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?






@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.