LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread

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Vinnie R.

Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #20 on: 9 Mar 2015, 04:44 pm »
I have to chime in here and give you guys credit for LIO's UI, it is really nice. The dual L/R display is very unique and has its own charm, but I must agree with you, it's kind of overboard. LIO has a lot of functionality, and I applaud you folks for cramming all the information into a 3 digit 7-segment display. Something very classy about these 'old' displays, which I fear are going the way of the nixie tube, as more and more devices move over to soulless matrix displays...

The way balance is handled on LIO is clever. Muted state shows as '---' which is far more inviting ('why aren't you using me?') than '0'. You can turn the display off or leave it in freq or v, and it'll still temporarily show level/balance if you change them. It's a very straightforward, no-frills UI, and it's a joy to use!

Hi brh,

Thank you - and I must pass on all the credit of this to John Chapman.  In fact, all the credit goes to John for the user interface
and the upcoming Bluetooth control interface (app for Anroid and iOS devices) as well. 

And I agree about the 7-segment LED display (instead of the matrix ones).  Simple, clean, and you can turn it ON/OFF at anytime.  :idea:

Thanks again,

Vinnie

CarterB

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Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #21 on: 9 Mar 2015, 05:20 pm »
When would someone want to adjust the balance? I'm scratching my head thinking of a reason? Non symmetrical speaker placement?

Vinnie R.

Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #22 on: 9 Mar 2015, 05:50 pm »
When would someone want to adjust the balance? I'm scratching my head thinking of a reason? Non symmetrical speaker placement?

Hi CarterB,

Yes - that is one reason. 

Another is if the room acoustics are not well-balanced and one speaker sounds louder as a result.

Some recording don't have the vocal quite centered, so I admit I tend to fix it with the balance control.  For example,
I love Ani Difranco's song "Everest" - but they placed her vocal all the way over to the left speaker.  As I adjust the balance
to the right, it is like she is walking across the stage over to the center where I want her to be - step by step.  It's fun if you
are an imagining freak like me.  :green:

Vinnie

gregfisk

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Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #23 on: 9 Mar 2015, 08:29 pm »
When would someone want to adjust the balance? I'm scratching my head thinking of a reason? Non symmetrical speaker placement?

I pretty much can't live without a balance control on my remote. Many songs are off a little left or right and I when I'm listening to random songs from my mac mini I use it all the time.

Vinnie R.

Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #24 on: 9 Mar 2015, 09:37 pm »

Another is if the room acoustics are not well-balanced and one speaker sounds louder as a result.

Some recording don't have the vocal quite centered, so I admit I tend to fix it with the balance control.  For example,
I love Ani Difranco's song "Everest" - but they placed her vocal all the way over to the left speaker.  As I adjust the balance
to the right, it is like she is walking across the stage over to the center where I want her to be - step by step.  It's fun if you
are an imagining freak like me.  :green:


I forgot to mention that I also use the balance control with headphone listening.  Once you have it and you start using it, it is hard
to go back. 

matthewpartrick

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Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #25 on: 10 Mar 2015, 02:20 pm »
2:21 am?  Vinnie's really burning the midnight oil :)

Vinnie R.

Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #26 on: 10 Mar 2015, 08:19 pm »
2:21 am?  Vinnie's really burning the midnight oil :)

I don't think it was that late/early, but maybe 11pm-ish  :green:

Building LIOs into the night - every night.   :hyper:

Thanks for all your patience - we're getting there!

Vinnie

Vinnie R.

Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #27 on: 12 Mar 2015, 05:26 pm »
All,

I forgot to mention that John Darko of Digital Audio Review (www.digitalaudioreview.net) has received his "stealth" (all black) LIO and will be connecting his turntable to the LIO Phonostage module that was installed.  Looking forward to that review, and many more to come in the future.

Of course, I am VERY GRATEFUL for LIO customers posting their impressions here is well.  So far, the new VR forum here has a number of informative posts and is really picking up momentum! 

THANK YOU all for making it a friendly place filled with good questions, feedback, impressions, suggestions, etc.   :thumb:

Vinnie

And more reviews are in the works:   :eyebrows:

- Herb Reichert of Stereophile

- Steve Guttenberg of CNET

(and after that, we have others in the line-up: Tone Audio, Headphone Guru, Mono and Stereo, Part Time Audiophile, ...)

So hopefully you will be seeing LIO reviews posted throughout the year - and as I mention above, feedback/impressions
from LIO customers is important and very much appreciated here.  Thank you in advance!   :notworthy:

Back to building LIO's.

Vinnie

Rocket

Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #28 on: 13 Mar 2015, 12:21 am »
Hi Vinnie,

Your such a hard worker and I'm glad that your getting through your orders.  It is such an achievement from a smaller audiophile company.  I bought my Isabella from you last year and some other products over the years and your customer service is very good.

I'll buy more products from you in the future.

Cheers Rod

Vinnie R.

Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #29 on: 13 Mar 2015, 05:47 pm »
Hi Vinnie,

Your such a hard worker and I'm glad that your getting through your orders.  It is such an achievement from a smaller audiophile company.  I bought my Isabella from you last year and some other products over the years and your customer service is very good.

I'll buy more products from you in the future.

Cheers Rod

Hi Rod,

Thank you! 

Vinnie

catmansound

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Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #30 on: 14 Mar 2015, 09:22 pm »
Received my LIO the other day.  :hyper: :hyper: Overall, very smooth mid range. Never had it so sweet with LFP-V 70.2 & Isabella, even with Mullard CV2492 in the Isabella which I found works great for my ears. The bass is thinner than the LFP-V but I'm attributing that to the JJ tubes in the LIO, I'll swap those out later. I assume 100 hour requisite break in?

First off my set up:
CD player - Esoteric X-01
Turntable - Rega P7/RB700 tonearm/Exact 2 Cartridge
and to be fair, I need to compare with what I know, my Whest .20 phonostage I've had for about 6 or 7 years now.
DAC - NAD 1050/Schiit Bifrost/ProJect/ a few others (that's why I didn't go for the DAC module, but i think i may do that soon. :duh: and get rid of some of my other ones.
Speakers - DALI Epicon 8, 3 way, 500watt max, 5 ohm (go figure)

LIO configured
RVC/Tubestage, Phonoamp (I have MM cartridge so no remote loading), Mosfet amp.

Some very surface observations. The clicking between ultra capacitor banks is a tad louder than I care for if playing at low volume, you know like when the wife is nearby, you hear it switching over, or when there's a pause in the music and it just coincides with the switch over, but when volume is up loud, no problem. Same with changing volume, again, just something that is noticeable.

When you turn off the amp, and turn it back on again, you're starting at 0. I think it would be great to retain the level where you left off, you know like your TV or Isabella. Once you set a volume you like, and I like it loud, you're there when you fire it up again.

The mosfet amp is rated 64/45/25 and my speakers are behemoths recommended 50watt minimum, (I think I'm getting 40watts) so what a thrill that they actually drive the speakers incredibly well. They of course can't get to the volume I occasionally prefer, and I do have to turn up the volume, to about 35 before I'm getting the level I consider acceptable low. I can crank all the way to 63, and my speakers are singing. Vinnie, stop wincing  :nono:, I know it may be a bit too early to push LIO before break in, but hey, I only pushed for a few seconds, had to. As I said, I enjoy music on the louder side. I promise not to do that again till after the requisite break in.

Another observation I will  make is that I did enjoy the gain switch on the Isabella, when I really wanted ear splitting volume, boom, there it was. With LIO, I can't quite get there   :icon_frown:. Even when I turned off the mosfet and connected the 70.2's to the external var output. The volume really wasn't much different than the mosfet, why would that be? But as for sonic quality, I can say with certainty that the mosfet has it over the 70.2's. On CD, Patti Smith Radio Ethiopia, really old, and Annie Lennox, Nostalgia, really new  :?:. The vocal depth on the LIO mosfet is incredible. Cuts right through you. I switched back to LFP-V system, same CD's, I love the sound of both systems, but the LIO has a distinct flavor, more subtle, a bit more laid back, richer, and less harsh, more forward on the mid range. The low end is subtler too, again, I prefer more bass and that can be remedied with tube rolling.

For LP comparison, I played Coltrane Standards and Lee Morgan's Sidewinder, through the phonostage module as well as the Whest .20. The big difference, and it was really significant, was the mid range. Wow, every lick of the reed came through like never before, piano was so upfront yet very musical, really great sound, so I assume after break in it will improve. So there you have it, $600 phonostage module against $2,600 phonostage, plus very expensive cables of course.

And that's the last thing, I have crazy expensive interconnects and power cords, Acoustic Zen, Nordost, Shunyata, that I will eventually unload to pay for this nasty habit. I think I'm having cable separation anxiety. I will keep one pair of interconnects for the separate LIO power amp proposed. Any news on that component yet? (ok, I hear all the low power aficionados rolling their eyes  :roll:, I get that, I've experienced low wattage Pass Labs, but for what I'm after in this setup, it's quality plus quantity, I guess I want it all).

Well that's it for now. Great work on the part of the LIO team, the bar is raised, let's see what the future of modular has to offer.

jtwrace

Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #31 on: 14 Mar 2015, 09:27 pm »
The clicking between ultra capacitor banks is a tad louder than I care for if playing at low volume, you know like when the wife is nearby, you hear it switching over, or when there's a pause in the music and it just coincides with the switch over, but when volume is up loud, no problem.
Interesting and good to know. 

Srajan Ebaen

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Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #32 on: 14 Mar 2015, 11:16 pm »
That's interesting. I had LIO on the desktop, i.e. within half a meter from me. After reading another poster's mention of the bank turnover relay clickinh (and I'd not heard a thing), I set the display to 'volts' to precisely track the switching and pay attention to the relay. Nada. I couldn't hear *anything*.  Granted, I didn't turn the music off to see whether I'd hear it then.  :duh: And the tunes were playing at quite mellow levels since I don't blast it on the work desk.

With the AVC, I heard no relay clicks either when changing volume but I did with the RVC. Vinnie explained that the AVC relays are quieter. Perhaps whatever controls the ultracap banks can get one of those super-quiet jobs?

brh

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Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #33 on: 15 Mar 2015, 04:03 am »
Some very surface observations. The clicking between ultra capacitor banks is a tad louder than I care for if playing at low volume, you know like when the wife is nearby, you hear it switching over, or when there's a pause in the music and it just coincides with the switch over, but when volume is up loud, no problem. Same with changing volume, again, just something that is noticeable.
That's interesting. I had LIO on the desktop, i.e. within half a meter from me. After reading another poster's mention of the bank turnover relay clickinh (and I'd not heard a thing), I set the display to 'volts' to precisely track the switching and pay attention to the relay. Nada. I couldn't hear *anything*.  Granted, I didn't turn the music off to see whether I'd hear it then.  :duh: And the tunes were playing at quite mellow levels since I don't blast it on the work desk.

With the AVC, I heard no relay clicks either when changing volume but I did with the RVC. Vinnie explained that the AVC relays are quieter. Perhaps whatever controls the ultracap banks can get one of those super-quiet jobs?

I definitely hear the cap bank relays switching in my desktop setting. Easy to ignore? For me, yes… And I think in a full-room setup where one's head isn't mere feet away from the amp, it would be completely trivial for all but the most picky of listeners. But it is definitely there.

When you turn off the amp, and turn it back on again, you're starting at 0. I think it would be great to retain the level where you left off, you know like your TV or Isabella. Once you set a volume you like, and I like it loud, you're there when you fire it up again.

I think this is largely an equipment safety precaution — at any time that volume control could be for the var. line outputs, the power amp, or the headphone amp… I think it resets to zero any chance it gets just to prevent unexpected blasts… Definitely takes a little getting used to, though, coming from a plain ol' pot that stays where you put it. And, balance resets as well, so that's one more thing.

DAC - NAD 1050/Schiit Bifrost/ProJect/ a few others (that's why I didn't go for the DAC module, but i think i may do that soon.

Can't speak to the others, but based on my experiences w/ Bifrost (original), I'm quite certain LIO handily beats it. Just my 2c.

For LP comparison, I played Coltrane Standards and Lee Morgan's Sidewinder, through the phonostage module as well as the Whest .20. The big difference, and it was really significant, was the mid range. Wow, every lick of the reed came through like never before, piano was so upfront yet very musical, really great sound, so I assume after break in it will improve. So there you have it, $600 phonostage module against $2,600 phonostage, plus very expensive cables of course.

Very cool… I don't have space for a tt setup right now, but I hope to get back in that game soon, and one of the appeals here is being able to pick up the LIO phonostage in the future. Nice to hear your thoughts on it.

alamakazam

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Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #34 on: 15 Mar 2015, 02:20 pm »
just curious , how often is the relay switching? base on clicking sound

matthewpartrick

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Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #35 on: 15 Mar 2015, 03:00 pm »
A few questions: what are the stock tubes in the tube stage now?  Can we tube roll now or will that have to wait for an upgraded tube stage?  Finally, If we can roll with the current stage, what type and brand of tube would you recommend for increased bass response?

Srajan Ebaen

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Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #36 on: 15 Mar 2015, 03:21 pm »
The stock tubes are JJs. You can roll away with all of the substitutes listed on Vinnie's site. You just can't change tube family.

I didn't clock the time it takes for one bank of caps to switch to the other and it probably depends on usage (i.e. as headfi amp you'd expect less power draw than fully loaded as DAC, variable gain tube buffer and Mosfet amp). When I watched the 'volts' display on the desktop (that was using LIO in all of its functions except for phono), I'd estimate once every five minutes. It didn't take very long...


catmansound

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Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #37 on: 15 Mar 2015, 05:33 pm »
That's interesting. I had LIO on the desktop, i.e. within half a meter from me. After reading another poster's mention of the bank turnover relay clickinh (and I'd not heard a thing), I set the display to 'volts' to precisely track the switching and pay attention to the relay. Nada. I couldn't hear *anything*.  Granted, I didn't turn the music off to see whether I'd hear it then.  :duh: And the tunes were playing at quite mellow levels since I don't blast it on the work desk.

With the AVC, I heard no relay clicks either when changing volume but I did with the RVC. Vinnie explained that the AVC relays are quieter. Perhaps whatever controls the ultracap banks can get one of those super-quiet jobs?

I'm not bothered by the sound, it's very minimal, can barely hear it, but it is there on my unit. I wonder if each unit has slight variations based on configuration of modules?

catmansound

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Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #38 on: 15 Mar 2015, 05:39 pm »
A few questions: what are the stock tubes in the tube stage now?  Can we tube roll now or will that have to wait for an upgraded tube stage?  Finally, If we can roll with the current stage, what type and brand of tube would you recommend for increased bass response?

I have used a pair of Mullard CV2492 in my LFP-V Isabella for some time, and today I swapped out the stock JJ's in the LIO with those. Still too soon to say because I've not given the LIO enough time to break in, but the bass is more forward and the highs are a tad more crisp. I will experiment with more tubes later when the unit has had sufficient time to break in.

Vinnie R.

Re: LIO: Customer feedback / Impressions thread
« Reply #39 on: 16 Mar 2015, 03:45 pm »
Hi Catmansound,

Thank you for posting your initial impressions!  8)

Quote
The bass is thinner than the LFP-V but I'm attributing that to the JJ tubes in the LIO, I'll swap those out later. I assume 100 hour requisite break in?

I do recommend 100 hours of burn-in before swapping tubes, and this way you'll get familiar with the sound with your LIO / stock JJ tubes.  You'll also want to put on at least 100 hours before critically evaluating, as I always recommend.

Compared to all the RWA products, the I find the LIO's bass is the tightest and most accurate.  Part of that has to do with the high current output stage (2-ohm stable), and the other part of that is the ultracapacitor power supply (very low output impedance). 

Quote
    When you turn off the amp, and turn it back on again, you're starting at 0. I think it would be great to retain the level where you left off, you know like your TV or Isabella. Once you set a volume you like, and I like it loud, you're there when you fire it up again.


I think this is largely an equipment safety precaution — at any time that volume control could be for the var. line outputs, the power amp, or the headphone amp… I think it resets to zero any chance it gets just to prevent unexpected blasts… Definitely takes a little getting used to, though, coming from a plain ol' pot that stays where you put it. And, balance resets as well, so that's one more thing.

brh is correct!  Since LIO serves as many functions (multiple inputs from dac, phono, line-level in) and multiple outputs (speaker, headphone, preamp out, fixed out), John and I wanted to mute when turning ON and when switching sources / outputs so the user can set the volume and there would not be any accidental blasts, pops, and the like.  For example, if you are using a low output MC cartridge and/or headphones that need a lot of gain, you'll probably have the volume closer to max.  But if you were to switch to the dac, and are then are feeding efficient speakers, you could forget to lower the volume when you make the switch... and that could be trouble!   :icon_surprised:

Quote
just curious , how often is the relay switching? base on clicking sound

Hi alamakazam,

Depending on the load (how loud you play speakers, how many modules are configured, etc) the switching happens approx. every 5 to 10 minutes. 

The UCAP bank switching is done by a power relay, as opposed to a smaller signal relay used by the RVC and AVC modules.  If you are close to your LIO and your music is playing very low, or not playing at all, you will mostly likely notice it (and as others have pointed out, it's not bothersome).  Otherwise, you probably will not notice it at all.

If you had the top open when playing your LIO, you would notice the click more.

I can look into a peel-n-stick sound deadening material for the relay (e.g. dynamat) that probably will attenuate the click, but I'm not sure if it really is necessary.  :?

Quote
Can't speak to the others, but based on my experiences w/ Bifrost (original), I'm quite certain LIO handily beats it. Just my 2c.

The LIO DSD/PCM dac module is seriously good, and I'm hoping people view it as a 'no-brainer' once they hear it.  As I mentioned before, when I use it (followed by LIO Tubestage), it is at the same level or possibly slightly better than my Level 3 modded Sony Z1ES.
It is a big jump in performance for any dac we've done in the past!  If you don't agree 100%, please return it for a full refund.  You can't lose!  And the same goes for LIO PHONOSTAGE.  It punches well above/beyond what it's price may have you believe!  :eyebrows:   

Quote
I have used a pair of Mullard CV2492 in my LFP-V Isabella for some time, and today I swapped out the stock JJ's in the LIO with those. Still too soon to say because I've not given the LIO enough time to break in, but the bass is more forward and the highs are a tad more crisp. I will experiment with more tubes later when the unit has had sufficient time to break in.

Haha - you just couldn't help yourself!  :thumb:

Have fun, and thanks for all your posts!

Vinnie