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Phono-Stage off for renovations.....

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  • Phono-Stage off for renovations.....

    I have been procrastinating for too long. I finally packed up my Aesthetix Io for a Eclipse Upgrade over the past weekend. 165 lbs of shipping weight and 3 boxes off to sunny California.

    I had been reluctant as just over the past month or so the system just "locked in" after playing with some loading, VTA and the ground boxes. I'm sure the Atlas was just breaking in as well to the point it was comfortable.

    Now the agonizing trip and hopeful nothing gets lost or damaged. The guys at Aesthetix have been great and its nice to have a company that supports a full upgrade on their lineup.

    With 30 tubes and testing and pulling and packing it was a 3 hour ordeal.

    I get to look forward to breaking it in when it comes back. Now I will pull out some vintage preamps and set up the Quads and perhaps the Futterman and/ or the Wyetech for a change up when its gone. I'll report back if there is any interest.

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    Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
    Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point , Brinkmann 12.1 , 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: ARC SP 3a, Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
    Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2

  • #2
    yikes, 30 tubes? I feel lucky finding just two that are matched good luck with that
    How Do You Beat Audiophile Nervosa?

    Step Number 1: Upgrade your music collection first. If you do it correctly that should keep you busy in perpetuity.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think that's a keeper. I remember when it was "the one" and people complained about size, heat, tubes, etc. But, if you are willing to deal with that, are there demonstrably better phono stages what, now 20 years later? I have no idea what the upgrade involves, but I'm glad you,
      kcin are committed enough to own, use and maintain that unit. I guess you can suffer using those Consolettes- something you just don't see (or hear) every day, do you?

      Comment


      • kcin
        kcin commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi Bill, I have had the units for 10 years without issue. Space is not a concern as the man cave is purpose built and the heat- well I live in Canada -so mostly ok except for the summers with the choking hot humidity.

        No question, it is a commitment, I have spent countless hours tube rolling for the right recipe- I think anyone would be pleased on how quiet it is. It might be difficult if you were not a geek like me- or you could leave it stock.

        I have had the opportunity lately to listen to CH Precision and Tenor - always the opportunity to listen to ASR , Thoress,VAC Phi and the small Lamm phono within our group. I have brief encounters with the current ARC reference gear but really not enough time to draw any conclusion- very nice though.

        The Aesthetix with the 2 supplies and volume controls is easily very competitive with all of them and IMO better that some of them. The Tenor is a special piece for certain its expense and limited distribution will not allow it to gain the attention it deserves.

        I'll slug through with the consolettes for a while.

    • #4
      Congratulations on making the leap to the Eclipse level upgrade. Will you keep the current chassis or upgrade to the new chassis?

      I will watch closely as I am enjoying the Io Signature. I believe the Io is still a top phono preamp.

      Comment


      • kcin
        kcin commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi Dan. Partial Eclipse.. no chassis mods just the guts.

    • #5
      I had a buddy go from the Io Sig to the Eclipse versions. It's a BIG deal... I am sure you'll be thrilled ! Can't wait to read about your results...
      Speakers: Rockport Altair 2
      Amps: Nagra HD Pre Amp & HD Amps
      Cables: Transparent Magnum Opus Source and Opus Gen 5 Pre to amp and Speaker
      Power Transparent Opus Power Cords & Opus Isolators
      Digital dCS Vivaldi full stack w/ Transparent Reference XL Digital cables
      Phono: Grand Prix Monaco 2.0 TT, Spiral Groove Centroid, Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement, Nagra VPS/VFS/MPS
      Racks: Grand Prix Audio Silverstone F1 (x4)

      Comment


      • kcin
        kcin commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi jfrech, I am looking forward to it. I will report back in due course. Thanks.

    • #6
      Good fortunes there with the Eclipse upgrade. I’m sure it will be worth the wait. For me the Signature upgrade on both my Rhea and Calypso together were quite staggering and enjoyable years ago. It has been some time now, would love to take the next step to Eclipse. I agree that the IO can well hold its own with anything available today. Jim White has seen to it that these components will continuously be setting a higher bar, now the Eclipse comes into orbit! Can’t wait to hear your impressions.
      Listening/Living room is 25.5x14.5x8.5, modestly live and dynamic, Brinkmann Balance w/RöNT II PS, HRS, Reed P3-12, Miyajima Zero, Avid Acutus SP, SME V w/Kondo fairy hair silver litz, Lyra Kleos, Linn Sondek LP12 w/Ittok LVII, Nakamichi ZX-7, Sony SCD-XA5400ES, Aesthetix Calypso & Rhea Signatures, Nordost TYR Norse 2 XLR IC, Silent Source Music Ref mains, Atma-Sphere MA1 Mk.3.4 OTL Silver Edition monoblocks, Elrod EPS-3 Sign power cables, Coincident Techn PREt, PS Audio Premiere, Yamamoto racks

      Comment


      • #7
        The Io has turned into an Eclipse. I was in Europe for a week and it was waiting at the distributor's for me upon my return.

        Eclipse upgrade performed with all the electrolytics in the power supplies upgraded/replaced as well. Volume controls cleaned adjusted and new loading boards for each of the 2 phono inputs installed- my version is 2 phono ( phono +1 high level input is standard)

        I took the opportunity to clean every pin of each of the 32 tubes with a fiberglass pencil and wipe with a non residue contact cleaner . Too late to hook things up - It will need 250 hrs to reach a major plateau and 400hrs to complete. The factory put 100 hrs on it.

        I will report back the results if there is an interest.


        Click image for larger version  Name:	io2.jpg Views:	1 Size:	159.3 KB ID:	85335
        Last edited by kcin; 04-17-2018, 06:51 AM.
        Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
        Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point , Brinkmann 12.1 , 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: ARC SP 3a, Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
        Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2

        Comment


        • tima
          tima commented
          Editing a comment
          dual mono?

        • kcin
          kcin commented
          Editing a comment
          Dual mono yes- each channel has its own separate board and stepped attenuator along with one power supply per channel.

      • #8
        Super interested in how this settles into place. I’m living with a single power supply Io Signature. It must be exciting to see your Io reborn.
        Last edited by dan31; 04-17-2018, 03:43 PM.

        Comment


        • kcin
          kcin commented
          Editing a comment
          thanks - I will share some notes when I get some hours on it.

      • #9
        I've put about 200 hrs on the Io with a reverse RIAA network and it is transforming nicely. The density, quietness, detail and space is amazing .Significant improvement that I did not think possible. Still waiting for it to flesh out in the bottom end but I was warned that this would be the last plateau.

        I can't rationally explain capacitor break in as there is virtually no current flowing in our applications in but there certainly is a a difference from hour 0 to hour 200 . I also know from previous experiments that dielectrics have an impact in sound to my ear. I can't really explain this well from an engineering perspective either.

        What we put ourselves through for the sake of record or two.......
        Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
        Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point , Brinkmann 12.1 , 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: ARC SP 3a, Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
        Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2

        Comment


        • #10
          Man, just refreshing a couple tubes made a BIG difference in my system, so it is no surprise that such an upgrade could give you more. enjoy it. Classic component. Then again, you have no shortage of those....

          Comment


          • #11
            Originally posted by Bill Hart View Post
            Man, just refreshing a couple tubes made a BIG difference in my system, so it is no surprise that such an upgrade could give you more. enjoy it. Classic component. Then again, you have no shortage of those....
            Thanks Bill, apart from the upgrade they adjust the linearity to the RIAA curve based on the tubes I've rolled into the unit. Theoretically this should be as good as it gets for this unit based on the Eclipse mods for it.
            Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
            Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point , Brinkmann 12.1 , 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: ARC SP 3a, Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
            Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2

            Comment


            • #12
              At about 400hrs and some loading adjustments from prior, the Io Eclipse is finally fleshing out. The detail and spatial ability are quite uncanny. The bottom end is coming back as well as the warmth

              I was warned... but man it was a long wait. Rediscovering records now- & the old cliche, I am hearing things I missed before.

              Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
              Brinkmann La Grange & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point , Brinkmann 12.1 , 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: ARC SP 3a, Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
              Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2

              Comment


              • #13
                Curious, what adjustments have you made to loading and for which cartridges?

                Comment


                • kcin
                  kcin commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Hi Dan, I went from 470 to 310 I believe on the Atlas. My system is full of Valhalla and the Beveridges tend to be analytical if you can believe that for a 'stat.

                  The Koetsu stays at 150 . One thing that drives me crazy is no mention of loading experiments during reviews of top tier cartridges. I would expect that from a professional review....oui?

                  I continue to experiment the break in is still happening even though I have about 400hrs on with a reverse RIAA network and CD breakin disc. It may go back up.
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