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Ayre A new dimension of musical enjoyment

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Old 02-13-2018, 11:54 PM
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GregGale GregGale is offline
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Default New review in March Stereophile on KX-5 20

I was interested in the review of the KX-5 to see what the measurements showed.

What is interesting is that originally John Atkinson was going to do the review as he had the unit in his possession for quite some time, but after some controversial posts regarding the merits of MQA processing in the Critics Corner in Audio Asylum between Charley Hansen and John Atkinson, he decided it would be best for him not to write the review for fear that readers might feel the review would be tainted in some way.

The KX-5 was sent to Art Dudley to review who is a huge tube fan for pre-amplification.

The review was quite good and to quote him said the unit "sounded amazing lifelike and present and lacking in timbral colorations or other distortions".

He somewhat slammed the unit however just like he did the AX-5 Twenty for not being intuitive to set up and not having clear instructions. He was also not a fan of the muting function which was not easy to see visually other than dots displayed next to numeric display.

I felt this really was nitpicking in this area as once you have it set up most people will not be going back in and changing source settings (at least I never have). The mute function to me is very intuitive and I have never had an issue where I was confused by the way it functioned so to me he spent too much time discussing these elements.

In the end he said he still preferred his Shindo Monbrison tube preamp but felt, "the Ayre's remarkable and utterly nonclinical clarity and it convincing, commandingly good spatial performance made a big impression on him".

JA in his measurements was very impressed with the very low noise level, low distortion levels and complete lack of power supply noise were commendable. He stated, "the KX-5 Twenty is a superbly well engineered line preamp".

The bottom line for me is a really love this unit and am continually amazed by the life like natural sound and how quiet the unit is. I feel for the money this units represents tremendous value.

Happy listening.

Last edited by GregGale; 02-14-2018 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 02-14-2018, 11:31 AM
Bar81 Bar81 is online now
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How many times do you have to set up a preamp? It's a lame complaint. As to muting, it doesn't highlight the volume number when muted like the KX-R?
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Old 02-14-2018, 02:39 PM
dbphd dbphd is online now
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I use a KX-5/QX-5 Twenty pair and agree with John Atkinson, in his review of the Digital Hub, that the sound of the pairing is superb. I thought Dudley's review was too idiosyncratic, and a review by Atkinson might have served the reader better.

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Old 02-14-2018, 07:52 PM
solecky solecky is online now
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He also did not test the balanced mode of the unit
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Old 02-15-2018, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solecky View Post
He also did not test the balanced mode of the unit
"I don't do balanced" is such a strange statement without giving an explanation.

I went and read the review at the local B&N. Everything was okay except for some curious passive-aggressive observations associated with the UX and an AC-related glitch he experienced--along with the "I don't do balanced" declaration.

Just to add some color to GG's post, Dudley felt really, really connected to the music through the Ayre, with only minor criticism to a slight lack of bass and instrument texture; he felt that the Ayre was a bit too smooth and rounded. He qualified that against the best preamps he has ever heard, however.

He said that for those who already have Ayre amplification, the preamp is a no-brainer; others should think about spending the extra money to get the AX-5 Twenty.
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Old 02-15-2018, 09:12 PM
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OK, so the set up is not intuitive and they probably could do a slightly better job with the instructions but after the first time, it’s really not a big deal. Grand total of time it took me to set up my AX-5 Twenty was 5 minutes.

I guess if that is the only complaint, then we Ayre owners should be proud to own such a well reviewed brand. Not that we care what they write anyway but it’s always nice to read that an authority likes the brand you have.
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Old 02-16-2018, 10:47 PM
aardvarkbark aardvarkbark is offline
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I tend to consider it a universal truth that all Ayre equipment is "superbly well engineered."
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