This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Getting into categories like dynamic behavior, timing and musical flow, I have to—sorry—reappropriate ‘stimmig’ and ‘balanced’. As already mentioned, other amps handle transients with more bite. While macrodynamic frontal attacks never had the Ayres falter, this price class can deliver more oomph elsewhere. Here I’m thinking Electrocompaniet combo of EC 4.8 preamp and AW180 monos for example.

If we must define it, Ayre’s style is taut/rhythmic as enabled by quick well-rendered bass but this quality is accompanied also by flow where the vital ring-out of tones is immaculately tracked. This is co-responsible not merely for the body around voices and instruments but also interconnects subsequent notes over time. Hence today’s conclusion must combine the Ayre K-5xeMP and V-5xe. Berlin’s Sender Radio 1 has a station motto For adults only! This fits the Ayres equally. Those who chase the next high of Olympian records in individual acoustic disciplines are bound to overlook them.

The American kick is a bit different. It’s about a very natural balanced rendition not merely in matters of tone but also on timing and soundstaging. To that are added a very rare purity and freedom from distortion. None of these are quickly sussed-out foreground qualities. But if in this price range you’re after sonically even all'rounders of the highest class, you ought to book an audition with your nearest Ayre dealer before finalizing your decision.

Psych profile.
  • Great tonal balance whose extremes (low bass, top treble) are slightly withdrawn.
  • Mid/upper bass are amplitude neutral, the low bass lacks ultimate shove. On quality the lower frequencies are nicely mapped out, well defined and quick.
  • The high frequencies are exceptionally clean and voiced more for long-term comfort than exceptional resolution.
  • Tonally the midrange and particularly the presence region feel a tad stepped down which, depending on taste, turns transients ‘natural’ or slightly ‘soft’.
  • With its lack of fogginess, harshness and gray scrim, the Ayre amp achieves a very high degree of self-evident authenticity. It simply doesn’t sound canned. Voices and acoustic instruments become a real experience.
  • Adequate and balanced dynamic behavior. Timing is spot-on, the Ayre combo does PRaT without turning beat box and flow without turning soggy. Impulses are quick though harder remains possible and decays are natural and not foreshortened.
  • Pleasingly broad soundstage with good depth layering, great freedom and a slightly forward-projecting tendency. Good localization sharpness and plasticity of vocals and instrumentals. Utter lack of nervousness. Sounds appear spatially self-assured.
Ayre K-5xeMP

  • Category: Linestage
  • Dimensions and weight: 43.8x35x12cm (WxDxH), 11.5kg
  • Trim: Silver, black for €180 surcharge
  • Socketry: 2 x RCA, 2 x XLR inputs, RCA fixed out, XLR and RCA variable outs
  • Power consumption at idle: ca. 8 watts
  • Other: processor pass-thru function, remote, optional Ayre metal wand (€298)
  • Warranty: 5 years with returned registration card

Ayre V-5xe

  • Category: Stereo power amp
  • Dimensions and weight: 43.8x41x20cm (WxDxH), 25kg
  • Trim: Silver, black for €180 surcharge
  • Socketry: XLR/RCA in, XLR out for biamping, one pair of binding posts
  • Idle power consumption: Ca. 115 watts
  • Other: Cardas terminals require spade terminations
  • Warranty: 5 years with returned registration card
redaktion @

Ayre website