Aesthetix Calypso -vs- Ayre K-1Xe preamps?

I was just wondering if anyone out there has owned both, or compared the Aesthetix Calypso and the Ayre K-1Xe preamps?
What are their sonic differences, advantages, and disadvantages in comparison to one another?
Which one do you feel would match best with Parasound Halo JC-1 monoblock amps?
Thanks in advance.
I have not made a direct comparison of the two, but I am an owner of the Calypso and hv quite a lot of experience with Ayre gear (I used to own K3/V3 and now own its SACD player). I absolutely agree with those points raised by others in this thread, in particular about tube noise and tube rolling of the Calypso, which are not something I am used to as a traditionally SS guy.

The tube noise in Calypso can be a bit demoralizing, and I bought A LOT OF tubes in order to find the right ones that sound great and relatively quiet (I ended up with Amperex and Telefunken). Quite often the tubes are noisy, but once you hit the right pair the Calypso just transforms into an awesome pre-amp, much more musically involving than my previous Rowland Synergy IIi.

I guess a lot comes down to system matching - if you think you need a bit of tube-magic, then Calypso is an excellent choice, although I would not consider this change an "upgrade" (Ayre K-1Xe is a great pre-amp by itself and much more expensive). There are going to be some trade-offs if you switch, and probably not something you may want to live with (e.g. the patience in tube rolling), although I can say that changing from Synergy IIi (similarly priced to Ayre) to Calypso has been an eye-opener for me - I wouldn't have thought that the Calypso sounded so much more musical than the Synergy even when using a Rowland power amp!

There's nothing like a A-B comparison, particularly in your case when both pre-amps are superb. Try to talk to your dealer (my dealer offered me a home trial of the Calypso, and I got hooked)......
Thought I'd chime in since Audio Girl and I have chatted offline regarding the Calypso and since I own one. I've never heard any Ayre gear (nor have I ever heard maggie's). So I can't talk to that. I'd like to share my experience with tube noise in relation to the Calypso. I had done extensive research on pre's in my price range and even had the opportunity to try a Rowland Synergy IIi in my system for a short time. I had read all the threads in regards to noise with the Calypso, but it seemed that most of these issues had been put to bed. When I received the unit new (07/2005), with stock Tesla 12ax7's, both tubes were noisy with one being louder than the other. It was an unacceptable amount of noise and I was quite livid. But, the dealer I bought it from also gave me three different sets of tubes to "play" with it a bit since I have never really tube rolled. The other three sets were quiet and I finally settled on 1963 GE Longplates. Said dealer also sent me a replacement pair of Tesla's, and again, one was noisy. But out of the two pairs I was able to make a good pair and they are now back-up's to the GE's. Jim White also offered to send me a warranty replacement pair, but I told him not to bother and that all was good. He was a little surprised to hear of my tube issues as he thought they had purged all bad tubes. But other than that, no big deal really. It's quiet at full volume-have to put your ear right next to the tweeter to hear anything. Personally I really don't care cause this preamp freaking rocks! I listen mostly to rock, blues and some jazz fusion type stuff and I am enjoying my music like never before in my audio life. Also discovering female vocalists' these day's 'cause this unit is oh so sweet. I'm not trying to sell anyone on anything and I don't claim to be no audio expert. I could start throwing around a bunch of audiophile esoteric terms, but I'll digress. I will say this...This unit takes awhile to break-in (not as long as JC1's thank God). I've logged and tracked many hours on pieces of gear, ic's and pc's, but for some reason I didn't do it with the Calypso. But if I had to guess, and I do, I'd say 150-200 hours at minimum (and that's probably on the conservative side) (Some are saying upwards of 450 hours). And it just continues to get better week after week, month after month. I'd also like to say that for me, for music to believable, I have to feel it, literally, as in bass. The bass slam that my overall system produces is astounding, and the Calypso is now a big part of that. A friend brought over his JR Synergy IIi and left it with me for a weekend, prior to my purchase of the Calypso. I enjoyed it's overall sound, but it had zero bass slam in my system, I was shocked and as soon as he walked out the door, I pulled it out of my system and put in the tube preamp I was using B.C. (before Calypso) I only mention this since the above post references the Synergy IIi (and I'm not dissing JR gear and it was only in my system for a couple of hours).
In any event, I don't think anyone should shy away from this unit because of threads in regards to tube noise. It's a non-issue for me...

P.S. I bought the Calypso without ever hearing it.
I own the Ayre K-1xe and had the Calypso in my house for an audition for two weeks. The Calypso is a very good tube system and much cheaper then the Ayre. The pre amp I replaced was a Sonic Frontiers Line 3 SE, also a very good unit. The Calypso was better then the SF Line 3 but only by a hair. Nice base clean midrange and nice polite high end. I auditioned it with the Boulder and the big super tubed BAT and the Calypso held its own against that lofty competition. I almost bought it.

But then I stopped by the Ayre factory in Boulder (I live in Fort Collins Colorado)just to listen for a few minutes. My wife and I sat down in their listening room and it took about 2 minutes to realize we were listening to something at another sonic plane then the preamps mentioned above. The Ayre may not be the best pre in the world but its the best I've ever heard. Like many audiophiles I sometimes strain to hear sonic differences between units in the high end. Not so with the Ayre. Its the most musical, dynamic, and extended sound I've ever heard. (I listen to classical, jazz, and new age mostly) My wife is a pianist and we are both quite sensitive to the natural sound of accoustic instruments. The K1xe provides lots of information including the inner detail in the piano where you can hear the body tones, the action, and the wonderful micro dynamics associated with the harmonics set up in the instrument. Playing it makes you realize the all music is percussive. The human voice, wood winds, etc all have a leading edge attack that in a live setting is "percussive" is a sense. The Ayre conveys this. (My system includes Krell FPB300cx, Revel Ultra Studios and my newest Ayre purchase a C-5xe Universal player.)
It's funny. I own the superb Supratek Cabernet line-stage tube pre-amp and now I am thinking of switching to Ayre K-1xe, a full-blown solid-state pre-amp! Just the opposite of Audio Girl. "I Guess I am just itchin' to give solid-state a spin!"

Good luck.

Cheers from Taipei,
Hey Audio_girl,
Does "itchin' to give tubes a spin" also include "tube rolling"?! LOL.
Sorry, I just had to throw that one in!