“You know you want them”: What Hi-Fi reviews Ayre Acoustics KX-R Twenty & VX-R Twenty pre/power amps

Question: “What is the best amplifier in the world?” Answer: “This Ayre pre/power pairing is in with a strong shout,” said What Hi-Fi in its ‘best of the best’ feature in issue 436 of the magazine. Find out more in issue 437, where the team expands with a comprehensive – and rather exceptional – review.

The review gets off to a strong start. “These Ayre products make a great first impression. Taking the KX-R Twenty preamplifier out of its packaging, we’re surprised with just how small and dense it feels. It’s packed into a relatively compact case that’s smaller than most budget integrateds, yet, at 18kg, is around double the weight.”

Ayre KX-R Twenty

The casework in question is machined from a solid billet of aluminium, which “gives this range-topping preamp a deeply impressive and reassuring feeling of structural solidity.”

“Both of the control dials work with pleasing precision and have a robust feel…. The VX-R Twenty power amp echoes the preamp’s luxury aura. Add it all together and it’s not unreasonable to expect these products to be working for decades to come.”

Ayre KX-R Twenty – rear view

While the exterior of these products is impressive “it’s on the inside where Ayre’s attention to detail and open-minded electronic design really comes to the fore.” If you’re the type to take things apart and peer under the hood, “it’s a joy to behold both the quality of the components used and the obsessive care taken in designing the circuits.”

Ayre VX-R Twenty

“While it doesn’t take long to recognize that this is a reference-quality amplifier, it takes a lot longer to pin down its sonic character. This Ayre pairing is the closest we’ve heard to that mythical ‘straight wire with gain’ ideal that hi-fi purists bang on about.”

The expectation at this price point (£29,000 preamp / £25,000 power amp) is that  “nothing less than exceptional is acceptable.” The verdict? “That this Ayre combo matches – and then exceeds – those expectations is a testament to the scale of its sonic talent.”

Read the full review in the issue 437 of What Hi-Fi or online at www.whathifi.com/us/reviews/ayre-acoustics-kx-r-twenty-vx-r-twenty

Discover more at www.ayre.com and find your nearest dealer via UK distributor www.decentaudio.co.uk