Line Magnetic LM32 Vacuum Tube DAC
Towards the ultimate listening experience.
It’s often said that having tubes somewhere in your sound system can give it a pleasing, euphonic balance, or even a dose of musicality. Of course, many run hi-fi systems consisting solely of tube gear for this exact reason. Yet if you already use mostly solid-state components, the addition of a valve DAC or preamplifier is often beneficial.
The LM32 is an asynchronous design with an awesome performance from its low distortion, ultra-low-jitter clock recovery technology and features five digital inputs: AES/EBU, BNC, USB, optical and coaxial that will lock onto any signal input at 44.1KHz, 48KHz, 88.2KHz, 96KHz, 176.4KHz, 192KHz, 352.8KHz, 384KHz, DSD64, DSD128, and DSD256, displaying the input frequency used on the front LCD panel.
The LM-32DAC features separate high-quality power supplies for the Analogue and Digital sections, a toroid power transformer for Digital and an EI power transformer for Analogue. It also has separate rectification, using high-speed circuitry for the Digital section and a 6Z4 tube for the Analogue section.
"The Line Magnetic playing David Foster’s piano in Eternity was warmer and will surely suit systems that could benefit from that attribute. Also, the soundstaging – especially noticeable thanks to the rendition of the strings – sounded broader and with more sheen to them" read the review by Stereonet
Line Magnetic wins 10 DAC shootout
"For all those curious about DACs, the Arizona AV Club partnered with several manufacturers and dealers to produce a DAC shootout on Saturday, August 24th, 2019
The following DACs were present:
- Schiit Yggdrasil
- Chord Qutest
- Benchmark DAC3
- iFi Audio Pro iDSD
- PS Audio DirectStream
- Holo Audio Spring DAC2
- Jolida Glass FX DAC
- NuPrime Evolution DAC
- L.K.S. DAC MH-DA004
- Line Magnetic
The DACs were played in an acoustically treated room on a reference system consisting of Focal Maestro Utopia Evos driven by SAE and Acoustic Research gear.
The 10 machines were all tested the day prior by a professional engineer to balance the outputs and test switching. The delay time was about 1/2 second between machines.
The Shootout was held in an upscale theatre room of about 20 x 30. Well treated on all surfaces.
The sound was measured at 75-80db during play.
The machines were broken into three groups using three different DACs per session.
Each group lasted about 45 minutes with each DAC playing for an average of 10 minutes per session.
The whole affair ran from 11 am to 3:30 pm.
Amp: SAE 2HP-D
Pre-Amp: Chord Electronics CPA 5000
CD: Musical fidelity M3i
Speakers: Focal Maestro Utopia EVO
Digital, Audio Quest Cinnamon
Analog, Audio Audio Quest Water
Speaker Cable, Audio Quest William Tell Silver Zero with William Tell Bass in a Bi-wire configuration.
Audio Rack: Bassocnitinuo
System retail: $118,000.00
Polling results were generally very consistent. However, in the fourth session which was made up solely of the preceding three-session winners-Chord Cutest, Schiit Yggy, and Jolida Black Ice Glass FX DSD 2
it was nearly a dead heat. 6 votes for the Black Ice, 5 for the Chord Cutest, 4 for the Schiit Yggy.
So the final test included the winning Black Ice Glass FX DSD 2 vs. the Line Magnetic LM32.
This outcome was also close but the LM32 beat the BI by an 8/5 vote.
Scientists will shoot holes in our methodology I am sure. However, we did have three representatives from Chord present.They were pleased with Chords showing and complimented the testing methods, etc. promising to bring "Dave" next time!
-Tube units faired better than solid-state.
-Ladder DACs did pretty well with the Schiit finishing in the top 4.
The other Ladder was the Holo which one party called "Darker" yet I found its clarity excellent.
-The Chinese made DACs by Black Ice and Line Magnetic beat everyone else.
Jeff Kalina, President Arizona Audio/Video Club link
We say bravo to Arizona AV Club for what is certainly the most methodic DAC comparison yet in recent times.
- USB 2.0 with Xmos USB audio technology
- Top grade ESS 9028Pro DAC chips
- Sampling Rates: 32bit 44.1KHz 48KHz 88.2KHz 96KHz 176.4KHz 192KHz 352.8KHz 384KHz DSD64 DSD128 DSD256
- Tube Output Impedance: 2KΩ
- Tubes used in this DAC
Tube Buffer: 2 x 12AU7
Rectification: 1 x 6Z4
- Solid State Output Impedance: 600Ω
- Tube Output Level: 3V (+/-0.5dB)
- Solid State Output Level: 2.5V (+/-0.5dB)
- Tube THD: 0.5%
- Solid State THD: 0.02%
- Digital Input Impedance: 75Ω
- Frequency response: 15Hz~50KHz (+/-1dB)
- Dynamic Range: 120dB (A Weighted)
- Tube S/N Ratio: 92dB
- Solid State S/N Ratio: 98dB
- Connectors 5 x digital inputs: AES/EBU, BNC, USB, Optical and Coaxial
- 1x Output RCA (pair)
- 1x Output XLR (pair)
- Dimensions: 430mm x 325mm x 105mm
- Weight: 6.7 Kg
- Finish: Black
- Warranty two years, 90 days on tubes. Warranty includes repair and return shipping.
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