Amp upgrade from Ayre V-5xe

I am loving the Ayre sound (V-5xe Amp, QX-5 Twenty DAC / streamer). My speakers are the new Revel F228be

While I think V-5xe is great, I am thinking of upgrading to the newer VX-5 Twenty. Just because.... I hear my sirens calling :-)

For you Ayre owners, is this a worthy upgrade?

Or should I consider another solid state Amp? Pass Labs come to mind

Thanks @audioconnection  JohhnyR. I think you nailed it. I should stop messing around and either:

1 - Stay with my Ayre V-5xe, or

2 - Upgrade to Ayre VX-5 Twenty
Thyme often the path less traveled will get you the results you are after, 

Borrow all the amps that you can and see if switching out the amp does what you want it to.

Many times we have seen a better match occuring with brand mixing than keeping all the same brand obviously it does depend on the gear. 

It all comes down to what you are trying to accheive sonically.

Don't be cowed into thinking that an all anything system is going to necessarily be the ticket. Audio allows for experimentation and sometimes chaning one item, cable, power conditioning, cables etc will do it.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
A used Spectral amp might give you a thrill with nuance,dynamics and a sense of being closer to the performance. They’re bulletproof. 
First Thyname, I wouldn't necessarily run out and change the amp without exploring a few options:

1: Are your cables up to snuff what are you using?
2: Are you using power conditioning? 
3: Are you using power cords?
4: Are you using a stock rack any vibration isolation being used?
5: How are you feeding your dac? 
6: Are you using a hign end usb and ethernet cables?
7: Roon tuning any being used?

After we have looked at all of these factors would we then consider recommending any amp. Then the other issue is what kind of price point are you looking at?

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

Thanks @audiotroy 

1 - Yes. Cardas Clear Reflection (speakers and XLR ICs)

2 - Yes. Isotek Aquarius 

3 - Yes. Cardas Clear, Cardas Clear Beyond, Cardas Golden Reference and Wireworld Silver Electras 

4 - Simple stuff. Mapleshade bases

5 - My DAC is Ayre QX-5 has a streamer built in. Feeding via Ethernet using Roon. Roon Optimized Core Kit on a 7th gen i5 NUC

6 - I have no USB on my path (see #5 above). I do use the nice Wireworld Starlight Cat8

7 - Simple panels for first reflection points and some simple bass traps in corners

Price: about 5-6K used. Preferably less 😉
@thyname well sorted indeed, love the maple shade bases, etc...
they make some great recordings also...
making something really improves the ear :-) imo

love the nuc, I may go that route if I get serious about ROON....

That's a great @mboldda1  ! the BHK 250 looks very solid and interesting. I am all over researching it now. Maybe I should get one. From what I read, is awesome!


 I found myself in a similar position to you several years ago. I had the Ayre V-5XE amp and and K-5XEmp preamp and thought that although the overall sound was excellent they were on the lean side. My speakers alternate between Analysis Audio Epsilon’s (planar magnetic) and German Physiks HRS-120’s (omni).  I was looking for more warmth from my system also.

 I listened to the AX-5(not Twenty) in show conditions and thought it was more lean that the V-5XE but that might be attributable to low operating hours.  I thought both the MX-R and VX-R were very nice but outside my budget bogey unless I were able to find them used. After several audio shows and auditions I transitioned to a Pass XA-100.5 amp and VAC Signature Mk IIa preamp. I felt that the Class A amps in general provided more warmth when I heard them in several different system combinations at shows.  I also felt the addition of tubes in the preamp helped the character of my system.  Other amps I considered were the Plinius 103 and Aesthetix Atlas. I thought both of these were excellent candidates.

I found that attending an audio show gave me exposure to different amp/preamp combinations in a variety of systems although it’s certainly not the same as auditioning a component in your own system. Personally I always like to try and find a way to audition any new component in my own system. Needless to say other factors which bear on your decision would be the size of your room, type music and listening level.  

 I can’t say enough about the help I received from Ayre, Pass and VAC they were all great to speak with and patient in answering any questions I had. Also Mark at Reno Hi-Fi was very helpful.

Also I should add that my Ayre hardware has not left the house.

Needless to say YMMV. Good luck in reaching a decision.


I am leaning more and more towards BHK 250. @carlco great 👍 write up, much appreciated. I am more of a solid state guy, but I think the BHK 250 would be a good “hybrid” amp with the best of both worlds. I used to own the PS Audio M700s briefly for a couple of months, but the 250 is a different animal 

It’s either the BHK 250 now, or the VX-5 Twenty. Based on what I have read and talked to people I know and trust, I have eliminated X150.8 and Plinius SA-103
Ayre is not a warm product 
look at Jeff Rowland or Pass.
Rutan pushes Vandys because 
they are really rich/warm speakers 
and can be boring after a while 
Just curious if anyone had heard the SimAudio Neo 400M monoblocks?
I am also looking to upgrade my amps.
(((I am loving the Ayre sound (V-5xe Amp, QX-5 Twenty DAC / streamer). My speakers are the new Revel F228be))) 

 Have you ever even heard a full Ayre stack with Revels
 from the comments, above, his existing equipment with The VX5/20 which is a pretty sophisticated amp with many speakers and carries a zero feedback design philosophy all the way through.

 I have heard the Pass, PS audio, JRDG all fine gear but I know for sure in his system VX5/20 will be an advancement. Aren't you only speculating?
@carlco that Aesthetix Atlas looks good, but I worry about resale value if I don’t like it, since the brand is fairly obscure.

I can get a brand new BHK 250 for about $1,000 cheaper than Ayre VX-5 Twenty used. I think I am going to go for it. I will not lose much if I don’t like it and then sell it
as good as Ayre 20  is, you will get a bigger difference by upgrading the speakers
I am very happy with my speakers @fstein . I love them. And have owned and listened many speakers.

Besides, how do you know ? Have you heard the F228Be speakers? They just came out and very few people own them. I was on the preorder list, and was one of the few to get it first. Even from dealers. 
It seems you are getting some pretty good advice above

The best systems are created with Logic and facts most will agree.
 The worst decisions are made blind without genuine facts lack of listening  no preparation hoping your challenges work out
 It seems you are emotionally attached to your speakers
((((and was one of the few to get it first. Even from dealers.))))
Could this have made you feel special? another emotion

  Is it a reality or fantasy, either way, if it makes you feel special being told folks are banging for these speakers great
Yet somehow you still are searching.
When truly in love with the music you won't need affirmation.
Are you about to blow it again?
Taking the cheap way out?
Are you listening with your eyes or seeing with your ears?

Could it be you like taking the easy way out reading what the popular deal buyer, feeble-minded, committee does instead of focusing on your almost excellent particular scenario?.  

(((I think I am going to go for it.
 I will not lose much if I don’t like it and then sell it )))
   Does this sound like the real solution or running in circles?
  If i were you I would Ayre match it all together first and see if it lets the whole system work for you instead of you working for the system.

You may be totally right on Ayre JohnnyR, but for the speakers, have you heard them?
i have heard the be
they are quite good
even pushed by a SOTA very highly modified Eico 18 wpc integrated....system synergy and tge room count for a lot...

you really should consider Aesthetix....not very obscure for those in the know.......Jim is a pretty talented guy, his stereo sig amp made my final three cut. Tube front end, mule kick back least listen....
((((You may be totally right on Ayre JohnnyR, but for the speakers, have you heard them?)))
 I like your speakers and think Revels are as good as any conventional out there. I'm just trying for you to see the logic in design matching all the way through with Ayre that you already 2/3 own
 I also love Aesthetix gear as Tomic does above great zero feedback Hybrid amp but I would match it with an Aesthetix Preamp for its best operation.
 Matching all the way through gain drive tonal balance etc IME gets you through as a solution with Electronics/Speakers working together.
  Your Ayre QX5/20 Dac, K1 Pre and a pre-owned VX 5/20 with your speakers will be on another level than with your current amp in the areas of drive, textures, and palpability.
What most here may not be aware of that making a change for the sake of change once the excitement wears off compared to even what you have
now may be a loss in a specific area smearing where magic was once before.
+1 to caphill's suggestion on Classe..  I own the CA2200 and if you don't need the 300 watts the CA2300 puts out the CA2200's 200 watt sounds better.. I believe it runs up to 40 watts in class A before it goes class A/B.. The CA2300, even though has more watts is biased up to 20 watts in class A ..  

OP here... I owe you guys an update.

I went with Ayre VX-5 Twenty. I should get it in a few days.

thanks all for your help and advice 
Congratulations.  I believe this purchase will achieve the upgrade you desired.  Enjoy mine everyday.

As above, I concur w/ Johnny R

Both Aesthetix  and Ayre do better w/ same corresponding pre/power amp combinations.  Mixing and matching different brands may yield an unfavorable outcome.

Happy Listening!

yes and no...I can assure you a ARC REF5se driving an AYRE Vx-R is sublime.....and in my system of hodgepodge mix and match provided great sound....

NAIM into Aesthetix into ARC into Ayre into Vandersteen....All AQ cables

5 out of 6 of those designers are friends and hang together, sharing patents, etc...

but yes, your results might vary....

OP congrats !!!!!! I think for your system you made 200% right call

enjoy that new amp

my experience w Twenty series is right from cold amazing sound.

in the interest of full disclosure I did replave the Vx-R with the Vandersteen 7 amplifiers.....

who knows, maybe he will build a preamp..some day

Post removed 
i was messing w a buddy of mine, there is no such thing as a SOTA Eico amp.....but he has a highly modified one that sounds fantastic w Revel speakers....
A VX-5 Twenty  just has been listed for sale with a nice discount.

One of the reasons Ayre made quick  update ( twenty version) of his diamond output amps, is because they had trouble with overheating. The 20 versions runs cooler.

More and more of those popping on the used market, I guess they are not as peformant as the review says. Users must be upgrading for the better VX-R series. Or something Luxman, Gryphon, etc.

one of the reasons Ayre made quick  update ( twenty version) of his diamond output amps, is because they had trouble with overheating
I don’t think that’s quite right, certainly not the full story. Yes, the originals ran hot but what evidence do you have that it was to the point of overheating?

Meanwhile, you can read about the changes and the motivation here:  O
You have to read between the lines... Ayre was always about long duration version of its units. This time with the non twenty versions, they did something that was totally unusual for this company, they rushed an update ( the twenty version) of the 5 séries. You have to think... why they did not go with the twenty version in the first place if it was so much better than the non 20. Single diamond output vs double diamond output, don’t make me beleive they did not compare and test those before releasing the X5 series...

The thing is there was owner reports of the non 20 version shutting down on heat protection.
Hey @techno dude. Where do you the VX-5 on sale? Are you talking about the general Ayre moving sale they are offering on all their products?
reports of the non 20 version shutting down on heat protection.
Well, that’s compelling evidence of a problem that needed to be fixed but the Twenty version is so much more than addressing excess heat. And it’s obvious on face value that they did not have the original and the Twenty versions to compare when they introduced the series. It appears that the Twenty came at a time of rapid advances in their circuit design. Being upgradeable, why wait if a substantial performance gain can be had? IIRC, the R series was soon thereafter updated to Twenty series because the “affordable” 5s had nearly closed the gap sonically.  
thyname, there is a used VX-5 twenty for sale on audigon as we speak.

beetlemania, the Diamond output stage exist since the 1960s and was patented by professor H. Baker of MIT. Ayre did not invent anything.

They suposedly perfected it in the first X5 series , and then they supposedly perfected it again in the 20 version.....well because it seems it was not perfected good enough in the first version! 🙄 .........
Ayre has been candid about the origins of the diamond circuit. Not sure your point about “perfected” but my snarkmeter is ringing.
@techno_dude : I bought my VX-5 Twenty a while back. I updated this thread then. I am very happy with the purchase 
Ayre is good
ayre dartzeel ypsilon naim have lower negative feedback

again do not change ayre to pass labs
thyname, If you are so happy with the results of your purchase , then why are you now so soon looking to change your preamplifier to a Simaudio 740p not even Ayre.

Told you you should have gone with a Gryphon or Luxman integrated....
I was exploring various options Techno Dude. Ayre rocks! I never understood what's wrong with you Ayre haterz
 Not hating it, it’s just a much overated and overpriced product compared to whats on offer by other makers in 2018.