I've owned both,.. currently still have the 219,... I originally sold the 518 because I was very curious about an Ayon integrated with it's discreet vol. control. While I had the 518 I acquired a Wytech pre (Jade 2.1) and it convinced me of the better sonics to be had with a discreet based vol control. I sold the 518 and regretted it. While the Ayon (Spirit III/KT150) was an awesome amp, with the Zu's, it lacked the emotional portrayal of music that the 518 was able to deliver. I should note that the Ayon drove my Meadowlark Osprey's much better and was the clear winner over the 518 though. Anyway, I digress. I sold the Ayon and was able to purchase a 219. The 219 if running in integrated mode is very similar in sound to the 518. Maybe a little bit more weight and body to the sound but close. Nothing really to get overly excited about. I would say that the degree of difference you hear will most likely be very speaker dependent. However, run the 219 in amp mode and hold on. Then the difference really does become night and day. The gain in clarity and realism jumps by a noticeable margin. I believe some of this probably has to do with omitting the 'AX7' gain stage and dumping the input directly to the 310's. In the 518, the 'amp' input only bypasses the vol. pot but still runs though the 'AX7's'. All in all, unless you have the ability to run direct into the 219 I would save the $$ and spend it on more music or other gear. Hope this helps a little!