I've never owned any of Vinnie's wares. However he has been a frequent supporter of the NY/CT meets where I've had the opportunity to listen to many of his products over the years. They have never offended, and often excelled.
At the recent November meet in Stamford, he was showing the LIO, along with his modded Sony HAP-S1 player, using a pair of HifiMAN HE-560 headphones. It was a total pleasure to listen to. Smooth, lacking any evidence of grain yet with plenty of detail. As transparent a headphone-audio experience as I've heard.
Although I did not listen to too much other gear that day, Vinnie's setup sounded far superior than:
- HifiMAN HM901->HifiMAN EF-6->HifiMAN HE-560 or HE-400i
- AK240->Chord Hugo->Inspire IHA-1-AKG K812
- unknown PC-based source->Mjolnir Audio KGSS->Stax SR009
all of which cost at least as much, if not far more than the LIO-based system. How much of that experience had to do with the modded Sony player vs. the LIO powering the headphones, I couldn't say.
I guess the value of any audio product above $1k can always be questioned. But Vinnie's products are not anywhere near the stratosphere of the industry. The modular nature of the LIO can be seen as a hedge against obsolescence & permits easy servicing. Also, having so much functionality in one box eliminates the need for expensive interconnects, upping the value proposition I'd think.
While I am far from being capable of discussing (or debating) the technical details, all of this seems to make some logical sense. And it bears out in the sonics of what I've heard myself. The build quality of his products is very good & clean. His designs have not put anyone in remotely any danger (to my knowledge). And his customer service has never been called into question (again, to my knowledge).
While I am not a fan of ALO, and Vinnie's past association with Ken always perplexed me (not sure where that relationship stands atm). But if Rossi's products fit into a system I wished to put together, and I had the "scratch", I don't think I'd regret pulling the trigger. At the very least, they warrant a listen.