Aesthetix system – with or without a line stage?


I have been slowly building a stereo and HT system in my living room. I don’t have much experience with high-end audio, I used to have a modest surround AV system but now I am really into the great sounding stereo sound.

So far my “new” system is the following: Aesthetix Atlas Eclipse Power Amp and Aesthetix Romulus Standard CD/DAC. I also have an Anthem D2V which I use as a pre-amp for now. I stream the music from my NAS with a Lumin U1 mini, and my speakers are Martin Logan Montis’s.

As the Romulus Standard is not DSD compatible and my Atlas is an Eclipse version, I have decided to upgrade my Romulus DAC to Eclipse as well.

The question is, at the time of the upgrade shall I add an optional volume control to the Romulus and connect it directly to the Atlas, or would it be much better adding a Calypso line stage to this system?

There is a significant price difference between these 2 options. My dealer recommends the Calypso whenever I can afford it, and until that just use the Lumin’s digital volume control without any pre-amp. Obviously I don’t want to spend $1500 on a volume control if that is not a good solution, but with my limited experience and knowledge it is hard to understand the benefit of the additional line stage, as I don’t plan to add anymore analogue sources to my system…

Thanks in advance for the recommendations!

I would take your dealer's advice.
Keep your eyes out for a used Aesthetix Callisto.  No revised or new Calypso will come even close.
I know that my Aesthetix Io sounds best through an active preamp. No idea with the Romulus. Maybe Glenn at Aesthetix could give you some info.
Thanks for the recommendations so far!
I just asked Aesthetix too, and their short reply was "Running the Romulus through the Calypso will be better sonically"...

Yes I expected that answer. Aesthetix have been precise and correct in my communication with them over the last 15 years. Maybe a signature or eclipse (if it exists) Calypso would float your boat. Even if Callisto is better. I upgraded the Io to partial Eclipse. Was expensive and at first i was disappointed. Glenn at A toldxme to wait. He was right. After 100 - 150 hours I became convinced, yes this is a major step up! Later I've never looked back. 
I would have followed their advice regarding Callisto too, if I had the shelf space. My Io already has 3 big tube boxes and the C is 2 or 3 more. Together with my tube amps they already warm up our living room enough. So I compromised buying used a one-box preamp, Einstein The tube mk 2. I found out, testing preamps, that the preamp has to be very good indeed, to improve the signal direct from the Io. Maybe the case with Romulus too. The Einstein passes the test though it has s-state transformers that give a little bit of minus to the sound to, my ears, even though it gives more body, presence etc than Io direct to amp. I suspect the Callisto and e g the Atmasphere Mp1 would be even better but I have never heard them.
Thanks for all advices!

Based on them, my budget and Aesthetix's recommendation I have placed on order for a Calypso Eclipse to mate with my Atlas Eclipse.

The new Calypso shall be ready in 8 weeks.

I am still not sure about the Romulus upgrade but I will ask about that in the “Digital” topic…


Thanks, Zsolt