The Ayre QX-5 Twenty Debuts At Audio Connection

It was a dark and stormy night. OK, it wasn't dark but it was stormy when I drove to Verona, NJ to visit John Rutan's Audio Connection where Alex Brinkman of Ayre Acoustics was delivering, stork-like, the new Ayre QX-5 Twenty Digital Hub.

The QX-5 Twenty ($8950) is a Roon Ready network player that also includes USB, Toslink, and S/PDIF inputs and variable single-ended RCA and balanced XLR outputs so it can serve all of your digital input and pre-amplification needs (see the press release for more info).

The event took place over the course of a Saturday afternoon in the super-secret annex building around the corner from the Audio Connection storefront which sits on Bloomfield Ave. The first time I visited John Rutan was with my father back in 1994 to hear the then-new YBA CD 1 Blue Laser CD player. The way I remember it, once we told John what we were there for, he proceeded to show us into the back room where he asked us to have a seat and enjoy a Rogue amp driving a pair of Vandersteen speakers. John seemed more excited about this, listening and enjoying, than in selling us a YBA CD Player with a blue laser. Nice.

Back to the QX-5 Twenty and the present, I enjoyed my time at Audio Connection listening to Vandersteen speakers being driven by Ayre amps fronted by Aye's digital players in two different rooms. I also very much enjoyed hanging out and talking with Pete Swartz, an AudioStream reader and all-around nice guy, who has been digging into the hi-fi hobby since the '70s (like me!).

That very handsome Codex base is the product of Tom Mahony of Bourbon Woodworks and it serves two purposes; it makes the Codex sound better and it makes the Codex look better. Nice.

I'll end this chapter of the QX-5 Twenty story by saying that this "dealer event" didn't really feel like one; it felt more like I was invited to someone's home to hang out with friends, in many cases old friends, to share in the enjoyment of music. Nice.

The day before the Audio Connection event, Alex Brinkman came out to the barn where he delivered my very own review sample QX-5 Twenty. Twins! I'll have a lot more to say about the QX-5 Twenty in the future.

bobflood's picture

I resemble the following remark. Look at the picture of those in that room above and you can see why our hobby is on the proverbial "way out". It is so sad to me to see that younger people, people of color, and members of the other sex are just not interested in our hobby in any significant numbers. I have been doing this hobby for fifty plus years and there was a time when the appeal was more broad based but sadly not all that much.

Michael Lavorgna's picture
There were 'younger people, people of color, and members of the other sex' at this event. I just didn't get a picture of them.

Not to be unkind, but drawing this kind of sweeping conclusion based on one photo from one event is not only presumptive, it illustrates how easily a picture can tell a thousand wrong words.

bobflood's picture

I am happy to hear that there were those groups represented, maybe there is hope for a future for this hobby that we both love.

shaynet's picture

I noticed that they have a LOT of diffusion treatments. Do you know what brand was used by chance?

Michael Lavorgna's picture
...are from Vicoustic and RPG Diffusor Systems.'s picture

It really is a blast at Johnny's. It's always like that there as you have known for years. Folks call me a fanboy, but I do business with many, but Johnny has earned my business. It's that way for all of us who go to see him and bring new friends. Johnny cares first and foremost. That was a fun day. There are always a mix of folks at any event Johnny throws. Very few women are into audio gear. That's the reality, but I can't say that I've ever spent a whole day there and not seen a few women come in the door. I want to thank Billy Drummond for stopping by on his way to his bands Saturday night gig just to say hi. That's what I love about this industry, you meet folks that have the same passion and celebrity takes a back seat.

Michael, I was shocked that you were there as I really didn't remember that you lived in NJ, lol. You're an even better guy in person than on the site. Thanks for the advice on setting up a NAS for my new QX5 Twenty.

Alex from Ayre is just a class act. Both of you are two of the nicest people I've met in the business. Alex answered the same questions over and over with the same zeal at 5pm that he had at noon. He even had some cool music that you won't find on Tidal, lol.... I hope that all readers get out to these events when your local dealers have them as it's a great way to meet new friends and listen to new music and get ideas for your own systems. Thanks to all who made it such a great and fun day (I didn't get back home until 2am, lol). Special thanks to Johnny and his staff who always make us feel at home and love to share their passion. Pete

Fetuso's picture

Funny, I recently learned of this place while searching Vandersteen's web site for local dealers. I live in Nassau County, NY and the two closest dealers are both in northern NJ, Audio Nexus being the other one. Actually, Michael, I'm interested in the Vandersteen VLR Wood bookshelf speakers and I found through google that you did a show report on them for Stereophile several years ago. I'm gonna have to make the time to get over there.

mskaye's picture

I have an Ayre Codex (based on the Audiostream review and I want that base! Like immediately. Would you mind linking contact information for manufacturer ?'s picture
I come in from CT all the time. Plan a full day to have fun and enjoy. Call Johnny ahead so that he can set up what you want to listen to.

The base is made by a great guy and customer of Johnny's. We both work with wood and talk all the time about cool audio projects. He does a great job with that base. If I had a Codex I'd make one for sure. Call Johnny at Audio Connections and he'll just do the intro for you. Here is the number for you guys who want to get in touch. [edited to correct number: 973 239 1799]

John Rutan's picture

973 239 1799
Best JohnnyR

mskaye's picture

Much appreciated.'s picture

I better check all the numbers I have for you I guess, lol....Thanks for the correction.