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Article: Ayre Acoustics QB-9 DSD DAC Review


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Good review, concise and to the point that it's a major upgrade.

 

Just curious, any chance you will review the other Ayre pieces they sent you? The Vx-5 is on my wish list...

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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Very nice read, Chris, thanks.

 

Know what you mean about Old Ideas, "close-miked" is an understatement. Really like the album. Some fun lyrics, like calling himself "a brief elaboration of a tube."

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Chris, very nice review. I do agree with others that the 800 pound gorilla in room is the Auralic Vega which sells for just a few hundred dollars more and would have been the ideal DAC to compare against.

Transparent Audio ethernet cable>TP-LInk 1200 WiFi router>Transparent Audio ethernet cable>EtherRegen>Transparent Audio ethernet cable>Innuos Zenith MKII SE> Sablon 2020 USB cable>Innuos Phoenix>Sablon 2020 USB cable>Mola Mola Kula w/DAC board> Audience SX speaker cables>Focal 1008be speakers or RAAL SR1a headphones.

Synergistic Research Atmosphere Excite powers cords>Puritan Audio 156 pwr conditioner and Farad Super 3 PS for the EtherRegen. 

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Combined these factors eliminated any need for power related tweaks to my computers during this review period. I keep about a dozen computers around here for testing with different software and hardware. One of these PCs emits so much electrical noise through its USB port that I can't use it with just any DAC. This PC is the ultimate test of USB isolation. Connected to most DACs I can easily hear all kinds of garbage as if five refrigerators were sharing the same power outlet with my audio system. However, when I connect this electrically noisy computer to the QB-9 DSD I hear silence through the speakers.

 

Chris, I'm curious to know more. I have a QB-9 (upgraded to DSD status) and have found it more-or-less "immune" to computer-side tweaks. The things I've tried have made little to no difference, much less an improvement in SQ (good thing it already sounds superb!). I've been curious to try a linear PS for my PC and the SoTM USB card but, given my experience so far, am reluctant to spend $$ that could otherwise go to more hi-res music. Could you say more about the "power related tweaks" you tried with the QB-9? For example, did your Red Wine PS make a difference? Did your noisy PC sound just as good as your your CAPS or MacBook?

 

Thanks for the review!

Roon ROCK (Roon 1.7; NUC7i3) > Ayre QB-9 Twenty > Ayre AX-5 Twenty > Thiel CS2.4SE (crossovers rebuilt with Clarity CSA and Multicap RTX caps, Mills MRA-12 resistors; ERSE and Jantzen coils; Cardas binding posts and hookup wire); Cardas and OEM power cables, interconnects, and speaker cables

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Nice review. This product has lots of appeal due to great engineering and expertise from Ayre in both digital and analog.

 

The most interesting comparison- to me- would be to a Wavelength Cosecant with the Sabre option. Same asynchronous USB code, I think the same USB isolation strategy…. many shared constants, with the major variable being transistor versus tube output (which I usually prefer).

 

Also interested in comparison with the EMM just for the sake of curiosity - the Ayre has a top-notch USB interface, full isolation on the inputs, an advanced power supply and discrete analog output stage derived from years of experience, very good clocks, and a good DAC chip - how do you significantly improve on this?

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as a happy owner of QB-9 DSD dac (got t 3 months ago)and CR-1 speakers I can also second the sonic bliss and texture of this dac. Just curious how the Ayre compares sonically to the Lumin setup in your opinion. I currently use A Vortexbox and Lagoon Caps but my buddies r pushing the virtues of a single Lumin setup.

thnx much, Nick

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Chris, I'm curious to know more. I have a QB-9 (upgraded to DSD status) and have found it more-or-less "immune" to computer-side tweaks. The things I've tried have made little to no difference, much less an improvement in SQ (good thing it already sounds superb!). I've been curious to try a linear PS for my PC and the SoTM USB card but, given my experience so far, am reluctant to spend $$ that could otherwise go to more hi-res music. Could you say more about the "power related tweaks" you tried with the QB-9? For example, did your Red Wine PS make a difference? Did your noisy PC sound just as good as your your CAPS or MacBook?

 

Thanks for the review!

 

I'm also very interested in this subject, having to deal with a couple of switch-mode power supplies (one for my MacBook pro and one for my external hard drive). It seems like - as for beetlemania - everything I tried made no difference for the QB-9 DSD, thanks to its own USB power supplies. The pollution produced by switch-mode power supplies within the domestic AC power is another story.

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When i see a short review that does not compare other products....i tend to feel the reviewer is simply pandering to the sponsors. I really like this site and especially for being able to provide feedback like this. But i feel the reviews are getting shorter and steering away from revealing any weakness to upset the sponsors.

 

just my two cents...

Thanks!

Music after life

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When i see a short review that does not compare other products....i tend to feel the reviewer is simply pandering to the sponsors. I really like this site and especially for being able to provide feedback like this. But i feel the reviews are getting shorter and steering away from revealing any weakness to upset the sponsors.

 

just my two cents...

Thanks!

Thanks for the honest feedback.

Quantity of words has nothing to do with quality or reader attention spans.

As you can see the number of requests for comparisons are many and cover several components. There is no way to write the "perfect" review comparing all the components people would like to see. Here I made a decision and went with it.

 

Please note Ayre isn't an advertiser on CA.

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Thanks for the honest feedback.

Quantity of words has nothing to do with quality or reader attention spans.

As you can see the number of requests for comparisons are many and cover several components. There is no way to write the "perfect" review comparing all the components people would like to see. Here I made a decision and went with it.

 

Please note Ayre isn't an advertiser on CA.

Fair enough and point taken. Looking forward to more reviews...thanks!

Music after life

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Thank you for the review. I am looking to upgrade from my M2tech Young DAC and this one is definitely on my list. At $3,250 it would be in my price range. The problem is that the retail price here in France is $5,200.

 

That is strange Laurent, and quite a disappoitment.

 

I expect that in Portugal the price will be about 3500 EUR, so one of us is very wrong...we should expect minor swings of price within EU....The converted US retail price is 2400 EUR...

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The QB9 is a dandy. Good to see more recognition.

 

As to some of your disk selections. Jewel was hardly what you would call homeless. She trained right down the road from me at Interlochen Arts Academy where she learned to play guitar while there training in operatic voice. Sure, she like many, played clubs while living from place to place but homeless? Hardly. She was only 20 when she got her first big recording contract. If you are looking for more Mark Knopfler look no further than the soundtrack to "Local Hero" which is gorgeously atmospheric and recorded beautifully. It is a real gem in his catalogue.

David

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The QB9 is a dandy. Good to see more recognition.

 

As to some of your disk selections. Jewel was hardly what you would call homeless. She trained right down the road from me at Interlochen Arts Academy where she learned to play guitar while there training in operatic voice. Sure, she like many, played clubs while living from place to place but homeless? Hardly. She was only 20 when she got her first big recording contract. If you are looking for more Mark Knopfler look no further than the soundtrack to "Local Hero" which is gorgeously atmospheric and recorded beautifully. It is a real gem in his catalogue.

 

homeless? Yes.

 

From -> Jewel - Official Website :: About

 

 

"I drifted after I graduated. No plans for college. Ended up in San Diego where I answered phones in a computer warehouse. My boss fired me because I wouldn’t sleep with him, and I ended up homeless for a year. I kept writing songs, and started singing in a local coffee shop called The Inner Change Cafe. I developed a loyal following. No one knew I was homeless. A radio station decided to put a bootleg of me on the air and a record label heard it. Soon after, a lot of limousines started pulling up and guys in suits came to watch me sing. There was a bidding war between several labels for me! I couldn’t believe it! I went with the label that didn’t want me to change and let me be a simple songwriter."

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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