Is the demo unit a KXR Twenty? According to Ayres the Twenty is a significantly improved version of the KXR.
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Yep, you should hear them both in your system and room and decide from there. I have never heard an Ayre preamp, so I can offer no opinion on that, but I now own the BHK preamp and I have found it to be seriously worthy, with the nice advantage of being able to "voice" it with selection of the pair of tubes used. Now, it could be interesting to hear an Ayre preamp in comparison....
Thanks for the input guys. I feel an update is needed from my side.
I am not based in the US. The Ayre unit is with my dealer and the PS Audio unit would have to be imported. So having an in house demo is not possible. Our mkt is really small and the dealer does not have any "demo" units. The particular Ayre unit I am looking at is basically brand new, just opened to see everything works. It carries a full factory warranty.
The only way for our small Audio community to buy stuff is based on reviews and input from fellow enthusiast like you. From what I am able to understand is that while the PS Audio unit is excellent and would compete well with any pre twice its price, the Ayre is on another level. I am thinking if I get the price I want I will step into the Ayre and hope for the best.
I can understand your dilemma given your logistics. The Ayre is accessible (your local dealer) and THE BHK isn't. Ayre has a longstanding reputation and very loyal customers. It isn't a reach to decide in favor of the Ayre for these reasons. It's a safe choice.
I however wouldn't make the assumption the Ayre is on a different level, that is only determined from actually listening to both components. The BHK has excellent reviews and owners feedback. Very likely it has a different sonic character given its implementation of tubes.
I don't doubt that the Ayre could make you feel very content. Its certainly possible the BHK could do the same or perhaps even more so. You just don't honestly know without hearing them.
The OP has a problem that many of us in audio emporium wasteland suffer from; no where to audition components. We are reduced to relying on professional reviews, manufacturer reputation, and what we read from users here. Audiogon is an important resource for those in our predicament. As you involve yourself here over time, you begin to identify others who seem to share your audio preferences and thus use their postings to help inform your component/accessory purchases.
PS BHK is amazing. I have it, works magically with other PS Audio units (your DAC).
It's great for Jazz type music.
You can tune sound using a different tube (you can change it inside the box, easy)
I never heard of Ayre, but I do have ayre codex and it's good equipment.
Also PS Audio customer service is amazing. They have exceeded my expectations!!!
@srafi There is a lot of fine gear available. You've garnered some good suggestions here. Now is probably the time for research. Make a list of preamps you would be interested in learning more about and set to it. Hopefully as you read of others' experiences with those preamps one will emerge that possesses the sound/build quality you desire. Be patient and keep reading. Good luck with it!
Perazzi28 very limited selection available in my country. That's the price we pay for living in a third world country. In the 1000 to 2000 dollar range we have a lot of stuff. Macintosh has a local dealer as well as Wilson and B&W. The reason I am keen on the Ayer is because it's supposed to be a flagship product from a well respected brand. The dealer has guaranteed to have it upgraded when I am ready at a decent enough cost. Also the price that he is offering on the Ayer is too good to pass up. While I can't reveal the price let's just say it's not that far off from the PS Audio. I have purchased the Ayer and it has arrived and playing in my system as we speak. I can't comment on the sound yet as it's running in I can comment on the build quality. This thing weighs almost the same the Classe Monos. I will keep you guys updated on my take on the sound by next week once it has a few hours on it.
While I could purchase any preamp while I travel, I don't want to buy anything that does not have local support.