The British brand Leak has expanded its line of amplifiers and introduced the Stereo 230 integrated amplifier. The previous model, the Leak Stereo 130, together with the Leak CDT CD transport , was released in 2020. The novelty has retained the vintage aesthetics of its predecessors almost “one-to-one”, but has received a number of improvements. Stereo 230, according to the manufacturers, features an upgraded circuit, more power and an improved DAC stage.
In more detail, instead of the ES9018K2M DAC, the Stereo 230 is now equipped with the ES9038Q2M, and according to Leak, with patented circuitry that maximizes the use of ESS Technology’s HyperStream II architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator. The active filter behind the DAC is assembled on specially selected opamps, designed, according to the developers, to “provide synergy” with the Saber DAC.
The amplifier’s digital inputs, apart from the two S/PDIF inputs, coaxial and optical, are complemented by asynchronous USB B. The system handles PCM up to 32bit/768kHz and DSD up to 22.58MHz (DSD512). MQA is also supported. In addition, LEAK Stereo 230 officially supports Roon. Bluetooth is also not forgotten – in version 5.0 and with support for aptX and AAC codecs.
Synergy with home TV will provide HDMI with ARC audio return channel. Analog switching – two linear RCA stereo inputs, supplemented by an MM phono stage input, assembled on low-noise JFETs.
The Leak Stereo 230 final amplifiers operate MOSFET TDA7293 assemblies in double parallel connection. They provide a class AB output of 2 x 115W with 4 ohm speakers, well within their specifications, as well as a 115dB signal-to-noise ratio. Power is supplied by a 270 VA toroidal transformer with two sets of 15,000 microfarad capacitances. For headphones, a separate amplifier is provided – with current feedback and a high slew rate.
The same silver aluminum front panel amplifier as the previous model can be upgraded with an optional walnut cabinet. It will be available in the UK from early 2023 for £1,250 with optional walnut trims and £1,100 without them.