Aria phono preamp - Mike Elliot blog

Has anybody been following the VERY long process of Mike Elliot's development of the Aria phono preamp at

What are your thoughts?
Guys, I own a WV5 XL and I love it! I have tried a variety of highend gear over the years, including the Aesthetix Io, various Audio Research gear, and the Counterpoint SA-9 and SA-11s, with the maxed out mods provided by Michael Elliott. The new Aria preamp is significantly superior in my opinion.
What is the story one these? I have heard that he is not allowed to sell with dealers and can only do mods and sell direct and can't really start a full blown company. This is what I was told by a former Counterpoint dealer.
Mike has chosen not to sell through a dealer network so he can pass the savings on to his customers. Mike lost the rights to the Counterpoint name and can never sell another piece of new gear under the Counterpoint name. Not true with his new company-Aria. So who ever told you that Mike can't start a new company is dumber than a box of rocks. Lots of people have lost the rights to their name for selling gear that bears the same. Think about Mark Levinson and Bob Carver. That doesn't stop them from starting a new company and doing whatever they want.