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  #1  
Old 12-14-2018, 08:01 PM
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Default KX-R Twenty balance problem

I just took delivery of a fully broken-in demo KX-R Twenty from my authorized Ayre dealer and came across an issue with a balance discrepancy between the left and right channels which was not present with my previous preamp in my system.

After I received the KX-R, I had the feeling that my right speaker was playing louder than the left so I checked the balance level with my Stereophile test disk #2 using the channel identification track. Sure enough, the right speaker was about 8dB louder than the left as confirmed by my RS sound level meter. The problem occurs on both of my inputs, the Ayre QX-5 and PS Audio DirectStreamDACs via my Aurender N10 and also when playing my PS Audio Transport via disk so it’s not a source problem. I then thought that since the KX-R is a demo unit, that the balance on the KX-R might have been adjusted toward the right, but when I went into the setup mode of the preamp, it was set at zero. I then checked all my cables and nothing was loose. When I switched interconnects from the right to left, the balance discrepancy changed channels with the left speaker now playing louder than the right.

Next I contacted my dealer about this and he suggested that I run the volume all the way up from 0 to max a few times to make sure that the microprocessors in the preamp were not “stuck.” This did not help. Next he had me do a factory reset of the preamp which did not help either.


My dealer has ordered another KX-R from Ayre, but I was told that there would be a delay as Ayre was waiting on some parts from a supplier and so far there is no ETA for another unit.

Even though I have a great dealer who is working on resolution, I am wondering if any other KX-R owner has come across an issue such as this? If so, what was the remedy other than sending the preamp back to Ayre? Perhaps I am overlooking something?
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STEREO: Aurender N10, Ayre QX-5, Ayre KX-R TWENTY, Ayre MX-R TWENTY, PS Audio DirectStream & PS Audio DMP, Sonus Faber Amati Futura, Shunyata Research Sigma interconnects and speaker cables, Shunyata Research Sigma & Synergistic Research Galileo power cords, Shunyata Denali 6000/S v2 with Shunyata Typhon QR, Dedicated 20amp AC lines with Oyaide Duplexes.

A/V SYSTEM: Sony A9G 77” OLED (main), Sony A9F 65” OLED, Sony A8G 65”OLED , Anthem MCA525, Anthem AVM 60, Lexicon DD-8 for Atmos, ProAc D80 L+R, ProAc Response CC, AT surrounds, Triad Atmos ceiling speakers x4 , JL112E, Oppo 203 & 103, TiVo Bolt, Apple 4KTV, Shunyata Denali 6000/S v2 & Triton v3, Auralex room tx, black-out curtains, Audioquest speaker & HDMI cables, Shunyata Research Sigma & Venom V10NR power cords. Dedicated 20 amp AC lines.

Last edited by RLF; 12-14-2018 at 08:06 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-15-2018, 03:07 AM
Bar81 Bar81 is offline
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What happens when you take the volume up to the min and max? I had a a unit that was slightly off by 1db. When I hit 1 (or was it 60?) one channel would cut out. I spoke with Ayre and we went through popping the top and realigning the volume dials. 6db is pretty severe - not sure how that would happen.
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Old 12-15-2018, 12:08 PM
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After using the remote to try to “recalibrate”the volume levels, my dealer asked me to use the volume nob on the front of my KX-R rather than the remote to ramp the volume from minimum to maximum several times. When I did this and kept turning the nob after I reached both max and 0, I would hear a “click” after reaching 0, but not after I reached “max.” The clicking sound was from the KX-R itself; not the speakers. Yes, the volume level is at least 6dB or more and which seems to depend on the frequency. At lower frequencies, it’s more like 10dB. After trying all the things that my dealer suggested to attempt to recalibrate the volume levels, he believes that the unit has to go back to Ayre for repair. At this point I would like a new KR-R to replace this one, but as I mentioned above, my dealer told me that Ayre is waiting for part(s) to assemble a new unit and also waiting for an ETA for Delivery which is unknown yet. This is most frustrating since I paid full list price, minus trade-ins.

Did you end up getting a new KX-R from Ayre?
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STEREO: Aurender N10, Ayre QX-5, Ayre KX-R TWENTY, Ayre MX-R TWENTY, PS Audio DirectStream & PS Audio DMP, Sonus Faber Amati Futura, Shunyata Research Sigma interconnects and speaker cables, Shunyata Research Sigma & Synergistic Research Galileo power cords, Shunyata Denali 6000/S v2 with Shunyata Typhon QR, Dedicated 20amp AC lines with Oyaide Duplexes.

A/V SYSTEM: Sony A9G 77” OLED (main), Sony A9F 65” OLED, Sony A8G 65”OLED , Anthem MCA525, Anthem AVM 60, Lexicon DD-8 for Atmos, ProAc D80 L+R, ProAc Response CC, AT surrounds, Triad Atmos ceiling speakers x4 , JL112E, Oppo 203 & 103, TiVo Bolt, Apple 4KTV, Shunyata Denali 6000/S v2 & Triton v3, Auralex room tx, black-out curtains, Audioquest speaker & HDMI cables, Shunyata Research Sigma & Venom V10NR power cords. Dedicated 20 amp AC lines.
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  #4  
Old 12-15-2018, 02:39 PM
Bar81 Bar81 is offline
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From what I've seen of the volume control, it can't vary. If it's off, it'll be a fixed amount.

No, I just popped the top like I said and readjusted the offending volume control unit while on the phone with the Ayre factory. Pretty straightforward and took about 20 min. No issues from then and subsequently, I had it upgraded to a Twenty.

Anyway, it sounds likes something is seriously wrong with your unit; they should replace it.

Ayre has been pretty poor in recent times about timely delivery of product. When I went to upgrade my old MX-Rs a year ago, it took them four months to get the parts that they claimed were ready when I sent the units to my dealer.
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Old 12-15-2018, 04:20 PM
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Thanks for the input.

When you say, “popping the top and readjusted the offending volume control,” do you mean rotating the volume dial above “max” like I related to in my above post or something else which Ayre had you do?

Timely delivery of a new unit is what I’m afraid of too. When I auditioned the demo unit, I didn’t pick up on the problem until after I purchased it. My dealer didn’t notice the imbalance either, and in fact, brought the unit over to my house and personally set it up for me and we listened to it together that evening.

I had a choice of either waiting for a new unit to ship from Ayre or purchase the demo. I chose the latter as it was essentially a new unit except that it was already broken in at the dealer which not only eliminated waiting for a new one to be made, but also not having to deal with the long break-in period.

Yes, something appears to very wrong with my unit. I think that I will call Ayre myself on Monday to discuss what might be wrong with it. Although repairing the unit which I have is an option, if I choose it to have replaced with a new one, I would sure hate to have to wait for a long time like you did for your upgrade.
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STEREO: Aurender N10, Ayre QX-5, Ayre KX-R TWENTY, Ayre MX-R TWENTY, PS Audio DirectStream & PS Audio DMP, Sonus Faber Amati Futura, Shunyata Research Sigma interconnects and speaker cables, Shunyata Research Sigma & Synergistic Research Galileo power cords, Shunyata Denali 6000/S v2 with Shunyata Typhon QR, Dedicated 20amp AC lines with Oyaide Duplexes.

A/V SYSTEM: Sony A9G 77” OLED (main), Sony A9F 65” OLED, Sony A8G 65”OLED , Anthem MCA525, Anthem AVM 60, Lexicon DD-8 for Atmos, ProAc D80 L+R, ProAc Response CC, AT surrounds, Triad Atmos ceiling speakers x4 , JL112E, Oppo 203 & 103, TiVo Bolt, Apple 4KTV, Shunyata Denali 6000/S v2 & Triton v3, Auralex room tx, black-out curtains, Audioquest speaker & HDMI cables, Shunyata Research Sigma & Venom V10NR power cords. Dedicated 20 amp AC lines.
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  #6  
Old 12-15-2018, 04:38 PM
Bar81 Bar81 is offline
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I opened it up and physically adjusted the volume mechanism. The volume control on the front does nothing.
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Old 12-15-2018, 09:19 PM
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I’ll check with Ayre and see if that is an option with mine.

I’ve owned a number of Ayre pieces over the years, but this is the first Ayre product which has caused problems and from the beginning of ownership.
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STEREO: Aurender N10, Ayre QX-5, Ayre KX-R TWENTY, Ayre MX-R TWENTY, PS Audio DirectStream & PS Audio DMP, Sonus Faber Amati Futura, Shunyata Research Sigma interconnects and speaker cables, Shunyata Research Sigma & Synergistic Research Galileo power cords, Shunyata Denali 6000/S v2 with Shunyata Typhon QR, Dedicated 20amp AC lines with Oyaide Duplexes.

A/V SYSTEM: Sony A9G 77” OLED (main), Sony A9F 65” OLED, Sony A8G 65”OLED , Anthem MCA525, Anthem AVM 60, Lexicon DD-8 for Atmos, ProAc D80 L+R, ProAc Response CC, AT surrounds, Triad Atmos ceiling speakers x4 , JL112E, Oppo 203 & 103, TiVo Bolt, Apple 4KTV, Shunyata Denali 6000/S v2 & Triton v3, Auralex room tx, black-out curtains, Audioquest speaker & HDMI cables, Shunyata Research Sigma & Venom V10NR power cords. Dedicated 20 amp AC lines.
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Old 12-16-2018, 09:26 AM
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Sorry to read of your balance problem, but parts delivery for small customers has been badly disrupted by the new tariff models in many industries. Ayre is far from the only manufacturer to be suffering from delayed parts delivery from Asia. From several posts on this and other forums it appears that digital chips are some of the worst offenders. Supply-chains will likely remain 'in flux' for some time as new tariffs/trade laws are put in place. Perhaps the new normal?
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Old 12-16-2018, 04:33 PM
Ryan Berry Ryan Berry is offline
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Hi RLF,

I wanted to let you know that I'm personally involved in this one and have been working with the service department to try and get a quick solution for you. I can't say what happened to the unit before you received it, as it was a demo unit that seemed to work perfectly in the past, so my hope was that the knobs somehow came out of alignment and just needed to be realigned. Inside the KX-R, there is a stop pin that keeps the unit from going from volume 0 to maximum volume if the switch somehow gets out of sync with what the unit believes the volume is set to. By going to max and min, that causes the physical switch to get held in place while the switch gets back into alignment. From what you describe, it sounds like you're hearing that stop pin get hit at volume position 1, but if they were out of alignment, you'd hear more a change in sound as it repeatedly was pushed against that stop pin until the two were back in alignment. To be honest, it's very rare for them to get out of alignment like that anyway, but it was worth a shot as it is easy to test.

You're correct that we were waiting on parts to be made for us. Even before the tarriffs, significant delays have been happening with all electronic components as mobile phone companies and auto manufacturers have been buying almost the entire world's stock on common parts the past two years in their current economic boom, setting the factories way behind on fulfilling the rest of their orders. Because these companies now have million+ dollar orders to work on, our specialized, harder to make parts get put on the back burner by these companies. In the KX-R, we use a resistor that's used in only a small handful of applications anywhere in the world (mostly military), but nothing else sounds nearly as good. Because of our size, of course, the delivery was delayed by 14 months...not something easy to deal with since there's no other substite anywhere in the world. Coincidentally, this is the same type of resistor used in the MX-R, which was the delay Bar81 mentioned for another value of resistor. We keep trying to find another option, but so far have turned up empty without sacrificing sound quality.

We do have the parts now and are making the boards, but it still takes some time to have the boards made, send the boards to North Carolina to get the switches installed into the boards, receive the switches back in Colorado, and then actually build the units. The KX-R, as you well know, uses a very complex method to control the volume that most other companies simply wouldn't deal with...but then that's why nothing really compares to the KX-R. It makes manufacturing the product a chore, but the final product in our opinion is worth it.

With that said, it's actually likely better we look at the unit itself in most cases. We know that the unit had been working as a demo piece for some time, so the unit shouldn't have a problem beyond a single component failure somewhere. Finding that fault and fixing it is almost always a better and faster option than building an entirely new unit that contains a completely new set of potential solder joints, etc. that can have a fault. We obviously test things at Ayre to ensure they work, including placing each unit in a 24 hour burn-in environment to reduce the chance that a cold solder joint can be missed in our first round of testing, but nothing is full-proof for any electronics manufacturer.

I can also say with certainty that as soon as the unit arrives, we can get someone on it right away. In most cases, the repair can be completed the same day or a day later, meaning that the unit will be ready to ship out in 2-3 days after arrival since it needs to go into burn-in again. It will also give us a chance to see what failed to be sure it was something internal in the KX-R or if something outside of the unit may have caused it, which can allow us to give you a few things to look out for. I'm very sorry that your unit had issues. It's certainly not our intention to have you receive a unit you can't enjoy. I can say that we'll work hard to get the unit fixed for you quickly so that you can have it back as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call or send us an email.
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Old 12-17-2018, 12:35 AM
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Hi Ryan,

Thank you for the most helpful reply and that you are personally involved. I brought my KX-R back to my dealer today, but they didn’t have time to to listen to it while I was there. Later, I got a call from them that they were unable to reproduce the problem. They are going to run it overnight to see if it might be heat related. If the problem still doesn’t manifest itself, then perhaps it might be best that it be sent back to Ayre to check it out. My fear is that even if it quits doing it for now, that the problem might comeback at some point in the future. In the meantime, my dealer lent me a preamp so that I will have music until this gets resolved.
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STEREO: Aurender N10, Ayre QX-5, Ayre KX-R TWENTY, Ayre MX-R TWENTY, PS Audio DirectStream & PS Audio DMP, Sonus Faber Amati Futura, Shunyata Research Sigma interconnects and speaker cables, Shunyata Research Sigma & Synergistic Research Galileo power cords, Shunyata Denali 6000/S v2 with Shunyata Typhon QR, Dedicated 20amp AC lines with Oyaide Duplexes.

A/V SYSTEM: Sony A9G 77” OLED (main), Sony A9F 65” OLED, Sony A8G 65”OLED , Anthem MCA525, Anthem AVM 60, Lexicon DD-8 for Atmos, ProAc D80 L+R, ProAc Response CC, AT surrounds, Triad Atmos ceiling speakers x4 , JL112E, Oppo 203 & 103, TiVo Bolt, Apple 4KTV, Shunyata Denali 6000/S v2 & Triton v3, Auralex room tx, black-out curtains, Audioquest speaker & HDMI cables, Shunyata Research Sigma & Venom V10NR power cords. Dedicated 20 amp AC lines.
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