LM Audio and a mini meet in Kolkata

Hi Asit

Yes I meant the new ones. I had a Melody KT 88 pp amp using those and it sounded quite good.

The TJ Full Music tubes from China( a quad of them is about $540) should also to be good-at least their 300Bs and 2A3s are supposed to be very good). Sophia Electric also offers KT 88s , $400 per matched quad.

Beautiful, informative and precise review. After long time we find you opening a thread. Keep it regular please, we all will be enriched. Pratim is lucky to get you nearby. I still cherish the day I had spent with you in your previous house.


Dear Asit Jee

A very beautifully worded analysis of some really good class equipment.

The LM seems to be inspired by Japanese design philosophy that favours function over form. Its a welcome change from the horde of bling bling Chinese amps. Were you able to audition in triode mode? At Ultra linear mode what kind of global negative feedback was it using if at all?

I am agreeing with your views on the Promitheus TVC. I had the opportunity to borrow a well burned in example for about a month. My own DIY Grounded Grid design linestage with a DACT attenuator (original restricted schematic kind courtesy of George) went to the Promitheus owner for a similar length of time.

I liked the Promitheus for it ability to clean the background. In my system that is the only advantage I noticed over the GG design. The later has more natural extensions at both ends. I found the lows at Promitheus a bit murky for my taste. I like the clean decay in Bass guitars and drums. GG does a natural job on this vital part.

Promitheus did a better job with good Indian recording of artists like Enoch Daniels and Van Shipley.

Conclusion: I will keep the GG Grid as my reference linestage for now. Of course the owner of the Promitheus described my DIY GG linstage uninspiring whatever that is :( I wont play with him any more.

I am thinking of beefing up the power supply of my DIY GG linestage. Perhaps that could lead to a cleaner background.

Coming back to your excellent review, would you sometime post a detailed review of the LEBEN? Of all the new tube amps I am starting to respect this one a lot. I've never had a chance to hear one but I have a feeling that this is something charismatic.
The TVC when fully burnt in sounds very very good provided the source has good drive. The TVC has the advantage at lower volumes on better drive (overall balanced top to bottom), at this volume it also presents the best input/output impedance ratio. There is a huge thread on AC going into a lot of details about the TVC both from break in as well as what it does to the impedance.
aks07, given that the TVC is a passive unit, the noise floor will be very low, I doubt that you would get the same even after beefing up the PS of the tube pre. However, beefing it up could provide overall improvement in other areas.

The TVC with the Odyssey amps is not an uncommon combination, if it sounded dull, I am pretty sure that the TVC wasn't broken in. The Ayon CD-1 that Pratim has has sufficient drive, so that isn't the culprit.

I had a Melody KT 88 pp amp using those and it sounded quite good.

The TJ Full Music tubes from China( a quad of them is about $540) should also to be good-at least their 300Bs and 2A3s are supposed to be very good). Sophia Electric also offers KT 88s , $400 per matched quad.

I have read about Melody amps and people were all praise about them.

The TJ Full Music KT88s, according to reports, are simply fantastic sonically. However, there seems to be serious quality issues. There are quite a few such reporting available on the net. Sophia Electric KT88s are also very very good. Apparently, KT88s are difficult to make and some of the new production tubes have quality issues. I have already written about the Psvane KT88 problems that I read on the net, and they are now claiming that it's all sorted out. The original Genalex Gold Lion KT88s are about USD800 for only a pair, I emphasize, a pair only and not a quad. Good Lord !!!
Amit, Captain and aks07,

Thanks for your encouragement. However, I must remind you that, my knowledge on gears is very limited, most of the time I refuse to even notice things. My business is with the music, and that's where where I concentrate, and if the music is good, it does not take very much to make me happy.


You have a standing invitation for a seating position :))) in my home in front of my system which includes the Leben CS300 amp.


Of course, there was a significant difference between what we heard that day and the glowing reviews and appreciation by audiophiles on the net. Given that the TVC pre takes an unusually long time for the burning in, of course the possibility exists that the sound will improve over time. According to the experience of aks07, the background was clean with the Promitheus. However, that was not the case with our audition. That's probably an indication that Pratim's TVC still has some miles to go before a full burn in.

For last few days I was hearing the LM audio amp with their stock tubes. From a technical perspective everything is there but the KT 88 from Gold Lion created far better sound stage , openness and a magic . I expect , as Asit ,Odyssey and Myriad has already pointed out apart from changing the stock KT 88 , better pre tubes will take the sound to a different level.

True , these Tannoys marvels with relatively less power of tube amp.
Impressions on LM Audio LM-215 CD Player

Okay fellas,

Here is my brief report on the LM-215 CD player. To have a look at this player and its innards, take a look at Hit Audio ?x????T - Review . Those who are fluent in Chinese, I'd request you to translate the review given in the above link into English.

This CDP looks and feels very sturdy, so are all button-controls and the CD tray. It has a minimalistic look. It uses a Burr Brown PCM 1792 DAC which has sampling capabilities of 24 bits / 192 KHz. It also uses a single 12AU7 tube in the output stage - I am a bit puzzled by this - is it because of the double triode nature so that it can handle the 2 channels? Can anybody help me here?

One more notable thing about the appearance - it's a bit smaller than the standard size - somewhere in between the standard size and the Cyrus CDP size.

It has 2 playing modes: SHA and SLO - selectable only through the very heavy remote control. The user manual says, the modes correspond to different frequency curves. However, I got confused because on the net at least 2 audiophiles (one in audiokarma named Art.K) described this as switching between valve and transistor (there are very few CDPs that can do that, I knew of one, but cannot remember at the moment). Switching the modes on the fly did not produce a significant qualitative difference for me, not to the extent I'd think it was switching between valve and transistor. I enquired and finally through Sridhar I got my clarifications from LM Audio: "SHA corresponds to 20 KHz high frequency quick drop filtering while SLA corresponds to 20 KHz high frequency slow drop filtering. 215CD only has tube output and there is no separate solid state output selection."

BTW, Line Magnetic does also have a standalone DAC which allows both tube and solid state output - two separate outputs, I believe.

With all that out of the way, let's talk about the sonics and a comparison with my previous CDP CA 740c (well, I am not selling it off, at least for now I am keeping it. It has 2 sets of digital in, each set having both coaxial and optical. Unfortunately the LM Audio CDP lacks any digital in and hence cannot be used as a standalone DAC, but it can be used as a transport alone because it has both types of digital outs).

In one phrase - it sounds beautiful to my ears. The sound signature is very similar to the LM 216IA amp that was described in the opening post of this thread. The sound is musical and rich - with the musical harmonics and micro details. There is absolutely no edginess anywhere - it's smooth and flowing - a bit on the warmer side but not at the expense of the highs. In fact the highs are extremely good- with the desirable extensions and sparkle and air - without the brightness. At the same time the mids and the lower mids are full bodied. The bass is also well articulated and detailed with the necessary impact. The bottom-line is that this CDP invites you to the music. During a week's testing before I finally decided to keep it I tried all kinds of music I have (there is now a pile of about 30 CDs near my system which will confuse people about my preferred genre) and not a single CD repelled me.

In comparison, the CA 740c CDP, despite being quite detailed and everything, lacks in the musicality department, sounds harsher on most CDs. Please remember this is in comparison. In absolute terms, I still think the 740c is a very good CDP, especially for the price I got it and it gelled well in my system.

One other difference was the separation of all instruments or all physical sources of sound, as a result the imaging is much better and assured. My wife easily identified this trait. My son was very quick in his comment - on the very first listen within a brief moment he confirmed that the LM Audio was undoubtedly a better player.

I have a reasonably huge collection of CDs and I do not have the time or inclination to put all this into the hard discs. I need one box CD players and I think I found a very good CDP that would better quite a few popular and more expensive CDPs - as I said elsewhere VFM quotient as opposed to absolute improvement is important to me.


I see that you are from Miraj. Is that the same Miraj in Maharashtra where the best tanpuras are made and where the great Ustad Abdul Karim Khan spent a considerable time in? I had a Miraj tanpura for more than 10 years and for some reason I had to give it away to somebody, but some day I again want to get at least one for myself.

Well, regarding the comment "China rules", I see that China these days make equipments for all kinds of market, and not all are cheap construction. There are plenty of high quality ones from China. For example, Triode Corporation of Japan has several of their equipments made at the Line Magnetic factory in China, but at the back of their equipment it says "Made in Japan". Look at this link discussing the Line Magnetic factory Hit Audio ?x????T - Review, and one clearly sees Triode Corporation products are being made there. Actually the innards of their CD player TRV-CD4SE looks a lot similar to the LM-215 CD player.

Now adding to my report in my previous post on the Line Magnetic CD player LM-215, I like to say that I see improvement in the sonics for my CD player this time very similar to the improvements when I upgraded from my now-24-year old-and-still-running Harman Kardon HK6300 amp to the current Leben CS 300 amp. By the way, in the 80s Harman Kardon used to make excellent amps and they are still held in high respect, for example in Germany. My HK amp had only 60 wpc (at 8 Ohms) of sustained power but it could deliver an instantaneous current of upto 38 amperes, according to the user manual. However, when I changed to the Leben CS 300, I found the whole presentation became more musical and smooth (the HK amp sounded harsh in comparison) and the separation of all instruments became a lot better - precisely some of the important improvements I see now while upgrading from CA 740c to the LM-215. I do not know whether the common pattern of improvement is due to the tubes in both the newer equipments, or it is because I generally upgraded to just better equipments.

Exactly, the same Miraj. Home of D V Paluskar too, if you are into Hindustani classical (vocals) in that big a way.

Yes, I am into Hindustani Classical (especially vocals) in a big way, have some exposure of Carnatic classical too.

BTW, did you mean D V Paluskar or his father Vishnu Digambar Paluskar? The father had considerable overlap with Miraj, but I did not know the son, Dattatreya Vishnu (DV) also was based in Miraj.

Hi Asit
Glad you liked the LM CD player.
I read this about the player.The 215 has been out for a few years, but is just now making its debut in the good ole US of A. Its musical, non-fatiguing sound is perfect for vinyl lovers in need of a CD player to keep their digital music collection viable. We love this player and can't say enough good things about it.
As per my experience, entry/ mid level CD players suffer from harshness/fatigue in direct comparison with entry/mid level tts.(Ex. my denon cd player ,the weakest link in my chain vs the rega rp3).
Any comparision of LM with your denon CD player regarding this aspect ?
PS- My denon amp is on the smoother side.
Yes, I am into Hindustani Classical (especially vocals) in a big way, have some exposure of Carnatic classical too.

BTW, did you mean D V Paluskar or his father Vishnu Digambar Paluskar? The father had considerable overlap with Miraj, but I did not know the son, Dattatreya Vishnu (DV) also was based in Miraj.


DV was born in Miraj.
Any comparision of LM with your denon CD player regarding this aspect ?

I have not done a direct comparison, since I do not use this player regularly any more. However, when I bought this in 1989, Denon was seriously into 2-channel and was making really good equipments. In addition, this player was not an entry level one, actually quite a bit up on the mid level.

The build quality is top notch. It still looks quite distinguished and almost like a new player. The CD drive looks and feels quite high end. The sound is smooth too, compared to my 740c. But it lacks a tiny bit on the details resolution in comparison. You have to keep in mind that digital audio has come a long way since those early days, especially in controlling jitter. But remembering that it is such an old player, it is still a very decent and musical player, and with old technology it still beats the modern dat entry level players on overall estimation, I think. It paired very well with my 24 year old HK 6300 amp. But I do not think it will be able to compete with the LM player.

Dear Asit ji

Its a privilege to read your posts especially on music. I now have a feeling why you selected the Leben amp. Both you and Late Pt Ravi Shankar's daughter cant go wrong. ;)

Thanks also for the offer to host a give a demo of the said amplifier. It will be a great pleasure.

Warm regards
Purchase the Audiolab 6000A Integrated Amplifier at a special offer price.