Stereophile's Products of 2007 2007 Amplification Component

2007 Amplification Component

Ayre Acoustics MX-R monoblock power amplifier ($16,500/pair; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.30 No.4, April 2007 review)

Runners-up (in alphabetical order)
Ars-Sonum Filarmona integrated amplifier ($4000; reviewed by John Marks, Vol.30 No.10, October 2007 review)
Audio Research Reference 3 preamplifier ($9995; reviewed by Paul Bolin & Robert J. Reina, Vol.29 No.12 & Vol.30 No.6, December 2006 & June 2007 review)
Audio Research Reference 110 power amplifier ($9995; reviewed by Robert J. Reina, Vol.30 No.8, August 2007 review)
Ayre Acoustics K-1x preamplifier ($7000; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.30 No.6, June 2007 review)
DarTZeel NHB-18NS preamplifier ($23,250; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.30 No.6, June 2007 review)
Halcro dm38 power amplifier ($19,990; reviewed by John Atkinson, Vol.27 No.10 & Vol.30 No.1, October 2004 & January 2007 review)
Krell Evolution 600 monoblock amplifier ($30,000/pair; reviewed by Wes Phillips, Vol.29 No.12 & Vol.30 No.4, December 2006 & April 2007 review)
Shindo Masseto preamplifier ($11,500; reviewed by Art Dudley, Vol.30 No.7, July 2007 review)
Simaudio Moon Evolution P-8 preamplifier ($12,000; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.29 No.11, November 2006 review)
VTL Reference TL-7.5 Mk.II preamplifier ($16,500; reviewed by Brian Damkroger, Vol.30 Nos.5 & 6, May & June 2007 review)

Man, talk about sexy—when the Ayre Acoustics MX-Rs walk into the room, you better lock the doors, pull down the shades, get the kids to cover their eyes. When Wes originally submitted his MX-R review, the entire Stereophile office—the people, the walls, the windows, everything—caught fever and blushed. He wrote: "I kept gazing at my hi-fi shelves, visually caressing the sleek Ayre MX-R monoblocks. Sexy? God help me, I do think so."

Who could blame him? Artfully carved from a 75-lb billet of aluminum, each MX-R is routed into "a hunka hunka shiny, anodized audio presence." Plus, the MX-R is a total powerhouse. Check the specs: output power of 300W (600W into 4 ohms), frequency range of 0Hz–250kHz, input impedance of 2 megohms. And all this in a sleek, compact shell just 11" W by 3.75" H by 18.75" D—an audio lover's dream.

In the end, though, the MX-R's sex appeal was "just gravy." It was its sound that most tickled Wes. The Ayre's ability to present the complete musical picture, portraying the clarity of individual parts as well as the wonderful whole, was unrivaled. And it wasn't just Wes who thought so—the MX-R monoblocks won more first-place votes than any other component in our competition, and outscored our runners-up, the DarTZeel NHB-18NS and Krell Evolution 600, by a stunning 13 votes.