Hell yeah, and it's extremely positive !.......read the Tone Audio review by Jeff Dorgay to whet your phono palate :-)
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I picked up the ios yesterday and while I'll wait for it to break in before making any comments on the sound, I can say that it is dead quiet. I've been through several phono stages, all modest for the most part. All of them had trouble with EMI, RF interference so I went to a Sutherland PH3D battery powered unit. Which solved the interference problems but still has a bit a hiss from the high gain required for a MC cartridge. It's very quiet with a MM cart.
My first test with any new phono stage is simply to turn up the volume with no signal going through. In the case of the ios, I checked that everything was connected properly because there was nothing of any kind coming out of the speakers other than the usual bit of tubiness from the Rogue amp. Even switching sources, to tape for instance, which has nothing connected to it at all, there was no difference switching back to phono. I might add that this is with the gain switch set to it's higher position, 70db.
Already I'm very pleased just to have a quiet phono section. Those of you with super high end gear may be familiar with this notion, but for me it's a little bit of audio nirvana even with no music playing.
For those that may be interested:
The ios has about 100 hours on it so far thanks to a burn-in cd for MC phono stages. It does need burn in as can be expected. It was painfully bright when out of the box especially with violins. Now that it's mellowed a bit in the highs I feel I can give a brief comment.
Still damn quiet!
All in all -awesome! I was really wondering why I was bothering with vinyl lately. I have a P9 and an Apheta but wasn't feeling it. I knew I needed to get a better phono stage some day but after all of the $$$ to date I wasn't too keen on more $$$ into the vinyl pit. Until that is I saw that Rega came out with the ios. A perfect match for the Apheta and P9 - how could I not give it a go?
It does everything that I wanted it to. More, more, more. Detail, dynamics, and just plain slam. I had heard others speak of the toe-tapping response to new gear but hadn't had that experience with the vinyl side of things.
The soundstaging is much better than where I was before. Deeper and wider. The biggest thing I like is the feeling of texture and body that the music now has.
I haven't played much with the filter or different loadings yet but that will come.
Overall if you want a beautiful sounding vinyl front end I highly recommend that Rega P9/Apheta/ios combo. It's really a treat to the ears. For me Rega is a great way to go. With so many variables in this hobby it's nice to eliminate a bunch especially from the vinyl front end. I had an LP12 and a VPI and always was thinking about what tweak I needed to get the most from it. Where did it end? Sold both and got back to Rega. Started with a P3. I know there are many who like the tweaks and the tinkering but it got in the way of the music for me and I was wondering what the point was - waiting for UPS to arrive with vinyl nirvana, but it never happened.
Hope someone finds this helpful!
Thanks to all on this great forum!