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.


hgeifman
@beetlemania  

Yes??? And???? It's been 13 days since you posted.... 😁
@marktrav
Approaching the 400 hour mark. I think the upgrade is settled in but someone on another forum posted that it needs 500+ hours to fully reveal its character.

My initial impression is unchanged although the Twenty does sound better now than cold out out the box. To my ears, in my system and room, the main improvements are 1) improved clarity and resolution and 2) an expanded, almost unbounded, soundstage. The overall effect brings a refined sound that makes it even easier to relax into the music. I always considered the DSD version be be excellent but the Twenty is a notable step up. 

The increased clarity makes it easier to hear individual voices and instruments during complex passages. The added resolution adds a bit more texture all around; performers and instruments are more “fleshy”. This is most obvious in the midrange but I also hear improvement in the bass and, to a lesser extent, the treble. Perhaps this is the result of even quieter backgrounds? Well recorded music is revealed on a more dimensional and defined soundstage. And there seems to be no aspect of performance that is a step backwards from the DSD version. Nice!

This could be my final equipment upgrade; retirement is on the horizon and it would take a LOT of money to significantly improve the sound my system is now giving me. Kudos to Ayre for upgrading a discontinued (?) product.
Frankly, Beetlemania, I don’t hear a wow factor in your appraisal of the upgrade. I’m not intending to sound overly negative but for $1,500 I’d have thought there would be a more noticeable improvement. 
@beetlemania Thanks! I did find your post on Audiophilestyle as well as the back and forth with Ryan. I've been pretty happy with my DSD as it was very close to the sound of my VdH Frog. However, a new tweak to the table and the Frog has gotten through the 100-hour break-in and I was starting to notice the QB-9 not being as engaging as before, though it is still extremely good. I'm putting the Twenty on my list. (And no, I don't ever expect digital to sound as good as vinyl, especially in my system.)
beetlemania

Thank You for the update. I will concur in that the Twenty Series is incredible to report the very least. Any difference or sonic improvement is not subtle.

Merry Christmas!