    times well, fast

  • +

    natural vocals


  • -

    Sluggish controls

  • -

    bass lacks weight and depth

  • -

    loses its cool during particularly tricky moments

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We've had a bit of a moan about the quality of the build, design and style of some high-end CD players, but this Leema doesn't struggle with any of that; it's a solid, no-nonsense affair, right down to the display which has just two visible figures, similar to the Naim. There are also only two buttons – play/eject and power – plus a stripped-down remote.

So, no complaints with the build and styling, as long as you like it minimal, but we did find the controls a little sluggish in response, whether using the remote or buttons.

A pace-maker with heart
The Leema certainly doesn't struggle for pace in action, though. The inimitable cheeky-chappy chirpiness of Supergrass's Diamond Hoo Ha Man is present and correct, the Leema demanding that we tap our toes along in time, the sure sign of a player that has no issue with that all-important musical component – timing.

There's more good news in the form of the Stream's insight, which almost manages to decipher Thom Yorke's mumblings on Reckoner, and makes a fine stab at Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, thanks to expert timing, detail recovery and simple musicality.

Lacks a little grip and bass
It's not all positive, however. The Leema doesn't have the iron grip on proceedings offered by others here, notably the Naim. Throw something tricky at it, such as Radiohead's 15 Step, and it fails to keep a hold on proceedings, sounding confused and making for a more taxing listen.

It lacks a little bass weight, too. Playing Kode9's Backward, the bassline doesn't hit as deeply as we'd like; it's akin to a punch into the chest rather than deep down in the pit of your stomach.

We are confident that this Leema player has plenty to offer. Having said that, though, we can't look past a slightly half-hearted, albeit speedy, bass delivery and also the player's tendency to wobble a little when really pushed. When compared with the best it has to lose one star.

What Hi-Fi?

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