Monday, 21 February 2011

New Adventures in HiFi

I did write an entry the other day, as you can imagine, it was brilliant, incisive and of world shattering importance. Then I managed to delete it. I have no idea how.

So today I thought I'd talk about something totally different.

Pictured above (thats not my one, it's a stock photo I grabbed off the net) is one of my all time favorite amplifiers.

Most people would pick something costing mega bucks by one of the worlds prestige manufacturers but my choice has to go to the humble Leak Delta 30. This is the visually updated version (the insides are all but identical) to the earlier Leak Stereo 30+. It was given a face lift when the Rank organization bought Leak and Harold Leak the founder retired. They didn't do the company any good in the long run (along with Wharfedale the speaker manufacturer which they also acquired) but this at least was a good move.

Why this little amp? God knows it's no powerhouse (12-15 watts a channel) the sockets, particularly the speaker connectors are a pain and of course it's old. But it's built like a tank, the modular card system it's built upon make it surprisingly easy to work on and plug in a modern source like a CD player or an iPod (via a small dock and obviously using stuff recorded in lossless) and it just sounds *right*. Never fatiguing, always warm and inviting, you can listen all day. I tired many years ago of the 'my HiFi is so good nothing I have is good enough to listen to on it'

I am currently using it plugged into a pair of equally vintage B&W DM2a's (another favorite) While it is nowhere near powerful enough, the DM's are inefficient and like lots of power, but as long as you are not planning any parties (and I'm not) it's a magical combination.

The story is that Harold Leak, who by all accounts was not the easiest of men, accidentally purloined the design which was left on a desk while visiting the premises of a rival manufacturer. I'd love this to be true and if so I could even make a guess as to which one. Who knows the truth after all this time, whatever the case he produced something special.

I'd like to try it's bigger brother, the Delta 70, basically exactly the same amp, just uprated a bit and managing a good 35+ watts.

Of course there's plenty out there that can do better in so many areas, but to find a combination so lush in such an unassuming little package is more then anyone could hope for.

Obviously offer me a Radford STA15, a Quad22/33/405/606, a Lecson or any amount of others and I'm going to take your hand off, but you'll never get one of those for the same outlay..

I love 70's HiFi particularly British HiFi. The designs and concepts are unique. It's also built out of slabs and casts of aluminium and steel casing and veneers are real. It owes much more to industrial design then it's Japanese and American counterparts and to my eyes is all the better for it. The components used are proper full sized ones and look and behave like they are supposed to. And you can *fix* them. Try doing that with the latest Chinese made techno wonder..


  1. Clearly it is a wonderful design if you can still fix it so many years later. Those most be some fabulous parts if they're still being made.

  2. Sounds rich enough to make anyone happy.