Line Magnetic LM-845IA integrated amplifier $4950 Review
August 6, 2021 § Leave a comment
Rubens came to mind while I was searching for a way to explain the abundance brought into my life by the Line Magnetic LM-845IA, an integrated amplifier that has altered my understanding of how hi-fi components work together. Everything about the Line Magnetic is Rubenesque: It weighs 77lb, crowds most equipment racks, and its 845 tubes—each the size of an ear of corn—glow brighter than some table lamps. It replaces the company’s LM-518IA amplifier, which Herb Reichert reviewed in 2015 and still uses, happily. What sets the LM-845IA apart from most other commercially manufactured amplifiers is that it uses a single output tube per channel—a topology that many audiophiles revere for its pellucid sound, rich tone, and textural detail—while generating enough power to effectively control speakers of only average sensitivity. As it happens, it has much more to offer, but more about that in a moment.
Line Magnetic is a decidedly unusual company, having gotten its start manufacturing replicas of classic American audio equipment by the likes of Altec, Jensen, and Western Electric. Made in Zhuhai, in China’s Guangdong Province, the LM-845IA is part of Line Magnetic’s more affordable line of original circuit designs with a more contemporary look, though the company’s devotion to prewar tube equipment is apparent here. The LM-845IA relies on a single 845 tube per channel—first released by RCA in 1931 for use in AM radio transmitters—to produce a whopping 22 watts.