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Questions About Aesthetix Io Eclipse Conversion

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  • Questions About Aesthetix Io Eclipse Conversion

    I started this as a PM to kcin on the thread “Phono-Stage off for renovations.....”

    As I commented there: I have an Aesthetix Io Signature with twin power supplies and volume controls (which I do not use except to adjust the fixed level). I bought it new in 2000. I am interested in upgrading to an Eclipse with two phono inputs.

    I’ve emailed Jim White many times in the past because my Io began blowing the F1 fuse on the power supply circuit boards in the first year and has kept it up about every 6 months or so for 19 years. It wasn’t a serious (expensive) problem until I started using Synergistic Blue Fuses. Now, with Jim’s "ok" I have 20.0 amp (instead of 0.25 amp) Blue fuses. It blew 2.5 amp fuses; we’ll see about this. Certainly it will be resolved with the Eclipse upgrade as the fuses are now gone.

    Kcin, your last post on the renovations thread was a year ago and you had 400 hours on the break-in. How did this end up? Was the reverse RIAA & CD successful? I’d like to know what I’d be in for in breaking it in.

    My Io is slightly tweaked:

    Besides the Blue fuses, it has Mazda grey top tubes and Herbie’s tube dampers on the 12 output tubes. I have removed the three top (Signature) covers. The control unit is sitting on Symposium Rollerblocks on top of a Symposium shelf. I have Nirvana power cords (2-wire, Analogue) to to the power supplies. The chassis are grounded through the Synergistic Research system grounds. The power supplies are on BDR cones & pucks. The rest of my system as I describe it on What’s Best Forum:

    ALL ANALOGUE, ALL TUBE, TOTALLY DUAL MONO: Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement cartridge & TT2 tonearm, Clearaudio Master Reference turntable with ceramic magnetic bearing, Clearaudio Outer Limit (ring clamp) and Quadro Low Clamp, Custom mounting to isolate the turntable from the room, Aesthetix Io Signature with dual power supplies, Conrad Johnson ART 2, SR Blue fuses, Herbie’s Tube Dampers, Wavelength Mercury Ag SET amps with Emission Labs 20B tubes, Synergistic Research Level 4 cables and interconnects, Shunyata Research DF-SS Cable Lifts, Synergistic Research and Nirvana power cords, Equi=Tech 5WQ balanced power wall cabinet, Furutech outlets, Symposium shelves & Rollerblocks, BDR cones & pucks, Avantgarde Trio Loudspeakers, Custom room designed by Rives Audio/Chris Huston, DIY Elmasonic P60H ultrasonic (record) washer, Loricraft PRC-4DL record washer, 60 years of classical vinyl enjoyment

    The most important question here is whether I will regret making the conversion. I love the sound I have now. I’d like to hear from those who were used to the Signature sound, and now have the Eclipse.

    What is the best way to break the Eclipse in and for how many hours?

    I would like a second phono input. Is there an external switch to change inputs. Will this work without changing to the new cases?

    I described the way my Io is configured, above. I would like to think that I could be very happy without the new ($$$) cases, even though Jim has told me that it is a big part of the conversion. My current setup sounds best without the more rigid enclosed cabinets. Do the new cabinets give a more open airy sound or what? Please provide your own adjectives.

    Is purchasing directly from Aesthetix the best way to do this?

    I will probably not ship my output tubes with the unit and just have Aesthetix replace all the tubes. At some time in the not too distant future I’ll need to find new output tubes anyway. Are there any suggestions relative to tubes that I could discuss with Aesthetix.

    Has anyone tried Synergistic fuses in the back panel of the new Eclipse? (I did not care for them there on my Signature).

    I looked for other threads on this subject at audionirvana and did not find any. Did I miss something? What other links could you recommend?

    A lot of questions, but I am really looking forward to your input.

    Thanks in advance!
    (Chanhassen, MN)
    Last edited by redcars; 07-03-2019, 10:52 AM.

  • #2
    I will watch and read with interest. I have an Io Signature with single power supply. I tried Furutech fuses of the same value and they blew immediately. I’m back to using the standard fuses.

    Wonderful phono pre. The Eclipse upgrade is not on my list but who knows. I need to reduce some hum on the power supply transformers.


    • #3
      Thanks Dan31 for your interest.

      I am taking this opportunity to update my initial post with new information.

      I am now scheduled to have my Io updated to Eclipse in September. Glenn at Aesthetix has been tremendously helpful in answering my questions. I am adding the second phono input, but not adding the new cases or feet. Aesthetix calls this a “Partial Eclipse.” It is also what Kcin did.

      As I mentioned before, I am running my 3 chassis without covers (but with protection from inadvertent fingers). I have tried damping in the past but was not satisfied with the results. Kcin referred me to Harmonic Resolution Systems who make the feet for the Eclipse and also make damping plates that Kcin has used. I will likely try some combination of these with my Eclipse.

      I previously asked: What is the best way to break the Eclipse in and for how many hours?
      I am aware of two different available sources for a reverse RIAA input that is used between a CD player and the Io input, but I am planning to use a Granite Audio CD recommended by Aesthetix. Your CD player needs to be able to continuously repeat a single track.
      The updated Io is run for 100 hours at Aesthetix and then 400-500 additional hours are recommended.

      I previously asked: I would like a second phono input. Is there an external switch to change inputs. Will this work without changing to the new cases?
      There is a new faceplate for the second phono input to add two (triangular) buttons. These switch the cartridge leads for each channel independently. The two cartridge loading selectors will now be inside the case instead of on the back panel.

      I previously asked: Is purchasing directly from Aesthetix the best way to do this?
      I am told that it must be purchased through a dealer, which I am doing.

      I will update this thread again if there is interest.


      • #4
        Congratulations Don, on making the arrangements.

        The change is transformational in my opinion, however, the break-in is excruciating. 400hrs + before I could listen to it again. Like you I think I had my Signature version tweaked to the limit before the upgrade and truly questioned myself part way through the break-in. You must be patient.

        I have have had some critical ears over here with regularly published reviews and they were shocked by the transparency, image specificity, transient attack and scale. Now part of this is due to other factors but what I'd like to mention is that the Io is competitive in the current market-but is a total commitment to space and tubes , which I understand, may be too much for many.

        If I could make a suggestion, on shipping, if you can at all manage air freight 1 or 2 day I find this is the best way as with ground the boxes tumble around for a week or more.

        Best of luck.

        Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
        Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
        Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
        Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
        Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
        Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222