Ayre or CJ With Vienna Acoustics Kiss


Am using Vienna Acoustics Kiss speakers with Krell FPB 200c power amp and Cary SLP 05 pre.

Have dibs on Ayre MX-R or Conrad Johnson LP 125 sa with ET 5 pre.

If I swap out the Krell for the Ayre MX R's, I'll keep the Cary SLP 05 pre but am unsure if it's a good match.

I've always liked the Conrad Johnson sound but am unsure if it's enough wally for the VA Kiss.

Any experienced feedback much appreciated.
"If I swap out the Krell for the Ayre MX R's, I'll keep the Cary SLP 05 pre but am unsure if it's a good match."

I have experience with both brands and they're both favorites of mine. But they are very different. Doing the above is probably your safest bet. Your Krell is a very good amp, but just don't see it in the same league as the Ayre. Especially the MX-R's. That said, you'll still want to demo them first to make sure you like them as much as I do.
I would add to ZD's good comments, and to your concern (which I share) about the adequacy for your speakers of the 125W into 4 ohm power capability of the CJ amp, that I suspect the impedance characteristics of your speakers (shown in Figure 1 here) would most likely result in poor tonal balance in combination with the CJ's probably high output impedance.

I couldn't find output impedance specs, or alternatively damping factor specs, on the LP125sa amp. (Output impedance is inversely proportional to damping factor). But if its output impedance is anything like the 2 ohm or more output impedance of the LP125M (although that is admittedly a significantly different design), interaction of that output impedance with the huge rise in speaker impedance from close to 4 ohms at many frequencies to well above 20 ohms in the upper mid-range and lower treble areas, will result in a considerable over-emphasis of the upper mid-range and lower treble relative to the response that would result with nearly all solid state amps. Including the one you presently have.

So unless you have been sensing an under-emphasis of that part of the spectrum with your present amp, or there is reason to believe that the output impedance of the LP125sa is much lower than that of the LP125M (corresponding to a considerably higher damping factor) I would avoid the CJ.

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al
I too have had both. Heard the MRX 20's this weekend and was shocked. I own the AX5/20's and they are as good as any integrated I've heard and better than 95% of the amps/pre's I've ever heard and I've heard MANY of the higher end gear.
Zd542, moving from the Krell to the Ayre MX R, what do you think will change sound wise. I am guessing I will lose some bass grunt and slam and also some treble brightness?

Almarg, thanks for your detailed response. From the measurements and JA's comments, it may seem that the CJ's will be too ripe sounding for the speakers. I like full sounding but not slow.

Ctsooner, I was looking at the MX R's not the Twenty's - don't think I can afford the upgrade. How did the Ayre's sound vis-a-vis the CJ's to you?
I like the Ayre because it's neither tube nor SS. It's very detailed and open at the top. As for Bass, it's musical. My twenty series has deeper bass than what My Krell had and it was more detailed.