Ayre 8 Series | High End 2019

Leadership team at Ayre

High-End 2019 show coverage brought to you by The LSA Group

Ayre (website) was one of the earliest to market with a good USB DAC. That’s how I remember seeing and interacting with them. The QB-9 did one thing (USB) and did that one thing well, and all the mags raved about it. But what I always wanted? Well, aside from anything in the the milled-block-of-aluminum R-Series, was the C5 CD player. Man, I wanted that thing in a bad way — “no point in USB, when CD is that good!” is what I remember thinking.

My, have things changed.

What’s new these days is that the product line at Ayre has simplified. Gone is the 7-Series. Poof! In it’s place, say hello to the new 8-Series. Already available are the QX-8 DAC ($5,500) and the EX-8 100wpc integrated amplifier ($6-8k, depending) with an optional D/A converter (with or without the asynchronous USB interface and with or without the Ethernet interface, which is “Roon-ready and pre-configured to stream Spotify, Qobuz, and Tidal“.

But what you may not know is that the separates are also on their way. The new KX-8 preamplifier should be available in October (-ish) for about $5,500 and will be matched by the upcoming VX-8 stereo amplifier, also available at that time.

And yes, wonder of wonders, this will be joined by a CX-8. A CD-only transport (with sled sourced from TEAC) + DAC (featuring the ES9028Q2M chip). As with the integrated, this CD player/DAC can also be configured with the same USB interface and/or an Ethernet interface.

Next RMAF, we’re heading into the hills (Boulder, that is) to go visit these folks.

Shown here in Munich with speakers from Vivid.

Ayre QX-8, Ayre EX-8

Ayre 8 Series amp, DAC

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Ayre CX-8 CD

Ayre 8 Series CD

Ayre VX-8

Ayre EX-8