Feb 062018

To get my mind off the plunging stock market and my plunging retirement savings, I thought I’d do something edifying like give my Thorens TD124 a try on my vintage Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers.

I’ve wanted to revisit the Leben CS-600 integrated amplifier and Leben RS-30EQ combination that works so well together for a while now, so this was the perfect opportunity.

Here’s the system setup for vinyl at the moment:

  • Artisan Fidelity Thorens TD124 turntable, Schick tonearm, and Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103
  • Auditorium 23 SUT for Denon DL-103
  • Leben RS-30EQ phono preamplifier
  • Duelund silver interconnects from SUT to RS-30EQ
  • Duelund DCA16GA interconnects from RS-30EQ to CS-600
  • Leben CS-600 integrated amplifier with Sophia Electric EL34-ST tubes
  • Western Electric WE16GA speaker cables
  • Vintage Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers
  • Acoustic Revive Power Reference TripleC NCF power cords

There’s a reason that the Leben CS-600 and RS-30EQ combination has received so much praise at hifi shows, it is very musical combination.

The Harrow & The Harvest

Paired with my Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers, the CS-600 & RS-30EQ combination was sweet, rich, and musical playing  Gillian Welch’s and David Rawlings’ The Harrow & The Harvest.

The Thorens TD124 into my Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers system sounds a lot different than it did in my Tannoy Westminster Royal SE system.

I’ve got some more setup and fine tuning to do, but I’m really liking what I’m hearing!

More to come!

As always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!

 Posted by at 10:12 am

  10 Responses to “A vinyl morning with the Altec A5 Voice of the Theatre loudspeakers!”

  1. Hi Jeff,

    I love reading about your CS600 posts! I owned one briefly in 2014, but it was not the right amp for me at the time and I traded it for something else, a decision that I sort of still regret, ha.

    Quick background on my setup:
    My home in Hong Kong has a Denon PMA-A100 driving a pair of Dali Helicon 300 MKIIs, a combination that I heard in Japan and liked very much. Dali was distributed by Denon at one point so that was a common pairing.

    Due to work arrangement, I rent an apartment elsewhere on weekdays, and I’ve been thinking about putting a system in there too. The listening area in my living room is about 80 square feet / 7.5 square meters.

    Do you think the CS300 will be enough for the space? I probably will not be listening at loud volumes (9 o’clock on the volume dial at most) because the walls are not that thick. Music selection is mainly Jazz, with a bit of Japanese contemporary rock/alternative (think Radiohead/Red Hot Chili Peppers) and some instrumental tracks from movie/game soundtracks.

    Of course, having the 600 would be nice, but buying one brand new is out of my budget. And it just happens that there’s a CS300 on the 2nd hand market right now…

    Any comments would be great.
    Thank you so much!

    • Hi Ben,

      I had a version of the CS300 at one point, and I thought it was a beautiful little amplifier. I ended up selling it, which I regret now.

      The CS300 has only 12 watts output, but you should be ok in a room of 80 square feet if you choose loudspeakers that are an easy load.

      With the CS300 if you get into the lower range of sensitivity around the mid eighties, like with the smaller Harbeth’s, for example, with 12 watts you should still have enough power for low to moderate listening levels.

      I hope that helps. Let me how it works out.

      Kind regards,


      • Hi Jeff,

        Thank you for the reply!

        I actually have a pair of Zensor 3s lying around with a sensitivity of 88db, so they should do the trick. Now the question is how to avoid being taxed at the border when I carry the amp into China, where I work…

  2. Do you happen to know what the turns ratio (or dB gain) on your SUT is? I just bought a new Leben RS30EQ (will be a month or more before it comes in) and will be running into my CS300XS. Do you have enough gain, as far as you are concerned?

    • Hi Judd,

      I don’t know what the turns ratio is for the Auditorium 23 SUT for my Denon DL-103, but it seems to have plenty of gain in my system with the A5’s.

      I’m sure you could email Jonathan Halpern at Tone Imports or Keith Aschenbrenner at Auditorium 23 to find out the specifics on their Denon DL-103 SUT.

      Kind regards,


      • Hi Jeff can you please tell me does the Leben 600 have gold plated back panel,knobs and inputs like the 300xs? Because I see some older models that dont have this and the website you don’t get enough information Thank you Dimitris

        • Hi Dimitris,

          The CS600 and CS300 are very similar in their fit and finish. You can see a photo of the CS600 rear panel HERE, and a photo of the CS300 rear panel HERE.

          I hope that helps!



          • Jeff can you also tell me can I buy the thorens td124 ready to go from well I mean complete all parts or do I have to buy a old Thorens for Artisan fidelity to upgrade it? If so how much did you pay for it Very good choice you have good taste in equipment.

          • Hi Dimitris,

            You can buy a completely restored Thorens TD124 or Garrard 301, as well as other vintage turntables, from Christopher Thornton at Artisan Fidelity or Chris Harban at Woodsong Audio in the US. Other ultra-quality sources would be Jaap Pees at Hanze HiFi in the Netherlands, and Schopper AG in Switzerland.

            These are relatively expensive routes to go, but they all do superb work.

            It’s your choice for sending a TD124 to be refurbished, or buying one that’s already been refurbished.

            The pricing depends on the what the listener wants for a plinth, the number of tonearms, the kind of tonearms, the kind of isolation feet you want to use, etc.

            For example, at the time I bought it, my Artisan Fidelity Thorens TD124 with the long base plinth for one tonearm came to $10545 USD without a tonearm.

            Probably the least expensive route to go is to buy a TD124 in decent condition and then do a restoration yourself with Audiosilente or other quality idlers, bearings, and such.

            Anyways, I hope that is of some help.

            Kind regards,


  3. Thank you very much Jeff for your help

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