Integrateds: Luxman vs. Ayre?

This shootout is between the Luxman 507x and Ayre EX-8 2.0

Currently I own a Luxman 507x.  Rather happy with it... but...

I use a separate streamer (Pi/Roon) and DAC (Mytek Brooklyn) for music and an external Anthem processor to feed it HT 2 channel.

My thinking is, the EX-8 would let me eliminate the DAC/streamer AND it has a separate sub out. 

The issue is I've not heard the Ayre integrated, only the separates and I really like them, though they do seem to have a distinct sound to them. 





My experience with Luxman was that it is a joy to behold, touch, look at and admire.  The sound was rather wooly and flat to my ear in a few systems I tried.  Ayre to me is neutral, nothing more and nothing less.  Probably going to get a warm and fuzzy sound with Luxman and more right to the point with Ayre.  Oh and Ayre is very nicely made stuff and a joy to use as well.  


Ive heard the 507ux (but not the II version) as well as the Ayre ex-8 2.0. They are both exceptional amplifiers and you can’t go wrong with either one. Below are my opinions, which are completely worthless because it all depends on your speakers and your sonic preferences.


As stand alone integrated amplifiers, the looks of the Luxman win the day however on the sonic side of the equation, I prefer the Ayre by a wide margin. If you had the 595se the nod would go to the Luxman but the UX is not the 595se. Your Luxman is a little more powerful sounding but again, it depends on your speakers and whether they are a tough load. All in all though I found the Ayre to be a better sounding unit. Read up on the Double Diamond circuitry, its the real deal. Additionally, I am a tube guy and found the Ayre nice and this particular Luxman slightly less pleasant. I didnt play with Luxmans tone controls which could have assisted. No offense intended.


On the digital side of the equation of the Ayre, unless someone has heard the Ayre for an extended period, they will not know what they are talking about. The digital section is VERY well done. In my opinion youd have to spend upwards of $3k on a dac to better it and it would simply be different rather than vastly superior. Its legit. Where the Ayre really shines though is the inboard streamer….Roon endpoint, spotify or MConnect. Figure the streamer performs at the $1.5k level. So, the replicate the digital section youd spend $5k plus cables and power cords.

As a package its exceptional. So much so that I bought one and merely rotated it in from time to time. At the time I had a Totaldac d1-tube-mk III which also had an inboard streamer. The Ayre streamer implementation sounded better, the Totadac fed via aes sounded better than the Ayre fed via aes….but its a $15k dac.


Its an amazing integrated, the dac is a high performer and while not a reference level dac, I used the Ayre and its inboard dac more often because it was super simple and convenient. If I had to knock the Ayre, the screen/gui feels very last decade. All in all, its a terrific piece of kit. I ended up letting an audio friend pry it from my grasp as he had a tube setup and wanted something that his 5 year old son could use the main system. He and his father share a love of music…his kid plays with his Legos listening to Chopin so how could I say no…its the audio hobby’s hope for the future huh!


Would I buy the Ayre again? Yes, without hesitation, and this is in the context of my main system is anchored today with a $30kish integrated amp, a $12k server/streamer, a $20kish dac and $30kish speakers. The Ayre is really, really good…its still a Stereophile Class A rated integrated and IIRC isn’t it John Atkinson’s reference? Best wishes.





The best way is to have the chance listening, Both Ayre and McIntosh are special, some people love it and some people don't like it.