Ayre D to A

Anyone out there have one.....how good is it?
Its not as good as your 5 but still very good. I assume that you want to use it in some type of computer audio system. You can't go wrong with it but, with your equipment, you'll have to be careful to get it all right. What I mean by that is don't expect everything to be "plug and play". What type of computer you use, OS, type of HD, cables, power conditioner, playback software, ripping software, etc... is all going to factor in. Not only that, everyone seems to have a different opinion as to what sounds better. To get the best out of it, there will definitely be some experimenting.
Thanks Zd....isn't that true of this whole audio thing anyway? I know I'm setting myself up for a long and hard battle, but am becoming interested in playing digital files.
I got really frustrated with computer audio. Bought a mac, got amarra, a good USB cable, bought a bunch of 24/96 or 24/192 files, and felt like I wasn't going forward. Spinning discs just always won out for me...handily.

Your mileage may vary....but you may find stepping up to a better player is the best investment.

I know others will disagree with me...but it's my experience.
Jfrech, you're not the only one frustrated with computer audio. I'm kind of frustrated with computer audio too. Bought a Macbook Pro -- W4S DAC 2 using a decent usb cable and what I think are good transports and coax. Tried a trial of Pure Music; did not hear the improvement I expected. I have not bought an external drive yet. Been getting into everything slowly trying to get the basics down first. Many experts, manufacturers etc. say "get a quality usb to spdif converter", but I am not feeling much confidence in the extra expense of the quality ones, even the well-received lesser expensive Audiophilleo or the expensive Emprical Audio one is more than I am willing to gamble on yet. Getting a computer audio system sounding good is a convoluted process, and the philes out there who appear to really understand this audio niche contradict one another, use too many acronyms, and way too much technical terminology. They communicate like the audio world already understands computer audio. I go to computeraudiophile.com, AA and here to educate myself, but oh well... That's My rant. I haven't given up on it.
I use to own the Ayre QB-9 USB DAC. At first, I was impressed with the way it sounded. I used the MAC Book Pro computer with 4 GB RAM and the 120GB solid state drive. I used the Seaport Free Agent Go Pro 500GB external hard drive to store my music files (a 2nd one for backup). The Furman AC-215 power conditioner was needed so the MAC computer did not interfere with the audio components. It took several phone cals to my retailer to get the setup correct.

After many months of listening, I decided I did not like it the way it sounded in my system. In addition, there were too many boxes and too many wires in my living room. I sold everything and returned to my Ayre CX-7e CD player. I never looked back and like my CX-7e CD player very much.

For me, I liked the sound coming from the Ayre CX-7e better than the sound coming from the MAC computer and the Ayre QB-9 DAC. It felt more natural and clearer than the computer and DAC did. I suggest you audition the Ayre QB-9 in your system and then you can decide.
Hgeifman...thanks. The reason I am looking first to Ayre is because I have an all Ayre system with a C5xemp silver disc player (phenomenal...although the Superscout/Rim Drive/Benz LPS is a bit better most of the time. I'm also been interested in the new Bryston D to A.... but if digital is that much trouble..maybe its not ready for me.
Stringreen, you can get better digital...but seems like a few of us are not sure the download path vs spinning disc is worth it (given the comments above).

What about a better Ayre player? Like the DX5? I know it's more money...The thing I keep finding in digital is you have to spend a LOT of money to improve vs our vinyl set ups where a little here and there are pretty big sound improvements usually...The DX 5 allows you to experiment with downloading and maybe better disc spinning to...

You might find better cables or power, better isolation on your current rig is better than swapping players..I am familiar with most of your components..it's a great set up...really nice !!!

Wish their was a easy answer here...
I have yet to hear an audible improvement when switching between most high end DACs. I had the Ayre QB-9 at home for a week and compared it to the DAC built in to a McIntosh C50 I have. I have tried a variety of USB cables, interconnects, etc...

I am sure someone will say that either my hearing is bad or that my system is not revealing enough... but my experience is based on looking at many high end dealers and spending many hundreds of hours comparing equipment in person and at home.

I would prefer to cap my digital purchases to something like an Ayre QB-9 or W4S DAC2 and tack on $100-300 worth of cabling and call it a day.. spend more money on better speakers instead.

Like many here I spent many hours of frustration trying to decide how to set up a hi-rez digital source. I had free access to a loaner Ayre QB-9 and was determined to hear it at it's full potential.

Here is the short story.
Had my very capable 30 yr old nephew/IT/network admin/computer professional build a laptop to the specs I found at genesisloudspeakers.com/support/newsletters.He made a few changes of his own to lessen expense and time as this was experimental. Used a newer PC running windows 7 with I5 pentium processor, 6GB Ram, 750GB HD that I bought on closeout at Office Depot.

Used my I phone for the remote, ran Foobar2000 and connected it with Audioquest Coffee USB.
My system: B&W 802D, Krell KCT Preamp, Cello Duet 350, Reality speaker cables, Esoteric Strings RCA from QB-9 to Krell.

Al audio files are FLAC files from my CD stock and some 24/96 albums and various downloads.

The results are jaw dropping. Some of the flac files from redbook CD's are very hard to distinguish from 24/96 files.

The sound with the KCT lacks almost nothing, Resolute but just diffuse enough to not sound digital, no hard leading edge and all Krell base.

Tried it with the AYRE K5xe-MP preamp and it was not as good as the KCT in my system. But tried both preamps in an all Ayre system with Vandersteen 3A and the Ayre preamp was better.

The Laptop works flawlessly, it is hard wired to my network, as we shut the wireless down as part of the modifications. Using the I-phone remote app is so cool and the change from song or album is instantaneous with absolutely silent operation.

Am now trying to decide on looking at higher priced dacs or stopping at the QB-9.

Hope this helps, I spent 8 months finding this info and deciding on this course of action.