Originally Posted by Welly Wu
All of the negative reivews that point to those (unfounded) criticisms of the Ayre Acoustics CX-7 Evolution were gleaned from AudioAsylum, Audigon, and the AudioCircles; they did not come from professional reviewers.
Now, I am listening to Bach for Book Lovers and it sounds so airy and light just like the CD.
So the CD sounds just like the CD?
An upgrade is in my future (nothing urgent) and the Ayre is a contender but I can't find these negative user reviews you refer to. Do you have any links? All I can find are user praises. Any info good or bad is useful in my book. I forget entirely about some forums such as Audio Circle from which I found an interesting post. 8th Nerve is a manufacturer of room treatments. The power cord efforts are interesting.http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/i...76574#msg76574
"A lot of people have been enquiring as to the differences between some of these players, so here is a quick review of how they perform given a particular scenario on a challenging track.
The track used is from Martin Topley-Bird's "Quixotic" CD. The song is "Stevie's", track number 13.
All CD Players are connected to the following system:
Chord Cobra RCA to DIN interconnect ->
Naim NAC 112 ->
Naim Flatcap 2 ->
Naim NAP 200 ->
Naim NACA Speaker Wire->
Von Schweikert VR-2
All interconnects are standard Naim and power cords are stock Naim as well.
The three players were tested using the Audience Power Chord (our long-time reference) and the new Eighth Nerve Spinal Cord (which is still experimental, but may be released soon) with the exception of the Naim player. The Naim player was tested with the stock cord and the Eighth Nerve cord. On all Naim gear I have tested, any power cord replacement has resulted in loss of rythym, impact, definition and overall musicality. I didn't feel like wasting the time with the Audience cord as I have tried it with Naim gear before. In this specific instance, the stock cord is far superior in every way, so it was used as the reference with the EN cord as the test piece.
The three players in order of play are:
Ayre CX-7 (Retail $3000)
Eastern Electric MiniMax CDP (Retail $1350) - Stock tubes...
Naim CD-5i (Retail $1650)
AYRE CX-7 w/ Audience Power Chord
The Ayre always has and still does excell at ultimate inner-resolution and "air" throughout the recording, and bests the other players in this regard to a small degree. There are two points in the track where sounds are phase shifted to appear behind the listening position, first with vocals, and second with other ambient effects. This combo, much to my surprise, created the least convincing layout of that effect, portraying an image that was certainly not from the front of the stage, but was not defined in placement at all, it simply came from an indistinguishable place in the room. This player, as usual, was very clean, articulate, and defined.
AYRE CX-7 w/ EN Spinal Cord X
This power cord made the spatial effects more convincing, giving them a bit more placement to the rear of the listening position, but still a bit ghostly and hazy compared to some of the other combos. The bass was also a bit leaner, but much more textured. I wonder if the bass with the Audience cord was not a bit exaggerated. The difference was slight, but noticeable. Overall I also felt the musicality and rythym was improved as well. The differences in power cords on this player was less significant than on the other players, perhaps due to the "Ayre Power Filter" which apparently is Patent pending for whatever that is worth.
EASTERN ELECTRIC MINIMAX CDP w/ Audience Power Cord
As many have noted, this is a surprising performer, providing a big, gorgeous soundstage with a glorious sound that belies its size and price. It manages to do this however without a sacrifice of detail, inner or outer. Not quite as detailed and airy as the Ayre, but with more musicality and life, perhaps with a bit of interpretation, but it's really good interpretation, so don't be so damn picky. The spatial effects were well defined, but placed just slightly forward of the listening position. It did not get the information behind the listener, but it did place the image with solidity and body. A good trade-off. An excellent performer at this price, and for many, maybe most, perhaps a better choice than the Ayre, regardless of price.
EASTERN ELECTRIC MINIMAX CDP w/ EN Spinal Cord X
The differences in power cords were most apparent with this CD player. More definition, musicality, and tidyness were apparent with this setup, again with a hint of a reduction in bass quantity, but more texture. Don't over analyze here though, there is still TONS of bass as these three CD players are some of the best at bass in my opinion. The bass is still deep and forceful, well down in the mid 20s, with no hint of roll-off. The nicest difference was in the spatial effects. The effects were now placed with the same weight and accuracy, but now just slighty behind the listener, providing the second best results of this test in this regard. Yummy.
NAIM CD-5i w/ Stock Power Cord
Just to clarify, this CD Player was attached using the same Cobra RCA to DIN interconnect to compare it evenly with the rest of the group, and to use the outputs that you would use unless hooking it up to a Naim preamp or integrated. Performance is improved using the DIN outputs, but all comments here are based on its performance using its RCA outputs. Now back to our regularly scheduled program...
As you may expect, the Naim player simply defines musicality, portraying a rythym and pace that is simply as close to real music as I have ever heard. It has a big, defined sound that is rich with texture and layered with musical interplay. It competes with the level of detail of the Ayre, the size of the MiniMax, but with a character all its own. It is hard to specify, as listening to anything but the music with the Naim on is an exersize in extreme focus. Even the slightest wondering of your mind will disturb your concentration enough to be sucked back into the black hole sized vacuum of the Naim musicality. Then the music stops and you realize you have no idea what it sounded like. With all these CD Players, I skipped the 2 minutes in the middle of the track to speed things up. With this player, BOTH times I listened to the whole track. The spatial effects, surprisingly (to me at least), were the best of the group. The Naim produced a well defined image well behind the listener on both sets of effects. Perhaps it makes sense as the phase relationships are responsible for the illusion of the sound behind you and the Naim excells at timing, perhaps the most important characteristic for phase accuracy.
NAIM CD-5i w/ EN Spinal Cord X
First, every other power cord I have tried with any Naim gear other than the stock cord sounds worse. Much worse. Rythym, definition, everything goes out the window. They say this is so, and I believe them, as it has proven true to me. Even so, I wanted to try the new cord on it to see how it fared. I was pleasantly surprised, only because it didn't get worse. Honestly, I had a very hard time determining what the differences were. It was apparent that there were some slight changes, but I was unable to tell which was better. It sounds like more testing on that is in order.
These three CD Players define the state of the art in the price vs performance category. I have heard almost no other players at any price that shame any of these units. Any one would be an excellent, no-compromise source component for your reference system for a long time to come.
So where does all this leave us? The Ayre dancing about in ultra-defined high res with moves embodying precision, perfection, and balance. The MiniMax with its beautiful costume, seductive glance and rhapsodic flow. And the Naim transfixing us with a performance that drains our mind of anything else in our senses. The only question is which dance would YOU like to experience?"
That's a suprisingly positive take on the CD5i. It would be good to be able to compare the Ayre to other players in it's class. That would be a more valuable report. I feel a need for dynamics more than detail.