Leema Essentials Phono Stage Review

In this months blog we are taking a look at Leema's High-Resolution 'Essential' phono stage. We have been mightily impressed with the clarity and definition it brings to a huge variety of vinyl setups. Let's take a closer look..

The Essential's technology has been trickled down from Welsh company Leema's top of the range and award winning Agena phono stage and it shows. The Phono stage is switchable between moving magnet and moving coil making it suitable for any cartridge which is a lovely feature at it's price point. The Essentials also provides a switchable low frequency filter which can help cut out noise under 20Hz that can come from warped records or noisy bearings.



Some really impressive figures are thrown up by the Essentials.  The moving magnet gain of 36db and moving coil gain of 62db gives you plenty of headroom and a distortion of less than 0.02% (at 1Kh) really helps with the clarity you want from your vinyl.

We've been able to try a huge range of turntables in the shop and have not found a single one that does not shine when paired with the Leema, from Regas entry level Planar 1 with it's moving magnet Carbon cartridge right up to Project's Signature 10 with it's Ortofon Cadenza Red, which is a moving coil.

The setup we used for this review was a Project Classic with an Ortofon 2m black MM cartridge through the Leema into the Nytech CP202 and CPA402 pre and power combo and we used Spendor A6r loudspeakers. Our review vinyl of choice these days is the superb 'If You Wait' by London Grammar, a record we are all very familiar with, yet the Leema managed to reveal things we hadn't noticed before. Small things maybe, the reverb tail after vocalist Hannah Reid's line or the slight modulation in a bass line in album opener 'Hey Now' that before seemed to be one note. It's these small things that add up and only to serve to envelop you in the music and improve your experience.

'Revealing', can be seen as a negative word sometimes and yes if a poor recording is put through the system it can show up its faults, but in this case the Essentials brings the music to life,  showing all the intricacies and details that the artist and recording engineers included but maybe aren't always that easy to hear. It's not all about detail, the Leema has plenty of warmth as revealed by the opening verse of 'Strong' which instantly and totally involves you in the music experience. The phono stage brings plenty of excitement too, the big hooks of the choruses standing even larger than life than they usually do.

Leema's Essentials Phono stage has certainly caught the attention of us all here at Cardiff and is certainly worth a listen, so as always please give us a call to arrange a demonstration.

Leema products are available at the following branches of Audio T: Cardiff, Oxford

The Twelve Hi-Fi Gifts of Christmas!

We here at Audio T know how hard it can be to choose a gift for your music mad loved ones so this year we have you covered. Here are our top twelve suggestions to help you give the gift  and joy of music this Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Sonos Play:1!

This diminutive wireless speaker has a huge sound! Using the Sonos excellent free app, opens up a world of audio streaming from your own collection, Internet radio and streaming services such as Qobuz, Spotify and Tidal. Perfect for the person who loves streaming music from their phone or computer.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Chord Electronics Mojo!

This little headphone amp/DAC has made huge waves this year, winning numerous awards and accolades and for good reason! The Mojo is simply stunning, transforming your phone into a mini hi-fi! Also pictured is the very useful Mojo cable pack and durable carry case (both sold separately) Perfect for those who are listen to a lot of music on the go. At the moment you can buy a Mojo and get a FREE carry case (Offer ends 05-01-2017)

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Denon D-M40 and Q Acoustics 3010 speakers!

This little system is fantastic as a entry into HI-Fi or as an additional system in another room in your house. Capable of playing CD, DAB radio and music via USB, this is a gorgeous combination of amplifier and speaker. Perfect for a first audio system.

On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Sennheiser HD4.30i headphones!

This headphones are amazingly good value for money, strong defined bass and punchy mids combine for a lovely sound and the fact they are comfortable and foldable makes them great for wearing on the go. Perfect for anyone who listens to music when they are out and about.

On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Sennheiser HD 599 headphones!

The HD 599’s are brilliant headphones for home use. They have a gorgeous open sound which never gets fatiguing and are easy to listen to for hours. Perfect for those who like to listen through headphones at home.

On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…Dynaudio Emit M10 Loudspeakers!

We have been very impressed with the Emit line by Dynaudio, they have a balanced sound yet are still exciting to listen to and the little M10’s are no exception. Perfect for someone who needs new speakers for a entry to mid level system.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Rega Planar 1 turntable!

Vinyl is all the rage at the moment but to take advantage of this you need a good turntable, which is where the Planar 1 comes in, offering superb looks, build and importantly sound quality….what more do you want? Perfect for someone who wants to get into vinyl.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Project Debut Carbon DC!


The Debut Carbon is a large step above entry level. It comes with a fantastic cartridge in the Ortofon 2m Red and combined with the carbon fibre arm makes for a highly enjoyable combination. Perfect for those who want to take their basic setup up a gear.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Project VC-S vinyl record cleaner!

One of the best upgrades you can do in a turntable setup is clean your vinyl, the result is staggering. The VSC makes short work of this otherwise mundane task, using its powerful vacuum to suck up any dirt and excess liquid from the surface of your favourite record or LP. Also pictured is Project’s Brush it and Clean it (both sold separately), essential tools for any turntable owner. Perfect for those who are serious about their vinyl.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…an Arcam rHead headphone amp!

A lot of the time we just suffer with poor quality through headphones for convenience sake, however a good headphone amplifier can change that completely. The R-head is one of the best on the market at the price and can transform your headphone listening experience. Perfect for the person who wants better quality sound from their headphones.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a phono stage!

We couldn’t decide on just one phono stage so we thought we’d recommend a few, pictured are the Project Phonobox MM, Project tube box DS, Nytech Audio CDP122 and the Rega Fono MM. These boxes all have the capability to transform your setup, just let us know your system and we can recommend the best match! Perfect for someone who wants to either start or improve their vinyl setup.

On the twelth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…a Naim Mu-so QB!

This mini system has taken the market by storm and with very good reason! The Mu-so QB allows you to play your music via, Wi-Fi, Tidal, Spotify, internet radio, Bluetooth, usb and many more with stunning audio quality. It makes a great additional to an existing Naim setup in the form of multi-room or serves as an introduction to high quality audio. Perfect for just about anyone who wants to add high quality music streaming to a room in their house.

We hope this list has been useful for you, and as always we are always here to help you in store to make further recommendations and provide demonstrations of anything in the store. Many of the items listed are included in our winter Big Red Sale so please get in contact for more information.

From Hefin, Nick and Gareth, at Audio T Cardiff we wish all of you and your families a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The Cyrus One Amplifier The Reinvention Of A Classic!

Cyrus have just released a new amplifier, the Cyrus One, harking back to their groundbreaking first model from many years ago and we're very pleased to have it on demonstration.

As you can see it follows the basic Cyrus "shoebox" form factor with a new chassis and high gloss front panel, two rotary controls, one for volume and the other for input selection including both a built in moving magnet (mm) phono stage and bluetooth.

The Cyrus One is rated at 2 x 100W of class D amplification. It has 4 line level inputs, aptX© compatible Bluetooth, a moving magnet (mm) phono stage and a quality headphone amplifier. This makes it extremely flexible for use in modern systems. The LED indicators for volume and input are a stylish white. Overall it is a very attractive little amplifier.

Good quality 4mm binding posts are supplied for the speaker connections in twinned pairs for bi wiring.

Most importantly though this little Cyrus One amplifier sounds great! It drives speakers beautifully, creating an expansive soundstage that belies its price positioning at £699. We have been very impressed using a variety of speakers and sources, oh and the headphone amp isn't half bad either.

All in all a great package in a small, beautifully formed, case.

Come in and have a listen, or join us for our Cyrus and Chord Company event on the 4th and 5th of November.

Cyrus Hi-Fi products are available at the following branches of Audio T: 

There Can Be Only One! The Cyrus One.

The brand new (pre-production model) Cyrus One makes an appearance in Audio T Manchester Our Cyrus representative, Nick, popped in to see us with the brand new Cyrus One tucked under his arm.

In what can only be described as a totally new way of thinking in the way Cyrus may design their future products, this was certainly a welcome surprise from the 30 year old company from Huntingdon.

The New Cyrus ONE Integrated Amplifier (Pre-production model).

The New Cyrus ONE Integrated Amplifier (Pre-production model).

A new angular looking Cyrus ONE in high gloss black marks a change in styling from Cyrus. 

A new angular looking Cyrus ONE in high gloss black marks a change in styling from Cyrus. 

The built in moving magnet phono stage will let you connect a suitable turntable.

The built in moving magnet phono stage will let you connect a suitable turntable.

Bluetooth Enabled, the aptx version.

Bluetooth Enabled, the aptx version.

You can stream music from your phone/tablet or computer via a wireless Bluetooth connection, providing maximum flexibility without the need for a home network or any complicated set up. This allows everyone in the family to enjoy their music from their portable devices quickly and easily.

The ONE is hand built in the UK at the Cyrus workshops in Huntingdon. Yes that ONE Chromey.

The ONE is hand built in the UK at the Cyrus workshops in Huntingdon. Yes that ONE Chromey.

The built in Class AB headphone amplifiers are automatically activated when the headphones are plugged in, with the heavyweight toroidal power supply that usually powers the main amplifiers instantly switching all its power to the headphone circuits. At the same time, the volume is automatically returned to zero to protect the user’s hearing and headphones,and in turn,the volume reverts to zero when the headphones are removed.This specifically designed headphone amp circuit has exceptionally good signal to noise performance and is incredibly fast and agile, performing better than many stand alone headphone amplifiers.

We did manage to have a quick listen to the Cyrus ONE.

Very impressive indeed, this diminutive box packs a punch. Played with our new PMC twenty5 22 speakers it showed composure and poise. It seemed unfazed with electronic music, jazz from John Coltrane came across lush and musical,  classical music from Vaughan Williams sounded open and wide, filling our shop floor with sound of the Larks ascending., even Mike's punk and ska sounded fast and gritty. 

So potentially, Cyrus could have a winner here.

We will be getting our own Cyrus ONE demo unit very shortly, we have a few on order. 

Watch this space for updates or alternatively keep an eye on our Audio T website. 

See you Audio T Manchester.

Munir, Mike, Dave, Simon and Haden

Cyrus Hi-Fi products are also available from the following branches of Audio T:

The Cyrus Phono Signature Arrives in Enfield!

The Phono Signature takes form in the classic half sized Cyrus chassis which perfectly integrates into any Cyrus Hi-Fi system. This die-cast aluminium chassis provides superior electrical shielding and a mechanically vibration-free enclosure for all of the critical audio components housed within.

Read More

Unison Research Unico Hybrid Valve Amplifier & CD Player Thrill Us.

The 'Reading Boys' are proud to announce a new addition to our already impressive line-up of mid-priced high performance audiophile equipment.

The Unison Research Unico Nuovo Phono 95 wpc amplifier and the  CD Primo CD Player.

Beautifully finished all aluminium casework and sand-blast finished front panel (available in black + £100); with more than a dash of Italian style, these two rather unassuming units pack a mighty punch. Don't for one minute assume the presence of the valves in the pre-amp and in the CD player's output stages results in a warm cuddly sound as that couldn't be further from the truth.

This combination produces an incredibly musical and engaging performance with a sense of dynamism we've not heard at anything like their price points: the inclusion of the valves ensure the sound remains fatigue free and sweet.

The amp also features a high quality MM/MC phonostage.

A healthy 95 watt Mosfet output assures the amp's ability to drive any likely partnered speakers.

A lovely sculpted solid wood remote is included with each.

Amplifier £1800, CD Player £1500. Available demonstration now.