I am selling my beloved Vinnie Rossi LIO front end. This is a rare unique unit which I bought new from Vinnie in Dec 2020, and it is the perfect one-box solution for many high end systems, or an office headphone rig (which was my main use). It is the silver/white (beautiful!) in like-new condition with zero scratches, and rated 9/10 only due to age (it's only 2 years old).
What is the LIO? It is a super linestage that is effectively battery powered; its backbone is two banks of huge ultracapacitors that power the unit, providing pure DC for complete silence / clean power, technically no longer needing power conditioners, etc. At max volume, this unit is SILENT. The blackest of backgrounds, which you want as far upstream in the audio chain as possible. I used this as a front-end to drive my amplifier, or at other times to directly drive my Audeze/ZMF headphones using its 4-pin XLR headphone amplifier. This has Vinnie's TOTL L2 DAC and L2 phono (many others only have the V1 DAC). Using this with my Rega P8 + Apheta 3 combo and Aurender music server, this is one of the most transparent, dynamic, musical and detailed components I've ever heard; included are what reviewers (links below) have said:
The Absolute Sound: "...the final result was as clean, clear, and uncolored as any component I’ve heard. The LIO consistently delivered music in a way that focused on the music."
Darko Audio: "Tonal colour is where the DAC 2.0-loaded LIO pushes into the big leagues, leap-frogging the likes of the Chord Hugo 2 and Schiit Ygdrasil Analog 2 to paint music like Oneohtrix Point Never’s Age Of in heavily saturated oils... A first listen to the DAC 2.0 had me, quite literally laugh out loud at my hifi system, so pronounced was the upgrade’s magnitude."
Parttimeaudiophile.com: "if I were able to afford the LIO that currently perches atop my stereo cabinet, I would cut Mr. Rossi a check in a heartbeat and never look back, knowing that the sound of the LIO could keep me happy forever. I’ll be very, very sorry to ship it back to Vinnie. It is that gorgeous sounding, and I give it my highest recommendation. Editor's Choice!"
6moons.com's Srajan Ebaen: "No matter which direction you approach it from, LIO is a remarkable heavy hitter. As such, it really does write a new chapter in the annals of hifi... the LIO by Vinnie Rossi gets very high marks. What's more, you save yourselves thousands of dollars in isolation rack shelves, power line conditioners and exotic power cords. In fact, most career audiophiles with separates equivalent to a loaded LIO may have tied up more in just such ancillaries than this deck demands in toto. Lunar Eclipse Award!"
Head-fi.org user: "... it was one of the best pairings (with hd800) I have heard. Seems like a different animal now, being a very musical TOTL gear. Both HD800 we tried were modded for top end spectrum, but the impressive feature was also the low end control and sound coming from the LIO. Very nice and noticeable extension and nuance."
SteveHuffPhoto on the L2 phono stage: "Every time I sit down and listen to my updated system with some Vinnie injected into it I am beyond happy. Beyond thrilled. If you own an L2 series of amp or pre amp, and you listen to vinyl this L2 Phono module is a must hear. It’s got something special about it that made me feel like I was back in my basement, 17 again, listening to records at 2AM into the deep dark of night. As soon as I save my pennies I will be placing my order for the L2 Phono module (From Arizona HiFi of course). For me, it will be the last phono stage I buy for a long long long time, if not ever... this would be the pinnacle of my personal system. Over 30 years in the making and one that can indeed last me the rest of my days. I have reached audio nirvana once and for all."
SteveHuffPhoto on the L2 DAC: "The DAC module in this amp (a $3500 extra) is also without question the best DAC I have heard, and yes, DACS sound very different from one another when you start to get into the high end ($2000 and up range). My experience with serious DAC’s range from a PS Audio Direct Stream to a Chord Qutest. The dac in the Rossi amp is much much better in my system. As good as the Chord is, the DAC in the Rossi made it sound dark, muffled and closed in."
So what makes this unit unique and rare even compared to other LIO units? When I bought this from Vinnie, it was already well after he transitioned from the LIO line and was well into only selling his much higher priced L2/L2SE products, and was developing his current Brama line. As such, he put in parts from that and sold me this as a "super LIO". This includes:
1) Latest generation LIO system + software with the silent switching capacitor system (no clicking sounds, unlike older units),
2) L2 volume control (fully silent and more transparent than any other LIO AVC/RVC, this was not an option for LIO builds),
3) L2 DAC, considered a competitive "giant killer" against other big name DACs (e.g. better than my Resolution Audio Cantata), with the highly sought-after AKM AK4497EQ chips which were stopped after the AKM factory fire in 2021,
4) L2 Phonostage, considered also competitive against other $5-8k phonostages, and has complete loading adjustments from the remote control (no DIP switches!!) plus extra bandwidth MC gain up to 72(!!) dB,
5) Latest LIO tubestage w/ 6922 tubes (unity gain following the volume control) to allow tube rolling,
LIO headphone amplifier w/ 4-pin XLR balanced output,
6) New silver machined remote from the L2 preamplifier, which allows source/volume control, as well as adjusting cartridge loading, DAC filter, etc.
The unit has RCA outputs. Does not have additional line inputs, but the input module can be added if you need more than DAC/phono. Mosfet amplifier can also be added. DHT stage can be added from Vinnie if you so choose, but due to my other tubed components I did not want a SET 2A3 front end / risk of more microphonics or noise. This comes with the original shipping box / packaging, manual, custom power supply, and a transferrable 5 year warranty (until end of 2025). Non-smoking household. No one has ever touched this component other than myself. Original MSRP ($2495 + 1495 + 695 + 3495 + 3495) exceeds $11,675 (I only included the AVC price, but the L2 volume must be even higher). The unit ships with the original JJ 6922 tubes, but I will also include an extra set of 1975 Reflektor 6N23P Silver Shield single getter plate tubes (which I bought in 2022 from a well-known Head-Fi member), which are considered "Holy Grail" tubes for 6922 line stages, but the last time I used this one of the tubes might have some noise, possibly from a dirty pin.
Only selling because I have moved onto multiple $$$$ separates (and $$$ interconnects and power cords!) that cost way more but are only marginally different. This sad audio upgrade addiction!!
Asking $6049 including domestic shipping within the U.S., OR BEST OFFER.
Thanks for looking!!
Some additional information regarding the L2 DAC and L2 Phono (direct from Vinnie's email to me):
L2 DAC is our new, ‘statement-level’ d/a converter module (optional) for the L2i. It distinctly combineshighly resolving, spacious and dynamic sound with a natural and engaging presentation. Music flows in aneffortless manner that aims to mirror true analog playback with its seductive midrange and organic tonality.All inputs feature isolation from the digital source, advanced FPGA buffering/re-clocking using premium“femto-clock” oscillators and ultra low-noise voltage regulation stages throughout. Pristine data feeds a dual-mono d/a implementation with independent, flagship AKM AK4497EQ converters per channel, each followed by a discrete JFET Class-A output stage and positioned on dedicated circuit boards (a vertical stack of three separate boards minimizes both signal and power trace lengths).
L2 DAC allows you to take full advantage of all your high resolution PCM (up to 32-bit / 768kHz) and DSD(up to native DSD512) music files, and also allows redbook CD files to sound rich and non-fatiguing with itsdefault NOS (non-oversampling), digital filterless playback mode.
L2 DAC Features- Bit-perfect playback at sampling rates up to 768kHz (16, 24, or 32 bit compatible), as well up toDSD512. Sample rates are viewable from front panel display- Dual-mono design, with one flagship AKM AK44497EQ d/a chip per channel- Fully discrete, pure Class-A JFET analog outputs stage design with cascode constant-current sourcebiasing (no opamps)- On-board FPGA buffer and femto-reclocking circuitry negates effects of jitter. Isolated input stages.- ‘NOS’ (non-oversampling) filter mode with digital filter bypass, as well as a Minimal Phase digital filtermode (selected via the “FILTER” button on the L2 Remote)- Absolute polarity ‘normal’ / Absolute polarity ‘inverted’ (selected via the “PHASE” button on the L2Remote)- Numerous ultra-low noise, linear voltage regulators used throughout (for both digital and analog sections)- “Silent” mute ‘reed relays’ (*barely* an audible click from the board when changing tracks of a differentsample rate)- Inputs: 1 USB, 1 Coax (75-ohm BNC, with included RCA adapter) and 1 TOSLINK (optical)- Connect up to three devices and switch between them via L2 front panel or the remote handset
L2 DAC Specifications
Output Voltage: 2.0V rmsOutput Impedance: < 100 ohmsSNR: > 115dBPlayback Bit Rates Accepted (PCM): 16, 24, 32 bit- PCM Playback: Windows PC: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176, 192, 352, 384, 705, and 768kHz – driver included*Mac OSX: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176, 192, 352, 384, 705, and 768kHz – no driver required.Most streamers (e.g. Innuos, Sonore, SotM): 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176, 192, 352, 384, 705,
and 768kHz - no driver required.- DSD Playback: Windows PC: DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, and DSD512 (both Native mode, and DoP)– driver included*Mac OSX: DSD64, DSD128, DSD256 (DoP) – no driver required.Most streamers (e.g. Innuos, Sonore, SotM): DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, and DSD512(both Native mode, and DoP) – no driver required.
L2 Phonostage is our new, ‘statement-level’ phonostage module (optional) for the L2i. It was a collaborative design by Vinnie Rossi and Brian Lowe of Belleson, and we believe raises the bar for high-end analog phonostage design.
L2 Phonostage Features- Inputs: 1 set of Moving Magnet (MM), 2 sets of Moving Coil (MC)- Built-in, on the fly MC remote adjustable cartridge loading (10 – 1000 ohms). Cartridge load settingviewable from L2 front panel display and stored in memory.- Adjustable gain jumpers for MM and MC inputs- Patented Belleson Super-Regulated split-supply voltage rails- Four low-noise and low distortion gain stages. Each stage has a nominal gain of 20dB, resulting inhigher bandwidth per stage and lower phase shift across the audio band- Low output impedance design- DC coupled from input to output (no dc blocking capacitors added in series to the signal path)- DC Servo keeps output offset negligible- Design optimization for lowest value thin-film resistors, resulting in the least possible noise- High accuracy resistors and capacitors used throughout- 4-layer PCB with separate ground planes for analog and digital (control circuitry)- Cardas Audio input jacks- Connect up to three tone arms and switch between them via L2 front panel or the remote handset
L2 Phonostage Specifications
MM Gain Settings: 40dB, 46dBMC Gain Settings: 60dB, 66dB, 72dBMM Load: 47,000 ohms (fixed)MC Load: Adjustable from 10 to 999 ohmsOutput Impedance: < 100 ohmsNoise (3Vrms output, 1kHz): > 90dBVTHD (3Vrms output, 1kHz): < 0.002%RIAA Accuracy (20 – 20kHz): +/- 0.5dBOutput DC Offset Voltage: < 2mV (servo controlled)