Line Magnetic 518IA Integrated Amp and 502CA DAC

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by IanL, Dec 25, 2015.

  1. Binh Nguyen

    Binh Nguyen New Member

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Hi all,

    I have a LM 518ia, too. It's really a great amp. Besides tube rolling, has anyone tried replacing the stock capacitors with audio grade capacitors like Mundorfs, Jantsens...etc? I have tested mine with the Jantsen Z Superiors and Audyn True Copper Maxes. I find that these caps add great improvement over the stock caps and the improvement is more obvious than tube rolling. I like the Audyns better and now they stay in my amp. I just thought I had to share my experience for those who like to try.

    Happy listening!
     
    roboss38, Tlay and Dennis0675 like this.
  2. Mark broadhead

    Mark broadhead Active Member

    Location:
    Newcastle England
    Hi, I have a 218ia and replaced the caps with the Line Magnetic logo with Mundorf Supreme Silver/oil. A huge success and as you point out - a much bigger change than the valves in terms of sound quality improvement. In fact, in my system changing caps has proved enormously fruitful and a real ear opener ! As a footnote the amp has impressive build quality.
     
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  3. EddieVanHalen

    EddieVanHalen Forum Resident

    I have a pair of matched 12AX7 Gold Lions made in Russia with golden pins and they are excellent, but I also have a pair of matched Psvanes 12AX7 MKII and I liked them best than the Gold Lions and they are more or less the same price on Ebay. Psvanes takes longer to break in 'though, it also happened with a pair of Psvanes 6SN7 I have, it took around 300 hours to break in.
     
    james likes this.
  4. EddieVanHalen

    EddieVanHalen Forum Resident

    And regarding the 12AX7 from Psvane, when I posted yesterday it was very late at night, 2 or 3 AM (in Spain) or so, so I was playing music at a very low volume. Now it's 5:15 PM and I'm playing the soundtrack for The Empire Strikes Back, not the new Sony Classical golden record re-release, which I also have, but an original from 1980 I bought factory sealed, double album US-only (the rest of the world got only one record) in mint+++ condition, like it just got out from the factory. I listened, just to compare, side 1 and then side 2 each with the 12AX7 Gold Lion and PSvane 12AX MKII. If you accept my advice, please, spend your money well and get the Psvane MKII. I'm listenning now to side 4 of The Empire Strikes Back and mid to high volume level with the Psvane 12AX7 MKII after listenning side 4 with the Gold Lion 12AX7 and if /you don't compare these with anything else they sound great, even outstanding for a current production tube that can be bought for 70/90 $ a matched pair. But now while listenning to side 4 again with the Psvane 12AX7MKII I can tell you they don't sound outstanding, they give MAGIC to those vinyl grooves. They are a strange combination of very detailed sound yet warm and "fat" sounding with more gain than the Gold Lions. If you have between 70 to 90 $ to spare on a new pair of 12AX7 tubes and you take my word get a a pair of matched of Psvane 12AX7 MKII, they come in hard boxes of two, each tube with its reference number from the factory and a sheet with its specifications after being tested so they match. They way they are boxed, presented, surprises for its quality, well, their sound surprises even more.
    I got them from this seller: 1 Pair Premium PSVANE 12AX7-T/ECC83 Vacuum Tube For FR Vintage Guitar Audio AMP | eBay
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
    Tlay likes this.
  5. dbb

    dbb New Member

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Just pre-ordered a pair of Psvane WE845 to replace the stock 845 in my LM518. This will be my first time rolling tubes in this amp. Can't wait to let the tinkering begin.
     
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  6. EddieVanHalen

    EddieVanHalen Forum Resident

    Good luck with the Psvanes WE845 but something tells me you won't need it. I must confess I was absolutely exceptical when early this year bought a tube Phono pre, which is Chinese also, a Yaqin MS-23B, about Chinese tubes. I looked at the pictures of Various Psvanes on several websites and Ebay and I thought ''they look very nice and they are nicely packed but I'm sure that's where they put all the money but once installed they will sound, well, like the typical cheap Chinese item, only these are good looking''. I bought my first matched pair of Psvanes around two months ago, I got a Yaqin SD-CD3 ''tube buffer'', something that is not highly regarded here but that has done wonders on the stereo analog outs of my ancient Oppo BDP-93. These were a pair of 6SN7 Psvane that make the duo Oppo BDP-93/Yaqin SD-CD3 sound great. The SD-CD3 is something that shows the personality of the 6SN7 tubes it's using, I also have a pair of General Electric 6SN7 GTB from 1967 (NOS) and a pair of 1960's NOS Tung-Sol 6SN7GTB and they all aound great in their own way, but I must confess that after breaking in all the 3 pairs of 6SN7's I'm currently using the Psvanes. After that discovery and despite being very happy with my matched pair of 12AX7 Gold Lions I had to try the Psvanes on the Phono pre. Got them for a good price, arrived soon and sound has been since then a revelation. It looks like the people at Psvane are dedicated professionals and know how to do their job. I'm happy to have an alternative to NOS tubes with outstanding sound but without the high prices of NOS tubes.
     
    dbb likes this.
  7. dbb

    dbb New Member

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I have been trying to source a new 502CA and was told earlier today that it has been discontinued. Anyone else heard this? :confused:
     
  8. roboss38

    roboss38 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Clovis, CA U.S.A.
    What are values for the caps your replaced in your 518ia? I've been pondering this mod for a while, but haven't looked under the hood yet.
     
  9. Gizmo90

    Gizmo90 Active Member

    Location:
    98336
    That's interesting the caps made more of a difference than the valves in terms of sound quality. Makes me wonder how much more expensive could it be to use better caps in gear for manufacturers? Are they really saving a lot of money?
     
  10. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    Yes, this is correct.
     
  11. IanL

    IanL Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oneonta, NY USA
    I wonder if they are getting ready to release a new model? It's too bad, as this DAC really is a wonderful sounding unit, particularly with carefully selected NOS tubes.

    I just recently subscribed to Tidal HiFi streaming, and running everything through this LM DAC in my main system everything sounds incredible, even with much of it just at 44.1/16. Tubes sure do take digital to a higher level.
     
    wwright likes this.
  12. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    The rumor is that a new dac is forthcoming....just not sure of time frame or details on it yet. Apparently it has been shown at a few of the Asian HIFI shows.
     
    IanL likes this.
  13. Radiotron

    Radiotron Tube Designer

    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    james and IanL like this.
  14. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    New DAC will be DSD apparently.
     
  15. GoldprintAudio

    GoldprintAudio Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lexington, NC
    This is what I've heard as well.
     
  16. Binh Nguyen

    Binh Nguyen New Member

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    I replaced the caps with the same value as stock caps, 0.47uf.
     
  17. Binh Nguyen

    Binh Nguyen New Member

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Caps can run from a few cents to several hundred bucks, depending on brands and values. The difference can be a few hundred dollars for the same value cap. Few hundred bucks x number of caps in the amp can make a big difference for manufactures. Search for Duelund Cast Cu to see the price.
     
  18. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    I work for a guitar/amplifier manufacturer and we make a few "cost no object" amplifiers. What I've found interesting is that often the price of a component doesn't necessarily make it sound better. After trial, error and listening tests, we end up with very expensive things in a circuit right next to a "normal" components (where higher end options are available).

    Disclaimer: i'm a computer guy, not an amplifier designer. I just always found that process and result to be interesting.
     
    wwright likes this.
  19. Gizmo90

    Gizmo90 Active Member

    Location:
    98336
    That makes sense, thanks for the reply.

    Thanks for the insight!
     
  20. Binh Nguyen

    Binh Nguyen New Member

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    I currently have the 12AX7 Gold Lions in the pre amp and like them a lot. The Psvanes will be on my next upgrade list. Thanks for the insight.
     
    EddieVanHalen likes this.
  21. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vallejo, CA
    FWIW, there's a 502CA on Audiogon at the moment for a great price with Amperex tubes. No affiliation, but its a great deal for somebody looking for one of these excellent and now discontinued DACs.
     
    JMAC likes this.
  22. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    I noticed that one. My finger is almost on the trigger.
     
    IanL likes this.
  23. roboss38

    roboss38 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Clovis, CA U.S.A.
    So, I sent my LM518ia off to Pat Hickman at Classic Tube Audio for a cap swap and some power supply work. I will report back my findings once I receive her back next Friday.
     
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  24. roboss38

    roboss38 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Clovis, CA U.S.A.
    Here are pictures of the LM 518ia recap.

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
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  25. jkull

    jkull Member

    Location:
    NJ
    Interested in hearing what audible improvements you find. I am considering upgrading caps in my 502, and perhaps 219 at some point. Have rolled all tubes in my amp and dac, aside from the 845's. Tremendous improvements all around. Im officially a line magnetic fanboy
     
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