Ayre V5xe

Would you consider the Ayre V5xe the cream of crop? Stereophile really likes this amp, but I cannot help wondering if they like the value of this inexpensive amp. When I listen to it, soundstage is excelent. It's sweet, presents itself as a good bridge between solid state and tube amp. It would work well with a preamp that excels in lower frequency, or at least the kind of speakers that has its own powered sub. There are way too many amps out there. I just don't know how to rank the V5xe among the better to "best" amplifier.
I would say that it is a greta amp for the price. I tried one in my home while my McIntosh was servicing my MC352 about a year ago. Unfortunately I was loand a new one and it wasn't broke in. I found it a little edgy for my system. I really do want to try one again sometime. I really like Ayre in my experience with my C5xe. I really think that if I could find a good used V1xe though. I have listened to both at a dealer and like it better. Unless I win the lotto the MX-R's are the ultimate. You need to decide whta you want for an amp. Try it in your system any good dealer will allow you that for a at least a day or two. I like the Ayre sound and the Ayre people but I live an hour from Ayre Acoustics. They seem to make thier stuff upgradeable where as most don't.
I think sometimes we expect to "Hear" something special from our amps. The Ayre V5 takes on the sound of whatever is feeding it. It truly doesn't inject its own sound.
After going through as many amps as I have, yes, I would rank the Ayre up there with the best.
It is one of the quietest, most holographic amps I have ever used. It is very neutral in its sound.
If it has a flaw (really a bad word to use,)it is slightly lacking in the grunt region. It certainly wouldn't be confused with a monster amp in the bottom like the Parasound JC-1's ( but it does best that amp everywhere else.)
I personally think it works well with time and phase speakers. With other speakers, I would probably try something else. I don't think you would receive its true beauty even though it does sound great with any speaker.
I do think the V5xe is musical. There are not many amps out there that can bridge the 2 extremes, the solid state and the tube camps. Realism lies somewhere between the 2 camps. Yet I am being very picky now, since we are looking for the cream of the crop. As to faithful transmission without coloration, I think we all want that. At the top level, everything counts all the sudden. So this is just an open question to see if people believe the V5xe is that good, or they prefer something else.
Is there really such a thing as "Best" in audio? I don't think so. There's just a lot of different stuff! You will get as many responses for amps as they're posters as is the usual case.
Use to be audio was about accuracy. Now it's about whatever rocks an individuals boat at the moment that will be termed "Best."
No more truism exists than in speakers. Amps are a little different because most of the time in "Top" amps, it is in the little things. And, truth be told, how do you know you are hearing your amp and not some synergy loss with cables or sources? Hard to define things.
I would suggest that you can´t go wrong with the V-5xe. It´s a steal at its price point and puts a shame on many costly competitors. I use in my solid state system a combination of Ayre C-5xe, Ayre V-5xe and K-1xe connected to Avalon Opus Ceramique and couldn´t be happier.
In opposite to Theo I prefer the V-5xe to the V-1xe which I used prior to the V-5xe (midrange clarity, speed and transparency are better with the V-5xe) which is very important if you use speakers with ceramique drivers and a higher sensitivity.
I agree with you that the V5xe is a steal for its asking price. So what would be a major upgrade for this amp. Whatever is must still at least have that same great soundstage and the musicality that makes you just want to sit there and listen. What I said might come across as if I prefer tube amp, yet I don't necessarily lean that way. Live music is inviting and warm like a tube amp, yet is sufficiently crisp, vivid, detailed and subtle like solid state equipment. Concurrently I don't feel like spending $15K for an amp either. Thanks.
What is the list price for a V5xe?