Founded in 1993 by Charles Hansen, Peter Bohacek and Katie Lehr, Ayre Acoustics has been designed and manufactured in Boulder, Colorado in the United States ever since. Hansen (who died in 2017) was renowned for his ‘New – Better Different’ philosophy, which meant he never introduced a new product unless it not only offered something new, but was also a ‘step up’ from anything the company had previously designed and built. According to Ariel Brown, who worked with Hansen for 20 years as his development engineer, and is now Ayre Acoustics’ vice president and CTO, the philosophy is known in the company as ‘the Charlie way’.
‘Tradition, engineering, innovation and vision are just a few adjectives that are always used when describing Ayre’s products,’ said Aleksandar Maksimovic, of Audio Magic. ‘The company is renowned for not accepting any compromises when it comes to creation of audio components bearing the Ayre Acoustics badge.’
Audio Magic reports that one of Ayre Acoustics newest products, the EX-8 Integrated Hub Amplifier (pictured above and below, click images to enlarge them), with a power output of 100-watts per channel, both channels driven into 8Ω which is one of five products that share the same aluminium chassis and replace Ayre’s 7-Series products, is also one of its most popular in Australia. It’s an upgradeable product that in its ‘bare bones’ analogue-only form retails for $11,500 but can be upgraded to add wired digital inputs (Toslink and coaxial S/PDIF and AES/EBU inputs) for an additional $1,150. The next step up would be to add a Roon-enabled USB port, plus you can also optionally add an Ethernet connection. When fully optioned, it essentially combines the digital functionality of Ayre’s QX-5 Twenty Digital Hub with almost the same power and performance of Ayre’s AX-5 Twenty Integrated, but for around one-third the cost.
One of the unique features of the new 8 Series products is that almost everything is upgradeable, thanks to there being separate modules for the digital section, the Ethernet section, the USB section, the audio section, and the headphone section. Even the volume control circuitry is on its own PCB and able to be upgraded, according to Ryan Berry, President of Ayre. ‘This way we make it easy for our customers to keep up with formats or add new technologies we discover with a simple board swap,’ he said.
For more information on this or any of the products in Ayre Acoustics’ new product line-up, contact Audio Magic.