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Apex Pinnacle vs Leben CS300XS: The Awful Truth - Page 5

post #61 of 112
I have no idea how I missed this review until now - it's a great one! Nicely done InnerSpace. I only heard the Pinnacle at CanJam, bit driving the T1 it was very impressive. It's nice for me to see how favorably the Leben, at 1/3 the price, compares. I can't really see going beyond the Leben in terms of spending on a headphone amp...buy you never know biggrin.gif

Anyway, InnerSpace, nicely written, I enjoyed reading it.
post #62 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post

It's nice for me to see how favorably the Leben, at 1/3 the price, compares.


Absolutely.  That little Leben is beyond terrific.  Probably an all-time classic in the making.  Like your R10s!

post #63 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by InnerSpace View Post




Absolutely.  That little Leben is beyond terrific.  Probably an all-time classic in the making.  Like your R10s!

And a terrific combination they are, too biggrin.gif
post #64 of 112

Nice write up!

post #65 of 112

Thanks to InnerSpace for this review.

 

It appears that the Pinnacle is better than the CS300x, with all other things being equal.

 

I prefer to take the holistic approach. The Leben is 1/3 the price of the Pinnacle, more or less depending if you buy the Leben new or used.

 

Let's say you save $6-7k by buying the Leben. You use the extra money to install a dedicated line, or a line conditioner, or upgrade your source. Maybe all of the above. Will the Pinnacle without the ancillary upgrades still sound better than the Leben? I would wager no. In fact, I would bet you'd get a lot more enjoyment out of the Leben setup with a better source, better power.

 

The Pinnacle, priced as it is, is for those who already have the better source, better power.

post #66 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by InnerSpace View Post

^^ Manhattan.  Drop by anytime.



Jersey City, NJ here, I'll be there sometime this week with cookies! wink_face.gif

post #67 of 112

How does the Leben compair with the Apex Peak?

post #68 of 112

To offer my opinion, while the Apex Peak was a very nice amp in its own right (I had the review loaner), I thought it was a bit bright and antiseptic in comparison to the Leben.  I found that while the Leben was maybe slightly more detailed, it was still more natural and organic sounding thank the Peak.  IMHO, YMMV, etc.

post #69 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post

To offer my opinion, while the Apex Peak was a very nice amp in its own right (I had the review loaner), I thought it was a bit bright and antiseptic in comparison to the Leben.  I found that while the Leben was maybe slightly more detailed, it was still more natural and organic sounding thank the Peak.  IMHO, YMMV, etc.



Did you mean to say less? biggrin.gif

post #70 of 112
No, actually, I did not, and that was the point! I found the Leben more detailed, in spite of being less bright. But again, that was just my opinion.
post #71 of 112

It's great to see the HD800 getting some love. After going to the Bay Area meet I was definitely impressed with HE6 and the LCD2. I loved the Stax Omega with the Blue Hawaii. But i realized my Leben 300x and HD800 are an absolutely amazing combo. Wished I could have done a direct A/B comparison between my system and some of the others I heard, I was pretty sure that my system would have bested everything I heard except the Stax/BH .

 

post #72 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylab View Post
I found the Leben more detailed, in spite of being less bright.


I'm late seeing this - been away.  But yes, we need to lay to rest this "bright=detailed" equation once and for all.  Detail is quiet music, not high-pitched music.  Most detail lives down in the bass and midrange regions.  A few hundred hertz at most, well below the brightness region.  IMO bright gear obscures detail with high-frequency splash and hash.

post #73 of 112

I didn't find the Peak to be bright at all when I heard it.  I don't know if I'd want an amp to be substantially warmer.  

 

When I compared the 307a and Pinnacle I came away preferring the Pinnacle on more headphones, but the 307a seemed to be the more neutral amp and in the end, I decided I couldn't sell the 307a and thus could not afford the Pinnacle.  The 307a is less polite, and lets more flaws of headphones show, but when it's paired right (R10 / LCD2) it outdid the Pinnacle in many ways for me.  The Pinnacle takes the HD800 and T1 to levels which the 307a don't, but the undeniable neutrality of the 307a (not only in terms of tonality, but also in harmonic content and fast decay) makes it my favorite component in my collection.  But I do feel more people would be impressed with the Pinnacle, it sounds more beautiful and lush.  For orchestral music, the 307a reigns supreme as the single most honest amp I've ever heard.  Either amp you can't go wrong with and the PX4 have a more musical sound over the 307a.  I preferred the soundstaging on the 307a a bit for orchestral.   I entrust that Pete Millett is truly one of the best designers in the business.  I have no qualms believing that the 307a and Pinnacle are amongst the best dynamic tube headphone amps ever made.  I have yet to hear the Balancing Act, but I do feel that 307a and Pinnacle are at the top of the game from what I've heard.  The Woo Audio 5 gets remarkably close (and some will prefer it), the Manley 300b is a gem with the HD800 (and I actually prefer the HD800 with this amp over the Pinnacle!) The B52 is a rock lover's dream, very warm and takes away a lot of sibilance, but ultimately I didn't enjoy it as much with classical music.  The 307a is the only amp I've ever heard which does not sound like tubes or solid state.  If I was blinded, I wouldn't have a clue if I was listening to tubes or SS.  And that is the hallmark of that amp in particular.  For that, it both succeeds and fails....succeeds at sounding almost perfectly neutral, and fails at being a tubey amp for warming up the bright flagship headphones.  

 

post #74 of 112

This will be a bit of a rambling post, but I am thinking about buying the Pinnacle.

 

David Mahler, from reading your above post, it looks like when all is said and done you prefer the TTVJ 307A amp to the Apex Pinnacle with PX4 output because it is more neutral. I know this is a counter-factual and probably there is no real answer, but do you think that if the Pinnacle had a 307A tube option to substitute for the PX4 (as was originally stated in the TTVJ store web page) it would be more neutral and superior to the TTVJ 307A?

 

In David's Pinnacle thread, Pete Millet said: "For example, I can't stand Grados if driven from a high DF [Damping Factor] amp, but they are OK from a low DF amp."

 

I have a significant Grado collection and would like it if the Pinnacle matched up well with PS-1, PS-1000, HP-2, HF-2, RS-1, etc., but Pete does not sound too enthusiastic about the synergy. Can you elaborate Pete or any other listers with experience of the Grado / Pinnacle / TTJV 307A match-up?

 

Finally, great post InnerSpace. Your review may have put me over the top. You gave some indications about the used market for Marconi Osram B65 tube. Do you know of any reputable sellers offering this tube? I'd be willing to try the tube with the Pinnacle or 307A. I see http://www.tejastubes.com/NOSMarconiOsramB65MetalBase.htm but I'd hate to spend this kind of money without knowing the store was legit. 

post #75 of 112
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cobra_verde View Post
 
You gave some indications about the used market for Marconi Osram B65 tube. Do you know of any reputable sellers offering this tube? I'd be willing to try the tube with the Pinnacle or 307A. I see http://www.tejastubes.com/NOSMarconiOsramB65MetalBase.htm but I'd hate to spend this kind of money without knowing the store was legit. 


There's legit and legit, isn't there?  I've heard that said about the seller you mention.  I don't think I'd spend $1500 there.

 

And I wouldn't buy a pair.  I think an audition would be necessary first.  Your tastes may not be mine.  I'm the guy who likes the HD800 better than the LCD-2, after all.  And really, the B65s are almost all gone.  The last-but-one from my original dozen fifteen years ago just went noisy, which is the beginning of the end.  I haven't plugged the very last one in yet.  I'm trying some Sylvanias instead, and they're totally worthy alternatives.  The top tubes are all very close.

 

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