Ayre KX-R Line Preamplifier - Stereophile Recommended

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General:

One of the most unique and innovative designs that we have seen in the shop. The precision and engineering to execute the volume attenuation is simply brilliant.

From our friends at Kahl Audio:
In the reference level of preamps, the KX-R is somewhat a bargain at its original MSRP of $18,500. And that’s because it easily kept pace with some preamps costing three or even four times as much.

When paired with the matching MX-R monoblock amps the combo is incredibly transparent, airy sounding, clean and uncolored. If you want a preamp that is uncolored and plainly neutral, the KX-R is an excellent choice.

Music flows through from source to speakers undiluted with every nuances on the CD conveyed through. If you plan on getting either the KX-R or MX-R or both, make sure if you top notch source unit and speakers to go along. Or else you would be just short changing yourself from what the Ayre pieces are capable off.

Like the MX-R, the KX-R is literally “carved” out from a block of aluminum. You can feel its solidity all around by just knocking it with your knuckles.

We have listened to this side by side with their current KX-R Twenty and the difference is really down to splitting hairs. But one thing is for sure, the KX-R Twenty costs many thousands more!

From the manual:
Your Ayre KX-R preamplifier offers a significant advance in the musical performance of high-fidelity equipment. The warmth and immediacy of a live performance are apparent from the first listening. The combination of superb resolution and a natural, relaxed quality will draw you into the music, time and time again.

This level of performance has been implemented using the highest level of workmanship and materials. You can be assured that the Ayre KX-R will provide you a lifetime of musical enjoyment.

The KX-R retailed in the 2010s for $18,500 plus extra for the black finish.

Current version, the KX-R 20 retails for $27,000. You can upgrade the KX-R to 20 status for $9000 down the road if you choose to.

Unit includes the original fabric sleeve.

Brand Background:

Our passion for purity in music reproduction has driven us to design and build no-compromise stereo equipment since 1993. Forged from our fully-balanced, zero-feedback designs, we innovate new technologies and implement them in the most affordable way possible. Whether you are looking for the best system for music streaming, a USB DAC, a phono stage, or an incredible integrated amplifier, find an Ayre Dealer near you and change the way you listen to music.

Ownership:

Single Owner

Amplifier Recommendation:

Ayre Monoblocks (Coming Soon)

Connections:

Inputs: 4 single-ended (RCA), 4 balanced (XLR).

Outputs: 2 balanced (XLR), 2 balanced tape.

General Sound:

Smooth, uncolored, undistorted natural and clean

Cosmetic Condition:

8 - Very Slight Signs of Use

https://skyfiaudio.com/pages/our-testing-process

Working Condition:

Working perfectly and tested in our lab and listening room.

Included:

Just the unit and power cord

Packing:

Will be packed using our highly developed in-house process and custom packing materials.

Original MSRP:

$18,500.00

Dimensions:

17.25" (438mm) W by 3.75" (95mm) H by 11.75" (29.2mm) D

Weight:

60.0

Age:

2010

Reviews:

https://www.stereophile.com/solidpreamps/1108ayre/index.html

Link to Manual:

https://www.ayre.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Ayre_KXR_Manual.pdf

Recommended Cables:

Kimber Kable - RCA Interconnects - Better

Kimber Kable - RCA Interconnects - Best

Kimber Kable - BALANCED XLR Connectors - Better

Kimber Kable - BALANCED XLR Connectors - Best

Kimber Kable - Power Cords - Better

Kimber Kable - Power Cords - Best

Testing Process:

We start with a visual inspection of all internal components to make sure that there are no signs of heat stress or damage. Capacitors are checked for telltale signs of predictive failure including bulging, shrunken wrappers, or physical leakage. We also inspect the PCBs for discoloration from resistors or transistors that may have been running hot. On vintage units we often spot check select capacitors for value and ESR.

When we first power on a preamplifier we connect its RCA output to a Sencore PA81 Power Analyzer which simulates real world loading conditions and gives us an oscilloscope interface. The first order of business is checking that the volume control works smoothly throughout its entire range with acceptable channel balance. This is accomplished by feeding a 1KHz sine wave into one of the preamp’s line level inputs while monitoring the preamp’s output on an oscilloscope. We then switch to a 1KHz square wave to test the tone controls, loudness function, and filters where applicable. During this step we are watching for equal alteration of the test signal by both channels. This also helps us identify dirty controls that will need treatment.

Once the basic line stage functions are verified, we test each input individually. This is especially important for devices that use relays to select their sources. If the preamp is equipped with a phono stage we test that as well. We use an inverse RIAA filter which allows us to feed a reference test signal into the phono input with the proper RIAA equalization and level. A square wave or sine sweep is used to verify that the device’s phono stage is faithfully reproducing the RIAA curve. If the preamp under test has balanced inputs and/or outputs these are tested as well.

We finish up our bench testing with a listening test with our bench amplifier and reference speakers. During this test we check for hum or hiss that may not have shown up in earlier testing. We also check that all of the tone controls and filters perform as expected. If the preamplifier has remote control functions these are also tested. Preamps with tube circuits or complicated power supply topologies are connected at our long term test rig for extended stress testing under real world conditions.

Specs:

Input impedance: 2M ohms balanced (1M ohm/signal phase), 1M ohm single-ended. Gain: variable. Frequency range: DC–250kHz. Output impedance: 300 ohms balanced, 150 ohms single-ended. Power consumption: 36W, 65W maximum (when volume control operating).

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