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Blog posts on audio components and goings on at and in the audiophile and pro audio communities.

How to Be a Good Listener: Get Good Gear

reference-level preamplifierOnce upon a time, performance mattered more than appearance. In fact, drawing attention to an audio component cosmetically usually engendered audiophile mistrust. “If it looks that good, what are they trying to hide?” The Aesthetix IO Signature Tube Preamplifier is dark and silent on the outside, rich and accurate on the inside. When I listened to it last week, I wanted to see, did it really do what people claimed? Or, was it just heavy and expensive? This preamplifier was unique because, although it was designed primarily as a phono stage, it was the ‘Signature’ model, as well as having been upgraded with line stage and two imposing volume controls. The Aesthetix acquitted itself well. Even so, would it perform even better with a state-of-the-art power distributor giving it backup? Or, would it continue on as it had, unmoved? After inserting a state-of-the-art power distributor in the power chain, I listened. Once a richer soundstage emerged, and crisper detail and presence without forwardness, I knew that I had not yet heard the potential of which the IO Signature is capable. In a better system, it will perform at an even higher level.

In addition to a capable phono stage, this rare model includes the Line Stage, permitting some versatility in choices for source. For instance, you can run it with a streamer. In addition, it has had all its capacitors replaced, returning the Aesthetix almost to its original performance standard. And, as there was no special attention paid to tube choice, the new owner has some discretion in enhancing its performance even more. These don’t appear on the market very often. After a eyebrow-lifting afternoon of listening, I can see why.

You can find out more about the Aesthetix IO Signature here.

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