You ended up with Ayre, what are your speakers?

Like many topics, I’m not asking for buying recommendations.  As an audiophile I’m genuinely curious if you are a current Ayre user, what speakers do you run with them, and how is the synergy?

I've always loved the sound, but never quite was able to swing that way, ending up with Luxman.  Those of you who have gone with Ayre, how are you using them?






I have an Ayre VX-5 Twenty driving a pair of Quad ESL 63.  I play mostly jazz and classical.  I also use two JL Audio 12" subs.  Not looking for anything else.

I use an Ayre A2D sometimes in the recording chain… w Stax cans. When i had a VX-R Twenty it ran Vandersteen 7’s. 

Ayre is an outstanding brand! To answer your question, any speakers would work with Ayre, enough “juice”. I no longer have Ayre, but when I did, my speakers were Revel (F208 first, then F228Be). Great combination.

My two cents (subjective opinion, personal preference): Ayre tends to be very “airy” with lots of soundstage, and excellent tonality, but, some may consider that “bright”. If that’s the case, then some “polite” speakers (think Sonus Faber or Dynaudio) would do best

Vandy Treo's for me.

Ayre tends to be very “airy” with lots of soundstage, and excellent tonality, but, some may consider that “bright”.

Non-Twenty iterations were often not so much 'bright' but bass shy. The Diamond circuit really changed everything for the better.


I have had all-Ayre electronics at times (mostly early on in my audiophile journey), and systems mixing components, including an Aesthetix Janus Signature preamp now in my primary system, with an Ayre disc player fronting it (along with an SME turntable) and a VX-5 amp. I really like the Aesthetix/Ayre mix in my system, particularly with the preamp re-tubed with VTS offerings, and with more revealing speakers like Thiels and Vivids.

I've used Thiel 2.3s in the past (took a long time to tame its high end when I had an Ayre preamp in the mix as well as amp); Monitor Audio speakers in my secondary system in recent years; Vivid B1s currently in my primary system; and the likelihood of getting Vandersteens in a CT iteration for my (hopefully final) primary system speakers. .

Harbeth's work very well with Ayre. I used Ayre amplifiers with Harbeth Monitor 40's and the SHL5+ with great success for many years.


@aubullience ,

Once you get the Vandy's with carbon Tweeters, I doubt you'll want to move on to anything else.


I have the same set-up for about 15 years now:  Hales T8 with Ayre V-5xe / K-5xeMP.  i had the K-5xeMP serviced by Ayre and substituted a Conrad Johnson PF-R during the interim and noticed a substantial difference in bass (much more pronounced with the CJ).  It kind of makes me wonder what would a PF-R / Premier 350 combo would sound like.

I should have mentioned my best exposure to Ayre was during the Pono tour.  They did a little booth with Pono driving an Ayre stack and Paradigm speakers.  Sounded really really good.

Currently, AX 5 twenty with Joseph Perspective 2. Haven't found a speaker it can't drive, great sounding unit with somewhat dated ergonomics.

Ayre AX-5/20

Ayre CX-7e(mp)

Ayre P-5xe

Ayre QB-9 

Ayre L-5xe

…Vandersteen Quatro CTs

Bought Ayre k-5 se used for a while , the sound is airy and high sound is very strong. I am feeling good at first five minutes and I can not stand over 2 hours listening.

As you know, my standard is that you are listening continuously

8 hours and you still want to listen more,it becomes your selection.

In that point of view, I sold it later.


I have an Ayre  k1xe  pre  connected  to Mark levinson 33h  monoblocks drive harbeth shl5 speakers. Heaven! 

AYRE AX-5 (Twenty) with Thiel Audio. In comparison with a Luxman, the later will add a measure of warmth characteristic in Japanese electronics. Another way to describe the presentation and sound is Golden. One cannot go wrong either way.


Happy Listening!

I’ve deployed  Ayre AX-5 TWENTY, Ayre QB-9 TWENTY,

with Cerious loom.  Driving a pair of Paradigm Persona 3F’s.

Surprising synergy, presence.


I lurk way too often and don’t post enough, but this question inspires me to comment.  I am using a very old AX-7e with Klipsch Forte IV and against all odds, it’s an awesome pairing.  I’ve had several tube integrateds well into the 5 digits and while they were different/better in some ways, there’s just something so musical about this little Ayre integrated that I keep coming back to it.

A few caveats…I have a warm sounding dac (Metrum Acoustics Pavane w/DAC 3 chips) and a very well damped room, so that could obviously be playing to the Ayre’s strengths.  That said, the AX-7e’s strengths are coming through so pronounced, I’m struggling to find a reason to upgrade, even though everything in my system is more expensive and more recent.

By the way, I’ve had the AX-5 Twenty (great amp) and the VX-5e (great amp just a bit bass shy)…not saying the AX-7e is a world beater but for me, it keeps surprising me, even after owning it for so long.

Love Ayre - their products, their philosophy, their customer service.  Huge fan!



Which Cerious (models) are in your loom?


Happy Listening!

@favresj, I completely agree with you. The AX-7e is a very, very under-appreciated piece of hardware. Moving from an AX-7e to the AX-5/20 is like going from 98.5% to 99.9% (IMHO). I'm not one for exaggeration or hyperbole - while the difference was obvious, I could have been continued to be extremely happy with the AX-7e (particularly since I had Ayre hardware the necessary crossover to use with a pair of Vandersteen Quatro CTs). Drive it with a CX-7e(mp) or a QB-9/20 (balanced) and you're got a match made in heaven.

Favresj and nrenter, have either of you heard an EX-8? Wondering if, apart from its digital functionality, is it sonically the equal of the AX-7?

@drubin, I did an extensive comparison between the EX-8 and AX-7e. My source was an Aurender N100H and an Ayre QB-9 Twenty. In a nutshell:

The Ayre EX-8:
- Has a much larger (depth and width) and more stable sound stage. It projects much more accurate, sound sources are better projected and stay in a stable position over the the whole frequency domain.
- Has more body in the sound (80-150Hz). The AX7-e has the tendency to sound more empty in that domain, with the tendency to sound nasal.
- The treble has more brass and definition, without becoming irritating, sharp or pushy/brittle.
- More authority, and very nice combination of dynamics and control.

The AX-7e:
- Sounds nasal due to the lack of energy in the low-mid region.
- Sound is more concentrated and projected between the speakers
- Is relative (!!!) “lifeless”, and has less good timing.

Overall, the beautiful sound timbre of the AX-7 and its holographic projection are outperformed by the EX-8 with more neutrality, without the tendency to become too clinical. On the contrary, it has more grandeur and authority.

I think the EX-8 is clearly sonically better on all aspects. I have the initial version, and awaiting the 2.0 update when it is available again.

Thank you very much, an excellent comparison. I see you joined AG just today, so some skepticism on my part, but still …

I have V1xe, K1xemp, C5xemp, all Ayre with Vandersteen 5A...   All the stuff is old, but so am I

@drubin I’m indeed since yesterday on audiogon (but since decades on Dutch audio forums, also active as a DIY designer, though less active due to my busy job). Even if I would be here for long times, the above represents only a sonic opinion from whomever.

The AX-7e is a very good amp, I had it since 2005, and used it with a lot of pleasure. Many people listening to it were always surprised about the amount of grandeur from this little box (typical reaction; "60W, really???"), and praised the musicality and velvet treble performance (don’t confuse it with soft or coloured). I assume the diamond and equilock circuits that have beeb introduced into the Ayre products since then lifted their products to a new level. The EX-8 is reported to be close to the AX-5, a bit less subtle and with a higher "fun" factor.

I did a thorough audition of the EX-8 (together with some friends), and we all agreed on the EX-8 amplifier part outperforming the AX-7e. I shared my notes with Ryan Berry (Ayre CEO), and he said he recognised my observations, being mostly what he also hears himself.

For the digital side it was a mixed bag. Though the EX-8 is very good, the QB-9 Twenty outperformed the digital inputs of the EX-8, exploiting more texture, sounds and reverb isolates better and decay into a darker background, treble is more airy, flanging, and pinpoint-able, the sound stage is more 3D (depth and width), and overall the overall sound embraces you more. The EX-8 sounds like the QB-9 DSD, and I assume the USB2 update (as introduced for the QX-5, under development for the 8 family) will bring it to the same level, as all the other electronics are equal to the QB-9 Twenty. The NET2 update, recently introduced for the QX-5 and also planned for the 8-series in a later stage, may lift the EX-8 to a solid ROON end-point, maybe making the Aurender and QB-9 redundant.