Ayon Audio Forum- all questions and suggestion

Since there has been quite a bit of questions of upgrades and speaker synergy and tubes, some of us Ayon Owners decided to start a little thread.

Questions of how,what,when and have are all welcome

Have Fun and Be Positve !
I like this idea of a Ayon Forum. I have had my CD5s for about six months and this is what I think I know at this point.
1. Absolutely great unit!
2. Using NOS 1986 Reflectors made a significant improvement.
3. Do not miss my preamp.
4. Am enjoying running my Blue Ray player through Ayon digital COAX input, for good sound on TV.
5. So far have not seem much difference with vibration control such as Pangea Mega feet compared to stock feet.
6. Prefer Balanced out in my system to my true balanced amps, even with one meter IC run.
Thanks for getting the thread going , I was wondering about the Tubes in the CD player no one had actually talked about them in the other post.
I have a newly aquired CD 07 a little bright sounding on the get go, and was wondering about a Tube change. IT does not have a coax in, which i think all CDP at this price point should have! but it does have a USB input which while not the best its good enough for me. IPOD player though is first class!
I run unit on ayon Spirit 3 , and with the help of the Audio GODS here has put me in the right direction. NOS mullard and RCA blacktops.

Thanks too for getting the thread started! I'd propose to let's see how it goes and whether or not we need to ask the site administrators to change the thread name to include mention of amps/preamps in the title, or if we should put the thead in a more general category. But this should be a great thread and I look forward to learning from what I hope will be many posts.

Thanks again!

Thanks for the interesting thread. Since its in the amp/preamp section I'll limit my comments to that topic. I'll kick things off by saying that I own an Ayon Spirit II. That said, I've been enjoying a fair amount of tube rolling...both power and signal. I read here on another Ayon thread that you couldn't/shouldn't substitute 6550s for the KT88s. Well, I have been .....and couldn't be happier. I've rolled in GE 6550 A welded plates, Tung Sol 6550 gray plate 3 hole, and tonight Philips ECG 6550s. Good stuff.
Yes please , If you can make this site in a more general area that will be great. Also it probably will need a better heading than the simplistic one that i came out with.
thanks for being here.
Great to see an Ayon Audio forum to talk about all things Ayon. I am the proud owner of a modded/upgraded Ayon CD-5s spinner which was the subject of a mini-review I posted in another thread. I thought it might be of interest, so i'm re-posting it here with permission from myself ;)

Due to major changes in my system including interconnects (Jorma Origo), speaker cables (Origo biwire), amp (Boulder 1060), racks (Taoc) & isolation (Acoustic Revive/Alto Extremo), and difficulty sourcing a suitable 32a connector to re-terinate one of my Acoustic Revive Ref pc's, this review is long overdue! Having owned the previous CD-5 & now the CD-5s, I feel the improvement in the CD-5s is substantial, as much in the sound as its added features. The CD-5s as mentioned in some earlier posts has a number of improvements over the CD-5 incl: an improved Japanese analogue volume control (CD-5 used a digital volume control), "true analogue in" (analogue inputs on CD-5 were subject to a-d-a conversion), improved tube output stage incl: 2 x custom-made higher value (3.3uf) Mundorf Supreme Silver/Gold/Oil coupling capacitors (1% MKP), 2 analogue inputs (incl 1 x xlr) & 24/96 asynchronous USB board. There are also a group of toggles switches at the back of the player including xlr/single ended, 0/180° phase, Normal/Direct to amp & low/high gain. After setting the toggles to xlr, 0° phase & direct to amp, I experimented with the gain & upsampling features and established early on that I preferred low gain paired with my Boulder 1060 with upsampling switched on. Some reviewers feel that the CD-5s sounds better with upsampling switched off. I think this will be an individual choice & system dependent to some extent.

The CD-5s is almost the perfect high end rb cd player & what the CD-5 should have been. I say "almost" because I indentified 3 components which could be improved. Now as a preface I should pay homage to Gerhard Hirt who uses the best tube tester in the world (an Amplitrex AT1000) and tests every tube fitted to their players over all 5 specs, so the factory tubes are very well sorted. Never the less I wanted to take my player to the limit, so I upgraded to matched NOS 6H30P-DR output tubes & matched NOS Russian 6C4P rectifiers. I further identified an opportunity to ugprade the factory Burr Brown OPA627AP op amps. The OPA627AP's were about the best op amps 20 years ago, but are only midrange op amps today. The best op amps I could find were Burson single HD discrete op amps. My research found that the Bursons (despite their claims) were no better (or worse sounding) than the very best ic op amps available today.

Altogether, the above mods made a BIG difference, elevating an excellent high end rbcd player to a great player. The Bursons turned a narrow portal into a wide open vista, doubling the soundstage width & adding detail. The sound is also more analogue and smooth (less technical sounding) & there was more bass.

So having re-connected my system, I initially ran my Isotek cd for 64hrs (equivalent to 129hrs normal play) & had a listen. The sound had smoothed out quite a bit, but still sounded closed in and tight, so the Isotek cd went back on for another 56hrs (equivalent to 112hrs). I then treated one of my reference cd's with my RIO-5II, RD-3 & Finyl cd treatment, and settled in to listen. Wow! Now we're talking! The Ayon now sounded warm, open & very musical. Over the course of the weekend, I put a further 15hrs on it, and all I can say is wow!! I was listening to my Pink Floyd Pulse cd tonight, and after the above treatments the sound was incredibly pure, timbraly accurate, warm & liquid sounding, yet authoritive & exciting. But what blew me away was the sound staging! On track 3 of Pulse (cd #2), I was literally looking around my room as sounds appeared in different parts of the room, and following sounds across a vast, enveloping sound stage. I closed my eyes & my Marten Coltrane Altos disappeared. I was experiencing the same excitement I get from a live performance, which is something not even the Vitus SIA-025/SCD-010 combination did for me, though the SIA-025 is the purest, most melifluous sounding amp I have ever heard.

The addition of the Boulder 1060 was certainly a huge upgrade from my previous Classe Cap-2100, and drove my Altos for the first time with solid bottom end authority, and sounded natural, fast, accurate & musical. I would say the Boulder is on the slightly warm side of neutral. What suprised me was how good my modded CD-5s sounded as preamp! This is the pre-amp which comprehensively beat out the Aesthetix Janus in my earlier review for another forum. In that review, I noted the improvement in sound stage depth from the earlier CD-5; a known quality of Mundorf Supreme Silver/Gold/Oil caps. This was complemented by the improvement in soundstage width from the Burson upgrade. Just remarkable for an integrated player!

The CD-5s is hand-made in Austria at Ayon's factory, and the quality is very evident. It's brushed aluminium chassis is lovely to look at with the solid-looking polished aluminium top loader (a modified version of the latest Phillips Pro 2 LH version) which includes a heavy acrylic cover incorporating an integrated magnetic puck which works a treat. The display looks great in red & provides more information than the previous model. The trade off is the characters are smaller. Owners with larger rooms may find themselves squinting to read the display. I found it ok for my smallish size room. The remote control is the best remote control i've ever owned & feels solid and heavy. It also looks smart in matching brushed aluminium with silver buttons that feel solid & give a reassuring mechanical 'click' when actuated. There is no backlighting, but then again there are gorgeous silver metalic buttons instead of cheap rubber ones. I love the convenience of controlling my cdp, source selection & volume from one remote.

It's not just the quality, amazing circuit design, features or sound which have so impressed me with Ayon, but also the first class after sales support I have received from Ayon President Gerhard Hirt. My experience with Ayon has been a delight & given me great pride of ownership. In conclusion, I am blown away by the CD-5s which to me represents a smashing high end value. I give it my highest recommendation!

Disclaimer - I have no connection to Ayon, but am just a happy customer.

I use the Ayon Spark as a change of pace from my Pathos Inpol integrated. It really is a great amp. I compared it with the Orion and it was a big step up in clarity, detail, transparency. If you can get away with 20 watts and I can with my Daedalus DA-Rma 96DB speakers, it is a bargain at the price.

I am sure I'm not the first to say this, but I don't know how they can make their range in Austria, for the price they charge. I would expect them to be built in China.

I have used a number of tube integrated amps, including the well respected Viva Solista at about twice the price. I prefer the Spark.
Daedalus and Ayon integrated owner here too -- but on the larger side. My Ulysses / Triton II combo has little fault IMO. Fast, dynamic, clear and detailed... I was thinking of going with a CD 5s but decided on a DAC. will be bypassing the Tritons pre section and going direct with a Lampizator L4 DAC w/ vol control. Should be a step up from my curent source and hope to better hear the capabilitys of the Ayon all over again.
That's just another great thing about the triton. I can bypass the amps or the pre section if I want to demo gear.
I would love to know the Tubes that came with the CD 07 so as to change them, according to Girt in an interview he stated that my player-the PCB boards came from China and sent to Austria everything else was assembled in AUSTRIA.
The Manual certainly does suggest it came from Europe as it never said anything.
I too have a few tube amps and have tried a few tube changes-ie rollings except mine came from advise.
Prima Luna premium prologue , mono 7 and Manley ITUBE which needs a bunch of tube rollings. IF suggestions for the CD 07 tube changes can be given i am all EARS.
I have nothing to do with AYON whatsoever but Paul from usatubeaudio-pointed me in this direction and all i have is thanks for him.
@ the seventh- please dont limit yourself in the posts as i messed up on that and reynolds might be going to change it.
Ayon s3 impressed many listener here, i am planning to get one, anyone here ever heard ayon s3 ?

If we are to change the title of the thread, I suppose we would have to ask the site administrator to do it, and I would think too that as the originator of the thread, you will have to be the one to make the request. It seems the thread is off to a good start though, and thanks again for getting it started.

well i finally decided on a speaker to go with the Ayon Spirit 3. After all the thinking and list of speakers i was going for , i went with the rank outsider. Never heard it , but this was my last try with an AMERCan Speaker.
Tyler acoustics D2 - Full range and built like a sherman tank.
List was
Proac D18
Neat SX
Joseph audio 22XL
Sonus Faber Cremona M-have the liuto and dont need another
Tekton Pendragon.-highly recommended-lore ill order soon

Might not be the right speaker but i wanted different.
Hopefully this works
Spirit 3 And CD 07 wanted ipod and USB in.
Is the preamp section in the Triton active or passive??? I cant seem to find this info...
Hi guys I'm another happy Ayon owner,CD5.So impressed with the on board pre amp,like Gammajo,I'm simply running direct to my amp.In the last several weeks I was fortunate enough to score a quad of slightly used 1980's Old Stock Reflectors at a favourable price point.I am anticipating an uptick in performance,subsequent to install I'll share my impressions.
Mark - Welcome to the happy family.
I own Ayon cd-5s after owning esoteric x01d2 and k-03 and other players.
I confirm what Melbguy1 is saying, and very happy with its sound and the pre-amplifier section in this unit is very good. I sold my ARC ref-3 pre-amp after buying ayon cd-5s. But to the Melbguy1 point, if possible change tubes to NOS 6h30p-dr. Parts connections sells 1986 for $80-90 a pair and they can do matching quad.
I have one question so. My amplifier (3 month old Krell 302E) has input impendence of 100k ohm thru RCA and 200k ohm thru XLR. Using the XLR connection from Ayon to Krell, every time pressing play button on Ayon (starting or re-starting CD) I hear very audible metallic “ping” sound coming form a speaker’s tweeters. Also the sound becomes noisy on loudly recorded cds. Again noise coming from tweeters. . This is not happening using RCA. Is that attributed to a high gain krell is getting using XLR outs?
In both cases I drive krell directly from ayon. The low or high gain switch on ayon does not affect that “ping” sound. Any input will be highly appreciated. Thank you.
Sionlim, Congratulations on the Tylers!! Let us know how that works out.
I have CD5s and had ping and noise through tweet and mid using balanced IC and not RCA both direct into Nuforce Ref 9V3SE mono blocks with input impedence of 22K ohm for both RCA and balanced. Ping stayed but all noise went away to totally silent and also better bass and mid when I switched to very well shielded balanced IC audiophile microphone cable from Stagg for $60 a pair and great sound to boot. Both the Ayon and Nuforce are true fully balanced designs so I wanted to stay balanced, and like the sound better than RCA by a smidge.
Hi Gammajo, just repeating my reply from another thread fyi..

In regard to the metallic "ping" which you hear when you press play on your Ayon, this comes from the 6H30 tube filament and is very normal. Ayon do not use any negative feedback or compensators to erase tube noise or hum as most manufactures are doing. Boulder are the only company which properly understand negative feedback, but they are an exception. Most other applications of GNF have a negative impact on the sound.

Xlr cables help lower the noise floor through common mode noise rejection & better grounding, but also roughly double line level gain. The CD-5s already has high gain, and due to your Krell's high input impedance no doubt your over-juicing your amp which is causing the distortion. As a starting point, i'd recommend leaving the gain toggle set to 'low'. Remember the clipping point doesn't change with balanced cables, only the position on the volume control where that occurs. If the above doesn't solve your issue, i'd switch back to single ended cables which are apparently lowering the line level gain to an acceptable level.
MG Thanks. As stated my problem has gone completely away by changing to a better shielded balanced IC, from a balanced IC that was not as fully shielded
Just received the Ayon BT 88 today from USATUBEAUDIO , replaced the goldlions and WoW ! soundstage just got bigger. i even think the details improved. All Mullard NOS on the pre stage now. again Wow
what XLR Ics did you have when you ahd a noise and do you have now? I am not clear how changing to a more shielded balanced ICS can resolve very high gain (this create a ping and noise for sure) that coming from Ayon thru XLR path.
I am using Stagg's one meter mic cable XMC1XX which they list as their audiophile grade with Neutrik connectors. I prefer not to mention the previous ones at this time because I am still working with the designer to see if my pair may have had a defect. I am assuming that the shielding may have made the difference but can't be sure. I have talked to a cable designer that feels better shielding may be necessary with the impedences in my system.
anyone knows what the low and high gain stand for in the CD players and also why does the volume get so loud on balance making it difficult to contol volume.

I am now using Stagg's one meter mic cable XMC1XX which they list as their audiophile grade with Neutrik connectors at a cost of $30 a piece. I would prefer not to mention the last balanced IC by name as I am still working with the manufacturer to see if my pair had a defect. A respected cable designer said that he thought that extra shielding would solve the problem caused by impedence. I do not know enough to know if he is correct, but the mic cable definitely worked.
I received news from Ayon that they are about to start delivering CD-5s units with a new 24/192 USB board. The price of these updated players will go up modestly which is to be expected. At this stage, Ayon are still working on upgrade kits for existing CD-5/5s owners, though I am told existing owners will be notified when the upgrade kits become available. The cynical part of me questions why the CD-5s was released sans the new board? Hopefully we can shed some light on this.
The CD5s already has a 24/96 asynchronous USB board. Do you think that the 192 will be that different? I personally am planing to use the S/PDIF which is 24/192, because I still am still hearing squirrelly things about USB. Do you know if they will upgrade the board for free for customers that have purchased within the past year?
They should upgrade all the current models for free and send everyone who owns them the board for upgrades.
Because they are not CHeap to own and we dont need another MArtin logan
Gammajo, I discussed this with Gerhard Hirt & he made no mention of any offer from Ayon to offer recent buyers free upgrades. Apparently an upgrade kit is still not available for previous spec units, but will cost.
To be fair to Ayon, Gerhard explained to me when they released the CD-5s around 1 year ago they did not yet have the 24/192 board ready at that time. In fact it needed a further year of development of their own Windows 7 software for the USB driver. Fwiw I agree with Gerhard's own personal view that USB is not an optimal connection for an audio signal, but of course most current owners will likely want to keep up to date. The CD-5s at it's price point still remains probably the best analogue sounding rbcd player in the world
I already get 24/192 from a Wavelength Wavelink HS box from my MacBookAir computers and it sounds pretty damn good. I've also begun to use a Weiss INT202 Firewire interface for my Mini.

Not all USB implementations are created equal, despite a 24/192 moniker.

I don't think this upgrade is a "must do" the way the analog preamp volume control and analog inputs were from the 5 to 5S though I think Ayon should be mindful of their loyal customers' tolerance for these continual cycles :)

I myself moved from a CD2S used to a CD5S new.

I have moved the CD5S from my main system which is a combo HT/2 channel setup and will partner it with a Plinius SA-Reference Class A power amp and a pair of Australian made Lenehan ML2 Reference speakers.
Drat. Perhaps you should pressure him to offer it free to previous owners. You seem to have his ear.
Melbguy1, thank you for the update. I agree with your observations, Ayon should consider the fact that the Ayon just establishing itself in the market and does not have loyal base and brainwashed by marketing and dealers buyers yet as say Esoteric or DCS. But what do you think ayon cd-6 may have that will elevate its performance from ayon cd-5s? Separate power supply?
Skip the 6 and wait for the 7.
Gammajo, I don't believe the new USB board should be offered free to existing CD-5s owners. It is not a critical component in the player & remember Ayon spent more than a year developing just the own Windows 7 software for the USB driver alone. My own view which I expressed to Gerhard is that the cost to existing 5s owners should be ameliorated as much as possible however.
03-05-12: Denon1,
Ayon have been around long enough, and in particular have invested a lot in product development which has enabled them to earn a loyal customer base, albeit smaller than icons like Pass or ARC. Ayon have no plans for a CD-6 or something like that. Please understand the CD-5s is already at the limit. However Ayon have just released a new dedicated transport (CD-T) in the last week to compliment the Skylla 2 dac. Wish I had the space, that combination should sound wonderful!
DH, thanks for sharing your thoughts on server-based music. I'll read up on your suggestions. When I eventually archive my cd's, I favor using a high end server connected via SPDIF like Gammajo which gives you the benefit of native 24/192 resolution. No need for a USB update!
I currently have an Ayon Spirit III and have been dabbling in isolation. Any one of you running isolation platform/pucks with your Ayon and what sonic impact has it made, if any? Thanks!
Hi Jarraa, I am using an Acoustic Revive RST-38 board under my CD-5s. Although the CD-5s (like all Ayon products) is well isolated, being a tube component with moving parts it will benefit from further isolation. I didn't do back to back comparisons with and without the AR board, but I sense there is greater transparency, and a smoother more organic sound with the RST-38 board. It is really unique in that rather than using inferior layers of granite, glass or composite materials, AR are using granules of natural crystal to achieve opposing goals. Ie: reduced distortion/noise & higher resolution and warm, smooth, organic sound at the same time. Highly recommended!
Melbguy1, thank you for informing us about the RST-38 board from AR. Does this board comes in standard size. Does ayonc cd-5s perfecty fits on it? Whta it retails for? Any dealer recommendation will be appreciated.
Thank you.
Well Denon i'm not going to mention where I bought my RST-38 board, i've had to learn that lesson the hard way. The board is a standard size (482Wx38Hx382Dmm) which is a perfect fit for the CD-5/CD-5s imho. The outer edge of the feet sits a mil or two inside the outer edge of the top board. I found (one) website which listed the board @$1100.00US. If you look around you may find a better price. But even at that price, it is good value when you consider the price of RIQ-501OW feet & the huge amount of natural crystal supplied with this board.
Hi Ayon owners!

I own a nice Orion integrated.

Quick questions please:

With KT-88 tubes, manual says biasing 450mv, however an Ayon tech rep tells me 430mv is better...any comments?

Also, they tell me that 6550's should not be used as they are ''lower voltage'' tubes. I understand some Ayons users are using the 6550 anyways, biasing value on those?

I can't comment on the 430mv vs 450mv question. However, I've been running a variety of 6550s in my Spirit II for some time now. Bias them to 450mv as well and have encountered no problems from this. In fact, I am very pleased with the sonic attributes of the 6550s paired with the Spirit.

Does anyone have suggestions for tube rolling on the Spirit II amp? I have harshness on piano transients and some clarinet passages that is just grating. I replaced the original RCA 12AU7's with a different set of RCA's that were supposed to be smoother... and it helped some... but not enough. The Gold Lion KT88's --- perhaps some of you have replaced them with different KT88's or perhaps 6550's or KT120's --- if so how sonically do things change?

Has anyone else had this harshness and if so, how did you get rid of it?
Hi, My CD5s have problems. 1) ping noise 2) "thundering" / " rumbling" noise
I use the CD5s in pre and xlr mode connect direct to my Passlabs Xa100.5 mono blocks. At first the "thundering" / " rumbling" noise started on left channel. Stop playing after that, a few days later try to play again and the "thundering" / " rumbling" noise came intermittedly. A few days later try to play again, given sufficient time to warm up and the "thundering" / " rumbling" noise was gone.
I enjoyed (atlast) and returned back to "state of trance"..... Only for few days..then the "thundering" / " rumbling" noise came back and now on the right channel. Tried using RCA still same problem and add on to another problem loud "thud" when power up.
I also had connected the CD5s to headphone amp. The problem happen again on right side of headphone and after that totally no sound on the right side of headphone.
I accidently pressed the fixed volume. After that no more "thundering" / " rumbling" noise ( on headphone). Now, no more playing... worried that the problems could damage my speakers.
The "thundering" / " rumbling" noise also present on line 1&2. I had already informed my local Ayon distrubutor and now waiting ....hope not a loooong wait :(

May be I will looking at other CDP...

What RCAs are you currently using? My experience with the RCA clear tops in my Spirit has been a poor one. I've tried them in both the signal and driver stages and I've tried them paired with a variety of other tubes all to the same result.....bad. By bad I mean the highs were to exaggerated,to harsh, and unrefined. I thought the same of the reissue Gold Lion KT88s. In my room with my system I've had good results with the following. CBS HYTRON 5814s paired with GE pinched gray plate triple mica 5814s, or Seimens chrome plates, or Mullard long plates, or even another pair of CBS 5814s. As for as the power tubes go, I've gone to 6550s exclusively. Right now it's the GE welded plates. It's a little difficult to recommend tubes (tone controls) not knowing your system and your sonic likes and dislikes. Look up Brent Jessie online. He has a fairly detailed sonic description of the various flavors of 12au7s.

What's the input impedance on your passlabs?

The Ayon doesn't have negative feedback so in the manual, it states that partnering with lower input impedance power amps CAN cause such distortions. I had the same problem with a pair of Focal Solo 6 Be active speakers.

Ayon recommends using amps with an input impedance of > 47kOhms


The PassLabs only has 30? I think.
Any comments regarding the USB input / playback would be appreciated - I probably won't be rolling with the BIG Boys. I'm looking more at the CD 1SC or the CD 07s - thank you for your comments.
The USB input IMHO was not worth the upgrade over the 5. But the analog volume stage and preamp output was, along with the XLR input.

You will get far better results with an OffRamp or Audiophileo or Wavelink HS