View Full Version : Radford STA-25 (MK5)

05-06-2019, 05:36
Well it finally arrived, and in my haste I lashed it up on the dining room table.
(easier than halling my rack apart)
Im chuffed to bits with it.....my thoughts below and a crap pic if it loads.

https://i.imgflip.com/32owqk.jpg (https://imgflip.com/i/32owqk)via Imgflip Meme Generator (https://imgflip.com/memegenerator)

RADFORD REVIVAL STA-25 (mk5) Review.

(Currently used in conjunction with)
Marantz CD-73 player / Rothwell Indus passive preamp / Falcon Acoustics LS3/5A speakers.

I have always hankered after a Radford - STA since first hearing my uncles one way back in 1976. Now I can't be sure if it was a 15 or 25 to be honest, but one thing I can still remember was the magical sound it produced and the good times we spent listening to his album collection, It was this experience that piqued my interest and set me on the twisty HiFi road.

(Build Quality)
"Good things come to those who wait" So the saying goes, and I can confirm with regard to the arrival of my new RR STA-25 this is indeed the case.....It's been a long (43 year) wait.
Attention to detail / Fit and finish / Meticulous build quality - Would put a Fabergé Egg to shame !!
Words simply don't do it justice, this amplifier really has to be seen in the flesh (so to speak) to truly appreciate the work that "Will & Steve" have put into it's production.
Radford's original amplifiers have an enviable reputation for outstanding reliability, (of which a quick search of the web will testify) and im quite sure judging by the build and superior components used, the RR's new one's will undoubtedly carry on this enviable tradition.

(Sound Quality 1)
This amp is special, it's right. And this rightness (for want of a better word) is immediately obvious from the opening bars of any track you care to throw at it.
There is no woolyness or warmth (common to a lot of valve amps) present here, instead it portrays the music faithfully, with tremendous grip and superb clarity.
I've had more power amplifiers (both Valve and Transistor) than I care to remember over the last 40 years, but musically none have come remotely close to the sound that the STA produces.
Put simply this is the finest sounding amplifier I have heard to date by a considerable margin.
My one regret is the fact that I never discovered the existence of Radford Revival sooner.

(Sound Quality 2)
I will try my best to avoid the usual hifi cliché's and superlatives, and instead try and give you some insight into a few of the STA's many virtues and strengths via few of my favourite albums.
First up "Kate Bush - The Red Shoes" the track "This Woman's Work" we have never heard it sound so hauntingly beautiful, had me and the better half reaching for the tissues.
Next "Tori Amos - Under the Pink" play the track "Cornflake Girl" and one could be forgiven for thinking Tori has wheeled her Bosendorfer in, and is playing live in your listening room.
Now apparently my LS3/5As don't do Bass and can't Rock, right ?....Wrong, (it only takes an amp of the STA's calibre and ability to make them do so) try "Grace Jones - Warm Leatherette" album, "Sly & Robbies" rhythm section is so tight and infectious I defy anyone with toes not to tap them.
Whilst "Black Sabbath's - Heaven and Hell" album would have a nun headbanging...!!!
Play "Tim Buckley - Letters Live" or "John Martyn - No Little Boy" albums and the STA will leave you in no doubt of its finesse and minute detail retrieval abilities. Tim's walk on introduction to raptuous applause is startlingly realistic, you can even hear the turning of sheet music..!!
Whilst John's Sax player "Tony Coe" can easily be distinguished licking his lips prior to playing..!!
(Thing's in the mix I've never heard before despite numerous listens via lesser amps)
Well I could go on but had best stop there, and alas unless you have an STA (or it's equal) handy you may not be able to hear these things, but hopefully you get the picture.

(Value for Money)
Firstly this is not a factory mass produced amp churned out in the hundreds....No no no.
In the grand scheme of things audio, this is a rather rare beast indeed.
If one stops a moment and considers the fact that the Radford Revival STA is an iconic British amplifier, meticulously hand built, (with finer components and technology, not currently available to the original amps) hand wired in very small numbers to order, by a small team of dedicated and passionate audiophiles....Not to mention the man hours involved in such an undertaking.
Figure in the fact that when it comes to making music, it makes the (so called) hi-end big boys costing X times the price sound bland and quite obviously flawed and lacking by comparison.

I suggest that if the Radford Revival STA was double it's current price, it would be a great bargain (and still have a lengthy waiting list). As it stands, priced at £2800 it is an absolute bloody steal.

Build quality..............10 /10
Sound quality............10 /10
Value for money........10 /10

Against........Nothing. (waiting list aside)

I would now like to close with a BIG thank you to Steve & Will Moores and all associated with Radford Revival, who's dedication and passion continue to bring Arthur Radford & John Widgery's classic amplifiers to a new generation of music lovers worldwide.

A.J.W.R. (2019).

05-06-2019, 05:48
That picture is awful lol, we need guts and all angles!!! Been waiting a while to hear the juice on one of wills units.

Very brave to spend a large sum on a relatively unknown quantity, but I am really pleased its paid off.


05-06-2019, 05:57
Sorry Ollie, told ya it was a crap pic.

Pics here though, guts n all.


05-06-2019, 06:46
Sorry Ollie, told ya it was a crap pic.

Pics here though, guts n all.

https://www.radfordrevival.co.uk/sta-reissue/series-5-sta/Superb stuff. It looks fantastic, I must say.

05-06-2019, 07:12
As a little aside This Woman s Work is an amazing song Alan. Love to have heard it through the Raddies. Nice write up, always special to have one of those evenings :)

Light Dependant Resistor
05-06-2019, 08:15
Hi Alan
The Kate Bush track is from the Sensual world album rather than Red Shoes, if I recall it features ECM bass player Eberhard Weber
as well as beautiful vocals from Kate.

Radford Revival
05-06-2019, 13:25
Many thanks for the glowing review Alan, it is very much appreciated and ultimately providing a quality product for people to enjoy is why we make these amplifiers.

05-06-2019, 13:49
Chris.........KB........I stand corrected, it is indeed off the album "The Sensual World"