CODA amp No.8, Bryston 4B3, or Ayre VX-5 Twenty

- CODA amp No.8 (version 2, 250W@8ohm)

- Bryston 4B3 (300W@8ohm)

- Ayre VX-5 Twenty (175W@8ohm)

Have you had experience with either of these amp? Can you please share your thoughts and recommendations. I’m going to buy one of them for my system:

- room: 26’ L x 18’ W x 9’ H (living room with open breakfast area)

- speakers: 2-way Human 81 DK (8ohm, 89dB, 8" woofer, 1" tweeter)

- preamp: Wyred4Sound STP-SE Stage 2 upgrades

Thanks very much!



No experience with the Ayre however can tell you the CODA was on my short list of amps. Have had much experience with Bryston and they are good for gentle loads. Not much current or oomph behind them. I ended up with a Pass Labs X350.5 and it's all I could ever want. Suggest you take a peek at that level as it will allow for upgrades in the future from your present monitors.


if I didn't have Aesthetix I would have Ayre some of the best sounding solid state

I have heard Ayre VX-5 Twenty and the Coda No.8, among many other outstanding amps, in my system. To my ears the Ayre really shined. It is the most musical power amp I ever heard.

I can only speak for the Coda #8, I have version 1. It was a huge upgrade for my system from NAD. The word that comes to mind is ‘sweet’, when I think of the sound. I no longer play really loud music, but based on the power supply design I am guessing it can drive just about any speaker with ease. 

What amplifier are you replacing? What kind of music do you typically play?


Thanks very much for your sharing! I plan to replace my current amp Odyssey Khartago (110W@8ohm). To be honest, there is nothing wrong with my system, the music is sweet & beautiful to my ears. But I have an itch to upgrade, to experience something new...

Hey, I have heard a lot of amps and have owned the full Ayre separates including the QX-5 DAC/ Streamer. The Ayre amp is really nice. For $14k it should be. I’m thinking you should sell the W4sound and get the Luxman 509z for the price of the Ayre amp. If you are buying used for $6k I think you could still get an integrated that does the same with 120 watts vs 175 watts. Your speakers are 89 db at 8 ohms. I get it about separates. What I did not understand is the Ayre AX-5 integrated is only 125 watts and played louder at the same exact volume as the separates which was 175 watts. I called Ayre. The old CEO told me it is the way it is supposed to be. No way!  Needless to say all the Ayre separates are gone. You need to try these pieces in your home before you buy. Try before you buy. 

Just make sure the amp you select is compatible with your preamp in terms of input sensitivity, gain, and impedance.

If you want to hear something different, you should try out the Benchmark AHB2 amp over the CODA. #8 and the 4B3. I do not remember how the Ayre sounded. 

I am someone who owned the #8 (a very good amp) and now own the CODA #16 (love it). I have tried a lot of amps in the past 5 years and the amp that differs in the sound the most is the AHB2, especially with their preamp.

I bought and sold the AHB2 a few times. Now after not having it for almost a year, I do miss the change in pace that the AHB2 represents in my system. My new speakers would work well with the AHB2.


Hi yyzsantabarbara, do you think the AHB2 has enough power to drive & shine my speakers (89dB) in the room 26'x18'x9'? My main concern is its 100W@8ohm, while my speakers manufacture recommended 200W. Thanks!

Ayre….. a VXR-Twenty if you can find one…. magical amp.

but your current amp is no slouch… better use of your $ and itch would imo be better speakers…

enjoy the journey

@henrynguyentx NO.

Getting 2 AHB2 would solve that. The AHB2 is not as bad as most amps when the stereo amp is flipped to mono. The mono is not as good at 2-Ohm (a single AHB2 is better there) but if your speakers do not go there then you are fine.

If you email Rory Rail at Benchmark and discuss with him he can give you some advice.

I have a Yamaha NS5000 and it is not that difficult to drive (not easy either). The CODA #16 is amazing on it, and I have a feeling the AHB2 mono would also be great with it but not as strong on the bass; You do not get the AHB2 to be a bass monster. If you have subs then this is not an issue if you need huge bass.

My NS5000 has a 12-inch woofer so I do not think the AHB2 would be as great down low as many other options (I do not use subs with the NS5000), but the top end of the AHB2 is just amazing. That is why I want to get the AHB2 as a second set of amps as a change of pace.

I recently looked at my sales history on USAM and I see that I have owned the AHB2 5x in the past 5 years. I also made a few hundred dollars on it, so I do not feel too bad about that.



I own the Coda #8 (V1) and it has surpassed my expectations. It's built like a tank and has massive current. Upgrades to the other versions (V1,V2,V3) are free from Coda and it has a 10-year warranty and a 5-year transferable warranty. Lucky for me I live 15 minutes away from their office. I'm driving a pair of Magnepan's with this amp and they sound amazing!

@henrynguyentx I have an Ayre KX-5 Twenty preamp, VX-5 Twenty amp, along with a QB-9 Twenty DAC. For some background, I’ve used (still own) Joule Electra LAP150 tube preamp and Joule Electra VZN-80 OTL amp. Beautiful sound with the Joule gear; however, I acquired a pair of Magnepan 3.7i and needed more power. As I was a "tube guy" I watched a number of YouTube videos of the late Charlie Hansen of Ayre. He was also a "tube guy", but didn’t like the some of the other things that come along with owning tube gear. His goal was for the magic of tubes, but with solid state reliability. One thing he also mentioned, that really made me take notice, was no negative feedback... something that was a big deal with my Joule OTL amp. In my experience, the lack of feedback really adds to the musicality; however, the amp needs to be matched up properly with speakers too.

While owning the VX-5 Twenty with the 3.7i, I came across an opportunity to trade another piece of gear for a Krell FPB-300 amp (monster). It drove the 3.7i with more power... but it was thick as gravy. The magic from the Ayre was missed. Besides, the VX-5 Twenty drove the 3.7i... so there’s that. I ended up moving along the Krell unit and the Magnepan speakers. I’m now playing with Wilson Audio Duette, among other speakers. One thing remains constant... I could not be happier with the Ayre gear. Absolutely musical and "right". There is just something about it that has a rightness that I miss if I plug something else in. I will also add this, stick with the "Twenty" upgrade stuff, or look to have something upgrade to Twenty status, if it isn’t already. The "punch" the gear has from whatever they did with the Twenty upgrade is notable, compared to other gear I’ve used.

Another thing I’ll share that even some Ayre owners may not be aware of, and it’s something that can be incorporated into the VX-5 Twenty and some other pieces of Ayre gear. It’s particularly useful for using 2-way speakers with subs. Ayre has a 100Hz high pass input filter board that can be swapped in, to roll the low end off of 2-way / bookshelf speakers and let subs do that work. I have these boards, although I haven’t tried them yet. Evidently Vandersteen does this quite a bit and folks will spec Ayre gear with those boards to use with those speakers. Since my KX-5 Twenty preamp has 2 sets of balanced outputs, it will work great for sending signal to the VX-5 Twenty, let it high pass to drive the main speakers, and send full range to my dual subs and work the levels / crossover on those. See pics of the boards below.

Others have mentioned integrated from Ayre... I would definitely check those out. In fact, I’m looking at going to some 94.5dB sensitivity speakers and have thought it would be cool if they offered a lower power amp, <50 watts (just because).

In case you can’t tell... I LOVE my Ayre gear and it’s not going anywhere. The only possible way I could move it along is if I borrowed something else that I could listen to here and know for sure it was better... but I want for nothing... I just don’t see that happening.

The Ayre guys are friendly. If you haven’t already, reach out and talk to Jake.

Good luck and Have Fun.

@henrynguyentx I should have added that I suspect you are also on the right path with the Coda #8 stuff... Coda, in general. I went back and forth with Doug Dale at Coda quite a bit. In fact, I made an offer on a "factory refurbished" unit but we couldn't get together on price. As I recall, he suggested the version with highest Class A bias (I suspect he likes that versus the flashy number of lower Class A versions). I’ve seen good feedback about their preamps as well.

As my Wilson Duette are also a 2-way with 8" woofer / 1" tweeter, know that the Ayre VX-5 Twenty will make them JAM... plenty of power for that speaker, with same sensitivity as yours.

@hsounds Regarding the AX-5 integrated / power difference... which other Ayre amp were you comparing it to?  Was it the VX-5 Twenty?  I have interest in the AX-5 Twenty and EX-8 2.0, as. single box solution. 

Hey, Yes it was the Vx-5 20. I will tell you not to get the EX-8 unless you need a hot plate to cook your eggs on. The VX-5 20 is a way better component than the 8 series. 
As  far as the VX-R amp. You can order one from Ayre through a dealer. They do have some chassis left to create the build. 

Hey, The only bad thing about the AX-5 20 is there is no pre outs for subs. You can use REL and connect the black/ Neg wire to the chassis. 

Big +1 for Coda.  Have the Coda CSiB v1 integrated amp which is essentially a Coda 8 with a built in line stage. Using it to drive Thiel CS 2.4 speakers in a room which is very similar to your own. You can check out my room and system details here on Audiogon.



A big thank to you all!! As I'm unable to audition any of the amps, I have to make decision based on reviews, comments, and gut feeling, which tell me CODA No.8 is the best suitable one. So I will order the CODA No.8. Thanks!

@henrynguyentx I had the CODA #8 v1 with the hard to drive Thiel CS3.7 speakers and the V1 was more than up to the task. It also has more Class A vs V2 and V3.

If you want the CODA #8 V2 or V3 you can may also want to consider the Sanders Magtech which I believe CODA builds for them. They sound similar though I sold the #8 and have no plans of selling the Magtech. I love the Magtech

I have seen the CODA #16 up for sale for around $9k I also own this amp. If you can wait and swing for the slightly more expensive used #16, then you may never need another amp. The #16 has a ton of that beautiful Class A sound.


I have had the CODA #8 v2 for almost a month, it’s an excellent amp and I’m very happy with it! At first it sounded harsh and there was sibilance in the sound, but after around 3-week burned in, all the issues were completely gone and it sounds beautifully now. It is superior to my old amp Odyssey Khartago in all aspects. But this is understandable because the CODA’s price is almost 6 times greater than the Odyssey’s price.

Also thanks to this, I now fully realized how good the Odyssey amp is. Although it can't compete with the CODA, it sounds very sweet, beautiful and "musical" regardless of the sources. The CODA is better, but not day and night difference. While the Odyssey is really good, the CODA brings in some more refinements.

To sum up, if I had a second chance and if my budget is tight, I would stick with the Odyssey and would be happy with it. But luckily I could afford the CODA hence I will keep it and will (reluctantly) sell the Odyssey because I can’t keep both of them. I don’t think I will upgrade amp anymore.

Thanks all for your inputs & comments!

Enjoy the music!

Good to hear the Coda is working out for you. I had the same experience with break in with my Coda #8, it took at least a week of 24 hour play to start sounding right.