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Ayre QB-9

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That's so great, thank you.


I know there's no magic box, but wouldn't it be great to have a DAC that works well with computers, CD players and other sources as well as the iPod (Wadia i170 for now, even with all the jitter)? I'm planning on taking your recommendation and buying the Bryston, unless you fall in love with the Ayre or something from Bel Canto. The Berkeley is a little too rich for me.




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I've decided to bite the bullet and get the Bryston DAC rather than wait for your thoughts on the QB-9. Can't believe the Ayre will be that much better, so ...


I'll use the Bryston primarily with my stereo system, but it would be nice to use with my IBM laptop when traveling. Would I need a PCMCIA soundcard too, or can I just use a USB cable to the laptop? If soundcard, I was thinking about the E-Mu 0404 unless you've found something better. My Audigy 2 ZS card on our old laptop recently suffered mortal wounds from a fall.




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Based on what I have read so far, this could be promising. I am hoping to upgrade my Rotel RCD-1072, and also plug in my Sony Blu-Ray player's optical out (to solve a ground loop issue) to the new Ayre DAC. Would like to hear from anyone who had experience with Rotel, and what they have upgrade to...


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Hi VT Skier - No sound card needed if you're going to connect via USB. The eternal DAC becomes your "soundcard."


The Bryston and the Ayre are very different DACs. Make sure you think about your main use and what interfaces you'll use most etc... They have vastly different features and technologies.


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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Thanks everyone, I'm putting away my wallet for now and waiting to hear Chris's verdict on the Ayre, particularly as compared to the Bryston he liked so much.


My main use for an external DAC will be for my stereo system's CD/SACD player, but wouldn't it be great if that DAC was small enough, and had a great USB interface, so that it could also be used with a laptop for occasional travel use?


Thanks for the advice on not needing the soundcard -- I'll take that $200 (I was thinking EMU 0404) and use that for the DAC purchase. The recent Stereophile review of the Bel Canto USB 24/96 started all of this.





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Hi everyone, I am a new member, having lurked in the corners for awhile I have decided to join the fun. I own an AV business and have championed computer music for several years now. We are expecting our first Ayre QB9 this week and will introduce it to the public this Saturday. I can post more details if it is allowed, anyone wishing to join us this weekend is welcomed. My expectations for this sweetie is sky high! Asynchronous USB for vanishing jitter, no negative feedback audio ciruitry and minimum phase digital filters are technologies discussed on Ayre's website but what has me really stoked is this will be the first source component applying their equilock circuit topology which was introduced in the MXR and KXR reference pre and power. Ultimately the true test is in the listening and we will be logging mucho hours this week. I would love to share my experiences, of course within forum guidelines.


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Hi Vortecjr,

This is in Tampa, Fl 10 am to 6 pm this Saturday


for more info.

Ayre has good info on their site http://www.ayre.com/pdf/Ayre_USB_DAC_White_Paper.pdf


In addition we have been getting technical info from Steve at Ayre. The equilock circuit is not discussed in relation to the QB9 but the circuit has been written up by Wes in Stereophile. We will insert the QB9 into a system with their KXR,MXR, Mac Mini, Wilson speakers and Transparent cabling. I will post progress reports.



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AVSGSLIU, my friend has been to your store and bought Ayre products. He speaks very highly of you! I would try to make it, but I am not sure it will be possible. Sorry


Dare I ask if you are going to use I-tunes? If you are....what are you doing about itunes truncating to 16bit. I know about the MAX plug in fix and I believe it has problems with the Reference Recording files in 24/176.4.







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Chris, I think ;) you said this on Thu, 01/29/2009,

"Hi Merlocpm - Excellent question. If you're converting 24 bit content then MAX is what you'll want to use. I believe iTunes converts 24 to 16 bit as part of the conversion WAV to AIFF. But, if you are converting 16 bit material then I recommend iTunes if that's your final destination."


Sorry, I have a good memory, but not sure using you really really counts as a source as your not on board with me today and you were talking about wav to aiff conversion only. I'lllllllll let you slide.


However, as of last week or so the Benchmark Media wiki page only talked about itunes 6x (I should have stated that - may bad) and they reported and still report that it (itunes version 6x), "Truncates all Word-length to 16-bit".

Now, I just checked again after your reply and some info on 7x has been added. Not sure when it was added. I know I check it often for this reason. The bottom of the page says last updated June 2008....so I might be going crazy! They do say itunes 7x is ok for 24 bit.


This is the link:



PS I am getting blasted on this so some more comments:


Chris, davidR has heard of the problem as well:

"vortecjr, do you mind elaborating on the MAX plugin fix? I-tunes truncationhas really bugged me for awhile.__________________david is hear" Its not just me....thank god!


AVSGSLIU, looks like Itunes 6x will play the files, but will also truncate to 16 when doing so. 7x ok for 24bit. What are you using?


Chris, I have a new respect for how much work this is...are you hiring?







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Hi vortecjr - Love the post! In my haste and in the middle of planning "something big" I posted an answer to what I thought was the question! For some reason I thought we were talking about playback only which iTunes can easily handle at 24 bit. But, I must have missed the boat on the real conversation :~) iTunes conversion to AIFF is very limited and will cut off 8 bits from 24 down to 16. Max is definitely the way to go.


It's almost 1:00 AM here in Minneapolis. I'm calling it a day. I'll be back on the site and working on stuff behind the scenes in about five hours :~(



"Chris, I have a new respect for how much work this is...are you hiring?"


I wish I was hiring!


Founder of Audiophile Style | My Audio Systems AudiophileStyleStickerWhite2.0.png AudiophileStyleStickerWhite7.1.4.png

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Not that the diversions aren't interesting. And informative.


It looks like the Ayre is computer only, offering just a USB input and nothing else. Which is pretty much a deal breaker for me. Even if it's "better" than the Bryston, I'd like to have a DAC that works with my stereo too, so I think I'll get the Bryston.




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Jon, this has been a concern of mine as well. I appreciate the reason for the single usb input, to maximize performance by keeping noise pollution to a minimum, but many users will need more flexibility. I have ordered a M-audio fast track pro which provides spdif and analog audio inputs for pc or mac. It specifies 24/96 capability in a 2x2 matrix configuration. I will be happy to share my experience next week. Our QB9 arrives tomorrow and I will post my initial impressions.




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When Charlie and I first talked about the USB DAC a long time ago we both felt that SPDIF had it's day. USB just had so much going for it because for the first time instead of fixing the jitter, we were able to make sure the jitter wasn't there in the first place.




Now if you want SPDIF inputs this is what I suggest. Put them into your computer... That's right a user the other day wanted a SPDIF from his sat system. I said well just put it into the toslink input on your MAC mini then USB to your DAC as you have it now and then you can select that input into the system mixer and there you have. You have all the benefits of the USB DAC for ultra high end output and when you want it select the SPDIF input.


Guys remember this is computer audio... there are more ways to skin a cat than you can think of.





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The QB-9 is slated to be Ayre's top dog for about half the cost of their universal player. So to me it’s also about value in this case. Why should the QB-9 have any input that would in any way diminish what Ayre is trying to achieve. I am not trying to be critical of anyone’s needs, but you have to respect what Charlie and Gordon are to do.


I can’t afford the QB-9, so I am between the Wavelength Proton and the Bel Canto USB Link. I am leaning toward the Proton as I feel that adding the spdif from the Link will introduce jitter (10 sets forward and 5 steps backwards).







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