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Ayre QX-5/Twenty ......There is magic in the Ayre, lol.


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Holy cow has Ayre knocked this thing out of the park. I'm shocked and I only have about 60 hours on the thing. It needs at least 500 to get to about 95% of it's full sound according to a couple of friends who are near that many hours on theirs. I sold my Empirical Audio ODSE/SE fully loaded and upgraded for this and was scared. That Empirical is special and most of us who ended up buying it over the Laminators, Berkley ref mk 2's, Trinity and so many others felt it was a world beater.

 

My system consists of an Ayre AX-5/TWenty, QX-5/Twenty, Marantz blue ray player into the QX5 with older SPDIF locking connection, TV box optical (Wireworld7) into the QX5, Panasonic high end TV also optical into the QX5, Apple TV into the TV via HDMI, Basis 1400 TT with Micro Benz Glider cart into the Aesthetix Rhea phono, into the QX5 via AudioQuest balanced fire I think it is. I run a balanced AQ Niagra into the AX5 from the QX5.

 

I have to stream Tidal via the built in wifi for the moment as I'm getting an electrician to drop some optical cables into the room for the soon to get Melco N1ZH used as a NAS for the QX5 as well as my bedroom system (Linn Kiko). Right now I'm using a Steven Nugent (Empirical Audio) completely rebuilt Mac Mini with a Paul Hynes power supply (this thing is huge and heavy). Steven used this as his back up music server at shows and all the music is either high res or 44, but they are all great who recordings of all genres you can think of. I've had this server in stores and it's beaten the big names out there. Now I run it using a borrowed Audioquest Diamond USB cable.

 

Sorry for being so long, but it matters in digital. I have all power running into the Synergistic Power Cell 10 mk 2 that I'm putting on the market with the Mac Mini (I want to use the ethernet signal direct into the QX5 which is how Ayre does it) and I will be possibly using just new outlets the electrician will install for me when he runs the ethernet optical FMC deals. I am getting advice from a few of the guys who have been experimenting with this set up, but I love the idea of optical runs anyways.

 

The sound is really big. In all directions compared to all the other DAC's I've had in the system. I have many of the cuts on the Mac in album form so I will listen back and forth. The Ayre is doing so many things that the Album can't do. Bass in particular. It's already pretty darn tight and very tuneful. It's such an organic and musical sounding device. That's what separates it from any other DAC I've heard. It still has that hyper detail that my Empirical has. That DAC didn't miss any part of a note and was musical as all get out. It's a world class DAC to me, but the Ayre is a musical instrument. I didn't think I'd like it as much too be very honest. I even told the dealer that for months as well as Ayre. They outdid themselves. The overhang on notes is there to perfection. The percussive attacks are there. Listening to Monk in my system is such a pleasure. Most of his stuff is very well recorded and you hear it all. You are amerced in the music. I go up to listen for a bit and then end up staying for hours. I've never fully had that in my system. I'm also selling my Treo's to move up to Quartos' (need the adjustable bass in a difficult loft set up), but I didn't realize how GREAT these speakers sound. This is truly a system and there is so much synergy going on. I can't wait to get that top end Melco though. That may or may not be an upgrade in sound as this Mac Mini hasn't lost a match yet and that includes a couple of 20k (or so) servers. I am not a techie though and want to do some things in the house that the Melco will be easier for me to do. I don't care about Roon that much right now so this is a good way to go for me. I haven't used the balanced headphone jack yet, but I've been told by friends who are, that it's as good as any of the high end amps they've heard. I can't try it driving the amp directly as it's got no pre out, but I know some who have and it's dynamic as heck. Just sounds different than their Ayre KXR Twenty pre (both have the Ayre ref stack in mono form). There is magic in the Ayre, lol.

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Holy cow has Ayre knocked this thing out of the park. I'm shocked and I only have about 60 hours on the thing. It needs at least 500 to get to about 95% of it's full sound according to a couple of friends who are near that many hours on theirs. I sold my Empirical Audio ODSE/SE fully loaded and upgraded for this and was scared. That Empirical is special and most of us who ended up buying it over the Laminators, Berkley ref mk 2's, Trinity and so many others felt it was a world beater.

 

My system consists of an Ayre AX-5/TWenty, QX-5/Twenty, Marantz blue ray player into the QX5 with older SPDIF locking connection, TV box optical (Wireworld7) into the QX5, Panasonic high end TV also optical into the QX5, Apple TV into the TV via HDMI, Basis 1400 TT with Micro Benz Glider cart into the Aesthetix Rhea phono, into the QX5 via AudioQuest balanced fire I think it is. I run a balanced AQ Niagra into the AX5 from the QX5.

 

I have to stream Tidal via the built in wifi for the moment as I'm getting an electrician to drop some optical cables into the room for the soon to get Melco N1ZH used as a NAS for the QX5 as well as my bedroom system (Linn Kiko). Right now I'm using a Steven Nugent (Empirical Audio) completely rebuilt Mac Mini with a Paul Hynes power supply (this thing is huge and heavy). Steven used this as his back up music server at shows and all the music is either high res or 44, but they are all great who recordings of all genres you can think of. I've had this server in stores and it's beaten the big names out there. Now I run it using a borrowed Audioquest Diamond USB cable.

 

Sorry for being so long, but it matters in digital. I have all power running into the Synergistic Power Cell 10 mk 2 that I'm putting on the market with the Mac Mini (I want to use the ethernet signal direct into the QX5 which is how Ayre does it) and I will be possibly using just new outlets the electrician will install for me when he runs the ethernet optical FMC deals. I am getting advice from a few of the guys who have been experimenting with this set up, but I love the idea of optical runs anyways.

 

The sound is really big. In all directions compared to all the other DAC's I've had in the system. I have many of the cuts on the Mac in album form so I will listen back and forth. The Ayre is doing so many things that the Album can't do. Bass in particular. It's already pretty darn tight and very tuneful. It's such an organic and musical sounding device. That's what separates it from any other DAC I've heard. It still has that hyper detail that my Empirical has. That DAC didn't miss any part of a note and was musical as all get out. It's a world class DAC to me, but the Ayre is a musical instrument. I didn't think I'd like it as much too be very honest. I even told the dealer that for months as well as Ayre. They outdid themselves. The overhang on notes is there to perfection. The percussive attacks are there. Listening to Monk in my system is such a pleasure. Most of his stuff is very well recorded and you hear it all. You are amerced in the music. I go up to listen for a bit and then end up staying for hours. I've never fully had that in my system. I'm also selling my Treo's to move up to Quartos' (need the adjustable bass in a difficult loft set up), but I didn't realize how GREAT these speakers sound. This is truly a system and there is so much synergy going on. I can't wait to get that top end Melco though. That may or may not be an upgrade in sound as this Mac Mini hasn't lost a match yet and that includes a couple of 20k (or so) servers. I am not a techie though and want to do some things in the house that the Melco will be easier for me to do. I don't care about Roon that much right now so this is a good way to go for me. I haven't used the balanced headphone jack yet, but I've been told by friends who are, that it's as good as any of the high end amps they've heard. I can't try it driving the amp directly as it's got no pre out, but I know some who have and it's dynamic as heck. Just sounds different than their Ayre KXR Twenty pre (both have the Ayre ref stack in mono form). There is magic in the Ayre, lol.

 

I hate it when you are so much in love with your products that you sprouting out bullshit like people would place the Emperical Audio ODSE better than Trinity then the Ayre is even better than the Emperical Audio ODSE.

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Sorry to upset you there. I had both dacs in my system and wasn't in love with the trinity. I'm also not the biggest dCS fan either I think that's just because I haven't liked the speakers I've heard them pared with. Does that upset you also? I think I usually say that it's my feeling and that others wl heard differently. Btw, I'm not the only once who choice the Empirical over the Berkeley ref 2 DAC after having both in the system.

 

We alll share our thoughts on gear we hear or tidbits of info. That's what a board is for. I went for an upgrade and found it. I'm more pleased than I thought I'd be. I stand by everything I posted even if that upsets you. If I hear a better DAC that I can afford then I'll audition it and get it. That's the hobby part of audio as we all do that.

 

Why would I put my hard earned money on something I didn't love? That makes no sense. Heck I don't like the sound of speaker X but so many post about how in love they are with it. I'm just happy for them. I even go as far as to try and go listen to speaker X when I can to see what I may be missing. If you hate my posts maybe you can ignorr them. Not sure why any positive thoughts about a DAC that many others are saying the same thing about worldwide would have gotten you into haters mode. It's just a board. Hope the rest of your day goes better. And yes I mean that. I was in post op when I decided to share as many have been wondering what a few of we early adaptors feel about it. I stand full by what I posted.

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The Trinity is the DAC I like for the 50k plus dacs I couldn't live with the Vivaldi stacks as its not as coherent as I like. I'm very sensitive to coherency in systems. The Trinity can be an amazing piece, but I've heard it a few times and I think there was something off the last time as it's glorious detail wasn't what I remembered from the first time I has heard it. I don't have that kind of money for a component anyways but am always going to audition when I have a chance. I won't be able to afford an Ayre ref DAC that will come in time either but I will bring one home to audition. I'm a proponent of system matching and am not surprised that the Ayre QX5 sounds so great with my Ayre AX 5 twenty running mate. Makes all the sense I. The world to me.

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I was also surprised with how well my speakers performed with the QX-5 Twenty, as I expected older B&W 804s to be a bottleneck and I thought they were bright. Not with QX-5. It is sort of a game changer.

Roon/Jriver 22 -> Ayre QX-5 Twenty -> Ayre AX-5 Twenty -> B&W N802D (Transparent Cables)

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Thanks for the report. I bet your system sounds amazing!

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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Thanks for the report. I bet your system sounds amazing!

 

I audition and don't take folks word for thing usually. This was the first product I've ever purchased because I trusted the folks at Ayre. I wanted a DAC that was remote controlled etc... Makes life easier for the family to use also. The Empirical was manual, so I knew I'd make a move. This is a game changer in MY system and I know what Blackstone thinks and we are both independent thinkers. I am used to being called out on boards as I post what my personal thoughts are and I go against the grain. I love Vandersteen speakers (from the Treo up) too, but that doesn't mean there aren't some other great speakers out there. I could not live with Wilson, Magico, B&W and many of the other named/expensive lines out there. That's just me. That doesn't meant that Blackstone and I can't have great conversations on our respective systems and what the sound of a component or cable does in OUR system. I don't have to love his speakers and he doesn't have to love mine.

 

I will say that Ayre is one of the few companies right now, who are producing affordable high end electronics that bring out the best in all the speakers I mentioned as I've heard all run on them. Yes the QX5 hits well above it's price point as does the Codex as will any other reference gear they come out with. It's just what they do and right now they are on a roll (and yes, there are a ton of other electronics out there that I love and could happily live with, but I've chosen the Ayres because they work so good in MY system). I'll proudly be a grand stander I guess.

 

 

Can't wait to get home from this long hospital stay so I can enjoy my music again.

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Has anyone tried directly out to amps , comparisons?

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile

 

I go directly to my amp and use the digital volume control. I have heard it directly out to three different amps. My Bryston 3BST, a Bryston 4BST3, and briefly, the Ayre AX-5 Twenty with volume control set high or close to unity gain. It performed exceedingly well as a preamp (direct to amp) in all three situations. I did briefly compare the AX-5 Twenty's volume control to QX-5 Twenty's digital volume control and I did not hear a significant difference. It was an upgrade from my pretty substantial Threshold T2 preamp, which is a massively overbuilt unit with outboard power supply. The direct to amp performance is good enough that I can sell my pre, forgo the AX-5 Twenty integrated and go with the more powerful and cheaper VX-5 Twenty, saving a few bucks in the process. That still leaves open the option of dropping in a really good pre down the road.

 

I suspect a lot of people will want to take their preamp out of the loop and let QX-5 do that job, unless you have something like an AX-5 Twenty, KX-5 Twenty or better already.

Roon/Jriver 22 -> Ayre QX-5 Twenty -> Ayre AX-5 Twenty -> B&W N802D (Transparent Cables)

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I go directly to my amp and use the digital volume control. I have heard it directly out to three different amps. My Bryston 3BST, a Bryston 4BST3, and briefly, the Ayre AX-5 Twenty with volume control set high or close to unity gain. It performed exceedingly well as a preamp (direct to amp) in all three situations. I did briefly compare the AX-5 Twenty's volume control to QX-5 Twenty's digital volume control and I did not hear a significant difference. It was an upgrade from my pretty substantial Threshold T2 preamp, which is a massively overbuilt unit with outboard power supply. The direct to amp performance is good enough that I can sell my pre, forgo the AX-5 Twenty integrated and go with the more powerful and cheaper VX-5 Twenty, saving a few bucks in the process. That still leaves open the option of dropping in a really good pre down the road.

 

I suspect a lot of people will want to take their preamp out of the loop and let QX-5 do that job, unless you have something like an AX-5 Twenty, KX-5 Twenty or better already.

 

Low volume performance of the QX-5 is what I want to know. I assume the KX-5 would win at low volumes as it's volume control is unique and rather special in comparison to digital attenuation.

Roon Rock->Auralic Aria G2->Schiit Yggdrasil A2->McIntosh C47->McIntosh MC301 Monos->Wilson Audio Sabrinas

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That is theoretically correct and also essentially what Alex Brinkman told me. I don't think anyone will argue that the digital volume control is better than their preamps, but it does not have any glaring deficiencies either. I think it is better in QX-5 (I think this is what the new ESS Sabre brings to the table) than you might expect.

Roon/Jriver 22 -> Ayre QX-5 Twenty -> Ayre AX-5 Twenty -> B&W N802D (Transparent Cables)

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Ctsooner has the gear to do a low volume levels test. Run the QX-5 into the AX-5 as normal line in and then run it in in home theater bypass mode using the preamp in the QX-5.

Roon Rock->Auralic Aria G2->Schiit Yggdrasil A2->McIntosh C47->McIntosh MC301 Monos->Wilson Audio Sabrinas

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Hmmm. How can I do that? I'm in hospital for a few more days but would love to try that when I get home. Never thought I could try that. Great test as the pre in the AX5 is special and I feel sounded better to me than using the KX5 Twenty/VX5/Twenty combo. That can happen when you take away the balanced cable connections. Let me know how to set it up or I'll just call Johnny at Audio Connections. Great idea.

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Hmmm. How can I do that? I'm in hospital for a few more days but would love to try that when I get home. Never thought I could try that. Great test as the pre in the AX5 is special and I feel sounded better to me than using the KX5 Twenty/VX5/Twenty combo. That can happen when you take away the balanced cable connections. Let me know how to set it up or I'll just call Johnny at Audio Connections. Great idea.

 

Processor Passthrough. Page 20 of your ax-5 manual.

 

I assume and hope you have curently bypassed the preamp on your QX-5. You would have to enable it for the AX-5 input ports you turned PP on.

Roon Rock->Auralic Aria G2->Schiit Yggdrasil A2->McIntosh C47->McIntosh MC301 Monos->Wilson Audio Sabrinas

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Processor Passthrough. Page 20 of your ax-5 manual.

 

I assume and hope you have curently bypassed the preamp on your QX-5. You would have to enable it for the AX-5 input ports you turned PP on.

 

Oh, yes on set up I bypassed right away. My old DAC had a great manual pre, but I never used it and just pegged it to the max as I was told to. So by setting up the balanced input from the DAC in passthrough and setting the QX as a preamp, I can make that comparison? Very cool and thanks so much for asking me to do that. I can't wait to get home (hopefully by the end of next week) to try this. I'll have to keep burning it in, but I should get a good idea quickly. I was told by a few how have done this that the difference is minimal. If it becomes THAT close, I may just sell the AX5 Twenty and get the VXR Twenty if I can swing it as that should sound even better. I need to do a bypass for the Vandersteen Quatro anyways and I've been thinking about selling my Basis 1400/Benz Glider/Aesthetix Rhea and albums along with my home made ultrasonic cleaner and going with just digital. I could probably afford to upgrade the amp to the ref series by selling my analog gear. The wife would love to get that extra stand and albums out of the room too ;).

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Oh, yes on set up I bypassed right away. My old DAC had a great manual pre, but I never used it and just pegged it to the max as I was told to. So by setting up the balanced input from the DAC in passthrough and setting the QX as a preamp, I can make that comparison? Very cool and thanks so much for asking me to do that. I can't wait to get home (hopefully by the end of next week) to try this. I'll have to keep burning it in, but I should get a good idea quickly. I was told by a few how have done this that the difference is minimal. If it becomes THAT close, I may just sell the AX5 Twenty and get the VXR Twenty if I can swing it as that should sound even better. I need to do a bypass for the Vandersteen Quatro anyways and I've been thinking about selling my Basis 1400/Benz Glider/Aesthetix Rhea and albums along with my home made ultrasonic cleaner and going with just digital. I could probably afford to upgrade the amp to the ref series by selling my analog gear. The wife would love to get that extra stand and albums out of the room too ;).

 

You would probably want to make sure your QX-5 Twenty is plenty burned in before drawing any conclusions.

Roon/Jriver 22 -> Ayre QX-5 Twenty -> Ayre AX-5 Twenty -> B&W N802D (Transparent Cables)

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VX-5 Twenty of VX-R Twenty? The VX-5 Twenty I think is $8,950. I don't know what a VX-R costs and don't want to! You would need a killer set of interconnect though as well.

Roon/Jriver 22 -> Ayre QX-5 Twenty -> Ayre AX-5 Twenty -> B&W N802D (Transparent Cables)

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VX-5 Twenty of VX-R Twenty? The VX-5 Twenty I think is $8,950. I don't know what a VX-R costs and don't want to! You would need a killer set of interconnect though as well.

I have a killer set of Audioquest interconnects for that VXR if I decide to go that route ;).....I could easily be happy with the VX5 if I do decide to go direct like you are. If I sell the Treo's and get the Quatro's, then I'll go the direct route and sell all my analog gear and albums as most are streamed on Tidal now. Having MS and walking issues make it harder for me to change albums. I'll sell the Rhea phono stage too and put it all towards the speaker/amp upgrade. That's how I could afford that. ;)

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