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Ayre QB-9 Twenty upgrade

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Hi all,

 

I recently discovered an upcoming upgrade for my Ayre QB-9 (which took already the DSD upgrade in 2013).

I was slowly starting to think about upgrading my QB-9 to another DAC, but now decided to pre-order the upgrade which supposedly comes in September (trust-based decision I have to admit). The upgrade supposedly covers the following features:


Diamond output circuit improves musicality and bass response.
A new JFET differential stage lowers the noise floor.
AyreLock power supply regulation for better rendering of fine musical detail.
New AC noise filtering for improved resolution.
Custom Ayre Asynchronous USB technology further reducing electrical noise in the system.
New ESS DAC chip for improved signal to noise ratio and spacial detail.
Six layer board design for optimal circuit isolation.
Proprietary reclocking to eliminate USB domain jitter.
PCM play back up to 384 kHz
Native DSD capability up to DSD256 (4x)
HDCD decoding

 

Doesn't look like a "Minor Quality Arte-fact"-upgrade to me ;-)

I couldn't find the announcement on the Ayre website, but there was an announcement by the importer (here in The Netherlands).

 

I still enjoy the QB-9 on a daily basis I have to say, and the previous upgrade was definitely worth the money. I appreciate very much the way Ayre keeps on supporting this QB-9 which at the time landed with lots of praise and attention.

 

Kind regards,

Jan

 

 

 

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Since buying a QX-5 Twenty my QB-9DSD doesn't get much use. Probably not worth the cost to upgrade it for me (still sounds good as it is), however if it still was my primary DAC this would certainly be an easy decision. The specs for the upgrade look excellent.


Roon (NUC/ROCK), Sonore ultraRendu, Sonore ultraDigital, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, Ayre KX-5 Twenty, Ayre VX-5 Twenty, Revel Ultima Studio2, RealTraps acoustic treatments

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Yes, I looked with interest at the QX-5 Twenty... lots of (I'm sure, justified) enthusiasm by those who have it. I was held back by the price and scared of by the  law of diminishing returns. I was curious lately for the Denafrips DACs but since there are no dealers here, a listening session or comparison with the QB-9 did not look very easy to establish.

 

A huge advantage of other DACs in general is that you can hook up multiple sources while the QB-9 is single USB only. I added a Shiit Bitfrost for the TV, which works fine, but is an extra box in the rack.

 

At least with the upcoming QB-9 upgrade on pre-order I can stop "worrying" 😀

 

Jan

 

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That sounds like it is a huge upgrade!  I suspect you will be very happy.  Just the change to the JFET first stage is huge, as this probably features Ayre's stock of NOS Toshiba JFETS which are unobtainable now.  I had my Ayre K5 preamp upgraded with the JFETs and the difference was not subtle at all, it went from being a very good preamp, to within spitting distance of the best.


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Cardas Clear AC, Iconoclast XLR, Nordost Frey speaker, cables, Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                                                                  SONORE computer audio

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3 hours ago, jma2 said:

A huge advantage of other DACs in general is that you can hook up multiple sources while the QB-9 is single USB only

I believe this is actually an advantage for sonics:  all those other inputs add cost, complexity, and require a switching mechanism on digital signal lines.  It is impossible to have a "perfect" switch for digital signals, so having only a single digital input can result in increased performance.  I build all of my DIY DACs dedicated for a single input for specifically this reason.


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Cardas Clear AC, Iconoclast XLR, Nordost Frey speaker, cables, Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                                                                  SONORE computer audio

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MY QB-9 DSD is in transit to Ayre for the 20 Upgrade, scheduled for Sept 3. Will report when it returns.


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

 

AB835

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On 8/23/2019 at 1:22 PM, AB835 said:

MY QB-9 DSD is in transit to Ayre for the 20 Upgrade, scheduled for Sept 3. Will report when it returns.

How much did they quote you?

 


You two men go that way...

 

 

QNAP TS-131P->2019 Mac Mini-> -> dCS BArtok  -> balanced XLR -> Aurio Research REF75 SE ->Shunyata Research cables and Hydra 6 -> Magico A3's on Gaiia 2's  and REL R-328 SubBase. HiFi Rack Reference audio stand.

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I know it arrived but has not returned as of yet.


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

 

AB835

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Thanks for the posting. I know Gary said they would take "about a week" when I scheduled, but he also said they didn't actually have the boards yet. Appreciate the information.

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I sincerely hope you do not have to send your DAC before they have the board... otherwise you risk missing your DAC for a long time. Here in The Netherlands at least my new board is pre-ordered and when it arrives I will get notified to hand in my DAC with the local dealer. Then it should be a matter of days, as it happened with the previous upgrade.

 

I have no clue when the board will arrive but at least I can still enjoy using the QB9 as it is now.

 

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Update received last week from Gary:  "We do have QB-9 Twenty main Audio boards in now (they arrived late Tuesday) and are moving right along with the upgrades."


Main System: Mac mini (Audirvana+, MMK, JS-2) -> ISO Regen (LPS-1) -> Icron 2201 (Rex LPS-1) -> ISO Regen (LPS-1.2) -> Ayre QB-9 Twenty -> Headamp GS-X Mk2 -> Classe CT-M600 -> KEF Reference 201/2

 

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They've done mine and it was right on schedule. Waiting on UPS. Love to hear from someone who has gotten the update 

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I'm glad it got back safe to you.  One of the drawbacks of the level of upgrade is that we had to replace just about everything inside the unit, so you will be starting over on the break-in process.  That said, I think you'll be pleased with it.  I've ended up liking this upgrade quite a bit more than I did the DSD upgrade back in 2013.


Cheers,


Ryan Berry


President

Ayre Acoustics, Inc.

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I got my upgrade the other day. The first thing I noticed is that it didn’t work. The computer didn’t recognize the DAC. It worked fine the day I shipped it to Ayre for the upgrade, but didn’t work when I got it back. Why?

 

What I (think) I discovered is that the Twenty upgrade seems to require USB power, which was not the case with the DSD upgrade. In order to make the Twenty upgrade work I had to switch my SOtM tX-USBexp card from USB power OFF to USB power ON (the red switch on the PCI card). If true, at least in theory, this is a step backward, as the DSD version did not require USB power.

 

Has anyone else experienced the same thing? I’d like not to use USB power from the computer (or external linear power supply) if that is still possible.

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Ryan would be the one to answer your question definitively.  I havent used any LH cables in awhile, however , when I did , I did not need the power leg connection.  I am using mine on a Mac mini w/ an Audience usb. Did you try a different cable? The upgrade brochure says Ayre is using a proprietary code now, so perhaps it is a driver /initialization issue? I agree it would be strange if the QB-9 now requires power from the source. I will be curious to know how your dilemma is resolved. 

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Picked mine up yesterday.  Right out of the box it's clearly a significant upgrade. :D:D:D

 

Was pleasantly surprised that Ayre would offer such an upgrade to the discontinued QB-9.  A big shout-out to Ayre for offering it.


Main System: Mac mini (Audirvana+, MMK, JS-2) -> ISO Regen (LPS-1) -> Icron 2201 (Rex LPS-1) -> ISO Regen (LPS-1.2) -> Ayre QB-9 Twenty -> Headamp GS-X Mk2 -> Classe CT-M600 -> KEF Reference 201/2

 

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Thank you for your thoughts on this. I tried your suggestions, and here are the results:
 

Changing USB cables makes no difference.

 

Switching the USB power off once the computer recognizes the DAC immediately switches the DAC from Play mode (display shows three horizontal blue bars) to Standby mode (display shows single green LED).
 

Toggling USB power on and off while the Windows 10 Sound control panel is open both toggles the DAC between play and standby mode and toggles the computer between recognizing the DAC and not recognizing it. In other words, both the behavior of the DAC and the behavior of the computer indicate that the DAC needs USB power for the computer to recognize it (and to play music).

 

Finally, when connecting the Ayre to any of the “ordinary” USB ports on the computer (not the fancy SOtM card, which allows USB power to be switched on and off), the computer recognizes the unit and everything works fine. That’s because the ordinary USB ports provide 5V to the DAC by default. The DAC gets the power it needs.

 

So, all of my experiments (the ones you suggest and others) point in the same direction. It seems that the QB-9 Twenty upgrade now requires power from the USB port, whereas the DSD upgrade did not.

 

I’d love to get confirmation of this and, if it’s true, would like to know why the folks at Ayre made the decision to again require power from the USB port.

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Well you tried.... I suggested a cable swap in case one was defective.  Cant suggest much more than what you've tried. As I said I'm using a mac. I no longer have the split leg cables to experiment with. 

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Oh, did you also try changing the switch settings on the QB-9?  "POWER A" and POWER B" then there's the input speed switch? Nothing ventured nothing gained...

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