New Line Magnetic 508ia Integrated Amp

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by GoldprintAudio, May 20, 2016.

  1. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    Thank you for the review.

    As most ppl, who have tried different variants of ECC35, have concluded that they all have the same sound character. I, however, am quite hesitate to accept it. I have read comments from a vintage tube collector that the first and second version, with black plate and pan getter, sounded more laid-back compared to later version, black plate and D getter. He has noted that his most favorable version is the one with black plate and D getter (note: later version has grey plate and rectangular or D getter - either rectangular or D, whatever you want to call it as I found that it is not really a rectangular shape but rather a straighter D shape compared to other real rectangular shape getter from other tubes.) BTW, he has tens of ECC35 and ECC33, from different version, in his collection. I bet he knows what he is talking about and I am sure some of you here know who am I talking about. You can find his posts at Tubes Asylum, with images, under the name adrianc.

    Anyway, I have a collection of ECC35 and all of them are slim base (blk/brown) which I believe all are early dated. Except the 3 pcs with no etched code I am not so sure, the rest are from 1347 to RU1. Based on my best observation, they all sounded the same to me. Recently, I have the chance to acquire my first black fat base, with code RU4 B***, which is arriving in these few days. I am eager to find out whether all ECC35 has the same sound character or perhaps not.
     
  2. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    Has anyone try the Willsenton R8? I am thinking of trying out my first push-pull amp, probably a Willsenton R8, in the near future and wondering how do you describe the sonic or other major differences between the Willsenton R8 and LM-508ia? After doing much research, I think I am more biased towards EL34 due to its more laid back sonic character. Any input is very much appreciated.
     
  3. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    I'm curious what others say about comparisons between a PP EL34 amp and 805 SET. What speakers are you using?
     
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  4. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    That is exactly my thoughts too...I am using a pair of SF Minima Amator II. Main reason for considering R8 is becos I have a good collection of 6SL7 n 6SN7 ready.
     
  5. Ontheone

    Ontheone Poorly Understood Member

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    While I'm sure it's a tremendous value for the money and punches above its weight, I find it hard to believe that the Willsenton R8 (a relatively budget-level amp) could possibly compete with the sheer musical delivery of the LM805. But I'm certain higher-end, push-pull amps can go head-to-head with the LM805, although delivering a different sonic presentation. I recently picked up a Luxman MQ-88uC which is a 20W, KT88-based, push-pull amp configured in triode and it really is quite stunning in its performance. It's not better than the LM805 - merely different and in all the right ways. The Luxman is much tighter, quicker, and more agile....delivering complicated passages with amazing finesse without giving up too much in terms of weight, impact, and texture of the LM805. The LM805 definitely delivers that SET magic and is fuller in bloom while also being a bit more dynamic. The LM805 is also a tad more impactful with richer textures. These two amps are the perfect compliments for me - the ying and yang, both presented wonderfully.
     
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  6. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    Yes, I must say LM508/805 is really amazing. Though, it is my first tube amp but I sure know how a good SQ amp sounded like, I enjoy it so much I used it for movies sometime....:laugh: Oh boy, the BGM or sound effect can really get me high.
     
  7. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    OK, I have received my first fat base Mullard ECC35 this morning. It is a relabeled Philips Miniwatt with etched code RU3 B7J5 (Blackburn Oct 1967 5th week)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
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    I will try my best to describe what I hear, and I must point out that I am not really good at this; I will just describe the obvious. Lastly, this is a comparison to slim base (blk or brown / code 1347 to RU1) that I have been using for the past 3 months. Setup: ACME 805, KR 300B, SYL VT231, NFB setting 1

    First impression (after about 3 hours of burn-in):
    1. It is very much faster
    2. Much narrower soundstage and depth not as good
    3. Clarity on vocal is there but not as "organic" or natural, a bit edgy
    4. Bass is crazily heavy. Yes, in fact, it is the very first thing that caught my attention. For almost a week, I have been having fun with a pair of CBS 5692 and a slim base ECC35 but when I put on this new fat base ECC35, the bass was just too much. I was been forced to switch to a pair of SYL VT231.

    Final note: Taking into consideration that this fat base ECC35 is really new out of the box, I believe it needs some decent time for burn-in. Compared to a couple of slim base ECC35 I have been using in rotation, they have at least a good 100-150 hours each. I will update my finding in 7-10 days time.
     
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  8. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    My apology, guys, change of plan. I just cant take it any longer, have to pull the fat base off in the mid day of second day.
    Note:
    1. Not all ECC35s have the same sonic character.
    2. Fat base (at least this one I tried) has very heavy bass, deep or great extension. IMO, it is very unbalanced; on some tracks, it is so bad that it slammed right in your face, too upfront fighting for position with mid/vocal. Overall, causing lack of depth.
    3. High and mid smooth out a bit on the second day but still too edgy for my liking, I miss my sexy female vocals here.
    4. Still not much improvement on soundstage, lack of holographic effect that I love to hear.

    Tracks tested:
    1. Liberty - Anette Askvik
    2. Need Her So Bad - Aynsley Lister
    3. Lucille - B.B.King
    4. Apocalypse - Cigarettes After Sex
    5. Ride Across the River - Dire Straits
    6. Fade To Black - Dire Straits
    7. Iron Hand - Dire Straits
    8. Perhaps Love - Jheena Lodwick
    9. Sunset In The Blue - Melody Gardot
    10. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress - Radka Toneff
    11. Loving Strangers - Russian Red
    12. Breakfast In America - 48th St. Collective
    13. A Lover In Berlin - Kari Bremnes
    14. Wonderwall - The Cooltrane Quartet

    [​IMG]

    I am back in heaven; highly recommenced matching with slim base ECC35 and a pair of CBS 5692. Wide soundstage and great depth, very smooth high and mid with great clarity, follow up with amazing tight bass.
     
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  9. Pedro Guillemain

    Pedro Guillemain Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Argentina
    Thanks fory your review, I guess the ECC35 is also not a 100% safe bet, despite being a Mullard.

    Can you post a closer pic of the ECC35 you prefered the most?
     
  10. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    Basically, they all look the same for the slim base except black/grey plates and pan/D/rectangular getter. If you check my post here: Mullard ECC35 & ECC33
    All of the ECC35 on the back sounded the same to me whether black or brown base, they have the code from 1347 to RU1. Mine are all grey plates with D or rectangular getter. Please kindly noted that the experience I have on the fat base might not apply to others, taking into consideration of different setup, personal preference or perhaps my lucky star is not shining on me.

    [​IMG]

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    Last edited: Sep 1, 2021
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  11. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    *** Sorry, I forgot one important info in my review. I run my amp approximately 15 hrs daily; yes, from the moment I wake up to bed time. I have ran this fat base for about 20 hrs before I pulled it.
     
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  12. Pedro Guillemain

    Pedro Guillemain Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Argentina
    Have you checked that your LM-508 doesn't have the flaw of the blowing capacitor? You should check the specific thread about it on this forum.

    Mine had it and I solved it the same way is recomended there.
     
  13. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    No, hopefully mine doesnt have this issue. Anyway, my air-con is running 24/7, I think it will die first before the amp...:laugh:
     
  14. Chris Amott

    Chris Amott Forum Resident

    Location:
    PNW
    @tlowe I have three ECC35's, one 1st gen pan-getter, one mid/late 50's fat stubby brown base, and one early 60's CV569 military coding. I don't hear nearly as much difference as you do - they have subtle differences that are audible but I don't think I would be able to guess which is which in a blind test. I am still doing some critical comparisons.
     
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  15. Pedro Guillemain

    Pedro Guillemain Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Argentina
    Well, it's not about heat, it's about a reverse voltage that one cap has for a few seconds when turning on the amp. It's a design flaw that I believe has been corrected on the newer models. It's easy to solve, if you have some DIY skills. There's a specific thread (very helpful) about it from @Strat-Mangler

    If you live in Singapore and you have bought your amp from Robert Lai, he probably has taken care of the flaw. But if it blows up, there culd be some risk of damaging internal parts or tubes. Check it out if you can.
     
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  16. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    Hi Chris, I am also very surprised to hear such heavy bass from an ECC35 as this tube is supposed to be very transparent, smooth n balanced. It makes me wonder whether it has anything to do with any changes in production at a much later date, mine has code of RU3 B7J5 (1967). Another thing also quite bothered me is the etched code on the glass. The font size is very small compared to what I have seen so far. Are there fake ECC35 in the market or rumor is true that very much later Mullard tubes were made in Russia?:laugh: ....or perhaps this tube really need long time for burn-in?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2021
  17. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    Location:
    Toronto
    A couple of days ago, I was testing something and put back the Tung-Sol 6SN7GTs with round black plates in, followed by the Sylvania Bad Boys, then the stock EHs. Each time, I went back to the Mullard ECC32s, it was such a jarring difference that I can't fathom anyone ever being disappointed in those tubes for any reason.

    Nice to be reminded of how awesome these units are. :)
     
  18. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    Just wanted to update on the fat base ECC35. OMG, the soundstage has totally opened up wide and deep. After the post yesterday, I dont really felt right about it. Yeah, I am quite stubborn as well. This time, I left it burning overnight (about 30 hours burn-in now) and this morning when my extra two pairs of CBS 5692 arrived, I put them on and listen with the fat base ECC35. I have to say I have been impatient, my bad. First thing I noticed is the soundstage has opened up wide and deep. High and mid smoothed out a lot. Overall, it has the same sonic character or very close to those slim bases I have except the bass is for sure slightly heavier and deeper. Nevertheless, I am glad to have this fat base in my collection.
     
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  19. AP1

    AP1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    TX
    For push-pull I would not consider Chinese brands. If you want laid back - McIntosh is your friend. For more clean sound - Audio Research.
     
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  20. Pedro Guillemain

    Pedro Guillemain Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Argentina
    Hi guys
    Last nigth I was listening music and I crancked the volume up for a few seconds. Then, during a bass heavy passage on the music, one of the channels made a noise similar to an unppluging a microphone and stopped working, no sound at all while the other one was working ok.

    First I thought one of the new valves I was testing had a short circuit, but after turning off and on the amp, everything went back to normal.

    Does the LM-508 have clipping protection? What could have happened?
     
  21. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
    Not sure about clipping protection but it is always good to have a multimeter handy to check for short when using tubes for the first time.
     
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  22. AP1

    AP1 Forum Resident

    Location:
    TX
    There is no clipping protection in this amp. Likely vibration from bass heavy sound caused some contact interruption. You may expect it to repeat itself until it fails completely. Could be one of tubes experienced transient internal short which resolve itself (temporarily) when tubes cooled down.
     
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  23. tlowe

    tlowe Life Explorer

    Location:
    Singapore
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  24. Chris Amott

    Chris Amott Forum Resident

    Location:
    PNW
    So one of my RCA VT-143(805) tubes suddenly died on me this morning. Simply stopped working. No idea why. Guess I should have held on to my ACME 805's as backup. Back to stock 805's for the moment. Grrrr.

    Tempted to try the Linlai Elite 805's for $600 all in but I had mixed feelings about their lower end 805-DG and there's very little out there review-wise. Anyone got any input? (or an extra RCA lying around ;) )
     
  25. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Personal Survival Daily Record-Breaker

    Location:
    Toronto
    You could get a single RCA from here.

    805 VT143 DHT RCA NOS NIB Square getter made in U.S.A Audio tubes | eBay
     

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