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LFD released the LFD LE IV Signature Amplifier: A review

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  • LFD released the LFD LE IV Signature Amplifier: A review

    Originally posted by Supersnake View Post
    I have been following that thread and Howard Popeck's (StereoNow) LFD LE IV information with interest. To match up with my Compact 7ES I will be upgrading my LFD LE III to a LFD LE IV. Have pre-ordered the version being made for North America.

    Gene Rubin Audio describes it as follows:
    The LE IV Signature. A serious upgrade over the LE III, the LE IV Signature has many of the benefits of LFD's $6,000 NCSE. The USA/Canada version of the LE IV has several upgrades over the international models, upgrades that you absolutely want. You get a special LFD designed output ribbon cable, upgraded critical signal path capacitors and silver output posts (better sound).
    LFD shipped their first batch of LFD LE IV Signatures to the United States based Fidelis distributors approximately three weeks ago. A Fidelis reseller sent one to me two weeks ago giving me the opportunity to trial and compare it to my LFD LE III. My speakers are the C7-ES3. I couldn't locate the LE IV Signature specifications perhaps they will soon be made available on the net.

    LFD Integrated Zero Mk. III
    * 60 watts into 8 ohms, each channel, stereo integrated amplifier.
    * Bandwidth: 1 Hz - 50 kHz.
    * One pair of MOSFETs per channel.
    * Inputs: 5 line inputs, 1 tape loop.
    * Outputs: 2 pairs of speaker terminals.
    * Controls: Input selector, Input/Mute/Tape, Volume.
    * Weight: 17.6 lbs.
    * Dimensions:17" W x 2.5" H x 13" D

    The LFD IV Signature appearance of the case is very similar to the NCSE, the dimensions are also more compact, yet the weight is heavier than the LE III:
    17" W x 3.5" H x 8" D and 0.5 lbs heavier

    The LE III plastic push button power switch has been replaced with a sturdy metal toggling switch that looks identical to the NCSE switch. The sharp edging of the LE III case has been replaced with smooth and more solid feeling heavy plate. The black color is also more pleasant than the silver color of the LE III.

    Also please note that the LFD LE IV Signature is being sent to USA/Canada only and differs significantly from the international models, as was described earlier.

    I want to stress that it took a week of playing 24/7 before the amplifier settled in, the sound after that period of time became strikingly improved. I realize that my reporting the sound quality was great enough to evoke a tearful moment only after a seven day break in period is not very scientific, but for me it was a significant revelation.

    Comparing the sound of the Harbeth C7-ES3 and the LFD IV Signature to the
    former LFD L
    E Zero Mk. III

    Bass output is more rich, and complements the middle frequencies- never overtakes them. One need not and probably should dismiss the idea of consider a sub woofer which in my opinion and that of the reseller would probably muddy the sound quality. The bass output in both amplifiers was at all times never artificial, boomy or loud, however the bass "size" in the LE III was subdued by comparison.
    Mid range instrumentation has additional clarity, not as great a difference as was the bass clarity when comparing the two amplifiers, but never-the-less noticeable. And lastly, something both odd and different. Bass vibrations with the LFD III and C7-ES3 could be heard coming at me and felt on my chest with the volume turned up sufficiently to do so , a pleasant experience and nothing that I find unusual. The bass with the the LFD LE IV Signature and the C7-ES3 is heard at the level of my ears and forehead, very different. You all can attest to how impressive the sound stage of your Harbeth speakers are when you have found your just right placement and toe in, and the predominating sound output is midline and slightly overhead. With the LE IV Signature it is significantly mid line and at ear level height more so than the LE III did. Wish I had a spectrograph analysis to display for the scientific readers, and I don't have the experience to write my subjective account in a more orthodox manner, but I did my best. And yes, I kept the LE IV Signature over the LE Zero Mk. III

    [Edit: Had been considering a sub woofer to use with the LE III when It was being used with my P3-ESR. However, when I upgraded to the larger sized C7-ES3 it was evident that a sub woofer would not be needed with either amplifier. The LE IV Signature was purchased from Gene Rubin Audio in California who arranged for Fidelis in New Hampshire to ship directly to me.]

    {Moderator's comment: this post is released 'as is' and is not verified}

  • #2
    I would like to offer one correction. The U.S. distributer is Fidelis in Dery, N.H.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Drdennis View Post
      I would like to offer one correction. The U.S. distributer is Fidelis in Dery, N.H.
      Thank you for pointing out my typo which I have since corrected.
      It was the Fidelity distributor in New Hampshire that shipped the amplifier directly to me, this was arranged through Gene Rubin Audio in California.

      Comment


      • #4
        LFD qualities

        Hi Supersnake, thks for that rather detailed comparison between the LFD LE III & LE IV Signature. After having had the LE III for almost 2.5yrs, i am still very satisfied with what it does musically & haven't felt the urge to want to upgrade. While the bass of the LE III is not the most extended or deepest but it has superb transparency, tunefullness, pitch differentiation & is very music driven. All in all, i felt that LFD, like Harbeth, has enduring musical qualities that will wear very well in the long run rather than come & go like hifi fashion.

        Comment


        • #5
          LE III attributes

          I fully agree with you Gan and you described the LE III attributes more accurately than I could do.

          Those amplifiers and the Harbeth speakers complement the musicality of each other so nicely.

          Comment


          • #6
            SHL5 with LFD LE Mk4 just received

            I have just received my first LFD Integrated LE Mk.4 together with it's LE Phonostage. Too early to tell just how good it will get because it's not run in but suffice to say, it's sounding very good indeed through my SHL5-3's.


            {Moderator's comment: There is no "SHL5-3" only SHL5. Do you mean Compact 7ES-3?}

            Comment


            • #7
              Clarification

              Sorry, I didn't realise we were going to get so pedantic.

              If I had meant the HL-Compact 7ES-3, I would have stated that. As it is, I am referring to the Super HL5. It's perfectly clear.

              {Moderator's comment: Pedantic? Disagree. There is no such product as the "SHL5-3" you quoted. This must be made absolutely clear to avoid a raft of email/phone calls asking for a product which doesn't exist. We don't have the stamina for that distraction.}

              Comment


              • #8
                There is no "SHL5-3"

                Pedantic and nit-picking !!!

                The speaker is a "Super HL5 3 way" to quote my trade price list. Anyone who is familiar with Harbeth knows full well what speaker I am referring to. Obviously nothing like a "7" in any way, shape or form.

                {Moderator's comment: With respect - you stated "SHL5-3". There is no such speaker. You cannot assume anything about familiarity. There *is* a Compact 7ES-3 and we will receive enquiries for the fictitious "SHL5-3". Kindly help us to help you. Once rumours get a hold they're impossible to cancel. Thanks.}

                Comment


                • #9
                  There is no "SHL5-3" !!! Thanks for quick clarification

                  I side with the Moderator on this one as the first thought I had after reading your initial post was there was a new version of the SHL5. I am glad they clarified it right away.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There is no "SHL5-3" - positive confirmation

                    Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
                    Pedantic and nit-picking !!!

                    The speaker is a "Super HL5 3 way" to quote my trade price list. Anyone who is familiar with Harbeth knows full well what speaker I am referring to. Obviously nothing like a "7" in any way, shape or form.

                    {Moderator's comment: With respect - you stated "SHL5-3". There is no such speaker. You cannot assume anything about familiarity. There *is* a Compact 7ES-3 and we will receive enquiries for the fictitious "SHL5-3". Kindly help us to help you. Once rumours get a hold they're impossible to cancel. Thanks.}
                    I agree with the moderator. I am very familiar with the Harbeth line, and Dave's reference to a SHL5-3 did raise my eyebrow. Knowing that Dave is a dealer, I thought he had a new revision of the SHL5.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I agree with Moderator - there is no Mk3 SHL5

                      I agree with the moderator too. The SHL5-3 is really a misleading model name. Majority will think it is a mk 3 version.
                      "Bath with Music"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        LFD amoplifier burn-in

                        Originally posted by Supersnake View Post

                        I want to stress that it took a week of playing 24/7 before the amplifier settled in, the sound after that period of time became strikingly improved. I realize that my reporting the sound quality was great enough to evoke a tearful moment only after a seven day break in period is not very scientific, but for me it was a significant revelation.
                        Howard Popeck on October 12th posted information that corroborates what I had learned:
                        "ALL LFD amps require (a) at least 200 hours of running in order to break-in and (b) around 45 mins of warm-up to reach optimum neutrality. From cold, they sound a little bright. Dealers who care about these things know about these things".- Howard Popeck
                        StereoNow Ltd. http://not-boring-honestly.blogspot....g-eminent.html


                        I agree with him regarding the warm up; I leave mine on all the time. The matchup with the C7-ES3 remains excellent.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Lfd le (iv)

                          What can I say ? On my price list the speaker is called " Super HL5 " and I merely shortened this to SHL5. Is that a hanging offence ?

                          Anyway - back on track. My LFD Integrated LE (IV) was quite closed in and rounded for the first couple of hours. Now, with a bit of use, I can appreciate a more solid and punchier bass than the ( III) and the mid is opening up nicely. It should be very good in a few days.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            LFD amps from USa and Canada different?

                            Hello Dave,

                            It is being reported that the LFD LE IV Integrated amplifiers being shipped to Canada and the United differ from the LFD LE IV amplifiers that are being shipped to UK. On the rear plate of my amplifier it reads "Model INT LE (IV) 123 SIG" indicating that it is the Signature model.

                            I am curious to know what is written on the rear plate of your amplifier.

                            Gene Rubin Audio posted comments about the Signature model
                            http://generubinaudio.com/Merchant2/...gory_Code=amps

                            Howard Popeck also posted comments about the North American LE IV and the UK LE IV
                            http://not-boring-honestly.blogspot....-mk40-and.html

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              LFD "Sig"?

                              Mine reads Int Zero IV Sig and then the serial number.

                              I'm not sure what the differences are for the US models, I'm not privileged to such information. All I can say is that my LFD is sounding very good indeed through the M30's today.

                              Comment

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