Leema Acoustics Pulse IV Integrated Amplifier Review - by Mark Gusew

This is the first Leema Acoustics product that I have had the pleasure of using and am mightily impressed with it. Pulse IV integrated amplifier is a winner with its multiple inputs, clear and purposeful sound quality, and is stunning value for money.

The form factor is easy to live with, standing only 90mm tall, it is a good looking and it fits in well with the rest of the system without looking overbearing. It is easy to use with two large rotary dials that can be pushed in to select your choice doing all of the work. The ergonomics take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, everything makes sense. A handy remote control is included and is nice to hold and use and operates from wide angles. The large blue digital display is easy to read even from a distance and can be set to dim or switch off so that it’s not distracting if that is what you prefer.

It has plenty of connections at the back of the unit with 5 x line level and 7 x digital inputs, plus a handy wireless Bluetooth connection. All you need to do is add a source and you’re good to go. It connected to my TV, two music streamers and turntable and had plenty of spare connections left over. The Bluetooth connection was easy to set up and I didn’t need the manual to work it out. My mobile phone quickly found the Leema and the connection was immediate. It sounded great too.

When I first plugged the Pulse IV amplifier into my system, it sounded rather congested and lacking in bass. It simply needed time to burn-in or become conditioned. This is typical of most audio electronics and after about a week of use, it really opened up, sounding much more musical and with far more expression. The bass also had far more energy and started to deepen and have far more bottom end extension with the lowest notes starting to become impressive. With the energy consumption being so low, I leave the unit on permanently as it is used almost constantly and I believe it sounds better that way. It never heats up, or gets hot to touch, so I feel safe to simply leave it on.

The Pulse IV is rated at 80W RMS of power into 8 Ohms which is more than enough for most people with reasonably efficient loudspeakers in a medium-sized listening room. It goes plenty loud and the bass is very controlled and has a genuine thump in your chest delivery. Listening to the bass guitar and drums in Jets by Blur, I am genuinely surprised with the amount of slam and speed of the kick drum. The bass guitar really growls and sounds fantastic.

It has a lovely clear, transparent sound, and is well balanced. The Leema Pulse IV doesn’t edit the sound, nor does it add unwanted character. Rather, it is an honest and truthful sounding amplifier and will easily sound great with all genres of music. I listened to rock, pop, electronica, folk, female vocals and orchestral music and it doesn’t miss a beat. The timing and musical presentation is great and the soundstage is much better than what I could have expected for the price. Depending on the track, instruments seemed to extend well beyond the outside of the two loudspeakers and had a lovely three-dimensional aspect, with depth and height as well as width. This made listening to all my music so enjoyable and never boring.

I used my Melco N1A audio streamer connected directly into the USB digital input and it worked without a hiccup, and coped with the changing and varied data bit rates and file formats without any problems. Some amplifiers that I have previously tried that are twice the price did not cope as well or sound as good as the Leema in this department and was very impressive.

I connected the output of the television to the optical input of the Pulse IV amplifier. I mainly watch Netflix and Prime shows and movies. The sound is full range, with nice airy highs and surprisingly thundering bass. One important aspect is the dialogue and whether you can understand what is being said by the onscreen characters. I’m happy to say that the midrange was very clear and it was easy to follow conversations and voices without needing to excessively turn up the volume to make out the words. Again, not all amplifiers in this price range manage this aspect as well. By the way, there is a spare output available in case you would like to connect a subwoofer into the system.

The front headphone socket is useful and sounds fine with my Sony headphones, although I have to admit that I’m not much of a head-fi enthusiast.  

Overall I am very impressed with the sound quality of both the digital inputs and the line-level inputs. Both sound very natural and balanced with enough power output to go nice and loud without distortion, and will easily accommodate the noisy dinner party.

The Leema Acoustics Pulse IV is a brilliant all-rounder, with robust build quality, plenty of connectivity, and above-average sound quality. It represents excellent value for money and as such is easy to recommend.
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