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LFD Audio 

 "At LFD we believe that the goal of audio engineering is to achieve the highest standards of sound quality. The company openly admits and adheres to a programme of subjective optimization and recognizes the importance of evaluation as the final performance arbiter. However, we equally believe in engineering excellence and in achieving the highest standards of objective performance commensurate with system philosophy that is biased towards the minimalist school in terms of signal processing."
-- Dr. Richard Bews, Professor Malcolm Omar Hawksford, LFD Audio.

LFD believes that audio amplifiers can be most easily optimised if the basic amplifier topology is kept as simple as possible.  In the 1980s, Richard Brew mentor in research-assistant days was Be Yamamura. LFD Audio has more in common with Kondo and other small Japanese manufacturers. Today LFD Audio still follows these principles. Besides minimalism, the selection of passive components is a very important factor in the design of an amplifier. Subjective evaluation is essential in this selection, together with reliability. It has been found that the most optimum component for a particular circuit location, may differ from every other similar part. As an example, it is not normally possible to use the same resistor type for every resistor within an amplifier, each position must have a type that produces the best subjective results. This process also applies to the choice of capacitor used within the circuit and any capacitor used as a power supply decoupling component. The iterative procedure is very time consuming and means that product development is slow and methodical. There is no easy solution to this problem, but perseverance does bring its rewards of better sound quality.

Typically LFD's Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) will be topologically laid out according to the circuit and will always utilise star Earthing. Signal routing within the amplifier topology is kept to an absolute minimum when transferred onto the PCB and is typically 5 times shorter in length than an average amplifier.  We do not advocate the use of  signal routing on a PCB, since subjective evaluation has established that high quality audio cables exhibit less degradation compared to printed circuit board tracks. Consequently, it may be found that there is more wiring within an LFD amplifier compared to its immediate competition. Each separate cable assembly is subjectively evaluated to establish the best possible choice. Often single strand cables and multistrand cables will be mixed within a given product. 

Feedback is generally kept to a minimum, provided the distortion is sensibly low. We do not accept that very low distortion produces subjective improvements. Actually it is more preferable to have slightly higher total harmonic distortion that possesses higher levels of lower harmonics, compared to a lower figure made up from higher harmonics.

Power supply design plays an important part within any amplifier, so great care is required in this area. Generally LFD believes local decoupling is beneficial within an amplifier, combined with a main supply that exhibits low impedance even up to high frequencies. The power supply return paths within an amplifier must be clean and well executed, otherwise there may be undesirable coupling with the circuit. The mains transformer design also has an influence on sound quality, and LFD has found that transformers with  lower copper losses and better regulation often confer improvements.

Because of sound reasons LFD Audio has choosen the minimalism approach. This approach comes with some "particularities". There are no preamp outputs for a powered subwoofer. There is no balance control. The amp turns on with a low-level pop. There is no remote, not even remotely on the horizon. Dr. Brew takes a firm stand on this: every additional part complicates the circuits and therefore it has to be omit for sound reasons. This idea is according the above statement: Only a a topology which is kept as simple as possible can be easily optimised!

The appearance of LFD Audio products could be characterized as lovingly. But defenitely not as a typical high end look. To understand this it has to be said, that LFD Audio uses at most 10% of the overall parts cost of a product for the enclosure. Compared to LFD competitors this is almost ridiculous less money. If your are shopping for a beautifull wrapper you should look somewhere else. There are plenty of products to chose from. But LFD Audio is no cheapskate when it comes to the other parts of their products. LFD Audio focuses on"intrinsic values". For these values they use the best parts only!

I hope I could make clear that LFD Audio has very good reasons why they do things the way they do. They have established a labor intensive development and manufacturing process.They use as less parts as possible, but only the best parts they can get their hands on. Every single component is evaluated. When necessary, signal paths are hand wired. I hope you get an idea that LFD Audio could not reach this highest possible quailty, if they would shop for bargain parts or do outsourcing  to low-wage countries. Therefore LFD Audio does manufacture everthing themselves, in England. This is the only way to offer highest quality for a sensible prize.

LFD has written a “Charter to Product Commitment and Traditional Values” to explain both their design approach and product support to their customers, dealers and distributors.


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