During the mid ‘60s, Les found himself between jobs having completed an electrical apprenticeship in the mining industry after leaving school then observing the certain demise of coal powered energy. Moving into the field of auto electrical engineering for some fifteen years seemed a logical step but clambering about under heavy vehicles especially during the winter months, eventually lost its appeal. However, working on electronic systems then coming on stream, began to hold a greater, more enjoyable attraction. Solid state control of charging systems and audio installations loomed large during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s and this is where Les’s appetite really resided so enrolling in a college course for electronics ensued. (this led to Les taking the C&G RAE (Radio Amateur Exam – later becoming a local lecturer for the course).
He experimented with the Naim system of his friends and not only built power supplies for their pre-amps but substantially altered the circuits of these and the power amps. Soon, the word spread and requests to perform the work for other owners began to flow in. The same principles he’d applied to the Naims were found to work well with, amongst other models, the so-called ‘current dumping’ circuits of the Quad range of power amps and over the years, 174 examples of the Quad 405 passed through the workshops to be enjoyed anew by their owners.
In order to keep the lights on, servicing audio kit for local dealerships provided a meagre income but allowed access to some of the world’s more esoteric products – more investigations into circuits resulted.
Around this time, Les struck up a relationship with John Michell who asked to have a power supply designed for his then revolutionary Girodek and later, formed a friendship with Tony Miller, the owner of J.E. Sugden. Having helped in solving problems with a pre-amp design, Les was commissioned, over the course of the next couple of years, to design a pre-amp power supply and ultimately, a complete pre/power combo – the top of the range AU51c pre and the AU51p power amp came to fruition from the Les’s drawing board to find acclaim with the reviewers.