The Best is Yet to Come

Ayre and Vandersteen are two companies whose products have achieved an enviable reputation for excellence. I was, in fact, blown away by my listening experience in the Ayre room at RMAF 2006, and looked forward to an equally enveloping experience this year.

Wisely occupying two rooms, which allowed for talking in one and concentrated listening in another, Richard Vandersteen and Ayre’s Steve Silberman seem to have opted for an industrial-strength display, far more Brooks Brothers than Yves Saint Laurent. As was the case with many of the recently set up rooms I entered on the first day of the show, the sound had yet to open up and mellow out. I’ve actually skipped discussing a few of the rooms I visited because saying anything other than “what pretty boxes you have on display” would do a disservice to what I trust—hope, pray—were sincere and informed attempts to create something wonderful out of a maze of circuitry. With Ayre and Vandersteen, however, I have no lingering questions. I look forward to making further acquaintance with the Vandersteen 5A mated with the Ayre MX-R monoblocks, the C-5XE universal player, the P5-XE phono stage, and the new KX-R preamp, which adjusts volume by changing the circuit’s gain rather than using the usual attenuator pot.