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insider9

Leema Tucana II Anniversary - part 2 / Initial impressions + measurements

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Follow up to my other thread with pics. This time some listening impressions of Leema Tucana II Anniversary kindly loaned to me by Rick at Musicraft.

I'm feeling tired. Seriously tired. What can I say. It's not an easy "job" to sit and listen to album after album via Leema Tucana II Anniversary. The amount of information that hits you is difficult to process for someone not accustomed to gear of this quality. And when I say hits you, I really mean it. It's not an amp that can play in the background without drawing attention to itself. This is not to say low level listening isn't its strength. Also not that there's anything bling and tizz about it that draws attention, it's the exact opposite it's the music that draws you in. What Leema does is it allows the music to capture your imagination and infuse you with energy. So much energy that you tire soooo quickly.

As with any gear I've listen to a fair amount of test tracks and tried different gear over the last couple of days. On top of that I've managed to complete 7 full albums. So here goes in case you are wondering in playing order Alice in Chains "Unplugged", Jeff Buckley "Grace", Tool "Aenima", Mad Season "Above", PJ Harvey "Dry", Beck "Sea Change", Miles Davis "Milestones". That number isn't particularly high for me over 3 days. For instance on Monday I've listened to 4 albums in a day.

So what are my thoughts?

First a fair bit of warning. Don't do what I did on day one and blast it. Your ears will take a pounding. Easy does it at least until you get used to it. Secondly, do give it just over an hour, ideally around 1.5 hours to get to temp. The difference is staggering and should you listen to it from cold you will not get what this amp is all about.

From cold it feels like it lacks rhythmic capability. It feels like there's certain hesitation with every drum hit. There is no flow. Imaging feels rather messy which translates to a lot of detail and textures thrown at you in a way that makes it even more difficult to comprehend. If you're considering a demo make sure it's not first thing in a morning and that the amp will have sufficient time to warm up.

An hour and a half into it and it all takes shape.

The imaging becomes more precise, the rhythm flows. The soundstage deepens and expands. You get a sense of immense power. Dynamic shifts are a joy to behold. And it's not just the macro dynamics that impress it's the little things. Guitars being picked, snare being hit it all adds to the presentation in a big way.

The presentation is organinc for a lack of a better word. There is no exaggeration of any frequency band, there is no colouration top is extended and overflows with ambient info. Bass is tuneful fast and has more texture than I imagined there was in the recording and digs deeper. Overall textures are rich throughoyt but it isn't just the instruments and vocals. It's the ambient info, all the reverbs all the spatial cues in live recordings that give so much more to the enjoyment.

I particularly like the quieter parts of the tracks before the crescendos as these can be reproduced with such a sense of calm. You can feel the restraint with which every instrument is being played. The gentle strokes, it's almost like foreplay. And then it all builds to a grand finale. And what a finale it usually is. I can't keep count of how many times the hairs stood on the back of my neck, goosebumps all over my legs, hands, well... you get the picture.

Edited by insider9
Added measurements
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35 minutes ago, insider9 said:

Follow up to my other thread with pics. This time some listening impressions of Leema Tucana II Anniversary kindly loaned to me by Rick at Musicraft.

I'm feeling tired. Seriously tired. What can I say. It's not an easy "job" to sit and listen to album after album via Leema Tucana II Anniversary. The amount of information that hits you is difficult to process for someone not accustomed to gear of this quality. And when I say hits you, I really mean it. It's not an amp that can play in the background without drawing attention to itself. This is not to say low level listening isn't its strength. Also not that there's anything bling and tizz about it that draws attention, it's the exact opposite it's the music that draws you in. What Leema does is it allows the music to capture your imagination and infuse you with energy. So much energy that you tire soooo quickly.

As with any gear I've listen to a fair amount of test tracks and tried different gear over the last couple of days. On top of that I've managed to complete 7 full albums. So here goes in case you are wondering in playing order Alice in Chains "Unplugged", Jeff Buckley "Grace", Tool "Aenima", Mad Season "Above", PJ Harvey "Dry", Beck "Sea Change", Miles Davis "Milestones". That number isn't particularly high for me over 3 days. For instance on Monday I've listened to 4 albums in a day.

So what are my thoughts?

First a fair bit of warning. Don't do what I did on day one and blast it. Your ears will take a pounding. Easy does it at least until you get used to it. Secondly, do give it just over an hour, ideally around 1.5 hours to get to temp. The difference is staggering and should you listen to it from cold you will not get what this amp is all about.

From cold it feels like it lacks rhythmic capability. It feels like there's certain hesitation with every drum hit. There is no flow. Imaging feels rather messy which translates to a lot of detail and textures thrown at you in a way that makes it even more difficult to comprehend. If you're considering a demo make sure it's not first thing in a morning and that the amp will have sufficient time to warm up.

An hour and a half into it and it all takes shape.

The imaging becomes more precise, the rhythm flows. The soundstage deepens and expands. You get a sense of immense power. Dynamic shifts are a joy to behold. And it's not just the macro dynamics that impress it's the little things. Guitars being picked, snare being hit it all adds to the presentation in a big way.

The presentation is organinc for a lack of a better word. There is no exaggeration of any frequency band, there is no colouration top is extended and overflows with ambient info. Bass is tuneful fast and has more texture than I imagined there was in the recording and digs deeper. Overall textures are rich throughoyt but it isn't just the instruments and vocals. It's the ambient info, all the reverbs all the spatial cues in live recordings that give so much more to the enjoyment.

I particularly like the quieter parts of the tracks before the crescendos as these can be reproduced with such a sense of calm. You can feel the restraint with which every instrument is being played. The gentle strokes, it's almost like foreplay. And then it all builds to a grand finale. And what a finale it usually is. I can't keep count of how many times the hairs stood on the back of my neck, goosebumps all over my legs, hands, well... you get the picture.

Sounds like a croft :)

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13 minutes ago, mattykyuss said:

Sounds like a croft :)

Sounds like he's having a lot of fun :^

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Jampal (originator of this forum as you may know) had a Leema Antila II CD player which was superb. 

Out of interest, what is the Tucana doing that your Hegel Röst isn't? That can't be a bad amp by any standards (I've not heard it but a Hegel H360 was impressive).

Love your Red Rose speakers by the way.

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9 hours ago, batteredhaggis said:

Jampal (originator of this forum as you may know) had a Leema Antila II CD player which was superb. 

Out of interest, what is the Tucana doing that your Hegel Röst isn't? That can't be a bad amp by any standards (I've not heard it but a Hegel H360 was impressive).

Love your Red Rose speakers by the way.

Thanks Jamie. Speakers are my pride and joy. As to what Tucana is doing that Rost isn't.

The overall sound signature is similar. Both are musical, dynamic, fast amps. Rost has a ever so slight warmth that actually pairs very well with speakers. Rost is different to older Hegel gear that was on colder side of neutral. It's bottom end is superb but top i always felt via ribbons that was a tad dry and lacked sparkle.

Tucana is more nuetral than the Rost. Likely bang on neutral but not cold and not devoid of timbre. And particularly top end is more extended and contains and insane amount of ambient information. Bass is bigger and more tuneful to but I put it down to amount on power on tap.

There is one thing that Hegel is doing better if I'm honest and that's the background. It really is black. But that sadly comes at a cost of ambient info. However comparing the two Tucana is £5k and Rost £2.2k.

So trying to put it in a sentence it's really doing what Rost is doing just on a much grander scale, with much more ease and agility. Which is only what you'd expect when doubling the price. 

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Super Wammer

fascinating thread , very much loved my leema antilla mark one , slightly clunky mechanism but it sounded good . had a leema pulse mark  1 too for some while and it had a very organic presentation . keep us posted   

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Will do and many thanks Phil.

As someone pointed out on another forum Tucana never made them tired. This made me wonder whether it could be the top extension and how ribbons react to it. Looking at Leema website I found this

Specification / Features

(See User Manual for full specification)

Output Power: 150W rms 8 Ohms/Ch

Output Power: 290W rms 4 Ohms/Ch

Output Power: 320W rms 2 Ohms/Ch

THD: 0.004%

Noise: < -100 dB

Freqency Response: 5 Hz - 100 kHz (+0/-3 dB) 

Particularly the last line is where it could matter.

So I've decided to take some measurements next. To see what's happening. Unfortunately can only measure up to 25kHz.

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Super Wammer

"An hour and a half into it and it all takes shape."

Mmm,  is anything worth that wait? Even if there was, what are the chances I go completely off the idea waiting for it?

Could you just leave it on most of the time to get around the wait?

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Measurements

These are in a way of comparison to Hegel Rost

Both speakers and mic are in the same position, no DSP has been applied for comparison. Level matched conditions and no other significant variables. These are in room measurements of individual speakers and although the room is treated you will see it obviously still impacts on frequency response. For ease of comparison I've used 1/6 smoothing.

Red is Hegel / Blue is Leema

Left channel

LEFT CHANNEL / HEGEL RED LEEMA BLUE (NO DSP)

Right channel

RIGHT CHANNEL / HEGEL RED LEEMA BLUE (NO DSP)

Even though these are smoothed Leema takes real control of these 10 inch woofers. The differences are 3-5dB which is massive. And much less to do with DSP :)

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