$13K used Budget for new system

Hello Audiogon Community,

I could use some help with speaker and preamp choices. I recently purchased a Ayre V-5xe amplifier on Audiogon and will most likely be pairing it with a Ayre K-5xeMP preamplifier.

Speaker choice right now is a Wilson Sophia at a $6K bluebook assuming I can find one locally.

I've auditioned a Sophia 2 with the Ayre combo and loved it, although the higher end KXR/MXR was even more stunning.

My questions are:

Any other speakers I should look at that would pair well with the Ayre amp?

Any other preamplifiers in the $2K used budget I should look at?

As far as a DAC, does anything outperform the QB-9 at $2K worth looking at?

You have a lot of choices at that price point. If I were you, I'd audition all you can if possible. Wilsons seem to be polarizing. Some people love them, others feel underwhelmed by them.

As for DACs, in that vicinity, I'd look at the PS Audio Perfectwave DAC. You might also take a look at the DSPeaker Dual Core 2.0, especially if your room is problematic (which most are to some degree). It can be used as a DAC or just for its DSP capabilities.
I have heard the Wilson and Ayre combination and was highly impressed by it. So I guess I fall into the like em category. That said you really should audition as much as you can to be certain that is what you want. A speaker with similar attributes is made by Focal. There are number of older Utopias that may have fallen to your price range if not the next step down now called Profile formerly Electra might make you happy.
Ayre is excellent but you may want to try tube preamps like the Cary SLP-05 used. There are a number of others if that isn't available to you. I will leave the DAC suggestions to others.
My system followed pretty closely to your own. I have a total of $9700 in my used system. I went with Ayre C5xeMP, Ayre K5xe, APC S15, Pass Labs X250, Magnepan 3.6, and Grover Huffman cables throughout. I have never liked Wilson's very much. So I guess my suggestion would be listen to some Magnepans. The 3.6's are a big step up from the 1.6's even though I was very happy with the 1.6's until I got the 3.6's.
Get the Sophia ll if you can !!!!!
Lots of speakers will pair well. Buy the ones you've heard and like and can integrate well into your listening room, with space to walls, etc. if needed.