Cuttin-Edge, On-the-Spot Reporting

Have You Seen?


Doug Schneider, the SoundStage! Network’s publisher and head honcho, basically dragged me by the ear into International Audio Group’s room in one of the upper atria of the Munich Order Center. We had to drop off a Product of the Year award for Mission, which is one of IAG’s brands. I don’t normally enjoy chores like this, but I’m glad Doug pulled me into the room.

LeakIAG designer Peter Comeau with a SoundStage! 2023 Product of the Year award for the Mission 770 loudspeaker

“Whoa, is that a pair of Leak Sandwiches?” I exclaimed, surprised.

“Uh, what?” Doug replied.

I’ll begrudgingly forgive him for not knowing about this bit of audio obscura. Back in the early 1960s, Leak Audio built a loudspeaker, then simply called the Leak Sandwich, which had a noteworthy driver design. At the time, virtually all manufacturers used paper cones in their woofers and midrange-woofers. While paper can be a very effective material for speaker cones, its inherent lack of stiffness can lead to cone breakup and other nonlinearities.

Leak developed a novel solution to this problem. To make a stiffer cone, Leak used a stiff polystyrene foam core layered between two sheets of aluminum foil. Legend has it that, as a demonstration of the strength of the cone, salespeople used to stand on the driver without it tearing or breaking.


Here at High End 2024, Leak is reprising its heritage with the Sandwich 250 (€2999/pair, including the stands and VAT) and the Sandwich 150 (€1199/pair including VAT).

We’ll start with the smaller of the two, the Sandwich 150. This is a two-way standmount loudspeaker using a 30mm (1.2″) coated textile dome tweeter and a 170mm (6.7″) midrange-woofer with what Leak refers to as an “aluminum foamcore sandwich cone”—in other words, something similar to the original Sandwich speaker. Leak claims a low-frequency response of 44Hz from the small cabinet, and a sensitivity rating of 86.5dB. The Sandwich 150 has a three-year warranty.

The speaker the Sandwich 150 worries might be hiding under its bed at night is the Sandwich 250. This large standmount is a three-way design, having a 30mm coated textile dome like the one in Sandwich 150, plus a 108mm (4.25″) midrange driver and a 280mm (11″) bass driver, both of the aluminum-foamcore design. Though Leak says the 250’s bass response extends only 2Hz lower than the Sandwich 150’s, the 250 is also 2dB more sensitive.


As mentioned above, matching stands are included in the price of the Sandwich 250, which I love to see—it’s always a bit lousy when you spend your hard-earned cash on stereo gear and then have to spend more on some accessory or other to get the proper look, sound, or functionality.

I also learned from designer Peter Comeau, who also designs loudspeakers for other IAG brands, that the grille for both speakers has been designed to be left on. He showed us that the 250’s frame is beveled to create a smoother front-baffle surface for the drivers, so that diffraction effects are lower than they are when the grille is removed. Like the Sandwich 150, the Sandwich 250 has a three-year warranty. Both loudspeaker models come dressed in beautifully finished walnut veneers.

Peter Comeau

Something else caught our eye in IAG’s exhibit—a speaker without any box at all. In Wharfedale’s corner of the room, IAG had set up a display of all the parts, in kit form, needed to build pairs of Wharfedale’s classic Denton and Linton loudspeakers. We were amazed to learn this wasn’t just a display of componentry, but that the company wants to offer the kits for sale. They even showed us a large schematic with instructions on how to drill and rout the cabinets and assemble the drivers and crossover. In other words, IAG is serious about offering these kits for DIYers. While this kit is still in the “maybe” phase, we’re definitely going to ask IAG to send us one to build.


Likewise, we’ll be bugging IAG about getting a pair of the new Leak Sandwich speakers in for review. But I’m getting ahead of myself. There’s plenty left to report from High End 2024, so keep checking back.

Matt Bonaccio
Contributor, SoundStage!