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Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.  

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 


Here is yet another rebadged oppo player that is selling for far more then what oppo charges for it. Ayre admits to changing nothing in the digital, HDMI, and video processing department so it is nothing more then a "snake oil" mod. With the new OPPO BDP-83 SE this ayre player is using the old DAC's and not the new ESS DAC's so you are paying $10,000 for less.

Then again one just has to look at ayre's past source units to realize it is all snake oil.

Ayre CX-7eMP



post #2 of 22
Doesn't this belong in the Sources forum?
post #3 of 22
..I dont see what you are comparing. Is the top pic a pic of the Oppo player?

If so then it looks nothing like the Ayre player, the whole circuity is different. The Ayre looks like it has a much better power supply.

Where did you get this info from?
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SB View Post
Ayre admits to changing nothing in the digital, HDMI, and video processing department so it is nothing more then a "snake oil" mod.
The OPPO's video processing is state-of-the-art so why mess with it? Everything else in the box (including all of the audio signal processing) is from Ayre themselves and, as I understand it, that includes the asynchronous USB capabilities of their $2,500 QB-9 DAC and the analog guts of their $6,000 C5xe universal player, so the price point is hardly ridiculous let alone "snake oil".
post #5 of 22
It looks like OP has cross-posted this to a couple different forums, so forgive me SB if it seems like you didn't do some research nor reading of your own

First, a label for clarification:

Using the gallery here: Pictures by DougWinsor - Photobucket

The first image is that of an Ayre DX-5


In comparison, this is an Oppo BDP-83:
(sourced from Product Review - OPPO BDP-83 Blu-ray Player with DVD-Audio and SACD Playback )


Even more authoritative, a post by Ayre's Research Director Charlie Hansen on AVSforum explains exactly what they've done:
(sourced from AVS Forum - View Single Post - Ayre DX-5 bluray player )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmiles View Post
I wonder what Ayre does to a $500 unit to make an "Ayre"?
Well, first of all you have to remember that we don't have to pay $500 for the unit. We buy in quantity, so Oppo gives us the spectacular discounted price of (make sure you are sitting down, please!) $400.

Then to make it an Ayre, we dismantle it completely and recycle everything except the main PCB (with the video decoder, ABT scaler chip, and HDMI transmitter), the transport mechanism, the VFD display, and the remote control handset.

Next we re-build the main PCB. The big switching power supply only provides 5 VDC, then there are little mini-switching power supplies (called DC-DC converters) on the main PCB that turn the 5 VDC into 1.0 VDC, 1.1 VDC, 1.8 VDC, and 3.3 VDC. All of those are removed. There are also USB power switches that allow hot-plugging of USB devices. These are removed as they have another kind of DC-DC converter called a "charge pump".

All of the supplies are replaced with pure linear supplies with analog regulators. The USB power switches are replaced with devices without the charge pumps. Now we have gotten rid of seven noise sources that create high-frequency square waves with harmonics well out into the MHz region. Getting rid of all of that noise creates a visibly cleaner picture.

Next, we replace the low-quality master video clock with a VCXO. This becomes more important later on, as you will see.

Now we start adding things back in. First is our AyreLink communication system. It allows AyreLink equipped components to act as one big system. For example, turning on the player will turn on all of the downstream components as well as automatically select the correct input on the preamp. We also make an external RS-232 to AyreLink converter box for system controllers like Crestrons. The AyreLink system has opto-isolators between each component to avoid unwanted ground loops, which is why we don't use RS-232 inputs on any of our equipment.

Then we add a custom programmed FPGA on the front panel PCB to do some housekeeping. It intercepts the appropriate commands and translates them to operate the AyreLink system. It disables the internal volume control (which operates in the digital domain and degrades the sound) and instead routes the volume changes to an AyreLink equipped preamp. It also allows us to send custom messages to the front panel VFD display. So when the USB audio input is activated, it will report that on the front panel along with the sample rate of the received signal.

There are a bunch of boards added on the audio side. I say "side" because we literally split the player into two parts. There is a separate power transformer that runs all of the audio circuitry, which is separated from the video side by a bank of opto-isolators. So the audio and video "sides" have separate grounds that are completely galvanically isolated. This is the only way to get the best performance from either your audio system or your video system.

All video displays have switching power supplies that dump noise into your system in the absence of such isolation. There are also ground loops that are inevitably formed as there is no such thing as a balanced video connection. All of those problems go away with our isolation system.

The ten-channel audio board is replaced by a two-channel audio board. Everything on this board is top-quality, with discrete, fully balanced, zero-feedback audio circuitry and discrete, zero-feedback power supply regulators. There are improvements in both the parts quality and circuit design that give it even higher performance than the QB-9 USB DAC that was recently rated "Class A+" in Stereophile's recommended components issue. For two-channel disc playback (CD, SACD, DVD-Audio), the performance exceeds our $6,000 audio-only disc player.

We also add the USB audio input that allows you to connect your personal computer and turn your system into a music server. Your entire digital library (except SACD's, thank you very much Sony -- not!) can be stored on a hard drive and played back with the click of a mouse. So this one component can be the only source component that you need. This input is also connected via a bank of opto-isolators, so there is actually a *third* "side" to the system -- the video, the audio, and the computer. The noise from your computer and its switching power supply will not be connected to either your video or audio systems.

We also add a second audio-only HDMI connector. This is fed by the isolated signals on the audio "side" so that it won't contaminate your surround-sound system if you choose to connect one. It also supports the new "Audio Rate Control" (ARC) feature that is part of the HDMI 1.3a specifcation. This is a breakthrough for the surround-sound enthusiast, as HDMI is normally the worst way in the world to send audio data -- the jitter is even worse than the lowly S/PDIF connection.

But with ARC, the surround-sound processor uses a local crystal oscillator to provide a low-jitter clock to the DAC chips. Then there is a buffer that stores the incoming audio data. When the buffer is too full it sends a signal back upstream to the Blu-Ray player telling it to slow down the disc slightly. When the buffer is too empty, it asks the disc to speed up slightly. Now the audio clock is in charge, the way that it should be. (When the unit is running in two-channel mode, the local low-jitter, fixed-frequency crystal oscillator provides the master audio clock.)

With a modern digital display (plasma, LCD, LCOS, DLP, et cetera) jitter on the video signal does not matter. Since there is no conversion to analog, the digital signal values are simply stored in a frame buffer until needed.

Then the whole thing is put into a custom chassis made entirely from anodized aluminum and stainless steel. We want our products to look just as good 50 years from now as they do today. There are other people making Oppo "clones". One of them only replaces the chassis. Another replaces the power supply also. Nobody is rebuilding the complete player and adding the extra features and advanced technology that Ayre is.

As far as the value, it is up to you to determine that. I can't tell you how much an improved picture is worth. I can't tell you how much better sound is worth. I can't tell you how much the features we add are worth. You will have to decide that for yourself.

What I can tell you is that, just like all of our other products, they offer engineering and performance beyond what anyone else is offering, at a fair price that reflects our cost of manufacturing, and that we back up our products with both a strong network of the finest dealers on the planet and an incredible service policy.

Unlike other manufacturers that try to sell you a "new and improved" product every year or two, when we figure out a way to genuinely improve the performance of our existing products, we offer upgrades to current owners at very reasonable prices. Go to the Audio Asylum and check out some comments regarding our recent "MP" upgrades to the C-5xe and CX-7e disc players, for example.

If you want a great Blu-Ray player for an incredible price, buy the Oppo. If you want the best picture and sound quality in the world for your home theater and price is not a concern, check out the Ayre. And no, it will not be available in November, sorry. Early next year will be a better guess.
In short, even considering only the power supply changes, I find it difficult to simply call it a "rebadge". Finally, I don't think this thread really deserves to stay open, as the OP seems to have an agenda cross-posting to multiple sites, and not reading information that was posted two months ago that clearly shows it's not just a "rebadge".
post #6 of 22
Does not look like a rebadge to me...
Just the fact that they use different cabinets imply that, without even considering the internal differences.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sahwnfras
..I dont see what you are comparing. Is the top pic a pic of the Oppo player?

If so then it looks nothing like the Ayre player, the whole circuity is different. The Ayre looks like it has a much better power supply.

Where did you get this info from?
The top pic is the ayre DX-5 and the bottom pics are the ayre CX-7eMP just to show you that past ayre products are all snake oil, well atleast their source units.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopstretch
The OPPO's video processing is state-of-the-art so why mess with it? Everything else in the box (including all of the audio signal processing) is from Ayre themselves and, as I understand it, that includes the asynchronous USB capabilities of their $2,500 QB-9 DAC and the analog guts of their $6,000 C5xe universal player, so the price point is hardly ridiculous let alone "snake oil".
As a blu ray player I think people are only interested in the HDMI connection but then again the high end is far behind the times. "Analog guts" just look at the CX-7eMP and you will see nothing but snake oil. It's funny watching people come up with excuses on why this $10,000 oppo is not snake oil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebby
Even more authoritative, a post by Ayre's Research Director Charlie Hansen on AVSforum explains exactly what they've done:
Please, all Charles is doing is protecting his $9500 mark up and the huge profits that he will pocket from this snake oil rebadge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebby
In short, even considering only the power supply changes, I find it difficult to simply call it a "rebadge". Finally, I don't think this thread really deserves to stay open, as the OP seems to have an agenda cross-posting to multiple sites, and not reading information that was posted two months ago that clearly shows it's not just a "rebadge".
Why close the thread, is it because it proves that the ayre is snake oil and that someone would be far better off buying the new oppo SE version that runs far better DAC's then the rebadged ayre?
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SB View Post
Why close the thread, is it because it proves that the ayre is snake oil and that someone would be far better off buying the new oppo SE version that runs far better DAC's then the rebadged ayre?
I don't know about calling it snake oil as most of the mods he detailed actually make sense and are pretty common even amongst diy'ers. Also, DAC chips are only a small part of the overall equation.

Personally I would never buy the Ayre, but I don't see why you're so angry that they're offering a product that is clearly not a rebadged Oppo. Frankly, nobody is MAKING you or anyone else buy the Ayre over the Oppo, so why not have a different product available at a different price point? It is a free market, is it not?

To be clear in my opinion a rebadge is a product that is taken, put in a different chassis and/or a new faceplate added, then labeled as another brand without any modifications internally.

Finally, I commented that this thread should be closed because it seemed and it is clear now, that nothing will change your mind and you're clearly on a crusade to show how this is just snake oil, everyone else's opinion be damned.
post #9 of 22
Been there... done that...
post #10 of 22
Do you have any objective measurements of both players? and
Do you have any subjective impressions about their performance by comparing both players side by side?
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebby View Post
I don't know about calling it snake oil as most of the mods he detailed actually make sense and are pretty common even amongst diy'ers. Also, DAC chips are only a small part of the overall equation.
For the power supply I would say no but for the analog section we would have to do some measurements and see, some people did comment on the analog section of the oppo and it's DAC's but that is why they came out with the SE version. I can also just imagine how charles would be harping about if ayre had the ability to run better DAC's.

Quote:
Personally I would never buy the Ayre, but I don't see why you're so angry that they're offering a product that is clearly not a rebadged Oppo. Frankly, nobody is MAKING you or anyone else buy the Ayre over the Oppo, so why not have a different product available at a different price point? It is a free market, is it not?
Well it is an obvious rebadge since the only thing they might improve one and on a measurement basis only is the analog section but this is more about educating people and getting snake oil out of audio. Audio has gone down the snake oil pather for far to long, did you say the same thing when people started proving that high end audiophile cables were nothing but snake oil?

Quote:
To be clear in my opinion a rebadge is a product that is taken, put in a different chassis and/or a new faceplate added, then labeled as another brand without any modifications internally.
Yes and no, with the lexicon we can say that is it a 100% rebadge of the oppo since the specs are 100% the same and as well as the weight. But people always assume that a high end company will always make a product better without and objective data. Just look at how people ranted and raved about goldmund CD players then then someone proved they were a $150 pioneer in a fancy case.

Quote:
Finally, I commented that this thread should be closed because it seemed and it is clear now, that nothing will change your mind and you're clearly on a crusade to show how this is just snake oil, everyone else's opinion be damned.
How can my mind be changed since we have no objective data, no DBT's, and that when used with a digital connection there is no difference?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cankin
Do you have any objective measurements of both players? and
Do you have any subjective impressions about their performance by comparing both players side by side?
The only objective data we have is the the video and digital sections are 100% the same so when used with a HDMI connection as a blu ray player should be then they are 100% the same.

Subjective data as I see it is irrelevant for the most part since people are basing everything on name and price. We have seen that power supplies have alot of snake oil in them and that just by throwing in a bunch of capacitors it will not change anything. The high end has something against switching power supplies for some reason but then again they have something against more advanced technologies in the first place. But as I said before who would have the ability to design a better more efficient power supply, ayre who can not design a blu ray player from scratch or oppo who can. Oppo clearly has the superior engineers working for them.
post #12 of 22
So have you given up shilling semi-professionally for Theta to shill semi-professionally for OPPO now? Why you feel the need to spew your crap across every audio site on the Internet is beyond me. Very sorry to see you've finally made it here.
post #13 of 22
In the one post by Charles Hanson, he has given more proof about how they have changed that product than you have about what they havnt changed. I dont see how you can say this is snake oil when they have admitted they changed pretty much the whole circuity of the unit.
This is a high end product you pay alot for a little, get used to it. It does not mean that it is snake oil though, it may be snake oil to you but you are an...
post #14 of 22
The only way to judge whether it's snake oil or not is see if the changes have made any actual improvements in empirical performance.

Personally I don't see some of their changes making that large of an impact in all honestly. Just because some of them are popular with DIY community doesn't make the changes worthwhile either.

Regardless, it's not a simple rebadge. Now if we were to argue the modifications made aren't worthwhile that would be another conversation entirely.
post #15 of 22
OP, you're free to think this is snake oil, but this is in no way a rebadge. I'm beginning to wonder if you know what that term even means.
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