Ayre C-5xe vs Ayre C-7xe??

I sold my beloved, magnificent Meridian G08 CD player. I am looking to replace it with either the Ayre C-5xe or the C-7xe. I have not heard either but both seem to have great reviews and Ayre seems to be a great company. That said, is it worth the difference in price for the 5-xe vs the 7-xe on redbook CD? I listen to a lot of jazz and some new age. I don't know if there is a big selection of high quality SACD or DVD-A's to justify the extra dough for the 5-xe. However, I still might spring for it if it is superior to the 7xe on redbook CD.

I am seeking the input and advice from those who may have listened to both players. Thanks in advance.
I think Stereophile just did a side by side comparison of these 2 players. Maybe you can find it in their archive
Thanks Ejlif.
I have heard both and I own the C5xe w/MP upgrade. I didn't have the money at the the time I bought so I waited to afford the C5 over the C7. I was disapointed when I was about to buy the C7 but knew the wait was worth it and have never looked back.
Just a word from the wise.....don't spend ANY money on a digital source BEFORE you listen to it, ideally in your setting.
No review is worth the paper it's printed on when it comes to digital as far as I'm concerned, moreso than other components.
I've had numerous cost no object digital front ends in my reference level system, and with no concern for cost to me I have found very little correlation to musical enjoyment and written hype or price.
What is priceless is YOUR own auditory perception and thats all she wrote.........

PS: The Ayre and Meridian are cut from totally different cloths
I have owned an Ayre C-5xe since 2006. I compared the C-5 and C-7 when I was buying. I thought the C-5 was better on redbook, but there are some who disagree with me. If you don't plan to get into SACD/DVD-A and if you haven't already, it may not be worthwhile to do it now. For the money, both are great players.

Having said that, the MP upgrade puts both of these players on a whole different level altogether. A significant narrowing of the gap between digital and analog, and even does some things better than analog.

Coolhand, thanks for your perspectives. Please enlighten me though on what you hear as the clear differences between Ayre and Meridian CD players.

Thanks in advance.
Just wanted to jump in here...

I used to have a 506.24 and now have a C7xe. The presentations of the 2 players are polar opposites - the 506.24 is a laid back, calm, slow presentation which glosses over detail in order to present a smooth end result. The Ayre is involving and exciting with music that requires it, or calm and intimate with music that requires that emotion.

The Ayre seems to really focus on the timing/rhythm, whereas the Meridian seems to be attempting to sound what some people term as "analog". While there are people that would prefer the less engaging sound of the Meridian, in the end, the C7xe winds up being better in every aspect of what I enjoy in my music listening. And I also consider it to be a more analog-like presentation than the artificially smoothed-out presentation of a lot of CDP's that try to sound "analog".

The difference between the 5 and the 7 is far smaller than that between the Meridian and either Ayre IMHO. I've listened to the 5 for a short period, and not overly critically, but it sounded like the same sonic character as the 7 to me. While the 5 is most surely better than the 7 on redbook, I would expect that the experience of listening to either over the long haul is likely very similar. As such, I'd say that the $3K difference would likely be better spent elsewhere in the system, if it's just for redbook.
Thanks Countingbackwards. I had already committed to buy a 5-MP before I read your reply. I will now get a chance to see what all of the hype is about SACD and DVD-A. Plus I will have a great player for my over three thousand CD's. The Meridian G-08 is definitely laid back, refined, and images well. I'll be curious as to how I like the 5-MP once broken in. The audiophile disease is one sickness that I don't want to be cured from.........................
I have had the G08 in my system for 3 years. My system has grown around it. I have a C5xeMP for audition. I went in to this change thinking the Ayre was going to be better in every way but my early impressions on the differences are.
The Ayre is better in midrange, it makes the Meridian sound digital and kind of pinched as where I never felt that about the G08 until hearing the C5. The highs sound less filtered on the Ayre but the bass has more body with the Meridian. These are my early impressions and there is no clear winner in my setup until I listen a bit more to the Ayre.
The Ayre is better in midrange, it makes the Meridian sound digital and kind of pinched
That would be a deal breaker for me...although you are talking about a much older model than the more comparable and current G08.
the bass has more body with the Meridian
Surprising considering both Ayre units are known for deep and solid bass. Could it be the Meridian had a fuller mid-bass, an area where the Ayre is closer to neutral?
Has anyone listened to the new G08.2? It seems Meridian is offering a new filter that has similar qualities to the Ayre MP upgrade. From Meridian's website:
"Meridian’s research team designed an exquisite new filter based on their original research – a filter with ‘apodizing-like’ qualities. It first appeared in the 808.2 and is now included in the G08.2. This filter system removes “ringing” and pre-echoes for superb clarity and imaging, and is so effective that it can even correct errors made in the recording or mastering stage"

Jaymark, I would be interested in why you sold your,
beloved, magnificent Meridian G08 CD player
and what you expect to improve with an Ayre player.

I have owned the CX7e, which sounded pretty good to me and I am interested to hear it with the new MP filter. I wish Charlie and the crew would reconsider and offer it in black, which would go much better with my other components.
After more extensive listening I think the difference in bass was that the Ayre was tighter and had a quicker decay. As you stated, closer to neutral. I found I could play the Ayre louder to get the bass at the same perceived level and the mid range was still natural.
Mitch2, I sold my G08 because I got the upgrade bug. Sounds paradoxical to sell a piece of "beloved" equipment. However, if I made a mistake, I can always buy one back. I am an audiophile so I have eveery excuse not to be rationale. I am waiting on a brand new C5xeMP so we'll see how I like it.......
Mitch2 said:

I wish Charlie and the crew would reconsider and offer it in black, which would go much better with my other components.

..Agree 100%. I wanted to get an Ayre integrated amp at one time and it's only available in silver, yet I could get the C5-XE in black and I had a V-5XE in black.

Now, back to the thread, I don't want to hijack it..
Just picked up a used CX7e and am expecting delivery later this week. I've contacted Ayre about the MP upgrades and they are apparently backlogged unti November right now. So I guess I'll get to know this player for a while and see what other's impressions of the new MP upgrade are before I take the plunge myself (or not, depending).

So please post your impressions of pre-MP and post-MP as you arrive at them.

Bob, there is a whole thread discussing the MP vs. non-MP CX7e, as well as some comments on measure vs. listen filter settings over on the asylum digital page about half way down.
Yes, I've seen that thread. But I expect that as the mod gets out into the world we'll be hearing more about it. It sounds like the change is not at all subtle, so I'm sure there will be both good and bad reactions to that.