Tube Rolling with the Line Magnetic 518 IA

I recently took delivery of the fine Line Magnetic 518 IA. This is an excellent integrated except it comes with basic inexpensive tubes. I'm lloking to hear from those who have done any tube rolling with this amp and what combination turned out to be the most musical sounding. Also interested in how many hours it took to break in this amplifier.
My dealer mentioned liking the Gold Lion input tubes in the LM's. As far as output tubes, I am liking the SED winged C's, but of course that doesn't help in your case. Quite a change from Shindo there. Glad you are liking the LM.
The power tubes are actually quite good, the Psvane HiFi Series 845.

Pre-amp tubes: try Gold Lion Genalex 12ax7s. And Psvane Treasure mk2. And NOS. One of my favorite current production 12as7s is the Mullard at about $17 per tube. Nice and warm but not the final word in detail.

Rectifier: try a new production Genalex, Mullard or Tung-Sol.

Drivers: I like a good EL34 or 6L6: SED winged C (while they last; they recently went out of production). Try TAD (Tube Amp Doctor) 6L6. Amazing tubes.

See my review of the amp on
845 - Psvane

12AX7s - Mullard ECC83, long plate, goal post getter with code f91 on tube (about 1958), about $200 - 250 for a good matched pair on ebay from a good seller.

6L6/KT66: original (not reissue) Genalex, matched pairs $300 - 400 on ebay (a pair there now at $425 buy it now).

5AR4/GZ34: Mullard BVA or Phillips Mini-Watt, both metal base ($300 - 400).

You've bought an $8K integrated...treat it right. :0)
I'm about to take possession of a 518 and wondered about tube rolling as well. Would be ok to suggest some trusted/recommended ebay sellers?
Tried a pair of GE5751's for a couple of weeks then switched back to Nos Philips JAN 12AX7's. Phew what a difference 12AX7's made everything sound spectacular again. I guess the 5751's were too polite for me. Current compliment I am enjoying is the above 12AX7's, Mullard Nos Rectifier., stock 845's and Shuguang Black Beauty 6CA7Z's . Dynamic, involving, organic, all the good stuff.
tried the Psvane 845 II an the Psvane 845 WE Replica either one will send this amp to new level stuck with the 845 II ,just a matter of preference also replaced stock 12ax7 with the Psvane premium series TII and heard a improvement over the stock 12ax7,,
Just purchased the 518 and only have about 10 hours on it but very impressed with build and sound quality thus far. I went ahead and swapped in NOS Mullard 5AR4 and GE 12ax7s. May swap in NOS GE 6L6GCs after further listening. 
BTW driving Daedalus Argos V2s with the 518 , very easy without pushing volume
I had a Philips NOS 12Ax7 self destruct right in front of me (years ago but clearly I'm still traumatized). Replaced under warranty by with a pair of "preferred" 7025s which were simply OK…meh...Tried a set of Psvane 12ax7-ts and one of those failed also…so I finally bought a matched pair of Russian Gold Lion 12ax7s…matched sections, blah blah,…they're GREAT. 
Went ahead and swapped in NOS GE 6L6s. To to my ears they, along with the NOS GE 12AX7s and NOS Mullard 5AR4 have taken the sound to another level. Did initially find the GE 6L6s very bright and needed about 8-10 hours to settle in.  My humble opinion is that this is an excellent amp and great value. Driving Daedalus Argos V2s. Other equipment , Modwright Elyse DAC, Stello CDT100 transport, Wadia i171 , IPOD Classic. Silnote Digital/ICs, Audio Art Cable PCs
I've run a lot of tubes through this amplifier. However, my impressions may be of limited value because I have a bi-amped system. I use the Line Magnetic 518IA to power a pair of Voxativ AC1.6 with two Hypex modules taking care of four 15" Neo woofers. A derivative of the Pure Audio Project speakers except I use an active crossover and I bi-amp mine. The speakers cross at 200 cycles. If I mention a tube, I listened to it in the LM518IA. Comments are relative to this amplifier, not the tubes in other applications. Still, hard fought biases are hard to overcome and I find myself more optimistic about the sound of NOS tubes. Crazy. I had these tubes in my collection and it helped me pull the trigger on this amp. Great for tube rolling for sure.

I'll give a crack at describing my experience. The stock tubes are very good. This is a great amplifier. No gripes with the sound but I like rolling tubes.

  • I use a NOS Phillips metal base 5AR4 but I also used a NOS Mullard. Get one of these and be done with it. Then don't part with those tubes until they fail.
  • NOS Mullard 12ax7 long plate f91 are staying in the amplifier. I can think of no reason to remove them. I also tried some NOS Telefunken smooth plates and didn't care for the sound. Also tried some NOS Sylvania 12ax7. They were nice but not as nice as the Mullard. Stock tubes are pretty good though. I'd play the stock before I'd play the Telefunken - in this amplifier.
Driver tubes:
  • Overall, I prefer two EL34's the best. Remember that my Line Magnetic is not responsible low bass because I'm bi-amped. Best of all are NOS Mullard xf2 followed by the SED wingC (really a nice tube). These two provide an open midrange with texture and punch. Nicely extended top end. These worked the best for my application. Both of these tubes are much better than the NOS Siemens EL34 I have.
  • New production Gold Lion KT77 these tubes got my attention at first. The most extended, clear highs of any tube I rolled. I could live with these for sure. I found this tube very detailed and dynamic. However almost too dynamic. An excitable boy. Gives up the midrange smoothness of the EL34.
  • After the those, I liked the NOS GE 6L6GC. I will likely roll these in from time to time. Super transparent tube. The highs sometimes give that chimey shimmer that I love. Nice foundation without being too thick in the mid-bass. 
  • Soviet 6n3cE is an interesting tube. I like them. They are neither as bad or as good as most of the opinions I read. Pretty good value in my opinion. Closer to the 6L6GC.
  • Overall, I found the larger tubes (KT66, KT88, 6550) to be too heavy sounding. The bass/mid-bass became too weighted and thick. Bass lost some definition. Just not as nimble sounding and fleshed out as the EL34. The TAD KT66 is a nice tube that is really clear and dynamic. I could definitely live with these but I'd have to tweak something else to tame the boom. What I mean is that the KT66, KT88 types sound bigger and very much more forward than the EL34. The TAD KT66 are very forward sounding. I likely won't spring for NOS KT66 based on my experiences so far.
  • To me the Gold Lion reissue KT88 was ok with a big presentation but this would be my last choice. After the stock.
  • Svetlana 6550B. These were from an Audio Research amplifier I owned in the 90's. No bueno.
I listened to all of these with the stock 845. They sound fine but I'm leaning toward buying the Psvane 845WE. Elrog are expensive and seem like a nightmare to own. I can't go NOS on these. $300 bucks for a tube is one thing but $1500 is another.
Hey tnut....did you ever get the Psvane 845WE tubes?  I also have the LM5181 and am now wanting to try some new 845s. And do you think the Psvane 845T II would be a worthy upgrade? Or better value ($400 vs $700)?  Thanks......
I bought the PS Vane 845 WE. They are worth the money IMHO.