Leo: Sounds Like the ‘70s
The Powerful Lure Of Retro
It seems to be a given these days that the better, crisper, and clearer we can make things look or sound, the worse we want them to look and sound. For example, digital HD video makes our moving images look better than ever, yet just about every video editing program comes complete with a series of filters to make your clips look like they were shot on old film and stored in a damp garage. Similarly, our music’s sound performance is more advanced than ever, yet there are products like the Leo mini headphone amplifier to make our digital audio sound like it’s coming from an old record player. Seems crazy? Not to vinyl fans, it doesn’t: the Leo’s Kickstarter campaign for $10,000 USD has raised more than five times that amount. Indeed, vintage is the new contemporary.
Old Is New Again
Plug your phone or digital music player into Leo’s input jack and then plug your headphones or speaker into the output. What you’ll hear will be reminiscent of how vinyl sounded a few decades ago: a larger range of frequencies, more tonal quality, and better acoustics all around. It’s a warm, analogue, and truer sound that you can feel as much as you can hear.
Or so vinyl lovers would have you believe. At $99 USD for the most basic Leo unit, it’s clearly not cheap to make crisp audio sound retro. However, the demand for this type of audio filtering device is clearly there. Whether you’re listening to Led Zeppelin IV or One Direction’s Four, you can get the enveloping sound of the ‘70s directly in your high-priced, noise-cancelling ear buds.
Leo – Well Designed And Shipped
The Leo is a fairly small device, weighing in at 95g and just 88mm on its longest dimension. The design is clean, with a solid body and knobs, as well as gentle LED lighting. Production is has started in March 2015 with the first units shipped a month or two after that.