Ayre's New Integrated
Opening the top of Ayre's new AX-5 integrated amplifier ($9950) revealed an impressive layout, with transformers so big that they extend down through the bottom of the chassis. Rated at 125Wpc into 8 ohms, or 250 into 4, the AX-5 uses the same volume control as in the KX-R, and a diamond buffer circuit in the output stage. The amp, driving TAD CR-1 stand-mounted monitors, sounded eminently smooth on a track by Ella Fitzgerald, and did a fine job communicating the smile in her voice.
"We don't know why it sounds as good as it does," explained Ayre's Alex Brinkmann. Which hasn't stopped anyone except hard-core "objectivists," some of whom would undoubtedly prefer to listen to the sound of John Atkinson's test equipment over great music played on equipment whose excellence cannot be verified by measurements.