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Apex Pinnacle vs Leben CS300XS: The Awful Truth - Page 6

post #76 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by cobra_verde View Post

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.

Jesse, iirc the pinnacle has essentially the same circuit as the 307a but it has an external ps, obviously different output tubes, and some upgrades such as better transformers (Dave/Pete/Todd etc please correct me if i've mispoken here). i've heard the 307a a couple of times at canjams and heard the pinnacle at the last canjam, but unlike DM i've not had the opportunity to compare them side by side. i was very impressed whenever i've listened to systems with the older amp, regardless of the phone attached to it. and that included several grados (ps1, ps1000, hf2, & perhaps others) as well as hd800s and some other cans that i can't recall at the moment. the system with the pinnacle did less for me for some reason. was it the output tube, the recabled T1 which gave me some high frequency ear burn (something i've experienced with that phone in some systems), or something else, i just don't know.

are these amps high df amps? if so then my take is different than Pete's as i've never heard the ps1000 sound better than from Todd's system with the 307a. when i had that phone here i just didn't enjoy it nearly as much.
 

 


Edited by daveDerek - 3/1/11 at 7:22am
post #77 of 114
If I were to simplify my thought process it would be this:

If I could only have one amp in the entire world to use with dynamic headphones I wouldn't want it to be the 307a because it is perceptively brighter than a lot of headphones need. The Pinnacle would be my pick for best standalone amp. Once you spend 10grand on a single amp it's unlikely that you would have another amp or more than one other amp. The 307a amp has certain undefinable magic in the way it decays that the Pinnacle does not have, but this thing which I call magic is not a great pairing for a neutral or bright-ish headphone such as the HD800. With the 307a I completely forget that it's tubes, but with the Pinnacle I felt more music come through.

From the perspective as a music listener the Pinnacle was more well-suited to more genres and more headphones.

From the perspective of hearing an amp that was entirely neutral and felt simply as if to be a volume module between me and the Source, the 307a has not been beaten in my mind. In that sense I would say the 307a is more honest, but the Pinnacle is more musical.

If I was only allowed to have one amp in my collection I would probably prefer a number of amps over the 307a because it doesn't excel with a lot of recent trends in the headphone world as much as a lot of other amps do. I'd take the Pinnacle in a second over the 307a if I were considering only having one amp. But for certain things like classical.......the 307a takes the crown on the majority of headphones I've tried. For Rock and jazz I found the bass too controlled in a lot of cases with some headphones.
post #78 of 114
Dave, how well does it drive your HE6s and K1000s?
post #79 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveDerek View Post

Dave, how well does it drive your HE6s and K1000s?

The 307a and HE6 is very very good. The tone is great, some piano transients clip where the volume needs to be brought down. The K1000 is easier to drive. But the HE6 / 307a pairing is one of the best pairings I own. I listen fairly loud, so when I say volume needs to be brought down on certain piano transients, I'm probably talking about 80 db brought down to 70 for certain things.
post #80 of 114

 

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. 
 

$1500 for two tubes? This place has cajones rolleyes.gif


Edited by grokit - 3/1/11 at 1:33am
post #81 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by cobra_verde View Post

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. 


 

I'm pretty sure the Pinnacle has not yet been built with the 307a tube, but I'm sure they'd be more than willing to do this for you.  I never heard the Pinnacle with a Grado so I don't know, but I don't find the Grados I have to sound bad out of any of my amps.  They sound good with the 307a, they don't feel as amp dependent as other headphones.  Certainly warm up with the Manley and Woo in comparison to the 307a, but I like all of the synergy I get.

 

Honestly, I Would never spend that much on a tube, they die easily and then there's nothing you can do.  

post #82 of 114

Thanks for your replies InnerSpace, daveDereck, and DavidMahler. Yeah, I think I'd do better to buy an assortment of 6SN7 tubes and see which one works best rather than the ultra-expensive Marconi Osram B65.

post #83 of 114

I don't understand, is there a CS300, a CS300x and a CS300XS? What's the difference between them?? Completely lost, thought there was only one model, the CS300 (full name CS300XS) :P

post #84 of 114

There are two current models: the CS300 and the CS300XS. The latter version has various upgraded components.

 

The CS300X is discontinued, and has been replaced by the CS300XS. The amplifiers are identical (I believe), the only difference being the tubes used.

 

In terms of headphone use, Leben told me that there is no qualitative difference between the 300 and the 300X(S). The sonic differences lie in their speaker output.

post #85 of 114

I've never seen a speaker-amp before that is recommended one of the best amps for the HD 800. Pretty cool all-in-one there...

post #86 of 114

Innerspace, did you say you went through 20 pairs of HD800's using Amazon's return policy?  eek.gif  Wow.  It seems possible then, that there isn't that much variation, you just went through enough pairs to find one that is actually defective or an anomaly, but in a way that sounds better. 

 

Nice review also.  I like the way you describe sound.  These 2 amps look fantastic.  I love the design and build of both of them, though I wish the looks of the 307A carried over into the Apex line.  But it doesn't matter because I have financial priorities like cars/homes/mail order brides/ etc.


Edited by rhythmdevils - 3/3/11 at 2:56pm
post #87 of 114

David, just out of curiosity, how would you describe the low bass with the HD 800 + Pinnacle combo? In your "20 headphones compared" review you stated the hd 800 was slightly light in the bass, was it the perfect bass based on your tastes with the Pinnacle? 

post #88 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post

Innerspace, did you say you went through 20 pairs of HD800's using Amazon's return policy?  eek.gif  Wow.  It seems possible then, that there isn't that much variation, you just went through enough pairs to find one that is actually defective or an anomaly, but in a way that sounds better. 

 

Quite possible, yes.  But the spread wasn't huge, so I wouldn't say "defective" would be the right word.  Anomalous, certainly.  Plus surreptitious fine-tuning at Sennheiser, probably.
 

 

post #89 of 114
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Duckman View Post

 

In terms of headphone use, Leben told me that there is no qualitative difference between the 300 and the 300X(S). The sonic differences lie in their speaker output.


Not sure I understand this.  The speaker output is the headphone output.  And surely all the "X" enhancements are upstream of the output transformer?

 

post #90 of 114
Yeah I don't get that either. Leben claims the CS300XS has wider bandwidth output transformers than the CS300. The headphone out is a secondary winding off the same output transformer as the speakers. Are they saying that for some reason they don't think the difference between the transformers would be audible via headphones?

I hear only very slight difference between my CS300 and CS300XS, though (yes, I have one of each). And the differences I head could easily be due to the two amps having different sets of tubes in them.
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