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Gryphon Diablo 300

To SoundStage! Ultra,

I would like to thank Peter Roth for his informative review of the Ayre MX-R Twenty mono amps. It was excellent. However, I would like to ask for Jeff Fritz's opinion of the Ayre MX-R Twenty monos on their own and when coupled with the KX-R Twenty. I ask this as Jeff has stated he felt the Soulution 711 was the best-sounding amp he has heard to date. As I am interested in the Ayre R-series components, I would like to know his thoughts as compared to Soulution (and Devialet). I am considering this kit to pair with my [Rockport Technologies] Altair 2 speakers.

As it is difficult for me to compare products against each other, providing this comparison information is invaluable. Thank you for the informative reading.

Thank you,
Frankie D. 
United States

I have not heard the MX-R Twenty amplifiers, so I cannot provide you with that information. I have lived with the KX-R Twenty and the original MX-Rs, however, and the Soulution and Devialet products, as you state. To begin with, I believe you can assemble a state-of-the-art stereo system around any of these three electronics brands. Each will provide a different sound: in short, the Ayres are defined by their midband purity and overall liquid sound; the Soulution products have tremendous resolution and unmatched control across the audioband; the Devialet amplifiers I have heard have a tomb-like silence and profound bass response. What does that mean for you?

The Rockport Technologies Altair 2 is a very high-resolution, full-range speaker. It is rated at 4 ohms, and has bass response down to 20Hz. You will therefore require a stout amplifier to get the best sound out of a pair of them. In short, I think you're looking in the right direction, because all three of the contenders you mention can drive that loudspeaker load and are quiet enough to allow the resolution potential of the Altair 2 to shine through. So you have a good list.

I realize that the descriptions I provided are generalizations, and are not likely to provide you with enough information to make a buying decision. There are other factors besides sound, of course, to consider as well: a Soulution 711-based system with the matching preamp plus source will cost north of $100,000. An Ayre R-series setup will be about half of that. A Devialet 400-based system will cost half again still. Big difference in prices. There are tremendous functional differences, too, especially with the Devialet products. These are not cut-and-dried, apples-to-apples comparisons.

You'll have to weigh all of these factors when making this decision. What I can say for sure is that, regardless of which way you go, you'll have an outstanding stereo system. . . . Jeff Fritz