Ayre k-5xe MP

I’ve read lots the posts on this preamp but haven’t found any info on its bass performace. 
Can any owners of this pre, past or present, chime in with there experience with this?




The bass was very good but keep in mind that it is a very dated unit now.  When I moved up to the newer KX-5 Twenty, I realized what I was missing.  It's just that much deeper/tighter and clean.  

The Diamond Circuit- Twenty, makes a huge difference.

Ayre always had a 'tight' sound, the Twenty status makes it even better.


I had this preamp. I paired it with a number of my amps from a 60 watt tube amp to a 250 watt solid state amp. For me, the sound was extended at both ends and quite clean on either extreme. I enjoyed the sweet sounding highs and decent overall detail and low noise floor, and the ergonomics and operation of this preamp were a joy to use.

IMO the main quality that I found that I did not take to was the lack of "drive" and dynamic in the sound when compared to my other units. It was weaker in dynamics and was simply not engaging for me because of this. I would summarize this preamp as having a lean, clean, extended, but felt like it was missing some quality of power that would grab my attention.

When I owned the Ayre, I was aware of the many good things others said about it, and as such, I worked with the K5xeMP thinking I might have not optimized it.  It had some excellent qualities but to me it was always weak on weight and drive. I thought I was alone in thinking this until I listened to the the video put out by the company on YouTube “Ayre Audio” where they had a video on the design of the K5xeMP where the chief designer stated that the original K5xe’s analog output stage lacked “oomph” and was then changed to JFET output stage which help significantly in this. The addition of the “MP” to K5xe making the moniker K5xeMP is partially reflective of changes made to the original K5xe which includes the changes to the output stage. Still, I think though there may be an improvement, in my opinion, there is still something lacking. 

when I had the Ayre, I felt my tubed based EAR 864 was much more involving with better depth of sound, with better formed images in the midrange and a richer tone, although the EAR was not as quiet or detailed or extended in some ways. 

I also had a Goldmund Mimesis27+ which had slam, impulse force, and image density yet had transparency. I didn’t think it had as beautiful and sweet high frequency as the Ayre, nor as quiet, but the overall sound to me had the captivating quality and force that the Ayre did not. 

I also had a Bryston BP25. I felt the dynamics were better than the Ayre and that the Bryston was more neutral. 

Lastly, I have an old Quad 34 from 1988 that has neither the resolution, separation, nor extension as the K5xeMP, but the tone is natural and so pleasant to listen to that very few newer solid state preamps I’ve owned have rivaled.  The old Quad has the appropriate amount of sound weight and substance that rivaled the Ayre. 

Your experience may differ. This are just my opinions.  All said, there are some great qualities in the K5xeMP. The high frequency extension is nice and there is a sweetness about it I liked. Overall though, it just didn’t move me.