Ayon Spirit 3 what speaker combo will u recommend?

Just pulled the crazy trigger again on the Ayon Spirit 3, was wondering the best combos for the amp. It looks like ill be playing mostly computer music through a DAC with secondary dvd/cd source form the venerable oppo 95. I was thinking about the VR 33 but is wondering whether anybody out there has better suggestions. I have other speakers lying around but i doubt if they would do this amp justice, ML source and triton 2. my room is small though as this is my never ending office setup. 15x15 room with carpets.
Realize you're looking for Spirit 3 versus 2 owners input, but what the heck here's some info anyway

Have the Spirit 2 with Black Treasure KT88s (like the 3), and also have NOS RCA black plates in 2 rear 12au7 positions and NOS CIFTE Mazdas in the front 2 positions for what any of that may be worth knowing.

I haven't heard the 3 to know how much of a difference the parts upgrades have made in the musicality of the amp , but have used the 2 with JM Reynaud Offrande Supremes (monitors), and Tyler Decade 3 & Tyler Linbrook System 2 floor standers and have been very happy with the synergy and sound.
Hi I also only have the Spirit 2 and am using it with all Black Treasure tubes. Speakers are Omega Super 8 XRS and I'm very happy with the sound. Using with a W4S Dac-2 and a Mac-mini. Admittedly not the very best I've had in my house but for the $$ I feel this system is absolutely great. Cheers.

Thanks for the responses guys, never heard of thoses speakers u mentioned probably have high sensitivity that tube amps really need. I've been running the spirit 3 on older ML source speakers and pleasantly surprised. Maybe not the best in any particular area but the ayon sure does it make a class better. I have not run it on my main Set up yet but will soon do so probably in the next 4 days or so after run in.
Just cant replace my main pre power of yet as it really does sound good in its current combo. Sonus Faber Liuto floorstanders and primaluna prologue premium pre with prologue 7 monoblocks with genalex kt 88.
I might stick with this combo for awhile till I hear or get recommended more down the road.

Thanks a bunch
The JM Reynauds & the Tylers are low 90db (like 90- 91-) 8 ohm speakers. The Spirit drives them with no problems whatsoever

The Omegas are 93db and are a nice match to the Ayon. I only run it in triode mde and I have no need for more power. I listen to 90% classical but sometimes throw on some Natalie Merchant, Floyd, etc...and it all gets handled very well. Louis at Omega is a great guy to work with as well in case you were looking to head in that direction. Quick question......the Primaluna stuff has long intrigued me. Im curious how you think it stacks up vs the Ayon. Thanks!

DeVore Fidelity..any of them.
I am using modified Martin Logan Vantages which are 4 ohm and around
90db but dropdown around 2 ohm in the 20 kHz region a fairly easy 4 ohm
Load they havea Ice amp from 400hz and own using a 8 inch Aluminum driver the Spirit-3 I am using drives these with ease, the 3 is much better than the spirit 3 in every dept look at Ayons home page aMajor redesign
Transformers,powersupplys Bigger, and now all are the Excellent
Lundahl from Sweden,the power capacitors now are 2x bigger
My speaker just coast mid to upper 80 db levels at only 9 o'clock
On the dial super values .Paul at Tube USA says you can get one with free delivery for around $4500 which is excellent the boxyshipped
Is93 lbs.
Wow , thanks for the responses guys.
TO: Boisty
Even though I've been in this hobby awhile and worked and sold audio in my younger days i wasn't the guy that used all the audiophile "words" and terminology. I mostly set things and put stuff together and wallah! most everyone pretty much enjoyed it. So if i come across dead in the headspace excuse me. I was just into the music it made. So when it comes to numbers and stuff i really hardly know anything. Not a techie. I just believe that music is my art and i enjoy it.
So here goes my little take on the Prima Luna setup.
Mostly i believe that audio stores and the salespeople they employ are music junkies with their own preconception of what sounds best to them at a given dollar value. i.e. ranges of dollars spent. 5-10,10-15. and they all advise you on what they perceive as best bang for the buck. Even though many buyers out there look at salesmen as distracting, audio people love sound and if they wanted to make it rich they wouldn't be in this trade. The Prima luna setup came from the advise of Kevin Deal from upscale audio. I try to look at the sound from a whole and from what i read try to mix and match its best properties for the signature sound i like. SO with all this in mind i luv the warmth or some say coloration of tubes , to me nothing is perfect and solid state tends not to have the "soul" that tubes offer. The Prima Lunas have that. it conveys the human voice very well, it makes u a believer that the person singing her song truly lived and loved in that moment. When it comes to the Piano she sounds like a good baby grand not a steinway as she does not have the intricacies of a real thoroughbred but instead like a Kawai or Yamaha. i use Pianos as a basis as my wife plays this often and i compare it regularly . Also its the prologue and not the Dialogue which I'm sure still won't match the steinway but more in the league of a Baldwin. The PL highs are good and airy but sometimes it tends not to have the upper hand on more delicate pieces. I am not sure whether its the amp or the speakers, but overall it takes me to that space where you listen and not judge and there lies the defining factor for me, i really enjoy its portrayal of music. Could it be better I'm sure it could, but for the money it makes me like music a lot. And it has POWER lots of it. But AB is still not class A. The Spirit is a taste of the ubber high end in honesty i have never spent so much on a single piece of equipment ever , but i wanted a taste of pure class A. So far its still in its burning stage, but i can tell its going to take me places. Im using it for the next 100 hrs or so on the ML source electrostatics on penthode as i was advised to. And within its second day i knew that the oppo 95 was not going to be its partner for life. It doesn't breathe the quality that this amp wants, so that goes to the PL setup where i think its panache for sonic detail will be more appreciated as the PL lacks that. I am receiving another base model CD player from ayon , CD 07 on monday, it will be a better companion. I'm sure of it, more tubey. ALso PAul from AYON swears by this.--ha ha don't they all. Out of the box the spirit has given new life to the logans, being more forward sounding the logans actually have a little depth too her now , transparency for sure the logans disappeared. i would like to throw the word imaging here but I'm not sure what that really means , but if it means that music is localized like pinpoint accuracy of instruments, maybe? i can't really tell yet i think its good. soundstage is limited to the width of the logans the PL throws a larger one on the Liuto beyond the speakers width . I'm thinking speaker limitations for the logans as 1500 vs 5000 isn't fair. voicing is superb and background noise is ZERO the PL likes to hiss albeit slightly. Piano - hmmm so far ill give it to the PL, the spirit is not ready yet. When I'm playing Yundi Li - Lidzt , at the volume i like the PL is only at 25% whereas the Ayon is near 75%. So for sure 8 kt 88 beat 4. So even with all that new transformer, the ayon doesn't come close in raw power. Logan has 90db sensitivity and Liuto 89. The specs on logan say 5ohms so i put the ayon speaker cables on 4 ohm ? hopefully that is correct where the Liuto is a very stable 8. In my humble opinion and i wish i was wrong, the Source does not synergise well with the ayon. Even though it sounds good it lacks cohesiveness. Again my personal taste. THe Golden Ear however seems to cherish the amp more due to its self powered bass , but that speaker seems to be lacking that ninth degree of refinement. which the logans have in the upper octaves. quagmire. THe only worry i have now is that the new speaker i choose has to be in the 6-10k range. that would not be good. thats why I'm looking in the 4k range. I'm hoping for a high 95db and refined one at that price range. sigh..not ZU too bright "thiel 3.7" 10k argh.
So thats my personal take on the PL. Sorry for the rambling but that is the best i can explain the music it makes for me. Also the glowing lights make the living room that much more romantic, And aren't all tube lovers romantics by nature?
ha ha - sorry but i really can't explain audio in technical terms not my forte. and if you don't listen or know pianos then this is must be the worst explanation ever.
Me - Bought my first quasi hi end gear at 20, bugged a salesman RAYMOND to let me test out all his audio equipment since i was 16, saved every penny like a true audio nutcase at 2.55 an hr. Never forgot how the first audio setup moved me-life changer an audio geek for life-Thiel speakers 1.2, krell KSL and KSA 50 and a meridian CD player. What i miraculously bought - apogee centaurs, michaelson audio tube amp and a Pioneer PD-91CDP and a gift from the nicest salesman ever, a used mitchell gyro deck TT.
thank you Mr Jim Thiel-u made great speakers.
I have a Spirit III. I'm using it with Proac D2 and it's a magical combination. Proac's love tubes and the Spirit drives them fantastically especially in triode mode.. I'd also recommend at some point that you consider replacing the stock driver tubes with some great NOS tubes.. I'm using 1950's vintage RCA black plates and the difference was huge.. Also a good power cord will do nice things too..

Oh and lastly it makes it so much easier to read long posts if you use paragraphs :-)

Thanks for your detailed response. You went above and beyond!! Theseventh1 also had a good suggestion with the Devores FYI. I heard them in NYC and they are sweet. Happy hunting.


I looked at some of your other posts, and I want to add something that is absolutely critical.. it's SYNERGY.. The Spirit III is an amazing amp, yes a very big slice of Uber-ness for non Uber-ness money.. This can all be erased with a LACK of synergy.. Getting the most from the amp means pairing with the right speakers, with the right cables, with good power line products, with the right front end, proper setup, etc, keep this in mind.. I think you understand this from the experience you've have had with the other gear in your home that should sound good but doesn't..

And other speakers that work well with the Ayon would be Harbeth 7-ES3, Again Proac D2, or better, D40 would be fantastic but pricey, stay away from Maggies not enough power, Merlins, Dynaudio, Focal, Devore, all would be good matches IF you like the way they sound.. Stick with reasonably efficient, and reasonably simple loads.. no weird 3 ohm speakers.. And Triode mode sounds amazing, but won't with the wrong speaker..
Yup synergy that word of audiophile fear and loathing , today I drove an hour an half with all my gear to test drive the VR33. It was good but I'm not sure about how it sounded and with that I think I'll have to pass. It did not synergize with my stuff....sigh, but it also could be how the speakers were placed and in a strange room with one speaker right up next to the wall and another in an open space with 4 ft behind it. Somehow the amp could not really power it with gusto. And the bass was wooly as the owner described it. I was also told by ayon to give the classic hd a try as that is their recommendation. @ 94db it actually might. I shall look into the proac d 18 and the addagio. I do believe the speaker I always wanted cannot do tubes as it is power hungry beyond all. The mighty Thiel 3.7. I'm also considering the dyne audio and the focal as well , they all sound good to me.
The Thiel would be about as bad a choice as Maggies would be.. If you want to go floor standing speaker, Proac D18 or D28...D28 has a bit more bottom end and dynamics.. Proac's tend to be less analytical than the Dynaudio.. Focal splits the difference, sort of and the Harbeth C7ES3 would match up well as a stand mount.. As I mentioned I use mine with Proac D2 augmented with a REL sub.. :-)

BTW where are you located? (geographically)
Yup totally agree about the Thiel for the spirit no way it will drive them, or the Maggie's. Also in the end wife thought that the 1.7 were an eyesore and said you gotta be kidding gt them outta here!
The problem that I face is that the speaker really needs to me placed only about a foot or a foot an a half away from the wall. These are the problems that I face for the room it will be in. And most speakers seem to want 3 ft. And width to spare. Thats why I was so so interested in the VS vr33 s it really can be placed up against the wall ! I did some research on the proac speakers , it is good stuff, most European things usually are.
Speakers that are still in my short list are
Proac d18 or even the stand mount monitors from them.
Vr 33 because it's easily placed and that is huge!
Legacy classic xd as these are supposed to be real good and tube friendly
Gallo 3.5 because they said so
Strada with sub as it maybe all I need but hate speakers with no box
And lastly Lawrence audio violin they look fantastic, and use ribbons and tube friendly.
I havevalocal dealer here who has focals , I should go try them out but placement when I saw them last was at least 3 ft from the walls.

I live in San Francisco CA
I think with the restriction of only a foot or so off the back wall that a smaller stand mounted speaker like a Proac D2 , or even a D1 will work out better..placing a speaker that close to the rear wall in addition to diminishing sound stage depth ( can't create depth if there isn't any) having a speaker that close to the rear wall is going emphasize bass response in a bad way, so if you get a larger speaker that can really do bass I'm afraid you'll end up with a boomy, muddy lower end, that can also effect the mid bass and even lower midrange. Frankly even the D2 may have to much bottom end that close to a rear wall and the D18 certainly will have to much bottom end. I think maybe the D1 or even the new Tablette Anniversary with a GOOD sub maybe the ticket.. There is a recent review of the Anniversary in a recent issue of Stereophille.. nice thing about either D1 or Anniversary is that they are small, so the wife will be happy, they throw a BIG sound stage, and because they're small you can probably cheat a bit and get them further out into the room than a visually larger speaker ( just don't cheese out on stands)

As for a sub, with a speaker that's as quick in the bottom end as a Proac the only real choice IMHO is a REL either a R-328 or a R-218 which one would depend on room size, budget and how loud you want the sub to play, nice thing with a REL is that you can set it up so it doesn't effect the quality of the bass, nor will it effect the performance of the main speakers in anything but a positive way.
Ah yes that's why I was looking at the Vr 33 , it is one speaker that does the impossible. I just think it needs more power than the spirit has on triode. Recently I have been using the pentode mode on the ML source and it sounds more fuller. I guess it does not have what it takes with triode or the synergy as I suspected is just not there.
I just love floorstanders ! But the room sure wants me to do a bookshelf. I wonder about tekton speakers they have high sensitivity and might do tubes a lot of justice. But il will keep the proacs on the short list as it seems they have the synergy I'm looking for, by the way what kind of wires r u using. Im using some older zu cables wax and balanced Xlr.
Silverline Reference 17 Supreme speakers would make a good pairing. I've heard a Spirit-1 driving my Silverline Bolero speakers, it just ran out of steam in my large room. But the Spirit got along quite well with the Esotar tweeter in the Bolero.

I have a friend that has the Spirit-1 driving Silverline SR17.5 speakers and he's quite happy. But the Esotar in the 17 Supreme, versus the Esotec in the older SR17.5, would surely make for a nice system.
Cardas Clear, and Clear Bi-Wire jumpers, and Clear interconnects.
@reynold-i can actually go listen to them as it is a drive away in walnut creek, interesting. I really want to hear the proac though as a friend told me , either u like em or relly like em. Problem no dealer around all closed up in the downturn. This time im going to take my time to get a speaker as i had enough of buying and selling them away. But most likely its going to be a good stander at this point. Thanks for the silverline advise.
There's a couple of used Proac speakers in the local shop here, the Response D1 and the Response D Two. I brought them home last week but only had a chance to listen to them briefly. They both sounded good, but I thought the D1 had a slightly richer sound. But again, I didn't audition them very long - my impression was quickly formed. If you get a chance to audition the Silverline Reference 17 Supremes, I'd be interested in your opinion.

I want to make it clear though, I am not comparing these speakers with one another, they are at totally different price levels and I don't think the comparison would be fair.
@ Erickminer- was going to change the 12au7 on my spirit with NOS RCA blackplates- but was told that my tubes from ayon were NOS RCA as well. can you advise.
Iam also changeing My primaluna pre and power tubes as well,
i am a little confused about the tubes on the power amp. Is it more important to change the stock tubes on the pre amp or the power amp for better sound. the pre has 2 rectifier 2 rgu? and 4 12au7 . THe power has 4 kt 88 which are new from goldlion reissues. 2 12au7 and 2 12 ax7 each.


tubes are FUN !!!!
I have a Spirit II and drive a pair of Montana EPS II speakers --- and the combo is wonderful. There is a pair of the Montana's on sale for under 4k right now.

The combo is rich sounding, smooth (yet dynamic), exciting sounding but not harsh. A great combo (I have the Ayon CD 1s as a CD player.

I have the Spirit 2 and have swapped tubes an array of times --- both the KT88's (amp) and the 12AU7's (preamp). At least in my experience (and that of others I know), the sonic differences are, generally, greater when swapping the 12AU7's than it is in swapping the KT88's.
I'll bet those Silverline' sound sweet.. $7500.00 they should too :-) Not a real fair comparison to the D2 at $3400.00 or the D1 at $2600.00 though. As for the D1 sounding a bit richer vis a vis the D2, stand height plays a pretty important role in tonal balance.. the D2 for most listeners should be on a 24" stand for the D1 more like 26" or 28" to get the tweeters at ear level ( assuming a 36" ear hight which is about where a normal chair or sofa puts a average 5'11" persons ears) putting the D1 on the lower stand would increase "richness" at the possible expense of detail and speed.. but it's hard to actually know and I'm not ragging Reynolds853 just pointing this out...
I swapped the Gold Lion Reissue KT88s in my Spirit 2 with Shuguang Black Treasures and to me ears there is a pleasantly noticeable musical change. On the 12au7s I swapped out the front 2 RCAs with Mazda CIFTEs - again a positive difference
Ordering from Brent Jesse RCA NOS blackplate pairs @50 a pair
12AU7 RCA blackplate, Old Logo, or made for organ brands. Fine 1950s vintage tube.
Hope these are the right ones? as i need 8 of them.
bought mullard 12ax7 reissues from guitar center 4 pcs 70 total for the PRima Lunas.they all had stock PL tubes. As the more i listen to the ayon its surely getting better. And the PL are starting to lag
Seems that cardas cables are the way to go , i have heard them recently while testing speakers. I just dont want to invest on speaker wires for the meantime as i recently got kimber 8tc and kimber pbj interconnects, by the way 8tc i like, pbj no good. i bought MA1 from morrow and it is way better-leaps and bounds ahead, and all for 50 bucks.
One other thing Has anyone heard Martin Logan Vista recommended year after year on TAS its on clearence sale for 2000 ! i am starting to like the logan sound. The source keeps on getting better as the amp and CD player peal off their onion layers.
Ill make An appointment to listen to the silverlines , but i am not so keen on spending that kind of money, As my father in law has already offered me 802D for the same amount. But my budget is 4k below and ill stick with that. Ayon did advise to get speakers in the range of 6-8k and high db of 95 up

where do you reside ERIC i wanna hear your setup ! it sounds splendid!
@ Facten
spirit 3 came with rca nos 12 au7 and kt 88 goldlion but they are sending me bt 88 as well as they ran out. I was told to swap out the rca nos for another rca nos? i dont know which one, hopefully these are the ones , but im going to put them on the primaluna first as i still have the stock tubes playing on them. all tubes are marked PL dont know what they are?
ALso th ML sources are starting to grow on me, just switching around the rca cables and they change wow! not a joke when ML requires a good front end.
Sionlim- I'm in NJ.. FYI if you haven't ordered the tubes yet.. my favorite tube source and a fellow I've bought from for years, and who is as honest as they come is Andy Bowman at Vintage Tube Services http://vintagetubeservices.com/
I also wanted to mention since I believe in full disclosure, I very recently became a Proac dealer.. I don't think that invalidates my opinion that the Ayon and Proac's work beautifully together.. Proac's and tubes have always been the way to go. ARC and Proac also make a great match, but I've never been a fan of ARC not fusing or protecting the biasing resistors so that when (not if) a tube goes usually it takes out the resistors too..
Sionlim - you can ask Kevian Deal at Upscale Audio about the Pl tubes, but would guess that they are "basic" chinese tubes just with the PL branding - maybe the base line Shunguang
Bottom line with tubes is that for the most part real NOS stuff is the best.. problem is that as regards tubes like KT88's the real ones are crazy expensive.. of course I'll wager that a quad of real MO Valve or GEC KT88's would out last ANY of the new ones by a factor of 4, so maybe if one figures the improved SQ and the extra life then maybe it's not such a bad deal?
was advised by jesse brent tubes to try out mullard nos 1950, man they made the highs float all around me! insane
Yup Nos tubes rule!

My two cents worth: From what I have read, it sounds like your preference is toward warmth in your system. Mullard tubes are warm; Cardas Cross family of cables are warm. The Cardas Clear family is supposed to be more neutral - I have only heard the Cross family.

RCA tubes are not as warm as Mullard. I run RCA in my preamp. I used to run them in my amp but have since switched to all Telefunken. The Telefunkens are very clear. I have both smooth and rib plate versions of 12AX7 and 12AU7 that I got from Andy Bowman. I second too the recommendation made earlier in this thread about Andy. Compared to the tubes I have tried in my system (RCA, Mullard, Amperex, Tung Sol, Telefunken) I obviously preferred the Telefunken because that is all I now use. Between the smooth and rib plate Telefunkens, I prefer the rib plate as I find the leading and trailing edge of transients to be slightly crisper. The smooth plate ones are just a bit warmer, but I'm comparing Telefunkens - either one is clearer and more dynamic than anything else I've tried. And me hearing these differences came from swapping tubes back and forth and listening quite intently. In my headphone amp I use smooth plate EL84 and 12AX7 and love them. Anyway, I like Telefunken.

You also mentioned that you liked the Kimber 8TC. I am very familiar with Kimber. While the 8TC is very good, the 12TC gives better bass. I think it's a great value. My speaker cables are Kimber Select 3035, but if I wasn't using those cables, I would probably use the 12TC.

My best friend has the following system that I helped him assemble: Ayon Spirit-1, Rega Saturn CD, Silverline SR17.5 speakers in which I replaced the stock caps with Duelund VSF copper, Kimber 12TC speaker cable, Audio Magic old stock Sorcerer interconnects. He really likes his system.
Yup Mullards are warmer.. Tele's are brighter.. I think the RCA splits the difference and is a good match in the Ayon.. as with many things audio there isn't a best but a best for you and your ears.. I went the RCA route in my Spirit III because I didn't want to loose to much speed and detail with a tube that's too soft.. But it all really comes down to personal preference
I decided that an all mallard front and back end was too warm, taking away the crispness and details of the sound. So i now have a mallard front end and rca blackplates for the rear. - shall swap around with clear tops as well for the rear of the spirit 3.
Has anyone tried these wires, the virtue audio nirvana-4m pair with bananas is 234. supposed to be very neutral sounding.
THe problem with me is that i suffer from nostalgia. I bought the limber 4tc and 8tc because 20 years ago, i always thought of them as great. I know the 12tc would be better , but i limit myself to wire prices. I cannot justify the cost for them.
12tc is always sold in a flash when on audiogon!!
So it has always been now and forever 300 MAX for 10ft pair.
Also thank heavens that Ayon has only 8 tubes to roll. So i can actually get the best ones catered to my liking. My other set the PL pre and pwr has an insane amount. 8 each for the per and 8 for the pre.
thank goodness some of them were actually very good tubes or ill be broke ass.
Hey anyone changed the FUSE yet for the spirit 3 ? there is some kind of uber fuse for 50 bucks that makes it sound even better, anyone tried it yet? audioman58 pointed me that way.
As for speakers i still can't help myself but look at Sonus Faber Cremona M ! i just love everything about them.
If Thiels could be run by tubes ill surely get em. 3.7 !! i know , i know poor sound for sure - its nostalgia
we should just make a new thread for AYON SPIRIT OWNERS
that would be better place to exchange ideas and info about them. anyone?
Great idea. I would enjoy that very much.
What do you think about an Ayon thread, rather than one just for the Spirit? It might be interesting to read comments of folks who have other Ayon components. But either way, I too think it's a great idea.
Again, sounds great. I'm quite pleased with my Ayon amp and would like the opportunity to talk/hear about more Ayon gear from others.
Grreat Ill kick it off- so sorry been really busy with any free time i had left. Been busy selling off my entire HT setup. Realized it didn't warrant the expense i put into it.

Any clue what the thread should be called though-
ideas please-
mine was going to simple

Ayon owners thread-upgrades and roliings
Well, I'll throw a few suggestions up against the wall and we'll see what sticks:

"Ayon Users Forum" - nah
"Ayon Enthusiast's Forum" - I don't like that one either
"Ayon Audio Forum" - I'll vote for this one
"Ayon Audio Log"

What does everyone else think?
Ayon Audio Forum sums it up nicely.

Looks like we have two votes for "Ayon Audio Forum"! Seems like that should be enough :-)

I'd say let's go ahead and launch a thread with that title.

great thats good ill start it , can someone write the beginning statements?
Guys, now that I think about it Ayon does amplification (pre/power/integrated)as well as digital (CD/DAC) and Speakers. Perhaps there should be an Ayon Audio Forum in both Amp/preamp section as well as the Digital and Speaker sections. Just a thought as not to upset anyone.

You make a good point. Good catch! I had originally been thinking that it would be nice to have everything Ayon in one place, but we are in the Amps/Preamps forum section. Their digital components and speakers should go into the other Audiogon forums on those subjects.

So, I would submit that our thread be called "Ayon Audio Amp/Preamp Forum"


I'll be happy to write an intro. I'll email it to you and you can post it at your convenience.
thread is up. boy what a game, that pass sealed the colts wow!
write it up as i dont know where i put my thread at , but it has started already , so meet u at the AYON SITE.