Spoiler: Would I recommend buying a Line Magnetic product? Not when you are in Germany or Austria.
In the Summer of 2021, I spent 10k on a pair of Line Magnetic LM-503PA mono vacuum tube amps. This was by far my worst decision in 40 years of buying hi-fi gear.
This report is about many customer-unfriendly emails, a dealer who doesn't answers to emails at all, and the European Line Magnetic distributor holding my amp hostage.
- Since November 12th, I can't listen to music because of a damaged Line Magnetic LM-503PA mono vacuum tube amp.
- The Line Magnetic distributor for Germany and Austria wants to charge me 700 Euro for changing parts that should never be replaced.
- Line Magnetics has not even sent the missing spare parts from China to Germany yet.
- Line Magnetics in China refuses to answer my questions regarding safety, construction and warranty of the amp.
- Further using my 1 year old original Line Magnetic tubes or rolling them with high-quality tubes would cancel all warranties of the Line Magnetic LM-503PA mono vacuum tube amps.
On November 12th, I was preparing dinner in the kitchen when the smell of burnt electronics got my attention. I went to the living room, where the smell was coming from. At the left Line Magnetic LM-503PA mono amp, all tubes were dark, and the amp was burning hot. I immediately switched it off and pulled all cables from the amp.
It took several hours for the amp to cool down enough to touch it. I wonder if there was a danger of burning down my house.
The following day (November 13th), I visually checked all tubes. The 845 tube showed burn marks, and a little piece of metal was loose in the tube.
The same day I ordered a new pair of tubes at Tube Amp Doctor in Germany at 500 Euro for a matched pair of 845 tubes.
Three days later, on November 16th, the tubes arrived at my house in Vienna, Austria.
I changed the 845 for the new pair and switched the amp on. It started as usual. I put on some music, but the amp wasn't playing the same as its right counterpart. It was about 40-50% of the volume. So I immediately switched it off again and pulled all cords.
Then an absolute customer nightmare began. Again!
On November 16th, I wrote an email to the Line Magnetic distributor for Germany/Austria and the dealer in Vienna where I bought the Line Magnetic LM-503PA mono vacuum tube amps.
The Austrian Line Magnetic dealer where I bought the amp did not answer until today!
On November 23rd, and six Emails later, the European Line Magnetic distributor answered some of my questions and told me to send in the damaged mono amp. He also asked me to put the damaged tube into the box. I did so the next day.
On November 30th, the damaged Line Magnetic LM-503PA mono vacuum tube amp, arrived at the distributor in Germany.
On December 1st, the distributor informed me about the arrival and wrote the following about the tubes:
- 845 were visually damaged (Sure, I've already told them in the very first mail)
- 300b were laying loose in the box (must have happen during the transport)
- The 5Z3P was physically damaged (must have happen during the transport)
They also wrote that they'll order new tubes.
I wrote back and explained a second time that the damaged 845 tube was not the reason why I sent in the amp to repair. That there is more damaged than just the 845 tube.
One week later (December 6th), I asked if they had any news on my amp.
They did not even start with repairing.
They first had to order tubes in France before they began investigating what the problem was. It took them two weeks to get tubes from France and to find out the transformer was damaged. But the European Line Magnetic distributor has no spare transformer and has to order it in China, which would take several weeks.
On December 16th the distributor offered to send me a pair of used and out-sorted Line Magnetic LM-503PA amps in exchange to my damaged amp instead.
The funny thing is, in Summer 2021 I already had one mono amp of this out-sorted pair! But that's another story and the second part of this terrible customer journey with Line Magnetic in Europe.
I agreed the offer under the permissions that they would check all problems, the other pair Line Magnetic LM-503PA had in the past.
Then, out of the blue, they sent me an invoice for 700 euros for a complete set of new tubes. WTF?
I wrote them I didn't need a complete set of new tubes because I had already bought a new pair of 845 tubes and all other tubes were ok. I also reminded them that I had already told them this twice. And that I have a warranty on my amp and don't agree to any costs for the repair.
Since then, the European Line Magnetic distributor for Germany and Austria has held my amp hostage.
Here are some facts about what this all means:
- The European Line Magnetic distributor for Germany and Austria has no spare parts to repair a Line Magnetic LM-503PA mono vacuum tube amp. And it will take several weeks to get some delivered from China.
- The European Line Magnetic distributor for Germany and Austria has not even spare tubes to investigate what to repair on a Line Magnetic LM-503PA mono vacuum tube amp.
- It takes the distributer almost two weeks to get spare tubes from France to Germany. (In comparison, Tube Amp Doctor delivered in 2-3 business days from Germany to Austria)
- On a Line Magnetic LM-503PA tube amp, it can happen that one 845 tube burns and causes damaging the complete amp.
- On a Line Magnetic LM-503PA tube amp, it can happen that one 845 tube burns, and you must change all the seven other tubes. If not, the European Distributer for Germany and Austria cancels all warranties for the amp.
- You're not allowed to use tubes from well-known quality brands. If you do so, the European Distributer for Germany and Austria cancels all warranties for the amp.
- On a Line Magnetic LM-503PA, it can happen that one 845 tube burns and causes more than seven weeks without music.
Here are some questions:
The European Line Magnetic distributor for Germany and Austria says that the burned original Line Magnetic 845 tube has caused the damage to the amp's transformer.
- Does this mean that always when an original Line Magnetic 845 tube burns, it can cause damage to the amp?
- Is this a quality issue or construction failure?
- How do they know this? How can they know it wasn't the other way around?
The European Line Magnetic distributor for Germany and Austria says that I have to buy a complete new set of tubes because the original tubes have been in the damaged amp. If not, all warranties for the amp get denied.
- Does this mean the European Line Magnetic distributer has no test gear to check if the original tubes work properly?
- Does this mean, always when one original Line Magnetic 845 tube burns, I may have to buy a complete set of new tubes?
My Line Magnetic LM-503PA amps still have warranty. I just want back a pair with no damages, no defects, and no other issues. And I don't agree to costs than the one-way shipping costs to the distributer.
January 2nd. They haven't answered my last mail from December 22nd yet, and I still can't listen to music. It's a complete customer experience disaster. But it's much worse than this. All the above is just the tip of the iceberg of my terrible customer journey with Line Magnetic in Europe.
Part 2: Find out how My terrible Customer Journey with Lines Magnetic in Europe began.
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