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Ayre Codex


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I didn't see that this product has a thread of its own so I thought I would start one. Has anyone heard one yet? I'm thinking of downsizing my headphone rig but get very sad when I think about saying goodbye to my QB-9DSD. The Codex reputedly has a similar character, does anyone have any feedback?

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

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

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I didn't see that this product has a thread of its own so I thought I would start one. Has anyone heard one yet? I'm thinking of downsizing my headphone rig but get very sad when I think about saying goodbye to my QB-9DSD. The Codex reputedly has a similar character, does anyone have any feedback?

 

I have both and like the CODEX at least as much.

Various speakers, electronics, cable, etc. on loan for manufacturers' evaluation.

More or less permanently in use:

 

Schiit Iggy (latest), Ayre QB-9 DSD, Ayre Codex, Uptone Audio ISO Regen/LPS-1 Power supply, Berkeley Audio Alpha USB, PS Audio LanRover, Small Green Computer, Sonore ultraRendu, gigaFOIL4 ethernet/optical filter - Keces PS-3 power supply, (3) MBPs - stripped down for music only,  AQ Diamond USB & Ethernet, Transparent USB, Curious USB, LH Lightspeed split USB, Halide USB DAC, Audirvana +, Pure Music, ASR Emitter II Exclusive Blue amp, Ayre K-5xeMP preamp, Pass X-1 preamp, Quicksilver Mid-Mono Amps, Pass XA-30.5 amp, Duelund ICs & Speaker Cables, Paul Hynes SR-7 power supply, Grand Prix Audio Monaco Isolation racks & F1 shelves, Tannoy Canterbury SEs w/custom Duelund crossovers and stands, 2 REL 212SEs, AV RoomService EVPs, ASC Tube Traps, tons of CDs, 30 IPS masters, LPs.

 

http://www.getbettersound.com

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I didn't see that this product has a thread of its own so I thought I would start one. Has anyone heard one yet? I'm thinking of downsizing my headphone rig but get very sad when I think about saying goodbye to my QB-9DSD. The Codex reputedly has a similar character, does anyone have any feedback?

I also have both in my system and the Codex comes close to the performance of the QB-9DSD. Considering the difference in price, it's pretty remarkable.

Ciamara is the trusted leader in high end audio. We deliver the tailored advice and service of the best local stereo shops, but with a dynamic, interactive experience that is only possible on the Web. For more details, we invite you to visit us at ciamara.com

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I have both but at this point I cannot say the DAC in the Codex is better than the QB-9 DSD there are too many variables between the two headphone systems I have. The first system has a QB-9 dsd, RSA-Raptor Headphone amp (Single Ended Tube), Moon Audio Black Dragon V2 cable (SE), HD800. The Second has Ayre Codex (set in balanced/Pre amp mode), Moon Audio Black Dragon V2 cable configured in Balanced mode, HD800. The system with the codex does sound much better to me. I will replace the QB-9 with the Codex (setup in DAC mode/ balanced output only) in my main system this weekend and see if i prefer one DAC over the other.

A flaw in reasoning is a mistake in how conclusions are derived from assumptions, not a mistake in assumptions.

 

AB835

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I have both but at this point I cannot say the DAC in the Codex is better than the QB-9 DSD there are too many variables between the two headphone systems I have. The first system has a QB-9 dsd, RSA-Raptor Headphone amp (Single Ended Tube), Moon Audio Black Dragon V2 cable (SE), HD800. The Second has Ayre Codex (set in balanced/Pre amp mode), Moon Audio Black Dragon V2 cable configured in Balanced mode, HD800. The system with the codex does sound much better to me. I will replace the QB-9 with the Codex (setup in DAC mode/ balanced output only) in my main system this weekend and see if i prefer one DAC over the other.

 

Cool. I am considering replacing my QB-9DSD + RWA Cassabria headphone amp (single ended input, hybrid tube), with the Codex. It seems like a lot of the strength of Ayre products is in the totally balanced design. The Codex would allow this to be seamless all the way through. I have been suspicious that I'm not getting all the QB-9DSD has to offer by using it with a SE amp.

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

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

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Any impressions on its preamp quality, volume control pot quality, ability with actives, usb input, build quality etc.?

 

I've experienced nothing but excellent results. I've tried it with a pair of active speakers both with and without the volume control engaged, as well as a stand-alone DAC in 2 different systems and am very impressed. Build quality is what you'd expect from a company like Ayre (aluminum chassis and responsive volume knob).

Ciamara is the trusted leader in high end audio. We deliver the tailored advice and service of the best local stereo shops, but with a dynamic, interactive experience that is only possible on the Web. For more details, we invite you to visit us at ciamara.com

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ariel Brown of Ayre stated in a short interview with Hifibuys (Ayre dealer) that the Codex actually sounds better than the QB-9 DSD. He would, I guess, so maybe we should take this with a grain of salt.

 

Then again, I'm quite prepared to take him, or anyone from Ayre, seriously especially regarding the other bit of news (at least for me): apparently the Codex is going to replace the QB-9 DSD.

 

As I read elsewhere (can't find it at the moment) also, there's more to be expected from Ayre on the DAC-front, as they are developing multi-input digital-to-analog converters. So I would expect a complete new DAC line-up in due time, and performance exceeding the QB-9 DSD. Interesting!

 

Marc

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It's a very impressive kit. I was demoing a top of the line W4S DAC II DSDse and it was neck and neck until we went to high resolution files, the. It shocked us. Wow it was good.

 

It's a little different with the QB-9DSD. The latter is a tad more resolving and clear, the Codex is more energetic. The Codex sounded more fun and the toslink is a plus. I had it at home for a while (there was a minor product fault and am awaiting a replacement that I hoped would be here by now) and it was fantastic. Not fatiguing at all, really engaging. The closest thing I have found to my vinyl rig to date.

 

Only drawback is that there is only one toslink input. I could use one or two more. Also an infrared interface would be better than the knob for selecting the input. But those are minor quibbles. This is an incredible DAC.

Software: Roon [depricated: Moode Audio (http://moodeaudio.org), Audirvana Plus+]

Digital: Ayre Codex [upgrading to Ayre QX-5 Twenty]; Oppo UDP-205; [depricated: Raspberry Pi 2 with Hifiberry Digi+];  Synology Diskstation 412+ NAS;  Tidal

Preamplification: Ayre KX-5 Twenty;  Amplification: Ayre VX-5 Twenty; Speakers: Vandersteen 5A 

Analog: Clearaudio Performance DC, Concept tonearm, Artist v2 ebony cartridge, Ayre P-5xe, Nakamichi 630 (Tuner… just for fun)

Cables: Audioquest Aspen for speakers, otherwise Anti-cables throughout (except Audioquest running from P-5xe to K-5xeMP) 

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The latter is a tad more resolving and clear, the Codex is more energetic. T.

 

This is the impression I have gotten, is that the Codex is a bit of a lateral move from the QB-9DSD and may give up some absolute resolution. For the price difference however and the added benefit of a volume control...

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

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

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  • 1 month later...

And the Toslink in. I have, count 'em, 6 devices hanging off that one Toslink in (4 on an HDMI switch, then 3 more off a Toslink Switch besides the output poached from HDMI although the AppleTV is duplicated in both)

 

The Codex immediately pleased, the QB-9 was lovely, but it just didn't make me jump to it.

Software: Roon [depricated: Moode Audio (http://moodeaudio.org), Audirvana Plus+]

Digital: Ayre Codex [upgrading to Ayre QX-5 Twenty]; Oppo UDP-205; [depricated: Raspberry Pi 2 with Hifiberry Digi+];  Synology Diskstation 412+ NAS;  Tidal

Preamplification: Ayre KX-5 Twenty;  Amplification: Ayre VX-5 Twenty; Speakers: Vandersteen 5A 

Analog: Clearaudio Performance DC, Concept tonearm, Artist v2 ebony cartridge, Ayre P-5xe, Nakamichi 630 (Tuner… just for fun)

Cables: Audioquest Aspen for speakers, otherwise Anti-cables throughout (except Audioquest running from P-5xe to K-5xeMP) 

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Codex has no remote volume control, even though it uses a digital volume circuit. So it is just a headphone amp and DAC, not a preamp.

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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The Codex has no remote volume control, even though it uses a digital volume circuit. So it is just a headphone amp and DAC, not a preamp.

 

I realise it's a digital-only device, but if it has variable output/volume ton the line-outs, how is that different from being a preamp? When you say it has no remote volume control, are you talking about USB HID control or what? Thanks...

Mac Mini > RME ADI-2 DAC > Hypex Ncore monoblocks > ATC SCM-11 speakers & C1 subwoofer

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The Codex has no remote volume control, even though it uses a digital volume circuit. So it is just a headphone amp and DAC, not a preamp.

 

No, it's a DAC/Digital preamp without a remote capability. Note that knob on the front that functions as a volume control.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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What do you mean exactly by "without a remote capability"?

 

No physical remote control. No ability to add a physical remote. Is that so hard to understand?

 

It was stated that it's not a preamp because it has no remote volume control. That's right, it has an onboard HW (knob) that controls the internal digital volume control. That means it does function as a pre (volume attenuator). Obviously, if you have playback software with software volume control, you can alter the volume from within your software playback application.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Path: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Cayin iDAC6 MKII (tube mode) (XLR)>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: Ropieee (RPi3b+ with touchscreen) + Schiit Modi3E to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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No physical remote control. No ability to add a physical remote. Is that so hard to understand?

 

Am aware it has no physical remote, was just trying to clarify that this was in fact what you were saying, that's all. I'm fine with that as long, as you say, "you can alter the volume from within your software playback application". This could also be considered a type of remote operation, so that's what I was trying to clarify....

 

It was stated that it's not a preamp because it has no remote volume control. That's right, it has an onboard HW (knob) that controls the internal digital volume control. That means it does function as a pre (volume attenuator)

 

Yes I agree, I don't see how a lack of a physical remote means it's not a preamp, the two are unconnected.

 

The only other thing I'd like to clarify is whether the balanced XLR outputs and the single-ended RCA outputs can be used simultaneously, like I can do on my Audiolab MDAC to run a power amp and main speakers off the XLRs and a subwoofer off the RCAs. Have read the manual but so far it's not clear to me either way.

Mac Mini > RME ADI-2 DAC > Hypex Ncore monoblocks > ATC SCM-11 speakers & C1 subwoofer

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No physical remote control. No ability to add a physical remote. Is that so hard to understand?

 

It was stated that it's not a preamp because it has no remote volume control. That's right, it has an onboard HW (knob) that controls the internal digital volume control. That means it does function as a pre (volume attenuator). Obviously, if you have playback software with software volume control, you can alter the volume from within your software playback application.

 

You need a cop of coffee.

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Sure, it has a knob VC but has no analog input. IMO, it's not a preamp if is lacks an analog input. I call this a DAC with a variable output and a headphone amp.

 

I don't own the definitions, just an opinion about common use. The Benchmark DAC 2 has everything one expects in a preamp/DAC/headphone-amp combination.

 

In computer audio, I believe one of the great features is instant control of tracks and volume from the listening position.

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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IMO, it's not a preamp if is lacks an analog input. I call this a DAC with a variable output and a headphone amp.

 

Seems just a difference of terminology then. Most articles I've read refer to preamp functionality being having variable output, i.e. something you can run direct into power amps without a separate preamp. But anyway this starts to get offtopic.

 

In computer audio, I believe one of the great features is instant control of tracks and volume from the listening position.

 

I totally agree. I can live without a physical infrared remote though, so long as I can control the DACs volume from the computer feeding it over USB, or in turn via a remote app such as iTunes Remote or Audirvana remote. This is why having USB volume control functionality is especially important, in my opinion, given the unit has no physical remote.

Mac Mini > RME ADI-2 DAC > Hypex Ncore monoblocks > ATC SCM-11 speakers & C1 subwoofer

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The only other thing I'd like to clarify is whether the balanced XLR outputs and the single-ended RCA outputs can be used simultaneously, like I can do on my Audiolab MDAC to run a power amp and main speakers off the XLRs and a subwoofer off the RCAs. Have read the manual but so far it's not clear to me either way.

 

You probably can use both outputs simultaneously, however you will completely negate the benefit of the balanced circuitry. This is what I was told by Ayre when I asked the same question about the QB-9DSD.

Main System: Auralic Aries G2, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, Ayre KX-5 Twenty, Ayre VX-5 Twenty, Revel Ultima Studio2, Iconoclast speaker cables & interconnects, RealTraps acoustic treatments

Living Room: Sonore ultraRendu, Ayre QB-9DSD, SimAudio Moon 340iX, B&W 802 Diamond

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A follow up from my previous post. During the week between Christmas and New Year I replaced my Levinson Preamp and my QB-9 DSD in my Main system with the Codex. I connected my CD transport and computer to the Codex digital inputs and the Codex Balanced outputs directly to my Amp and the HD800's to the balanced headphone outputs. Using the Codex as a Dac only (Still using the Levinson Preamp) through the speakers the sound was so similar that it would be hard for me to pick one Dac over the other. As a Digital preamp replacing the Levinson Preamp I was shocked as how good it sounded. The Codex sounded as bit more detailed and the Levinson was a bit smoother. Overall i did prefer the Levinson but for the money the Codex is fantastic. I had been using a DAC2 HDR/ HD650 at my office so yesterday I took the Codex to the office and compared it to the DAC2 HDR, No contest the HDR has been replaced.

A flaw in reasoning is a mistake in how conclusions are derived from assumptions, not a mistake in assumptions.

 

AB835

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Ariel Brown of Ayre stated in a short interview with Hifibuys (Ayre dealer) that the Codex actually sounds better than the QB-9 DSD. He would, I guess, so maybe we should take this with a grain of salt.

 

Then again, I'm quite prepared to take him, or anyone from Ayre, seriously especially regarding the other bit of news (at least for me): apparently the Codex is going to replace the QB-9 DSD.

 

As I read elsewhere (can't find it at the moment) also, there's more to be expected from Ayre on the DAC-front, as they are developing multi-input digital-to-analog converters. So I would expect a complete new DAC line-up in due time, and performance exceeding the QB-9 DSD. Interesting!

 

Marc

 

I'm really surprised to hear that the Codex is gonna replace the QB-9. Disappointed, too, as I was hoping they would upgrade the QB-9 with the "double diamond circuit". Guess I need to listen to a Codex.

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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