It's really hard to quantify - I would say the XS is maybe 10% better? The differences are pretty subtle. Plus I have not been able to try them with the same exact tubes, so I can't really say for sure anyway. The CS300 itself is certainly very, very good.
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Ordered Leben cs300xs (Arrived with photos) - Page 10
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The Leben arrived safely today via DHL. . Few photos:
It has Sovtek EL84s but a Quad of Sylvania Black plate 6bq5/EL84 in route. Build quality is quite impressive and it has understated good looks. Wife approves but I think because she dislikes the Woo WA2 look (reminds her of Dr Frankenstein's lab)
I did a brief listen to make sure it made the trip intact. Sounds a little brash at top end but again this was just a cursory listen with Sovteks.
I believe that's the most beautiful headphone/speaker amp I've ever seen, what ruins the look a bit are the black switches...
The potentiometers, are they silver in the CS300 version?
Here's an update on my Leben/LCD-2 issue. Apparently, Leben has made some changes on the headphone out. Here is an email I received from my dealer.
"Leben mentioned to me that the latest production runs of the Leben, they have dropped the voltage from 1v to .08 v on the headphone output. This was to reduce any noise levels with very sensitive headphones. If the sensitivity of the headphones is below 80db it may be difficult to obtain proper results, they say."
Not really sure what that means from a current standpoint, but the headphone out on my Leben does not have enough current to drive the LCD-2's effectively.
I've got an email into Matt to see if I can ship my unit back to Leben to maximize the headphone out for the LCD-2.
Another update. To start, I can't say enough about the excellent customer service that Matt Rotunda, owner of Pitch Perfect Audio, provides. He actually ended up sending me his own personal 120v 300X (with stock mullards) to try with my LCD-2. It turns out the 300X is incredible with the LCD-2 (and my other hp's), none of the issues I was having with the XS and the LCD-2. The X is also dead silent with all my headphones, no buzz/hum like I was having with volume turned all the way down with the XS. Matt thinks there may be something wrong with the headphone out of my XS since there was such a dramatic change with the LCD-2 going from the XS to the X, with what in his opinion was a minor design change on the headphone out of the XS. I ended up returning the XS (I assume it will be sent back to Leben to see if there is an issue with the headphone out) and buying the X from him. I couldn't be happier. Icing on the cake is cosmetically I prefer the X more than my replaced XS. The gold, green and wood are all darker on the X. The gold and green don't contrast as much and look great with my gold marantz sacd player. I haven't had time to take the cover off the X, but I assume it has GE 5751driver tubes. I am planning on doing some tube comparisons later on today between the stock mullards and GE 5751's vs amperex bugle boys and sylvania triple mica gold 5751's, but it sounds awesome right now stock.
Glad it worked out for you, though!!!
x2. There something to be said about buying from a reputable dealer. I stripped a screw on my Leben and Matt Rotunda had Leben Hi-Fi Stereo Co. of Japan send me a packet of 14 replacement screws. He didn't charge me for the screws or for shipping them.
Edited by Clayton SF - 3/5/11 at 1:19pm
Glad it worked out for you. I might have to try a 300x. Lan637, I had the same reaction to the black switches. Not only do they look out of place but they feel out of place because they're made of plastic. Real Gold plated metal knobs and plastic switches...Not cool!
- Ordered Leben cs300xs (Arrived with photos)
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