Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Leak in Wharfy Clothing

Life is a lot like a box of chocolates the man said, you never know what you are going to get. Case in point, the stylish Wharfedale Linton integrated amplifier. The Orion Blue Book does not list this unit or any other Wharfedale amplifier. But the Linton speakers were a mid to late '70s line so that was the presumed era for this unit. However, when I popped out the nicely done, vertically mounted cards I discovered a Leak 70. The cards said so. The Leak Delta 70 was manufactured from '73 to '78, or so says Orion, so the timeframe was confirmed. Original cost was $260.

Here are the cards, the smaller at the top are the output drivers:The cards are nice to work on once you get past the axials mounted radially and the several oddball values by modern standards. The cap stash was short of 68 and 15 mfd caps so it was time for an order to Digi-Key. But getting to the point where you can pull the caps was the trick.

The case is constructed around the chassis like a wooden puzzle. Top, bottom and sides all come apart, with several screws placed in not so obvious spots. Sheesh.

A relatively modest 24 caps were replaced, with the main output coupling caps modestly beefed up from 2200 to 3300 mfd. Here is the completed chassis:Build quality is very good, but odd. The front panel is just dangling.The transformer at the upper right is mounted upside down from what one usually sees. Next to the transformer are 3 fuses, but the main fuses for each channel are just visible above the transformer. They crumbled in my hand when removed. The amp was advertised as working, but one channel was blown when a resistor went south. Mike had vintage outputs handy, thank you. Mike also swapped small transistors on each card for stability, we spritzed the controls and it was time for a listen.

The Wharfy has loads of punch, slam I guess the British would say. Despite its small size it plays big. Its ergonomics are interesting. The switches in front are a bit odd by American/Japanese standards, and 'phono' is 'disc'. There is a shortage of inputs, so tape in will get a work out for your cd player. But the bottom line is it sounds great and has a very stylish, mid-century Euro look about it. Here it is in full frontal:

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