Line Magnetic 218a vs Leben CS600 -- am I insane? (aka when good beats great)

I first got into hifi around 2012. After a lot of listening sessions, I bought a Line Magnetic 218ia, a Shindo Aurieges (preamp), a Rega RP-10 and some Davone Rays. For about five years, I was completely in love with my system. Every new piece of vinyl felt like I was hearing a record for the first time.

As I got older, I had kids, and played the stereo less. Somewhere along the line, I also upgraded my Line Magnetic to a Leben CS600. Everyone I knew and trusted assured me that the Leben was a significant step up, and although I didn’t get to test it before buying, I was so sold by their recommendations (as well as the reviews that I found online) that I figured it’d be a no brainer.

But still, over the years, my interest in hifi waned. That was until, for reasons I can’t fully explain, I decided to pull the LM out of storage last week and fire it back up.

And what can I say, the thrill is back. Everything just sounds so much more alive, a little more punchy, a little more wild. Yes, the Leben was more ’musical’ but to me it also sounded a little more restrained. The Line Magnetic, in comparison, just charges everything up again.

So I guess my question is: am I insane? I can’t find a single person anywhere online or off that considers the LM superior to the Leben. Am I alone here? Are my ears broken? I feel crazy thinking about selling the Leben when it’s so highly regarded, but man, to me, there’s just no comparison. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

(Also.. as a way to make this thread more useful/practical, please chime in with your own stories of when you preferred a piece of gear to something provably ’better’. I’m curious how often this happens!)


You are not insane.


Line Magnetci amps are much better than their modest price.


I have both LM 508 and Rogue Cronus Magnum II.


Rogue is no match with LM 508 even in bass authority although former claime to give twice power.



I had the LM-845ia with Harbeth M30.2  - Best combination I’d heard, to include several SS amps and another tube amp, all played in my own system at home over long periods of time.  I originally went to the dealer looking at a Luxman Class A integrated, and after he played the LM for me, that’s what I bought at less than half the price.  It wasn’t just a simple preference either, like “I think this one just sounds a little better, or more clear” … or something like that.  It was more of a holistic difference in overall sound and presentation that was striking.  The bass wasn’t amazing (it wasn’t bad, just not so tight) but I didn’t care given everything else it did.