Ayre KX-5/20 & VX-5/20 v AX-5 Twenty


Downsizing in preparation for a move to an apartment in a retirement community, and thinking about replacing my KX-5 and VX-5 Twenty separates with an AX-5 Twenty integrated.  I've never heard the AX-5 Twenty, but it gets excellent reviews.  Sources are Ayre QX-5 Twenty Roon endpoint and DX-5 DSD disc player; speakers are KEF Reference 1s supplemented below 50 Hz by a pair of Velodyne HGS-15s with bass management.  Can anyone compare the separates with the integrated, or provide advice?

db
Ag insider logo xs@2xdbphd
You've got some nice equipment.
Do you really have to move to integrated? I can't see how that much space will be saved by such a move.
Though I would consider some isolation bases for the subs (Like Townshend), so you don't p*ss off the neighbors.
Bob
Bob, I use some blue Cardas balanced cables between preamp and amp.  I think I read somewhere that the tighter connection between preamp and amp of an integrated was beneficial.

I use SubDudes under the HGS-15s.

db
I've heard both of the systems you are considering, but not at the same time and not with your Kef's so it's very difficult to provide meaningful feedback for you... however, I remember being impressed with the Ayre integrated.

From my memory it offered everything that the separates did.  My concern would be in the amplifier section since it does make less power than the VX-5.  However, since you are using your Velodyne's for the low end, that makes life much easier for the amplifier even though I see that the Ref Ref's dip down to the 3 Ohm range.  My guess is that you likely won't miss much in going to the integrated unless you are really nit-picking the minutia in your recording.

My other thought is that you may lose a little bit of the "tuning" that your Cardas cables are offering between the pre & amp... again probably subtle.

Let us know your experience if you audition the integrated, and good luck!
I don't have the exact same combo (I have an V-5xe and K-5xemp) and inquired directly to Ayre about making the switch t0 an AX-5 twenty (my concern was whether this was more or less a lateral switch).  They felt that the AX-5 twenty was definitely an upgrade.  




@OP,
I would still think separates would be a better choice. When you think about cramming all that equipment into one case, there are bound to be trade-offs otherwise, why would they exist?
As for interconnects, I would get some Audioquest cables. They work well with Ayre.
When in doubt, call Ayre. They answer the phone.
(If I recall, try to connect with the Operator, as that will forward the call to Ryan. Otherwise, you will most likely have to leave a message).
Bob

Bob, Ryan has been very helpful with my DX5 DSD.  

Your previous point is a good one.  The current setup is QX-5 Twenty for Roon, DX5 DSD for discs, KX-5 Twenty preamp, and VX-5 Twenty amp, four pieces of equipment instead of three, not a big deal.  I'm using a rack under the projection screen that accommodates three pieces side-by-side with the amp on top for ventilation.

db
Another person you should contact is John Rutan (Audioconnection).
PM him.
He sells Ayre, and probably knows KEF.
He can provide free, accurate advice, and do it without trying to sell you something.
I normally hesitate referring someone to a dealer, but Johnny is a rare bird.
And, if you look him up here on Audiogon, you’ll see he is a straight shooter.
Bob
dbphd

Did you upgrade your DX-5 DSD with Bob and Ryan?

Happy Listening!
Bob, Ryan prefers Cardas Clear Light USB, and that's what I'm using from an ultra Rendu to QB-9 DSD in a secondary setup.  I also use balanced Cardas Clear Light cables in my primary setup.

jafant, my DX-5 was already a DSD, bought sort of locally (seller Beverly Hills, we're in Montecito, aka Santa Barbara).   I sent it to Ayre to have the chassis changed from black to silver to match the rest of my Ayre stuff.
dbphd

Very nice Silver chassis. I do like the elegant look of black casing as well.
You cannot go wrong w/ an AX-5 - Twenty. It is a superb Integrated especially matched w/ your DX-5 DSD.  

Let me know when you find one for purchase.
Happy Listening!
jafant,

I'm leaning toward keeping my KX-5 Twenty and VX-5 Twenty.  Sources will remain QX-5 Twenty for Roon and DX-5 DSD for discs.  I'm undecided about the Thorens TD 124 and Technics SL 1200.  I may keep them as icons rather than operational sources.  The Ayre P-5xe phono stage functions well, but the Audible Illusion M3A needs to be serviced.

db
I think you should keep your current equipment. There is nothing there that could be improved upon. In fact, I think you’d be doing yourself a disfavor by moving to integrated.
The only upgrade would be moving to the M/KXR Twenty’s and the new QB 9 Twenty. And, even that would be a subtle change.
IMHO
B
dbphd

Right On!  Keep me posted if you want to sell your DX-5 DSD player.

Happy Listening!
dbphd

Make no mistake, the AX-5/20 is a killer integrated amp at its price-point.
If power is a requirement, keep the separates. Yesterday, I took delivery of an AX-5. Last year, I spent several listening sessions w/ this integrated matched w/ my DX-5 spinner plus the QX-5 /20 for comparison.
I purchased the DX-5 last Spring and now own its partner in crime, AX-5.
Now it is time for the best part of our hobby- Cabling!

Happy Listening!
dbphd
where are you in the decision making process?The AX-5 Twenty will give you 90% of the KX-5/VX-5 Twenty combination.The remaining 10% reflects power out put from a separate power amp.
Happy Listening!
Keep in mind that as is often the case with intergrateds, the AX-5 Twenty is not particularly well suited with sub 4 Ohm loads.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/ayre-acoustics-ax-5-integrated-amplifier-measurements

dbphd

Have you upgraded fuse(s) in any of your AYRE gear?
If so, which brand/model?

Happy Listening!
@dbphd .
I just recalled a video on  Ayre's youtube channel with John Atkinson regarding the difficulties in building an integrated amp.
I think it is this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRGrvd_cTHI
In a nutshell, integrated amps rely upon a number of compromises in design.
And, if you don't want to contact Johnny, I suggest calling Ayre. Ryan usually answers the phone and would be the person with the best information you could possibly receive regarding Ayre products.
B

Keep in mind that as is often the case with intergrateds, the AX-5 Twenty is not particularly well suited with sub 4 Ohm loads.
This is nonsense. Here are measurements of the Twenty version, recently published 

https://www.hifinews.com/content/ayre-ax-5-twenty-integrated-amplifier-lab-report
dbphd
And all other AYRE owners,
Happy New Year!