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.

What tubes are in the amps are they the same type and make? Tubes make a huge difference in tube amps so even if they used the same tube types, if they are not the same tubes they will not sound the same. Also Tube type very in the sound signature they have so that could be a factor. 

most factory tubes (New production usually) do not sound as good as premium tubes and not even close to NOS tubes. IMO of course. 

I'm going through a tube rolling process trying to find tubes for my mac tube amps that sound actually good, the factory tubes JJ tesla's sound flat bright and dead. 


I would think a SET 211 amp might sound better than a PP EL34/6L6 amp regardless of manufacturer.