Author Topic: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac  (Read 51723 times)

Offline zenelectro

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2014, 01:41:22 PM »

Having an audio habit that resides just behind having to eat, there are many many DAC's out there all vying for our pay checks and many, much like bits of skirt attract your manly attention, and at first it's lust and fantasy, however once the initial newness has worn off and the additional detail and sharpness around notes wears off, you yearn for not having to keep trying to impress. :-X

Yeah, I often think I would mind getting what's in my DAC's into what's in that Skirt......   this is a family show isn't it....  it's all about dacs and skirts     :D :D

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2014, 02:48:43 PM »
Hi Guys,



I can say compared to my killerdac and Marks killerdac there was absolutely no contest.  It was killed.  Sorry guys if i'm stepping on any toes and telling them they're girlfriend is ugly but its the truth.



Lansche Plasma Guy.
Bryan also mentioned to me the Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac also killed a $100,000 Caliburn turntable setup, i must say that statement sent alarm bells ringing in my head. This new Dac seems promising alright.  At least it runs the average performer 6X4 valve rectifier and nice 12AU7 output. Bryan told me it's on loan from this importer friend, and he is hotting this DAC up for this friend before the Melbourne HIFI show. After Bryans amazing statements, i talked to mark (who owns the latest KD) and asked near the end of our small talk, what do you think of Bryans hotted up Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac, He replied,  it's pretty good.  I am afraid it looks like, it killed it (Bryans words) was though Bryans ears. We will see when i get Bryan Hotted up dac here, but don't hold your breath that he will send it up. I have had so many of the latest and greatest DAC here, and like Bryan they all sprouted that it will kill my KillerDAC, but alas it was there dacs that where killed. Will this one be any different,  time will tell. But don't sell your Killerdac  just yet.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2014, 03:43:44 PM by stevenvalve »

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2014, 03:39:18 PM »
Speaking of DACs and things, System synergy is everything in my opinion. A wile ago i decided to try my Killerdac on my leak stereo 20, Quad 57 setup. Now here is a Speaker with great strengths but is lacking a little leading edge, it's a little polite, and a little rolled off. The DAC i was using was a Pioneer Professional DVD player, clean and clear, with lot of leading edge attack. (Great match with the quads).  I put on the Killerdac, fired it up expecting brilliant sound, but what i got was ordinary. It reinforced what i already knew.... Synergy is everything. Does that mean upon first listening that the Pioneer Professional DVD player was better. Obviously it is not, but then and there for that first hour it was. I could have told the world that the Pioneer DVD is better than a killerdac, But in the long run I would have ended up an idiot. As we all know you need to build a system as a whole, make it sound utterly spectacular then make conclusions, then and only then tell the world. I quickly reworked the Killerdac and within 2 hours achieved very good sound. It just blitzed that pioneer, the status quo returned.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2014, 03:53:32 PM by stevenvalve »

Offline Rob181

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2014, 04:26:08 PM »
We will see when i get Bryan Hotted up dac here, but don't hold your breath that he will send it up. I have had so many of the latest and greatest DAC here, and like Bryan they all sprouted that it will kill my KillerDAC, but alas it was there dacs that where killed. Will this one be any different,  time will tell. But don't sell your Killerdac  just yet.

If the LM 502 CA does arrive & sound ordinary in your system...will that be synergy or because the DAC is not as good as the KD.

If you had to "retune" the KD to suit the Leak/Quad setup...why could you not "retune" the LM 502 CA to suit your system...then compare the two...

The added benefit of course is that you also have access to computer audio at rates above 44...

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2014, 07:07:07 PM »
If the LM 502 CA does arrive & sound ordinary in your system...will that be synergy or because the DAC is not as good as the KD.

If you had to "retune" the KD to suit the Leak/Quad setup...why could you not "retune" the LM 502 CA to suit your system...then compare the two...

The added benefit of course is that you also have access to computer audio at rates above 44...
Rob the killer Dac standard is already full on. First we have to buy this LM 502 CA, then because its not good enough standard and we are crazy audiophiles, rebuild it with all the best gear, now its not so cheap,  As for parts, the ES9016 Sabre DAC chip it uses, is just not as good sound wise as a good genuine Holland TDA1541A S1 or S2. On the valve output stage, it uses a 6X4, this is a Ok  sounding type of rectifier but not in the league of a 1950s 60s GEC brown base U52/5U4G, maybe the best rectifier there is. The circuit will be housed with electrolytic capacitors, and is not nearly as direct or simple. So even if I retuned it till the cows come home theoretically it will not end up being as good. But there is always a but, on some floored (example Quads 57) or underperforming systems, it could be considered better. There is always a system somewhere that will like a good to average Dac. It's always the Synergy thing. There is so much bullsh!t in HIFI Speak, it really takes lateral thinking to sort the wheat from the charf and then make sense of it.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2014, 07:16:15 PM by stevenvalve »

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2014, 07:26:26 PM »


The added benefit of course is that you also have access to computer audio at rates above 44...
Yes that will be great, but when it does DSD then I will have a play.

Offline Mark OTL

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2014, 09:47:58 PM »
Hi Guys, I guess I should chime in here. I'm the "Mark" Brian and Steve are talking about, and I currently have a loan of the the LM 502.CA for a week to see what I think of it. When Steve called, I had heard it in one session,.....at night, midnight onwards,..... well off center,.... as my guests were in centre stage, and while quite sleepy.
So, yes, when asked by Steve what it sounded like my system, (which at it's new home, is sounding better than it ever has), I replied "it's pretty good".
Because of all the negative elements in the first impression listen, I was very reserved because I wanted to get a better grip on what it was doing to the sound while more awake, in the center, and with a good cross section of music I know well. It is so very different to the KDac's sound. This is neither good or bad yet, just very different, so let me live with it for a week, and I'll give you guys a more balanced view of what I'm hearing, but first impression is actually very high.

I should mention that the Sabre DAC when implemented well, does sound excellent, and I've heard this first hand on my own system for extended periods. It was a "from the ground up" custom build, but demonstrated the potential of the Sabre Dac. I should also comment on the 502's build. It's near fanatical, and does not reflect a mass produced product in this price bracket. Power supply is segregated from signal boards and shielded, Toriod for digital, EI Tranny for Analogue. Beautiful, logical layout. Chassis is high end "entry level" only, neat and clean, but not milled from solid etc. which is why the price is not double that asked. Quality of components is very good for the price asked.

Oh, and FWIWorth, Brian's panel were not thin in the midband when I returned his CEC TL-1 after modding it to see what it sounded like in his system. Seriously real dynamics, sizzling speed, and yes, fully fleshed out midband, rich and sweet. Perhaps the system was sulking when heard as "thin" previously. Brians always tweaking, so anythings possible.

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

Offline zenelectro

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2014, 09:50:46 PM »

As for parts, the ES9016 Sabre DAC chip it uses, is just not as good sound wise as a good genuine Holland TDA1541A S1 or S2.

Steven, you can't really make that statement unequivocally.

The Sabre DAC chip itself can be set up in many different ways and they all sound potentially somewhat different. It would take some time
to go through optimization of just the chip itself to see what it is really capable of.

Once you add the analog stage possibilities, power supplies, clocking it's a much more complex equation than the simple country boy 1541 into a
valve approach.

This also means the development is much more tricky. To do it properly and get absolute best from the Sabre DAC really requires a clean slate
approach as opposed to the usual modify this kit etc etc.

Z

 

Offline klackto

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2014, 10:22:13 PM »
What I'd like to ascertain wrt the L M Dac is whether the output stage is truly tube based or is it a tube buffer that follows a solid state stage(as is often the case with units that have switchable outputs). Also of interest, when Bryan compared the two dacs .... were both using spdif?  If that's the case, from what I've read, the KD would've been somewhat shackled compared to i2s.

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2014, 12:18:19 AM »
Hi Guys, I guess I should chime in here. I'm the "Mark" Brian and Steve are talking about, and I currently have a loan of the the LM 502.CA for a week to see what I think of it. When Steve called, I had heard it in one session,.....at night, midnight onwards,..... well off center,.... as my guests were in centre stage, and while quite sleepy.
So, yes, when asked by Steve what it sounded like my system, (which at it's new home, is sounding better than it ever has), I replied "it's pretty good".
Because of all the negative elements in the first impression listen, I was very reserved because I wanted to get a better grip on what it was doing to the sound while more awake, in the center, and with a good cross section of music I know well. It is so very different to the KDac's sound. This is neither good or bad yet, just very different, so let me live with it for a week, and I'll give you guys a more balanced view of what I'm hearing, but first impression is actually very high.

I should mention that the Sabre DAC when implemented well, does sound excellent, and I've heard this first hand on my own system for extended periods. It was a "from the ground up" custom build, but demonstrated the potential of the Sabre Dac. I should also comment on the 502's build. It's near fanatical, and does not reflect a mass produced product in this price bracket. Power supply is segregated from signal boards and shielded, Toriod for digital, EI Tranny for Analogue. Beautiful, logical layout. Chassis is high end "entry level" only, neat and clean, but not milled from solid etc. which is why the price is not double that asked. Quality of components is very good for the price asked.

Oh, and FWIWorth, Brian's panel were not thin in the midband when I returned his CEC TL-1 after modding it to see what it sounded like in his system. Seriously real dynamics, sizzling speed, and yes, fully fleshed out midband, rich and sweet. Perhaps the system was sulking when heard as "thin" previously. Brians always tweaking, so anythings possible.

Cheers, Mark.
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.   
« Last Edit: September 29, 2014, 12:40:42 AM by stevenvalve »

Offline Tuyen

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2014, 11:17:19 AM »
We will have to get Tuyen to buy one so we in the West can find out for ourselves. ;)

You may be waiting a long time, as I am currently content with my current DAC solution.   The LM-502CA DAC doesn't have any other useful features that I am after.

Also as I reckon my hearing abilities are not as acute as the more senor audiophiles kdac/cd transport users on the forum, I don't pickup the sonic deficiencies with CA transports or DACs with no tube output stage.   I guess it could be seen as a fortunate thing  :)

Offline kajak12

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2014, 01:09:50 PM »
You may be waiting a long time, as I am currently content with my current DAC solution.   The LM-502CA DAC doesn't have any other useful features that I am after.

Also as I reckon my hearing abilities are not as acute as the more senor audiophiles kdac/cd transport users on the forum, I don't pickup the sonic deficiencies with CA transports or DACs with no tube output stage.   I guess it could be seen as a fortunate thing  :)
Tuyen sell the lot and start a family ;)
still discovering the link between electronics and audio reproduction.so much to learn and so little time

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #32 on: September 29, 2014, 11:01:31 PM »
Also as I reckon my hearing abilities are not as acute as the more senor audiophiles kdac/cd transport users on the forum,
Not sure about that,  you seem quite capable of describing the differences you hear with swapping out different parts.   
Quote
I don't pickup the sonic deficiencies with CA transports or DACs with no tube output stage.   I guess it could be seen as a fortunate thing  :)
Maybe you just know what you like?   

Here is a funny thing, that some people cant get there heads around,  our brains naturally tune out imperfections.    A number of months ago a friend of mine was diagnosed with a life threatening tumour, that was sitting right behind his eyes, larger than the size of a golf ball.   In having the tumour removed his vision from his right eye has been impacted,  at first this was impacting his general vision,  but his brain retrained itself to work around it,  and his vision is now practically normal.   He knows his right eye is still not right when he closes his good eye,   but his brain has learnt to compensate around it's deficiencies.    He's a lucky man,  things could have gone so much worse for him.

What is the relevance of that?   Well,  I reckon we can easily and quickly get "used" to our systems sounding a certain way, and after awhile we hear all it's strengths and tend to disregard the weaknesses.   It's a bit like drinking the same type of coffee everyday,  you become accustomed to it, and learn to love it.   Before too long, other types of coffee dont taste right.      Does that mean they arent right?   [shrugs]

Someone can describe to you the deficiency of your coffee,  and when you drink it, all you are tasting is all the things you like about it.   This is completely natural,  it's how our brains work.

Running hi-res computer source, into a nice sounding hi-res dac,  will have strengths that many people tune in to and cant live without.

   
« Last Edit: September 29, 2014, 11:19:53 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 #33 on: September 29, 2014, 11:07:33 PM »
Because of all the negative elements in the first impression listen, I was very reserved because I wanted to get a better grip on what it was doing to the sound while more awake, in the center, and with a good cross section of music I know well. It is so very different to the KDac's sound. This is neither good or bad yet, just very different, so let me live with it for a week, and I'll give you guys a more balanced view of what I'm hearing, but first impression is actually very high.
Look forward to hearing your further impressions Mark.   It sounds promising.   
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #34 on: September 30, 2014, 12:53:43 AM »
Mark, Do have the original valves in your Kdac.

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #35 on: September 30, 2014, 12:58:45 AM »
Steven, you can't really make that statement unequivocally.

The Sabre DAC chip itself can be set up in many different ways and they all sound potentially somewhat different. It would take some time
to go through optimization of just the chip itself to see what it is really capable of.

Once you add the analog stage possibilities, power supplies, clocking it's a much more complex equation than the simple country boy 1541 into a
valve approach.

This also means the development is much more tricky. To do it properly and get absolute best from the Sabre DAC really requires a clean slate
approach as opposed to the usual modify this kit etc etc.

Z
If that's the case why no has one optimized it properly. After all its been around a long time.

Offline Greg Erskine

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #36 on: September 30, 2014, 06:14:41 AM »
If that's the case why no has one optimized it properly. After all its been around a long time.

How old was the 1541 before the KD was developed?

Offline skc

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #37 on: September 30, 2014, 07:29:31 AM »
If that's the case why no has one optimized it properly. After all its been around a long time.

You mean optimised it properly to your liking in your opinion. No offence Steve, but the arrogance of some of the statements made on this forum from time to time is staggering.

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2014, 12:46:04 PM »
How old was the 1541 before the KD was developed?
The TDA1541A has been around,,, well I have chips with 1987 date codes.

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: The Line Magnetic LM-502CA Dac
« Reply #39 on: September 30, 2014, 12:54:40 PM »
You mean optimised it properly to your liking in your opinion. No offence Steve, but the arrogance of some of the statements made on this forum from time to time is staggering.
I guess the perceived arrogance comes with experience, If you do this audio thing long enough, you end up with opinions, and if you are real good at it, they are usually right.