Aesthetix Io Users Group

audioquest4life

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Sep 24, 2020
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Congratulations, the upgrade comes with the HRS polymer footers- as you discovered, they really stick. Have fun and be patient.
@Kcin,

Thank you. It sure is a great unit as an Io Signature, but, as an Eclipse, a partial one at that, it’s in another league. It just exemplifies and adds more character to an already great unit.
 

Ron Resnick

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@Kcin,

Thank you. It sure is a great unit as an Io Signature, but, as an Eclipse, a partial one at that, it’s in another league. It just exemplifies and adds more character to an already great unit.

When you are ready can you please explain to us precisely the differences you are hearing between your original Signature and this new unit?
 

audioquest4life

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Sep 24, 2020
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The latest update concerns the actual playing of the new partial Eclipse after hours of running in with the Granite Audio CD. I have some dialogue to get off my chest before the final BLUF.

I had a spurious electrical issue that manifested as I was powering up the amps and the field coil power supplies.

Background, my phono stage was gone for nearly two months, and while it was gone, I took the opportunity to move cables around, unplugging some and shifting locations to dress up the rack. While I was powering on the amps, and field coil power supplies, nothing else was turned on, all of the sudden the left speaker started making a rushing electronic hash noise, I immediately turned off left and right amps...hmm, swapped left and right field coil power supplies, turned on, and the same issue in the left side.

Well, a theory and sort of a long shot idea came over me. I unplugged the left interconnect from the preamp, which was not on, and then turned on the amp...silence. So, the rearranging of the interconnect cable I did while the phono amp was gone must have had some negative connective issue which resulted in the noise.

I then returned the interconnect to where it was before, but, also, I thought about the WBT connection, which I love hate, due to the constant tightening of them down when removing and plugging in, could have been not fully plugged in, in which case it may have caused this weird electrical phenomenon even though the preamp was not even on, talk about weird.

Electrical gremlins. System was up and running beautifully today without any issues and rechecking those damn WBTs and moving the cables back to the original position.

Finally, I get to the enjoy the music. And boy, was it an enlightening experience. The phono amp was on for about 6 hours, the preamp and amps on for about 1 hour.

The album I pretty much default to many times is the 1977 Columbia release of Santana Moonflower album and the song is called Right Here Waiting. Not that I made a silkscreen tshirt in junior high in California, or that my sister is dating the previous drummer from Santana, Billie Johnson, or that my step father used to be a Congo player for Santana in the late 60s, it’s because I like the music, and wellX because of the influence on my life growing up partially in California.

When playing this song that I sample with the lo, I always listen to the characteristics of the voices, guitar, cymbals, and triangles.

Holy cow Batman, the deep resonance, extended decay and the ring of the triangles could be felt in the room. I like the music somewhat robust, and man, the new improved Io with partial Eclipse upgrade rocked it.

I was already expecting a more spacious sound field but, not to the extent of the information retrieval and deep decay of the recording, which is to say that the reverberant sound of the recording was more pronounced greatly adding to the explosiveness of the triangles and guitars when played. This is only the initial sound update. I will take a much better recording with my camera on a tripod in a few days.

I hope the video posts. Sorry for the poor vid quality and the weird flip of the phone. Let me know if you have issues viewing this video. Apparently, I have a Youtube channel from years ago when I used to post my racing videos of me running around the Formula 1 track at Hockenheim, Germany as a hobby race car driver driving a modified Corvette Z06 with go fast parts from Katech engineering, the same folks who build the motors for the Corvette racing team.


Ciao,

Audioquest4life
 
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audioquest4life

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Sep 24, 2020
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Had some time to listen for a few hours today, and bonus, installed the brand new Soundsmith Hyperion MKII ES series with DEMS on an SME V arm.

I have to mention this, the Io just takes in whatever cartridge you have and reproduces music so beautifully within the cartridges means. That is to say, no matter what you have for a cartridge, the Io is ready to accept it and exploit its musicality. The Io definitely allows one to hear differences in cartridges. I don’t think I have reached its limits at all...anyone can feel comfortable using a cartridge at any price range with the Io as a Signature and certainly the Eclipse versions, and expect to get the best that the cartridge has to offer.

In my preliminary trials, The Hyperion is way better than the Benz LPS, Ruby Z, Sussaro MKII, and van den hul Crimson Stradivarius. It will be interesting to see how it compares to the inbound Air Tight Opus 1. I played Blow Up from the Three Blind mice 45rpm album, and the Io combined with the Hyperion just dug into the grooves and played the music with silence between tracks. But, the Hyperion got to test the Io‘s ability to do deep bass and shimmering cymbals with utmost clarity. Really liking how the Io sounds even with low hours of break-in.
 

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audioquest4life

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Have some more hours on the Io and it is by far the best sounding it has ever been in my system. It is absolutely quite and silent. I tried high and low gain settings on my Octave Jubilee preamp and in either position, I did not hear any tube rush or electronic hash, buzz, or hum from the system with the Io engaged.

It is probably better for me to post my update to Jim White and Glen here for you all to get an impression of the sound. The Io is so quiet in its current Eclipse state with new Aesthetix matched and low noise tubes, it is beyond enjoyable. Anyone on the fence about getting the latest Eclipse upgrades with Aesthetix‘s newest and latest power supplies (I did the power supply upgrade while it was in the shop) should know that it is worth the price of admission and the wait to get the Eclipse.

“Amazing and awesome are the superlatives I would use to describe the playback of the Io in its new configuration. First off, it is absolutely silent, not even transformer hum. I really appreciate the thoughtfulness and time going into the tube selection for the Io. Your tubes have always been beautiful sounding, but, we as owners sometimes stray from the truth with tube rolling to either lower noise or increase something that we sense may need a boost. Your tubes are magical and are not noisy, just pure musical bliss and portray across the musical spectrum exactly what is needed to make music sound organic, natural, and realistic. I am glad to have reset myself with original Io tubes as they convey a sound quality that is mesmerizing.

I use giant Classic Audio Loudspeakers T1.5 reference and I cannot detect any tube rush, whatsoever. And, that is in either low or high gain settings on my Octave Jubilee preamp and at the most, 30 watts from the big McIntosh MC2301 300 watt tube amps. The silence between music tracks allows one to hear things like the studio environment of the recording or paper shuffling of music notes (Lynn Stanley, direct to disc). In fact, vocals are so realistic that the resonance of voices are easily picked up and provide that feeling of the artist being there on stage in front of you. The few visitors who have listened, all said the voices are so realistic and that they have never heard anything like that before.

I am reliving the first time I fired up the Io when I was on active duty and stationed in Germany. I think this was back in 2006. It was an incredible listening experience then, but now, the new modifications and tubes has brought the Io to a whole new level. The thing is, when I swap cartridges, or tonearms, the Io plays to the level of whatever is in the source. The analogy here is having a 600hp sports car and only using 300hp for the street. I have not matched the Io limits, even with a Hyperion MKII or Benz LPS, or Ruby Z. It plays all cartridges beautifully and I can’t wait to hear what it sounds like with an Air Tight Opus 1 or Koetsu Coralstone planned for acquisition in the next few months. I suspect that there are really no limits to the Io’s ability to showcase cartridges to their fullest. That is a testament to the build and sound quality of the Io that so many of us analog aficionados savor and enjoy. This is definitely a product for the ages, and a heirloom product at that. I can see it being passed from generation to the next due to its robust build quality.

I personally and wholeheartedly want to thank you Jim and Glenn, and team Aesthetix et.al, for revitalizing my cherished Io and bringing back the joy of musical realism that many don’t have the opportunity to experience. The Io is truly a wonderful product.“
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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Thank you for this superlative report!

Kudos to Jim and Glenn!
 
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Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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This is not exactly on the topic of the thread, but somewhat relevant.

A friend of mine and I had a wonderful time comparing in his system an Aesthetix Callisto Eclipse with two power supplies and a top-of-the-line ARC line stage preamplifier. In his system, with low sensitivity speakers, the Callisto provided superior drive and speed, with no apparent sacrifice of transparency.

My friend theorizes that the greater gain of the Callisto over the ARC, and the huge dual power supplies, explain much of difference we heard.
 

audioquest4life

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Sep 24, 2020
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Great report. Makes we want to upgrade my Io Signature. Im guessing the power supply updates are more important than I would think.
Thank you. The new power supply upgrades combined with the low noise tested and matched tubes that Aesthetix supplies as part of the Eclipse upgrade package makes the Io sound better than the Signature. Silence, more dynamics, and organic sounding; what’s not to like, except for the extra space requirements for two power supplies. Signature by itself is a great product, the Eclipse just amplifies what is good with the Signature and adds more delicacy to the important vocal ranges, more dynamics, while having less noise.

The Io does produce a lot of heat, but seems to run a tad cooler with two power supplies. Whereas, before, the one power supply, albeit, the old dinosaur version power supply was very hot after after a few hours of play. Knowing that I would have long listening sessions in my custom built virtually soundproof room, I had an AC/HVAC mini split installed at the back of the room when the Io was gone. Even in winter, hours of usage could increase heat in the room from all of the tubes. Now, with both power supplies, the ambient temps do rise, but, not as fast as previously, and the new power supplies seem to be more efficient and don’t emit extreme heat as before. The dedicated mini-split is still needed for me due to the amount of tube equipment I use.

The Io is one heck of a performer, that’s for sure.
 
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