Yes I've had both in my system. Ayre: incisive, fast, obsessive. Stunning with Vandersteens. D'Agostino: palpable,organic, transparent. Astonishing with Magicos or YGs. Choose your poison. There is no antidote.
100% agree with khrys . I will add that the Ayre can sound a little thin/brittle depending on speakers used. I would also add AudioNet to your list. Fast and detailed, with nice dense fleshed out images.
I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the Ayre's. They are incicively addicting and very musical, but sometimes a touch lean in the mids and sometimes a tad bit harsh on top. I plan to power a pair of Wilson Alexia's. And right now, I have Ayre MX-R Twenties and AtmaSphere MA-1 3.3s in house. The AtmaSpheres are organically rich in the mids and crystalline on top. Never syrupy, but highly transparent. Piano is amazingly realistic, guitar strings blossom with pure harmonics. Not enough bass for some recordings, though. I could imagine the AtmaSpheres to be perfect with a powered woofer. I will try to audition a D'Agostino S-250.
The Dags are amazing with the Wilson line. Great liquidity and system synergy. Almost tube like but still has tremendous grip. Ayre is a great company and the Ayre MX-20 amps are great with Wilson, but the Dag/Wilson combo (for speakers Sasha and above) has that certain Je ne sais quoi that must be heard to be appreciated. I had the Dag stereo amp in house with Sashas a while back and they were simply the best American made ss I have ever heard with Wilsons. I've heard great things about DartZeel, Gryphon, Tenor and Soulution among others with Wilson, but do not have first hand experience with those combos.
Knowing now you are powering Alexias the D’ags are the clear choice over the MXR-20s. If you want them to sing and dance for their supper then high powered tubes are essential. VTL Siegfrieds or ARC 750 SEs are the best matches for Alexias I’ve heard so far. Just heard the Boulder 2160 with Alexias recently which was revelatory so I reserve the right to equiviquate and retract previous musings with unassailable certainty.
Agree with khrys on tube choices but will note that the ARC Ref 250se works well with Alexias as do VTL S400. More power is better but there is a cost-benefit analysis to be done. I've only heard DAG monos on Alexias but the Dag s 250s were in house with my Sashas and I felt that they didn't break a sweat. Call Dan at the shop and ask him what the difference will be. I'm sure he will be straightforward in his response.
Can't speak to the sound, but if you're considering spending this kinda coin, you should also be concerned about support and service. I have an Ayre product, and when I called them, they coldly told me that they had dealers to deal with questions from their product owners. Never again will I buy an Ayre product. Life is just too short to deal with arrogant dik-heads.
Your experience is contrary to mine. I've found Ayre customer service, Michael especially, to deliver exemplary service and support. I've owned Ayre back since the K-1, V-1 days. They have done several upgrades for me, given tech support over the phone, even provided a resistor change to increase the gain of my KX-R Twenty preamp. I'm Much more than satisfied with Ayre factory support.
@aardvarkbark You are the only person I've heard ever make that complaint. Ayre's service is second to none. I've called them many times and they've always been helfpful (and honest even when it's an answer they know I'm not going to want to hear). In fact, I would say if you value service and a reasonably priced upgrade path for your expensive components, Ayre is the gold standard of the industry in that regard.
My experience with Ayre Acoustics has always been excellent. I contacted them several times with questions for my Ayre QB-9 DSD DAC (sold), Ayre AX-7e integrated amplifier (own) and my Ayre Codex DAC (own). Their customer service was always excellent. I highly recommend Ayre products for their excellent sound quality and outstanding customer service.
I placed an order for a D'Agostino Momentum S-250. It will be about a month before it's in my hands. I'll be able to directly compare it to Ayre MX-R Twenties and Atma Sphere MA-1 3.3s driving Wilson Alexia's, Will report what I hear.
Imgoodwithtools I’ll be interested in your comparison. I find the S-250 to have the best treble in the business even over the Momentum 400s. It’s articulate, sweet, textured, refined and transparent while retaining extension, air and precision. Spacial dimensionality is preternatural. And yes I bought one.
The best treble I've heard thus far is from my Atma Sphere MA-1 3.3s with power supply capacitor and resistor upgrades. If the S-250 bests that, It will be an Amazing amp. I know the bass will be excellent, coming from D'Agostino.
To anyone who has heard the D'Agostino Momentum series amps and the latest Ayre MX-R Twenty, care to compare and contrast the sound?imgoodwithtools
Sound differences would also come down to which loads these amps are seeing. If the speakers has low impedance combined with high negative phases angles at those low impedance's, "generally" then I would go with D'Agostino amps over the Ayre's. Because that's what Dan is known for, making amps that drive nasty loads. If the speaker loads are easy then you'll have to listen to both on that speaker.
I don’t want to steal this thread, but I have been thinking about D’Agostino, not compared to Ayre, but compared to Jeff Rowland. I currently have the Jeff Rowland 625 S2 amp and Corus preamp. Has anyone compared them to the Momentum integrated amplifier or does anyone have an opinion on if going from the separate Rowland gear to the integrated would be a lateral move?
The winner, at least for my ears and in my system, has yet to be determined. But the Ayre MX-R Twenties certainly play at the upper level and are competitive with anyone. So far, I have auditioned and declined Krell, Mark Levinson, Pass Labs, and Audio Research amplification.
The description by Khrys is pretty much dead on to what I think. The Ayre is good, but I prefer the D'Agostino by a large margin. I prefer a little more flesh on the bone than the Ayre has. The pride of ownership with Dan's products is off the charts too.
I haven't had a chance to listen to any D'Agostino amps but my Ayre Ax-5 Twenty is the best integrated I've ever heard. Better than most separates. Btw, I also own several other Ayre products and the guys over at Ayre are great. Just like anything else in audio the correct speaker match is a must. The Ayre amps in my opinion is especially good with Vandersteen speakers.
I would not considered Vandies dark. The Treo CT is in my opinion mostly neutral with a touch of warmth..smooth. With that said, the Ayre, just makes my Vandy Treo CT sing :). It just makes it sound musical and natural. I can listen to the combo for hours at a time. The AX5/20 gives me a feeling that I'm listening to a tube amp but they are not. Each note is separated and can be heard clearly. The bass is clean, tight and solid. Lastly, the soundstage and imaging is one of the best I've heard, in this price range.
Four More Weeks til I get my D'Agostino S-250. In the mean time, I just heard the best stereo experience of my lifetime. PS Audio Perfectwave transport sending bits to a Berkeley Alpha Reference 2 DAC. The Berkeley is driving directly a pair of Ayre MX- R Twenties. Speakers are Wilson Alexia's. Orchid, Audioquest, and Synergistic cables. Wow. Two stand outs here. Berkeley DAC. Might be the best on the planet. Wilson speakers. Expensive. Ya. Bang for the buck. Yeah.
Im an Arye fan in fact I have the QX 5 Twenty and love it but please don't take me wrong, I kind of chuckle when I read the Arye AX 5 Integrated is so great and competes with most separates, The AX 5 Twenty cant compete with the MX R or R Twenty series of separates and yes I have heard them both" let alone most separates, yes its good but its not separates or ref gear.
Sorry guys for going off topic. @tecknik, I’m not sure if you were referring to my comments but I did say most separates (asumming also that we are talking about components in the same price range). Btw, I would not include the higher in the line Ayre reference R series separates in my comments. The MX-R series are indeed better sounding, especially if you pair its with the KX-R/20 pre-amp (this combo is almost triple the price). I'm talking in the $12-13k range.
Imgoodwithtools I had a similar revelation a while ago that caused me to sell almost all of my existing equipment and convert to "the dark side" as some might feel.
I now use a Synology DS1815+ NAS (32TB) fronting a dCS Vivaldi 2.0 Upsampler, Clock, and DAC which drives my S-250 directly all through Transparent XL Gen V to the YG Sonja 1.2s and I've never looked back. Big fan of Roon and Tidal also.
The Berkeley Alpha Ref is an amazing unit and certainly one of the best values. I really appreciate MSB's DACs as well.
As before I look forward to your comparisons. You might prefer the MX-Rs on your Alexias but the D'agostino worked magic with my YGs. I wish I had never listened to that Boulder 2160 however🔊🎶
Only a Month til the D'Agostino arrives! Lol. Have you heard the Berkeley Ref V2? Maybe you saw my posts elsewhere, but the upgrade to V2 Is Not Subtle. Its substantial. Great DAC. Its improvement in the upper mids and highs is causing me to sell my Atma Sphere MA-1s. The highs thru the Ayres are now as crystal clear as they were thru the Spheres.
Yes I have heard the Ref V2 but never the original. Obviously I'm a dCS fan but could live with the Berkeley easily. It's clearly in the vanguard of digital evolution. Saw your posts on the digital forum BTW.
About three more weeks til I should see the D'Agostino amp. Was chatting with an old friend yesterday. He has listened to a Lot of Wilson speakers over the years. He said the best sound he ever heard from Wilson's was with VTL amplification. He suggested I check out a VTL S-400 II. (Sigh)...
some thoughts but i am biased..but i also dont change gear constantly..
ayre VX-R Twenty driving Vandersteen 7 MK2
are they dark ? no the amp might not have to be the last word in low end because Vandersteen has a built in LF amp and 11 band EQ.
the carbon / balsa drivers are highly pistonic. Most but not all other drivers have significant out of phase breakup. the transparency of the Ayre gear shines thru IMO. you might want to watch Richards video on Pistonic laser scanning to visually see what drivers do. The driver he is comparing to is a very highly regarded ( by reviewers ) paper cone but on his patented V / scanspeak frame so we are looking at cone effects only
but i think it is good you will have both amps to listen to
i agree and have wondered myself... even thought about building a set of the 60 wpc kits to find out... i think gdnrbob has a pair of atmaspheres driving Vandersteens..maybe he can comment - they might have the carbon tweeter
i do think it is very possible to chase our tails on amps...we have such a plethora of really good amps out there...many mentioned in this thread for sure.
I would also recomment Ypsilon with Wilson speakers, a very good match comparable to d'Agostino. I was fortunate enough to have a home demo of a full Ypsilon system on my Thiel CS 3.7 a month ago, i was completely bown away never heard such refinement. With Alexia's i guess the new Hyperion monoblocks would be the right choice.
Speaking personally... Thanks for the Ypsilon suggestion. They might be Awesome. But I do value long-standing companies or designers, an established dealer network, and will give the tie to products manufactured in the USA. And I am not working on an unlimited budget. I think right now I'm down to a final three. Ayre MX-R Twenties, D'Agostino S-250, or maybe a VTL S-400 II.
Great great choices of amps for your Alexias. You can hardly go wrong. I stand by my assertion that high powered tubes like VTL Siegfrieds are preferable with Alexias. The S-400s are adequate but insufficient. The S-250 will outperform anything but expensive high powered glass with your speakers IMHO.
High powered tubes are a long shot, for me.I can't afford a pair of Seigfrieds. I've tried to work a deal to purchase a used S-400, but just learned yesterday that the cost to upgrade one to Series II status is $20K. And from what khrys says, the S-400 might be inadequate. So it will most likely be solid state in my system. The D'Agostino or the Ayres.
Wilson Alexia’s give a EPDR load as seen by the amp, of an incredible low 0.9ohm in the bass, you really need D’Agostino type current pushing amps for this type of load, if you want to get the very best from the Alexia bass.
Its probably been close to 20 years now, back when you could actually walk into an audio salon in any major city and listen to a variety of equipment. I remember listening to a pair of B&W 801 Nautilus, a known difficult load at the time, the speaker with the big 15" woofer. I brought a handful of CDs with me and had my amp of choice in the back of my SUV. I liked what I heard, so I asked if we could listen with my amp. We disconnected a big pair of mono amps and substituted mine. After a listen, the salesman said "That's quite a powerhouse of a little amp there". The amp was a Krell KSA-150. So D'Agostino and I have a little history. Super Stoked to hear the S-250.