Attn: Ayre v-5xe owners


There's been a lot of Ayre v-5xe amplifiers (two-channel 150 watts per channel) for sale on Audiogon over the past 3-6 months. Wanted to ask previous and current v-5xe owners what your opinion is of this amp. It seems that one recurring complaint is that the bass region is a little light.

Both reviewers and owners alike agree that the MXR monoblocks are expceptional, but most of us will only be able to afford the mid-priced Ayre amps such as the v-5xe. Wanted to ask if the v-5xe is a viable mid-level alternative or we should keep our fingers crossed that the MXR technology will trickle down to the lower-priced Ayre amps at some point in the near future.

Thanks in advance for your valuable opinions. As usual, the community is very helpful.

I wondered the same thing myself. I.e., was it only a difference in power. The guy I spoke with at Ayre (Steve?) said there's a lot of difference, much more than just the power.
Hi Matt,

I am a very happy and proud owner of a V-5xe from Europe and can only recommend it as long as your speakers are not too inefficient. Mind you: inefficient, not power hungry since Ayre amps are electrically very stable. However, the downside of a zero feedback design very often is nonlinear harmonic components that can cause distortion as you crank up the volume. Sonically you will often perceive this as hardness or a slight glare but as I mentioned before, only if you really have to push the amp to its limits. But that's all in terms of downsides.

The advantages of such a design by far outweigh its minor disadvantages as long as you match it properly: Team a zero feedback design up with a pre of the same design principle and pretty efficient loudspeakers and you will be transported to sonic heaven.

Along with the V-5xe my system consists of an Audio Research LS 26, Reference CD 7 for front end and a pair of Sonus Faber Amati Homage (which are quite efficient speakers), and this combo plays way better than anything else I have heard, especially in its price range. Bass shy it certainly is NOT! In my room (600 sq feet) the amp is able to deliver a very deep and - where necessary - loud but also controlled (THE benefit of a solid state design) and detailed bass coupled to a very open and extended but smooth high end. Transparency cannot get better than this with an unbelievably holograhic soundstage especially in the depth (and also height) plane!

But the true virtue o such a design lies in its homogenous and surefooted rhythmic rendition of the music (due to lack of time domain errors inherent to feedback designs). You would not imagine double basslines being reproduced with such brio and power and in the same time such definition before having listened to a zero (or low) feedback design. Anything alse is blurry in comparison!

Musicality is almost on a par with tube designs, with musical colors spot-on and the individual characteristic of instruments clearly laid-out.

As you might have recognized I am a big fan of Ayre amps and am impatiently waiting for the design principles of the (sadly too expensive) MX-R mono blocs to trickle down to more economic designs.

I was in Shock the first day I hooked up the v-5xe. Where's the beef!!!!
brand spanking new, drove over to Boulder and picked it up.
I had to come down from a McIntosh MA2275, it wasn’t easy,
but I have a very small listening room and Tannoy Eyris DC3’s.
It required some re-listening. My experiences in buying new equipment is that their is always a period of time when you doubt yourself; did I make the right selection, could I have gotten “more” for the same money.
I love the sound of the Ayre amp, I made the right choice.
Used a V5x for a few hours one day with Merlin VSM-MM's.Superb!Have been wanting one ever since.Cheers,Bob