Do I have to brand match preamp and amp?


I recently got an Ayre v-5xe Amp for my two channel setup (with Revel f208 speakers and PS Audio Directstream DAC). At a good price locally.

I looked at the matching K-5xe MP matching preamp, but it’s too expensive brand new and nothing available used.

Do I have to get a matching brand preamp? Or something different would do. My budget for the Preamp is around two grand.

thanks!
thyname
No, you do not have to match brands with preamp and amplifier.
Your Ayre V-5xe has an input impedance of 100Kohms, so matching it with about any preamp on the market should not be a problem.
Thanks! So, what would be a good solid state Preamp that is similar in quality and price with k-5xe MP?
If you can wait, I am sure one will be available in the near future.
One just sold here on Agon recently.
There is one on Ebay, but not MP.

And, no you don't have to get matching amp and pre. I wish I could suggest a comparable preamp, but I haven't used much other than McCormack and Atma-Sphere. The former, a McC RLD-1 is available for less than $1k and can be upgraded by SMc Audio, which might be a way to go. The Atma's are quite a bit more, unfortunately, and are a tube design.
Perhaps a PS Audio?
Though, in my opinion, I would wait for an Ayre to come up for sale.
B
@audioconnection and @gdnrbob Thank you!

Yeah... I missed that k-5xeMP here a few days ago at a great price. The guy did not even know it was MP version.... by the time I checked and confirmed with Ayre on serial number, it was gone.

The one on eBay is “x” version, not even “xe”.

If I went with PS Audio, it would have to be the BHK Signature Preamp, but that is above my budget new, and possibly used from what I can see via hi-fi shark.

Bottom line, as you guys suggested, it may be worth waiting for the Ayre to come up for sale used, although patience is not a virtue I have 😉
So, what would be a good solid state Preamp that is similar in quality and price with k-5xe MP?

What is your budget?
You can wait, or there is a K-1xe for sale on Audiogon right now.
@jmcgrogan2 I saw that, but not familiar with it. Must be an old model.

My budget is about two grand, plus minus
Well the K-1xe was Ayre's top of the line preamp, introduced in 2002 (xe version), list at $6,750.
 The K-5xe was the Ayre's entry level preamp introduced in 2003 list of $2,950.
At that time the K-3xe represented the middle of the Ayre preamp line, released in 2002, listed at $3,700.

The Ayre K-5xe MP was released in 2008, and listed at $3,500.
That's about as much as I know about the Ayre lineage.

Personally, I am a fan of tubed preamps. If I had to go with a SS preamp, I would probably look for a Klyne preamp. YMMV.
Thank you so much for this info @jmcgrogan2 ! I am very new to Ayre, and not familiar with their previous offerings. I will explore this further
I have the V5xe and K5xemp.  Stunning combo; take Johnny’s (audioconnection) advice. 
@cedargrover but that k-1xe looks intriguing. Flagship preamp at that time, but perhaps with MP upgrade the k-5 is not to far.

Besides, I like the look of the k-5 better. 

I gotta give this k-1xe a bit more thought, including it’s price
((((Yeah... I missed that k-5xeMP here a few days ago at a great price. The guy did not even know it was MP version.... by the time I checked and confirmed with Ayre on serial number, it was gone.)))

 You're about to blow it again

(((The one on eBay is “x” version, not even “xe”.)))

 Its still a killer unit and matches your amp can upgrade with Ayre later use w seller as a bargaining chip.
Its sure seems hard for you to see the big picture.
Sorry but you will thank me later 
 Best,
 JohnnyR
@audioconnection that’s actually funny!

Are you saying I should get the k-1xe on Audiogon or the K-5x on eBay?
thyname-He is saying to get the K-5x. 
K-1xe is the superior sounding preamp of the two but it is older so if that is a deal breaker for you get the K5.

Dave
Or wait a couple of weeks.  These do definitely come up used with some frequency.
That k5x on eBay is a fair price and I would bet you could haggle them down even further.
That's the one I would be buying in your situation if your patience has limits...lol.
Mine usually does too....
Good luck
Yeah, but it costs $1,200 to update at Ayre at MP specs, not including shipping, so, way above what I see it going for 
If you feel the need to upgrade it right away then agreed you need to wait possibly.

BTW, I am waiting for a KXR to come up, myself.
Bob
the K 5 x still sounds great
    under 2 k its a fair deal
     Best JohnnyR
+1 JohnnyR
My thought would be to haggle, buy it try it, sure you will like it.
But its your cash of course
Fair price, ok who is going to get it first?
Bob or the op......
Too late. I literally paid for the K-1xe 30 minutes ago. I hope I did not screw this up.
No problem, I can wait. 
I am still loving my MP-3.
B
@gdnrbob

Think op meant he had bought the K-1xe so the K-5xe is still for sale...if that is what you are wanting of course!
Yes, OP here. I bought the K-1xe. The K-5xeMP is available. Thanks
Congratulations! Great decision. You will love that preamp for years to come. Feel free to PM me with any questions or whatnot.

Dave
Thanks @dlcockrum ! Now the wait begins. Hopefully the seller ships it tomorrow.

I am still a little skittish because of its age, but even Gary at Ayre thought it was a good gamble
The only thing you have to match is the output impedence of the pre-amp with the input impedence of the power amp. The input impedence of the power amp needs to be at least ten times the output impedence of the pre-amp. The ratio can be higher, e.g. 11:1 or 15:1, but not lower e.g. 8-1, otherwise signal loss and noise may be present.

For example, a pre-amp with an output impedence of 1k ohms needs a pre-amp with an input impedence of at least 10k ohms
The only thing you have to match is the output impedence of the pre-amp with the input impedence of the power amp.

Since he is matching an Ayre preamp with an Ayre amp, I don't think there should be any impedance mismatch.

Another K-5xe MP preamp just posted today, at an even lower price.

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis8fb1d-ayre-acoustics-k-5xe-mp-excellent-condition-solid-state

Next thing you know there will be a thread titled "Why so many Ayre K-5xe MP preamps for sale?".
Of course. That’s what happens every single time I buy something 
That one was a steal, hence the reason why it is already sold...lol.

I have same issue all the time, just pulled the pin on a Lyngdorf and something else I had been wanting for a while pops up on eBay about 3 hours later....go figure.
Brand match for best and most coherent sound do this asap!!
I already did. Arrived yesterday. Ayre K-1xe

@thynamePlease

 Please let us know how you get on with that new preamp.

Mixing and matching is not a problem UNLESS you're talking about tubes and solid-state. There's a huge impedance difference between a tube pre-amp's output and a sand amp's inputs. It *can* be corrected by re-capping the tube pre-amp but IMHO not worth the hassle. Pardon a bit of thread drift here, but IMHO far too much attention is paid to the amp's specs, while the pre-amp, which really provides flavour to the sound, is oft overlooked as a mere switching device. It's not.
OP here, posting an update on my new addition- the Ayre k-1xe Preamp to complement my Ayre v-5xe amp.

Until now, I was going direct fro DAC (PS Audio Directstream) to Amp.

I am so happy with my new Preamp!

Weird to explain. It should not be better than direct to amp. But it is. I would explain it as much more “musical”. More “real life”. And no, I don’t think I am losing any detail or resolution.

I also think that my k-1 is better than the k-5xeMP that a friend brought over for me to audition prior to my purchase. That one had a bit more “meat” but was not so sweet and so musical.

I know here is very lengthy thread over at computer Audiophile forums on direct to amp vs. using preamp, and to me, using this Preamp improved thing hands down. No question about it
Once, I did have a set of amps that matched the pre-amp. The same manufacturer but different generations. The only thing that matched was the name plate. My entire system does not even match color. Some is black and the rest is brushed aluminum.

No, you don't have to match brands as long as there are no impedance mismatches. I just traded in a Cary CAD 120's hooked up to a Cary SLP 98P pre for a pair of Canary M350 monoblocks and my Legacy Whispers HD never sounded so great, and they were excellent with the Cary too. My neighbors know who Johnny Winter is now.

OK, it’s great you guys try to help, but please read the thread. I already purchased a Preamp - same brand as my amp. Thank you
Glad that you are happy with your K-1xe thyname. You will find it to be an accurate “looking glass” into the sonic character of whatever you pair with it. Enjoy!

Dave