Looking for new (to me) Speakers for Leben CS300XS---Devore, Harbeth, or Reference 3A?

Hi, I am motivated to purchase one of these soon to use with the 15 watt Leben. I will be replacing my Zu's which are for sale here.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

DeVore Gibbon The Nines = $3.4k and a 81 mile round trip.

Harbeth C7ES-3 = $3.k and a 19 mile round trip. 

Reference 3A Episode BE = $2.7k and 36.5 mile round trip.

What would you do?


Hi Chris -

Without knowing anything about your musical tastes and how loud you listen ... you would be going from floor standers to stand mounts with the Harbeths.  Do you have any concerns that your cat (s) will look to topple the new speakers?  That would be my first concern.  I use my stand mounts (Omega CAMs) on top of bookshelves for that reason.  The speakers sound fine, but some of the audiophile niceties get lost.  

Second concern would be the speakers' efficiency.  With the Leben's output @ 15 wpc, you will want efficient speakers.  That may disqualify the Harbeths.

I don't know the other two speakers.  I am presently running both Zu Audio and Omega CAMs with my systems.  

I like the look and what I have read about the Nines.   I might obsess that Pattie Cat and Tony would find the side mounted woofer a little too tempting and interesting, but I would do the trip to audition them.

Apologies for the feline approach to speaker selection, but it would be a big part of the process for me.

I’ve owned the 7ES3 and I doubt a 15 watt amp would be a good fit. The 3 grand is overpriced for that speaker.
$2500 or less would be more of a ballpark price for them in the standard cherry finish. BTW, you will also need stands with them!
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“What would you do?”

I would take my Leben CS300XS along and audition all three speakers on your list. I wouldn’t do it any other way unless you’re buying new set of speakers with in-home audition return policy.
@lalitk offers a very wise and doable suggestion.
I’m skeptical about the Harbeth driven by the 15 watt Leben however you have the fortunate opportunity to take your amplifier and listen for yourself.

No matter how well intentioned or thoughtful some of the responses you’ll receive here,   the ability to actually hear, the Leben with your list of speakers is the superior option.

I wouldn't let anyone bring their amp into my home and try it on my speakers before purchase. In fact, my system isn't an audition period for anyone. Learned that lesson long ago. 

I run my Ref 3A de Capos with a 4 watt Decware mini torii. Does it get concert loud, no but loud enough for a 12x20 room.
I’m using a 20-watt Raven Audio Blackhawk with the Reference 3A de Capo i speakers and it has considerably more than power than I need for anything in the wide range of music I listen to in a medium size living room.

I owned the DeVore Super 8 speakers and absolutely loved them but was driving them with a considerably more powerful amp.
Yes, some good advice here. Use your Leben to audition if at all possible.

An 81mile round trip ain't too bad. I once did a near 400 mile round trip to pick up some Quads! Never again.

As @tvad said, why limit yourself to a choice between these three? The Tekton Perfect Set certainly looks intriguing.
Instead of the Harbeth, strongly consider one of the Audio Note models.  They are excellent and would play superbly well with your Leben.
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Should you choose to look outside your aforementioned choices, I highly recommend Tannoy Stirling (used) if you can find them. I have paired Tannoy’s Prestige Series speakers with Leben and Accuphase and they are absolute joy (non-fatigue sound) for long listening sessions.
Based on your question, lalitk has the perfect advice. You're in the unique position of being within reasonable driving distance of all 3 speakers that interest you. Pack up that amp and take a few road trips.
I have concluded the best amplifier for Audio Note loudspeakers is an Audio Note.

That may be the case but other tube amps work well I am using a custom PP 17 watt EL34 amp to power my AN-J's. Having heard Leben gear I think it would match well with AN.
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Thank-you for all your responses!

I should have noted that the Harbeth's came with stands. However, the owner advised me that they've been sold.

I’m driving the Tekton 2-10 Perfect Set with a 20 watt Schiit  Aegir.  $2k delivered for the Tekton’s.  You don’t have to drive anywhere.  60 day home trial.  Play louder than I would ever want, even for rocking out.

You’re really missing out if you don’t give them a try.
I have heard the little leben and devore at whetstone audio in austin quite a few time. and the harbeth for that matter. i prefer the devore with that particular amp
Strongly agree with the pack up amp and audition recommendation. If the list gets too big and needs some trimming, I would suggest sending it to Leben and asking if any options are particularly good matches in their experience. They've got more relevant experience than anyone in here.