New DAC, Ayre QX-5 vs Moon 680D, suggestions?


I am new to the forum. I’ve been updating my system in the last years, and the weakest link is now my DAC,  Moon 280D, the first DAC that I’ve had, and that opened the door for streaming; it has been an exciting journey.

My current system: AQ Niagara 3000, Bryston BCD-1 CD Player, Ayre V5/K5 amps, B&W 802D3 speakers, AQ cables.

I am thinking of updating my DAC, and the two candidates that I’ve considered are Ayre QX-5 (CDN $13K retail in Canada)  and Moon 680D (CDN 11.5K). I tested the Moon in my system, and I like the improvement to SQ in terms of detail and sound stage. The unit is massive, with big heatsinks that I find hard to justify, if not for marketing reasons.

In a perfect world, I would listen to the Ayre QX-5 to compare.  Unfortunately, I am not able to try the Ayre QX-5, not in my system and not in my city.

I’ve read the reviews of the QX-5 and also comments about the unit in this forum. Informed by these reviews, the fact that I really like my Ayre amps and the excellent customer service and reputation from Ayre, my inclination is to go for this one, although price is even higher.

I contacted a couple of dealers with questions about these two DACs, and their qualities. In a way, I was hoping to hear a confirmation about the QX-5 being superior. What I heard, though, was that both units are very good. I didn’t hear a clear preference for one or the other.

I mostly listen to European jazz and classical music. I am looking for a relaxed, more refined and warm sound that is not fatiguing and brings additional resolution.

My questions: have any of you had a chance to listen to these two DACs? What are the qualities that you can comment from each unit? How would you compare them?



Showing 2 responses by nkeler

Thanks for your comments. I believe the QB-9 is for USB, and I am streaming from Roon, the QX-8 is for sure an option Bob, good point.

dbphd1, it is in my list for the future to update my amps for the AX5, I'm sure it would also make an improvement. Nice to hear that we've got similar tastes in music. I notice the QX-5 doesn't do the full MQA unfold, was that a consideration for you? Cheers 
Not having MQA is not a deal breaker for me. At the beginning I liked MQA, but after more research and comparing I don't see it as a recipe for better sound. In some cases it can sound better, in others it just sounds different, not necessarily better. Most important for me is the recording and a lossless format. I don't get Qobuz in Canada, so I am only using Tidal, where MQA seems to be getting more relevance, and my CD collection.

As much as I enjoyed the 680D and appreciate the SQ, I think my heart is with Ayre and will probably try to get the QX-5, or QX-8. Your comments have been useful, thanks.