Ayre Acoustics "Codex" DAC/Headphone Amp

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  1. music_man
    edit: i really apologize. the akm is a spdif receiver. you can see the ess indeed. however the filter curve being on the fpga is still really making it fpga based as that is what is so special about ayre's sound signature. of course i am not entirely sure about that either but what else would the fpga be doing there? it is very expensive and they would not use it for no good reason. still, i could be entirely wrong about that as well. you guy's look for yourselves.

    a newer unit.you can plainly see the akm and fpga. i do not know why ayre limits the dsd on their units. the qx-5 twenty is lower than the codex. perhaps because the akm can go considerably higher than the ess. i feel it is a better sounding chip than the 9038pro let alone the 9018k2m. i hope these pics are appreciated here and not viewed as spam.

    codex 1.jpg codex 1.jpg codex 1.jpg codex 1.jpg codex 2.jpg codex 2.jpg codex 2.jpg codex 2.jpg codex 2.jpg codex 2.jpg codex 2.jpg codex 1.jpg codex 1.jpg codex 1.jpg codex 2.jpg codex 2.jpg codex 2.jpg codex 2.jpg codex 3.jpg codex 3.jpg codex 3.jpg codex 3.jpg codex 3.jpg codex 3.jpg codex 4.jpg codex 4.jpg codex 4.jpg codex 4.jpg codex 4.jpg codex 4.jpg codex 4.jpg codex 4.jpg codex 4.jpg codex 4.jpg codex 4.jpg codex 4.jpg codex 4.jpg codex 5.jpg codex 5.jpg codex 5.jpg codex 5.jpg codex 5.jpg
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2017
    FALEEV and ChaseM like this.
  2. cygnusx
  3. music_man
    no,no sorry i made a huge mistake read the edit at the top of all the pics. it is indeed a ess. the akm is a spdif receiver. what i do like is look at the usb setup. it basically has an intona built in. that looks pretty obvious. i can't believe i mistook the chips. i am sorry about that. still, the sound signature "should" be on the fpga and not so much the dac chip but that is still a good chip.the usb also has xmos so i would not worry about usb cleaning devices with this. they may change the sound to your liking but can only really degrade it. ayre did a knock out job with this. no wonder the case is so cheap, look what is inside! i am really sorry about the confusion regarding the dac chip. this is not exactly a simple circuit but still, my bad.
  4. ChaseM
    music_man, great post! Appreciate it. I'm liking my Codex more everyday.
  5. music_man
    It is the finest DAC it's size period. Even as good s much largr ones in the $10K range. They kind of stepped on their own feet but the QX-5 is really a different market so they know what they are doing. I am glad you like the post!

    The latest version of Windows 10 has built in Ayre drivers that are far superor to the Streamlength but only Wasapi. Which is now what we should be using anyways. So if you get the latest windows 10 offline installer ISO, run all updates you will have even better sound than you do now. Mac I don't know anything about.

    I am using a large amount of expensive USB decrapification. According to Ayre it only serves to degrade the sound. Which may very well be true but I like the sound. Although the past week I have been using the QX-5 in this room just to play with it. The difference in SQ is closer than you might think but of course YMMV.

    I just realized this took 45 minutes to type because I decided to use punctuation. For those that do not know I have Parkinson's which is why I do not ordinarily do that. Don't worry though, I am good.
  6. ChaseM
    I've been kind of curious about the QX-5, as the next step I want to make in my system is to add a server. I'm leaning towards an Antipodes right now though. Right now i'm running Roon on a MacBook Pro.

    I've been running through a bunch of USB decrapification stuff as well. I just removed it all a couple days ago and I feel that the sound quality is better with a good quality USB cable running directly from my MacBook Pro to the Codex. YMMV.

    Type however you need to. Knowledge is knowledge no matter how it is conveyed!

  7. music_man
    Ayre are very smart. I will give them that and a lot more. If they said to just use a good cable directly and you concur the same I must go try this. It has been so long but I should notice even better now. I figured they had all that stuff, why not throw it on. I am using the QX-5 right now. It is not vastly better than the Codex. It is somewhat different sounding and does other things of course. The Codex can infact "hang" with the QX-5. For it's size what you see in the pictures is nothing short of amazing. It is not a Pono at all. I do not Think the Antipodes DX is as good as the Codex. If you like the Codex, want a marginal upgrade(to my ears) and a host of other features get the QX_5. Especially if you like the Codex. The Antipodes is less than half the price of the QX-5 however. If you really want to be in a different world you are looking at MSB or DCS IMO. I understand the price might be an issue. If you can spend for the QX-5 I would get it coming from a Codex. Doesn't sound vastly better but it is indeed somewhat better plus offers a host of other features. You could keep the Codex and get an Aurender or Melco. The TOTL Aurender I have here into the QX-5 or anything really is much better than the PC.

    Now I need some help please. The latest version of windows has codex drivers that are far superior to the terribly outdated streamlength. being windows it only has wasapi of course. which with windows should be better. it is. I just want to try the asio dll out of the streamlength package or foo or whatever but asio4all is not real asio. so I need to know where you put it in jriver 23 so it will recognize it. I cannot figure out where it is supposed to go but I remember I once knew this. anyone know?
  8. music_man
    ayre are right about everything they say. they now their products. well, perhaps not the guy on the phone but he is getting his info from the engineers. so there is this thread I am sure you all know where they put 20 things in the usb chain. I do not know about their dacs but ayre was correct as usual. took a 3m cardas clear hs they recommended and nothing else. lo and behold the qx and the codex were both a good deal better. it is like people that put octane booster to make their car go faster but all it does is make the engine ping. I got the asio driver working. it was complex involving programming so I cannot explain it here. then, it turns out I prefer wasapi. if you are using the latest win10 I would refrain from installing the very dated 1.26 streamlength driver. it will just mess up your os. I can get many asio drivers but to use them with jriver takes some know how. I am not even bothering. wasapi and the cardas cable into the qx5 which is somewhat better than the outstanding codex sounds very nice for my bedroom system. you will have to spend a crazy amount to get better so long as this is your sound. don't feel bad if you can only get the codex. as a dac,imo it is 80% of the qx5. to me 20% is nitpicking for the price difference if it is going to bankrupt you. if not go for the qx-5. it is lovely. it is not the best dac in the world but it is up there. one thing I like about the qx5 is it does not need bus power full of noise but in the codex the usb is isolated just like an intona. look at the pics. the board is split. so I do not really hear anything bad from the codex and I am sure that is why. using decrapifiers will cause the sq to decline according to ayre and to me they are correct. ymmv.

    edit, I just realized the same pics got posted like 5 times each. I do not know how that happened. my apologies for that. at least you all have the first pics of it's guts.

    edit: I also wanted to add do not use any quality usb 2.0 dac with anything in the chain from usb 3.0,3.1. especially do not use a usb 3.0,3.1 port on the host. ifi's equipment will serve these no justice either, being usb 3.0. usb 3.0 has more noise in the audio spectrum due to the increased operating frequency and frequency of the clock. if you want to do anything get the sotm usb and the 5mhz clock. that could help as clocks on motherboards for 2.0 tend to be around 23-25mhz. this serves to lower the noise floor. I have it but have not tried it with ayre. that is the real improvement you can make perhaps. these decrapifiers just add unwanted sound for the most part. you do not need the bandwidth. 480mbps is faster than anything any dac supports currently. interesting that psa/icron lanrover is 1gb and can only handle dsd 128. ayre is locked at that anyways but for the future I see that as a waste of $600. I do not know why the qx5 is locked at dsd128. it can do 2048!
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
  9. bmoregnr
    I am considering getting one of these with some Focal powered monitors. I have not paid attention to xlr cables in a long time; the Focal are Pin 1-Ground, 2-Hot, 3-Cold. I couldn't find any info on the Codex, but is that the same scheme? I assume a standard cable would be that way as well? The Focal says their XLR is +10k ohms with an input sensitivity of +4dbu; I am not sure what that means as far as connections but hope it is in the ballpark.

    Is there anything else I should be watching out for? I have a mac mini late 2014, USB 3 slots, and already have an Audioquest USB-A to B cable which I am pretty sure is USB 2; I can't think of any issues but then there always seems to be something I overlooked so figured some users could help point them out.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
  10. music_man
    all that is industry standard. it is fine. I would spend at least $250 on a 1m cable. longer, minimum of $100 for each extra meter. as a rule of thumb. it will work fine with he focals. they are pretty good too.
    mac I know nothing but it does work on mac for sure. I would not use iTunes. get a good player. I think some as low as $50.
  11. bmoregnr
    Thanks very much. I plan to use a better player in the short term but am thinking of getting into the whole microRendu thing to feed the Codex bypassing the computer, but first steps first. I have always liked the Cardas cables I have had and I might go with their XLRs.
  12. ChaseM
    I'm running a Cardas Clear USB and Cardas Clear Interconnects out of my Codex into a KGSSHV Carbon. I went through a few interconnects before settling on the Cardas. I highly recommend them.
    bmoregnr likes this.
  13. bmoregnr
    Odd question I know, but what is the stock power cord with the Codex. Is Linetek something? Although from authorized dealer I just want to make sure I got the right one. That and a usb cable was it.
  14. ChaseM
    Not sure of the brand. I will check when I get home Monday. But it's just a generic power cord. Nothing special. Same with the USB. The box on the one I got was sealed in plastic.

    Also, make sure yours came with the warranty card to send in. Sending in that card is the only way to get the full 5 year warranty.
    bmoregnr likes this.
  15. bmoregnr
    I got up and running with the Codex and Focal Shape 50s and it is a nice match. That click at the sample rate change is no joke though, it makes quite the pop, and it seems mute can't stop it.
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