Asthetix IO users group

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I am a big believer on the impact of power cables and power connectors for our audio components. Proper connections and the correct topology for power cords will have a greater impact than any other cable that is easily discernable for even unexperienced listeners. Whether that impact is suitable is up to you.

There is such a diversity out there that it is impossible to try them all. I had used Shunyata for a number of years with the Io- their naming conventions are so confusing to me- I don't really know what I was using. Those Shunyata's have been relegated to other duties around the system or packed away.

I have since tried many others and based on performance in my system settled on the Audioquest Hurricanes . I find them capable in really delineating detail in the lower most registers in very natural coherent way that really works with my electrostatic line sources . I was never really a fan of audioquest- outside of their tremendous depth in each product line - but I think their engineer hit a home run this series of power cables even though they are likely made in China.

They are extremely inflexible and where you might of gotten away with a 1 metre in the past you may need a 1.5 metre in order to delvelop a loop to arrange how they connect- especially if you are up against a wall.

Worth considering, they are widely available and you may be able to get a home audition at some vendors.
The Audioquest Hurricanes certainly rank up their with the Shunyata Alpha NR2s. Have you made any direct comparisons between the two using the IO or other component? What made you decide to use Audioquest over others? Thank you.
 

OGH

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If you get periodic noise, turning the Io up, withouy playing records, check out your home system. We thought it was a mobile phone central near by, but it was the home alarm system box, sending out "bursts" to the station, every 8:25 minutes. We had to move the box into another room to get rid of the noise.
 

Lagonda

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If you get periodic noise, turning the Io up, withouy playing records, check out your home system. We thought it was a mobile phone central near by, but it was the home alarm system box, sending out "bursts" to the station, every 8:25 minutes. We had to move the box into another room to get rid of the noise.
Sounds like a nice way to keep track of the time during listening sessions ;)
 

Kcin

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The Audioquest Hurricanes certainly rank up their with the Shunyata Alpha NR2s. Have you made any direct comparisons between the two using the IO or other component? What made you decide to use Audioquest over others? Thank you.
Hi,

I made direct comparisons at the time to Cardas Clear Beyond , Nordost Valhalla 2 and Silent Source Signature.

Value wise based on my criteria for overall balance top to bottom without being etched the Hurricanes came out on top price/performance wise in my system. Cables are so personal that you really have to try before you buy. I have some siltechs here now that may be better. Yet, I am not willing to pay multilples on the price. YMMV .
 
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Ron Resnick

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Does anyone use David's Ching Chengs on the Io?
 

Lagonda

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Does anyone use David's Ching Chengs on the Io?
I did and liked it a lot, but i only have 4 of them and prefer using them on my MBL 9011 amplifiers, they take 2 per amp. I am using some high diameter no name neutral cables currently, and when David resupplies me they will go back on the Io again. :)
 

OGH

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Re: balanced tonearm cable to the Io. I've noted in my audio log file that there are different impressions.
Back in 10-20-04 Albertporter wrote on Audiogon, "My phono cable is Purist Primus XLR. I was able to listen after I replaced the original RCA jacks on my Walker with XLR's. The performance was not significantly improved over the previous RCA connection."
Email from Glenn Buckley 20.6.12: "Regarding your second question [best with rca eller xlr input], this is a situation where the only way to really know would be to try both and see for yourself."
 
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OGH

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Re: running the Io (with volume) direct to the amp(s), or through a preamp.
Again, this is just my experience and ears.
For ten years, I used a direct connection. The Io sounded detailed and clear, no problem. It was only gradually that I became aware that the Io direct sounded a bit too thin or even a bit hollow and ghostly, sometimes. I emailed with Aesthetix about this, and Glenn answered, yes, it sounds even better with a top level preamp, like the Callisto. The fully-fledged Callisto is three big boxes. My stereo rack was already over-full, I already had a lot of tubes and heat in the living/listening room, and also I could not afford a Callisto. Therefore I first tried some mid-level preamps in the chain. One-box solid state. They did not make it. Reason? They did solve the "thin" - "hollow" problem. There was force, muscle, and body OK. But they took away too much of the clear information from the Io. I call it "information" since this is what I felt. Whatever the plusses and minuses, the Io direct to the amps gave more information, that I appreciated, as listener. I don't want to invest in anything that harms the information, even if it "sounds good". It was only when I found a very good (one box) preamp, imparting very little sound on its own, that I became satisfied, and for the last five years, this has been my solution. This is the Einstein The Tube mk2. It does have s-state power supplies, maybe it gives a bit of "German" sound, but all in all, this is clearly better than the Io alone. But note that the volume controls on the Io are not wasted, even if you run it through a preamp. I like the capability to adjust the gain mix between the phono amp and the main preamp "just so" to get the best sound, called and collected.
 
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Lagonda

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Re: running the Io (with volume) direct to the amp(s), or through a preamp.
Again, this is just my experience and ears.
For ten years, I used a direct connection. The Io sounded detailed and clear, no problem. It was only gradually that I became aware that the Io direct sounded a bit too thin or even a bit hollow and ghostly, sometimes. I emailed with Aesthetix about this, and Glenn answered, yes, it sounds even better with a top level preamp, like the Callisto. The fully-fledged Callisto is three big boxes. My stereo rack was already over-full, I already had a lot of tubes and heat in the living/listening room, and also I could not afford a Callisto. Therefore I first tried some mid-level preamps in the chain. One-box solid state. They did not make it. Reason? They did solve the "thin" - "hollow" problem. There was force, muscle, and body OK. But they took away too much of the clear information from the Io. I call it "information" since this is what I felt. Whatever the plusses and minuses, the Io direct to the amps gave more information, that I appreciated, as listener. I don't want to invest in anything that harms the information, even if it "sounds good". It was only when I found a very good (one box) preamp, imparting very little sound on its own, that I became satisfied, and for the last five years, this has been my solution. This is the Einstein The Tube mk2. It does have s-state power supplies, maybe it gives a bit of "German" sound, but all in all, this is clearly better than the Io alone. But note that the volume controls on the Io are not wasted, even if you run it through a preamp. I like the capability to adjust the gain mix between the phono amp and the main preamp "just so" to get the best sound, called and collected.
The volume control on my Io Eclipse is a recent addition, and when i ordered it i was hoping that it would allow me not to use a separate preamp. After trying direct and a collection of solid state and tube preamps, i am back to using my 35 year old Primare 928 SS preamp. It is transparent with just the right amount of drive for my system and the built in phono section is excellent and allows me 2 extra highly adjustable phono inputs. MM input is something i miss on the Io, as i like SUT's with some of my cartridges. I use SS amplifiers and my separate subwoofer crossover is also SS, in a no sub all tube system i might feel different.
 

Ron Resnick

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. . . But note that the volume controls on the Io are not wasted, even if you run it through a preamp. I like the capability to adjust the gain mix between the phono amp and the main preamp "just so" to get the best sound, called and collected.


I used the Io direct to the amplifiers for 18 years. I confirm that Jim White believes the set-up sounds even better with a Callisto between the Io and the amplifiers. Don Saltzman firmly agrees with this, and uses a Callisto between the Io and his high-power tube amplifiers.

Those endorsements were more than enough for me to plan for a line stage preamplifier in the middle for the system I expect to be hatching sometime next year. And even though I planned from the beginning of this new system to use a line stage pre-amplifier in the middle, I, too, chose the Io with the volume controls to balance the gain between the Io and the line stage preamplifier as I wish.
 
Sep 24, 2020
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Regarding cables:
Agree with the statement that you have to try it out for yourself to see if either type of connection will be the best for your particular situation. Also, the remark by Albert about the cables he used may be, let’s say, Over come by events (OBE), in jargon I use in my work environment, due to advances in cable technologies over the years for each type of connection. Still, with the advances in technologies, either cable type should carefully be evaluated.

We should start a Whats Best Forum cable sharing pool to allow for cable testing
 

Ron Resnick

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80dB of gain from the Io is 80db of gain.

65db of gain from the Io + 15dB of gain from a line stage preamplifier is 80dB of gain, plus it adds additional circuits and connectors and connections and wires and complication.

So what is the theory behind why splitting up the gain responsibility with a line stage preamplifier sounds better?
 

OGH

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While I am at it - power cords. Feet. I am sure they do make a difference, but it is rather small, compared to other things, in my system, starting from a solid stone rack where the feet don't make a big impact. Larvikite (Norwegian) stone. So for example my Hanss t-30 player rests direct on the top stone shelf, but then again, it has maglev feet. I've damped the shelves a bit, on the low/back side, to avoid vibrations, and I cannot feel much, using the "very light finger touch" test, nor do I hear it, with a stethoscope. The vertical space between the rack shelves is too small, to use high feet / footers beneath the Io control unit. I value good air conditioning / breathing space for the unit more than the last word in damping, although Aesthetix would say that the Io sounds even better with HRS feet, I think. Maybe I can think of other ways to dampen the units a bit more - I have the old (black) chassis version, which is why my Eclipse upgrade is "partial". Suggestions welcome. But all in all, it seems that in my rack, it is quite well situated, on its "bare" factory feet.

What about power cords? I am sure there is a difference. But again, the biggest difference in my system was installing a separate power course, instead of the "lamp" course in our living room. This made a huge difference. The power cords (at the end of this course) also make a difference, at least, going from stock cables to something better. How much better? Not sure what is needed. Not easy to test, since my rack is back to the wall, and changing cables and cords is a lot of work, not good for my prolapsis back. So I tend to stay with a "good enough" experience. Within this, however, there is a ranking order - yes. The Shunyata Taipan helix performs well in my system. Maybe my best power cord. A Wyrewires Juice 2 does the job also. PS audio Perfectwave AC5 also quite good. Better than stock cords. Supra lo-rad is also ok but less so, it is in the middle, comparing my best cords to the stock cords. I like JPS cabling in the rest of my system - interconnects, speaker cable - but have never tried their power cords. Note that these are my listener preferences over time, using the cables with different components, not especially tested with the Io.

Same thing with feet. I only have a rough estimate. My alround best are probably Cerapucs, but they make more difference under the speakers than under the Io, so that is where they stay. The next best are probably black ceramic cones (worked well under my former VPI player), but too large to place under the Io, in my rack. I find that with a turntable that needs better vibration damping (like my VPI Hw19), the feet plays a large role - but with other, fairly well-footed components, not so much. But like I said, I have not investigated much.
 
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dan31

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If you want to use the Io with a SUT just remove the loading jumpers and the input load is 47k for MM. then adjust gain lower to accommodate the gain from the SUT.

I have been happy using my Io without volume control to my Spectral preamp. I also use the Io direct to a OTL headphone amp and it’s very enjoyable for headphones.

Power cables make an obvious difference on my Io. I guess this is system dependent for each setup.
 

Ron Resnick

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I am trying to sell my brand new, unopened in the box Herzan TS-140/Taiko Tana. But if I don't sell it, I will place the Io control unit on top of it.
 

Ron Resnick

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I know Jim White takes a dim view of SUTs.
 

Lagonda

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If you want to use the Io with a SUT just remove the loading jumpers and the input load is 47k for MM. then adjust gain lower to accommodate the gain from the SUT.

I have been happy using my Io without volume control to my Spectral preamp. I also use the Io direct to a OTL headphone amp and it’s very enjoyable for headphones.

Power cables make an obvious difference on my Io. I guess this is system dependent for each setup.
I have a 1:40 SUT made specifically for my Benz 0,1 mv output cartridge, even tried removing 2 of the gain tubes like the manual instructs, with unsatisfactory result. :rolleyes:
 

Lagonda

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I know Jim White takes a dim view of SUTs.
Yes the Io is not a “Jack of all” product, it is very good for certain cartridges, and unusable for others, a 0,1 mv cartridge regretfully falls into the later category.:rolleyes: I like what some SUT's do for some cartridge, they have a certain magic.
 
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Ron Resnick

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Oh, sorry. Of course if you are talking about cartridges with outputs that low, then you need the SUT.
 
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dan31

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I have a 1:40 SUT made specifically for my Benz 0,1 mv output cartridge, even tried removing 2 of the gain tubes like the manual instructs, with unsatisfactory result. :rolleyes:
Have you tried keeping the output tubes in and used the lowest output?
When I asked Glen about pulling the last pair he recommended against it. I think you can also substitute tube types for a lower gain.
 

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