Attn: Ayre v-5xe owners


There's been a lot of Ayre v-5xe amplifiers (two-channel 150 watts per channel) for sale on Audiogon over the past 3-6 months. Wanted to ask previous and current v-5xe owners what your opinion is of this amp. It seems that one recurring complaint is that the bass region is a little light.

Both reviewers and owners alike agree that the MXR monoblocks are expceptional, but most of us will only be able to afford the mid-priced Ayre amps such as the v-5xe. Wanted to ask if the v-5xe is a viable mid-level alternative or we should keep our fingers crossed that the MXR technology will trickle down to the lower-priced Ayre amps at some point in the near future.

Thanks in advance for your valuable opinions. As usual, the community is very helpful.

The V5xe is simply superb in soundstage and depth of field. It is unbelievably holographic. However, I think a fair assessment would be it is a touch light in the bottom.
I ended up using a 2 channel Theta Dreadnaught I amp which I found more satisfying. It features the same atributes as the V5xe but is more solid in the bottom and sounds more powerful overall. The V5 is rated at 150w/ch @ 8 ohms where the Theta is rated at 200/ch @ 8 ohms. I believe Charles Hansen had an input to the design of the Dreadnaught.
I used Vandersteen's which rendered the slightly light bottom a moot point since they had built in subs. However, I still prefered the Dreadnaught. Hope this helps.
I'm a former V-1xe and MXR owner. I think it's the 0 feedback thing, but Ayre's stuff seems to be a bit more refined and polite than similarly rated stuff from some others. With the right speaker that's a good thing not a bad thing. The V-5 is a great amp the belies it's price point. If your speakers are fairly efficient you'll be fine. If not there might be a better fit out there.
I had the V-5xe before moving up to the MXRs. I never felt a particular lack in bass, and my unit always controlled the bass region very well, although the "light in bass" comment has often been attributed to Ayre amps, especially before thier "e" implementation. You should really listen to a V-5xe in your system. One of the benefits of Audiogon is that you can buy, listen for an extended period and, if its not your cup of tea, resell it for essentially the same price. Given how few speakers really plumb the depths these days, any bass shyness may not be a big deal in your actual listening environment. The V-5xe is truly musical, which is ultimately a prime goal in hifi. Have fun.
Proth wrote: '. . . especially before thier "e" implementation.'

I agree . . . I can't speak for the V-5 but the "e" upgrade to my AX-7 resulted in greater bass definition and, seemingly, extension (among other nice improvements). In other words, I'd make sure I was talking about the V-5xe and not earlier versions.
is V1-xe better than the V5-xe?
I wondered the same thing myself. I.e., was it only a difference in power. The guy I spoke with at Ayre (Steve?) said there's a lot of difference, much more than just the power.
Hi Matt,

I am a very happy and proud owner of a V-5xe from Europe and can only recommend it as long as your speakers are not too inefficient. Mind you: inefficient, not power hungry since Ayre amps are electrically very stable. However, the downside of a zero feedback design very often is nonlinear harmonic components that can cause distortion as you crank up the volume. Sonically you will often perceive this as hardness or a slight glare but as I mentioned before, only if you really have to push the amp to its limits. But that's all in terms of downsides.

The advantages of such a design by far outweigh its minor disadvantages as long as you match it properly: Team a zero feedback design up with a pre of the same design principle and pretty efficient loudspeakers and you will be transported to sonic heaven.

Along with the V-5xe my system consists of an Audio Research LS 26, Reference CD 7 for front end and a pair of Sonus Faber Amati Homage (which are quite efficient speakers), and this combo plays way better than anything else I have heard, especially in its price range. Bass shy it certainly is NOT! In my room (600 sq feet) the amp is able to deliver a very deep and - where necessary - loud but also controlled (THE benefit of a solid state design) and detailed bass coupled to a very open and extended but smooth high end. Transparency cannot get better than this with an unbelievably holograhic soundstage especially in the depth (and also height) plane!

But the true virtue o such a design lies in its homogenous and surefooted rhythmic rendition of the music (due to lack of time domain errors inherent to feedback designs). You would not imagine double basslines being reproduced with such brio and power and in the same time such definition before having listened to a zero (or low) feedback design. Anything alse is blurry in comparison!

Musicality is almost on a par with tube designs, with musical colors spot-on and the individual characteristic of instruments clearly laid-out.

As you might have recognized I am a big fan of Ayre amps and am impatiently waiting for the design principles of the (sadly too expensive) MX-R mono blocs to trickle down to more economic designs.

I was in Shock the first day I hooked up the v-5xe. Where's the beef!!!!
brand spanking new, drove over to Boulder and picked it up.
I had to come down from a McIntosh MA2275, it wasn’t easy,
but I have a very small listening room and Tannoy Eyris DC3’s.
It required some re-listening. My experiences in buying new equipment is that their is always a period of time when you doubt yourself; did I make the right selection, could I have gotten “more” for the same money.
I love the sound of the Ayre amp, I made the right choice.
Used a V5x for a few hours one day with Merlin VSM-MM's.Superb!Have been wanting one ever since.Cheers,Bob
I have had the opportunity to have had the V5-xe as well as the V1-xe in my system. What has been said about the bass of the V5-xe is more or less true. But, if you have never heard you own set-up with an amp that provides better (deeper/solid) then you will never know that what you get out of the V5-xe isn't as good as it might be. I myself found the bass response to be quite adequate. It drove my KEF Reference 201/2 to a bass performance that you would think is not possible with these stand mounted speakers. As well there are many other glorious capabilities that the V5=xe brings that are fairly lacking with other amps. For instance the soundstage it throws is wide open, deep and well beyond the speakers. It's like you could walk around the soundstage and in between the layers of instrments. Plus the venue ambience is shockingly clear to the point you could almost run and touch it behind the players. The sound is so detailed as to be superior to any other amp save one that I have had in my system. Not the Cello Encore 50 mono-blocks they being at the bottom of the pile. Then a Parasound 23 nice little amp easily outdid the Cellos (to be fair to Cello these are a pretty old design by today's amps0 Then I got a Pass x150.5 this sounded quite good for a number of months. Oh by the way before the Pass I had a pair of Channel Island Audio D-200s I really liked them a lot (I hung on to them) and they gave up very little to the Pass. They have now been reddesigned to be even better as the MKII. I sure would like to hear anyones comment on listening to this new MKIi.
So after much thought I wanted to give a listen to the Ayres, Asthetics Atlas amp, MBL 8100M, Burmester 036 bridged, ViTUS 010 integrated. About the time of my quest I helped a very dear freind procure an Ayre V5-xe. He had been looking for one on my recommendation. I told him I had never heard one but suspected it would be quite good. He went on vacation and I told him I would keep watching A'gon for one. It wasn't a day later than one came up at a fair price so I grabbed it for my freind and it was shipped to me about a day before he arrived back home. I had deboxed it but didn't fire it up until he was with me ready to listen. No doubt about it. It instantly blew the Pass out to a listing on A'gon and started looking for one for myself. As luck was with me I found there was already on listing a V1-xe so I grabbed it. What a monster 100 lbs + and no place to grab on to it. But, so what. This V1-xe sounds similar in some ways to the V5 but EVEN BETTER. There is no doubt about the bass response, the soundstage is even more delineated, it's got AIR. And, top to bottom not a harsh bone in its body. It drives the KEFs to even greater performance. And by the way these KEFs are also AWSOME. I have the stands packed with in excess of 75 lbs each of metal shot which got very expensive just before I needed it. It was up from like $25 to in some cases over $60per 25LB bag. I'm thoroughly convince that I cannot find any other amp save the Ayre MX-Rs that would tear me away from the V1-xe. It's Awsome and I couldn't be happier with it. I too talked to Steve at Ayre and he concurred that it a great amp. He used to own one before the MX-Rs which he now owns. of course he is a company man but i would say the same things about Ayre's two fine amps. Possibly among the best going. The rest of my system is a Esoteric X-05 SACD/CD Player and I substituted their specil feet that perform poorly with Ceraballs (3) which brought it to life like you can't believe until you hear the difference. The Ayre V1-xe sts on a Stillpoints Component Stand with Stillpoints top and bottom. Again the improvement is dramatic. I use a Music First (passive) Magnetic preamp MKII which just came out. You do need to cover ALL the inputs and outputs with covers (like Cardas sells) All cabling is MIT which I had never used before now and am very happy with it.although I intend to upgrade to better MITs. Well if this hasn't bored you to tears your as crazy as I am.
I also agree with all that the V5xe is a great amp and the V1xe is even better. Also note that these amps as all Ayre stuff are, are balanced circuits, and sound even better in balanced mode than single ended. I therefore recommend the also wonderful Ayre preamp K1xe to bring out even more of the good stuff.
Can anyone comment on the V6 multi channel amp? How does it compare to the V1 and the V5?
Would the V5xe be a good match with pass labs x10 pre? Thanks
I have an XP-10 coming in for a demo next week. I also hope to demo side by side ARC LS-17se. Stay tuned.....
The bass is light in comparision to my old threshold amp. I was told by Ayre that the bass is a little different due to the no feedback design, which could be true.

What would be interesting is whether the bass was corrected in the V-1xe. The V-1xe has slightly more power but is considerably more $.

Stingreen's comment that the amp needs to run balanced has been supported by others.
More time in the saddle needed, but initial impressions of the XP-10 and V-5xe pairing are excellent for overall tonal balance, tall/deep/wide soundstage and transparency.
With significant listening time now.....I have no reservations recommending the Ayre V-5xe as part of a rig in the $10-15K retail range. IMHO, it offers sufficient low end weight, transparency, balance and control. Further, system matching must always be factored in and therefore YMMV.
I am curious as to why so many V-5xe amps have been for sale, at least 10 this year. I thought they are very good and would be rare in the used market. Any ideas?
>>>I am curious as to why so many V-5xe amps have been for sale . . .

Maybe some of these sellers are moving to the new VX-5?
It only takes a couple of shady dealers in the network selling at 20-40 percent off the retail price. It's the dark secret that happens all the time. It's not popularized but it only takes a couple of dealers that move lots of product at a great discount. The dealer makes money and there is no risk for the buyer to "try" it. If caught the dealer will usually lose the product line. Maybe, unless it's mutually beneficial.
Bjesien ... a tad curious. To what extent is a manufacturer allowed to control retail pricing? For some reason, way back when, I thought that price fixing was against the law. For some reason, I thought a manufacturer could assign dealer territories, but not much else. I'm a tax attorney, not an anti-trust geek. I haven't seen this issue since I was in law school, almost 30 years ago. So I'm just askin'