ear:you tend to orbit to the hk990.what about the 980? not bad either.
Yep, but the 990 is a stellar amp, a world away from the 980 in fairness - the whole build is totally different. It comes with an onboard DAC only found on the Cambridge CA840C or one of the Esoteric models the name of which I can't recall. Thereafter, it's got balanced inputs, a host of clever gadgetry, room EQ adjustments, power amp options, though at 150w per channel (very conservative, apparently been measured at 200w) you won't need one unless running a backup for Donington this summer...
I've been all over this amp since I saw it, been raking the online prices for ages and now it's coming down. £700 is a superb price and one other retailer has it for £790, so along with the price drop for the Leema, that means two £1000+ amps fall in my territory now.
No knocking the 980, it's a good little amp, but it's more of a sideways move for me. I want the step up now and the HK might fit the bill along with the Leema. It's only downside, and this applies to the 980 as well, is the rubbish volume control which looks and feels cheap and plasticky. Otherwise, it apparently sounds great. Looks-wise, it's a winner too IMO (I see Sony have started to mimic it on some of their recent gear too).