Aqvox 2CI Direct Input

I was curious whether or not any Aqvox users have tried to bypass the preamp and go directly from the phonoistage into the power amp using the gain on the 2CI as the volume control.

If so what cartridge and power amp are you using. Does this have sufficient gain?
I have no idea whether this would be feasible; my gut feeling is that it would not work particularly well, particularly if you are using a fairly low output moving coil. I'm using the Aqvox with a Denon 103R (.25 mV output) into the balanced input and then balanced out to my integrated. In the balanced in/out configuration the Aqvox is supposed to be capable of its maximum gain, which is 75 db. I have the front gain controls set to about 2 db additional gain, which means I have about another 13 db to work with. In your scenario, I don't think it would be enough to gain and dynamics would suffer considerably running direct into a power amp.

I've owned the Aqvox since late November and one thing I didn't realize until quite recently is that the gain controls on the front of the unit are essential to really "dial in" the sound from the unit. The Aqvox literature that I received with my unit makes no mention of this, but it was detailed in a recent on-line review of the unit. The idea is to use those gain controls to lock in a setting which will give you the best performance. Too little and dynamics will suffer and too much and you will move things into an overload/distortion area. As it turns out, that 2 db setting for me would equate to about 62 db of gain with my 103R if Aqvox's numbers for maximum gain through balanced in/out are correct and that is just about dead on as far as what is required with the 103R. I can still run up to 12 o'clock on the volume control on my integrated with certain records, but am generally running around 9:30 to 10 o'clock with the majority of records.

By the way, how do like the Aqvox compared to the Linn Linto? I am curious.
I don't have the 2CI yet. It's on its way but will keep you posted. One of the main reasons why I was on the fence is because the Linto is so well accepted and I don't know if the 2CI would be an upgrade. Would you know if the gain controls on the 2CI are stepped attenuators or volume pots? From the 2 dB steps, I would assume it's a stepped attenuator.
No, the gain controls are volume pots with the 0-14 db additional gain range simply silk screened onto the front panel for each control/channel. You can adjust anywhere within that range. I just ended up with 2 db additional gain because that was appropriate for me.
I run the AQVOX directly into my power amps, but they have volume controls (Decware SE84B monoblocks). In any case, the 14 dB doesn't provide enough attenuation for me.

I read the same review Hdm mentions, but haven't been able to optimize the attenuators' position as easily. There's no overload with them all the way up that I hear. So I've been keeping them at 6 (1 o'clock).
That's what I wanted to hear Maxson. Overload was the main concern I had. I run a passive pre anyways, so removing that from the signal path can only be good. Is there sonic benefits to driving the amp directly over a preamp? I see a Dact stepped attenuator mod in my future.
Actually it was a revelation--removing the Counterpoint SA-1000 from the system. Could crank the volume much higher without distortion, several veils removed, etc.

Like I said above, tho, the AQVOX attenuators don't give you enough range.
Wow. The SA-1000 is no slouch either. Maybe a Dact stepped attenuator is in your future too. I rarely listen to CDs so this is the most likely implementation for me.
I just got my MkII version and did a bit of surgery to an Extemephono Silver cable converting from RCA to XLR. The pots do adjust the dynamics of the sound. Too little and the sound is flat and too much and there is a bit of overload on my system. Mine is dialed in at 12:00 o'clock. My initial comment is that the Linto is quieter with more depth. The 2CI has more immediacy and a more robust dynamic sound. Bass articulation is a strong point. I just need to fiddle with it to get the noise level down. Maybe it will go away with break-in. I plan on doing similar mods like the Underwood/PS Audio GCPH mods, that is, Soundcoat chassis damping and ERS Paper and maybe upgrading the fuse to a HifiTuning Gold Fuse.
If you only have a few hours on it, don't make any judgements as it should improve considerably as it breaks in over the next few days. I'd be curious about your tweaks so please keep us posted on that. A DIY DH Labs power cord (Marinco IEC and male) that I also had cryoed was an excellent, very cost effective upgrade on the Aqvox for me ($75 Cnd. from Parts Connexion).