Cvman, there is a recent post that contains the information you are seeking regarding the sonics of the MX-R monoblocks. It contains my experience in auditioning them, I found them somewhat "dry/lifeless" compared to my Pass Labs XA-1`monoblocks, however others were thrilled with what they heard. Take a look at this thread, it will give you a pretty good perspective.
I second Tejays opion. Personal preferences are
Tenor OTL and Dartzeel(own).
Here's a third agreement with Teajay's opinion. However they had not been powered up for the recommended 24 hours before I auditioned them and I had to use XLR/RCA converters with my current preamp so I didn't really hear them fully balanced. I was impressed enough to give them another chance under more favorable conditions however.
I heard them briefly in the Analog room in San Jose. I'm not sure when they were turned on, I was told they were were broken in. Sounded poor at that time(I suspect they hadn't been on long from the sound), but I'm going back to hear them once they have been on all day.
Given Ayre's reputation I expect them to sound like Ayre's house sound - excellent, but cool SS.
To me, they're aesthetics are really beautifully done - great Industrial Design.
more later in January,
You really should read the other threads, as people who have purchased and lived with the Monoblocks chime in there. Personally, I believe the MX-Rs are a perfect compliment to Vandersteen 5As, which is why I ordered a pair after listening to them extensively (at which time they had been on for more than 24 hours, which does make a difference according to my dealer). It is my understanding that 3 people in the biz (a designers, manufacture and reviewer, respectively) whose systems are built around 5As, each now have the MX-Rs as part of their reference systems (at least one of whom was a die-hard tube guy previously). I believe the MX-Rs to have better three-dimensiality that any solid state amp I've heard, something good tube amps have typically done much better until now. I agree with the industrial design -- now to find a visual and sonic match on the amp-stand front.
I agree with Teajay's basic comments i.e. the Pass amps sound more natural and "organic" than the Ayre's. With that in mind, the Ayre's sound more natural and organic than the newer Linn's. Obviously, where any of these three fit in the grander scheme of things / pecking order of amplifiers boils down to system synergy and personal preference. Sean
Given what I've read, I think that burn-in and cable/wire selection have a tremendous impact on the MX-R performance. I've been a long time Linn supporter based upon their earlier musical, rounded sound (Klout) but am looking for more detail, soundstage, and neutrality without the class D switching. I like the LAMM's (M2.2) sound, but the size and power consumption are not as appealling as the smaller SS MX-R or Klimax Solo footprints.
I just demoed the Ayre MX-R connected to a Shindo tubed pre amp, Esoteric 03, Wilson Maxx II's, and Siltech cables/inter-connects. Sounded unbelievable! I can't believe that any would call these dry and lifeless if they've been set up properly. It was neutral, detailed, and projected large sound stage.
The MX-R I heard was with all Ayre(pre and CD player). It was dry!!! The Arc 210 sounded much better. The tubed pre might be a big factor.
I love the MX-Rs and I and my audiophile friends cannot believe changing amps from the Linns to the Ayres made such a wonderful transformation. The total Ayre system is marvelous. The Ayre MX-R Monoblocks best the Linn Klimax Solo 500s in every respect. Rhythm and pacing are stunning. Dynamics, imaging, and realistic reproduction of instruments and singers is astonishing. I can't imagine you would ever regret the switch, or stop to look back if you try them. In my system they make a whole new world of difference. Worth every penny if you can afford to make the move.
I have also heard the Ayre Monoblocks in an all Ayre system. K-1XE, C-5XE, P-5XE, VPI turntable. Heard them with cabling from either JPS, or using the new Audioquest cables. The sound was anything but dry or cool. Huge soundstage with lots of detail. But still rich, smooth, and texured. Speakers were Thiel 2.4s with Thiel subwoofer, or Vandersteen Quatros. Both systems were very nice.
Interesting thread...I have had my MX-R mono blocks since the middle of August...have no idea how anyone could call them "dry"...it took some working through the cables...a break in time...they sound very natural...accurate...tremendous ability to handle micro dynamics...and detail...I am very happy with them..
I own the MX-R monoblock as well, and you are right, it sounds very accurate and natural - although it's not warm/full bodied like the tube-amp, it doesn't sound dry in any way. I am also extremely happy with them...
May I ask what cables do you use? I use the Ayre interconnect and Kubala-sosna emotion spk cable.
Speakers are Wilson Sophia 2, Snell X55 center (likely to be replaced by Wilson center or Revel center), revel sub 30, rears are Snell K.5 mkII towers
3 ayre mono blocks for L C R (replaced V6xe by Ayre)
Byrston C series for rears
Velodyne SMS-1 equilizer for sub
Meridian 861 4.2 pre amp, all balanced, NO VIDEO in this box
MIT Z condition, Shunyata Hydra (soon to be two Ayre conditioners
All power cables are version of Cardas
Speaker cables now are MIT Magnun (likely to be replaced with three matching cardas type cables...very short to each of three front speakers
Nordost Blue H II for rears
Magnum 206 tuner
Ayre D1ex...recently updated by Ayre
Three dedicated AC lines, one for digital signals, two balanced dedicated 20A, separate ground
Pioneer FHD -1 50" plasma (replaced Loewe set)
Hope that answers the questions...in landing on these items I played with alot of stuff...have used Spectral, transparent (all replaced) in past year or so...pretty settled now
Do they give pinpoint imaging of instruments ?? how is the depth. Are soloists up front at the speaker line or back ??
from my perspective the imaging is natural...by that I mean that it varies with the type of recording...my wilsons are about 12' apart, 40" out from the rear wall and 5' or more from the side walls...I tend to be a fan of using the long wall as opposed to the tunnel...short wall approach...for me it tends to reduce, not eliminate, much of the characteristics of the typical room....in stereo mode the side to side image extends from the outside of the speakers...evening accross the front stage...depth tends do depend upon the type of music...Yo YO MA on solo cello versus a full orchesta...it does wonderfully on capturing the intimate flavor of a Jazz trio/quartet...etc....with the drums, bass and piano typically anchored....interesting to hear Miles Davis wander at times in some recordings...particular some of the live ones....thus I get a very nice sense of space...and spacinous around the player....
I just heard the Mx-R monblocks at a dealer, where I purchased my 5-series components. The system was spectacular in every way. It's hard to characterize good sound as warm or cool or any other terms we normally use to describe hi-fi ... just perfect and real.
The final sound is always determined by perfectly matching components. I've found in the context of my modest system, simple things like using the Ayre wood blocks all around and taking time to match the cables have resulted in a new level of appreciation.
This is a photo of my Ayre system on Virtual Dynamics' website. I am using all Virtual Dynamics cable, interconnects and power cords, have upgraded everthing to a couple of Revelation power cords on CD and preamp, and Master LE on everything else. Wonderful cable and power cords for Ayre equipment. I have never heard better!
This thread is a perfect example to why a potential buyer must insist on a home demo. Home demos are one of the major services that local dealers can provide and why we should support local dealers when possible. Look at how many were happy with the MX-R's in thier system.
Commenting that this or that maybe very useful on total losers (products) but not very really productive on good product that may be good system matches. Certainly the Ayre MX-R's deserves a home trial for those that are interested in the them. It's sensible when ever possible. my 0.002.
Amen, Gerrym5. You gave the best summary of this situation.
I just want to add that I am also a very happy MX-R owner. I auditioned McIntosh 501, ARC Ref-210 and Ayre MX-R and on my ML Summits the Ayre was a keeper. All these amps are excellent. Just a matter of system matching and individual taste......Have fun....Enjoy the music....Steve
Just an update...the Ayre MX-R monoblocks are doing wonderfully well at natural sound...big improvement moving from Wilson to the Rockports...an even more musical match...
I'm a dealer, but not for Ayre. I was very impressed with the new Ayre monos on Vandersteen Quatros. One of the best solid state sounds I have heard. There was not a hint of dry or lifeless sound.
Another amp that uses the same Thermal Trak bipolar transistors is the hybrid ARC HD220 at $8995 and 220 w/ch. It's vacuum tube input stage gives it a bit more tube character than the Ayre. BTW, I am a dealer for ARC, Vandersteen and Linn.
Take the Shindo out of the mix and then listen to the Ayre if you want to hear it's true character. Guaranteed the presentation will be completely different. Whether it is good or bad depends on your ear and what they put in place of the Shindo Pre. Very few preamps will match up to a Shindo.
I have MX-R and KX-R in my system, in the beginning, I felt the difference between KX-R pre and my precious owned Pass XP-20 immediately, but I did not feel the same way to MX-R.
But after few hundreds hours of break-in, I realize MX-R is as incredible as KX-R, they are neutral and real, very little color by themselves. Image is excellent and accurate, nothing cold or dry.
Before it fully break in, treble sounds a bit conservative, maybe that's why some people consider it is "lifeless".
Ayre R series is very transparent to the system, so any small change in your system, power quality, cables, etc., you can easily hear them. My friend always like to bring his cables to test on my system, which he can't hear the differences in most other systems. But he can hear it in 1 minute in my system.
BTW, my precious power amp was Pass X350.5, Pass has better extension and also very neutral tonality, but MX-R is more musical and coherent. MX-R bring me closer to the real world music. Especially when you attend a live concert.
..just what I have observed. I have an all Ayre system but with V-1xe, K1xe,C5Xemp, Vandersteen 5A's. I started with all Ayre cables, but after a friend had me listen to his Purist Anniversarys, I found those Cardas cables a poor match for my sytem. After experimenting with many, many, cables, I found that Audioquest Sky/Everest balanced to be second and Anti-Cables to be just as good....different slightly, but a wow anyway.