Mark Levinson 326s vs Ayre K5xeMP


Does anyone have experience comparing Mark Levinson 326s vs Ayre preamps like Ayre K-5xeMP or KX5 Twenty ? Have the Ayre K-5xeMP and possibly looking to upgrade, have Levinson 532h amp and thinking their 326s may be synergistic together. 
Thanks 
lnitm
I compared the K-5xe to the 326 and chose the Levinson.  I have heard the MP and it was better than the standard xe - I have not heard the Twenty variant but knowing Ayre it will be a noticeable improvement.

With all that said, I would not trade my 326 for one and considering you already have a 532h I think the synergy is certainly something to consider.  Try them all out if you have the opportunity.
The 326S is a very good preamp; I owned one for many years.  It's also the best designed preamp in terms of user interface I have ever used or tried.  Having said that, the Ayre KX-R was clearly better and it's not even in the ballpark of the KX-R Twenty.  Given that the KX-5 Twenty reportedly rivals the performance of the original KX-R, I expect that I would prefer it the 326S.  On the other hand, the K-5xe is now a couple of generations old and I don't expect that it will be able to keep up with the 326S.
Irrespective of all that, given your preference, I  expect that you will find that the 326S will be a clear upgrade to what you have now and might even be your preference irrespective of the performance of the KX-5 Twenty.  Be aware that while the 326S still has that typical Levinson house sound it has much less of it compared to earlier products. 

I don't think you can go wrong with the 326S.
I agree @bar81 the KX-R is in a different league.  The old K-1Xe was significantly better than the KX-5 in my experience when I compared them head to head.

The 326 is not the cutting edge, but I think it's a really nice mix of performance, features and interface.
Hk_fan [email protected] Thanks for the replies. Is the ML 326s closer to the new Ayre KxR Twenty than the K-5xeMP I have now, meaning a good upgrade ? 
You mentioned ML house sound, are there big difference in sound between Ayre and ML like neutrality, resolution and openness? Or are they similar? 
I don't have dealers to let me audition in my own system. 
I like neutral sound considering gear listed with Revel F228be's speakers, Cardus Clear interconnects and Clarus power AC cables. Using Kimber Kable speaker cable. 

I think the 326s is more comparable to the KX-R, than the K-5exMP. The 326s sonically is laid back or recessed in the mids and upper mids. It is very quiet and smooth with a solid hold of the low end and a nice clear midrange. It lacks however a little life that tube pre’s or the KX-R brings to the table.


@Intim The 326S is not comparable to the KX-R Twenty, it’s not even in the same ballpark as I mentioned earlier. It’s relatively closer to the KX-R but loses to the KX-R in respect of all aspects of performance, what I recall in particular was that the KX-R handily outperformed the 326S in respect of across the board resolution, quickness, midrange openness and treble extension.
My experience in respect of the ML house sound (my first preamp was a Levinson 38) is that it is closed in and dark and sacrifices resolution and speed for a pleasing syrupy vinyl-like sound with a distinct focus on the low end. That type of sound is preferred by a lot of people, particularly those who grew up with vinyl. I have not found it to be reflective of how music sounds in real life but there are many people who disagree with that assertion.
I agree that the KX-R Twenty or KX-5 Twenty are completely different animals.