Leema Tucana Vs Stello Ai500 - Conclusion

Article Index
Leema Tucana Vs Stello Ai500
Sound Quality
Measured Performance
All Pages


In a sense, I found this a difficult review to write, because both the Leema Tucana II and Stello Ai500 integrateds are very persuasive in their own respective ways. They present music very well, and in a lot of aspects such as power and grip, they are very well matched. Ultimately the choice comes down to nuances of presentation. In the same way that Beethoven’s music is equally valid when conducted in a considered manner by Otto Klemperer, or in the more impassioned style of Toscanini, so both the Leema and Stello have equally valid viewpoints. I could live with either happily, although my personal preference would be the Tucana ll. I usually reach for the Toscanini/ Beethoven set because I love the temperament and fire that he conjures up, and I find the Klemperer style a little too cerebral.

Both amplifiers are not the best at the price, but arguably the best all rounders around. The reference Sugden had an obviously superior sound in respect of the breadth of the recorded acoustic, and the clarity was superb. But it wasn’t faultless in the bass, and certainly wasn’t as forgiving as the Leema and Stello in their own different ways. You could say that the Leema offers things up in a lovely, exuberant way, whereas the Stello steps back slightly and gets a tad more accurate in so doing, whilst the Sugden lays things bare, and can be variously magnificent or stark and even hard.

There are of course other considerations, such as the digital connectivity of the Stello which will appeal to some, but still the Tucana ll has a greater number of analogue inputs which will be more convenient to others. The Leema remote is less comprehensive but very responsive, and I preferred the feel of the fascia mounted controls. In terms of finish, I think the Stello won the day convincingly, and that’s really something because the Leema was already superbly well put together. The reference Sugden I am afraid to say wasn’t quite a match for either in this respect.

So, as ever, the best advice is to listen for yourself, but be prepared for some serious headscratching with this pairing. Both are extremely fine sounding amplifiers that wouldn’t disappoint even users of premium pre-power amplifier combinations. They’re both well built and finished, sporting friendly user interfaces to make ownership a pleasure. Both come from companies with established pedigrees, and as I said before both have a very convincing way of playing the music. Which way is your way, I leave to you...


Clearaudio Master Solution/Satisfy/Ortofon Kp. a turntable

Holfi Batt2riaa phono stage

Whest PS30R phono stage

Sugden IA4 integrated amplifier

Chario Ursa Major loudspeakers

verdict five globes

Wonderfully sweet and natural sounding integrated with a musical heart. Fine styling and build complete a great package.


Leema Electro Acoustics Ltd. 

+44(0)1938 811900


- power

- natural timing

- imaging precision

- rugged build


- over rich tonality

verdict five globes

Highly focused and super-clean sounding integrated with detailed, expansive sound. Brilliant build and handy feature set, too.


April Music Inc.

+82 2 3446 5561


- power

- expansive soundstaging

- fine onboard DAC

- immaculate finish


- cool tonality



Hi-Fi World, Powered by Joomla!; Hosted by Joomla Wired.