Tannoy Everyone?! with Leben CS600 or Pass XA25/30.5?

Wow. 200 hours and the Stirling are sounding really great!

My Leben cs600 seems to run out of juice though - especially on the digital side. The gain from my phonostage leaves some room, but the 2mV output from my DAC not so much.

I'm thinking Pass Labs w/a tube pre and am curious if an XA25 will drive them? Or an XA30.5 might be better? Any experience would be helpful. Gracias, amigos.


Tannoy what a voice. I'm less than 100 hr in on a pair of Cheviot's and they keep getting better.

Driving them with a PL Dialogue HP @ 40 wpc triode and haven't gotten close to using it all, I don't have any experience with Pass Labs But I'm not sure that 25 wpc would be enough since that's the power you have now.

From what I've read, the XA25 is both underrated and that class A has enough more current to be plenty of power...I think. The 30's push a little harder even, I think. I'm not sure and hope some with direct experience can speak to that.

I'm surprised with the Leben, too. It's a wonderful piece of gear that I hate to see go and I'm definitely having some seller's remorse. It may be a mismatch with the DAC, but I think the 2V (not mV!) output is pretty standard. I'd have to find a DAC with a higher output or sell the Tannoy and neither seemed too viable....

I've looked at the Audio Mirror Tubadour SE, but the output is the same. Lampizator has some models with a 6V high output switch. 

In the end, starting with the speakers and finding the right amp makes the most sense. Maybe there's a higher output DAC that would make good music with the Leben/Tannoy but in the meantime, I'm hoping a Pass Labs amp with a Supratek pre will make some beautiful music.

From looking around, the 30.5 seems a little rounder than the .8 with the 25 being the warmest of the three. Hopefully, someone's tried one or more of them with some tannoy Stirlings or Turnberrys (Turnberries?) and can weigh in.

Try reaching out to Jeff Day (Jeff’s Place) @ Positive Feedback Online.  He has extensive experience with Leben and Tannoy and might have some good ideas for you.  Good luck.

Consider Accuphase Integrated, especially E-650. I am running Canterbury’s with E-650, the only scenario I’m ditching E-650 once I get my hands on Accuphase E-800.

What is the size of your room?

I have no problem driving my Tannoy Sterlings with a Pass XA25. I have also driven then with a Line Magnetic 211ai which delivers 32wpc in ultralinear mode, 16wpc in triode.

My room is 15' x 12'. 

@lalitk Hello! How are you? Accuphase is on my radar, but the dizzying array of models....well, is dizzying! Your Canterbury's are easier to drive, but I think Class A is the way to go - hence my Pass Labs interest. Any other used models more in the 5.5-7K(7 is a stretch) range you'd suggest? How are their onboard phono pres?

@mesch Close to the same. 15X18 ish. Great to hear about the Pass. The Line Magnetic is a bit of a mystery to me. I'm getting about 28/30wpc with the Leben. It's fine with my phono setup (EAR834P/Thorens/Soundsmith Carmen), but runs out of gas with my digital (AMR DP777SE)....

but runs out of gas with my digital (AMR DP777SE)....

I'm thinking you AMR isn't putting out enough volts to drive the amp or the quiet background compared to the analog set-up makes it seem like it isn't as loud? 

@russ69 I have the same thought - I'm super curious if anyone else has had a similar experience, but I also know that the Tannoy can be more power hungry than their specs might suggest.


I am well and hope the same for you! I hear you on the cost, unfortunately Accuphase is priced unfairly in US due to excessive greed of US distributor. But boy, the pairing of Accuphase and Tannoy is unmistakable, great synergy and delicious sound all around. All the positive attributes of a SET amp sound characteristics served delicately with SS class A purity. So I agree with you, Class A is a way to go with Tannoy’s. 

The AD-50 phono board in my E-650 was more than adept in conveying Hana’s Umami Red gorgeous sound. I never felt anything lacking! In my system, the AD-50 offered much better synergy over a $2500 E.A.T. E-glo S phono preamp with external power supply. 

In your budget, keep an eye for E-480. Good luck! 

the Tannoy can be more power hungry than their specs might suggest.

This is true and 25 or 30 watts is not a whole bunch of power. It works for me but I seldom play loud. 

The Leben CS600 runs out of juice?

With the Tannoy Stirlings?

And only with the DAC?

Curious and curiouser.

@cd318 that's it! I'd be curious if you (or anyone else) might have experienced their DAC not driving their Leben CS600...


Does your DAC have balanced output? If it does, then try a XLR IC with XLR to RCA adapters (for Leben inputs). The typical output level on balanced analog is 6.1Vrms.

I hope you don't sell that beautiful Leben only to find your DAC was the limiting factor.  If possible, explore/experiment with other DAC's before switching amps.

Well, you guys are heaping onto my seller's remorse! I sold it to a very good home and we're both happy with it. The Leben is a beautiful piece and I may regret it down the line, but am excited for new possibilities. Maybe an Accuphase integrated!

Ok, confession time. I don't really miss the Leben! It's a beautiful thing, lovely to behold and I have a deep appreciation for it. In the end, though, I think I'm not a tube amp enthusiast - a tube preamp with ss amp is my wheelhouse. So, there it is - truth will set me free! Or, as George Clinton said back in the day in the classic Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts (funk philosophy 400 level listening): Free your mind and your ass will follow. Play on, children!

ALL of that said, maybe I should have given the Tannoy more that 150-200 hours? They sure do take their time.... 

Leben like skin girl with big beamer mid body need sunglass look at otherwise get mesmerize. Some tube like love letter write with fountain pen romantic but lack big ball big driver need ss or tube mono like my ref 750. Wife sister have old Arden power with nagra pyramid mono I get her sound big. Big driver need power like big women need big man. I no care for big woman but they alway try because I bud strong like bull. Jack I bench big weight.

Leben CS600 cannot drive a Stirling. I know it because a close buddy has the Kensington and he was using CS600. It simply doesn't have the grunt. Consider that Kensington is easier to drive than Stirling because of its alnico magnet.

I personally use Turnberry SE. Pass XA-25 will happily drive your Stirling but you will miss the touch and lushness of Leben. I would suggest a Rogue Stereo 100 or Audio Research Ref 75se. A proper 70+ watt tube amp which can be used in triode mode (not ultralinear) will give you the sweetness and power you are looking for.

Here is an interesting review for you


@pani That is right on point for me! Thank you so much for all that clarity and clarification!! The Rogue may be the ticket. I'm also looking seriously at the XA25, but the 'hyperdynamics' is exactly my concern - I was/am thinking/imagining some tube integrated in front of that might attenuate that a bit.

The other possibility for me is an Accuphase E480, but it's overpriced and class A/B. The further simplifying phono module is inviting, though. (If only there was a way to easily internally modify a 230V version to 120V).

I'm surprised the leben not cutting it... I have the luxman class a 550ax2 with only 25watts and my ardens are more than happy... I tried my cs300xs before but the 18w on that was a bit uncontrolled on the bass..... 

The luxman 590 would be great too as more headroom... 

@richdirector Maybe the Arden/s 93dB sensitivity/20wpc minimum reco vs. 91dB/30wpc holds the answer there. The Leben is 32wpc class a/b while the Luxman in class a has much more current. I don't have any experience with class a power beyond the first few watts in  Plinius integrated and an SA201 I had years back - hardly relevant!....I can only call 'em as I hear 'em. 

There seems to be some evidence around that 25wpc in Class A would do the trick with the Stirlings, too.

@richdirector Forgot the other piece: The 590 is on my radar - and I think you're right! The 507or 9 would likely have the same, but there seems to be some magic to class A and Tannoy. Accuphase reviews as more my sonic palate, but the well known overpricing on these shores is a pretty offpissing gouge and hard to support.

Thanks for your input and insight!

There are some 590 on the ex demo side that would be in budget but was always curious of first watt myself but more expensive in UK 

And I'm very happy with luxman.... Think the tannoys give some of that accuphase style themselves so the combo may be too warm. But also to e Controls on amp and crossover tone control on speakers can tweak. Saying that I tried but prefer flat on both... But loudness button on luxman magic when playing low very late at night (up to 40db)

@budburma  Yes the Line Magnetic is borderline for power in my room which has only 2/3rds the volume of yours.  This using a DAC having 2V output. 

I am with you on the use of a tube preamp with a SS amp. I run an Aric Audio pre into my XA25. Also have an Aric Audio Transcend tube amp which I rotate in. Both provide more 'juice' than the LM.

ALso like you I am not sure that my Sterlings are fully broken in.

I will say that I like the LM integrated. With the right speaker/room it plays well. My issue with it is that it has a sensitivity of 200mV. Way too high in my book. I am thinking too much gain in the preamp stage, not sure about this however.

I should add that I auditioned my Sterlings with a Luxman integrated. Believe the model was a 550. Dealer said it produced 20wpc in class A.  If I was looking for a SS integrated Luxman would be high on my list.

Surprised no one mentions Sugden, the originator of pure Class A solid state (1967). I drive my Tannoy Eaton Legacy's very well with the Sugden A21se signature. It has 30 watts 8 ohm, and 40 watts 4 ohm. Seems like enough power for me and my listening room. If you need more, Sugden has the Masterclass Range and also separates. It seems like a perfect pairing, Tannoy & Sugden. To round it out, I'm looking for a Linn Sondek LP12...

I have Turnberry GRs. I do hear Luxman, Sugden, Accuphase pair very well with Tannoy. My Primaluna Evo400 has great synergy with my Turnberrys...very lush and dynamic sounding combo for sure.

I was looking to replace the Primaluna with Luxman before getting the Tannoys. Now, not so sure.

@sandthemall I hear you. My friend has the Stirling with an EVO 200 (44wpc/UL only) and it sounds very nice. Can you run the 400 in triode effectively?

@sandthemall @audioguy85  My buddy with the PL/Stirlings runs a Linn Sondek, too, with a modded EAR834P which all adds up to sweet tunes. He put a BMI Oceanic Statement pc on his PL and said "I doubled my fidelity." It was definitely an impressive upgrade to his system....

@sandthemall I don't own a Lp12, not yet. I do however own the Ear 834P. I bought it used with the original tube (JJ I believe) installed. I have some replacement tubes for it put aside for some tube rolling. 

I use and really enjoy a Music Reference RM-10 Mk II, 35 wpc w/my Stirling GR's since 2019 driven by a Cary 303/300 cdp w/internal volume control and it's plenty of power in a medium size room w/vaulted ceiling.  I normally listen around 75-85 dB and I play up to 90-95 db when ears are deadened by ethyl:)  The Cary is 3V RMS using RCA outputs which I use and 6V using XLR's.  The RM10 sensitivity is perfect for passive preamps or running direct.  Good luck w/your search.

@pdreher I feel you. I used a Cary 306/200 for many years - the BurrBrowns were hard to beat! A good friend uses the same DAC and loves it too. The 3V may have been all I needed, but I'm skeptical. Bass and dynamics loss, congestion/breakdown with "busy" passages - particularly around the top edge of female  vocals and no room to move after 1100 on your dial - HEY don't touch that dial! Commercial free zone. JK. Anyway, I'm excited to find something new and reengage with happy, happy listening. It's a big drag with nothing to power the Stirlings...even for a day!


The triode mode works well on the Evo 400 for even less efficient speakers but does well with the 93db Tannoys. This wasn't the case for the Dialogue Premium I had before. I use triode for a few harsh LPs but tend to keep it in UL.

Pass XA25 will put out over 80W AB.  I don't like that sound.  If you stay in class A, it is a forever amp.  I tried to find an impedance curve but couldn't.  Adding a sub with a crossover point less than 100 Hz will take load off your main amp.  I bet the 25 will work then, There are other benefits as you well know.  Good luck.  Once set up you will have a beautiful sounding system. 

Ok, I have settled in and see two options, both keeping in mind that if a pair of Dynaudio Confidence 3's show up, I want to be able to accommodate them. In the meantime, I'm loving the Tannoy sound and the Stirlings are staying for some time.

1. Supratek Cortese (I've wanted one for 15+ years)

+ amplifier TBD 

Pass XA25 and Rogue Stereo 100 are both contenders (I know, I know...it's tubes), but I feel like they're sort of temporizing.  

- a Gamut D200i might be the things down the line if/when Dynaudios appear.

2. Accuphase E480 w/phono card.

I may be discounting the PL and maybe I shouldn't, but it also feels like a temporary solution.


"From looking around, the 30.5 seems a little rounder than the .8 with the 25 being the warmest of the three. Hopefully, someone's tried one or more of them with some tannoy Stirlings or Turnberrys (Turnberries?) and can weigh in."

I can weigh in. I had a Pass XA-30.5 and Pass XP-10 with Turnberry SEs. It was not a great combination. Not very dynamic. Much better results (with Turnberry) using an MC-275, Yamaha AS1200, and Benchmark HPA4/AHB2 (amp in use now). Maybe there was something wrong with my Pass amp. But I sold it to an audio engineer at Apple and didn't hear back that he was unhappy with it. Don't know what speakers he was using .....

!I had Pas xa 60.5 with kensingtons and it wasn't a great combination either.  

The best Tannoys are those with Alnico magnets and the pepper pot tweeter. Unfortunately  you will need to mortgage the house to afford, at least I would have to. I'll have to be happy with the Eatons for now.

Hi there. Ahh, it’s been a while. Thanks for driving in! I actually ended up going with a Plinius SA 201 with a Supratek Syrah. An absolutely glorious combo!


About sixteen or so years ago, I had a Syrah and Plinius SA-102 and recall it as among the best systems I've ever had. Congrats, and enjoy!


I've got some new class D Atma-sphere monos coming soon as an alternate to my Music Reference RM10....interesting times ahead cheers!

Not all amplifiers are created equal...take a listen to the Sophia Electric. They never ran out of gas for me in a large room and you gain the midrange...huge. 

The Alnico and Pepperpot may be the way to go with Tannoys, but the size of both the speakers and the price make them a no go for me, too, @audioguy85 . That said, the Stirlings are strutting their stuff after an extensive and painful break-in. The metal tweeters can still rule the high end roost crying out for too much attention from time to time, but those times are fewer and further between as time goes on. 

@waltersalas The Plinius SA201 was also part of my favorite past system with pretty much any preamp - Ayre K1xp, Cary 98P, AES DJH AE3, Klyne 7lx4.0p and Dynaudio Confindence 3's. I love the Plinius sound (and what a match with Dynaudio!!) - big, deep, rich, detailed, dynamic with subtleties revealed, just warm enough with velvet glove/iron fist control and plenty of power to lope along with ease. The Pass XA25 lasted less than a week here feeling dark, wooly, lacking in dynamics and generally boring - at least in this system. Happily, they're popular, seem to work well elsewhere and it was a quick and easy sale.

The Syrah is wonderfully rich and engaging even if it's a little quirky with a hum to start that fades relatively quickly, gain that's hard to match (but has easy on the fly adjustments),  a high pass switch that you better remember to turn off your amp before you switch to engage it(!), and tubes that are sort of a pain in the ass to source. BUT in the end, worth every bit of it. @jslateiv really got it in beautiful sounding condition, updating old cap caps, connections, etc.

With all that in mind, what has really brought it home are the Dynamic Design cables - especially the TBK Nebula IC's and SC's . Such presence, nuance, detail, imaging, but the word that most appears in my thoughts is "clean" but that's hardly complete - thoughts aren't expressed in the right language somehow. The absence of things is as integral to their prowess as what's proffered. No distraction of distortion, or even a hint of a peep of sound in-between images is closer and with the most beautifully wrought staging and dense, articulate, delineated, yet rounded images. They reall are wonderful and for the first time in decades of this hobby, I have a full loom of one company and couldn't be more satisfied and overjoyed eveh!

A decription of what I experience rather than hear gets much closer to what I want to convey. Dynamic Design is so captivatingly natural sounding. Their nuance is a deceptive part of their invitation, especially these TBK nebulae (the Heritage AE15 and Titania, too, though)  - an invitation to turn away from studying and just delight in the journey.

I'm finally (and once again) transported to a fully involved purely musical state without noticing or caring about any deficit - listening to the music and not the equipment (finally, reprise). I really haven't listened for detail, or been driven to, in most of my reference tracks because I'm so swept away by the PRaT and presence. A gentle giant.

Anyway, for me, the most important aspect to achieve has been 'musicality', whatever that ineffable quality is for each listener, and I've always said I'll trade detail and (over)articulation for that any time. And these DD help provide exactly that experience in spades.

As a card carrying member of this club and it's dis-ease, that feeling is fleeting and now I noticed an odd vertical collapse of my soundstage but 40% or so - it's happened before and a tube going wonky has generally been the culprit, so the search is on! My AMR is on deck and I need a spare set of 6SN7's to switch out on the Syrah...

But I digress....

@budburma those Sterlings are no slouch, I'm certain they sound wonderful! My Eatons are good enough for me, huge standmounters...like you, the larger much more expensive Tannoys are way over my budget, and I cannot fit them in my room...so I'm content with the Eatons for now.