LEBEN CS300F Integrated Amp with matching LEBEN RS30EQ Phono Stage

I've had a request to share some thoughts on our LEBEN gear, so here goes...

I read an awful lot about the various different LEBEN models, but very little ink is spilled about the feisty little LEBEN CS300F Integrated.

Poking out a very robust 15W + 15W into 4/6/8 ohms - courtesy of an on-board variable output tranny - I have to say that we are just loving ours.

With the right speakers (of course) this amp is definitely no syrupy little "pipe and slippers" number. Talk about "The little engine that could!", I think many solid state users would get a shock at just how punchy this little amp is.

Having previously owned 300 SET monoblocks - CARY CAD300 Signature (300B) Monoblocks - I think other SET users might also find the extra headroom and jump-factor that they hanker for, with this silky little brute.

Best of all, you can re-tube the entire amp for $NZ50.00!

So how about it? Any other CS300F users around these parts?

-SONDEKNZ

PS: Guys, Also loving our matching LEBEN RS30EQ Phono Stage partnered with our AUDITORIUM23 SUT...
IMG_1593.JPGLEBEN CS-300F Front.jpgLEBEN CS-300F Rear.jpgLEBEN RS-30EQ Front.jpgLEBEN RS-30EQ Rear.jpg
 
Last edited:
We often get asked about the difference in sound of the LEBEN CS300F versus the bigger and costlier LEBEN CS600 sibling.

Other than being 3dB down in power by direct comparison, it is said that the 15W + 15W CS300F sounds quite different from the 30W + 30W CS600.

I have to say that we've never had the LEBEN CS600 in our exact system - for a clear A/B face-off - so I can't say for certain.

But the online reviews and banter seem to suggest that the little CS300F is a bit more sparkly and open at the top-end, in its power-band and I must say that this rings true to me, with regard to the inimitable EL84 output tube and its variants - upon which the LEBEN CS300F is built.

18.jpg
 
Last edited:
We also get asked about the sound of the LEBEN RS30EQ Phono Stage, so here's a few of my thoughts on phono stages.

I'm a fan of having tubes in the phono stage. Preferably all tube - with tubed rectification - which seems to deliver bigger benefits at the phono end, probably due to the huge amounts of gain involved. So for me, a tube rectified phono stage is part of the answer.

To my ears - and in my system - this type of all-tube phono stage tends to deliver greater palpability, dimensionality and "flesh-on-the-bone" than other phono types I've tried. Despite the terrific delivery of detail, solid state phono stages often sound so dry and relentless.

This tubed rectification is what the LEBEN RS30EQ delivers, albeit in combination with a Step-Up-Transformer (SUT) due to the LEBEN's limited (MM) amount of gain. We use the AUDITORIUM23 SUT with great success! The little LEBEN is also dead quiet with our highly efficient 96dB KLIPSCH RP-160M speakers.

[Interesting note: LEBEN does not use tubed rectification in our feisty little LEBEN CS300F integrated, so perhaps LEBEN Chief Engineer Mr. Taku Hyodo holds similar views: that tubed rectification is best deployed in very high-gain applications...?]

The other great thing about the LEBEN amps is that their tubes are cheap and readily available, so you don't need to worry about retubing costs. Just enjoy!

We love hand-crafted Japanese products. The Japs just seem to go the extra mile and get the little things right. It's part of their "excelsior" culture. They are perfectionists!

So, yep... We're LEBEN fans!
 
Last edited:
Like all hifi rigs, a big part of getting great sound depends on the partnership between the amp and speakers. The LEBEN is no exception.

As above, we're (mostly) using the KLIPSCH RP-160M (Large) Bookshelf Speakers with the LEBEN. These are almost identical to the very latest RP-600M, but with very minor "tweeter tweaks" on the RP-600M.

With the LEBEN CS300F 15W + 15W driving our KLIPSCH RP-160M, we can rock the neighbourhood with massive amounts of power in reserve.

The LEBEN variable Output Transformer allows switching between 4/6/8 ohm windings for slightly different sound. This also helps accommodate different speaker loads.

Our LEBEN combo sounds equally good on our KLIPSCH RP-160M, our MONITOR AUDIO R252, our CELESTION DITTON 250s, our BLUMENSTEIN ORCAs and our MAGNAT ALL-RIBBON2 and ALL-RIBBON6. Ultimately, personal taste will determine which partnership one listener would prefer over another.

Certainly, in terms of dB high output and dynamics, the KLIPSCH is a clear winner!

We have yet to try the LEBEN combo on our recently completed REGA KYTE speakers, so that is something I will report on further down the track. I predict 15W may not be enough to get the REGA pumping, but the sound quality should be perfectly acceptable up to amp-friendly levels. But you never know... watch this space!
KLIPSCH 2 Cropped.jpgIMG_1591.JPGORCA 5 LP.JPGREGA KYTE Restored, Improved, Complete 4.JPG
 
Last edited:
Anyways, for those of you who prefer to kick every dog and chase every rabbit, here is my (formal) review of the LEBEN...

REVIEW: LEBEN CS300F Integrated Amplifier

The (few) professional reviews I have read about this LEBEN model have been overwhelmingly positive, despite the fact that they all provided caveats of one type or another around "...within its power limitations" etc., etc.

These caveats arose only because none of those reviewers carefully matched the 15w LEBEN with a suitably efficient speaker. Not one. It seems that they just merrily hooked-up the CS300F to whatever transducers they had on the shelf at the time and gave it a go. A HARBETH here, a TRENNER & FRIEDL there; let's try a FRITZ... Talk about epic mismatches! And they wondered why the little LEBEN occasionally ran out of steam?

Nevertheless - rather tellingly - all the reviewers adored the CS300F for what it does so well - despite being totally mismatched on every date. All of which begs the question: How does the CS300F sound when the speaker match is ideal?

Matched with our KLIPSCH RP-160M, the LEBEN CS300F is a veritable powerhouse! This is an ideal partnership.

I'm not exaggerating when I state that with the 15w CS300F driving our 96dB speakers, its identical to taking an 87dB speaker - like a pair of brand-new pair of TRENNER & FRIEDL ART 2 (85dB, actually) - and driving them with a 480w solid state amp. Yes, the electrical "drive" calculation is more or less identical. Would anyone dare call that a potentially under-powered partnership? Would anyone really question whether there was enough power on tap? Of course not.

In this type of scenario, the CS300F becomes a vicious beast, straining to be unleashed! With headroom aplenty, inquiries as to the available power become totally irrelevant. The only question that remains is: What does this amp / speaker partnership sound like?

This environment is precisely how the LEBEN should be reviewed.

Under these idyllic conditions, I can tell you that the CS300F is no "pipe and slippers" polite little number. Quite the opposite is true, in fact. The LEBEN is big and ballsy; and busting to breakout!

The CS300F can rock out with the best of them. Demanding genres such as Hard Rock, Metal, Electronica and Dubstep are pumped out with alarming attack. Bass is full, tight and deeply extended and there's absolutely no polite, syrupy, treble roll-off. Tops are crystal clear and extended. Fenders crunch, analog synth textures grind, cymbals crash and shimmer; and it's all held together in total chaotic coherence.

Then in a blink - with a speedy change of program - the CS300F can gently immerse the listener in a pool of intimate and palpable lushness. SET-like, the CS300F delivers quiet music for quiet times, beautifully. The little LEBEN is a quick-change artist, delivering whatever it is that your source is serving up.

Believe it! The CS300F is a nasty, thrashing brute one minute, a fluffy, purring little kitty the next; and everything in-between.

Orchestral warhorses with Tchaikovsky in full cry? Bring it on! Classical, Chamber, Trios, Quartets and the like? Superbly rendered. Jazz? Oh yes, Jazz! The CS300F loves Jazz and you can truly hear which artists have "got it" and which ones ain't. Reggae, Prog Rock, Military, Folk, it's Saul Goodman! Whatever the genre, with the little LEBEN, music is portrayed with all the sparkle, colour and vividness of a live event.

There are several worthy sonic constants (read constants - not constraints!) that permanently reside in the CS300F sonic palate. These include: -

Stunning dynamics! Even at low-level listening, the CS300F is fully loaded with the safety-catch off. Yes, the jump-factor can be quite startling. Massive dynamic shadings send transient snaps firing out of the speakers, like sonic missiles.

Truth of timber is ever present. Vocals sound like flesh and blood. These are real people! Likewise, musical instruments. This is where pianos sound like pianos with felt hammers striking wires under tension. Where the (typically elusive) leading-edges of piano notes are portrayed in stark relief. Drum kits sound like hard wooden sticks striking taught animal skins - not like the sound of Dr. Martin shoes kicking-in some flimsy dunny-door! Fretless bass lines carry that real boogie factor. Brass instruments deliver that spitty, crackly, metallic blat that used to have kids like me following the Sally Bands around the streets each mid-December evening. These are real instruments and the CS300F never lets you forget it.

Imaging and soundstage are stable and sonic cues, a revelation. Granted these aspects strongly depend on the capability of the partnering source and speakers, but when the fit is right, the CS300F will show you precisely where everything was lurking on recording day. Often, this will include apparent venue cues that extend way beyond the confines of your own listening space. Whilst many of these spatial effects are now "created" in the studio [long after the band has headed off for a beer and a smoke...] early stereo recordings - such as the legendary RIVERSIDE Jazz catalog, where they just recorded what happened and put it straight onto the vinyl lathe - prove beyond doubt that such spatial aspects do exist on simple, unprocessed recordings. If it's there in the mix - no matter how it got there - the CS300F will expose it, as created; intended or otherwise.

I could go on and on - I've already gone on and on - but I'd like to leave you with one final set of thoughts.

There is one aspect, that the above ramblings have not been able to capture; and that is the utterly unique "tube" sound. To my ears, tube sound is totally distinct due to the following three attributes.

Firstly, almost all tube amps deliver an accurately dense harmonic saturation of the (critical) mid-range and upper bass, which causes music to sound natural. Best revealed in the human voice, you know it when you hear it. It's the sound of flesh; living, breathing, swallowing and singing - complete with all the rich resinous tones that make the human voice, flutes, clarinets, French horns, trombones, cellos, violins and guitars so unbearably beautiful. The LEBEN CS300F conveys this midrange harmonic saturation in just the right dose, at least the right dose for our tastes.

Secondly, by virtue of their inherent design, all tube amps - even lesser designs - deliver a continuous flow of signal. The sound of this flow is very hard to describe - but easy to hear in the music generated. It's the reason why Grandad's old valve radiogram sounded so magical, all those years ago! Tubes allow the signal to gain (voltage, amplitude – as the design requires) as electrons magically leap through a heated vacuum, in a constant, unbroken flow. There is no switching on and off. There is no frequency. There is just a continuous flow of signal. The beautifully unbroken music flow that results, clearly reveals this miraculous gain process, to my ears and (evidently) to the ears of every staunch tube amp enthusiast. Every other amplifier technology (excepting transformer-only amps. Another story, another time...) uses ultra-high-speed switching (on and off hundreds of times per millisecond) to achieve their required gain. In those amplifier designs, the precious music signal is sliced and diced in the same way that digital processes sample only a portion of the full sinewave of analog recordings, in order to transfer the music onto CDs. Sadly, the human ear can hear the difference. This switching is not good. Tube amps don't do this. Tube amps are good; and the LEBEN CS300F is one of the best.

Thirdly and finally, tube amplifiers tend to present the sound of spatiality differently to other amplifier topologies. Whilst alternative designs can match or occasionally surpass tube amps in the left to right rendering of space, tube amps go the extra mile in the realistic portrayal of front to rear soundstage. This creates space - or at least, the sound of space. With good tube amps, recording venues can sound absolutely cavernous and everything sounds just a little bit more stereo; a bit more 3D. Everything is just a bit more palpable and in focus. With the LEBEN CS300F, you just want to reach out and touch it, the illusion so darned complete.

Be sure to give the little LEBEN CS300F a good, long listen. Partnered with the right speakers, I suspect it might be an end-game amplifier for many, as it was for us.

In any event, enjoy the journey - and please share thoughts on your listening experiences with the fiesty little LEBEN CS300F.

IMG_1589.JPG
 
Last edited:

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
What an amazing thread. Thanks for sharing a of that. I'm gonna have to absorb a bit and come back with questions!
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I use a Leben CS-300s in my bedroom system. I've been through dozens of amps and its one of a few I actually like. I will admit that I don't quite understand your taking issue with people saying its a great amp within its power limitations...because that's exactly what it is and I'm assuming why you are running it with efficient Klipsch speakers, and why I'm running mine with Royd Minstrels, which for whatever reason just seem to lvoe it in a small room. It works wondefully...if you work with it, within its power output. It won't be an excellent amp if you force it upon inefficient speakers in a larger room. But give it something efficient, something with a relatively benign load, and it excels. It really demands somewhat efficient speakers for it to be considered an excellent sounding amp, but when it likes the speakers connected to it, there are very few amps that I think sound better, or more lively, or just plain fun. I've found it to be a bit more complicated than going by efficiency specifications as the best match I've found for mine is the aforementioned Royd Minstrels, which aren't what I'd have guessed would work but the matchup sounds great. The amount of bass and dynamics the combo conjures up is surprising, but its not in a very large room either.

I prefer my main system overall, as I find the Leben limits my speaker selection to the point where whatever failings the speakers have somewhat overrides the excellence of the amp. The Royd Minstrels are extremely fun and surprisngly open, dynamic, and tone-filled little things, but my Harbeth SHL-5s they are not. There aren't a lot of efficient speakers that I love the sound of, and I don't have room in my bedroom for the ones that I do...yet the Minstrels just really take of with it, and I think the matchup is absolutely perfect for my bedroom. I have and have had a lot of gear and can't think of anything else I've had that I'd rather be running in my 2nd system.
 

MWalt

Active Member
That was a great review. I have always been curious about the Leben CS-300 and its larger brother, the CS-600. EL-84's are among my favorite tubes whether in a SE mode or push-pull because they just sound so good in every amp I have ever heard them in.

Although I love big powerful amps, I have no problems with small amps because I have a small listening room that accommodates them quite well. Beautiful set up!

As for those Klipsch RP-160's...I just hope that they don't get poo-pooed because they are less expensive Klipsch stand mounts. Those speakers are really good! I found this thread on the Klipsch forums that might interest you. How to make the RP-160M come alive! I was considering trying it myself, but am a little reluctant about modifying such a nice speaker.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
That was a great review. I have always been curious about the Leben CS-300 and its larger brother, the CS-600. EL-84's are among my favorite tubes whether in a SE mode or push-pull because they just sound so good in every amp I have ever heard them in.

Although I love big powerful amps, I have no problems with small amps because I have a small listening room that accommodates them quite well. Beautiful set up!

As for those Klipsch RP-160's...I just hope that they don't get poo-pooed because they are less expensive Klipsch stand mounts. Those speakers are really good! I found this thread on the Klipsch forums that might interest you. How to make the RP-160M come alive! I was considering trying it myself, but am a little reluctant about modifying such a nice speaker.
I never got a chance to audition those Klipsch speakers, but I was (and still am) really curious about how they'd match-up with the Leben. The Royd Minstrels were so shockingly good (and fun) with them that it derailed the search.
 

MWalt

Active Member
Too bad you aren't closer. I'd let you take mine home to audition.

Those Royd Minstrels sure look the part, I just haven't had the chance to ever hear them. The specs look great too. If they are driven to satisfying levels with your Leben, I can only imagine what the Klipsch RP-160's would do. I got mine about 6 months ago for under $300 shipped (open box, not a single issue with them). The RP-160's only need a subwoofer if you just have to have that last half octave. I also think Klipsch was a little generous with their 96 db per watt @1 meter rating. Still, they play very loud with very few watts.

I plan on trying them with the Allo Volt + D at some point. The ProAc's sound so good I just can't bear to just yet!
 
I use a Leben CS-300s in my bedroom system. I've been through dozens of amps and its one of a few I actually like. I will admit that I don't quite understand your taking issue with people saying its a great amp within its power limitations...because that's exactly what it is and I'm assuming why you are running it with efficient Klipsch speakers, and why I'm running mine with Royd Minstrels, which for whatever reason just seem to lvoe it in a small room. It works wondefully...if you work with it, within its power output. It won't be an excellent amp if you force it upon inefficient speakers in a larger room. But give it something efficient, something with a relatively benign load, and it excels. It really demands somewhat efficient speakers for it to be considered an excellent sounding amp, but when it likes the speakers connected to it, there are very few amps that I think sound better, or more lively, or just plain fun. I've found it to be a bit more complicated than going by efficiency specifications as the best match I've found for mine is the aforementioned Royd Minstrels, which aren't what I'd have guessed would work but the matchup sounds great. The amount of bass and dynamics the combo conjures up is surprising, but its not in a very large room either.

I prefer my main system overall, as I find the Leben limits my speaker selection to the point where whatever failings the speakers have somewhat overrides the excellence of the amp. The Royd Minstrels are extremely fun and surprisngly open, dynamic, and tone-filled little things, but my Harbeth SHL-5s they are not. There aren't a lot of efficient speakers that I love the sound of, and I don't have room in my bedroom for the ones that I do...yet the Minstrels just really take of with it, and I think the matchup is absolutely perfect for my bedroom. I have and have had a lot of gear and can't think of anything else I've had that I'd rather be running in my 2nd system.
@JohnVF

I 100% agree with most of what you have said above. We too find it very frustrating that most highly efficient speakers are not our favourite speakers, persae.

So, we are left with a bit of a dichotomy. Do we buy our favourite amp and use it to drive the most appropriate speaker we can find? Or do we buy our favourite speaker and drive it with the most appropriate amp we can find. Decisions, decisions...

Like you, we can - and do - easily support the latter view, which makes perfect sense, because the speaker is the only component that "speaks" directly to our human ears. Trouble is, on the appropriate speaker, the LEBEN CS300F sounds just sooooo damn good. So, one of our quests is to find the ultimate speaker for the little LEBEN.
[This is why I am so excited about Richard Austen's forthcoming review of the AUDIO NOTE AN K!!!]

Meanwhile, the KLIPSCH RP-160M delivers big-time in a big room, on just a handful of watts. We know; we tried the KLIPSCH at a mate's mansion where their large LIVING VOICE OBX speakers have long held residence. Driven by their resident Tsakiridis SET, our mate's comments were "Man! These things have got to be the bargain of the century!" We thought the KLIPSCH convincingly outperformed the far costlier LIVING VOICE OBX speakers - in the huge room. In our smaller room, the KLIPSCH just needs a bit more space to breath, but it still sounds mighty fine. So the room factor comes into play here too.

So, what's the answer? As you can see from this thread, we have chosen many paths - just like your First and Second system - explaining why we own so many different amps and speakers. Sick puppies, indeed.

Like you, I too would not have expected the ROYD MINSTRELs to perform so well on the LEBEN; so many thanks for this hot tip-off! I will make best efforts to give that combination a go, as I have a mate with a pair of MINSTRELs - and he's dying to hear our REGA KYTEs.

So JohnVF, you're absolutely right! The LEBEN CS300F will not drive all speakers perfectly. Not even most real-world speakers.

Therefore, regarding my taking issue with reviews where the LEBEN has been mismatched with speakers, perhaps I am being a bit too demanding? But call me crazy; I just very firmly feel that a professional reviewer has a duty of obligation to the manufacturer - and to their readership - to ensure that the amp (or speaker; or whatever) under serious review is partnered with highly appropriate ancillaries. As mentioned above, most of the LEBEN CS300F review combinations that I have read about online, amounted to taking a Ferarri cross-country and complaining about the lack of traction. Miraculously, in each case, the little LEBEN still garnered high praise! Nevertheless, I find this approach frustrating and downright unfair to the little LEBEN.

I would be far more interested in a review from someone whose current reference is a a low-powered amp. I live in hope.
 
Last edited:
@MWalt

Hopefully the comments above are helpful regarding your investigation into the KLIPSCH speakers. As you will know, a lot will come down to ancillary factors like room size, parnering amp; and your own personal taste.

I too fully intend to upgrade the crossover on our KLIPSCH RP-160M, as we have experienced what massive improvements this has delivered with other quality speakers.

At some stage I will report on the KLIPSCH RP-160M further, but it really does deserve a thread of its own.
 
Last edited:

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
@JohnVF

I 100% agree with most of what you have said above. We too find it very frustrating that most highly efficient speakers are not our favourite speakers, persae.

So, we are left with a bit of a dichotomy. Do we buy our favourite amp and use it to drive the most appropriate speaker we can find? Or do we buy our favourite speaker and drive it with the most appropriate amp we can find. Decisions, decisions...

Like you, we can - and do - easily support the latter view, which makes perfect sense, because the speaker is the only component that "speaks" directly to our human ears. Trouble is, on the appropriate speaker, the LEBEN CS300F sounds just sooooo damn good. So, one of our quests is to find the ultimate speaker for the little LEBEN.
[This is why I am so excited about Richard Austen's forthcoming review of the AUDIO NOTE AN K!!!]

Meanwhile, the KLIPSCH RP-160M delivers big-time in a big room, on just a handful of watts. We know; we tried the KLIPSCH at a mate's mansion where their large LIVING VOICE OBX speakers have long held residence. Driven by their resident Tsakiridis SET, our mate's comments were "Man! These things have got to be the bargain of the century!" We thought the KLIPSCH convincingly outperformed the far costlier LIVING VOICE OBX speakers - in the huge room. In our smaller room, the KLIPSCH just needs a bit more space to breath, but it still sounds mighty fine. So the room factor comes into play here too.

So, what's the answer? As you can see from this thread, we have chosen many paths - just like your First and Second system - explaining why we own so many different amps and speakers. Sick puppies, indeed.

Like you, I too would not have expected the ROYD MINSTRELs to perform so well on the LEBEN; so many thanks for this hot tip-off! I will make best efforts to give that combination a go, as I have a mate with a pair of MINSTRELs - and he's dying to hear our REGA KYTEs.

So JohnVF, you're absolutely right! The LEBEN CS300F will not drive all speakers perfectly. Not even most real-world speakers.

Therefore, regarding my taking issue with reviews where the LEBEN has been mismatched with speakers, perhaps I am being a bit too demanding? But call me crazy; I just very firmly feel that a professional reviewer has a duty of obligation to the manufacturer - and to their readership - to ensure that the amp (or speaker; or whatever) under serious review is partnered with highly appropriate ancillaries. As mentioned above, most of the LEBEN CS300F review combinations that I have read about online, amounted to taking a Ferarri cross-country and complaining about the lack of traction. Miraculously, in each case, the little LEBEN still garnered high praise! Nevertheless, I find this approach frustrating and downright unfair to the little LEBEN.

I would be far more interested in a review from someone whose current reference is a a low-powered amp. I live in hope.
I think I better understand your aversion to "within its power" commentary from reviewers, as I too have seen people comment on it based on its performance with speakers that just aren't what it was made for. I may have even been one of them as I've had a heck of a time finding speakers for this great little amp. A pair of Cabasse Sloop M2s and Spendor S100s almost worked, but they were too big for the small-ish room the Leben eventually ended up in. The Royds do great with it in that room, though in a larger room I think they'd meet their limitations.

As you can see, I never really solved my conundrum of whether or not to find great speakers and match an amp to them, or find a great amp and match speakers to it. I ended up just doing both. I found a higher powered solid state amp that, when combined with an autoformer volume control, sounds as good as the Leben. And so the Harbeth SHL-5s live happily ever after, and the Leben gets to exist in a 2nd system that's listened to quite a bit in its own right. So it all worked out.

Thanks for the wonderful writeup. I've had this amp for probably 8 years?It's outlasted a number of other amps here. I have several amps laying around, but its one of 3 that get any rotation.The main system has a T+A a1530r solid state amp, and the other amp is an old Tim de Paravicini design, a Heybrook P2.. a wonderful, simple, old UK solid state amp. I'd liken it's sound as Naim-ish but with a bit more depth/dimension in trade for a bit of that Naim zing.
 
Thanks for the wonderful writeup. I've had this amp for probably 8 years? It's outlasted a number of other amps here. I have several amps laying around, but its one of 3 that get any rotation. The main system has a T+A a1530r solid state amp, and the other amp is an old Tim de Paravicini design, a Heybrook P2.. a wonderful, simple, old UK solid state amp. I'd liken it's sound as Naim-ish but with a bit more depth/dimension in trade for a bit of that Naim zing.
@JohnVF

It's funny that you mention the old HEYBROOK P2. I just missed buying one recently. Inside they are built as good as anything that I have seen, so I was sorry to miss it. Nevertheless, we probably have enough amplifiers and I'm sure she went to a good home.

Based upon your recommendation, I'm about to dive in deep and research your T+A amp - a brand we rarely see here in New Zealand. Looks interesting...

The one speaker that I have been somewhat remiss to mention in my LEBEN write-up above, is the MAGNAT ALL-RIBBON 6.

[Note: As many may already know, the term "All-Ribbon" on this (circa 1988) MAGNAT speaker family did not refer to Ribbon Tweeters - as we now know them. Instead, the clever Germans had discovered that ribbon-shaped voice coil wire helps extend frequencies. (Tara Labs make similar claims for their interconnects! Hmmmm....). We can attest to the fact that the unique MAGNAT All-Ribbon tweeters - also found on very popular DAHLQUIST and PROAC speakers of the day - extend way beyond the range of a normal tweeter. The MAGNAT specs state 34kHz, which may be a stretch, but we can't really dispute it... They're amazingly open and extended, without being hard or harsh!]

In our smaller New Zealand living room, we are very big fans of the smaller 2-way MAGNAT ALL-RIBBON 2. At a nominal 4-ohm load and around 91dB sensitivity, the All-Ribbon 2 has no problem pressurising the room. Due largely to the quality of the MAGNAT tweeter, the All-Ribbon 2 remains the most revealing speakers we own. Period. Partnered with the LEBEN CS300F in our small room, the ALL-RIBBON 2 is even preferrable to our excellent KLIPSCH RP160M. As mentioned above, the KLIPSCH come into its own in a much bigger room.

That said, at a nominal 8-ohm load and around 94dB sensitive - and being a 3-way - our MAGNAT ALL-RIBBON 6 is quite a bit more efficient than its 2-way sibling. The only reason I have held back on this report, is that some time back we lost a tweeter on the All-Ribbon 6, so I have a bit of a project ahead of me. Otherwise, we feel that this speaker - partnered with the LEBEN CS300F - is one of the best partnerships we have yet found, for the fiesty little LEBEN.

Of course, while she is on the operating table, I will take the chance to refresh the internals of our All-Ribbon 6, upgrade (not up-rate) caps, check dampening and hard-solder speaker terminations.

Here's a photo of our model of MAGNAT All-Ribbon 6. Currently she is packed away, patiently awaiting elective surgery... 🤓🤓🤓

Needless to say; if you manage to get your hands on a pair of these, your LEBEN might thank you...

DRIVERS CLOSE UP.JPG
 
Last edited:

MWalt

Active Member
@JohnVF

Meanwhile, the KLIPSCH RP-160M delivers big-time in a big room, on just a handful of watts. We know; we tried the KLIPSCH at a mate's mansion where their large LIVING VOICE OBX speakers have long held residence. Driven by their resident Tsakiridis SET, our mate's comments were "Man! These things have got to be the bargain of the century!" We thought the KLIPSCH convincingly outperformed the far costlier LIVING VOICE OBX speakers - in the huge room. In our smaller room, the KLIPSCH just needs a bit more space to breath, but it still sounds mighty fine. So the room factor comes into play here too.
This ^^^^^^^^^^^^

The only reason I didn't stop the speaker search right then and there. Although they sounded really good in my small room, I still wanted a speaker better suited for what I had to work with. That is what led me to the NHT SuperZero 2.1's and eventually the ProAc Tablette 10's.

Needless to say, the Klipsch RP-160's are keepers.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
One thing I've found with matching speakers to it, is what small tubes you have in it plays better with some speakers than others. With the Royds, 12ax7s in the driver slots works really well. With others the 5751s were better.

Replacing the Sovtek EL84s in mine was the best thing I ever did for it.
 

TimF

Junior Member
Sondek, thanks for your time writing this up. I have always loved the little Leben, but to date have yet to buy one, and really, the speaker end of things has always had me a bit puzzled as to what I would use there. I guess I have had too many other flirtations to really dig myself in on it!

I guess one that I thought had potential was the WLM line of speakers, but sadly they kind of faded away.
 
Top