LFD Integrated Zero LE Amplifiers

LFD Integrated Zero LE Amplifiers 


60w x 2


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[Nov 28, 1996]
Werner Ogiers
an Audio Enthusiast

The Integrated Zero LE is a 60 Watt MOSFET integrated amplifier withtypically British features: i.e. none. There are five line inputs, a tape
output, power, volume and balance controls, and that's it. The wide and deep
case (43 x 33 x 6.3cm) looks sharp with its thick grey-speckled front,
while the sole catchy aspect of the innards is the liberal use of
(sometimes non-insulated!) solid core OFC cabling.
At an additonal cost an MM/MC phono preamplifier can be built in, but this
had not been done to the device-under-test, so instead we reverted to the
equivalent stand-alone MM0 for vinyl playback. This phono stage is part of
LFD's more costly separates range, so its dimensions differed from the LE
(30 x 38 x 6.2cm), although the finish is quite the same. MM0 is a phono
preamp optimised for MM cartridges, as its name suggests, although gain can
(internally) be switched to accommodate MCs of the louder variety as well.
The electronics are based on standard-quality ICs, but the size of the
power supply is absolutely breath-taking: a statement in blunt over-
engineering if I ever saw one!

There also exists a cheaper version of the integrated amp: the Integrated
Zero, this being much the same as its LE brother, but specified at 50 Watts
and with lower-quality passive components.

The LFDs were put to test in the company of the components that from now on
will constitute the stable base of my reference system, namely the tremendous
Gyropowered Michell GyroDec turntable with Rega RB-300 arm and Audio
Technica OC-9 moving coil cartridge, a heavily modified Marantz CD-52SE CD-
player and a Sony DTC-690 DAT recorder (the two now sounding remarkably
similar) and finally the Magnepan SMGb magnetostatic loudspeakers. Cabling
is the Deskadel I-1 pure silver wire, Prefer MGK-226 (actually a
professional OFC microphone cable) and AudioQuest F-18 solid core. Now that
you know about these trivia we can conclude with the relevant bits: how do
the LFD boxes sound?

The Integrated Zero LE blends a sound that can be described as archetype-
tubelike with some of the control and precision of transistor designs: mid
and treble are very smooth and liquid, leading to a most definitely
unfatigueing rendering of music. In the bass the amp sounds actually the
same, i.e. smooth, but here some more tightness and precision can be wished
for. Imaging is adequate: the earlier reviewed NAD 214 is quite a bit more
explicit here, but the LFD still manages to sound pleasant and natural.
The Phonostage MM0 was more difficult to gauge. Its sound seemed to be on
the same level as the Zero LE, but as I had no superior alternatives
available to compare with, it was impossible to hear what the MM0 really
was worth. Apart from this, its limited compatibility with MC cartridges
makes it not the most appealing phono preamp on the market.

Concluding, I find the LE and interesting and welcome amplifier, which,
combined with a sympathetic loudspeaker, has a beguiling sound quality to
it. Price is a bit on the high side, however, but I presume that the much
cheaper Zero will have much of its siblings qualities, possibly giving this
amp a higher value for money. The MM0 phono stage I think is sorely
overpriced, given its engineering contents and its rather low flexibility,
although its sound is most certainly not bad.


LFD Integrated Zero LE: BF42000, $1400

LFD Integrated Zero: BF26000, $870

optional phono preamp: BF10000, $330

LFD MM0: BF21000, $700

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