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Lagonda

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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.
Yes, my particular SUT is just to high in gain, and changing tubes would also affect the other phono input on the Io that is currently working perfectly with my Benz LPS cartridge. I will in the future not be buying such high output SUT's or such low output cartridges for use with the IO ;)
 

OGH

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Oct 9, 2020
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O,1 mv is a courageous proposition for most phono preamps...I would think.
I have only tried a SUT briefly, with the Io and a Lyra cart, ten years ago. Not a very high level SUT (but decent, Jensen maybe). I distinctly remember my listening experience though. In the beginning it sounded better, more muscular (like what I missed, from running the Io straight into the amp). Then I started to hear what I was missing - the superior information direct from the Io, the "tubes all the way" experience. And I dropped the SUT.
Later I asked Glenn at Aesthetix, who said, don't use a SUT. Confirming my experience. The Io is an "extreme precision instrument" into analog sound, brought about by pure tube amplification. Maybe there are much better SUTs out there, now, so my experience from back then is misleading. But as a rule of thumb, I think the Io sounds best on its own, with a fairly robust output mc cart, like 0.3 mv, or even better, 0.5 or above. The cart itself does more of the gain job, not a separate box (SUT). I have a Lyra Atlas, and have not invested in the low output version, for this reason. Even if the low output version may sound better by itself, I suspect that in the Io context, with "typical" and somewhat noisy NOS tubes, it will not sound as good. This is pure speculation - I have not tried. I did try a 0.25 mv Ortophon cart, on loan from a friend - did it sound more "anemic"? Yes. It seems to me that the Io really likes the larger output of the standard Atlas (0,56 mv), comparing also to the slightly lower output of the former Titan (0,50), and even lower, the Clavis DC (0,25) - the carts that I used before.
 
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OGH

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Lagonda - yes, many people, myself included, bought the Io Eclipse Io (or earlier versions) with volume controls, hoping it would remove the need for a separate preamp. Turns out, it did not (even if it works quite well). I believe this is a typical story in hifi - "can I use my source component with volume direct". Often it turns out, no. The preamp is the heart of the system. - You already have a quite good combination, so this is a good starting point, you can test your Primare 928 SS preamp against others.

Ron - I use the Io volume around three quarters. Not fully up. Depends on tube quality, etc.
You wrote "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." 18 years! Thats even worse than me :) I used 10. The info on this is extremely well hidden. So no wonder!

Yes you will most probably be better off from a Callisto preamp, or, an alternative I have considered, an Atma-sphere MP-1 preamp. This gets great reviews, and I like their OTL approach, I use their MA-1 amps. But again, the MP-1 is a two or three-box solution, and with the Io, I would not spend money on a version with an internal phono stage. There are probably many other good alternatives out there. Surpassing my Einstein The tube mk2. All I can say is, I got it for a reasonable price used, it was a convenient one-box solution, and it clearly out-distanced the other preamps I tried. Plus (I have to admit) it got good grades from Michael Fremer in Stereophile, making him write that the best preamp is the one that sounds like nothing.
 
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Kcin

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Mar 27, 2016
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I use the Io Eclipse with volume controls direct to my amp. Although, I built the amp purposefully to use as direct drive for my Beveridge electrostatic speakers.

I matched the input impedance of the amp to the output Z of the volume range of the Io with my cartridge selection ( the output impedance varies with volume) with this care and the fact it is a direct drive amp with no output transformers with a very high current drive leaves nothing wanting here. I have tried the MP 1 and 3 here as well as an Allnic 7000. I am good with the Io on its own tons of body and slam with my bi amped system. Bi amping and taking the load off your associated amps with a proper cross over is a big deal for body , focus and detail. YMMV

Tubes make a difference here, I have my favourites but I won't get into it... some may love the ones that I hate in the Io. The wrong tubes will make the Io ... believe it or not.... sluggish.

Fwiw , as special as the Io is , you really should pair it with a higher output MC. The Goldfinger Statement and my Atlas are explosive GFS at .6mV and the Atlas at .56mV. My Etna SL and Stone Koetsu are fabulous but you can tell the difference easily in swing.

I am not a SUT fan I'd rather take the trade offs with a properly executed active device than take the trade offs of a SUT. There are great SUTs out there now and I get why some people may like them. My reference SUTs here is the Bent audio silver and I have some Hashimoto , EAR MC4 and some vintage Altecs... I run them in other systems where the actives stages are not going to do it.

I think if you are running a conventional phono- pre- & amp set up the balance may fall to the additional line stage. Not universally though. You may want to remember mfrs. also want to sell product so take everything with a grain of salt.

I did find that the largest HRS footers make a very positive improvement with the Io and my Finite Elemente stand, These are bigger and heavier than the Eclipse supplied ones. Vibration control is so situational.. so YMMV.

I have not tried but I think I will take on the assignment this winter..... new high performance and shielded umbilicals will be transformational with Io... yet to be heard by me . Albert Porter agrees and I believe he mentioned JW concurred ... just too expensive to include as stock with the Io so will be like slapping a turbo on a Honda Civic ... you have to do it on your own and take it to a tuner to max it out.



For real inexpensive improvements. Clean the tube pins , umbilicals and power cord blades every 4 mos- greater positive difference than any cord, cable or tube.

Most of all have fun.
 
Sep 24, 2020
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Lagonda - yes, many people, myself included, bought the Io Eclipse Io (or earlier versions) with volume controls, hoping it would remove the need for a separate preamp. Turns out, it did not (even if it works quite well). I believe this is a typical story in hifi - "can I use my source component with volume direct". Often it turns out, no. The preamp is the heart of the system. - You already have a quite good combination, so this is a good starting point, you can test your Primare 928 SS preamp against others.

Ron - I use the Io volume around three quarters. Not fully up. Depends on tube quality, etc.
You wrote "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." 18 years! Thats even worse than me :) I used 10. The info on this is extremely well hidden. So no wonder!

Yes you will most probably be better off from a Callisto preamp, or, an alternative I have considered, an Atma-sphere MP-1 preamp. This gets great reviews, and I like their OTL approach, I use their MA-1 amps. But again, the MP-1 is a two or three-box solution, and with the Io, I would not spend money on a version with an internal phono stage. There are probably many other good alternatives out there. Surpassing my Einstein The tube mk2. All I can say is, I got it for a reasonable price used, it was a convenient one-box solution, and it clearly out-distanced the other preamps I tried. Plus (I have to admit) it got good grades from Michael Fremer in Stereophile, making him write that the best preamp is the one that sounds like nothing.
I had tested the Einstein The Tube preamp many years ago as a potential upgrade from my Octave HP500SE preamp, which was no slouch, still miss it’s looks and the sound characteristics which helped propel me into the next evolution of upgrading.

The Einstein when used with my IO, everything opened up, and musical attributes I loved with the Octave/IO combinations was better, more spacious, more open, and more detailed With the Einstein. Unfortunately, it was not enough to make me jump to a rapid decision to purchase it at the time...I felt inside that perhaps I could extract more.

When I tested the Octave Jubilee a few years later, that that was it. I knew it when I heard it, but, the new price was out of my budget. I had a cordial relationship with the Octave founder, Mr. Hoffman, who knew I was looking for an Octave Jubilee and pointed me to someone who was selling a used one, only 3 years old, for an amazing price...rest is history.

The combination of IO with the Octave Jubilee is perfect to me. Obviously, the match up of components is all about synergy and any preamp that works with your setup and sounds good to you is all that matters. Love sharing these thoughts and experiences with all.
 
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OGH

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Oct 9, 2020
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Hi Kcin, many thanks for a very informative post. Your points:
- build amp for beveridge speakers - I am impressed. And I would guess, with the right amp, the direct input from the Io may sound as good (or even better?) than with a preamp in between. My basis for comparison is, first, with the Krell FPB 600 amp, and then (more extensively) with the Atma Ma-1 mono blocs. So a quite wide spectrum, with a general conclusion, a preamp in between is better - but who knows.
- I don't want to say that the Einstein The tube mk2 leaves no sonic signature. There is a bit of solid-state "insistence" that I dislike, turning the volume up. However, using the "mix and match" approach possible with the Io with volume, I find a quite good balance. The plus point of the Einstein is closely related to this minus - it is those very hefty German-made s-state power supplies. From there on, the rest goes through tubes, in this hybrid construction. So, turning it down, and the Io up, I get the best of both worlds, or at least, a good compromise.
We agree on high output carts, and SUTs probably not a good idea.
HRS - ok, but I dont have space, unless I make a big rearrangement in my rack (not likely).
Umbilicals - what about just shielding the stock cords? Would it be a point?
Tube pin cleaning - sounds like a good corona time task...
 
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OGH

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Oct 9, 2020
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Audioquest4life wrote:
"I had tested the Einstein The Tube preamp many years ago as a potential upgrade from my Octave HP500SE preamp, which was no slouch... The Einstein when used with my IO, everything opened up, and musical attributes I loved with the Octave/IO combinations was better, more spacious, more open, and more detailed With the Einstein. Unfortunately, it was not enough to make me jump to a rapid decision to purchase it at the time...I felt inside that perhaps I could extract more."
I would not have considered the Einstein at its list price, but I got lucky, and got it for 35-40 percent or so, slightly used - a very good deal.
"When I tested the Octave Jubilee a few years later, that that was it"
Can you say something more, what did you find, that was missing with the Einstein?
The Jubilee is solid-state only? Class A? Fully balanced? I find several versions on the web, can you include a link, fine.
 
Sep 24, 2020
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Audioquest4life wrote:
"I had tested the Einstein The Tube preamp many years ago as a potential upgrade from my Octave HP500SE preamp, which was no slouch... The Einstein when used with my IO, everything opened up, and musical attributes I loved with the Octave/IO combinations was better, more spacious, more open, and more detailed With the Einstein. Unfortunately, it was not enough to make me jump to a rapid decision to purchase it at the time...I felt inside that perhaps I could extract more."
I would not have considered the Einstein at its list price, but I got lucky, and got it for 35-40 percent or so, slightly used - a very good deal.
"When I tested the Octave Jubilee a few years later, that that was it"
Can you say something more, what did you find, that was missing with the Einstein?
The Jubilee is solid-state only? Class A? Fully balanced? I find several versions on the web, can you include a link, fine.
It is always great to be able to obtain high end products when others are offloading them as used or demos.

Some information about the Octave Jubilee, first off, it is a hybrid tube solid state circuit.

Pages 5 and 6 of the manual describes the technology and circuit design

This is the main link to the Octave Jubilee in Germany


Although Anthony Cordesman, The Absolute Sound, felt the price performance of the Octave Jubilee preamp was not the same as the Octave Jubilee Mono amps, he did not think they were bad, but, in the price class, should have had balance controls, and he thought that the hybrid design was apt to be susceptible to being lean. Overall, he was satisfied with the sound.

The sound of Octave Jubilee preamp compared to the Einstein tube preamp was solidified to me when I heard the trumpet of Miles Davis on the Sketches of Spain album play and Miles trumpet just floated rightfully in space with what seemed to be the proper resonance of the trumpet. This really got into my soul as I used to play trumpet and felt the Jubilee made me feel like I trumpet was played in the room, it was the bite and the Embouchure that really got my attention. So palpable to me. Now, the Einstein is no slouch, but did not convey to me the feeling with the trumpet that I had with the Jubilee, and that’s no easy feat. It really boils down to system synergy and your own preferences. Most of the musical traits that I liked with the Einstein were amplified more with the Jubilee, at least to my ears.

This sixmoons review sums it up to me with the comparison remark to the Soulution 720 preamp. http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/octave7/1.html
 
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Jeffy

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Apr 27, 2014
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O,1 mv is a courageous proposition for most phono preamps...I would think.
I have only tried a SUT briefly, with the Io and a Lyra cart, ten years ago. Not a very high level SUT (but decent, Jensen maybe). I distinctly remember my listening experience though. In the beginning it sounded better, more muscular (like what I missed, from running the Io straight into the amp). Then I started to hear what I was missing - the superior information direct from the Io, the "tubes all the way" experience. And I dropped the SUT.
Later I asked Glenn at Aesthetix, who said, don't use a SUT. Confirming my experience. The Io is an "extreme precision instrument" into analog sound, brought about by pure tube amplification. Maybe there are much better SUTs out there, now, so my experience from back then is misleading. But as a rule of thumb, I think the Io sounds best on its own, with a fairly robust output mc cart, like 0.3 mv, or even better, 0.5 or above. The cart itself does more of the gain job, not a separate box (SUT). I have a Lyra Atlas, and have not invested in the low output version, for this reason. Even if the low output version may sound better by itself, I suspect that in the Io context, with "typical" and somewhat noisy NOS tubes, it will not sound as good. This is pure speculation - I have not tried. I did try a 0.25 mv Ortophon cart, on loan from a friend - did it sound more "anemic"? Yes. It seems to me that the Io really likes the larger output of the standard Atlas (0,56 mv), comparing also to the slightly lower output of the former Titan (0,50), and even lower, the Clavis DC (0,25) - the carts that I used before.
Yes there are way better SUT's today. I am using an EMIA Dave Slagle SUT and it works great with the Io. The sound was so much better using the SUT that I decided to try Dave's phono preamp and the sound is fantastic. My Io probably will go up for sale. I feel bad because the Io is the only component I owned for many, many years without ever looking at anything else.
 
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Jeffy

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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.
Ron your room is still not ready! What is taking so long? It seems like your project has been going on for 5 years. I would really be depressed waiting all that time.
 

Lagonda

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Yes there are way better SUT's today. I am using an EMIA Dave Slagle SUT and it works great with the Io. The sound was so much better using the SUT that I decided to try Dave's phono preamp and the sound is fantastic. My Io probably will go up for sale. I feel bad because the Io is the only component I owned for many, many years without ever looking at anything else.
You own a Signature, not a Eclipse ? Do you have one or two power supplies ?
 

Lagonda

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I have the Eclipse with two power supplies.
OK, you corrected your original post where you wrote you owned the Signature, i had not seen that, sorry ! :)
 

Ron Resnick

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Ron your room is still not ready! What is taking so long? It seems like your project has been going on for 5 years. I would really be depressed waiting all that time.

Thank you for asking.

The listening room still is not ready, but that is the least of it. The house still is not ready.

Why? Because I hired the wrong contractor four years ago who did not have the experience or the quality control for what evolved into a complicated repair/renovation project.

Then, I didn't fire the contractor two years ago when Tinka suggested that I do so.

I am highly confident that the house will be finished, and thus the listening room will be finished, sometime this decade.

I have had too many other fish to fry over the last four years to dwell on being depressed about the house.
 

Jeffy

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Apr 27, 2014
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Orchard Lake, MI
Thank you for asking.

The listening room still is not ready, but that is the least of it. The house still is not ready.

Why? Because I hired the wrong contractor four years ago who did not have the experience or the quality control for what evolved into a complicated repair/renovation project.

Then, I didn't fire the contractor two years ago when Tinka suggested that I do so.

I am highly confident that the house will be finished, and thus the listening room will be finished, sometime this decade.

I have had too many other fish to fry over the last four years to dwell on being depressed about the house.
Ron do you have a listening room where you are now, at least?
 

Ron Resnick

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We have Qobuz playing through Sonos Play 5 speakers in the living room.
 
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Lagonda

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bonzo75

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We have Qobuz playing through Sonos Play 5 speakers in the living room.

If you stream classical channel from cgoroo on YouTube to the Sonos, you will find it very hard to replicate pleasurable listening of such concerts in your main system for quite a few years
 

Ron Resnick

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Wow, I feel bad for you. If you ever pass through Michigan your welcome to visit here.

Thank you very much!

Actually it has gotten me very attached to Qobuz, which I plan to get a streamer for someday.
 
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