This book is the definitive history of H. J. Leak & Co. Ltd. — one of the world’s leading high-fidelity audio companies of the post-war era. The book’s foundation rests upon interviews with, and contributions from, thirteen former staff of the company.

This is the new third edition of “Firsts In High Fidelity” which has been updated and superbly printed. It will be perfectly comfortable, placed on that coffee table between your two best loudspeakers.

    • Full colour offset printing
    • Saddle stitched hardback, with dust-jacket
    • 336 pages
    • Over 400 illustrations
    • A compendium of 30 circuit diagrams

    • Firsts In High Fidelity: 
         The Products and History of H. J. Leak & Co. Ltd.
         by Stephen Spicer.
    • Third Edition, 2023
    • ISBN 978-0-646-87390-9
    • Published by Tunnel Gap Press, Australia.

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This review by Ken Kessler is for the second edition, published in 2001.
The new third edition (2023) is considerably extended, and is in colour, with a hardback and dust-jacket.

Firsts in High Fidelity
The Products and History of H.J Leak & Co. Ltd
by Stephen Spicer

“Surprise, Surprise: Leak, of all companies, beat Tannoy, Wharfedale, Marantz, Quad and a host of far more influential brands as the first to inspire a full-blown, academic, authoritative history. But here it is: the sort of work which literate audiophiles fantasise about but rarely receive.

“Spicer has, miraculously given that he worked in the 1990s, told the tale with access to the finest resources, including Leak’s surviving family members, ex-leak staff, and British Audio stalwarts like the great George Wise. The result is an absorbing tale which provides the flavour of those pioneering years in audio on both sides of WWII, and all anachrophiles and anglophiles will be captivated.

“Spicer steers a course between the dry and the wry, managing to include descriptions of all the company’s defining events and all of the key products, with enough trivia to make this an absolute must for collectors. The photos, though black and white [2023 Third Edition is in colour], will help you to identify just about every model, while the appendices, with circuit diagrams and parts descriptions, are a godsend to restorers. Spicer’s book is the sort of thing I’ve craved ever since I got bitten by the vintage hardware bug. A triumph indeed.

Ken Kessler
Hi-Fi News and Record Review June 2001.


Firsts In High Fidelity
Third Edition, 2023
By Stephen Spicer
ISBN 978-0-646-87390-9

Here is the link to purchase On-Line at:

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YPD Books
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Tel: 01904 431213

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