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Ayre A new dimension of musical enjoyment

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  #351  
Old 08-09-2018, 10:00 PM
GrubTheHedgehog GrubTheHedgehog is online now
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I have heard QX-5 throw a pretty remarkably wide stage where instruments were coming way left and right of the speaker, but that was in a fairly optimized room and with better speakers and cables. I was astounded, but I can’t quite get there at home in terms of width—yet. I think it might be a question of component synergy and the room.
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  #352  
Old 08-10-2018, 04:32 AM
BillK BillK is online now
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As I said, the QX-5 Twenty isn't bad in any way; it's just to my ears and in my system the Wadia S7i is much better, at least for Red Book and sources that are 96/24 or less.

The example, once again, was in the jingle bells on God Only Knows; on the Ayre I could pick out the balls inside the jingle bells as they were shaken, where it was harder to pick them out on the Wadia, but the Wadia presented the studio in which they were recorded, where the Ayre made them sound like they were recorded in a dead sound booth and just panned into a space on the mixing console.

It was the same for a few other recordings I heard, where it sounded like each element was recorded in a dead space and just placed into place where through the Wadia the performers were in a studio.

My preference is to hear the palpable sense of space rather than the details of the balls in the bells, but for others the converse may be true, which is why I didn't state it as good or bad, just different.

Last edited by BillK; 08-10-2018 at 04:37 AM.
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  #353  
Old 08-10-2018, 08:42 AM
ctsooner ctsooner is online now
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Guys, when I speak about a 'smaller stage', I'm talking in absolute terms here. I've owned one of the best in that regard in the Empirical Audio DAC. I like that better than the top EMM DAC as well as MBL's former top DAC. Their new stack was really nice, but I didn't know the system good enough to make an absolute impression there.

QX5 is a GREAT Digital Hub. It's not a DAC and shouldn't be looked at as only a DAC. It's a ground breaking piece of gear and the only reason I'll be selling mine is because I'm having a DAC specifically made for me by someone who's one of the best designers in audio over the last 30 years (he makes the Melo's gear, but his recent stuff doesn't have the quality issues that Melos had as he has Sam Laufer running the business). My DAC is being built vs the 100k DAC's and better be much better than the TotalDac, QX5, Brinkman, Davinci 2 or I'll be very unhappy .

This QX5 is sick good for the price. I know roughly how much I'll get for mine used and it will be a steal based on what else is being sold right now.
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  #354  
Old 08-10-2018, 12:14 PM
Ryan Berry Ryan Berry is offline
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I think you're both hitting on the same thing, really. The QX-5 is particularly resolute, picking up vibrations and rattles that beforehand I didn't even know existed in the song...listening to classical violin music is particularly intriguing for me. Stravinsky was really a fun experience, as I could hear the players switching instruments over the TADs we use at Ayre. Similarly, the best I can describe the silence is "black"...the noise floor on the unit is remarkably low with all the isolation that is done on the DAC and the inputs going into the QX-5.

That level of clarity can take some getting used to as we've often associated what is really noise as part of the "normal" sound stage...look at the nostalgia behind vinyl and tubes. Where it shines for me is that after listening to it for 3-4 hours I'm still not tired of listening, whereas the noisier DACs wear me out after an hour or so. Once you stop listening intently to pick up differences and relax to see how you feel while listening, you start hearing the music.
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  #355  
Old 08-10-2018, 07:19 PM
BillK BillK is online now
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I would say that is one of the best things about the QX-5 - it's detailed but never fatigue-inducing.

Older Theta DACs used to have the issue where they sounded wonderful - upon first listen, you picked out things you had never heard before - but after a half hour or so the listening fatigue was just massive.

That's one of the things I always wonder about when I hear people discuss how the Schitt Yggdrasil sounds like Theta gear.

When I say "space" I don't mean background noise of any kind, I mean a palpable touch of reverb commensurate with the space an instrument was played in - a lot for a concert hall, a little for a studio, none at all for a sound booth with foam on the walls and ceiling. That's what the Wadia gives me that the QX-5 didn't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctsooner View Post
QX5 is a GREAT Digital Hub. It's not a DAC and shouldn't be looked at as only a DAC.
Yes, I have two sources connected to my Wadia (S/PDIF Coaxial and USB) so I don't need all the networking/streaming capabilities, at least not anytime soon.

Note that in its day the S7i was a $14K CD Player/DAC, so comparatively the QX-5 Twenty is a bargain.

Last edited by BillK; 08-10-2018 at 08:13 PM.
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  #356  
Old 08-11-2018, 05:59 PM
GrubTheHedgehog GrubTheHedgehog is online now
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Slightly off topic, has anyone noticed how unusually left of the speaker the first sax solo on “Blue in Green” on Kind of Blue is. This is Coltrane on the left channel and it seems to come way left of the speaker with a lot of ambient information. I have a 192KHz version. I use it as an imaging/ staging test.
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  #357  
Old 08-13-2018, 07:10 AM
ctsooner ctsooner is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Berry View Post
I think you're both hitting on the same thing, really. The QX-5 is particularly resolute, picking up vibrations and rattles that beforehand I didn't even know existed in the song...listening to classical violin music is particularly intriguing for me. Stravinsky was really a fun experience, as I could hear the players switching instruments over the TADs we use at Ayre. Similarly, the best I can describe the silence is "black"...the noise floor on the unit is remarkably low with all the isolation that is done on the DAC and the inputs going into the QX-5.

That level of clarity can take some getting used to as we've often associated what is really noise as part of the "normal" sound stage...look at the nostalgia behind vinyl and tubes. Where it shines for me is that after listening to it for 3-4 hours I'm still not tired of listening, whereas the noisier DACs wear me out after an hour or so. Once you stop listening intently to pick up differences and relax to see how you feel while listening, you start hearing the music.
Thanks for sharing. Yes, when I mention micro and macro detail, it's always about a lower noise floor. You guys still make one of the best power conditioners from the lower kids on up. Building it into your products is genius in that it's always clean power you are dealing with. Which TAD's are you using?
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  #358  
Old 08-18-2018, 07:10 AM
Firewire Firewire is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firewire View Post
I purchased a new QX-5 just before the price increase and received recently. It was breaking in and opening up nicely after the 200 hour mark and easily beat my previous digital source, the Ayre C-5xe universal player. Then on the 11th day it stopped playing in the middle of a song. I cycled power and a fault appeared on the display "Fault FPGA". Unfortunately, I was not able to solve this issue and contacted Ayre support. Ayre indicated the issue was a communication problem between two integrated circuits and the unit would have to be returned to Ayre for repair or replacement if one was available. Another thing I noticed was it did not have a "Twenty" label on the front panel? I asked about this and they indicated it should have had the "Twenty" label. I hear of very few issues with the QX-5, so I may just have bad luck.
Update on the FPGA fault issue with my QX5.

I returned that unit to my dealer. My dealer order a new replacement unit and let me use his fully broken in demo unit until the new unit arrived. I was impressed how the demo unit sounded compared a new unit.

The new unit arrived on Aug 15 and as I proceeded to connect power and interconnects and noticed one of the Ayre link ports was not sitting flush with the rear panel, it was pushed inwards and upwards. (I do not have permission yet to post pictures). Closer investigation revealed this had to be an assembly issue. The port is normally locked into position by design and cannot be pushed inwards after assembly.

The sound quality of this new unit is similar to my first unit and no other significant issues so far. The fully broken in demo unit sounding smoother, more open and holographic.

I have yet to hear back from my dealer but I believe this second unit will have to go back to Ayre for service to be disassembled and reassembled to get the port correctly located through the hole in the rear panel?

I believe I really do have back luck now.

Last edited by Firewire; 08-18-2018 at 04:34 PM. Reason: Two grammer errors corrected.
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  #359  
Old 08-18-2018, 11:51 AM
BillK BillK is online now
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That’s clearly unacceptable.

The good thing is, Ayre and your dealer will make it right.

But at this price level, for something like that to slip through the cracks, even while they are in the process of moving, is very disappointing.

I’m sure Ryan would agree.
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