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Thread: Leak Troughline Stereo vs. Quad FM3. First impressions

  1. #11
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: A Strangely Isolated Place in Suffolk with far away trains passing by...

    Posts: 14,559
    I'm David.

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    Well, I got the FM3 back out (it's s/n 28,***) and gave it a quick listen (I'll give it more time over the weekend..



    On Radio 4 it sounds excellent, with the right kind of dryness you get with this station (the Spendors help here no end of course).

    Radio 1 at this time on Friday nights is usually better than at other times and so it was. I love some dance music (although it's getting VERY monotonous these days). The way the music pumped up and down in level with the beat is frustrating though and puts me off listening after a few minutes.

    As for Kiss FM, it was unlistenable - squidged dynamics, no top and no bass - ughhhhh!

    Radio 3 is always pretty good at worst, but I don't listen to this station much, even now..
    Last edited by DSJR; 12-06-2009 at 18:17.
    Tear down these walls; Cut the ties that held me
    Crying out at the top of my voice; Tell me now if you can hear me

  2. #12
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Lancaster(-ish), UK

    Posts: 16,962
    I'm ChrisB.

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    From The Grave

  3. #13
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Near Saffron Walden, Essex

    Posts: 6,749
    I'm Dave.

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    Back in the 80's - early 90's we sold heaps of Leak Troughline tuners, so many that we had a 6 month waiting list. Each one was re-furbed and aligned and a quality decoder added to both the mono and stereo models by Glenn Croft or GT Audio.

    This considerably improved the mellow presentation of the standard tuner as the fitted decoder wasn't up to much plus the circuitry benefitted from being re-aligned.

  4. #14
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: A Strangely Isolated Place in Suffolk with far away trains passing by...

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    I'm David.

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    My Quad FM2 needs a new type decoder, and I believe the "One Thing Audio" one fits directly inside.

    The FM3 emits a hum field which disturbs the Croft phono stage, so for the time being I've returned to the Cambridge T55. The distortion on one channel I heard a while ago with the Arcam tuner may have been disengaged wiring in the Croft - MY fault when I fitted different sockets to the back...
    Tear down these walls; Cut the ties that held me
    Crying out at the top of my voice; Tell me now if you can hear me

  5. #15
    Join Date: May 2019

    Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

    Posts: 8
    I'm Sven.

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    I have actually the same problem as the OP, - woolly and overblown, boomy bass.
    This happens with one out of the two Leak II Troughlines that I own, when external solid state decoder (optimized for vintage tube tuners) is used via the MPX-out of the Leak.

    When not using the MPX-out into decoder, but relying on the RCA mono out cable, from Leak and then splitting it into two channels, with simple RCA splitter, the problem with bass disappears (albeit not having true stereo signal from the tuner being the trade-off). The bass is just correct, huge difference, in comparison to MPX out into stereo decoder.
    This Leak II has been overhauled, cleaned, and large cap has been replaced and large black Mundorf cap has been put there instead. Probably similar or same specs, but that has to be checked.

    First Leak that has not been touched, with original inner parts and components of the circuitr. It has noticeably lower output level via MPX into the stereo decoder than the other Leak II.
    It, however, sounds just far better out of MPX output into the very same stereo decoder, the difference is striking, even if the bass has slight hint of not being entirely tight or articulate, but still - well, ok.

    Very puzzled by this.
    Hard to find the certified tech outside of UK, Leak II is tricky to align properly from what I have read (proper alignment is perhaps irrelevant in this context) and TdP decoder is nowadays something of an unobtanium.

    Any advice and opinion is warmly welcome.
    Last edited by ersel; 24-03-2020 at 19:25.

  6. #16
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 22,579
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    I've noticed that my OP was written nearly 11 years ago!

    Despite my intention to experiment with tube rolling (only partially successful) and try a different MPX decoder (not persued), I have abandoned my Leak Troughline Stereo tuner, which now remains in storage.

    Since then I have acquired a Quad FM2, a Cambridge T55 and a B&O 1700 tuner. Both the Cambridge and B&O designs are excellent, and the Quad FM2 is an interesting alternative to the FM3; presenting a very slightly warmer and 'intimate' performance.

    But these days, apart from wanting to hear a Magnum Dynalab tuner, I'm more than satisfied with the Quad FM4 which I now use.
    Barry

  7. #17
    Join Date: Jan 2020

    Location: South Yorkshire

    Posts: 2,683
    I'm Andre.

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    FM-3 is a great tuner.

    The best looking tuners of all time to me were the Quad 'FM-3' & Naim 'NAT101'

  8. #18
    Join Date: May 2019

    Location: Gothenburg, Sweden

    Posts: 8
    I'm Sven.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    I've noticed that my OP was written nearly 11 years ago!

    Despite my intention to experiment with tube rolling (only partially successful) and try a different MPX decoder (not persued), I have abandoned my Leak Troughline Stereo tuner, which now remains in storage.

    Since then I have acquired a Quad FM2, a Cambridge T55 and a B&O 1700 tuner. Both the Cambridge and B&O designs are excellent, and the Quad FM2 is an interesting alternative to the FM3; presenting a very slightly warmer and 'intimate' performance.

    But these days, apart from wanting to hear a Magnum Dynalab tuner, I'm more than satisfied with the Quad FM4 which I now use.
    I think the problem with Leak II might be the matter of simply getting it to the knowledgeable tech... how important is the decoder (which decoder is used) might also be a factor, but several have proven to work well with it... It does deserve a custom made one, la TdP.

  9. #19
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 22,579
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Yes I agree, the original Decoder fitted into the Troughline Stereo model (aka Mk. III) is very poor, and I am sure responsible for the wooly bass.

    I had intended to replace it with one using a Motorola chip, but never got around to it.

    The only advice I can offer is to have your second Mk.II looked at by a competant service engineer. There are one or two Members here who have the neccessary knowledge (and perhaps also the required test gear). The alignment notes for the Leak Troughline tuners can be found here: http://44bx.com/leak/TLalign.html
    Last edited by Barry; 25-03-2020 at 17:19. Reason: Alignment notes added
    Barry

  10. #20
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: North Down /Northern Ireland/ UK

    Posts: 19,504
    I'm Neil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Yes I agree, the original Decoder fitted into the Troughline Stereo model (aka Mk. III) is very poor, and I am sure responsible for the wooly bass.

    I had intended to replace it with one using a Motorola chip, but never got around to it.

    The only advice I can offer is to have your second Mk.II looked at by a competant service engineer. There are one or two Members here who have the neccessary knowledge (and perhaps also the required test gear). The alignment notes for the Leak Troughline tuners can be found here: http://44bx.com/leak/TLalign.html
    I have a Rodney Hanna one fitted with a motorola chip, works very well.
    Regards Neil

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