Ayre Acoustics KX-R Twenty line preamplifier Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Linn Sondek LP12 turntable with Lingo power supply, Linn Ekos tonearm, Linn Arkiv B cartridge.
Digital Sources: Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP universal player; Apple 2.7GHz i7 Mac mini running OS10.9.4, iTunes 11, Pure Music 2.0, Audirvana Plus 1.5.10; Auralic Vega, PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream D/A processors; dCS Vivaldi upsampling D/A system; Ayre Acoustics QA-9 USB A/D converter.
Preamplification: Channel D Seta L phono preamplifier; Pass Labs XP-30 line preamplifier.
Power Amplifiers: Pass Labs XA60.5 monoblocks, Audio Research Reference 75.
Loudspeakers: Triangle Signature Delta, Nola Metro Grand Reference Gold, BBC LS3/5A, KEF LS50, Revel Performa3 M106.
Cables: Digital: AudioQuest Coffee, Belkin Gold USB, Kubala-Sosna Elation! AES/EBU, Transparent USB (dCS Vivaldi). FireWire: AudioQuest FireWire 400 (prototype). Interconnect (balanced): AudioQuest Wild Blue (D/A processors), Ayre Acoustics (disc player), Kubala-Sosna Elation! (preamp to amps). Speaker: Kubala-Sosna Elation!, Nordost Odin (Nolas). AC: Kubala-Sosna Elation: (Pass Labs), Nordost Odin (Audio Research), manufacturers' own.
Accessories: Target TT-5 equipment racks; Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; ASC Tube Traps, RPG Abffusor panels; Acoustic Ballasts, VPI Bricks, Shunyata Research Dark Field cable elevators; APC S-15, Audio Power Industries 116 Mk.II & PE-1 AC line conditioners (hard drive, computers). AC power comes from two dedicated 20A circuits, each just 6' from breaker box.—John Atkinson

Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
2300-B Central Avenue
Boulder, CO 80301
(303) 442-7300

Allen Fant's picture

Very nice article. And yes, more money spent is required to beat the Pass Labs XP-30!

jimtavegia's picture

but it sounds better than all of them I'm sure.

georgehifi's picture

I wish this review compared the "dCS Vivaldi upsampling D/A system" with it's own digital domain VC in either 2v or 6v output mode and 2.3ohm output impedance, directly connected to the "Audio Research Reference 75" 300kohm input and 1.4v for full power input sensitivity.

It should even sound better without the KX-R Twenty in the signal path. Less is more if all lines up right, which this does!

The best a preamp can try to be, is a straight wire with or without gain, and in the direct connect above that's exactly what you will have, no pre perfect drive and just one set of interconnects.

Cheers George

domainedujac's picture

Dear Mr. Atkinson,

it might not be widespread knowledge, but your experience with the Ayre pre-amplifier is not as unusual as one might expect. 'Detours' in fact can 'create sound' - sometimes in a very positive way.
Unfortunately we are still confronted with the persistent conception in HiFi circles , that physical- and engineering science expertise that proofs to be right in most technical applications should also be beneficial for the reproduction of recorded music. Given the metaphysical and therefore unseizable character of music, this misconception often leads to developements which might satisfy engineers' dreams but not that one of a listener. In this context It was pleasant to read about your personal experience with this 'voodoo'…..

klaus r.

tmsorosk's picture

Voodoo ? or great engineering ?