Skip to main content
Topic: Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO. (Read 61262 times) previous topic - next topic
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.



Here is yet another rebadged oppo player that is selling for far more then what oppo charges for it. Ayre admits to changing nothing in the digital, HDMI, and video processing department so it is nothing more then a "snake oil" mod. With the new OPPO BDP-83 SE this ayre player is using the old DAC's and not the new ESS DAC's so you are paying $10,000 for less.

Then again one just has to look at ayre's past source units to realize it is all snake oil.

Ayre CX-7eMP




Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #1
I know I mentioned this in the theta/lexicon rebadged thread but this needs into own thread to get the word out.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #2
This from Charles Hansen from AVSForum:

Quote
Well, first of all you have to remember that we don't have to pay $500 for the unit. We buy in quantity, so Oppo gives us the spectacular discounted price of (make sure you are sitting down, please!) $400.

Then to make it an Ayre, we dismantle it completely and recycle everything except the main PCB (with the video decoder, ABT scaler chip, and HDMI transmitter), the transport mechanism, the VFD display, and the remote control handset.

Next we re-build the main PCB. The big switching power supply only provides 5 VDC, then there are little mini-switching power supplies (called DC-DC converters) on the main PCB that turn the 5 VDC into 1.0 VDC, 1.1 VDC, 1.8 VDC, and 3.3 VDC. All of those are removed. There are also USB power switches that allow hot-plugging of USB devices. These are removed as they have another kind of DC-DC converter called a "charge pump".

All of the supplies are replaced with pure linear supplies with analog regulators. The USB power switches are replaced with devices without the charge pumps. Now we have gotten rid of seven noise sources that create high-frequency square waves with harmonics well out into the MHz region. Getting rid of all of that noise creates a visibly cleaner picture.

Next, we replace the low-quality master video clock with a VCXO. This becomes more important later on, as you will see.

Now we start adding things back in. First is our AyreLink communication system. It allows AyreLink equipped components to act as one big system. For example, turning on the player will turn on all of the downstream components as well as automatically select the correct input on the preamp. We also make an external RS-232 to AyreLink converter box for system controllers like Crestrons. The AyreLink system has opto-isolators between each component to avoid unwanted ground loops, which is why we don't use RS-232 inputs on any of our equipment.

Then we add a custom programmed FPGA on the front panel PCB to do some housekeeping. It intercepts the appropriate commands and translates them to operate the AyreLink system. It disables the internal volume control (which operates in the digital domain and degrades the sound) and instead routes the volume changes to an AyreLink equipped preamp. It also allows us to send custom messages to the front panel VFD display. So when the USB audio input is activated, it will report that on the front panel along with the sample rate of the received signal.

There are a bunch of boards added on the audio side. I say "side" because we literally split the player into two parts. There is a separate power transformer that runs all of the audio circuitry, which is separated from the video side by a bank of opto-isolators. So the audio and video "sides" have separate grounds that are completely galvanically isolated. This is the only way to get the best performance from either your audio system or your video system.

All video displays have switching power supplies that dump noise into your system in the absence of such isolation. There are also ground loops that are inevitably formed as there is no such thing as a balanced video connection. All of those problems go away with our isolation system.

The ten-channel audio board is replaced by a two-channel audio board. Everything on this board is top-quality, with discrete, fully balanced, zero-feedback audio circuitry and discrete, zero-feedback power supply regulators. There are improvements in both the parts quality and circuit design that give it even higher performance than the QB-9 USB DAC that was recently rated "Class A+" in Stereophile's recommended components issue. For two-channel disc playback (CD, SACD, DVD-Audio), the performance exceeds our $6,000 audio-only disc player.

We also add the USB audio input that allows you to connect your personal computer and turn your system into a music server. Your entire digital library (except SACD's, thank you very much Sony -- not!) can be stored on a hard drive and played back with the click of a mouse. So this one component can be the only source component that you need. This input is also connected via a bank of opto-isolators, so there is actually a *third* "side" to the system -- the video, the audio, and the computer. The noise from your computer and its switching power supply will not be connected to either your video or audio systems.

We also add a second audio-only HDMI connector. This is fed by the isolated signals on the audio "side" so that it won't contaminate your surround-sound system if you choose to connect one. It also supports the new "Audio Rate Control" (ARC) feature that is part of the HDMI 1.3a specifcation. This is a breakthrough for the surround-sound enthusiast, as HDMI is normally the worst way in the world to send audio data -- the jitter is even worse than the lowly S/PDIF connection.

But with ARC, the surround-sound processor uses a local crystal oscillator to provide a low-jitter clock to the DAC chips. Then there is a buffer that stores the incoming audio data. When the buffer is too full it sends a signal back upstream to the Blu-Ray player telling it to slow down the disc slightly. When the buffer is too empty, it asks the disc to speed up slightly. Now the audio clock is in charge, the way that it should be. (When the unit is running in two-channel mode, the local low-jitter, fixed-frequency crystal oscillator provides the master audio clock.)

With a modern digital display (plasma, LCD, LCOS, DLP, et cetera) jitter on the video signal does not matter. Since there is no conversion to analog, the digital signal values are simply stored in a frame buffer until needed.

Then the whole thing is put into a custom chassis made entirely from anodized aluminum and stainless steel. We want our products to look just as good 50 years from now as they do today. There are other people making Oppo "clones". One of them only replaces the chassis. Another replaces the power supply also. Nobody is rebuilding the complete player and adding the extra features and advanced technology that Ayre is.

As far as the value, it is up to you to determine that. I can't tell you how much an improved picture is worth. I can't tell you how much better sound is worth. I can't tell you how much the features we add are worth. You will have to decide that for yourself.

What I can tell you is that, just like all of our other products, they offer engineering and performance beyond what anyone else is offering, at a fair price that reflects our cost of manufacturing, and that we back up our products with both a strong network of the finest dealers on the planet and an incredible service policy.

Unlike other manufacturers that try to sell you a "new and improved" product every year or two, when we figure out a way to genuinely improve the performance of our existing products, we offer upgrades to current owners at very reasonable prices. Go to the Audio Asylum and check out some comments regarding our recent "MP" upgrades to the C-5xe and CX-7e disc players, for example.

If you want a great Blu-Ray player for an incredible price, buy the Oppo. If you want the best picture and sound quality in the world for your home theater and price is not a concern, check out the Ayre. And no, it will not be available in November, sorry. Early next year will be a better guess.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #3
Here is yet another rebadged oppo player that is selling for far more then what oppo charges for it. Ayre admits to changing nothing in the digital, HDMI, and video processing department so it is nothing more then a "snake oil" mod. With the new OPPO BDP-83 SE this ayre player is using the old DAC's and not the new ESS DAC's so you are paying $10,000 for less.

Then again one just has to look at ayre's past source units to realize it is all snake oil.


I think Mr Hansen answers your concerns in his post crossposted from AVSforum...

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #4
Disturbing, but fascinating. Since I´m a constant reader of the (at this place) dreaded 'HighEnd' magazines I´m well aware of the fact that Ayre uses cheap basics for their costly gadgets. I´ve never heard one of those gadgets though and theoretically I´d assume that the version from Ayre sounds better or at least different than the OPPO when it comes to the analogue outputs. As I recall, Ayre spends a great deal of time programming their own DSP for upsampling, filtering and D/A conversion. Furthermore, they seem to invest more money and time into the analogue outputs - at least they claim so.

I don´t know about the reputation of more expensive parts for analogue outputs but I would think that the correct usage of those is more than half the gain of what you would get if you´d use a different, more modern DAC. For all modern DACs are only different in miniscule amounts when you look only at the conversion quality itself. I guess that even cheaper converters nowadays reach a quality that easily surpasses that of converters built 15 years ago. Correct me if I´m wrong there.

Still, I find $ 10.000 way too much money. And even if Ayre lists in a detailed way how they are changing the basis into something else I can´t help myself feeling that they ridicule themselves. I admit that I miss the days when expensive gadgets like this one here were built like tanks, built to stay functional 20 years or more. Neither the Ayre nor the Oppo are one of those 'tanks' so I wonder how long they will last. The statement that the Ayre is supposed to still look good in 50 years is ridiculous when viewed in the light of my previous sentence. Especially when one considers that Blu-Ray technology still is advancing and newer protocols are constantly added. Can the software receive an upgrade? Like for example the PS3?

EDIT: a bit of reading over at the AVS forum... the head of Ayre, Charles Hansen, is very open about the whole thing. It´s not that they want to keep this a secret. He freely acknowledges the input of Oppo and that the reason for choosing their products as a basis has - fanfare - fincancial reasons.

He states:
Quote
a) It would actually cost more to buy a kit of the required parts from Oppo. We are a small manufacturer, making specialized equipment that only appeals to the most dedicated enthusiasts. If we sold 1000 units a year it would be a miracle. But 1000 units is about a ten-minute run on the high speed automated assembly lines used by Oppo. It would take them far more time to change the setup to make a special version of the player for us than it would be worth.

b) The licenses required for DVD alone are about $150,000 up front and $50,000 a year, plus royalties on equipment that has nothing to do with the DVD patents. There is no point to pay the DVD Forum royalties on high quality power supplies, clock oscillators, audio circuitry, chassis, et cetera. All that would do is raise the prices for you, the consumer.

I didn't even bother to check into Blu-Ray, but it is undoubtedly even more expensive. By purchasing a complete, licensed player with all royalties paid, we can "modify" it to our heart's content without paying a dime. Plus we are not contractually obligated to observe the BDA's restrictions.


Still, too expensive.
marlene-d.blogspot.com

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #5
Quote
This from Charles Hansen from AVSForum:

I think Mr Hansen answers your concerns in his post crossposted from AVSforum...


Sorry but charles sounds like snake oil peddler when trying to defend his $10,000 oppo, everything he says is subjective at best so where is his objective data and DBT's? The ayre is 100% snake oil and the funny thing is with the SE version of the oppo being released they $10,000 ayre DX-5 is still using the old DAC's so the new $800 oppo SE is using better DAC's then the ayre!

Quote
EDIT: a bit of reading over at the AVS forum... the head of Ayre, Charles Hansen, is very open about the whole thing. It´s not that they want to keep this a secret. He freely acknowledges the input of Oppo and that the reason for choosing their products as a basis has - fanfare - fincancial reasons.


He is now making up excuses for his rebadged product, if he kept it a secret about the DX-5 being an oppo the feed back would be a lot worse once the unit was put onto the market.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #6
I´ve never heard one of those gadgets though and theoretically I´d assume that the version from Ayre sounds better or at least different than the OPPO when it comes to the analogue outputs.


Don't assume anything other than marketing and placebo.  "High End" engineers are quite good at fixing "problems" that have not been shown to be problems outside of sighted listening tests.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #7
The ayre is 100% snake oil and the funny thing is with the SE version of the oppo being released they $10,000 ayre DX-5 is still using the old DAC's so the new $800 oppo SE is using better DAC's then the ayre!

I've never heard an Ayre and am certainly not going to defend it here, but I want to make a generic point...

The actual DAC chips used in a player probably account for no more than 5% of its eventual performance. Pretty much all modern DAC chips have performance beyond the capabilities of the human ear. It's things like the circuitry layout, grounding issues, isolation from power supply noise, etc. that make the difference.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #8
The ayre is 100% snake oil and the funny thing is with the SE version of the oppo being released they $10,000 ayre DX-5 is still using the old DAC's so the new $800 oppo SE is using better DAC's then the ayre!

I've never heard an Ayre and am certainly not going to defend it here, but I want to make a generic point...

The actual DAC chips used in a player probably account for no more than 5% of its eventual performance. Pretty much all modern DAC chips have performance beyond the capabilities of the human ear. It's things like the circuitry layout, grounding issues, isolation from power supply noise, etc. that make the difference.


I don't believe this for a second. The degree to which any part of an audio component (e.g. CD player) makes a difference relates to the rest of the equipment and its operational context. A single part's importance can range over the whole range on a case-by-case basis. For example, if a DAC chip is really bad, it can make a 100% difference - it will keep the player from working at all.

OTOH, given the limitations of making real-world recordings, it doesn't take a very impressive DAC chip to be completely sonically innocious - just any other good player. So if we limit our consideration to reasonble DAC chhips, then their importance is 0% provided that they are working in spec.

So there you have it, the importance of a DAC chip (or any other part of an optical disc player) ranges from 0 to 100%. depending.

You're pretty well guaranteed that if you pay more than $50 for an optical disk player, it may look cheap and have neandrathal ergonomics, but it will check out to be sonically transparent in a well-run DBT.  Its test bench performance will show that all measurable forms of noise, linear and nonlinear disstortion are completely masked by the media it plays and the system it plays over, no matter how high their performance is.

In that context, the claim that *anything* sounds better than a $50 optical disc player is moot, provided we define "sounds better" to be related to actual acoustical sound. As soon as we include non-sonic attributes, YMMV.

IOW. using a $500 Oppo as a benchmark can be effectively criticized, on the grounds that it is way too expensive. The $10,000 Ayre needs to be called what it is - a distraction for ignorant status seekers.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #9
Amazing that people can make judgements regarding the sonic differences of equipment they've never heard...

I chimed in on this thread to merely point out that the Ayre player (not yet released or heard in the general population) is not SIMPLY a rebadged Oppo, but a comprehensive upgrade that some people may find worth the steep price.

The Oppo is a terrific piece -- enough performance to satisfy 99.9% of the population. The Ayre will likely show itself to have incremental ergonomic, sonic and visual improvements for which 0.1% are willing to pay.


Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #10
Amazing that people can make judgements regarding the sonic differences of equipment they've never heard...


Amazing that people use this argument on Hydrogenaudio, especially in light of what people usually discover in volume matched blind testing...

Quote
A single part's importance can range over the whole range on a case-by-case basis. For example, if a DAC chip is really bad, it can make a 100% difference - it will keep the player from working at all.


I think he was merely trying to say that modern DAC chips are good enough (and cheap enough) that you don't see this sort of variance anymore.  You said it yourself - if you pay more then $50 for a optical disk player then  it's likely to be sonically transparent.  Fussing about modern DAC chips doesn't really tell us anything nowadays.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #11
Amazing that people can make judgements regarding the sonic differences of equipment they've never heard...


Amazing that there are people who still think that you can sort good digital players like apples, using listening tests. Their usual status is: Never ever did a proper listening test, and see no need for them.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #12
I chimed in on this thread to merely point out that the Ayre player (not yet released or heard in the general population) is not SIMPLY a rebadged Oppo, but a comprehensive upgrade that some people may find worth the steep price.


I think you need to learn about the difference between an upgrade and a change.  Upgrading parts implies improved performance in real world use.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #13
I'm sure Ayre is convinced that the improvements justify the cost and - in terms of the work Charles Hansen claims the company puts into this product - it justifies the price tag. It really does read like it is a reengineered OPPO rather than a rebadged OPPO, and that reengineering costs.

I suspect the impetus to make such a thing is driven by the notion that the reengineering process = better performance. Because if it were a cynical marketing ploy, they'd have just put the OPPO in an Ayre box, charged a couple of grand for the end result and made all manner of woo claims about the case adding special magic powers to the player. By admitting the origins of the product up front and citing the modifications and reworkings made to create this Ayre product out of its OPPO foundations, it smacks of some kind of twisted-logic integrity. Ayre has clearly gone the extra mile here.

The problem is, it's impressive reengineering without the slightest possibility of that relating to a practical performance advantage (other than bragging rights). It's like designing a cat flap that is invisible to radar - an exciting exercise in and of itself, but of no real benefit over the original design.

That's probably the differentiator that separates the well-meaning, but delusional audiophile company from the cynical 'only in it for the money' types. I don't know which is worse, though.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #14
That's probably the differentiator that separates the well-meaning, but delusional audiophile company from the cynical 'only in it for the money' types. I don't know which is worse, though.

How does a person working for a well meaning but delusional audiophile company determine what modifications to perform? If they follow a normal approach based on engineering principles they will not end up with audiophile gear. So what principles/reasoning do they follow?

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #15
That's probably the differentiator that separates the well-meaning, but delusional audiophile company from the cynical 'only in it for the money' types. I don't know which is worse, though.


Sounds like a good candidate for a freakonomics style doctoral dissertation

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #16
How does a person working for a well meaning but delusional audiophile company determine what modifications to perform? If they follow a normal approach based on engineering principles they will not end up with audiophile gear. So what principles/reasoning do they follow?


Well that's easy. If there's a tolerance somewhere, improve on it. If it delivers 0.01% THD+N, make it deliver 0.001%. If it's frequency response is already flat from DC to light, make it flatter. Then put it in an expensive case with a thick front panel with a laser-etched logo.

It doesn't matter if no-one can hear those differences, it's 'better' because it's 'better' in a "These goes up to 11" kind of way. It's engineering by specmanship, not by making the product fit for purpose.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #17
The Oppo is a terrific piece -- enough performance to satisfy 99.9% of the population. The Ayre will likely show itself to have incremental ergonomic,


possibly

Quote
sonic


unlikely

Quote
and visual improvements


likely

Quote
for which 0.1% are willing to pay.


Indeed.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #18
I stumbled across this forum whilst google-surfing the DX-5.

I must say, you guys sound like a bunch of uptight know-it-all's. This hobby is supposed to be fun!

For a guy who has a hundred grand in room design and construction, another $200K in gear, a $10K (or whatever) BRD/SACD/DVD/DVD-A/CD/USB DAC player is not huge deal. The psychological value of knowing you are squeezing every ounce out of your room is definitely worth it.

As Charles Hansen discusses in the DX-5 thread at AVS Forum, this player is not for the average Joe. He also goes into the reasons why so many of the perfectionist audio manufacturers buy existing players -- licensing fees! I had no idea how steep they were...

The Ayre DX-5 will, by design, appeal to a narrow market and I assure you outperform the Oppo on a satisfactorily resolute system... Now excuse me while I enjoy some music!




Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #19
I stumbled across this forum whilst google-surfing the DX-5.

I must say, you guys sound like a bunch of uptight know-it-all's. This hobby is supposed to be fun!

For a guy who has a hundred grand in room design and construction, another $200K in gear, a $10K (or whatever) BRD/SACD/DVD/DVD-A/CD/USB DAC player is not huge deal. The psychological value of knowing you are squeezing every ounce out of your room is definitely worth it.

As Charles Hansen discusses in the DX-5 thread at AVS Forum, this player is not for the average Joe. He also goes into the reasons why so many of the perfectionist audio manufacturers buy existing players -- licensing fees! I had no idea how steep they were...

The Ayre DX-5 will, by design, appeal to a narrow market and I assure you outperform the Oppo on a satisfactorily resolute system... Now excuse me while I enjoy some music!


$300,000 in room design, construction, and overpriced equipment is what it takes for you before it becomes "fun" ?

Okay....


Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #20
$300,000 in room design, construction, and overpriced equipment is what it takes for you before it becomes "fun" ?

Okay....


But it's definitely "worth it". 
daefeatures.co.uk

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #21
Scott Fitzgerald: Rich people aren't like the rest of us.

Hemingway: No, they have better ears.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #22
I stumbled across this forum whilst google-surfing the DX-5.

I must say, you guys sound like a bunch of uptight know-it-all's. This hobby is supposed to be fun!

For a guy who has a hundred grand in room design and construction, another $200K in gear, a $10K (or whatever) BRD/SACD/DVD/DVD-A/CD/USB DAC player is not huge deal. The psychological value of knowing you are squeezing every ounce out of your room is definitely worth it.

As Charles Hansen discusses in the DX-5 thread at AVS Forum, this player is not for the average Joe. He also goes into the reasons why so many of the perfectionist audio manufacturers buy existing players -- licensing fees! I had no idea how steep they were...

The Ayre DX-5 will, by design, appeal to a narrow market and I assure you outperform the Oppo on a satisfactorily resolute system... Now excuse me while I enjoy some music!


As I've said earlier, Charles Hansen's explanation of the costs of the reengineering process are not the issue. Given what he's doing to what he's working with, $10k seems strangely reasonable.

It's the rationale for that reengineering process that is so questionable. It's like taking a $50,000 150mph BMW and completely rebuilding it at huge costs to produce a slightly more plush BMW capable of 150.0001mph... at a cost of $1,000,000. There will always be people who buy that on the basis of the added plushness and there will be people who buy it for the exclusivity factor, but would you really praise the million-dollar bimmer on the basis of it being faster? Would you be able to notice the difference of an extra six inches per hour top speed?

These are the sort of order-of-magnitude performance benefits typically offered by high-end reworkings of mainstream audio products. All very impressive from an engineering standing, but engineering to produce better engineered products, not better performing products on any observable level.

Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #23
Thanks for a reasoned response! You may be correct, I'll let you know -- and if you are nearby you can come by and judge for yourself (once I have a DX-5 to audition in my listening room).

I stumbled across this forum whilst google-surfing the DX-5.

I must say, you guys sound like a bunch of uptight know-it-all's. This hobby is supposed to be fun!

For a guy who has a hundred grand in room design and construction, another $200K in gear, a $10K (or whatever) BRD/SACD/DVD/DVD-A/CD/USB DAC player is not huge deal. The psychological value of knowing you are squeezing every ounce out of your room is definitely worth it.

As Charles Hansen discusses in the DX-5 thread at AVS Forum, this player is not for the average Joe. He also goes into the reasons why so many of the perfectionist audio manufacturers buy existing players -- licensing fees! I had no idea how steep they were...

The Ayre DX-5 will, by design, appeal to a narrow market and I assure you outperform the Oppo on a satisfactorily resolute system... Now excuse me while I enjoy some music!


As I've said earlier, Charles Hansen's explanation of the costs of the reengineering process are not the issue. Given what he's doing to what he's working with, $10k seems strangely reasonable.

It's the rationale for that reengineering process that is so questionable. It's like taking a $50,000 150mph BMW and completely rebuilding it at huge costs to produce a slightly more plush BMW capable of 150.0001mph... at a cost of $1,000,000. There will always be people who buy that on the basis of the added plushness and there will be people who buy it for the exclusivity factor, but would you really praise the million-dollar bimmer on the basis of it being faster? Would you be able to notice the difference of an extra six inches per hour top speed?

These are the sort of order-of-magnitude performance benefits typically offered by high-end reworkings of mainstream audio products. All very impressive from an engineering standing, but engineering to produce better engineered products, not better performing products on any observable level.


Ayre DX-5 at $10,000 is a rebadged $500 OPPO.

Reply #24
$300,000 in room design, construction, and overpriced equipment is what it takes for you before it becomes "fun" ?

Okay....


I never said that...

I've been having fun with this hobby for 30 years with far less invested... Incremental upgrades are the nature for any enthusiast with means in most hobbies I'm aware of.

 
SimplePortal 1.0.0 RC1 © 2008-2019