Radrog, do you want silence or do you want music? Be patient, you will be amazed when the Io Signature arrives.
I used to own the KPE reference. My memory is that while it was very quiet it didn't convey the music anywhere near as well as the EAR 834P I am now using. I am certain the Aesthetix will prove to be the superior phono stage. Please let us know what you think when you've had a chance to evaluate. I am also thinking along this line of upgrade.
Radrog, as I mentioned to you in another thread, a friend had three KPE phono stages that he loved (on three different turntables). Then he installed an Aesthetix Rhea in his system to see what difference there might be. The KPEs disappeared from his system never to return. The Aesthetix Io Signature is yet another level removed from the Rhea.
Did you get the two power supply option? I am considering doing that upgrade this year sometime. The IO Sig is an awesome sounding phono amp and I have had many a pleasant listening hours with it. I owul suggest that you have some spare tubes on hand in case you need to replace anything in the next few years, tubes are like light bulbs, you never really know when they will go. I just recently replaced the original V5 and V6 tubes, they started to make some noise. Put in the replacements, and 7th heaven with the music.
Yes I ordered the IO with two power supplies. They also have another upgrade called the Eclipse. I just ordered the Signature. I hear I am gonna be very happy with the unit. I am sure I am going to enjoy the IO. One thing I do not understand a few dealers tried talking me in to buying the BAT. I just do not understand dealers. Most of em have little knowledge and want to make a fast buck.
I think one of the reasons the dealers are suggesting the BAT is that it is a great phono preamp, and maybe they are swaying you for the dealer sell.
When I was on the hunt for my phono amp, I took almost two years, I demoed the ASR, listened to the BAT at a hi-fi show and listened to the Einstein. Of all those phono amps, the BAT came in second place in regards to sound quality to my ears, in fact, the BAT has been a close contender of the IO, if you search the threads here you will see some posts. If you hear the IO and the BAT together, the differences become even more clear. Had Aesthetix not have the IO Signature, I am pretty sure I would have bought the BAT.
The IO with dual power supplies adds more dynamics and adds more zip to both extremes of the audio spectrum from what I hear. I know the wait is hard, only a short while from here I guess. Good luck.
Thank you. You will be very satisfied with the IO. I think I am addicted to listening to music with the IO in the analog chain, the IO added so much more realism to the music that I can't help but bury myself to listening to music whenever I get a chance.
I have heard of the Eclipse, but I am waiting to see if the gains in performance over the IO sig with dual power supplies warrants such a great price increase. I am very satisifed with what I have now and until I get a chance to actually listen to the Eclipse I may not ever upgrade.
I also waited several years before I ventured into the whole "tube rolling" experience, my first time, I was a tube rolling virgin. I also posted my results here. I opted to do some tube rolling as I was putting some serious hours on the stock tubes, so I decided to use some of the newer available tubes with plenty of stock. The factory tubes sound great from the start and provided plenty of musical life and many hours of pleasure listening to music, it was not until after I racked up thousands of hours that I decided I should start replacing some tubes to keep that fresh, crisp and totally dynamic sound I cherish. It was not because I heard any degradation of sound per se, but as any tube owner will tell you, the tube death is a slow one and very subtle. It was ironic that last week one of the original sets of tubes in the V5 and V6 started to make noise, these positions were tubes I opted not to change because the rest of the tubes I swapped out blended with the last two positions soundwise perfectly. I was waiting to change out in the fall, but they were calling out to me for a change now with an increase in noise. I isolated the noise to these two positions (V5/V6), so I changed the tubes to another set and now have all new tubes in the V1-V6 range with another few years and thousands of hours of listening enjoyment ahead of me.
Keep us posted on what your experiences are. There are several other members who have the IO Sig either one or dual power supplies who will be able to help you with questions that you might have.