Tough call. I like the Spendor line a LOT with Naim too. Just to muddy up the water a little ! *s*
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while not familiar with primare, i can say that i got into ayre seperates about a year and a half ago. i am very satisfied with ayre. i also recently sent in my preamp for the MP upgrade, these guys provide top notch service at a reasonable price, and answer the phone when you call. for me ayre has won me over.
I have heard both but not together, however I echo jrw40's opinion of Ayre. I have a C5xe-mp and they also did the upgrade. In addition I have been to Ayre Hqrs and they are a great group of people. I think the fact that they do upgrade would lean me in the direction of Ayre expecially if you are in the US.
Imo Ayer is on a much higher plane than Primare.
The only time I have seen Primare was at Magnolia Hi-Fi and was not impressed. (Is it their house brand?). I think Primare in design in Sweden but manuf.in China or somewhere.I don't know if there is a Primare company, the stuff is just made in china with a name and a story and then marketed at a big box. The store workers have a memorized story they tell about how Primare is design by the famous audio guru Bo Christenson(someone)(could be Bo Diddle or Bo Jackson for all I know). I don't think the stuff is worth a second look imo. Anyone here know Bo?
Have to disagree with a couple of the posters above, the Primare I30 and its predecessor the A.30.1 , offer higher resolution and a much more muscular sound than the 2010. Class A preamp section, dual mono power section, fully balanced design. It's a step up on the criteria you listed. Haven't heard the Ayre, but depending on your speakers, I should imagine it will trade big hits with the Primare, being a fully discrete, zero-feedback design, but with less rated power and higher cost, of course.
"6550c, why even bother posting anything if you don't know anything?"
On- I Have listened to and investigated both Ayre and Primare. Have you? Ayre looks and sound like HE gear, Primare doesn't. Did you tell us anything about Primare?
Other than your opine about something being somewhat better, did you provide any facts or information that would help anyone? Have you seen, listened, or owned either brand? Do you know any dealers that sell Primare beyond Magnolia HF. Magnolia even puts the brand somewhat lower than McIntosh, which is thier highest HE line. I do own as used Primare CD player and know that it is okay for a back up, but it would never stand up with Krell or Wadia, both of which I do own. Do you know where this stuff is even made? Do you know Bo? Has anyone here known Bo Christensen, who is supposed to be the great designer behind Primare? _ I think it is just a marketing BS story.
Aside from any personal taste in audio presentation I wouldn't purchase any high dollar product that's manufactured abroad for reasons of actual manufacture serviceability. My only caveat would be if that product were clearly superior in performance or so economical that its repair and shipping cost are close to its replacement cost.
I own an Ayre product which has been upgraded twice with significantly audible improvement each time. In each case the work was completed and returned sooner than estimated and in one case a questionable part was replaced for free.
There are many accounts of satisfaction with Ayre support, sensible product pricing, resale value, and true innovation.
In the end system synergy and your personal taste should be the deciding factor.
Did you ever tried the Bladelius Thor Mk2? The designer Mike bladelius has already a long history in high-end. He designed for Treshold, Pass and primare but finally started his own brand. This amplifier has so much power and resolution that it is hard to beat in this price range. There is also a new model Mk3 with optional a build in (usb)DAC and phono. Talking about innovation Mike Bladelius is at the forefront.
I really do appreciate all the feedback from everyone. Mu6, I checked the price on a Bladelius Thor Mk2 and at five grand, its a bit over my budget. The Primare products are not a house brand as one of the other posters claimed. The British publication Hi Fi News has included the I30 in its integrated amp shootout and it won (also did a pre-power shootout and the Primare separates won there too). But I cannot miss the passion with which Ayre owners talk about their equipment, in this thread and in other threads on AudiogoN. So the AX-7e will be my new amp. I'm going to look for a used one in very good condition, but if I haven't found one by Christmas, I'll buy a new one. If anyone knows a reseller in the US that might give a small discount to a poor audiophile like myself, please shoot me an e-mail.