Author Topic: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac  (Read 54371 times)

Offline Jehuty

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #100 on: October 05, 2014, 04:25:21 PM »
It will be interesting mark. I want a HI RES dac that runs via a computer transport, plays DSD direct, it must play all formats. The main Problem is it must sound like analogue  music, real with no digital artefacts at all, It must have great timbre plus musicality. None so far have done that, except one. Well hopefully nearly as good as my master tapes with my valve output. If this machine does that, I will wait for the next model and if it will play DSD, then I will spend on some new internal bits.

Can this DAC be modded to play DSD too? It would be great if it can be done so that Steve can start working to get the best out of it. That's right Steve, start working. You play computer games too much!  :P

We have been talking about the hi-res KillerDAC in the past, haven't we? So, this could be it, the starting point  :)
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.

Offline kajak12

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #101 on: October 05, 2014, 08:07:18 PM »
Can this DAC be modded to play DSD too? It would be great if it can be done so that Steve can start working to get the best out of it. That's right Steve, start working. You play computer games too much!  :P

We have been talking about the hi-res KillerDAC in the past, haven't we? So, this could be it, the starting point  :)
Its not hirez its you tube and the man is called dean ray bring tears to my eyes with every song on xfactor
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A25i8tQClRg
« Last Edit: October 05, 2014, 08:09:13 PM by kajak12 »
still discovering the link between electronics and audio reproduction.so much to learn and so little time

Offline Mark OTL

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #102 on: October 05, 2014, 09:00:09 PM »
I think some people here have got the wrong idea. Myself and many others think that this is just game, it is just a hobby, a bit of fun, all for the common goal, a better HIFI. Almost all do not take this hobby that seriously. Some here really need to look at the important things in life. And this hobby is not one of them,  There is no Witch Hunt, Nobody really cares less,  I Know I don't. When your life is in jeopardy or someone you love, then you will realize what really matters, and HIFI does not even rate. The older you get the more you understand life.

Hi Steve, mine was intended as an amusing comment as enthusiasts are just that,...enthusiasts, and their systems bring them great joy, and it's easy to become attached to the gear that gives you that, and we have all experienced enthusiasts being "protective" of their gear physically, and in terms of performance credibility. So, I must say I thought I might cop a few jabs in the side for my impressions, but it seems all have taken it very well, and I'm sure most will seek out the Dac and draw their own conclusions, which is just what I hope will happen. At no point did I feel threatened by "steak knife" wielding psycho's or "garlic clove" slinging hordes, and yes, I have an excellent grip on my life values thank you.

Cheers, Mark.
Best learn from other peoples mistakes, you'll never have time to make them all yourself!

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #103 on: October 06, 2014, 12:37:26 AM »
Mark.  I remember this guy, his name was Elson Silver, he still makes amps today. Many years ago he accused me of liking an Audio Research amp over his amplifier because it had a famous brand name, He was convinced that had to be the reason. Over time I was amazed how many people do actually think like that. I find that i must be neutral,  if someone thinks i built it, own it, or it has a famous brand name so it must be better, you will not improve the systems performance.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2014, 12:42:23 AM by stevenvalve »

Offline vitavoxdude

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #104 on: October 06, 2014, 01:56:13 AM »
:) Yes big audio names do not always produce the best match for your setup.  Elson is a very talented designer and a experienced audio friend borrowed his big amps to drive his klipshorns, he said its the best amp he has heard and this bloke has around 6 different systems ranging from small to really large and I value his comments highly.  I also notice that Edgar Kramer uses Elsons power amps in his home reference system which also bodes well.

Audio research for me always produce a dry sound without too much body which is to its detriment at chez V.  I compared my pre and powers to a then top flight AR setup and the AR lost by a fair margin.

Mark appears to be undeterred by us audio bullies  ;) so more power to his elbow and thanks again for your contributions, they are valued.  I can see the Buddha buying a LM dac once it does DSD as he also seeks out diamonds in the murk of commercialism.  LPG has already modded one to high standards from what I read between the lines and Tuyen has shown us where to buy one for chump change.  Gosh I love this forum for bringing to our attention more sweeties in the candy shop, thank guys.
We all like different things so lets all agree to disagree and if any common ground is found then worship it.  Mine is the KD hence being present on this forum.

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #105 on: October 06, 2014, 03:41:46 AM »
  I can see the Buddha buying a LM dac once it does DSD as he also seeks out diamonds in the murk of commercialism.
 
I have been around long enough to know what smell like roses over there, could be some what wilted here, but at the price its hard to pass up for a play. One of the problems for me is Mark has changed the great valves that the Kdac was tuned around. He has chosen valves that really do sound very ordinary here. But as Mark said, he feels they suited his system. I will have to try one of these Dacs here first. Listening to a standard one will be meaningless. So I really need to Listen to this modified version, If it is better than mine here, well when the new model plays DSD am going to buy one and mod it. One word of warning, My KillerDac is at the top of its game, so finely tuned it is just amazing. Do I expect Bryans modified Dac to be better.....in some ways yes. Most good Dac are in some ways better. My gut feeling is in the areas that matter to me..... NO. Time will tell.  It's fun times in audio guys. PS, Apparently Gamve and plasma guy have kissed and made up. Good, again all is quite on the western front. 
« Last Edit: October 06, 2014, 03:44:21 AM by stevenvalve »

Offline vitavoxdude

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #106 on: October 06, 2014, 11:43:23 AM »
And the playground returns to normal. British Bulldog game over. ;D
We all like different things so lets all agree to disagree and if any common ground is found then worship it.  Mine is the KD hence being present on this forum.

Offline Tuyen

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #107 on: October 06, 2014, 12:22:58 PM »
http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Five-Diamond-entity-Korea-magnetic-tube-hi-LM-502CA-digital-audio-decoder-Gold-Silver/1026221_1639867990.html

Cheapest I could find on the aliexpress.     Still works out to be around $1k AUS delivered.

The only other interesting looking tubed based sabre dac I have found is Fikus'  Amber Lampi DAC. Does PCM and DSD.

http://www.lampizator.eu/newdac/lampizator/Amber_Lampi_DAC.html

Base price of 1400euro which works out to be bit over $2k AUS.

Offline zenelectro

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #108 on: October 07, 2014, 11:53:03 AM »
I have been around long enough to know what smell like roses over there, could be some what wilted here, but at the price its hard to pass up for a play. One of the problems for me is Mark has changed the great valves that the Kdac was tuned around. He has chosen valves that really do sound very ordinary here. But as Mark said, he feels they suited his system. I will have to try one of these Dacs here first.


Steve, at this stage, in my mind at least, I think we are past the point of you being the final arbiter on whether the Line Magnetics / Sabre can cut the mustard on any
bodies system.

Brian and Mark have already proven that it is at least in the ballpark of a KillerDAC performance wise. They have both had versions of the KD and
if the KD lives or dies on a pair of OP tubes - well I hate to say it but your argument is looking pretty thin - read on.

I have already looked at close ups of the LM DAC and know quite a bit of it's implementation. I can say without doubt that there is substantial room for
improvement beyond the usual tweaks of changing wires, resistors and caps.

However, as I have also stated here in the past, Sabre is much like a sports car DAC that has a lot going on inside and requires special attention in many areas.
 
Quote

Listening to a standard one will be meaningless. So I really need to Listen to this modified version,


I don't really get where you are coming from here either. If you can critically listen to bits of 1" long wire and individual resistors then you should be able
to hear the potential of a DAC.

I don't have golden ears but I certainly easily heard the -potential- of my Sabre 9008 (older) DAC even though it is off the pace by quite a margin it does
many things fundamentally very well. Maybe as already suggested, we have too many vested interests here, be they financial, egotistical or whatever, as
soon as a Sabre based DAC comes along, the main players focus on what it -doesn't- do well and slander it.

My approach was the opposite and I listened to what it -does- do well and I found many fundamentally great things. 

Once you add up the other benefits such as high rez PCM and high speed DSD compatibility, it has a lot going for it.

Quote

If it is better than mine here, well when the new model plays DSD am going to buy one and mod it. One word of warning, My KillerDac is at the top of its game, so finely tuned it is just amazing. Do I expect Bryans modified Dac to be better.....in some ways yes. Most good Dac are in some ways better. My gut feeling is in the areas that matter to me..... NO. Time will tell.  It's fun times in audio guys. PS, Apparently Gamve and plasma guy have kissed and made up. Good, again all is quite on the western front.

Overall, IMV there's no question, the Sabre is -potentially- a more capable DAC than the 1541, but as I have stated before it is a very complex beast and you won't
get the absolute best out of it by doing the usual tweak tricks. It is a very different animal to the 1541 and requires a different approach. The 1541 is comparatively
slow running at clock speeds around 1/10th of the Sabre. It also is mostly class A transistor inside with low noise. The Sabre is high speed cmos = high speed
RF noise.

I am sure you will get reasonably good results with tweaking but to really extract top performance from this chip is like tuning a Ferrari. It requires
a lot of knowledge of it's design parameters and a complete circuit board up approach. It's no trivial task.

Terry


Offline ozmillsy

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #109 on: October 07, 2014, 01:19:37 PM »
The only other interesting looking tubed based sabre dac I have found is Fikus'  Amber Lampi DAC. Does PCM and DSD.

http://www.lampizator.eu/newdac/lampizator/Amber_Lampi_DAC.html

Base price of 1400euro which works out to be bit over $2k AUS.
That is very tempting, but this is the one I would love to try,,,,,,,,

http://www.lampizator.eu/NEWDAC/Lampizator/DSD_DAC.html

2490EU,  before (our) modding.   

Quote
In April 2013 I made an enlightening exercise. Just out of curiosity I designed a DAC that converts DSD data stream (all types known) to analog and does it WITHOUT SILICON. Iíve tried various chips - all kinds - some ďDSD READYĒ some DSD through PCM and some real DSD.

As a chief designer I felt that Lampizator fame needs a DAC like no  other. I created a converter that treats the DSD in pure analog domain and produces music in itís virgin glory. Without any manipulation, digital processing, PCM conversion, delta sigma, or anything like that. I kept DSD in its purest native form and keep the sound with phase coherence, zero colorations or compression.

The sound is the purest copy of the original DSD recording I can think of.

It is a pity this type of product could not be released for sale.

The process is 100% free of active solid state components. Only tube active filters are employed. At the end the signal is amplified by triodes again - in the way we always have done at LampizatOr.

I donít follow the world developments in this field and I donít have time to read internet forums but I guess this must be one of the first such pure tube DSD DACs worldwide.

In my design I used the FM radio principle for tuning into the data stream and extracting music modulation from the carrier waveform. The technology therefore is based on the grandmotherís radio with the magic green eye.

Lukasz Fikus , Chief Designer and Owner
« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 01:21:13 PM by ozmillsy »
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #110 on: October 07, 2014, 01:33:23 PM »
[snip]
I can honestly say that the LM502 synergised beautifully with my system and while being fed by my modified CEC transport, it equaled or exceeded the sound my KDac in virtually every discernible listening parameter you can name. I fully understand what a politically incorrect statement this is on a site dedicated to the KDac, and I will be burned at the stake for declaring it, but sometimes you need to put aside your prejudices and just listen "without blinkers".
[snip]
So, will I put my money where my mouth is? You better believe it! I'll buy one in these units in the coming weeks and perform the same mod's Bryan has, then see if there are other areas of performance gain.
[snip]
Mark,  thanks for your post,  really insightful.   When you get your own unit, mod and dial it in for your system,  I'd love to hear it sometime.   I like to try and get down to Melb every couple of years or so,  catch up with friends, and I am well overdue for a road trip down the Hume.   
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline Tuyen

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #111 on: October 07, 2014, 01:34:31 PM »
Hi Terry,

As I don't understand how  PCM/DSD input via I2S works  in terms of switching between them and filtering requirements  for the es9018 dac chip,   since the USB-I2S module on this LM DAC does not support 384 or DSD,  while that JLSound I2SoverUSB board we mentioned in the past does,  would it be easy enough to replace the module in the LM DAC with the JLSound unit? Will the ES9016 chip auto pickup DSD signal and process it fine? Or does it require some software changes for it to switch over?    I'm assuming it will play perfectly fine for bit/sample rates that the stock module does supports.  Meaning powering the module with separate dedicated 5V DC into the module, will also bring potential benefits?

From image below, I can see the i2s lines, but I can't see any dedicated 5v input, so I assume the board just uses 5v from the 'noisy' USB line..  eek!

Offline Mark OTL

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #112 on: October 07, 2014, 02:36:36 PM »
Mark,  thanks for your post,  really insightful.   When you get your own unit, mod and dial it in for your system,  I'd love to hear it sometime.   I like to try and get down to Melb every couple of years or so,  catch up with friends, and I am well overdue for a road trip down the Hume.
You're welcome anytime you're in the neighborhood, as is anybody on this forum who wants to hear this remarkable Dac. My Dac is on it's way, and I'll post here when it's modded and running sweetly. I now live in Batesford these days, just out of Geelong if any are within a drive a way.

Cheers, Mark.
Best learn from other peoples mistakes, you'll never have time to make them all yourself!

Offline Tuyen

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #113 on: October 07, 2014, 02:43:11 PM »
Will certainly take you up on your offer next time I'm in Melb Mark.  Will also give me a chance to listen to your awesome OTL Beast amps  :)

Love the sound from me T16 monos.   Actually v keen to go for a Mini Beast when funds permit!

Offline zenelectro

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #114 on: October 07, 2014, 04:22:28 PM »
Hi Terry,

As I don't understand how  PCM/DSD input via I2S works  in terms of switching between them and filtering requirements  for the es9018 dac chip,   since the USB-I2S module on this LM DAC does not support 384 or DSD,  while that JLSound I2SoverUSB board we mentioned in the past does,  would it be easy enough to replace the module in the LM DAC with the JLSound unit? Will the ES9016 chip auto pickup DSD signal and process it fine? Or does it require some software changes for it to switch over?    I'm assuming it will play perfectly fine for bit/sample rates that the stock module does supports.  Meaning powering the module with separate dedicated 5V DC into the module, will also bring potential benefits?

From image below, I can see the i2s lines, but I can't see any dedicated 5v input, so I assume the board just uses 5v from the 'noisy' USB line..  eek!


Hi Tuyen,

DSD over USB is called DoP    http://dsd-guide.com/dop-open-standard

I believe the Line Magnetic would probably require some kind of firmware upgrade to do DSD
but I'm not sure about this. IOW it is not necessarily just a hardware upgrade issue.  You are best
enquiring with the manufacturer.

WRT DSD over USB, it's worth noting that with custom ASIO divers for Windows it is possible to transfer DSD512 which is quad speed or ~22MHz.

There are software players which can upconvert any DSD or PCM file to any DSD format up to DSD512.

So then the question becomes - why do I need a PCM DAC anyway?

Terry

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #115 on: October 07, 2014, 05:09:32 PM »
You're welcome anytime you're in the neighborhood, as is anybody on this forum who wants to hear this remarkable Dac. My Dac is on it's way, and I'll post here when it's modded and running sweetly. I now live in Batesford these days, just out of Geelong if any are within a drive a way.

Cheers, Mark.
Mark, where did you buy your new DAC and how much.

Offline Tuyen

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #116 on: October 07, 2014, 06:14:07 PM »
There are software players which can upconvert any DSD or PCM file to any DSD format up to DSD512.

So then the question becomes - why do I need a PCM DAC anyway?

Thanks for the info Terry.

I use JRiver MC which can do all that real time upsampling/downsampling as you mention.  Would that be optimal for SQ though?  Always had the understanding that it was best to replay at the file's native rate when possible?   This does mirror my experience when attempting to realtime upsample 14/66  content  to 24/192 which is the max my DAC can do.  Also holds true when I set the software to downsample (realtime)  24/192 files to 16/44.      I do have a small collection of 32/384 master files and some DXD/DFF files that I have the software to realtime downsample to 24/192.  Still sounds great (mainly due to low compression to allow for all the dynamics to come through).

Is it all a different ball game when we start talking in the DSDxxx range?

Offline zenelectro

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #117 on: October 07, 2014, 07:18:41 PM »
Thanks for the info Terry.

I use JRiver MC which can do all that real time upsampling/downsampling as you mention.  Would that be optimal for SQ though?  Always had the understanding that it was best to replay at the file's native rate when possible?   This does mirror my experience when attempting to realtime upsample 14/66  content  to 24/192 which is the max my DAC can do.  Also holds true when I set the software to downsample (realtime)  24/192 files to 16/44.      I do have a small collection of 32/384 master files and some DXD/DFF files that I have the software to realtime downsample to 24/192.  Still sounds great (mainly due to low compression to allow for all the dynamics to come through).

Is it all a different ball game when we start talking in the DSDxxx range?

WRT upsampling in software or format conversion it depends on the software.

You have to remember that a PC has infinitely more powerful processing capability than any DAC or chip based digital filter / upsampler.
So if the PC upsampling or format conversion sounds worse it is most likely either a) noise from increased processor activity or b) badly written software.
For a) you need to use a galvanically isolated and re clocked USB -> I2S converter to isolate the PC noise.... as I have said so many times before.
For b) it's a matter of finding the best software.

There's no magic in all of this, it's pretty much all physics. 

I have seen people throwing big dollars at super quiet PC power supplies etc etc but don't use a galvanically isolated and reclocked USB
converter = poor spending of money.

The moral of the story is address the important things first.
 
Terry



Offline ozmillsy

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #118 on: October 07, 2014, 07:38:13 PM »
DSD512 is a helluva lot of data.
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline Tuyen

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #119 on: October 07, 2014, 07:40:09 PM »
Cool thanks again for the info.  The WaveIO (http://luckit.biz/) I use is galvanically isolated, but I'm not sure if it is reclocks afterwards.



I'm tempted to try one of those JLSound I2SoverUSB (http://jlsounds.com/i2soverusb.html) modules Danny is trying out at the moment.  They seem to tick all the boxes and is relatively cheap.  Will see if it brings any sonic improvements on my system.



Any recommendations for windows based playback software that delivers to goods, please do share!  :-*

PS. I've emailed Line Magnetic and asked the question regarding compatibility with replacing the usb module to allow for 384 and DSD support.  Will post reply on this thread.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2014, 07:43:33 PM by Tuyen »