Main Standout Demos Ayre Acoustics
Ayre Acoustics

We first heard the Vandersteen Seven speakers at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (RMAF) last October in Denver and were bowled over by their precise, smooth, very-high-resolution sound. From what we could glean from the display at RMAF, they seemed capable of standard-setting midrange transparency and soundstage precision. But we were even more impressed here in Las Vegas in the Ayre Acoustics display.

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Publisher Doug Schneider manages our speaker measurement, and in Las Vegas he felt more like a bettin' man. He wagered to our team that the Sevens aren't all that sensitive and need plenty of power to sound their best. He thinks that in the anechoic chamber they'd clock in at about 83dB (2.83V/1m). If not, for whatever reason, they simply need a lot of power to really come alive, particularly in a big room like the one they were shown in here in Vegas. They simply need something like the 300W that Ayre says each of their KX-R mono amps can provide.

Whereas at RMAF they sounded glorious, they were also a touch subdued, sounding like they could have used more power. In Vegas with the KX-Rs, the Sevens showed that magnificent smoothness and precision, but also punch and dynamics that were missing in October. The Ayre folks were playing both LPs and CDs, and the result was always the same: a realistic and natural tonal balance; deep bass; tremendous clarity and resolution, particularly in the midrange; and a highly focused soundstage with excellent width and depth. The only criticism is something that Jeff Fritz pointed out: the highs weren't quite as effortless-sounding as some of the state-of-the-art speakers we heard in other rooms (Magico and Rockport Technologies, for example). Jeff's a big fan of the newest beryllium-dome tweeters, which the Sevens don't have. Other than that, Doug Schneider and John Crosett found very little to criticize -- a rare thing under show conditions.

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Ayre Acoustics is not a large company, but the breadth of their current product line is eye-opening -- they make everything you see in this picture except for the rack. Yes, even the turntable is theirs -- it's the DPS. They also make the interconnects and speaker cabling, which you can't really see, and they make everything in the speaker end of the room except, of course, Vandersteen's Sevens and the platforms that their amps were resting on. We'd go through model names and prices, but the list would be too long and you'd be better off just consulting their website. All told, from the sound quality to the products on display, this exhibit was impressive in a number of ways. [www.ayre.com]

 
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