To Ayre or not to Ayre...

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by HenryH, Jun 19, 2017 at 11:10 AM.

  1. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident Thread Starter

    ...that is the question.

    I've been looking into a power amp upgrade for a few years now to replace my Bryston 3B ST. Speakers are Vandersteen 3A Signatures.

    It seems that I may have a chance to look into an Ayre V-5XE. (The K-5XE preamp might also be available, but that's a whole other ball game.) My main interest is with the power amp.

    I had recently posted about a potential upgrade while I was trying to pin down an issue with my system. (It seems to have turned out to be a midrange driver problem, which is currently being looked into by Vandersteen.) During the diagnosis period I had a chance to hook up a Moon Nēo 330A amp to the speakers. It didn't take long to hear how much better the system sounded, but the Moon has these odd plastic covers permanently attached to the output terminals (something I've notice on a number of newer amps), making it extremely awkward to properly secure the spade connectors from my speaker cable. Very unfortunate because the price of the Moon made a purchase very tempting.

    Now, I discovered that the Ayre V-5XE could be available for a reasonable discount. I auditioned the Vandersteens with the previous version of the Ayre (the V-5X). Obviously, I liked the sound, but it's been a little while since I heard that one, and this is a newer version I'm considering.

    So, just wondering if anyone out there might be able to offer some kind of input regarding experience or knowledge about the Ayre equipment in order to give me a a little incentive (or not) to pursue this option.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017 at 11:15 AM
  2. chili555

    chili555 Well-Known Member

    I use an Ayre V-5xe with Vandersteen Treo CTs. I think the whole package sounds awesome. However, I never heard the speakers with a different amplifier nor the amplifier with different speakers, so I haven't any real way to say that the Ayre is superior or inferior to any other amplifier.

    When I contemplating the Treos, I spoke with Richard Vandersteen about my amplifier options and he suggested, in my stated budget, either the Ayre or the Audio Research 100.2. I chose the Ayre and have been very happy.

    The Ayre also has unique speaker connectors:

    [​IMG]

    However, with spade connectors, they are easy to attach and quite secure.
     
  3. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger Well-Known Member

    Location:
    West Coast USA
    Sorry to be OT for a minute, but... how are the Vandy 3A's?
    .
     
  4. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That's actually very good info. Thanks! :cool:

    Yes, that's one of the things I really like about them. The connectors on the Bryston are a bit on the cheap side, and are quite frustrating to try and tighten them securely.
     
  5. Guildx500

    Guildx500 Active Member

    Location:
    California
    Ayre is as good as solid state gets in my opinion. Good match with Vandersteens. If you still have that Copland pre I would strongly consider upgrading to a better preamp with balanced outputs. You'd hear the difference even with the Bryston.
     
  6. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I've had them for about five years now. I'm very happy with them. The main thing that I like is that everything tends to sound good on them (well, except for crappy recordings, of course), and they make you want to keep listening.
     
    macster and Cyclone Ranger like this.
  7. Sugar Man

    Sugar Man Member

    Location:
    Hermosa Beach
    High praise indeed.
     
  8. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger Well-Known Member

    Location:
    West Coast USA
    Thanks. Ever get a chance to compare them to the Vandy 2ce's?
    .
     
  9. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Oh, I have no doubt about that. That's part of the dilemma.

    The Copland is a very nice preamp, and I would hate to part with it, even though I've had it (and the Bryston) for about 13 years. I have been wondering that, if the price is right, I could also go with the Ayre pre, but that would mean trading in both the Bryston and the Copland.
     
  10. macster

    macster Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, Ca. USA
    In my system: pre CJ PV5/MF2500A , room 17X15 they are much better at everything. Like one of the posts above they just make me want to keep listening. But... these are just a temporary fix (12 yrs) until I can snag a set of 5A's or Quattro CT's.

    M~
     
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  11. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    Do it. As mentioned above, you really can't beat ayre for SS equipment. After 13 year a change and an upgrade is well deserved. Once you get the ayre in place, you won't be sentimental for the old stuff.
     
    jeff kleinberg likes this.
  12. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The funny thing is, I had a chance to pick up the previous versions of the Ayre amp & preamp at a discount shortly after I bought the Vandersteens. But I hesitated for too long and they were gone.



    I'm still kicking myself.
     
    Dennis0675 likes this.
  13. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio
    I have a hard time letting go of equipment myself. Perhaps it's an unhealthy emotional attachment, the bitter reality of selling for a grim fraction of what I paid or the thinking that one day I might need it. If this is where your head's at, I can tell that in my case, all that goes away when you get new stuff that is better.
     
    Ham Sandwich likes this.
  14. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yup, I know the feeling. The purchase of the Copland/Bryston combo came about when I traded in a YBA Integre and a Sonic Frontiers phono amp. I don't mind parting with the Bryston. It's done it's job and I've long tired of its quirks. Ever since I bought the 3A's it was obvious that I needed to move on. The Copland is a harder call. I no longer need the phono stage in it, yet it is a nice sounding unit.
     
  15. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I've only heard two other Vandersteen models. The 1C and the 5A.

    I did a quick audition of the 1C's a long time ago, at the time thinking that they were too laid back for my taste.
    The 5A I heard more recently. I want them, but I can't afford them. :D
     
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  16. Guildx500

    Guildx500 Active Member

    Location:
    California
    I would absolutely go for both pieces. Don't know if you heard the Ayre gear but the E upgrade offered a substantial improvement over the previous versions.
     
  17. Ilovefooty

    Ilovefooty Well-Known Member

    I had a V-5xe for 5 years and sold it last year. It was driving my JBL 4365's. For the time i had it, i really liked the way it sounded and enjoyed it it immensely. That feeling was unfortunately taken away when a friend of mine brought over EL34 tube mono blocks. The 40 watt tube amps added much more life, texture and richness to the sound i put the Ayre on the market immediately and bought the tube amps. hahahaha.
    But at the end of the day, it comes down to what YOU like and what sound you're after. One thing i did notice is that the Ayre sounds best left on all the time.
     
    HenryH likes this.
  18. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident Thread Starter

    And a substantial improvement in price...if you are the seller. ;)
     
  19. HenryH

    HenryH Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Oh, I've thought of tube amps, but the Vandersteens definitely need a bit of power to get the best out of them, and that kind of tube power starts to get pricey. Otherwise, it'd be a no-brainer and I'd just get something from Audio Research. :laugh:
     
    Ilovefooty likes this.
  20. swvahokie

    swvahokie Active Member

    If you would like to try tubes on your Vandies, and they do like tubes, try Rogue or Primaluna. The Rogue Stereo 100 may drive them if your room isn't crazy big. Think it is around 3k. If you could stretch to about 6k, you could go for the M180's, they would rock your world. I used to own 2C's with a Music Reference RM9, it definitely was a happy combo.
     
  21. captwillard

    captwillard Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    I believe Ayre stuff is optimized to be used with balanced connections. That being said, it will compete with any pre/amp combo out there.
     
  22. Guildx500

    Guildx500 Active Member

    Location:
    California
    Yeah unfortunately new Audio Research gear has become prohibitively expensive. Rogue and Quicksilver are the go-tos for more reasonably priced American made tube gear now. Both are excellent with Vandersteens. I think the 3asig sounds best with more than 100 watts of power driving it although I did recently sell my QS Silver 60s to a guy who has the 3as and he seems happy.
     
  23. To Ayre is human, to listen, divine.
     
    bhazen, HenryH and Cyclone Ranger like this.
  24. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger Well-Known Member

    Location:
    West Coast USA
    Saw it coming from a mile away, still liked it. :)

    Btw, if someone is a big Ayre fan, are they an 'Ayre-head'?
    .
     
    Ham Sandwich likes this.
  25. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    I am a fan of tube gear, more specifically, very low-powered tube gear. But, one has to have fairly efficient speakers to enjoy my kind of tube amps. While not sounding like tube amps, I find Ayre electronics to be quite enjoyable solid state electronics. Their amps don't sound as harmonically bleached out as some of the competition and their amps don't sound lifeless unless the volume is push up (another common failing of solid state). I have not really looked that much at higher powered solid state amps, the only other brand I've heard that sounded consistently good was the D'Agostino Momentum amps and those are quite expensive. The same can be said of other decent sounding solid state gear like the Soulution and Constellation amps.

    I don't know if your Vandy speakers require a lot of power, but, it might be worth while at least seeing of some of the more modest output tube amps would also work with them. I particularly like 6L6-based amps, but, these are among the lower output tetrode/pentode amps. I would add to the recommendation of Rogue and Quicksilver that you look at amps from Synthesis (Italian) or AudioSpace (Hong Kong) for more modestly priced tube amps.
     
    HenryH likes this.

Share This Page