Parasound JC2/ Aesthetix Calypso/Ayre K-5xe - Help

Hi, I'm in the process of building a 2-channel hi-fi system.

I'll probably get a pair of Vandersteen 2ce Signature II or Harbeth 7 ES or M30 and would like to get a high-quality pre-amp to go with it. I've the following pre-amp in mind and would like to hear from your experience with them. My budget is around $2-2.5K for used or new (any other options will be considered).

- Parasound JC2
- Aesthetix Calypso
- Ayre K-5xe
- Audio Research LS 17 or LS -26

I want to choose a higher end pre-amp with the plan to upgrade down the road (i.e. speakers, source, power, etc).

Not sure about the amps. May consider the Ayre V-5xe (with Ayre K-5xe) and Parasound JC 1 or A21 (with JC 2).

A general question. How do I match a pre-amp (i.e. Aesthetix Calypso) with a different brand amp (i.e. Parasound A21)? Any specifications to look at (i.e. input, output ohm, etc)?

Lastly, how does the Rogue Audio Cronus Integrated Amp compare with the above-mentioned pre-amp? I know the Rogue Audio is not in the same league as the others.

Start with your speakers choice, then your amplifier, then your preamplifier. I've had two of the amps you mentions, the V-5XE and the JC-1. My opinion of the JC-1 differs from many - I found it to be fairly low resolution, somewhat dull to listen to. The Ayre I enjoyed immensely - great resolution and dimensionality, but just slightly on the bass shy side. If I had to choose again, I would choose the Ayre. I tried these amps with a variety of speakers, but neither of the two you mention aboe.
Ayre equipment love to work together. They are better together than each of them are separately. Be sure to run them with balanced interconnects for best performance.
If you are considering JC-1's then I'd recommend the JC-2 preamp for obvious reasons.

The JC-2 is an excellent performer, and the JC-1's are truly phenomenal in my experience.

I like Ayre gear too so that is another brand I would suggest you listen to.

I've owned an LS-26 and while it was very good, it does not have the dynamics of a good SS preamp.

I have no experience with the Calypso but others seem to love it.

Good luck with your system choices, you are considering some good options so far IMO.
Thanks for your comments.

Anyone used the Parasound JC2 with Ayre V-5xe amplifier? How well do they match? How about the sound this combo delivers?

I've settled on the JC2 pre-amp and would like to hear your suggestions on the power amp. The JC1 is an option but it might be too big and too expensive. It's monoblock which I don't really need unless I come across a pair in great condition at an very attractive price.

Any good used power amp in the range of $2-3K? Ayre, Krell, or tube amp?

Thank you.
JC1. :)
I have the aesthetix calypso in my system (the signature edition). I enjoy it immensely with my jeff rowland amps and tannoy kensington speakers. It has just a little bit of the tube bloom while preserving overall speed and transients. However, like most tube gear, it does the macro dynamics well and is by no means the last word on micro dynamics. Just one caveat though - the stock tubes are terrible (both in my experience as well as what most people seem to say). I found them to be too noisy. The folks at aesthetix sent me a replacement pair but i thought those were bad as well. I finally swapped them out for NOS mullard tubes and have been very happy. I would still highly recommend the aesthetix calypso but one needs to be prepared to spend some additional money on better tubes.
Well I have owned the 2ce sig and had both the AR on them and the Aesthetix. I liked the AR but the Aesthetix is a better piece at least in my opionion. The sound stage is better and there is more of the music comming through. I have also listened to the parasound and perferd the Aesthetix. That pre is a great pre.

Parasound JC2
- Aesthetix Calypso
- Ayre K-5xe
- Audio Research LS 17 or LS -26