I have not heard the Ayre but I do have the Cary 303/300 cdp. I am very happy with this unit. I do not use the tube output as I feel that the ss output is more dynamic. That being said, I have not done any tube rolling. From what I hear, getting the right tubes can really make this cdp sing! To me, the Cary just does everything right. Its sound is a tiny bit dark but I prefer a slightly warmer sounding system. The build quality is excellent. I hope this helps. From my experiences listening to Ayre pres and amps, I think you may prefer the CX7-e.
By the way, I also the AZ Silver Ref II IC's.
In terms of pre, have you looked at the Cary slp-05? Its supposed to be awesome!