I'm just coming back from Montreal's SSI 2011 hifi show. One of the best sound of the show, for my taste, was Devore's new Orangutan 0/96 paired with a nice Leben CS300, a Brinkmann's Bardo turntable and the Leben phono stage.
This was a perfect match!
As I am an owner of Harbeth's speakers and pretty active on Harbeth User Group, I know that many Harbeth users amplified them with Leben. The main market for Harbeth is in the far East, same as Leben.
I owned both the Leben CS600 and now the CS300 and prefer the latter powering my Living Voice OBX-RW speakers. The upbeat spirited nature of the CS300 created a better synergy with the agility and even tonal balance of the Living Voice. The CS300's 12 watts power was not a issue at all in my medium size room. In comparison, the CS600 (32w) had more than enough power but was a little slow in momentum for my taste. I haven't heard the Devore Nines but from what I understand from the many reviews and comments the Living Voice with its greater sensitivity (94db) should provide a smoother but just as natural and refined presentation.
When I auditioned the DeVore Super 8's and Leben integrateds, I preferred it paired with the CS600. I found the CS300 a bit too energetic (harsh) to my ears. I really like the Winged C 6L6GC tubes with these DeVores. I'm happy with the results. I've read that your Nines are very good with the Leben CS300. Best of luck in your search.
I'd love to hear the Orangutans, and the Living Voice too. Interesting what you say, Glenalan and Randyk, about the 600 versus the 300, and the Nines v. the 8s. I heard the 300XS with the Super8s and some Dynaudios. Can't remember exactly what I thought of the Dynaudios versus the Super8s, but I wound up liking the Super8s better... And then I tried the Nines and it just sounded right. I don't like to listen very loud, and bass isn't so important to me, so it was something else about the Nines. For what it's worth, I also brought along a Rowland SS amp and hooked that up to the Nines, with a Shindo Aurieges on top. It sounded beautiful-crystalline, shimmering-- and the soundstage, imaging etc was superior to the Lebens, but after listening for a couple hours back and forth I decided that for me, the Leben was preferable.
I use Merlin TSM MMe's with my CS600. I use Reflecter 6N3C Tubes and find the result to be really synergistic. great soundstage with really good mids and a really good tonality
I´m using a Leben CS-300 with Zu Druids loudspeakers and Zu Method subwoofer.
The rest of my rig consists of Esoteric UX-1 as a transport and Yamamoto YDA-01 as DAC and cables are Zu Libtec, Zu Varial and Zu Mother -these last ones bettered the whole resolution of the system in terms of space between instruments, a more 3D presentation and the saturation coming, for instance, from a Hammond organ through a Leslie speaker (I must admit that I was not a believer in any improvement when speaking of power cables. But my ears tells me the contrary).
The Zus are great in the way they show the sound of the electric guitars. You can feel they sound like in real life.
Other very important thing are the tubes inside the Leben. Right now, I´m using Sylvanias all the way.
My 2 cents.
I am using sonus faber cremona auditor M. Any idea if these will be good match for the Leben cs600 or cs300?
Edoit - I used to have a pair of the Auditor M's. Great speakers. IME, they need a significant amount of power to really strut their stuff. Not sure if either of the Lebens has the power I found to be necessary for the Auditor M's.
Dynaudios also need more power than Leben can provide. I did hear the Devore Super 8s with Leben separates plus an Opus 21 cd player, and really enjoyed this combination.
I have to add that I am really liking the Quad 22L2's with the Leben. I had originally heard them with a Synthesis el84 amp and thought the sound was worth exploring. The Quads are a great match and super affordable for what they do.
I am the aforementioned Audio Note AN/K owner. While I love their musicality, I think that you really need to get a bigger AN speaker to get more low end extension (of course).
I have also run the Zu Soul Superfly's with mine. They are a great match as well. Tons of life, very very fun speakers.
I'm using Harbeth SHL5s with my CS600 and it is wonderful. I have tried Living Voice IBX RWs as well, and whilst they were very nice, they were a bit too polite for my tastes,
Edoit, I think you might struggle to get the SFs going with the 300 though the 600 might work. I ran a 300x with Grand Piano's for a short time and it really wasn't happening. Pleasant but lacking dynamics. A friend runs a 600 with Elector Amators and that does work and the Cr Auditor M is often dem'd with 30w valves over here.
I heard a 300xs driving the mid / treble of Avantguard Nanos recently and though they weren't set up properly it sounded a very promising combo.
I'm using the 300 with my Tannoy Kensington SE the synergy is outstanding. I'm selling my other amps and keeping the Leben.
Any of the excellent Coincident Technology speakers would be a good match. From the bookshelf Triumph Extreme II's, the $10,000 Super Victory's, and even the more expensive Total Victory V's.
The Coincident speakers are very low-powered amp friendly (although they also can sound great with high powered amps). The Coincident speakers don't have any low dips in resistance--they stay very constant, generally from 6 ohms and higher. Plus, these speakers stay very true to the source signal. So if you have quality power and quality source components youwill get great sound.
Another potential speaker buy would be the Vaughn Cabernet's, at around $8,500 direct from the manufacturer. They sound excellent and are a great bargain at their price and quality.
I use British Audio Note AN-e speakers with my Leben 660P power amp, which is tubed with vintage GEC KT 66 and they are a match made in heaven.
I recently heard a Leben 300x paired with Tonian TL-D1s and it was a fantastic combo. IMO, the Devores aren't quite efficient enough to allow the Leben 300x to sing to its full potential when it comes to dynamics and detail. OTOH, the Devores deliver a nice, rich sound. I have a friend who's about to pair a Leben 300x with some Tekton Lores, should be interesting.
By my previous comment about Devore efficiency, I am of course referring to the 8s and 9s, as opposed to the Orangutans...
I'm using Totem Forests which are only 87db but sound fantastic with the 300xs.
I wasn't 100% sure until I rolled out the Sovtek EL84's in favour of NOS Philips EL84's with the GE 5751's. As soon as the the Philips went in the sound clicked. Also sure very dependant on cables.....Transparent Musiclink Plus (trying some Supers this week) and an audiophile power cable.
After over 40 years of box swapping I feel that at last I ahve reached the end of my audio journey. Fantastic amp!!
I had an RS100u when I picked up my Orangutans. Here's a review on them:Getting lost in analogue
I've since upgraded to a Shindo, and I am currently awaiting that. But the Os sounded sweet with the Leben
FWIW, the Os are even better with the Shindo - so lively and engaging. Totally loving these! I will update my experiences here:Getting lost in analogue
Enjoy, I know I am...
Thank you for the thoughtful review of O/96. I believe I will soon be headed in that direction with any of Shindo/Leben/Sophia 300B.