Audio ElementAyreSonus Faber
The second Audio Element room was one of my best-sounding systems at the show: Sonus Faber Elipsa speakers were being driven by Ayre’s new VX-5 power amplifier and KX-5 preamplifier, with source the latest version of the QB-9 USB DAC, which can handle DSD data. The sound was more open, less dark than in the other Audio Element room, with more space around the instruments. The new Ayre preamp and power amp have much in common with the new AX-5 integrated amplifier, which Art Dudley will be reviewing in the August 2013 issue of Stereophile.
The KX-5 preamplifier was so new that it had only been finished two days before the show. Ayre’s Alex Brinkman had picked it up from the factory on his way to the airport and had flown to the show with it as part of his checked baggage.