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Ayre Acoustics QX-5 Twenty – The Digital Hub


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Newbie questions. 1.  I’ve owned the Qx-5 for three months now. Tried to update to the new firmware and inserted the usb stick with the new firmware on it and when I turned it back on it showed ‘updating’ in the display window. It’s been four hours. I’m pretty sure it’s frozen up. Don’t know if I properly did the ‘root’ thing it said to be sure to do in the instructions when I downloaded it. Very frustrating when the manual uses terms and computer jargon that is not explained sufficiently for a novice. Anyway it’s stuck and I’m pretty sure I should not turn it off... as it says that will render it unusable. How do I proceed?

2.  I use an  Ethernet input exclusively with Roon. Local files are stored on MacBook Pro. Stream with Tidal. With both Tidal and my library there is significant distortion in the upper range/frequencies. It is especially noticeable with piano passages for example. Any suggestions?  

Thanks. BWY

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9 hours ago, BWY said:

Newbie questions. 1.  I’ve owned the Qx-5 for three months now. Tried to update to the new firmware and inserted the usb stick with the new firmware on it and when I turned it back on it showed ‘updating’ in the display window. It’s been four hours. I’m pretty sure it’s frozen up. Don’t know if I properly did the ‘root’ thing it said to be sure to do in the instructions when I downloaded it. Very frustrating when the manual uses terms and computer jargon that is not explained sufficiently for a novice. Anyway it’s stuck and I’m pretty sure I should not turn it off... as it says that will render it unusable. How do I proceed?

2.  I use an  Ethernet input exclusively with Roon. Local files are stored on MacBook Pro. Stream with Tidal. With both Tidal and my library there is significant distortion in the upper range/frequencies. It is especially noticeable with piano passages for example. Any suggestions?  

Thanks. BWY

In my experience, if the QX-5 is stuck on "Updating" then your USB file was not prepared correctly. The unit recognizes that the USB stick is there but it cannot read the file. This happened to me twice, in both cases I turned the unit off with the rocker switch & removed the USB stick and then did things correctly. If your unit has an Ethernet module, then doesn't it automatically update via the network? My QX-5 does not have the network module so I update manually. If you don't want to do the above, you can try to contact Ryan Berry through PM.

 

As far as Roon is concerned, describe what you mean by distortion. Are you hearing "crackling" noise like overload or do your upper frequencies sound boosted? Distortion can mean a lot of different things.

(MPD/Rigelian), Sonore ultraRendu, Sonore ultraDigital, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, Ayre KX-5 Twenty, Ayre VX-5 Twenty, Revel Ultima Studio2, Iconoclast speaker cables & interconnects, RealTraps acoustic treatments

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1 hour ago, Axiom05 said:

In my experience, if the QX-5 is stuck on "Updating" then your USB file was not prepared correctly. The unit recognizes that the USB stick is there but it cannot read the file. This happened to me twice, in both cases I turned the unit off with the rocker switch & removed the USB stick and then did things correctly. If your unit has an Ethernet module, then doesn't it automatically update via the network? My QX-5 does not have the network module so I update manually. If you don't want to do the above, you can try to contact Ryan Berry through PM.

 

As far as Roon is concerned, describe what you mean by distortion. Are you hearing "crackling" noise like overload or do your upper frequencies sound boosted? Distortion can mean a lot of different things.

 

‘There are two firmware update on QX-5 Twenty: the general firmware update (the single letter), and the network bridge update (the series of numbers and dots). The former can only be done via USB stick. The latter via Ethernet over the air

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12 hours ago, BWY said:

Newbie questions. 1.  I’ve owned the Qx-5 for three months now. Tried to update to the new firmware and inserted the usb stick with the new firmware on it and when I turned it back on it showed ‘updating’ in the display window. It’s been four hours. I’m pretty sure it’s frozen up. Don’t know if I properly did the ‘root’ thing it said to be sure to do in the instructions when I downloaded it. Very frustrating when the manual uses terms and computer jargon that is not explained sufficiently for a novice. Anyway it’s stuck and I’m pretty sure I should not turn it off... as it says that will render it unusable. How do I proceed?

2.  I use an  Ethernet input exclusively with Roon. Local files are stored on MacBook Pro. Stream with Tidal. With both Tidal and my library there is significant distortion in the upper range/frequencies. It is especially noticeable with piano passages for example. Any suggestions?  

Thanks. BWY

 

Hey BWY, 

 

I work on the firmware for Ayre. I can help answer some of your questions.

 

You can safely turn off the power if the USB update is stuck on "UPDATING"; the general firmware uses a hard-coded bootloader which can always be used to restore the general firmware if the USB update gets interrupted. Like Axiom05 mentioned, it's likely a problem with how the files are placed on your flash drive. The two most common issues are... (1) The "QX5boot.zip" needs to be extracted before it's placed into the root directory of the flash drive, and (2) after extracting, there is a second "QX5boot" folder nested inside the first one. Essentially, the bootloader is looking for the two update files, "qx5p###.hex" and "qx5x###.bin", at a fixed location "Drive:\QX5boot\[files]". 

 

As thyname mentioned, the network firmware updates cannot be updated using the USB stick. When an update is available, you'll be prompted to download it. I should mention: this update is risky to interrupt, as it is doing a run-time reprogram of the network firmware and can actually get into a bad state.

 

As for the high frequency distortion, a couple tests would help narrow it down. You mentioned you use the Ethernet input with Roon exclusively. If you can, I would try another input (AES, BNC, Optical, USB...). I would also try another source/control application through the net input, such as Spotify or any DLNA app. I'd also wonder if its worse at high sample rates(48kHZ vs 192kHz); you can try using Roon's upsampling to try this out for any of your files. These tests can help narrow down if its something in the QX-5 (and if so, where the issue may be), or if it's something related to the network setup or something else in the system.

 

Hope that helps!

Brendan

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Thank you for the valuable feedback. I was able to successfully abort the updating process. I tried to load the download differently onto the usb stick but with the same disappointing results. Somehow I am doing something wrong with transferring the downloaded firmware from my MacBook Pro to the stick. I will contact Ayre and maybe they can walk me through it. I have a feeling it has to do with the root directory and unzipping the downloaded file they talk about in the manual... whatever that means. 

 

As to the distortion, I have not had time to try to isolate the problem. However I did have an Aurender N100H feeding the Ayre through a USB cable and the distortion was there in equal measure (except the USB setup is a bit less revealing than the Ethernet input). 

The distortion sounds a bit like the signal is juiced up at those frequencies (frequencies just below the tweeter and at the upper end of the midrange). Fuzzy. In distinct notes. Other frequencies sound fantastic. For example, the upper notes of Diana Kralls piano and voices in that same range. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Firmware Update was successful when I changed the name of the file transferred to the USB stick as instructed in the owners manual directions (a step I missed when reading them before).  

Update on the distortion:  I turned off every input on the QX-5 except the Ethernet input (9 in all) and the distortion was cut in half. It is much improved. But it is still discernible at the same frequency as mentioned before. I wish I knew what it’s source is... AC power cord? Ethernet cable switcher? Modem? Etc.?

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  • 2 months later...

A new net update rolled toady. I wonder what is on it? 

 

In other thoughts, we have spotify streaming to the qx-5, would it be impossible to get airplay to stream to the qx-5 via shairport? It's not top quality but

 

1. neither is spotify

2. neither is roon. i still prefer the turntable with the rest of my ayre gear, although it's pretty close

3. it'd be good for parties and the family.

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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7 hours ago, intermediatic said:

A new net update rolled toady. I wonder what is on it? 

 

In other thoughts, we have spotify streaming to the qx-5, would it be impossible to get airplay to stream to the qx-5 via shairport? It's not top quality but

 

1. neither is spotify

2. neither is roon. i still prefer the turntable with the rest of my ayre gear, although it's pretty close

3. it'd be good for parties and the family.

 

I use an ultraRendu to convert from Ethernet to USB for my QX-5. It has Shareport. I find it also improves the Spotify sound vs. Ethernet directly into the DAC.

SonicTransporter i9 > EtherRegen (powered by Uptone JS-2) > opticalRendu (JS-2) > Ayre QX-5 DAC > Ayre KX-R Twenty Preamp > Ayre MX-R Twenty mono amps > YG Kipod Signature Passive speakers.

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5 hours ago, thyname said:

 

‘Yes indeed! See picture.

 

Any idea what this is @Ryan Berry

 

Nothing particularly exciting on this one, I'm afraid.  When we transitioned to a new website, the new host uses better security protocols that interfered with the automatic update process.  This update was effectively a "transition" update to be compatible to receive more updates later.  We're sorry we didn't get out update notes to go with it on the site, but the blizzard came in fast and furious, so we had to close shop early and head home.  We're always playing with things on the QX-5 though, so stay tuned!

 

Cheers,


Ryan Berry

President

Ayre Acoustics, Inc.

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18 hours ago, Ultrarunner said:

 

I use an ultraRendu to convert from Ethernet to USB for my QX-5. It has Shareport. I find it also improves the Spotify sound vs. Ethernet directly into the DAC.

I use an Allo Digital USBBridge for Shareport. Would prefer to go straight in. Roon via ethernet into the Ayre sounds better than via the USBBridge, but that's higher resolution than Spotify.  

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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  • 1 year later...
On 3/14/2019 at 5:52 AM, Ryan Berry said:

We're always playing with things on the QX-5 though, so stay tuned!

Hi,

It's been pretty quiet here.

Is there any plan for full MQA decoding implementation ???

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I hear you loud and clear.  There's a pretty big list of things we want to see too, ranging from really easy to really complex to do correctly.  The QB-9 was a great way for us to test a new USB implementation and we're able to check one off the list.  Ethernet is, of course, the more complicated input and there's a very short list of options out there that we know do things in a way that makes us happy.  We'll continue to be working hard on everything and I know you'll be pleased when we're done.

President

Ayre Acoustics, Inc.

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I know you and the Ayre team do their best to constantly improve the potential of your devices, even over many years of product life cycle, as we can see with the QB-9.

Ayre still offers one of the best USB implementations for audio devices in the market, but there is always room for improvement.

 

I know that new developments of audio grade Ethernet streaming devices are complex and expensive. These are very difficult times for everyone. Especially Boulder CO is a focal point of some of the best hi-fi manufacturers in the world. It's interesting to see that some of their Ethernet streaming implementations are based on the technology of the same external supplier and all of them are still not really happy with the result.

 

These are special times and I suppose you are talking to each other (though with a proper distance). Why don't the manufacturers in Boulder take an example from some of the leading car manufacturers, share the development costs and develop a component together for this very special purpose, which really meets their high standards and those of their customers. I think there is enough know-how available to develop something comparable to the quite small Chinese or Korean start-ups, which are currently obviously ahead in terms of Ethernet streaming solutions.

 

Anyway, I hope you and the Ayre team are well and I'll see you next year in May in Munich again.

 

Take care and keep your distance.

 

Best

Thomas

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  • 1 month later...
On 4/10/2020 at 9:57 PM, Ryan Berry said:

I hear you loud and clear.  There's a pretty big list of things we want to see too, ranging from really easy to really complex to do correctly.  The QB-9 was a great way for us to test a new USB implementation and we're able to check one off the list.  Ethernet is, of course, the more complicated input and there's a very short list of options out there that we know do things in a way that makes us happy.  We'll continue to be working hard on everything and I know you'll be pleased when we're done.

 

Hi Ryan,

Nice to hear you have an update in the pipeline.

What is expected to be updated?

USB module? Ethernet module? Mini motherboard? Maybe all three?

When is it expected to be ready?

All the new implemented technologies will be introduced in a new model, or will be possble to retrofit into existing QX-5 Twenty devices?

Thank you very much for your clarification in advance.

Best regards,

Csaba

 

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Hi Csaba,

 

Hard to say until we're done, really.  USB is easy.  The rest is more complicated.  As far as timeline, the more time we get to spend on it, the better we get to make it.  Give us some time and we'll have something good in the end.

 

Ayre has a long history of making changes in units available to existing owners of our products.  It's simply not right to add something and then have no path for someone who already owns the unit to be able to have the same cool features, so it will be available to all once we're happy with it.

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan

President

Ayre Acoustics, Inc.

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  • 3 months later...
On 6/10/2020 at 6:34 PM, Ryan Berry said:

Hi Csaba,

 

Hard to say until we're done, really.  USB is easy.  The rest is more complicated.  As far as timeline, the more time we get to spend on it, the better we get to make it.  Give us some time and we'll have something good in the end.

 

Ayre has a long history of making changes in units available to existing owners of our products.  It's simply not right to add something and then have no path for someone who already owns the unit to be able to have the same cool features, so it will be available to all once we're happy with it.

 

Cheers,

 

Ryan

That’s nice to hear. I love the QX-5. It’s such a phenomenal unit.

 

It’s incredible how many sources it allows and I only use three (TV, Blu-ray and Roon). I feel like I need Ayre to put together a list of digital sources I should buy.

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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