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PS Audio likes to totally changes designs which turns people off. I have the Perfect wave DAC. 6 Years ago it was perfect. Now it's a red headed step child. Direct stream is now more perfect than perfect wave.
Ayre builds on the previous models instead of kicking them to the curb. With Charles Hansen gone, however, this may change :(
The guy who made the comment about the McIntosh sounding better than Ayre sounds like a PS Audio dealer or a McIntosh dealer. Either that or he is tone deaf. Go audition one and see for yourself. I knows guys who have $30,000 monoblocks being driven by that pre amp and it really shines.
If you are going fully balanced I can’t recommend it enough. If not Ayre is not the last word in single ended design. If you are going single ended I highly, highly recommend the Belles Aria Pre Amp. It’s not expensive, is hand made, dead quite and extremely neutral. I almost bought one for myself and I’ve been listening to Ayre electronics for 14 years. You can even get it with phono.
pacmi03, the Ayre K5xe was their entry level at the time more than 10 years ago, so it is normal that it is beaten in performance by newer designs. Your friends that use it with 30k monoblocks are bottlenecking their system big time...according their system is not bottlenecked elsewhere in the first place, may I suggest for them to try something better. The K5xe has a nice timbre, but it`s older resistive design is eating resolution and transparency, that was my experience with it in my system.
I am not selling anything, just a normal audiophile that tried different gear overtime.
I own both PS Audio and Ayre products. Note that PS Audio offers an upgrade path from the PerfectWave DAC to DirectStream; it is even user-installable, albeit not cheap. But still a lot less than a new DAC. With the Directstream the upgrade path is much easier as it is done via software to their FPGA chip. Can't beat that! Yeah it would have been nice if they had an interim-step to upgrade the PerfectWave, but a small company needs to make tough choices sometimes about where to focus their limited resources.
I have the BHK Pre and the BHK Mono's. I love the flexibility of the Pre with 5 pairs each of RCA or XLR balanced. Sound quality is outstanding and since it has a tube front end you can tube roll to adjust your preferred sound accordingly. It also supports Home Theater bypass if you need that as well. So far (Over 18 months) I am quite satisfied.
Definitely PS Audio. I once bought a ayre cd player & it would not play my CD's and no, none of my CD's had scratches on them as I am very meticulous with my stuff. The ayre also made loud distortion noises out of my speakers and I had to stop it. The was a aye player bought brand new, ayre seems to have a lot of real estate inside their boxes and has their units tweaked to play louder than the competition. I just bought a PS Audio BHK-250 amp brand new last year and I love. Go PS Audio and really, stay away from ayre. All the best to you.
count me as a very satisfied PS customer. my entire system is PS except for speakers of course. They make a great product and stand behind them with great customer service. someone above made the comment about seeing the preamps used on Audiogon. just checked and there are none.
I think the bang for the buck quotient from PS is extremely high and i for one am looking forward to their upcoming speakers.
Been running Ayre gear for a long time, no issues, sounds superb. My only need for service was to take advantage of their upgrade program. Great communication and fair price. If they upgrade a product you can get your unit upgraded to current spec for the difference in price between your version and the new. They don't make you buy a whole new unit.