Line Magnetic Audio 216IA

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geowak

Line Magnetic Audio 216IA
« on: 11 Mar 2012, 01:19 am »
I am going to make an amature(ish) attempt at reviewing a tube amp I purchased and have been listening to for over a month by Line Magnetic Audio (LM Audio). Mostly I wrote this because I could find no review of LM Audio products anywhere on the net. This amp in my review is the LM Audio 216IA integrated amplifier. I have compared it to a Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum, the Cary SLI80, Musical Fidelity 500 watt and 125 watt SS amps, a McCormack DNA-125 with a Leben preamp and a Parasound A21 and P3 combination among some other combinations less noteworthy. My comparisons were not of the a/b type and not scientific. LM Audio also makes speaker drivers. I had the pleasure to listen to one of their top of the line Class A integrated amps feeding into two single driver speakers recently at my audio dealers home. With LM Audio speakers, Devore speakers and my Vandersteen speakers, LM Audio products sounded tremendous for the money spent on them.



First let me say that the LM Audio amplifier is a Chinese product. It is not like the Primaluna line, which is designed in the Netherlands and made in China. The Line Magnetic Audio company is located in Zhuhai , Guangdong Province, China. I had (wanted) and (intended) to like the Cary or the Rogue amplifier, mostly because I wanted to buy an American made product. In the end, the LM Audio piece that my dealer raved about, sounded better. It has a very quality fit and finish, more that one might? expect from a Chinese product. The LM Audio 216IA is a KT88 push pull integrated amplifier. It is Ultra linear and triode switchable. 22 watts per channel in triode, 38 watts per channel in ultra linear. Remote controlled. Bias adjustable with built in meter. 4, 8 and 16 ohm output taps. Point to point wiring used throughout. It comes with a tube cage.
 
For everyone out there listening to music, let’s face it, we like different things. So I will NOT SAY, this product is better or worse than the ones listed above. But I will write out (share) the qualities I enjoy, and how well this $1875 amp did with them.

I like a neutral sounding amp that falls on this side of warm and also analytical. I like to hear everything that my modest front end will produce. I don’t like muddy bass, but tight and fast handling of the lower frequencies. Deep bass and mid bass sound best to me as natural to the instrument being reproduced. The LM Audio 216IA did this better than the other tube integrated amps I listed. Since I listen to Eva Cassidy, Diana Krall, Natalie Merchant and  other female singers like them I enjoy midrange that is not harsh or shrill. The midrange on the LM Audio does not tire in any way. It’s very close to what you’s expect to a live concert, and not what you’d expect from a 2K amp. Next up the tonal range is the higher frequencies. This amp produced an airy high that was sweet sounding, but not too high or harsh. The last bit of enjoyment I get from the reproduction of music from audio equipment is how well it can reproduce the timbre of instruments such as upright bass, piano, violin, acoustic guitar, and saxophone. On many listening sessions the LM Audio amp did this very well and the decay of sound from these various tones was long and natural. There just was no coloration of tone that I could detect. Of course, there is a tube sound to the amp. But since LM Audio base most of their products of the Western Electric designs of old, the qualities of sound just might reflect that old design. It does this without grain, but a grace and accuracy that the better designed amps displayed.

Also this amp has great transparancy. I have had Odyssey, McCormack and Parasound amps that did not do as well at lifting off veils of fuzziness like the 216IA did.

Lastly is the dynamic range of the amp. Well this is what I often FEEL is the excitement of the amplifier and it was FELT with the 216IA. This amp really kicks when needed. The version of “Walking on the Moon” by the Yuri Honing Trio has a rim shot that will ring out like a cannon with a good amp. It does this with the LM Audio 216IA.

Well I guess that is my review for better or worse. Once again I have had the pleasure of taking in some good information on forums like this about audio products and have learned much, so I am not saying this amp is BETTER than others. Just for my taste it is a quality product that sounds great at an affordable price. If anyone is interested in these products I can give you the contact for my dealer in Shaker Heights, Ohio who carries this line.
« Last Edit: 3 Jan 2014, 02:47 am by geowak »

lonewolfny42

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #1 on: 14 Mar 2012, 06:18 am »
At RMAF 2011 DeVore Fidelity was using the LM Audio gear...

http://parttimeaudiophile.com/2011/10/20/rmaf-2011-devore-lm-audio/

geowak

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #2 on: 14 Mar 2012, 06:17 pm »
Yeah I heard the Devore Fidelity Orangutan O/96 at Don Better Audio with LM Audio. It is an outstanding speaker, especially with tubes and vinyl.



« Last Edit: 14 Mar 2012, 11:23 pm by geowak »

Socrates7

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    • Part-Time Audiophile
Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #3 on: 18 Mar 2012, 12:21 pm »
I'd love to know if that amp can take KT120s!

roscoeiii

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #4 on: 18 Mar 2012, 03:33 pm »
LM Audio certainly got on my radar based on 2 of the dealers that chose to carry the brand: Don Better Audio near Cleveland and Pitch Perfect in the Bay Area.

reddmadder

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #5 on: 18 Mar 2012, 03:37 pm »
I'd like to try the Mini EL84 3 water,but I'm a little gun shy about
Chinese amps.
 The only reason I'm considering them is the fact that Tone imports and Devore
 have promoted them.

geowak

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #6 on: 18 Mar 2012, 11:11 pm »
I have emailed and visited Don Better many times. He is very approachable and great at answering questions. He's a great guy to deal with.

I listened to the Devore speakers and they are amazing. I bought Vandersteen speakers and the LM audio amp, and they have been heads and shoulders above all the other products I listened to, in the Cleveland Akron area. His recommendations have been right on the mark for my ear and tastes.

geowak

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #7 on: 3 Apr 2012, 09:04 pm »
 :D Still enjoying this amp......

reddmadder

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #8 on: 3 Apr 2012, 09:27 pm »
I just took delivery of the LM mini and I'm using it as a headphone amp for now.
Excellent build quality,heavy little beast and with about 10 hours on it:
 Nice very detailed highs w/o edge
 Good tight bass
 I'm using the stock tubes.
 I'll be getting Blumenstein Orca's next week...so we'll see,but so far it's a great little amp.

geowak

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #9 on: 3 Apr 2012, 09:38 pm »
Hey Reddmadder-

Where did you get it... do you mind if I ask? Not many dealers carry it and it's selling very fast! The little one and the KT88 version that I have.

reddmadder

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #10 on: 4 Apr 2012, 12:24 am »
Pitch Perfect in San Francisco

geowak

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #11 on: 23 Apr 2012, 01:13 am »
Here is an interesting blog- Another stellar LM Audio product, the 218IA.

http://artkyleslistening.blogspot.com/

reddmadder

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #12 on: 23 Apr 2012, 01:27 am »
Good Read...I'm running my LM Mini with Blumenstein speakers and it's a great match.
 The speakers have only about 20 hrs. but they're getting better each day.
 

geowak

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #13 on: 17 May 2012, 11:20 pm »
I have rolled in a quad of Genelex Gold Lion re-issue power tubes (KT88) by New Sensor and some NOS Sylvania's (1960's) for the preamp and driver stage. A big improvement over the stock Line Magnetic vacuum tubes.

geowak

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216IA integrated amplifier
« Reply #14 on: 23 May 2012, 03:57 pm »
Here is some pics of the amp and tubes I am rolling in...














mca

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #15 on: 23 May 2012, 05:43 pm »
Pictures and prices at Eugene Hi-Fi. That 845 integrated looks cool!

http://eugenehifi.com/Line_Magnetic/html/Line_Magnetic_Main.html


grodri02

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216AI integrated amplifier
« Reply #16 on: 10 Aug 2012, 12:03 am »
Yes...I will like to know if this wil take the KT-120?


I'd love to know if that amp can take KT120s!


geowak

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216IA
« Reply #17 on: 10 Aug 2012, 03:06 am »
The KT-120 instead of the KT-88 in the 216IA?
I will look that up in my manual for the 216IA, might have something but it may draw too much current.

vortrex

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Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216IA
« Reply #18 on: 10 Aug 2012, 03:38 am »
what did you like better with the line magnetic vs the mccormack/leben combo?

geowak

Re: Line Magnetic Audio 216IA
« Reply #19 on: 10 Aug 2012, 04:46 am »
When I had first auditioned a set of speakers, my dealer (Don Better Audio) set up a pair of Vandersteen 2 CE Sig II. I wanted to hear them with the amp I had on hand, which was a McCormack DNA-125. Don Better went the extra mile and allowed me to bring in the amp, but he only had a Leben preamp to compliment the DNA-125.

That is how I heard that combo.

Later when I told Don I wanted to try a tube integrated he suggested I test drive the Line Magnetic products (he had heard and was now selling.) He told me the LM Audio 216IA was a really great match to the Vandys. He was right, to my ears it was just a sweet match. So I bought the LM Audio after searching for about three to four weeks for a tube integrated amp.

I want to say that Leben makes a very good preamp, and so does McCormack make a great SS amp. I just like the warmth and clarity of the LM Audio. You can switch it from triode to ultralinear on the fly. I swapped in some NOS Sylvania preamp tubes and Genelex re-issue KT-88 power tubes and character of sound I have now very much suits me. The digital front end has a very analog sound. It is not edgy or harsh, but just musical.

EXAMPLE
On the current Bonnie Raitt album "Slipstream" there is a song called "Ain't gonna let you go". At the very start on this selection she plays a guitar with alot of feedback. The tone the guitar has a very distinct character. This amp allows that tone to be true to the instrument and gives the listener a glimpse of that live "musical" experience.
I tend to like this in audio equipment...