This thread might be helpful:http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=141626.0
Other than that, I use LIO Phonostage at *most* of the shows, and there are many threads
in the VR forum regarding show coverage of the rooms, as well as here:http://www.vinnierossi.com/show-coverage/
And LIO Phonostage was covered in some reviews.
For example, Herb Reichert / Stereophile:
The unique, iconic sound of dropping the needle on a black disc with the volume turned up—that attention-getting scratch of stylus on vinyl—shifted my memory machine into Drive. Almost instantly, I could hear Dad's voice and see his gold-toothed smile. The Rossi Tubestage plus phono stage presented my father's favorite song as a deeply felt lullaby. The LIO was extremely good at getting out of the way and letting this music have its way with me.
The LIO drove the Falcon LS3/5a's (which I reviewed in the August 2015 issue) with something approaching perfect tone. Timbres and textures were always-enjoyable constants, no matter which recording I played. The LIO showed me that grainlessness and high-relief textures are in no way mutually exclusive. Detail, drive, and forward momentum were as good as they get.
The LIO phono stage was nearly faultless. Its DAC [DAC 1.0] was exceptional, and enjoyably nonmechanical in sound.
John Darko of DAR also goes into some detail about it, here (approx. half way down the page):
You read that correctly: the top-flight Pro-Ject combined with the LIO comes out on top of the Antipodes DX (by far the best music server I’ve heard to date) pushing ones and zeroes into the Resonessence Labs INVICTA.
[He was using the LIO with Phonostage and doing a direct comparison of LP to the same albums on digital via a $6500 Antipodes music server feeding a $6000 Invicta dac].
Hopefully others here with LIO Phonostage will chime in on what they were previously using and how it compares...
I can be wrong, but I think there is room for LIO's phonostage to improve
At the price it has been selling for, I believe it's crazy-good for the $$$ and competitive with others costing up around the >$3K range.
But I agree - there is certainly room for improvement. The first improvement coming to LIO Phonostage will be Cinemag step up transformers moving forward. Price of LIO Phonostage will have to increase as a result.
An all-new design of the LIO Phonostage 2.0 (e.g. statement-level, like the DAC 1.0 to the 2.0) will take more time and be more costly, but it has actually slowly been in the works for a while and hopefully something that will be available in 2018.