See Ayre QB-9 Twenty Upgrade Announcement

“Ayre QB-9 Twenty Upgrade” copied from an Ayre email announcement.

“The QB-9 was one of the most successful Ayre products ever. There are thousands of them out in the world, and to many owners, the QB-9 is still their favorite piece of audio gear. As part of our commitment to providing a lifetime of enjoyment from Ayre products, we are releasing an update for the QB-9 with the newest technology from the 8 series. The "Twenty" update for the QB-9 brings it back to the cutting edge of technology, giving QB-9 owners the excitement of discovering their music library all over again!

New QB-9 Twenty Features:  We have made a number of innovations since the release of the QB-9. Here is what has been improved with the Twenty update:

  • Diamond output circuit improves musicality and bass response.
  • A new JFET differential stage lowers the noise floor.
  • AyreLock power supply regulation for better rendering of fine musical detail.
  • New AC noise filtering for improved resolution.
  • Custom Ayre Asynchronous USB technology further reducing electrical noise in the system.
  • New ESS DAC chip for improved signal to noise ratio and spacial detail.
  • Six layer board design for optimal circuit isolation.
  • Proprietary reclocking to eliminate USB domain jitter.
  • PCM play back up to 384 kHz
  • Native DSD capability up to DSD256 (4x)
  • HDCD decoding

Retail Available QB-9 Twenty Upgrade. $1,500 August”.

This new Ayre QB-9 Twenty Upgrade looks very interesting. I wonder how it sounds.

Interesting - will have to see what the consensus is on this. I have a qb9-DSD unit but I would be able to sell it for $1500 on the used market so I'm hesitant to sink a lot into it. However, I've compared my unit to some of the giant killers around $6000 and it did not embarrass itself.
Oh, this *is* interesting. I would love a QX-5 but that is out of my budget. I might swing a QX-8 but upgrading my QB-9 might deliver similar SQ for less money?

@beetlemania, I agree the Ayre QB-9 DAC upgrade makes it very interesting.  The new ESS DAC chip plus all the other improvements mentioned above should, substantially, improve the sound quality of this already excellent DAC. 

I believe this DAC was discontinued and now this excellent upgrade brings it back to life.  I am anxious to hear comments from people that upgrade their Ayre QB-9 DAC. 

I'm very happy with my QB-9 but I also think upgrading that piece could be the "last" thing I do to my system. I'm super happy with my amp (AX-5 Twenty) and speakers (modded Thiel 2.4). The QX-8 is appealing because I could simultaneously connect my Roon-dedicated NUC and a PC for watching concert videos. With the QB-9 I need to manually change which input device is connected.

I previously upgraded my AX-7 to AX-7e and QB-9 to QB-9 DSD. In both cases, the SQ was noticeably improved and at a fair price. I need to learn more but I might just stick with the more cost-effective solution of upgrading the QB-9 despite its single input (this was never an issue until I switched to the Roon NUC which cannot do videos).
I decided to sign up for this upgrade after speaking with Gary at Ayre. My confidence is high after successful upgrades to DSD status a few years back. Also, I had my AX-7 upgraded to "e" status and that also was a really nice increase in SQ.

If all goes well, my unit should be "Twenty"ed by late fall or early winter.