Ayre QB-9DSD

Ayre QB-9 DSD

Our review of Ayre QB-9 is about three years old now but I can remember the conclusion clearly (and I am translated from the original Greek version): "without any intention of exaggeration, this an inspired product, which comprises all those components that should be included, making the one "extra step" needed to justify its descent and all this seems to have a clearly audible result."
QB-9 was probably the first pricey converter to not offer the USB input as just "another option" but it was clearly oriented to the computer user who was looking for a top DAC suitable for audio streaming. People at Ayre had put their best: Asynchronous USB connection, a well thought and engineered custom digital filter and an analog output stage with discrete components, all ensured that "extra step" referred to in the conclusions above. That model had already undergone an upgrade compared to the original QB-9 from 2009, and could support sample rates up to 24bit/192kHz.
Based on Ayre's preference to upgrade the current instead of announce a new model, the QB-9DSD was, therefore, the next logical step. DSD format is gaining ground in the ideological level between audiophiles, so the addition of such a functionality in a device perfectly oriented to computer audio was a matter of time. Right?

Well, obviously, yes but…
…in fact, QB-9DSD is a completely new converter comprising substantial differences at, almost, all critical points. Treating this as a QB-9 which just "plays DSD" would be simplistic to say the least, if not downright unfair. From the original device, Ayre has maintained the minimalist chassis, the general architecture of the analog stage (discrete semiconductors in a balanced topology, without feedback) and the digital filter. Changes have been made to the D/A conversion part, to the power supply and to the clock circuits and some “small” ones in the analog part, as well. And, yeah, the QB-9DSD can stream DSD 64x files, if you need to. Let's look at the details…

Dimitris Stamatakos

Text Data
Original Publilcation: 2014/10/21 Last Follow Up: 2014/10/21 Original Language: Greek (Translated)

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