My terrible Customer Journey with the Line Magnetic LM-503PA Mono Vacuum Tube Amps - Part 2

Wednesday, January 4, 2023
5 min read

In August 2021, I bought a pair of Line Magnetic LM-503PA mono vacuum tube amps at an authorized dealer in Vienna. 

Two weeks later, the dealer delivered one box to my new apartment in Vienna. 

Me: Wait, just one box?
He: Oh, should it have been more?

I had to explain that mono amps come in pairs and that I had bought a pair. 

I waited another week for the second amp.

When the second Line Magnetic LM-503PA arrived, I started unpacking; everything was weird. 

  • The later delivered amp had fewer packing materials.
  • At the later delivered amp, the fabric protection sleeve was pulled over inside -out.
  • At the later delivered amp, not all tubes had protectors around them.
  • At the later delivered amp, the overall packaging was quite sloppy.
  • The spare fuses were missing
  • The printed manual was missing

My immediate thought was: Did someone already unpack this amp and put it back sloppy?

I took the amp out of the box, and it got even more suspicious.

  • At the later delivered amp, the red sticker on the front panel was peeled off and missing.
  • The later delivered amp stands wobbly on the floor. 

I immediately wrote to the Line Magnetic manufacturer in China, asked them about the packing materials, and told them my concerns. They forwarded my case to the European distributor.

But it got worse. I started listening for the first few days. And it was no pleasure.

  • The suspicious amp made more noise. Even with no signal. I sent them measurements as proof.
  • The suspicious amp played less loudly. The stereo image of white noise gravitated to the right.
  • The suspicious amp makes weird bell sounds. Very annoying in silent parts of music. I sent them a video as proof.

I wrote to the manufacturer in China.

I wrote emails to the European distributor in France.

I wrote many, many emails to the distributor in Germany.

I sent them photos and videos to prove the amp's issues and asked many questions. They treated me like a fool and avoided answering some of my questions. Especially my question if Line Magnetic LM-503PA mono vacuum tube amps come as matched pairs. I have asked this several times.

And then, I wrote an email to an Australian Line Magnetic dealer. He confirmed that Line Magnetic LM-503PA mono vacuum tube amps come as matched pairs and that their serial numbers are identical with A and B suffixes.

This is what I needed. LM-503PA comes in matched pairs. This information is what the European distributer avoided giving me. So checked the serial numbers on my amps.

Surprise, surprise: My pair of LM-503PA had different serial numbers!

After confronting the European distributor with this information, they suddenly discovered that they had mistakenly sent me the wrong LM-503PA mono amp. 

They delivered the matching amp and took back the suspicious one.

The matching one had the missing packing materials and the sticker on the front panel. It stood still, played as loud and noisy as the counterpart, and made no bell sounds. 

It took me more than 20 emails to get the false amp swapped against my correct one.

I had to wait three months to enjoy listening to music again.

I decided against buying the preamp from Line Magnetic.

Part 3: I wrote to Line Magnetic for clarification. Read here how that went down.

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Georg S. Kuklick