That will be really a hard choice, I have an Ayre, I like the look of the Rowland better. Good words have been used about it. What equipment are you connecting it to?
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I have computer speaker set up as well as really good headphone system. I used to have Codex which is really good so that gives me an idea about Ayre. I just didn't like how close the rca outputs are together and even though my interconnects are not in any way thick, they would really push against each other on the rca. I would use usb inputs. I think it would be an interesting comparison, due to both of them likely having very clean and balanced sound.
See above...I think the answers are in reverse. Anyway, I think really neat comparisons, apples to apples (or is it oranges to oranges?)...I'm looking for clean sound, separation, definition, looks like too much "analogue" may not work for me ( I know I'll burn in hell). For that I have tube headphone amp and warmish speakers...
I have the QB9 Twenty and am thrilled with the upgrade from it's earlier incarnations. Then I bought a Bryston BDP Pi and that was a giant leap forward from when I was using a MacMini. So my thought is that the Ayre will definitely deliver but I can't compare it, as I haven't heard the Rowland. I'm rather curious as to why there aren't more hybrid tube DACs on the market.