Tuner group test - Leak Troughline 3

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Leak Troughline 3
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Our reference is a Graham Tricker Audio (GT Audio) Leak Trough Line 3 Stereo. There are two options from Graham Tricker, the £250 Standard and the £350 Audiophile (our review sample was the latter) with a modern decoder chip and Class A output amplifier. The Leak Trough Line measures 292x108x210mm and weighs 5.8kg.


The front has two rotary knobs, for tune and off/mono/stereo, a tuning dial and slide switches, for AFC and local/distant sensitivity. The AFC (Automatic Frequency Control) when switched off activates the EM84 Magic Eye tuning indicator. Once the desired station is tuned in, the AFC can be switched on locking in the station, which then switches off the EM84, preventing valve burn out.



On Radio Two FM, the GTA Leak was stunning. The sound was immensely deep and expansive, and yet so dynamic and well resolved. Speech was spot-on, neither thin nor plummy. The fluid midband was an aural delight; tuneful with excellent decay to musical instruments that underlined just what a phenomenally natural performer this is.


On Radio Three FM, with a live broadcast, the sound from the GTA Leak enveloped the room with an eerie quality as if the presenters were there with you, while the subjective dynamic range was so good and the subjective distortion so low that the music had an quality that you don’t normally appreciate from either vinyl or CD; it was different. There was a delicious timbre to the violas making their inherently deeper and richer sound all the more believable. For the higher frequency violins, there was delicacy and definition without either a nasty stinging rasp or muted softened dynamic. For the stringed orchestration there was an exquisitely silky presentation. One could listen to the Leak for hours on end without getting bored or fatigued, it was just right.


Sublime performance, design and ergonomics, the GTA Leak is truly special and in a class of one. It shows what is possible from analogue radio transmissions, providing the hardware is right. The magic of a Troughline like this is the connectedness you feel to the broadcasting studio.You need a serious roof-mounted FMantenna though.



The Troughline is surprisingly accurate, having a frequency response that smoothly covers the audio spectrum, our analysis shows. Within 1dB frequency response limits, the Leak manages 10Hz-9.75kHz, little different from others in this group.


Using the magic eye I got around 30dB channel separation across the audio band to 10kHz, and around 0.6% second harmonic distortion (see our analysis) at 100% modulation, with little less at 50% modulation. This is fair, considering it is all innocuous second harmonic.


Hiss was –64dB down (IEC A wtd.) at full quieting and for this the tuner needed 2mV – a lot of signal. Faint hiss will be audible. The Troughline isn’t sensitive, needing a good 1mV or so from the aerial to avoid obvious hiss.


The Troughline is fundamentally accurate and its weaknesses tolerable. That’s why, well maintained, it can sound so good. NK


Frequency response  10Hz-9.75kHz

Stereo separation 30dB

Distortion (50% mod.) 0.6%

Hiss (CCIR) -64dB

Signal for minimum hiss 2mV

Output 1V


mono  22µV

stereo 110µV

signal strength meter: none








verdict 5

GT Audio

+44 (0)1895 833 099



- stunning sound quality

- retro design

- tangible, hands-on



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