Can't speak for the Cayin but the Ayre is one of the best integrateds, at any price, I've ever heard.
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They AX-7e is an exceptional unit and at the pricepoint, it's pretty much a downright steal (assuming your CDP is balanced). My only complaint is that the passive pre-amp section is a little veiled. The amp section on the other hand is beyond reproach. If your CD player has a volume control set that input on the AX-7e to PP and prepare to smile a lot. The best compliment I can give the AX-7e is for you to look at my current system to see how much it costs to step up to another level from the AX-7e (which I was using previously).
I bought my wife an AX-7e / CX-7e combo for a secondary system and I think she prefers it in many respects to our big system. It really sounds great, its from a great company that has been around for a long time, has tremendous customer service, has products that last (aluminum and stainless steel construction), and is made in America. I would look no further, especially as the Ayre dealer network is very strong and your dealer should be able to provide for an in-home audition -- something Ayre founder Charles Hansen believes strongly in. - Pete -
In all fairness, the Moon i5.3 cannot be compared to the liquidity of the Cayin. The simaudio product sounds harsh and dry by comparison.
If you need a solid state amp to compete with the Cayin, I would recommend Electrocompaniet products, as they have a tube-like presentation. I have owned the above (Cayin, Electro and SIM) and virtually everyone who has listened to the Cayin gave it a best buy consideration against twice-the-price products.
Have to agree with Sonicbeauty's "liquidity" comment regarding the Cayin. I have this in a system with the Cayin CDT-17A driving Rogers Studio 1A and it is a beuatifully liquid and and smooth sound. My only negative comment on the Cayin is that mine generates some hum which, although not audible when playing even at lower levels, is audible from a couple of feet when the volume is at zero. Thinking there was a problem with my unit, I sent it back to check/repair and it came back with exactly the same hum issue, so I assume it just doesn't rate so well on S/N ratio. Still, a great sounding amp!
I own the Cayin and the sound stage is what sold me. Very specific instrument placement. The Cayin truly made my Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors disappear. My only issue with the Cayin is that the motor that moves the volume control when using the remote is too fast. Further, the volume increases quickly and I cannot listen at a volume setting higher that about eight o'clock. I wish the volume control was more gradual. I am upgrading my speaker cables to Acoustic Zen Satori. Should really smooth out the sonics of the Cayin.