“Oops, I did it again…” – Britney Spears
This line went through my head after spending some time in Vinnie Rossi’s room at RMAF in Denver on Sunday. Every time I go check out what the affable, award-winning amplification, and circuit designer Rossi has set-up in his demo room at a show I come away with a new found respect for what he’s built from the ground up. His LIO one-box integrated not only features his patent-pending Pure DC-4-EVR Ultracapacitor technology which means staggeringly black backgrounds because of the lowered noise floor from the amp never being on the grid – you’ll never need aftermarket AC cables, or power conditioners with a LIO – it also has a modular design which allows the bays at the LIO’s rear to be filled with an MM/MC phono stage, PCM/DSD DAC, a DHT tube linestage, a headphone amp, and MOSFET output stage (to name some of the options available, there’s a lot more, check them out here).
The LIO ($13,995 USD as configured in Denver) is truly one of the most compact, supremely musical all-in-one audiophile solutions for a two-channel system I have ever come across. The fact that it drives every speaker I’ve heard it paired with to rave-level SPLs without breaking a sweat, provides tons of rail voltage with grunt to deliver on lightning-speed transients, and handles huge dynamic swings with ease keeps ratcheting up its cachet in high fidelity.
Paired with a laptop for digital audio via USB into his latest iteration DAC 2.0, and an Acoustic Signature Manfred MKII turntable ($3,499 USD for turntable, and $4,999 USD with TA1000 tonearm) for an analog front end, Rossi ket things dead simple, and showed how things needn’t be complicated to get outstanding sound. The 40th Anniversary Harbeth 30.2 two-way monitors ($6,495 USD/pair) – I’ve owned the 30.1s – were an excellent pairing as these BBC-legacy loudspeakers are one of the most transparent transducers I’ve ever spent time with – whatever is being input is what the listener is getting. No colouration, here in my experience, so careful amp/source matching is key for best results, and the sound in this room was utterly captivating. This is listening to forget about hifi, and just lose yourself in the music.
LIO configuration for RAMF 2017:
- LIO Directly Heated Triode Linestage section (“LIO DHT PRE”): Class-A, OTL, zero-feedback and “convertible” DHT triode linestage compatible with
2A3 / 45, 300B, PX4 / PX25, 101D / 205D, and SV811 triode families. Dual super-regulated filament supplies.
- LIO MOSFET Amplifier: High-current, Class AB, 25wpc /8-ohms, 45wpc /4-ohms,
- LIO DAC 2.0 (new): PCM up to 32-bit /768kHz, DSD up to DSD512. Dual flagship AKM AK4977EQ converters, fully discrete Class-A output stage, FPGA buffer and re-clocking circuitry with femto clocks.
- LIO MM/MC Phono stage: Discrete, Class-A JFET design. Built-in Cinemag step-up transformers (SUT).