Leema Tucana II Anniversary Edition review

How time flies. In 2006, a small-scale speaker producer launched its first electronics product.

The Tucana integrated amplifier, alongside the partnering Antila CD player, established Leema Acoustics as a purveyor of high quality hi-fi electronics. The logo has hardly regarded again since then.

Over the previous decade the company’s range has expanded significantly, taking in additional reasonably priced electronics, high-end products and a wider vary of audio system.

But the Tucana has endured to be one of the crucial highlights of the company’s output. To have fun the ones first 10 years, Leema has launched an Anniversary Edition of the amplifier, and we couldn’t resist having a pay attention.

MORE: Leema Tucana Mk II review

Build

At first glance there seems to be little to tell apart the Anniversary Edition from the usual MkII model. The casework seems unchanged, apart from the Anniversary badge and transformed entrance panel brand.

It stays impressive, despite the fact that. There’s an air of permanence concerning the steel structure. It feels immensely cast and has an engineered really feel to it – we adore the heavily machined appearance, but some of the detailing has began to appear a little fussy.

There’s no complaining in regards to the fuss-free manner the controls work or the arrogance the hefty 18kg weight instils, regardless that.

This Anniversary type comes with the corporate’s new Focus remote, a chunky steel handset that covers all gadget purposes. It’s slightly cluttered, however stays easy to make use of.

The keep an eye on structure is logical, regardless that the texture of the buttons may well be nicer – the same may well be said of the good looking keep watch over buttons on the amplifier’s fascia.

Features

As with previous Tucanas, this one will also be built-in right into a Leema set-up with assistance from LIPS – Leema’s proprietary conversation device – so the stack of electronics operates seamlessly.

The Tucana’s onboard regulate machine still permits for different achieve settings for each input. This turns out to be useful when you want to equalise volume ranges between assets that experience wildly differing outputs – as, say, the indicators from a normal phono stage and CD gamers will also be.

So some distance this unit appears just like each Tucana before it. But delve into the details and also you’ll realise there’s way more to this Anniversary fashion than only a new faraway and a couple of badges.

Take the aluminium lid off and the circuit boards have been upgraded with twice the standard amount of copper within the tracks, leading to lower losses via lowered resistance and an improved energy delivery.

Sound-critical capacitors had been upgraded to Nichicon’s Muse varieties, and all transistors are hand-selected for optimal performance and the bottom distortion.

The internal cabling has been improved too, by the use of the company’s Reference 2 speaker cable and the amp’s energy supply upgraded with new, quieter mains transformers. There’s one transformer in step with channel in this dual-mono power amp design, with a 3rd for the control circuits.

There’s a variety of connectivity here, as long as you don’t be expecting digital inputs.

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While these are becoming more and more commonplace on two-channel amplifiers, integrated virtual modules tend to be a box-ticking exercise rather than an actual attempt to deliver top-class number- crunching performance.

Good-quality outboard choices comparable to Chord’s Hugo or Arcam’s irDAC II sound notably better than the digital modules suited to maximum high-end amplifiers.

Stick with analogue and you've got a abundant provide of single-ended inputs (six, to be precise) as well as a balanced XLR choice. At the entrance you’ll find a 3.5mm jack for use with a portable music player or telephone (regardless that no longer an iPhone 7, after all).

There’s additionally a tape loop and a preamp output for those that really feel the Tucana’s 150W in line with channel isn’t enough, though we will be able to’t imagine many of us will feel that except they've specifically inefficient audio system or an surprisingly spacious listening room.

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Leema is quite particular with its published energy output figures, claiming 290W in line with channel into 4 ohms and a mighty 520W into 2 ohms.

These spectacular numbers recommend the Tucana will be satisfied using one of the most maximum tough speakers around. We take a look at a range of choices (ATC SCM50s, Sonus Faber Venere S and Dynaudio M20) and not feel the amplifier is anything however comfortable.

Each Anniversary amplifier is supplied with an individual passport, with every stage of the manufacturing process signed off by means of the engineer accountable. It’s a nice contact.

Sound

We’ve always appreciated the Tucana, and it takes only some mins of listening to remind us why. The upgrades are quite in depth however the sonic personality hasn’t modified, even supposing the sound has advanced.

It stays an immensely robust-sounding amplifier – those impressive power figures readily translate into the sound we pay attention.

Play one thing large–scale and demanding such because the Jaws theme music from John Williams and this amp shines. Its presentation is as cast as you favor, supported via taut, punchy lows.

Those bass notes are strangely wealthy, although – rendered with gratifying texture and no small degree of agility too.

Look beyond the lows and you’ll find plenty extra to admire. Dynamics are delivered with self belief because the music’s risk grows. Yet nuances are well handled too, the Tucana showing quite a few delicacy when the tune demands.

We’re happy with the sound staging – this amplifier paints a suitably expansive stereo symbol and populates it in an actual and spacious type. The sonic image stays solid irrespective of how difficult the track gets.

Tonally, Leema has given this amplifier a quite wealthy and full-bodied stability. The peak finish is easy without lacking chunk, so the amplifier has a tendency to not emphasise the weak point of less than very best signal feeds.

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That’s an advantage for individuals who use the likes of Tidal or Spotify frequently. Don’t suppose this tolerant nature approach you'll break out with less than best assets, even though.

This is a hugely capable and revealing amplifier, and you’ll listen the actual breadth of its skill only if it’s fed a top-quality supply.

We play The Hand That Feeds by way of Nine Inch Nails and the Leema delivers the hard-charging beat with enthusiasm, conserving a company grip of the insistent rhythms with ability.

There’s various punch and tool, but also the perception to get to the bottom of the dense production.

This recording is packed with power, and the Tucana is transparent enough to give us a full dose. Push quantity ranges upper and the amplifier remains firmly in keep an eye on, the sound refusing to harden until we succeed in delinquent ranges.

We take a look at PJ Harvey’s Dear Darkness and the Leema shifts equipment easily to deliver this sparse recording with conviction.

Harvey’s haunting vocals are rendered with a suitably mild contact, the amp taking advantage of her distinctive phraseology. The music’s minimalist rhythmic beat comes thru with resolution with out dominating.

There’s a stupendous sense of space here, because the amplifier gives each sound plenty of area to breathe, and but nonetheless manages to tie the whole thing together to make a cohesive and musical entire.

The Tucana captures the texture of the music, hanging the highlight on the song whilst the hi-fi mechanics fade into the background.

The headphone output is excellent too, retaining the refinement and drive of the sound heard by way of the speaker terminals – now not all the time the case even with amps as dear as this.

We check out each Grado’s PS500s and Sony’s Z1Rs to excellent impact, even though devoted gadgets from the likes of Graham Slee do even higher

Verdict

While the Tucana’s worth has often long past up over the years, so has its efficiency.

This version may not look all that different from the unit we reviewed back in 2010 but we think it nonetheless stands up neatly in nowadays’s marketplace.

If you’re after a top rate built-in and wish something that performs all varieties of music with equivalent ability you’ll have to go some to better this Anniversary style.

See all our Leema reviews

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