Fix Aesthetix Io volume control?

Hello audio friends, I have a problem with the right channel volume control of the Aesthetix Io. It sounds like the solder has cracked. I wonder if anyone has opened these controls and fixed them. Maybe not too difficult? Professional repair is far from where I live.
Ag insider logo xs@2xo_holter
Try to remove knob and spray Caig De-oxit inside the volume pot. Spin back-fourth quick while you do that.
If does not help, open chassis and re-apply fresh solder(remove old one with solder removal pump) over the volume pot terminals. While you re-applying fresh solder on faulty volume pot you can do same on healthy preventative.
You will find plenty of youtubes on how to properly apply solder. Tools are best to purchase at

Get a new quality volume control (potentiometer) installed if it's not a bad solder joint.
The volume control even a quality one is the single worst component in an audio system.
It consists of a very thin spring loaded metallic (usually brass) wiper than has a very light pressure, point contact on a resistive track, either made from carbon or conductive plastic.
These are dissimilar materials as well, which is bad enough, and with a touch contact that the line level signal has to pass through. If the same contact was one of your RCA's or XRL's plugs you would throw it in the bin and get a new one. The same should be done with volume controls once they used too much.

They make "reasonable" contact when new but start to degrade from the first time they get rotated back and forth as the point contact starts to scratch and groove away at the soft resistive track, and wear starts from day 1 when new when it first gets rotated.

Cheers George
The Aesthetix Io does not come with the average volume pot.It has two "mechanically switched discrete resistor volume control with 46 positions using Roederstein resistors". It is probably too complex for me to fix - I was just wondering if anyone had done it.

Yes this is more complex for you to fix.
If there is no sound from it.
If it's switched resistor (series/shunt) volume pot then it could be either the wiper series resistor is not contacting or you have a dry joint on the input output or ground wires.

If it a switched resistor (ladder network) then you could have one resistor that has gone open or one of the resistors solder joint is open, also the input output or ground wires.

Cheers George
O_holter, about 7 years ago I had a crackling noise in one
channel of my Io as I rotated the volume control. My thought
was that something had gone wrong with the volume control. I
sent it back to Aesthetix to resolve and when Glenn got it
on the bench, it turned out to be a loose socket for the
6sn7 tube. He replaced the tube socket and I haven't had a
problem since.

Yes by all means O_holter, I thought you nailed the problem down to the volume control yourself, but yes if you are not sure, then Rushton has a good point to make.

What you should do is lift the lid to swap tubes left to right to see if anything changes, or very slightly wobble them and listen to see if you get noises or music coming back.

Cheers George
less likely the resistors in volume pot will go bad. connections to those resistors is actually culprit
Honestly do want to try your luck on this level of equipment? I wouldn't if you don't have good component level electronic trouble shooting skills.

This isn't your typical PAS 3 open for experimentation . You could potentially make a mess of it.

I can think of a number of scenarios where faulty connections on the VC may be suspected but would be far from the truth in terms of symptoms.

Find an authorized tech -you're getting arm chair advice from some that don't even know how sophisticated the VC contro really is!

I'm educated in EE and I would rather not touch mine if I had concerns, I don't have the prints and even if I did I'd have to float around between the print and PCB to familiarize myself. The 2nd one is always easier to repair when you learn on the first!

Good Luck
Dear all

Yes Nkj - thinking the same over here. I will drive to the preferred repair shop (suggested by the Aesthetix importer), in some days. Hoping they can fix it, with help from A.

Although we don't want to mess things up, as users, it helps, the more we understand our systems. So this debate, although unresolved at the moment, is worthwhile.

I decided on the repair shop when I came to the end of my "tricks" - swapping tubes, cables, power supplies. Also, because I have two symptoms - scratching in the right volume control, and lack of volume (not loud enough) in that channel.

The strange thing was, for some periods, the loudness came back, and the channel balance was OK. It came and went. However in the last week or so I have not been able to recreate that condition. Instead the right channel volume is just very, very weak (although I can hear it). Likewise, the B+ lamp does not light up, or just very little.

Probably, the reasons for the behavior will be cleared up, with the repair. But I expect it will be an excercise in waiting.

I saw a small phono stage in a record shop the other day, price like $250, and wondered, what about having an "extra" in cases like this. But then again, I think it would sound too poor, I would miss too much, and probably not use it much. I probably would prefer digital. But it was tempting, on another level. The Io is three big heavy boxes. This stage was pocket size.
Here is what I have done after my phono stage said goodbye;

First, I turned to digital. I have a Logitech Touch, and downloaded two new albums in hi-res (96 - 24) format. Alt-J: An awesome wave sounds very good indeed, while Lizz Wright: Freedom & surrender is ok but more so-and-so, to my ears.

Secondly, after trying out the Touch digital, I got my Tascam DA-3000 DSD recorder ackup chain back, after problems with the hard drive a Seagate Wireless plus, I had to reformat, but now, it works well.

My thought, for now, to my audio friends, is this:

Consider investing in a good digital recorder. It can give added value in several sitations, including when your phono stage fails or is in for service.

I am very glad, I have many "vinyl drops". That way, the phono stage on repair is not such a devastating deal. I know this may sound a bit overdone. But once you have heard and become habituated to a really good phono device you dont want to do without it - there is no turning back. In my case, this is why I have used and upgraded my phono stage from the same factory for the last fifteen years
Not devastating perhaps - but I do miss my phono stage.
Meanwhile I try to make the best out of it.

My digital vinyl drops are gold, now. The best are with the Tascam and the most recent analog source equipment.

Listening through my DSD recordings since I bought a Korg Mr-1 in 2009 I can listen back on earlier system setups and recording options, compared to the Tascam recordings over the last one and a half years. The Tascam recordings genrally win out. This is probably due to three factors, (besides better equipment) - better connections, double DSD speed, and a better recorder, compared to the mr-1.
I bought a used Graham Slee Fanfare 3 phono stage for ca $180 at Hifisentralen here in Norway just to be able to play records. Very glad I did, since the repair takes time. Also, I am a bit amazed that the little Fanfare does the job so decently, even if it is very far from the Io level of course. It is interesting to hear what a low-cost but well selected set of solid-state components can do. It weighs about 550 grams, less than one percent of my 3-box Io (63 kg). So I wish it was the Graham I had to send across the Atlantic for repair, not the Io. I also borrowed an ARC PH6 stage from a friend, again interesting - yes, this is a mid-level component that works well (and of course a big step up from the Fanfare), but again, not on the Io level. 

The Io is back from repair at Aesthetix. It took a long time, several components had to be replaced, problems were difficult to locate, and it was only after changing both volume controls that the repairs could be made.

I had to wait a long time, and in the meanwhile I tried some other phono stages. Although the Fanfare 3 performed great for the money, it is - and sounds - like an entry level solid state box. I got tired of the s-state sound. So, I bought a little tube China riaa, Music Hall, but it was made for a MM cartridge even though it said MC, or at least, it had too little gain for my 0.55 mv Lyra Atlas. Since the Io was still not repaired, I went a bit upmarket, and bought an ASR mini basic mk2. This was a good substitute, in many ways, well worth the money. Clearly beyond the Fanfare not to speak of the Music Hall. In fact, the sound profile (or philosophy) was quite similar to the Aesthetix Io. It was pleasing, in many ways.

Now however, the master is back, and let me tell you, it makes a difference. I was surprised. Even with new stock  tubes (rather than my selected NOS tubes) I have never heard the Io this good. It is amazing how a better phono stage can "energize" the whole system. The Io totally outcompetes my substitute phono stages, not just by itself, but in the performance of the other components in my sound system too. My cartridge, preamp, amps and speakers all sound better by having this "muscle" in the chain. The music is "there" in a way that was only suggested by the ASR and the others, including the good and decent but not so inspiring ARC PH6. The musicians are much more present in my room. So I am very happy with the situation now. The Aesthetix Io needs a bit of care, but I have not heard anything better.