Ayre Acoustics QX-8, QX-5, & Codex

Getting ready for the first day's visitors in AXPONA's Ear Gear Expo, Ayre's vice president and CTO, Ariel Brown, was busy setting up the Colorado's company's QX-5 Twenty D/A processor ($8950, right) Codex D/A headphone amplifier ($1795, hidden in center, and the new QX-8 D/A processor ($4450 with S/PDIF inputs, $4950 with asynchronous USB input, $5450 with USB and Roon Ready Ethernet, left). Similar in its form factor to the EX-8 "Digital Hub" integrated amplifier that I reviewed in February 2019, the QX-8, like its siblings, offers both balanced and unbalanced headphone outputs and use Ayre's Diamond amplifier circuit.