Leema Tucana II Anniversary - review

Page 2 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
1,182
633
12,070
Macspur said:
Thanks for your impressions on the Leema Insider, you've really worked hard at it and I'm sure we all appreciate it.

I must have a listen now to Songbird... one of my all time faves, reminds me of an old girlfriend who sadly died at a very young age, on a happier note had it playing at my wedding to Mrs Mac

Mac

www.realmusicnet.wordpress.com

 
I wish I could say it was easy but what I will say is I absolutely loved the whole thing.

As to "Songbird" these are the most precious connections when a song means so much to you. And carries so many memories. I remember my youth mostly in context to what music I listened to. It's a beautiful thing when a music can move you this much. Hope you have a good one reminiscing, Mac.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
1,182
633
12,070
alchemist 1 said:
   Very good, but does it warrant the price ???
Not my place to say.

One thing I will say for sure. If your budget allows go and listen to it. But pay particular attention to source and pick a source that gives you the sonic signature you like. This amp changes a lot depending on the source.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
1,182
633
12,070
drummerman said:
Insider, I don't know if you are planning to buy the Anniversary but if that is a little to steep why not look for a mint Tucana second hand?

It will likely give you a large proportion of the quality without having to sell an organ.
Honest answer is I don't have funds at the minute to do anything, too many things at play. It would involve a lot of head scratching and juggling. Should I want one I'd be talking to Rick and hope he eventually sells the demo unit :)
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
insider9 said:
drummerman said:
Insider, I don't know if you are planning to buy the Anniversary but if that is a little to steep why not look for a mint Tucana second hand?

It will likely give you a large proportion of the quality without having to sell an organ.
Honest answer is I don't have funds at the minute to do anything, too many things at play. It would involve a lot of head scratching and juggling. Should I want one I'd be talking to Rick and hope he eventually sells the demo unit :)
I'd wait for the h390 to test before committing to such an expensive amp.

You'd think an amp of this power to be the last.

Having said that I'd only consider benchmark amps as a passive set up
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
1,182
633
12,070
Considering the number of sources and speakers I've used I could go on for pages about every aspect of the sound. How individual changes impacted on the overal results. In fact I did... and trust me there was way too much, so you're going to have to get this shortened version. But I think the point is not in how but what it does that matters most.

I'm mostly an album listener. One thing I really like was how Tucana would grip my attention until the very end. Many tracks I've taken a note of were close to the end of an album. The only album I didn't finish was "Essential Yello" and that's despite of all the effort that went into production. I just couldn't connect with the music and switched off half way through.

My overriding feeling is that Leema reproduces the character of the recording truthfully. It's that authenticity it brings that's so alluring. I guess it is a high praise indeed as there's nothing in the amp's character that adds nor detracts from music. With how it works with different sources you can emphasise certain trait that matter more to you. Music gained an extra dimension that it will be difficult to go back from.

But how you may ask... what makes it so engaging? And what do you mean by authenticity? It took me 3 weeks to understand what it is about its sound.

First of, it's the musicality... Wow, you're really creative here insider. It's so easy to spot tonal differences, detail, etc. but musicality... Could you be be even more vague if you tried?

Sure! Are you suggesting I'm not trying hard enough? Well, let's get into more detail then. One of the biggest surprises was listening to Norah Jones and realising "I've Got To See You Again" is actually a Rumba. I've heard this track and the album many times but the subtle way of how each bass note just gives its characteristic groove the certain restraint just accentuated the lyrics which took the track to a different level. It's how it handles every note to achieve this, that's so interesting. I found myself paying attention to different tracks as a result of this.

Listening to Miles Davis "Milestones" (album) has always been a pleasure but this time I somehow was drawn to one track "Billy Boy". It's just a trio here and that's more than enough. Drums are impactful and an amazing bowed bass solo never sounded so good.

This bring us nicely to the next point... Dynamics and control

Drums and bass just sound right. Bass is tuneful and agile. But it's not just that it's the whole expression. It's the strumming hand on the guitar, it's the snare being hit, etc. I had goosebumps all over my body listening to Alice in Chains "Unplugged" as my first album via Tucana. The impact from the begining was huge, but the guitar playing on "Sludge Factory" just shows how much anger acoustic guitar strings can convey. Most people don't play like this.
But here's an interesting point. I really loved the quieter moments in tracks or the more understated tracks. In fact I preferred them, it felt like foreplay. They'd just draw you in. There was so much subtlety you could pick out. Like Larry Klein's bass on Peter Gabirel's "Mercy Street". So understated and so often obscured by the congas.
Tucana had absolute control of my speakers top to bottom. Never letting go no matter whether it had to deal with System of a Down or Alison Krauss, no matter the volume level. I couldn't play it loud to start with. I'm still wondering why this is, it's either that I needed some adjustment, the DPS filters I eventually reworked or the source (DAC05B). There was also a small matter of me having blasted my system at full volume a week or so prior which might had some impact. However that changed about two weeks in.

Detail and imaging were top notch. But detail impressed in not the obvious ways. It was the texture and richness of instruments' timbre. It was amount of ambient information, the realistic reporduction of reverbs. These things would add to the feeling of being there when listening to live recording. And here we are back at the begining. The authenticity... It was B.B. King "Live at the Regal" that made me realise what all these things I've heard meant. It's when crowd goes absolutely bonkers during "How Blue Can You Get?" you feel a part of it.

It won't make your albums sound nicer than they actually are but neither will it make them sound horrible. But if you have an epiphany and realise that Fleetwood Mac "Rumours" actually sounds quite old,don't be surprised. It will however reveal so much more about the haunting ending to "Gold Dust Woman". Feed it a great recording thought and you're in for a treat. Be it Beck from his masterpiece "Sea Change", Opeth "Heritage" or new Myles Kennedy "Year of the Tiger" Tucana will leave you with a lasting impression.
 

newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
219
45
10,820
Andrewjvt said:
insider9 said:
drummerman said:
Insider, I don't know if you are planning to buy the Anniversary but if that is a little to steep why not look for a mint Tucana second hand?

It will likely give you a large proportion of the quality without having to sell an organ.
Honest answer is I don't have funds at the minute to do anything, too many things at play. It would involve a lot of head scratching and juggling. Should I want one I'd be talking to Rick and hope he eventually sells the demo unit :)
I'd wait for the h390 to test before committing to such an expensive amp.

You'd think an amp of this power to be the last.

Having said that I'd only consider benchmark amps as a passive set up
Benchmark AHB2 :)
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
1,182
633
12,070
Andrewjvt said:
insider9 said:
drummerman said:
Insider, I don't know if you are planning to buy the Anniversary but if that is a little to steep why not look for a mint Tucana second hand?

It will likely give you a large proportion of the quality without having to sell an organ.
Honest answer is I don't have funds at the minute to do anything, too many things at play. It would involve a lot of head scratching and juggling. Should I want one I'd be talking to Rick and hope he eventually sells the demo unit :)
I'd wait for the h390 to test before committing to such an expensive amp.

You'd think an amp of this power to be the last.

Having said that I'd only consider benchmark amps as a passive set up
As much as I like what Hegel does Leema gives you a different feeling altogether even when they're mechanically both capable to deliver similar results. Saying that sure I'd like to hear H390.
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
newlash09 said:
Andrewjvt said:
insider9 said:
drummerman said:
Insider, I don't know if you are planning to buy the Anniversary but if that is a little to steep why not look for a mint Tucana second hand?

It will likely give you a large proportion of the quality without having to sell an organ.
Honest answer is I don't have funds at the minute to do anything, too many things at play. It would involve a lot of head scratching and juggling. Should I want one I'd be talking to Rick and hope he eventually sells the demo unit :)
I'd wait for the h390 to test before committing to such an expensive amp.

You'd think an amp of this power to be the last.

Having said that I'd only consider benchmark amps as a passive set up
Benchmark AHB2 :)
Ja that's the one

Some even say it makes the passive speaker sound better than the active counter part.

Imagine the benchmark
With this
http://www.wilmslow-audio.co.uk/wa-tl15-2089-p.asp

You will knock the socks off most £20 000 systems for only 6grand
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
1,182
633
12,070
Benchmark is a serious piece of kit with impressive distortion figures but it's a power amp the minute you add a pre amp price difference would be negligible. I can't comment on sonic performance.

What I will say is I think you seriously underestimate the engineering that went into Leema.

Benchmark states 240 Watts per channel into 3 Ohms, both channels driven. Tucana can do 520W into 2 Ohms where Benchmark isn't even rated. Comparing 4 Ohm Benchmark is rated 190W and Leema 290W.

Now imagine the same speakers on the end of Tucana ;)
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
insider9 said:
Benchmark is a serious piece of kit with impressive distortion figures but it's a power amp the minute you add a pre amp price difference would be negligible. I can't comment on sonic performance.

What I will say is I think you seriously underestimate the engineering that went into Leema.

Benchmark states 240 Watts per channel into 3 Ohms, both channels driven. Tucana can do 520W into 2 Ohms where Benchmark isn't even rated. Comparing 4 Ohm Benchmark is rated 190W and Leema 290W.

Now imagine the same speakers on the end of Tucana ;)
To be mono blocks
They are a completely different design
And will give you the cleanest of sound possible with passive speakers.

Have a read up on the benchmark website or look on YouTube.

You.should really listen to a larger Hegel also.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
1,182
633
12,070
I agree. There's lots of gear to choose from. Comparing like for like AHB2 you should really compare it against Leema Hydra 2 (£4k). Non anniversary version can do

785W as a monoblock into 4 Ohm... *shok* Benchmark didn't publish specs into 4 Ohm for AHB2
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
Are not a foo company and don't do the typical sales pitch but when they make a statement it can be backed up with measurements.

They will not suit the typical audiophile osd change the fuse and stick the amp on isolation feet though.

The AHB2 drives difficult phase angles and low impedances with ease. Stereo loads as low as 1.4 Ohms can be cleanly driven to full output levels. Most power amplifiers produce higher levels of distortion when the load impedance decreases. In contrast, the feed-forward error correction system in the AHB2 keeps the output clean when driving difficult loads. The AHB2 produces almost no measurable distortion at any rated load condition.
 

newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
219
45
10,820
Andrewjvt said:
Are not a foo company and don't do the typical sales pitch but when they make a statement it can be backed up with measurements.

They will not suit the typical audiophile osd change the fuse and stick the amp on isolation feet though.

The AHB2 drives difficult phase angles and low impedances with ease. Stereo loads as low as 1.4 Ohms can be cleanly driven to full output levels. Most power amplifiers produce higher levels of distortion when the load impedance decreases. In contrast, the feed-forward error correction system in the AHB2 keeps the output clean when driving difficult loads. The AHB2 produces almost no measurable distortion at any rated load condition.
Is a benchmark in SS amplification. And is designed to be used in mono block forms. Really needs to be paired with benchmark DAC 2 or DAC 3 as they have pre amp functionality. And these DAC's have that ultra low noise floor output to benefit from the 130db noise floor of the benchmark amp. Most reviewers seem to agree that this will make it to the top 3 in a serious consideration for amplification up to usd10k. And that is a serious statement considering the quality of kit available in this range from all the Hifi behemoths :)
 

newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
219
45
10,820
Unlike atc & PMC, benchmark don't have separate studio and home audio lines. So all their kit is designed to be brutally honest, neutral and transparent. A detail monster's wet dream for sure. But might not be for everyone :D
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
newlash09 said:
Unlike atc & PMC, benchmark don't have separate studio and home audio lines. So all their kit is designed to be brutally honest, neutral and transparent. A detail monster's wet dream for sure. But might not be for everyone :D
Just for your info
When you move to ATC 50asl upwards the difference on the pro and hifi is the finish.
I've auditioned both side by side.

ATC amps are also brutally honest but sound great.
I've owned the benchmark dac3 and while its imo the best you don't need to worry about the honesty you mention. I can assure you it's not an issue. It's just correct.

Hifi companies put images in people's mind so they can sell an inferior electronics/speakers with high distortion or voiced with exaggerated highs or overly warm flabby bass notes
Just like snake oil sales do with cables/power cables etc. All you need in equipment is the best chance at the truth and everything else falls into place.

Find hifi companies that don't buy into the snake oil like ATC, benchmark etc
Companies that don't release new models every year
 

newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
219
45
10,820
Andrewjvt said:
newlash09 said:
Unlike atc & PMC, benchmark don't have separate studio and home audio lines. So all their kit is designed to be brutally honest, neutral and transparent. A detail monster's wet dream for sure. But might not be for everyone :D
Just for your info
When you move to ATC 50asl upwards the difference on the pro and hifi is the finish.
I've auditioned both side by side.

ATC amps are also brutally honest but sound great.
I've owned the benchmark dac3 and while its imo the best you don't need to worry about the honesty you mention. I can assure you it's not an issue. It's just correct.

Hifi companies put images in people's mind so they can sell an inferior electronics/speakers with high distortion or voiced with exaggerated highs or overly warm flabby bass notes
Just like snake oil sales do with cables/power cables etc. All you need in equipment is the best chance at the truth and everything else falls into place.

Find hifi companies that don't buy into the snake oil like ATC, benchmark etc
Companies that don't release new models every year
And I agree with the honesty sounding correct to you part.

But I think everyone has their own flavour of the truth. And judging by the plethora of available options, there are different versions that appeal to different people. And some into the tubey sound even find musicality in the induced distortion. So clearly there is no one universal solution to all pairs of ears. Hence I mentioned that the benchmark might not be for everyone, and same is applicable to all Hifi kit in general :)
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
1,182
633
12,070
Just thought I post this update as it's been over a month, now. It's been an utmost pleasure to enjoy so much music via Tucana. Long may it continue ;) Thanks again, Rick.

What can I say that's not been said about this amp before? The ease with which is reproduces everything still surprises me. I've been listening to Pearl Jam today while working, still am, and Tucana makes me appreciate it more than ever before. The guitar arrangements are even more beautiful than I remembered. Particularly as every bass note is so clear and all instruments are so expressive.

It set a really high bar for every amp from now on and Esoteric F-05 will have lots to live up to. Sure, it's almost twice the price but I'll be honest I'm not sure what it is that it could improve on. It's uncharted waters for me.

Recently been praying for rain, as listening room gets a little warm during the day so on a warm day it restricts the amout of listening I can do.
 

Macspur

Well-known member
May 3, 2010
77
0
18,540
insider9 said:
Just thought I post this update as it's been over a month, now. It's been an utmost pleasure to enjoy so much music via Tucana. Long may it continue ;) Thanks again, Rick.

What can I say that's not been said about this amp before? The ease with which is reproduces everything still surprises me. I've been listening to Pearl Jam today while working, still am, and Tucana makes me appreciate it more than ever before. The guitar arrangements are even more beautiful than I remembered. Particularly as every bass note is so clear and all instruments are so expressive.

It set a really high bar for every amp from now on and Esoteric F-05 will have lots to live up to. Sure, it's almost twice the price but I'll be honest I'm not sure what it is that it could improve on. It's uncharted waters for me.

Recently been praying for rain, as listening room gets a little warm during the day so on a warm day it restricts the amout of listening I can do.
It will certainly be interesting... when do you think you'll have the Esoteric to play with?

Sounds like my listening room, cooled down now though.

Mac

www.realmusicnet.wordpress.com
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
8
0
insider9 said:
It set a really high bar for every amp from now on and Esoteric F-05 will have lots to live up to. Sure, it's almost twice the price but I'll be honest I'm not sure what it is that it could improve on.
That's the thing about Hifi.....something sounds great, until you hear better - and there's always better. Just ask Ellisdj.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts