Aesthetix Rhea signature phono stage

Looking at a second hand Aesthetix Rhea signature phono stage, anyone had experience with this unit.
I want to use it with a second tone arm, aready have a ss stage so would like to have a valve phono as a contrast.
It is a bit more in cost than a new manley Chinook, which I had also considered.
I have read the Aesthetix can be noisy.
I use Lyra, VdH and shelter carts.
Would appreciate any feedback.
the rhea is sensitive to the tubes used. it has gotten a bad rap because of this. also, if a tube is pulled before 20 minutes of being powered down, damage to the circuit can occur, which will cause noise. the caps need to discharge fully.
it's a very good and versatile phono stage. I used one for years.
Corby, When you use the term "powered down", do you mean switched off, using the rocker switch on the rear panel, or to "Standby" mode? If the latter, I can understand why that would damage the circuit; there are still high voltages in the chassis. It might even be unsafe to pull tubes in that condition. However, it's true that there are a plethora of ICs used to run all the automated features, and these can be damaged by careless operation. I know this, because I killed an IC myself while installing new coupling capacitors in my Janus Signature. (Well, I converted it to "Signature" with new caps.) This was due to my goof; one of the new caps was shorted to the chassis.

As for "noise", I am not sure what to think yet of the Janus. However, it can sound great. I only wish it had a "Mono" switch, for mono LPs.
I have a Rhea sig . Sounds great. Noisy? no. I use stock tubes and 56 db of gain
I have the Rhea (not signature). When I got it (used, on agon) the tube rush drove me crazy, coming off a solid state phono stage BUT it was a tube rolling issue. When I got my NOS Sylvanias (12AX7) and Amperex 6922 - all the tube rush went away (slightly there when I run my preamp all the way up which is fine) and it sounds sublime. I do plan on sending it in for the upgrade. No monoswitch but 3 arm inputs so you can get a 2nd arm for a mono-cartridge (or a cheap 2nd table just for mono).
Cerrot, Take it from me that upgrading the capacitors in the Rhea, which is essentially the difference between the original and the "Signature" versions, makes a world of difference. If you like your Rhea now, you will feel like you bought a new upscale phono stage after the upgrade is done. I replaced the coupling caps in my plain Jane Janus with Vcaps and the output caps with polystyrene film caps, and the difference is huge. (I did it myself, thus probably voiding the warranty but thus also saving a lot of money.) I listened to it all day yesterday; it's as least in the same league (now) with my best preamplifier, which costs many times more than the Janus. Incidentally, you might ask Aesthetix if they would use Vcaps in lieu of their usual choice for the Sig upgrade.
Hi Lewm, what is the value of those output caps in the Janus / Rhea ? Thanks
The other change in the signature is the size of output caps - went from 2.0 uF to 4.0uF. I concur with Lewm on the effect of caps on sound - it's substantial. The sig uses DynamiCap which isn't too hard to improve on.
Thanks for the responses, anyone compared a Rhea with a Manley Chinook or an Allnic phono?
powered down means turned off completely. I actually unplugged it from the wall as well.
this recommendation is straight from the Canadian distributor.
sbrown, Yes, I noticed that they seem to have replaced all the 2uF output capacitors with 4uF values.  I got this from poring over the photos on their website.  Thus I cannot see whether truly ALL the 2uF caps are replaced with 4uF values.  Perhaps you know. 
thekong, The in-circuit coupling capacitors are all 0.22uF values and the output coupling capacitors (which value is used in the Janus both between its phono section and its linestage and at the output of the linestage) are all 2uF in the "plain" Janus, and as noted appear to be 4uF in the Signature versions of both the Janus and the Rhea.

I used TFTF Vcaps to replace all the 0.22uF values, which is a huge upgrade over the REL metallized polypropylenes in the plain version of the Janus.  Then I used some polystyrene film and foil capacitors, made by the now defunct PASCAP company (Pacific Audio Supply), that I happened to have in my stash, to replace all the 2uF REL polyprops in the Janus.  Those PASCAPs are positively wunderbar.  I originally purchased 36 of them (mixed, 200V and 250V ratings) to build the needed capacitance for a speaker crossover which I later tore out of said speaker.  I quite accidentally found out how good they are in electronics by installing a few in an old Quicksilver preamplifier.  It's very difficult now to find polystyrene film and foil capacitors in values above 1uF.  I don't quite know why Aesthetix chose to increase the output capacitor values to 4uF in the Signature types; the bass is really excellent in quality and thunderous in the refurbished Janus. But hey, more capacitance can't hurt.
Why the (doubled) 4uF Dynamicaps? Perhaps one could ask Jim White, as I am sure he had his reasons. I know for a fact, they listened to many components before choosing these. When I upgraded my Calypso and Rhea from standard issue to Signature, the sonic rewards were really quite apparent. Actually, the bass did get better in depth and weight but, more importantly (to me), tone or timbres became more fleshed out and I would swear the sound stage also widened and deapened with improved transparency. But I would stress that the upgrade was an extremely balanced approach and more thoughtful than merely cap up-sizing. I understand the reluctance to spending this kind of fortune (4k Signature), yet I also understand value and genius in outstanding engineering. And I believe these components have proven over time to be a very good sonic value. No buyer’s remorse here.

*Could not agree more with previous comments about powering down for 20 minutes minimum before a tube swap. Both Glenn and Jim have been  adamant about this procedure! Do it or pay the price.