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linden518
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Ayre KX-R review

Just my 2 cents here... the Ayre's design seems truly innovative and idiosyncratic to basically mandate WP's quoting from the manufacturer to some degree. My quibble is that the manufacturer's explanation, quoted verbatim, ran on for pages on end. Was this really necessary? I wish WP could have paraphrased the key elements of the design in his own words, instead of lending so much of the valuable review space to capturing Hansen, word by word. It especially left an unsavory sentiment in me when in the review, Hansen punctuates most of this comment by saying it will take a while for others to catch up. "Hansen cackled," the review says. I don't think this long prelude to the review, which was literally a lip service to Ayre's manufacturer, does much to the objectivity of the reviewer's stance? I did enjoy the rest of the review, as I do most of WP's assessments usually, but even the way the review ends with a hyperbole claiming the Ayre to be the 8th wonder of the world comparable to the experience of climbing the Machu Picchu and the Great Wall of China only reinforced that weirdly unsavory feeling I got when reading the Quoted Hansen portion of the review.

Editor
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Re: Ayre KX-R review


Quote:
the Ayre's design seems truly innovative and idiosyncratic to basically mandate WP's quoting from the manufacturer to some degree. My quibble is that the manufacturer's explanation, quoted verbatim, ran on for pages on end. Was this really necessary?

This is an excellent question, selfdivider, and one that I pondered when I received WP's original review text.

Yes, the Ayre is innovative, which is why I ran the long description section. But ultimately, I pay Stereophile's reviewers for their ability to identify and describe a component's sonic signature and worth. With the audio market heading into recession but the costs of paper, printing, and postage all continuing to increase, it is appropriate to wonder if we are making the best use of our real estate in the print magazine.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

rvance
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Re: Ayre KX-R review

But in the manufacturer's comments Hansen rightly credits Uma Thurman as the 8th wonder, greatly enhancing (enhansening?) his credibility.

linden518
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Re: Ayre KX-R review

Thanks for your candor and thoughtful response, JA. Stereophile & its readers are in good hands.

Buddha
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Re: Ayre KX-R review

The review made me start to wonder if perhaps diecast chassis construction would be worth consicdering.

Imagining the current giant machine taking a block of aluminum and 'carving" out the chassis creates quite and image!

In goes an ingot of aluminum, out comes a Hi Fi chassis - very cool!

gkc
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Re: Ayre KX-R review

The new Ayre is the most neutral active preamplifier I have ever heard.

I don't care why.

What you want in a preamplifier is "neutral." It is amazing to me, after all my years of screwing around with ALL electronics and their ambiguities (speakers tend to be blatant about their colorations...), I can say that the new Ayre will simply transmit an uncolored signal from your sources, through your power amplification, to your speakers.

There is no noise. No screech. No whack. No bullshit. It just gets the signal to the speakers, and into the room.

Needless to say, I bought it. THIS, tube or transistor, may well be the last preamplifier I ever buy.

Wes nailed it. This piece just gets out of the way. You want louder? Turn it up. No problem. Nothing changes. The distorting gremlins are out of the loop.

The problem with preamplifiers is that everybody seems to want them to, somehow, make things better. My problem with preamplifiers is that they always seem to make things worse. The Ayre doesn't. If you need gain, between your source components and your speakers, then the Ayre is it. If you don't need gain, then get something passive.

Needless to say, I heard it and I bought it.

For sale: the VTL, the McIntosh, and the Mark-Levinson. And I loved them all. Still, while shuffling through all my software, I always had to stop and think..."Which preamp exaggerates what, and how?" The Ayre is truly neutral. No problems with matching software clashes or synergies.

If you don't need gain? Lucky you. The Adcom GFP-750 costs $1000 to $1500, depending on how fussy you are about packaging.

But. MOST systems need gain. And, I am sorry, the price for truly NEUTRAL gain just went up. And, if your system needs an active kick in the ass, between the source and the speaker, and you want to keep out the noise and the editorializing, then the new Ayre is it.

And I don't care why.

Happy listening.

bertdw
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Re: Ayre KX-R review


Quote:
The new Ayre is the most neutral active preamplifier I have ever heard.

I don't care why.

I enjoy reading the technical information very much, but then, I'm a technician. I always want to know what's inside a piece of equipment, how it works, and why the designers did it that way. This plus the measurements (which don't tell all, of course) puts Stereophile head and shoulders above other hi-fi publications, in my opinion.

Not trying to argue here, just casting one vote for "talking technical." Thanks for allowing me to quote you, Clifton.

tom collins
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Re: Ayre KX-R review

congratulations cliff. it is my goal to join you in the ayre audio nirvana (one day). thanks for posting your enthusiastic thoughts and enjoy.

gkc
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Re: Ayre KX-R review

Any time, Bert. If I knew a resistor from a rectifier, I, too, would love to take the screws off the box and look for the source of truth.

I only have problems with technicians when they unscrew their ears. You, obviously, love music.

Happy tunes.

gkc
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Re: Ayre KX-R review

Tom, just find a nice 2001 Honda, and imagine you are buying a new Buick. Then spend the difference on the Ayre. You won't be able to drive the Ayre, but that may be a GOOD thing...

tom collins
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Re: Ayre KX-R review

my ayre money is currently going to the university and a fleet of old cars (93 honda; 95 camry; 98 nissan) for my kids. but, one day, they will either get out or flunk out. i have to pretend that the camry is an ayre at this point, but it doesn't sound as good.

linden518
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Re: Ayre KX-R review


Quote:
my ayre money is currently going to the university and a fleet of old cars (93 honda; 95 camry; 98 nissan) for my kids. but, one day, they will either get out or flunk out. i have to pretend that the camry is an ayre at this point, but it doesn't sound as good.


You know what, Tom? This is the most touching post I've read on 'Phile forum. I really mean it. You're doing good by your family.

KBK
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Re: Ayre KX-R review


Quote:
My quibble is that the manufacturer's explanation, quoted verbatim, ran on for pages on end. Was this really necessary? I wish WP could have paraphrased the key elements of the design in his own words, instead of lending so much of the valuable review space to capturing Hansen, word by word. It especially left an unsavory sentiment in me when in the review, Hansen punctuates most of this comment by saying it will take a while for others to catch up. "Hansen cackled," the review says. I don't think this long prelude to the review, which was literally a lip service to Ayre's manufacturer, does much to the objectivity of the reviewer's stance? I did enjoy the rest of the review, as I do most of WP's assessments usually, but even the way the review ends with a hyperbole claiming the Ayre to be the 8th wonder of the world comparable to the experience of climbing the Machu Picchu and the Great Wall of China only reinforced that weirdly unsavory feeling I got when reading the Quoted Hansen portion of the review.

I don't recall Charles's quoted stuff as taking up that much of the review. Maybe it's just me. Regardless, Charles is a nice guy. Even though he cackled. Makes great gear too.

As well, why bother re-packaging Charles's words? He said them clear enough. I personally prefer the lack of editorialization. Even though that is the exact point in some respects of a review of gear, the gist of what he was saying might get a bit perturbed in the translation. As well it was not an exercise of making sure the prof does not catch you cutting and pasting, so..IMO, it was just fine.

gkc
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Re: Ayre KX-R review

Self-Divider, trust me -- it sounds as good as the printed hyperbole. I am with you. All comparisons to any phenomena other than live music are advertising gimmicks.

The predominant trope in American advertising is hyperbole.

This piece lives up to the hyperbole, paradoxically, by just getting out of the way. More, more, and MORE music comes throught the speakers, and less, less, and LESS coloration. Part of "more" is in the overall Gestalt of the presentation. Tonality isn't everything. How does the thing sound when you go beyond the (old, pre-Ayre) optimum, in terms of volume? As an old-timer who has twirled the knobs on every preamp design since 1960, I can tell you that THIS is a primary concern -- what does the volume control do to the music? The new Ayre's answer is, "nothing." The music just gets closer to you and more annoying to your neighbors.

Neutrality does transfer to the space created by your system in your listening room. The Ayre is the only active preamp that I have ever heard that fills all the spaces in your room with music. I know, I know...you are thinking, "But with which speakers and power amplifiers???"

With ANY decent speakers, driven by compatible amplifiers. "But, what is the definition of 'decent'"?

"Decent," in loudspeakers, is any model that takes you where your combined head and heart want to be, musically. Once you find that, the Ayre will optimize the sonic ideal you were hoping to achieve when you bought the things.

Over 30 years of listening to live concerts and home music, I have never stopped being amazed at what a great preamp can do to an already great sound system. For about 10 years, I have gradually come over to the idea that sensitive/efficient speakers, high quality power amplification (regardless of the absolute watts available), and a passive preamplifier were the best compromise, concerning soundstaging, tonal neutrality, and dynamics. The Ayre has made me reconsider.

Still, I have to say. Dollar for dollar, the best buy in electronics today is the Adcom GFP-750, used in passive mode. But, you had better have efficient/sensitive speakers and program sources that can deliver the juice.

If you like insensitive/inefficient speakers, and dynamics at realistic sound levels, too bad. You are going to have to pay for it. And, in my opinion, the Ayre is where you start.

Forget the verbal hyperbole. Just listen. Happy tunes.

linden518
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Re: Ayre KX-R review

I believe you. It should be plain that the issue with the format of the review, and NOT on Wes's take on the gear or his taste, which I often find impeccable. Mad props for using Steve Reich to evaluate, too... although he mentioned Reich for another review & not the Ayre. But you get my drift.

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