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The Leben CS300XS Thread - Page 3

post #31 of 2094
The CS300XS and CS300X are identical except that the latter was delivered with Mullard EL84 and the former with Sovtek. I think the Sovtek tubes are rather good, but not the best. The CS300XS is still in production.

I have a pair of Sylvania 5751 blackplates but unfortunately one tube is noisy (ground noise independent of volume). Otherwise very nice smoothness and I guess they match well with AT woodies (correction: mistakenly thought that I saw an AT on the picture).

I would like to compare my CS300 with the other models but it is not very probable that I get an opportunity. My guess is that the difference is rather small. The XS has a more efficient power supply and gives a few watts extra output. I believe that could be useful with speakers but not important for headphones. There are also a few capacitors of higher quality in the more expensive model and that should make some difference, but of course the PS maybe not only delivers more power but also sounds better.

I think it is because of the limited power for speakers that the Leben amp also has a bass control, and is intended for small speakers that drop in the low bass. In that aspect the K1000 is very similar to small speakers and I sometimes use the bass control with K1000, only the +3 dB setting and get a little extra punch (or rather compensate for the lack bass extension in the headphone). Not purist, but it works!
post #32 of 2094
. Anders already answered to my question.
post #33 of 2094
Quote:
Originally Posted by argentum View Post
Skylab how it fares with your T1?

???
post #34 of 2094
Yes, the Leben is VERY heavy - solidly built, and some serious transformers! But it isn't that big really - compact for what it is, as it's a pretty full-featured tube integrated amp.

Since the only difference between the XS and the X was the supplied tubes, mine is somewhere in between those - as I'm using neither the Sovteks nor the NOS Mullards. But the NOS Sylvanias sound great (and I have used these Sylvania types in other amps where I also thought they sounded good.

The Leben sounds great with the T1 - I spent some time listening to it last night. I could very happily live with that combination for a long, long time I will spend some additional time with that combo this week, but I sure liked it last night.

What has struck me about the Leben is that it seems to work well with all the headphones I own - regardless of impedance. But what's been really beguiling me is how great it is with the low-impedance Denons. I've absolutely never heard the Denons sound so good. Not surprisingly, none of my OTL tube amps really did the Denons justice, it would seem. I quite frankly did not think the Denond could sound this good. The Leben lets them reveal nuance and detail I didn't think was in them.

What's a shame, as Gu-Sensei mentioned, is how expensive the Leben is in the US. I inquired about buying one, and the US Distributor wanted $3,500. Yet Pricejapan will import them for you for about $1800 or so. That is WAY too steep a markup for the local distributor. 30% markup is reasonable - 100% is not. I don't think the Leben will get much of a following in the US at $3,500, which is too bad. It's a very, very nice amp!
post #35 of 2094
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
Yes, the Leben is VERY heavy - solidly built, and some serious transformers! But it isn't that big really - compact for what it is, as it's a pretty full-featured tube integrated amp.

Since the only difference between the XS and the X was the supplied tubes, mine is somewhere in between those - as I'm using neither the Sovteks nor the NOS Mullards. But the NOS Sylvanias sound great (and I have used these Sylvania types in other amps where I also thought they sounded good.

The Leben sounds great with the T1 - I spent some time listening to it last night. I could very happily live with that combination for a long, long time I will spend some additional time with that combo this week, but I sure liked it last night.

What has struck me about the Leben is that it seems to work well with all the headphones I own - regardless of impedance. But what's been really beguiling me is how great it is with the low-impedance Denons. I've absolutely never heard the Denons sound so good. Not surprisingly, none of my OTL tube amps really did the Denons justice, it would seem. I quite frankly did not think the Denond could sound this good. The Leben lets them reveal nuance and detail I didn't think was in them.

What's a shame, as Gu-Sensei mentioned, is how expensive the Leben is in the US. I inquired about buying one, and the US Distributor wanted $3,500. Yet Pricejapan will import them for you for about $1800 or so. That is WAY too steep a markup for the local distributor. 30% markup is reasonable - 100% is not. I don't think the Leben will get much of a following in the US at $3,500, which is too bad. It's a very, very nice amp!


thx
post #36 of 2094

What is lacking with this amplifier driving Grados? It seem to work well for other low impedance headphones.

post #37 of 2094

i have the 300x. compared to my custom MPX3 slam, it has tighter end and more sparkle on the top end and little more shrill on both my HD650 and D5000.

 

the mpx3 is certainly warmer and more relaxed. I have JJ EL84's and British Mullard 12Ax7 in the 300x.

 

 

 

post #38 of 2094
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henmyr View Post

What is lacking with this amplifier driving Grados? It seem to work well for other low impedance headphones.


Probably nothing. Just for me, when I had Grados on hand (GS1000s, PS1000s, RS1s), I tended to prefer my HA5000 with them. Otherwise, I pretty much prefer the Leben.

post #39 of 2094
Quote:
Originally Posted by metalgear View Post

i have the 300x. compared to my custom MPX3 slam, it has tighter end and more sparkle on the top end and little more shrill on both my HD650 and D5000.

 

the mpx3 is certainly warmer and more relaxed. I have JJ EL84's and British Mullard 12Ax7 in the 300x.

 

 

 


I think the shrillness would be gone if you replaced those JJ's with some nice NOS USA or UK 6BQ5/EL84's

post #40 of 2094

So you guys have made me very interested in this amp. When I checked price japan it says Leben discontinued this amp as of april 2010 . Any idea where to get one without spending an arm and a leg?

 

 

post #41 of 2094
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post




I think the shrillness would be gone if you replaced those JJ's with some nice NOS USA or UK 6BQ5/EL84's


Yeah its obvious I guess... so much for all those good reviews I read about the JJ's... NOS rules...

 

Don't you guys ever feel guilty burning away all those wonderful tubes just to power headphones (instead of speakers)?

post #42 of 2094
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shabta View Post

So you guys have made me very interested in this amp. When I checked price japan it says Leben discontinued this amp as of april 2010 . Any idea where to get one without spending an arm and a leg?

 

 

Not sure if you scrolled down a little further but, this is the complete notice on the Price Japan site

 

 

Quote:

The limited version of CS300XS was discontinued, around  April 2010.

The limited version is No more available.

 

This is a normal version of CS300XS, which becomes available around June 15, 2010.

Please note also that it need 2-3 weeks to be shipped after your order/ full payment.

 

 

My impression has been that they produce the amps in runs. I thought the CS300X was discontinued for quite a while but I just bought mine new a few months ago. I think Price Japan is getting their facts a little mixed up though. I am not sure what the CS300XS limited is. The CS300X-Ltd. was the X version sold with NOS Mullard EL84s and when their stock of Mullards ran out, they started to sell the CS300XS version which came with the Sovtek EL84s. As far as I know, there is no CS300XS Limited. One thing you could also do is check with Price Japan to see if they can get you a CS300 which may be around at this time and would be cheaper. They are superb as well and you can always roll in better tubes.

 

post #43 of 2094
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by metalgear View Post

 

Don't you guys ever feel guilty burning away all those wonderful tubes just to power headphones (instead of speakers)?


My Leben is set up in my home office next to my desk. I use it about 50/50 with my headphones and a set of bookshelf speakers. I think I love what it does with my speakers even more than what is does with my headphones. It is just an all-around superb centerpiece for the main listening rig.

 

Incidentally, my speakers are also from Denon but I am pretty sure they are not sold outside of Japan. They are not terribly expensive, but they sound very good to me and really match nicely with the Leben. I do think there is a Denon 'house sound' and have wondered, but never confirmed, if these are also produced by Fostex, like the D7000s which to my ears sound their best with my Leben. They are part of a surround speaker system but sold separately and usually hooked up with Denons stereo systems in their audio store displays. I have that surround system in with the TV but have never hooked up the Leben with the tallboys. Need to do that someday or better yet, pick up a CS600 for those!

 

 

Denon SC-A77XG

 

ff41372f.jpg


Edited by Gu Sensei - 5/26/10 at 5:51pm
post #44 of 2094


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gu Sensei View Post



Not sure if you scrolled down a little further but, this is the complete notice on the Price Japan site

 

 

 

 

My impression has been that they produce the amps in runs. I thought the CS300X was discontinued for quite a while but I just bought mine new a few months ago. I think Price Japan is getting their facts a little mixed up though. I am not sure what the CS300XS limited is. The CS300X-Ltd. was the X version sold with NOS Mullard EL84s and when their stock of Mullards ran out, they started to sell the CS300XS version which came with the Sovtek EL84s. As far as I know, there is no CS300XS Limited. One thing you could also do is check with Price Japan to see if they can get you a CS300 which may be around at this time and would be cheaper. They are superb as well and you can always roll in better tubes.

 


Yeah I saw that message when I woke up this morning. It wasn't there yesterday for some reason. I didn't have to scroll today to see it.
Anyway it is good to know I can still order it.

 

 

About the idea of getting a CS300 and rolling in different tubes, do you think that a CS300 with NOS mullard will sound better than a CS300X with Sovtek?

 

If so any idea what Mullards wil cost?

 

thanks!

post #45 of 2094


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by metalgear View Post




Yeah its obvious I guess... so much for all those good reviews I read about the JJ's... NOS rules...

 

Don't you guys ever feel guilty burning away all those wonderful tubes just to power headphones (instead of speakers)?


Are you serious?  Like headphones are a second citizen to speakers for music...LOL.  Tubes + cans rule, baby!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shabta View Post

 

 

About the idea of getting a CS300 and rolling in different tubes, do you think that a CS300 with NOS mullard will sound better than a CS300X with Sovtek?

 

If so any idea what Mullards wil cost?

 

thanks!


There is no doubt for me that NOS real Mullards will sound better.  But a nice quad of Mullard EL84's will run $400+.  So I use Sylvanias in mine - got a nice quad of NOS Sylvanias for $100.

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