LEAK: TL12s requiring better than Tannoy or vice-versa?

Please share this...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Ask an expert

My musical taste covers most areas of music: Blues, World, Folk, Soul, Rock, Jazz; acoustic and amplified. I am a guitarist and listen to a lot of guitar of all sorts. My room has a suspended timber floor with rugs, is book lined on the speaker wall and about 11 by 13 feet. I would like to achieve a decent soundstage whilst the quality I most rate is probably timing. I am less fussed about huge bass or high volume. 

My preferred sources are vinyl, cassette and CD. I have a lot of mostly old LPs of varying condition and cleanliness. Likewise tapes and inevitably CDs. 

The kit I have is a pair of Leak TL12+s overhauled and wired for direct phono plug input, Marantz CD63 KI Mk2, NAD 6100 cassette deck (flakey), a Connoisseur BD1 (very flakey) and SME 3009 II Detachable (head shell). My speakers are Tannoy 12 Golds in 75 litre cabinets and in need of some work. I also have a Leak Point One preamp and Leak Troughline tuner, neither of which I use. I am told the preamp is best forgotten and that overhaul of the tuner likely to be uneconomic given the end of FM being nigh. Your candid opinions are invited.

I like the TL12s and intend to keep them. What I need to do is replace the Tannoys for the time being with something smaller that will suit the Leaks but not disappoint. I am intending to recab the Tannoys and was considering connecting the crossovers at the amps (eventually!) and bi-wiring from the crossovers to the cabinets using two pairs of binding posts at the cabinets for each unit. Is this a good idea and what cable should it be? Tannoy's wiring between the controls and crossovers, and from the crossovers to the units just looks dire to me. 

Secondly a new vinyl front end, with deck, arm, cartridge and phono stage that are well matched, and fairly easy to install and maintain. A few years back I nearly bought a Garrard 301, I got the SME rewired and a Shure V15. Today there are probably better options. 

I will stick with the Marantz unless you suggest otherwise (I am something of an old fogey when it comes to CD and digital music) and I thought I might acquire a Sony WM-D6C cassette recorder for some portable recording and playback of other tapes through the system. You might suggest a different deck though, for replay in the system. 

For vinyl and speakers, leads and cable I have a budget of around £3,000.

Finally, is it worth getting my LPs cleaned or buying the means to do it myself given the likely cost of the new cartridge?

Wise to keep the Leak TL12+s of course, and I bet they sound lovely in renovated condition. Your problem is they produce little power, just 12 Watts. Unfortunately, small loudspeakers are insensitive, unlike big Tannoys, so it isn’t realistic to make a swap unless you are prepared for a great drop in volume. A sensitive floorstander from the Q Acoustics range is a good option as they cost so little, offers good quality and is sensitive enough (90dB) to give adequate volume.

On the record deck side of things I suggest the inevitable Rega P3-24. Your SME Series II with detachable head shell is not so clever now, but you may get a good price for it on eBay. Since you probably like a warmer sounding cartridge I suggest something from Goldring or Shure ranges. This little lot will keep you well within your budget.

On the cassette side of things there isn’t much choice as only Sony make one, the inexpensive Sony TC-WE475. Although inexpensive it worked surprisingly well in every respect, especially replay of pre-recorded tapes.

Whether your records need cleaning depends upon their condition. I suggest you try your new record deck first to see just how much noise there is. Being in storage, unused, doesn’t hurt discs, although those in paper sleeves will slowly dry out, loose their plasticity and get noisier. Put all LPs in plastic sleeves if possible.

The end of VHF/FM isn’t nigh I believe. However, even when restored the Troughline has poor selectivity and is only practicable in areas where there’s a reasonably clear line to a transmitter, without pirate stations (urban areas) in between. Even then you will need a high gain, directional aerial pointed at the transmitter, but this is only £150 or so. In such circumstances a restored Troughline is magic; with talk programmes it’s like being in the studio!

The preamp would likely need a rebuild before it sounded any good. If you don’t want these items, eBay them to those that do. Leak equipment well restored is special.

On reflection, I should have mentioned that the Technics SL1200/2 is a superb deck at £400; partner with the aforementioned Goldring and you'll be amazed how pacey and punchy it’s. The Rega is a fine deck with more finesse but can't touch the Technics in the musicality stakes. An interesting speaker to consider is the Vandersteen Model 1 I've just tried this in my own system and it's a great sounding large stand-mounter with tremendous power and verve, plus a valve amp-friendly sensitivity.

===//===

Please click HERE to access the entire BRITISH STEREO archive

===//===

Please click HERE to access the entire VINTAGE archive

Please share this...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone