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British hi-fi brand Leak returns with its first product in 40 years

British hi-fi brand Leak returns with its first product in 40 years
(Image credit: Leak)

Forty years have come and gone since Leak last launched a hi-fi product, but today the Great British brand is back with an all-new integrated amplifier, the Stereo 130.

The Leak Stereo 130 is a retro-style, classically engineered, mid-to-budget amp fused with all the mod-cons of contemporary hi-fi.

It takes its cues from the Stereo 30, which Leak created in 1963 and claimed to be the first commercially available all-transistor amp. Its new successor carries a similar aesthetic with a real wood walnut enclosure and front panel layout. The resemblance is not just skin deep either. This Stereo 130 carries with it many of the older engineering principles in its circuit design, alongside a set of more modern additions.

(Image credit: Leak)

The Stereo 130's Class AB power amp has a 200VA toroidal transformer. The preamp section is protected by the use of low-noise power supplies. There are bass and treble tone controls, which can be bypassed if desired.

It supports files of up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM and DSD256 through its USB input, with the digital circuitry designed to maximise detail and expression no matter the format. There are also three S/PDIF inputs (one coaxial and two optical), plus Bluetooth aptX support.

Feeding the digital inputs is a ES9018K2M DAC from the Sabre32 Reference family, which aims to reduce noise and deliver a high dynamic range through the chip's 32-bit HyperStream architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator feature.

(Image credit: Leak)

On the analogue side, there's a phono stage for moving magnet cartridges, in addition to two line-level analogue inputs. There's also a dedicated headphone amp stage with current-feedback circuitry that aims to get the best possible sound from as many different kinds of headphones as possible.

The revived company's first amplifier to arrive in the 21st century will be available in July, priced at £799 with the walnut enclosure over the aluminium casing, or £699 without (Australian pricing and availability to be announced). A matching CD transport, the Leak CDT (pictured above), will also arrive in July.

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  • Mel_Lambert
    Is the company still located on the Westway Factory Estate in West London? Leak was a much-admired brand with some astonishing technical achievements several decades back.
    Reply
  • Jonty
    Mel_Lambert said:
    Is the company still located on the Westway Factory Estate in West London? Leak was a much-admired brand with some astonishing technical achievements several decades back.
    Good news - it really looks the part. The old factory was demolished some years ago, but Rank had integrated Leak with Wharfedale in Yorkshire long before that.
    John Leak
    Reply
  • TrevC
    Would I like a new car that looks like a Hillman Minx?
    Reply
  • djh1697
    Looks like it is from the 1970's too
    Reply
  • Jonty
    The Hillman Minx was indeed a horrible car - we used to joke about its rubber steering arms. Try thinking Jaguar Mark II; that's the market Leak always aimed at, and the retro look will appeal to many.
    John Leak
    Reply
  • Deccatech
    Hello John
    As a schoolboy in the 60's I saved up about £20 - and my parents gave me the rest - to purchase a Stereo 30 plus. I still have it. I have spent a lifetime in this industry and at 67 years young repair all things audio especially such 'retro' products. I was intrigued to see the surname Leak on your replies. I'd love to know how this new product has surfaced when I thought that the Leak name had been lost to Rank and then sadly evaporated as with so many fine audio marques.
    Wishing you the very best and many years, built on Harold's outstanding achievements.
    With kind regards
    Peter
    Reply
  • Jonty
    Hello Peter
    Thanks for the kind sentiments. Can I guess from your handle that you worked for Decca?
    So much rubbish is said and written about hifi. Not long before his death in 1989 I told my father that people were collecting his old valve amplifiers and that prices were shooting up. ‘Must be mad’, he replied, ‘totally obsolete, all that weight, heat, and unreliable valves. Why don’t they buy decent modern stuff?’ But I think he was pleased really.
    The design parameters for the original Stereo 30 included that it should be cheaper to make and sell, and that it should sound at least as good as the valve equipment. Simple as that.
    Kind regards
    John
    Reply
  • RobWhittlestone
    Hello all,
    I was the proud owner of a Delta 70 amplifier bought age 18 with wages from my Saturday job (in a Hi-Fi store). I still think the styling is sublime. It had great current delivery for the time. Great to see a such a marque with a rich tradition returning. My speakers of the time were 2-way Richard Allan kits with 12" woofer and 3" tweeter. Happy days!
    Kind regards
    Rob
    Reply
  • Read me last
    This looks suspiciously like a Quad Vena; just with wooden case.
    Reply
  • 1980zStereo
    Made in PRC. Everything from China an aroma of cheapness.
    Reply