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.