I would like to hear some responces to this also. I am looking for a new amp for my Magnepan 20.1s.
I know there's been plenty written in the audio rags praising Ayre equipment, and any other manufacturer who advertises for that matter, but having heard a number of offerings from both companys, I'd definitely go with the VTL 450s. To take it a step further, having heard the 450's many, many times, I'd only listen to them in triode. They're course and unrefined in tetrode compared to their triode mode.
While the Ayre equipment is well built, to my ears it always sounds dry and two dimensional. The VTL's will give you much more meat on the bones fleshing out images far better plus they're at least as well built as Ayre.
Just my two cents. Good luck.
Rfogel8- I couldn't agree more with what you said about Ayre equipment, I had the exact same impression in my auditions. Didn't sound like music to me, and next to even VTL's entry level ammplifiers I thought it didn't sound as good. I am no engineer but I would say the first thing Ayre is doing wrong, particularly in the context of VTL, is using transistors.
Let's not forget that the proprietor (Chucky Hansen) of Ayre also spends alot of time in Audio Asylum arguing with potential customers, which is just comical.
nothing at all against ayre, but i echo the above sentiments. i went to listen to the ayre integrated (cx7?) against the vtl integrated some time ago, and it wasn't even close in my mind. now this was pairing the amps w/ electrostatic speakers, which i think tend to sound better w/ tubes. maybe if you were pairing the amps w/ a speaker like harbeths you might prefer the ayre. i know i preferred the harbeth m30 w/ solid state vs. tubes...
Both amplifiers are well designed, well built yet still sensibly priced. Both manufacturers are active in seeking new technologies and are some of the best at voicing their products. I'm sure both manufactures are seeking the same goals but using two extremely different methods. Considering the advancements in cabling and speaker designs your question is difficult to answer as an owner of multiple amplifiers of the three classes I would say the cooling fins on the V-1 can get warm and the tubes on my MFA get hot.
With the right ancillary equipment you can make either amplifier sound more correct, involving, musical etc. than the other. I would certainly question anybody making a blanket suggestion of superiority of a certain technology over another. I would also be extremely skeptical of someone who would describe either Luke Manley or Charles Hansen as a bafoon. Both manufactures frequent audio sites and both have been genuinely helpful to many.
You have picked two very regarded world class manufactures, which ever you decide on you won't be let down.
Dennis, under Mr. Miller's post is a blue highlighted link named 'System.' Click it to see what seems to be a very nice apartment in what I can only assume is a very Twaddling Town.
Kmiller5, Personally, I've often admired this system. I recently heard the Quatros way out in the middle of a large high ceiling and well voiced room powered by Ayre monoblocks. They sounded twice their size compared to my earlier audition in an over dampened showroom. These are some remarkable speakers worthy of even the most exotic electronics. I would guess that you will hear differences with any change in upstream equipment.
I ended up switching out my Ayre K-5xe preamp for the Audio Research Ref 3. The results were not subtle. Unfortunately, I don't have a VTL dealer anywhere close (Chicago), but after hearing the Ref 3, I am seriously considering the matching amps. I have also read/heard great things about some of the digital amps out there and am thinking of trying the Spectron Musician III since I can get a 30 day demo for free. I am getting pretty close to where I want the system. I think a change in the amp and perhaps some cable changes will get me to where I want to be. Beyond that, I'll need to make changes to the room. I may also look into a speaker upgrade, but that is a ways down the road. The Quatros are pretty amazing and everytime I put better electronics in front of them, they just keep getting better.
No one here ever called Chucky an buffoon, although now that you put it that way, maybe it is fitting. Anyway, not important..What is important, and helpful to answer the question at hand is when comparing these two designs, other than the stale dry nature of the Ayre sound, there is only one thing wrong with Chucks designs.....
He uses transistors.