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Review and Measurements of Ayre CODEX DAC & Amp

anmpr1

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#41
It took some time to develop but High End Audio is a luxury market. IOW there is no relationship between price and performance. No Patek Philippe keeps time as well as any Casio watch. Patek may even be less durable.
Yes. And I have no problem with that. But included in hi-fi 'luxury' ought to be luxurious (i.e., state of the art) engineering. If you buy a new Porsche Turbo S, you will get SOA automobile engineering in both performance and handling. If you buy a Bentley Mulsanne, you will get the best interior you can imagine. So there is value, there. If I needed a SS amplifier, I'd much rather have a Mark Levinson or McIntosh. That's because I presume the engineers working in those shops know what they are doing (but since no one is really reviewing those items objectively, I can't say for sure). In any case, back lit blue watt meters under glass really do it for me. On the other hand, what gets to me are products that are sold as 'high end' but are obviously second or third rate, from an engineering standpoint. Finally, when any manufacturer starts talking about 'pace and rhythm', and they are not talking about Toscannini v. Furtwangler, you know that it is time to walk away.
 

Xulonn

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#42
I bet lots here still read Stereophile.:facepalm:
Actually I do occasionally go to their "Recommended Components" and reviews pages. I would guess that their evaluations of less esoteric and obscure products might receive a more accurate descriptions, because there would be no "high-end" guru designer/manufacturer/advertiser to offend.

Although I try to be rational and logical, I may still be a bit gullible after 62 years as an "audio enthusiast", a hobby that started when I was a HS student working as an usher for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the Fritz Reiner era in the late 1950s. That was the same period that I assembled my first "hi-fi" system - a rather large custom Jensen 3-way bass-reflex speaker system driven by a Bell 6L6-based mono tube amplifier.

My first exposure to high-end audio was in winter of 1960 when I experienced the sound of system in a small barber shop on 55th Street near Kedzie Avenue, also in Chicago. It was only two years after consumer stereo systems became commercially available and begn replacing mono systems. The barber drove a pair of big "low-boy" Bozak speakers with McIntosh electronics, including a C20 preamp and a pair of MC60 power amps. Needless to say, as a wannabe audiophile, I was quite impressed.

Over the years, I subscribed to and devoured the monthly editions of HiFi and Audio magazines, then Stereo Review and finally, Stereophile (LINK to history of specialty audio magazines). Audio Magazine was my favorite, and Stereophile was my last. But after Amir's exposure of John Atkinson's deceptive rhetoric, Stereophile has sunk even lower in credibility.

In my low-budget retirement life in the mountains of western Panama, I own a pair of Paradigm Atom V6 monitors, which where Stereophile favorites as budget small monitors for many years. It is probably my appreciation of the Atoms that lead me to give a bit of credibility to some of Stereophile's - now on-line - reviews and recommendations. I always took them with a grain of salt - but as my cardiologist sez...
Grain of Salt.jpg
 

anmpr1

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#43
My first exposure to high-end audio was in winter of 1960... a small barber shop on 55th Street near Kedzie Avenue, also in Chicago. It was only two years after consumer stereo systems became commercially available and begn replacing mono systems. The barber drove a pair of big "low-boy" Bozak speakers with McIntosh electronics, including a C20 preamp and a pair of MC60 power amps.
Yeah...well, if I'm getting my hair cut, I'm getting it cut there. That's for sure. LOL

Crazy thing is, some of the old gear was (still is) great sounding, in spite of all the modern day advances. Progress has a way of turning against itself. Back in the day, amplifier power was expensive, so sensitive speakers were more common. These speakers were usually large, but dynamic sounding. Horns. Acoustic suspension designs increased bass response in smaller cabinets, but at the expense of 'live' dynamics. This in turn required more powerful amplifiers capable of driving inefficient speakers to satisfactory levels. If we were still listening to Paul Klipsch, we'd have never needed Bob Carver (...or, more likely, Bob would have evolved in a different way).

I remember comparing the AR3a with the JBL L100. At the time both were two moderately priced 'bookshelf' speakers representative of mass market sound. The AR sounded muffled, but more integrated from top to bottom. It required 60 watts (a lot in those days) to even start sounding alive. But even then, it never sounded too alive. The JBL sounded (to me) more like live music. An immediate presence, dynamic and unconstrained. And it sounded that way at half the power of the AR3. The only other speaker from the time that appealed to me was the Quad electrostatic, but that was a real outlier, and had its own limitations. What I wanted was a Quad sound with JBL dynamics. Was I too unrealistic?

Back then, a speaker working to 50Hz was pretty good, because most people were using records. Even now, with digital, unless you are a pipe organ fanatic, 50Hz is not bad. If it is an honest 50. The subwoofer thing is more for movies--special effects and all that. I guess for loud rock and roll a subwoofer is helpful.
 

svart-hvitt

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#44
What does this imply about John Atkinson? Is he truly incompetent? Or is he a tool of the Voodoo HiFi Manufacturers Association?

Or perhaps Amir is totally incompetent, since he cannot measure pace and rhythm?

View attachment 24850
Remember, Mr. Atkinson, who just left his editior role to another journalist, is regarded by many as the highlight of Stereophile with his measurements Columbia. In fact, many ASR members hold him in high regard.

I guess @amirm ’s measurements tell us quite a bit about Mr. Atkinson, as well as the standards of some ASR members, right?
 

Dro

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#45
It took some time to develop but High End Audio is a luxury market. IOW there is no relationship between price and performance. No Patek Philippe keeps time as well as any Casio watch. Patek may even be less durable.
If high end watches were advertised like high end audio, we would read that a watch should not move 24 hours each day because that is actually not a quality to look for and unnatural. Then they would call you an idiot for being on time and knowing what date it is.
 

Shadrach

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#46
I doubt the reviewers are deaf, but they should be required to visit an audiologist and then publish their audiograms. Deluded? Reviewers that hear big differences in cables and magic amplifier bricks are most likely true believers. Crooked? Magazines are generally supported by ads. I don't know Stereophile's situation; maybe they are subscriber supported, but that would surprise me. Follow the money.

How did all this come about? In the early days of hi-fi the 'high end' was relatively expensive (McIntosh, Marantz) but you generally got good engineering for your dollar. And dealer support. Other more mass marketed stuff (factory built or kit--Dyna, Scott, HK, Fisher) was generally good quality at the price point. By the early '70s, Japanese manufacturing (sans import tariffs?) put affordable American companies out of business. Either that, or they outsourced production to Japan. The press? Some argued that Pioneer, Sansui, Kenwood, Japanese Marantz bought up all the ads, and got all the reviews. Even if it was true (ask Gordon Holt), most electronic reviews concentrated on specs, and in the spec department a Japanese receiver or integrated amp was, for the most part, good value. Also, the FTC rule on amp power advertising tended to standardize things (of course, to the detriment of tube amps, which were never designed for the 'preconditioning' phase of the power test).

The emergence of an American cottage 'high end' industry allowed American hi-fi to survive. But in a mutated and distorted form. Things moved quickly from engineering, to whatever someone could pay. It seemed a better business model to sell a hundred units for ten times the price of units that sold in the tens of thousands, to average folk. The question was, how in the heck could you sell something that cost ten times what something else did? Whatever could be the selling feature?

Mark Levinson was the Big Kahuna in all this. Before Mark, even an Audio Research tube preamp was kind of affordable; you could even buy a Dyna Stereo 70 'upgrade' kit from them. Mark changed all that. Of course he couldn't tell you why his preamp was better than a Pioneer. Only that it 'sounded' better. His trick was getting Harry Pearson, Peter Aczel (in his earliest iteration) and the Stereophile crowd on board. Aczel was the biggest ML supporter. It seemed that anything Mark sold, Aczel would buy, and then proclaim the 'best' there was. Until the next upgrade--then it was wash, rinse, and repeat. Pearson, for his part, was more a tube guy, etc. But what ever it was, it was all high priced. In order to justify it, specs were declared either meaningless, or elusive. No longer was it harmonic distortion. You now had to check transient intermodulation distortion, and other esoteric electrical goodies. Eventually even these were abandoned as having no bearing on 'sound'. A 'new' vocabulary was invented in order to figure it out. So now, instead of distortion, we have things like pace and rhythm.

However all that was and is, at least with a Levinson amplifier you more or less got/get what you paid for. A beast that could drive any known speaker, and that would probably last a long long time. Plus a dealer that would give you a loaner when it conks out. Back in the day, once you bought your mail order Pioneer from Warehouse Sound Company in San Luis Obispo, you were on your own. Probably the same with modern-day mail order, like Crutchfield, although they have a 60 day return policy. The scene is littered with defunct high end companies that were once the beez kneez, but now are forgotten. I can understand sort of buying an expensive amplifier, if you have hard to drive speakers. But I can't understand something like this Ayre Codex. Something like this would make Mark Levinson cringe. At least his stuff had class.
Hmmm, an interesting take on the subject.
I have absolutely no idea if the brands you mention prior to the Japaneses brands were any good. It would be interesting to get some of these 'iconic' brands measured properly.
I would love to get the Exposure amps I have now measured which are fairly old and were in their day comparatively expensive compared to the stuff arriving from Japan.
I had a Sansui AU 717 for a while with rack handles:). I wonder how that would stack up.
 

Shadrach

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#47
Actually I do occasionally go to their "Recommended Components" and reviews pages. I would guess that their evaluations of less esoteric and obscure products might receive a more accurate descriptions, because there would be no "high-end" guru designer/manufacturer/advertiser to offend.

Although I try to be rational and logical, I may still be a bit gullible after 62 years as an "audio enthusiast", a hobby that started when I was a HS student working as an usher for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the Fritz Reiner era in the late 1950s. That was the same period that I assembled my first "hi-fi" system - a rather large custom Jensen 3-way bass-reflex speaker system driven by a Bell 6L6-based mono tube amplifier.

My first exposure to high-end audio was in winter of 1960 when I experienced the sound of system in a small barber shop on 55th Street near Kedzie Avenue, also in Chicago. It was only two years after consumer stereo systems became commercially available and begn replacing mono systems. The barber drove a pair of big "low-boy" Bozak speakers with McIntosh electronics, including a C20 preamp and a pair of MC60 power amps. Needless to say, as a wannabe audiophile, I was quite impressed.

Over the years, I subscribed to and devoured the monthly editions of HiFi and Audio magazines, then Stereo Review and finally, Stereophile (LINK to history of specialty audio magazines). Audio Magazine was my favorite, and Stereophile was my last. But after Amir's exposure of John Atkinson's deceptive rhetoric, Stereophile has sunk even lower in credibility.

In my low-budget retirement life in the mountains of western Panama, I own a pair of Paradigm Atom V6 monitors, which where Stereophile favorites as budget small monitors for many years. It is probably my appreciation of the Atoms that lead me to give a bit of credibility to some of Stereophile's - now on-line - reviews and recommendations. I always took them with a grain of salt - but as my cardiologist sez...
View attachment 24859
I've never been a fan of Stereophile, or J Atkinson. I was rather fond of Wireless World.;)
 
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#48
Remember, Mr. Atkinson, who just left his editior role to another journalist, is regarded by many as the highlight of Stereophile with his measurements Columbia. In fact, many ASR members hold him in high regard.

I guess @amirm ’s measurements tell us quite a bit about Mr. Atkinson, as well as the standards of some ASR members, right?
JA wouldn't have kept his job at Stereophile for so long if he wasn't willing to spin the objective truth into something that lined up with the lead reviewer's subjective impressions. That said, he's saved his most glowing praise over the years for objectively well-engineered gear ... e.g., the Benchmark AHB1, Revel Performa3, etc.
 

SIY

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#50
Yes. And I have no problem with that. But included in hi-fi 'luxury' ought to be luxurious (i.e., state of the art) engineering. If you buy a new Porsche Turbo S, you will get SOA automobile engineering in both performance and handling. If you buy a Bentley Mulsanne, you will get the best interior you can imagine.
And if you buy a classic Jaguar, you get electricals by Lucas.:D
 

svart-hvitt

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#51
JA wouldn't have kept his job at Stereophile for so long if he wasn't willing to spin the objective truth into something that lined up with the lead reviewer's subjective impressions. That said, he's saved his most glowing praise over the years for objectively well-engineered gear ... e.g., the Benchmark AHB1, Revel Performa3, etc.
I don’t see why you and others are so apologetic. Either you are trustworthy, or you’re not. Trust is something you build over time.

You can’t be a bit pregnant, right? So how could a person be a bit trustworthy?
 
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#54
I don’t see why you and others are so apologetic. Either you are trustworthy, or you’re not. Trust is something you build over time.

You can’t be a bit pregnant, right? So how could a person be a bit trustworthy?
It's more of a half-apology. Remember, he still posted the data, even if it was damning, which gave readers the opportunity to draw their own conclusions. Had he obfuscated that data, I wouldn't be so magnanimous.
 

svart-hvitt

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#57
It's more of a half-apology. Remember, he still posted the data, even if it was damning, which gave readers the opportunity to draw their own conclusions. Had he obfuscated that data, I wouldn't be so magnanimous.
I guess the same can be said of atomicbob’s Schiit measurements and reviews. He looks at (some of) the same data as @amirm , yet concludes very differently.
 

cjfrbw

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#58
I remember an instructor in my program who had a Jag long before Ford bought them. He cursed it every single day for idiosyncratic tortures. It was funny, because the daily Jag rant was inevitable. This was in the South, and he nor the dealer could ever get the air conditioning to work. He also complained about 'oozing glue joints' from the heat.

I guess the older British cars were nice when they were "in the zone". However, getting them and keeping them "in the zone" could be Hurculean effort, aggravation and expense
 

Blumlein 88

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#59
I don’t see why you and others are so apologetic. Either you are trustworthy, or you’re not. Trust is something you build over time.

You can’t be a bit pregnant, right? So how could a person be a bit trustworthy?
Over-simplification. I hold JA in some regard for the measurements done. I hold him in some regard for posting those when the results were weak vs praise for the product under test. But he did have a way of papering over those. Often with saying despite measured artifacts the reviewer heard nothing wrong. Times like with the Ayre where he praises the results and you look and wonder wow I'd hate to see bad results if these are good were not common though did happen sometimes.

Back when he started measurements for S-phile he said he thought over time some patterns of what made for good gear would emerge. For myself knowing more about the reliability of sighted biased comparisons I know there was never any chance for that to happen. Whether he knew that or not then or how he thinks of it now I don't know.

I do trust his measurements he never seemed to abridge those. His measurements replicate elsewhere. His conclusions I'd not take without a grain of salt or my own conclusions substituted. So I trust some aspects of Mr. Atkinson, and look askance at others. So it isn't a black or white matter of trust. Trust isn't like being pregnant. I've never found trust to be that binary with most people.
 

Shadrach

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#60
I remember an instructor in my program who had a Jag long before Ford bought them. He cursed it every single day for idiosyncratic tortures. It was funny, because the daily Jag rant was inevitable. This was in the South, and he nor the dealer could ever get the air conditioning to work. He also complained about 'oozing glue joints' from the heat.

I guess the older British cars were nice when they were "in the zone". However, getting them and keeping them "in the zone" could be Hurculean effort, aggravation and expense
A bit like my old Ducati then.:p
 
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