Asthetix IO users group

Kcin

Well-Known Member
Mar 27, 2016
293
180
130
Canada
Thank you for the inspiration...deep down inside I know the IO reproduces beautiful music. I, like the rest of you IO owners, have settled on the fact that the IO’s Sound merits outweigh the heater. No noise fans, hmmm. What brand? I do have an ultra silent Oscilating hepa filtration fan I could use in the room. Why did I not think of that, LOL.

I will definitely ask Glen to have the techs do a thorough checkup on all aspects of the IO. I already asked if the newer IO’s had better or updated RCA and XLR JACKS and if I could get those swapped out too. Also, looking to add the HRS couplers to add to the IO when it gets back as that’s part of the full Eclipse upgrade. I am not sure how they can be made for Aesthetix specifically as each application goes under chassis and not the feet.

About the ASR, ironically, I listened to the ASR Basis Exclusive while in Germany as it was a contender at the time For my next phono stage.

I had my 2box PS Io with volume controls updated by Aesthetix about 1.5yrs ago. I am in Canada. I elected to ship it next day - I have a good shipping rate. 3 boxes down to sunny California. 1 day shipping puts your boxes on special handling and less chance for damage.

Even so, I had new custom boxes made to fit the factory ones into and I added 1.5" of foam on all sides to the custom boxes... no damage luckily.

When it was down there. Aesthetix took it upon themselves to renew all the electrolytics in the PS's and Head unit and check it all out. My unit is configured for 2 phono inputs... they added the new loading boards for these in this application. I also added the HRS footers- I wouldn't bother as they are just the rubber portion . They included them for me because I asked. Overall it took about 2.5 to 3mos to get in que and have it shipped back. I shipped mine down with my full complement of NOS tubes as they tune the response of the gain sections to the tubes in the unit. You can ask for new tubes at an extra charge.

Almost 400 hrs later after it returned it fell into place and wow... it felt like a mistake until then .. it was excruciating for a long time as my set up is painfully revealing of break in woes and poorly components upstream. I almost regretted it.

Totally worth it. I hear the big Allnic on a regular basis with the big Allnic line stage. You are not missing anything with a fully tuned Io.

Best of luck.
 
  • Like
Reactions: audioquest4life
Sep 24, 2020
77
16
10
57
I had my 2box PS Io with volume controls updated by Aesthetix about 1.5yrs ago. I am in Canada. I elected to ship it next day - I have a good shipping rate. 3 boxes down to sunny California. 1 day shipping puts your boxes on special handling and less chance for damage.

Even so, I had new custom boxes made to fit the factory ones into and I added 1.5" of foam on all sides to the custom boxes... no damage luckily.

When it was down there. Aesthetix took it upon themselves to renew all the electrolytics in the PS's and Head unit and check it all out. My unit is configured for 2 phono inputs... they added the new loading boards for these in this application. I also added the HRS footers- I wouldn't bother as they are just the rubber portion . They included them for me because I asked. Overall it took about 2.5 to 3mos to get in que and have it shipped back. I shipped mine down with my full complement of NOS tubes as they tune the response of the gain sections to the tubes in the unit. You can ask for new tubes at an extra charge.

Almost 400 hrs later after it returned it fell into place and wow... it felt like a mistake until then .. it was excruciating for a long time as my set up is painfully revealing of break in woes and poorly components upstream. I almost regretted it.

Totally worth it. I hear the big Allnic on a regular basis with the big Allnic line stage. You are not missing anything with a fully tuned Io.

Best of luck.
@Kcin,

Thank you for that endorsement. I read on this forum somewhere about a cartridge shoot out and the IO and Alnic went head to head. Very interesting results.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kcin

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
15,394
4,871
940
London
@Kcin,

Thank you for that endorsement. I read on this forum somewhere about a cartridge shoot out and the IO and Alnic went head to head. Very interesting results.

IO and Allnic have been head to head at Albert Porter's and his listening group with Ypsilon. I have compared the two with Lyra atlas, vdh Stradivarius, and a few other carts. I have also compared Allnic 7000 to Ypsilon with Lyra atlas, and 3000 to trulife and zesto.

I really like the Allnic. I also like the IO. The IO has slam, soundstage, and midbass unlike any other. Allnic (recti rolled) is also excellent but with more engaging musical flow. Thomas mayer phono stage is also excellent and DHT like Allnic 5000/8000. I prefer DHT when available. Dacs, amps, phono, preamp. There is a flow and purity that is unmatched. Both Allnic and Mayer are LCR. Additionally, Allnic is flexible.
 

OGH

Member
Oct 9, 2020
48
18
8
68
I would love to hear the Io and the Allnic side by side - well, one day maybe. For me, at some point, "what's best" turns into a "is it good enough" question. The Io is good enough, even if Allnic may be better in some respects - I guess. Sometimes, however, "good enough" can be very misleading. I bought a huge solid state amp that got a lot of praise in Stereophile, class-leader in terms of bass and authority and so on, and "almost" as good as tube amps for music - not much worse - "good enough". This was not correct, however. To my ears. Tubes still lead the way. This is of course also a reason why i've stayed with the Io, with its challenges. I am more doubtful of "hybrid" solutions. For example, I really like my Einstein The tube mk2 preamp, but it does have solid state transformers, which I associate with adding a little bit of solid-state "hifi" sound. Sorry if I now expose all my prejudices, but they are my experiences, over the years.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pallen and Kcin

OGH

Member
Oct 9, 2020
48
18
8
68
RE: DACs that can match the Io?

I am breaking in the Teac NT-505 and find that after 50 hours it plays a bit better, and turning up the volume a bit can reduce the impression of "flat", "tame" or "polite". This is comparing my double dsd format vinyl rips made with Lyra Atlas cart -> Io partial eclipse -> Einstein preamp, to playing the same music and setup directly, analog only. The Teac also plays Tidal masters ok, and lower formats, but that is not the topic here.

I wonder, is there a DAC that would be as "pure" as the Io? Or almost?

For now, I am satisfied with the "mid-level" NT-505. Not much digital glare. Good enough to test the system a bit more.

Using Akg 450 headphones and Fiio EX1 in-ear phones, I tested the headphone amp of the Teac, compared to the one in my Tascam DA-3000. Result: the Tascam Dac is not as good, less refined, but no slouch, either. More "hifi" sound, but also, "direct".

Next, I tested the same vinyl recording, Ginger Baker Horses and trees, track one, wonderful afro-uk blend of music - first, through the Teac playing the file from the ethernet-connected hard drive on the network, and then, from a flash drive direct into the front of the Teac.

Result: both are very good. Practically speaking, no problem. Is there a tiny bit more "noise" on the ethernet-connected playback, compared to the Usb? Not sure. The recording, through both ethernet and usb, gives me a lot of what the Io is about. So I am very grateful for the new digital system, a big step up, for me. Even if the analog part of the system still reigns supreme.

I also tested for noise level, ethernet vs usb, when not playing music. I turned the volume up to 85 - far higher than I would ever use it - and still heard almost no noise. Nothing to worry about. The purist approach, however, seems to involve an extra point of isolation, before the ethernet cable goes into the streamer.
 
Last edited:
Sep 24, 2020
77
16
10
57
What the heck! To think I was even thinking straying from IO after I relooked my review of the IO Sig in 2006.
Like Trace Adkins said in the Bedonkadonk song “shut my mouth, slap your grandma, there ought to be a law” against even thinking about straying from the IO, LOL.

BTW, some of my review is posted on the Aesthetix web page, cool. I still can’t believe I wrote this review so long ago.

I am quoted on the Aesthetix web site “
neutral in presentation ... no over or under emphasized artifacts ... it blooms and explodes ... a profound moment in music listening", AudioAsylum.com (2006, IO SIGNATURE phono stage), read review

My review from 2006: https://www.audioasylum.com/reviews...-IO-Signature/vinyl/555688.html?aac_mobile=no


Short Excerpt From review:

It allows, playback of the music hall or recording venue to include the presence of audience members in its entirety and place individual instruments in their own space and with the appropriate amount of dynamic aura. Low level details are so defined and add overall to the level of live presence I keep talking about and provide a compelling reason why equipment like this exists. Bass notes are deep and proper with the snares rattling across the entire sound stage when required, highs are excellent and dynamic and not lacking any detail, shimmer is also excellent, providing a natural tone and vibrancy when the cymbals are lightly rattled at the end of a song or solo.​
The big B&W 800 Nautilus speakers disappeared so much more into the background when the IO Signature is in operation, much more than I thought possible as they were already optimized, a seamless sound field that is both extra wide and deep, this has been the case with the IO Signature more so than with other phono amps, the image never really became as transparent as it does with the IO, the B&W N800 always played the capabilities of what ever was being played further down the line in the system. This is perhaps an issue with the IO Signature, make sure the rest of your components can truly exploit its capabilities or it will be left sitting idle and you will not hear what I am describing.​
Lastly I would like to add system synergy has allowed me to achieve these results. Everyone has their own system demands and individual room requirements and of course our own hearing is quite different. A listening test at home is the only way to really justify if the IO Signature will suit your needs. I listened to the IO Signature at depth in several show rooms and the equipment was not optimized to allow me to hear low level details on one of my reference albums by Karen Allison. At home it was night and day. The low level details were present in ample amounts to allow me to grin from side to side. Once your system is optimized in regards to proper speaker placement, equipment isolation, acoustic room treatments and correct phasing of all AC cables you will hear the results I have described. But, you will probably notice most of the fundamental properties I described with the IO Signature in whatever system you decide to place the IO in as it makes that much of a difference. I can’t speak about RFI/EMI interference because I do not have any of that, but I am sure it would be problematic to hear such interference when trying to listen to music.​
Comparisons to other equipment, well if you desire the properties that other phono preamps deliver such as extra deep bass or emphasized midrange or overly extended highs, then your taking into account perhaps a shortcoming somewhere in your system, the IO Signature is neutral in its presentation and thus there are no over or under emphasized artifacts of music detail that I can really comment on. The amount of low level detail capture and the way the IO Signature blooms and explodes may surprise many who have not heard how music should sound like and will most likely be a profound moment in music listening, I know, I keep having them when I play music through the IO Signature.​
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lagonda

OGH

Member
Oct 9, 2020
48
18
8
68
+1 audioquest for life. Your 2006 text is still very much to the point. Funny that you heard it with the Nautilus speakers. We heard them in a shop, my wife and I, back then - and did not find them coherent. But that was without the Io. So we bought Dynaudio Consequence speakers. Now, it is Audiokinesis. The better the amps and the speakers, the more benefit from the Io.
 

Jeffy

Well-Known Member
Apr 27, 2014
287
50
233
Orchard Lake, MI
I own the Aesthetix Io Sig. and think it is a great phono, but it does come off a little on the darker side, in other words more balanced from midrange on down to the bass region.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
8,353
2,748
730
Beverly Hills, CA
I don't disagree, and this suggests that a neutral to slightly higher frequency balanced cartridge might be a wonderful match.

Does anybody with an Io use a current model van den Hul for his cartridge?
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
15,394
4,871
940
London
I don't disagree, and this suggests that a neutral to slightly higher frequency balanced cartridge might be a wonderful match.

Does anybody with an Io use a current model van den Hul for his cartridge?

I heard it in the system where I compared the IO and Allnic. He also had a 0.5 output vdh Stradivarius. Sounded fine.
 

Lagonda

VIP/Donor
Feb 4, 2014
1,712
1,630
590
Denmark
I heard it in the system where I compared the IO and Allnic. He also had a 0.5 output vdh Stradivarius. Sounded fine.
Was that the Magico system with the long tone arms and REL 25 sub six-packs Ked ?
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
15,394
4,871
940
London
Yes.

Are you calling me "six pack ked"? I know you struggle to score these days but this is too much
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lagonda

Lagonda

VIP/Donor
Feb 4, 2014
1,712
1,630
590
Denmark
Yes.

Are you calling me "six pack ked"? I know you struggle to score these days but this is too much
“Six pack Ked“ does have a nice ring to it ! But with your eating habits i doubt it is very accurate ;) I did score recently, found a nice vinyl collection of 200 LP’s for about a Euro a piece :)
 
Last edited:

Kcin

Well-Known Member
Mar 27, 2016
293
180
130
Canada
I own the Aesthetix Io Sig. and think it is a great phono, but it does come off a little on the darker side, in other words more balanced from midrange on down to the bass region.

Maybe,

The Eclipse over the Signature does solve for some of this .. system balance ... and preference always come into play beyond the phono stage.

I also find that tubes play a role in this if you are rolling NOS.
 

Lagonda

VIP/Donor
Feb 4, 2014
1,712
1,630
590
Denmark
Maybe,

The Eclipse over the Signature does solve for some of this .. system balance ... and preference always come into play beyond the phono stage.

I also find that tubes play a role in this if you are rolling NOS.
And hopefully there is an improvement from Signature to Eclipse with 2 power supplies also !;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: audioquest4life

OGH

Member
Oct 9, 2020
48
18
8
68
My experience, going from basic Io with one power, to partial eclipse with two, is that the eclipse gave better sound while the two power supplies gave more of it. Broadly speaking. More authority, slam, muscle. Together, the two upgrades melded very well.
 

Jeffy

Well-Known Member
Apr 27, 2014
287
50
233
Orchard Lake, MI
Maybe,

The Eclipse over the Signature does solve for some of this .. system balance ... and preference always come into play beyond the phono stage.

I also find that tubes play a role in this if you are rolling NOS.
I'm sorry I do have the Eclipse and have both dual power supplies. I use all amperex bugle boys and mullard EL34's in the power supply. I don't like the sound at all with the stock tubes. I still find it a little on the darker side.
 
Sep 24, 2020
77
16
10
57
I never once, since owning the IO, ever thought that it was dark sounding, even in plain jane IO Sig form. I do know from my experiences that audio equipment, amps, preamps, cartridges played more of a roll in the overall sound I heard after I got to know the baseline sound of the IO. Stock tubes to me were also great sounding, but, I believe that the first few years that certain batches of tubes were somewhat noisy...hence, some people rolling tubes to address the noise.

I tried a few NOS tubes years ago, got tired of chasing rare and temperamental NOS tubes fearing that they may one day go up in smoke and take out my equipment. I tried Siemens, RFT, and JAN in my Octave Jubilee reference preamp. While sounding pretty good, I have had more instances of those NOS tubes malfunctioning more than any other modern tubes I have used in my equipment. Same for the IO, the few times I tried NOS Tubes, the sound was only incrementally better in some cases. But, I had this fear that something would go wrong at any time. I just don’t have the physical stamina anymore due to bad back, recent hip surgery, and foot problems which I blame on the Army to keep moving heavy stuff off the rack and open the covers to play around with tubes. Only when necessary. Although, I will take the time to cartridge roll more often.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kcin

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing