CES 2013: Ayre

Last Fall, Ayre showed off their new AX-5 integrated amp in a room that, quite frankly, took my breath away. That gear showed up here, at CES, with a slight change — the new VX-5 (not to be confused, as I was, with the V-5xe, an excellent amp that’s been in their stable for some time). The VX-5 is, essentially, the AX-5 with all the preamp bits pulled out. Pricing is still TBD, but will be comfortably under $10k (hedges are putting smart money on $8k, just so you know). The “big deal” with the VX-5 is the all-new output stage, which reputedly cranks quite a bit harder — and lower — than previous Ayre designs. Pardon me while I wiggle my eyebrows in happy anticipation! 175wpc is the spec.

Another question not answered was when or if there would be a monoblock version forthcoming, though that question did get a few Cheshire cat grins. We’ll see what we see when we see it, I guess.

Vivid Giya G3
Ayre K-5xeMP preamp, DX-5 source, L-5xe power conditioner

Ayre C-5xeMP player, P-5xe phono, V-5xe amp
Guts of an AX-5 integrated
Different view of the guts of an AX-5 integrated from Ayre


  1. The issue of the Ayre house sound interests me. I’ve owned or listened to several of their products over the years and, sonically, they have seemed to fall into two camps. I did not like: the first amp (mid-nineties), the CX-7 and the K-5xe(mp), which I thought was a huge disappointment. I did like the original pre-amp (mid-nineties) and the AX-7 integrated, both of which offer the kind of clarity and transparency to the source that I seek (the K-5xe, in contrast, has a strong sonic signature, as did that early amp). The QB-9 is impressive but definitely has some of that signature. I haven’t auditioned any of the R-series products but I expect the new integrated, which I assume is based on much of that same technology, will offer comparable sound. I’m anxious to try it as it could be just the ticket. I’m a Charles Hansen fan, so I keep hanging in there.

  2. Charles Hanson has always said they use those transformers instead of a torroid because they sound better, not for some cost saving measure.

  3. Looks pretty minimal for a $8K integrated. What is that POS iron transformer? I dont know….

    • I understand that lots of folk have been turned away by various things in the past, but it’s also my understanding that this design presents something of a departure for Ayre’s house sound.

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