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Leak Stereo 20

Discussion in 'classic' started by Tony L, Jan 31, 2012.

  1. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    About a month ago when I got my Leak, I suspected my system had the channels the wrong way round. I switched the cables round at the back of my speakers and thought that solved it. Next day, I rechecked all the interconnects and speaker cables and it seemed I was wrong, so I reversed the channels again.

    A few days ago, I thought I was sure the channels were the wrong way round so systemically checked every connection and found everything was correct - red to red, white to white. Still not convinced, I played Kind of Blue because I know 100% who’s supposed to be in which channel and found the channels were reversed despite all connections being ‘correct’. I checked and rechecked again and realised the only connection I’d not looked at was at the tonearm base…So this morning with help from my partner we lifted up the TD 124 from its plinth and after careful consultation with Google images and the SME manual I found that it too was connected correctly.

    Just to make sure I wasn’t going mad, this morning I conducted a process of elimination. I used my Marantz CD player to rule out the Thorens and sure enough, the channels were still wrong. I then removed the external stereo/mono switch I use between Croft pre and Leak power, and the issue persisted. I then swapped the Leak for a Quad 303 and the channels are now playing correctly as I type this.

    So it appears that the Leak is either wired-up internally with crossed channels (!) or that I’m missing something. As I said, I’ve eliminated all sources of channel switching and the source can only be the Leak. Does anyone know how this could’ve happened or am I going mad?

    * Having just spoken to the previous owner, it seems possible that something happened when the RCA sockets were replaced. I’m going to contact the person who did the work and see how it goes.
  2. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    @Nagraboy you are going mad. But not to worry, this is a hi-fi forum so you're in good company : )
    zeon and Nagraboy like this.
  3. Amormusic

    Amormusic pfm Member

    Tom Misch, Midnight Mischief (Tom Misch and Jordan Rakei - remix).
    Available on Tidal and Spotify.

    This is the clearest song I've ever heard with a sound that pans from one side to the other.

    Playing correctly it will sweep from right to left.

    Also an excellent song.

    You can confirm reversed channels easily by playing this song.
    Nagraboy likes this.
  4. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    Thank you, yes I am a loony and I’m inclined to agree and so is my partner - he says I should be using a phone and earpods like a normal person and not buying silly expensive plastic slabs all the time to play dead people music :eek: :p

    Glad I’ve more or less got to the bottom of this. For now, I’ll just switch the speaker cables round at the amp end then head to the pub for the day :D Cheers!
  5. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    Thanks for that one! I’ve already confirmed it now and seems the Leak needs some minor surgery.
  6. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    Had exactly the same issue with the first ST20 I owned. Something seemed slightly off from the moment I plugged it in but like you it took me a few days to twig that the channels were reversed.

    I spoke to the previous owner who had had the amp serviced & he confirmed that he had asked his engineer to reverse the channels so the speaker cables came out of the correct side of the amp (LH speaker socket on LH side of amp & RH socket on RH side of amp) as you looked at it front on.

    Nagraboy likes this.
  7. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili


    Wow, that is mad. I did wonder about the channels getting mixed up somehow. Maybe the best thing in your amp’s case would’ve been for the owner to switch the RCA sockets round so the colours and labels still matched, then there would he less chance of a mix up later.
  8. TonyScarlett

    TonyScarlett pfm Member

    Yes it was an odd one. I didn't actually know much about ST20s when I bought the amp. It was only through reading up & asking questions, mainly on Pink Fish, that I realised the amp I had bought was quite a long way from standard.

    As well as the channel reversal it had had the input sensitivity altered to match modern preamps plus it had a full set of "audiophile" polypropylene caps & metal film resistors.
    I did consider the option of getting it returned to nearer standard but the work had been carried out to a high standard so that seemed like a waste.

    As I had always preffered the look of the charcoal versions I waited for one of those to crop up needing work doing so I could get it done the way I wanted then sold the first one on.

    The new owner was delighted with it (an eccentric Ducati riding retired airline pilot with a museum like collection of vintage Quad amps, this was his first Leak) so it all worked out..

    Nagraboy likes this.
  9. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    Please tell me he rode away with it strapped to the back of his Ducati : )
    Alex S, Amormusic and TonyScarlett like this.
  10. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    The Leak terminals are placed opposite to what I'm used to so I had it channel swapped for the first day then realised. Later confirmed with RKR test CD from back in the day when he spoke to me. I also have a dual mono preamp that rather helps!
  11. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Reminds me of an eccentric studio engineer who bought an eBayed door from me. Stuck it in the back of a Piccanto and off he went (he was driving under the door but it had glass panels).
  12. Amormusic

    Amormusic pfm Member

    Wow! I get it!

    Now set up and listening to London Grammar. Wow! Sounds beautiful on my speakers.

    @Mike P the amp looks (and sounds) stunning. Thanks. Also superby packaged for its journey.
    Alex S, The Bish and Mike P like this.
  13. Mike P

    Mike P Trade: Pickwell Audio

    Enjoy it.

    It didn't take me long to realise that I miss having a Stereo 20 in the house and I've already acquired another one to restore.
    Darmok and Amormusic like this.
  14. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Can you post a link to your acquisition pipeline :)
  15. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    FWIW if someone is looking for a good restoration candidate I could be persuaded to part with my dark grey one (see pics a good way back on the thread). It would be without valves or box.
  16. kevinrt

    kevinrt pfm Member

    Is there any reason why a Leak Stereo 20 would not work well with a sub-woofer attached to its speaker outputs, in addition to a pair of Quad esl57s?


  17. Fizzy

    Fizzy New Member

    I used a REL Storm III with my 57s and connected it to the speaker terminals of my Stereo 20 without any issues. I have stopped using it recently as I prefer the sound of the 57s without the sub. Hope that helps.
  18. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    An unexpected incoming tomorrow, means I might have to part with my lovely bronze Leak. Can’t keep them all…

  19. kevinrt

    kevinrt pfm Member

    Thanks. I don’t want to do anything that might harm the Leak. If there was any doubt I’d try substituting in another amp.
    Like you I’ll decide whether I like the sound more with or without the sub.


  20. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Last edited: Nov 8, 2022

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