Ayre's KX-R preamp—Carved From Solid

"Lightning strikes twice," says the blurb on Ayre Acoustics' new KX-R preamp, referring to the 1996 introduction of the Colorado company's original K-1 preamp, considered to be among the best preamps. The KX-R ($18,500 in aluminum finish) retains the zero-feedback, fully-balanced configuration of the K-1, but has a Variable Gain Transimpedance (VGT) circuit, with something called "equilock circuitry" for the gain devices. This was explained to me as a circuit design that does not attenuate the inputs at the front end, and thus improves the S/N ratio. The KX-R is a slim but heavy unit (41 lbs), and as you can see, it looks stunning.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Just as Bob said: Stunning. I fell in lust with the KX-R's smooth lines and sweet shine. Ayre has produced great products for a very long time, but their latest styling is just beautiful. It'll be interesting to see if they can trickle down this styling into more affordable products.

Matt's picture

Sure, it looks cool but how does it sound? Also, the display implies it's connected to a "PX-R". Is that a new phono stage in the series?

Charles Hansen's picture

There is a setup procedure that allows each input to be named, either from an existing list or a custom user-created identifier. At some point (sorry, no promises as to exactly when), I am sure that we will build an "R"-series phono stage which will be called the PX-R so we decided to include that name in the list.

Brad's picture

Given the outstanding performance of the monoblocks, when one considers upgrading from K1 or V1, and one's budget, which to upgrade to first? The KX-R, or MX-R. Thoughts anyone?

Anfield's picture

Wow! KX-R, MX-R,and PX-R, is that a "CX-R" (cd player) in your plan?

Charles Hansen's picture

We will make some sort of digital source component for the "R" series, but at this point have no definite plans as to exactly what.

Danielle Haney's picture

My god Charlie... it's absolutely stunning!!!!! When will these be shipping to dealers so I can go to Pearls in downtown Portland and take a listen?

Matt Brush's picture

Danielle, we will be getting one in the near future. Don't be a stranger, stop in sometime!Cheers,Matt B. at Pearl Audio...by the way Charlie, fantastic looking piece. Can't wait to hear it.

Ken Stevens's picture

WOW! I thought the old K1 was totally outragous, but this makes the K1 look positively fuddy-duddy. I'll have to call you soon about this VGT and "equilock" stuff.Remember out deal Charlie - you stick to SS stuff and I stick with tubes.

John Peters's picture

Definitive Audio in Seattle has one on display through Wednesday, Feb. 6. It is absolutely spectacular in every regard. Most fun is the way that the input names and volume indicators flip up and down as the controls are rotated! Then there is the sound - both it's own, as well as that made as the volume controls work!

giovanni battaglia's picture

send me one at home...

Ethan's picture

Looks stunning. Anyone knows if the KX-R has surround bypass (like the K-5xe)?

Paul Sop's picture

Apparently it does have the surround bypass - yipee!