Ayre | QA-9 | Owner`s manual | Ayre QA-9 Owner`s manual

Ayre QA-9 Owner`s manual
Ayre QA-9
Owner’s Manual
Analog-to-Digital Converter
Table of
Welcome to
Ayre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Overview and
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Connections and
Installation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Optimization and
Customization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Controls and
Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Numbers and
Specifications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Statement of
Warranty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
A Place for
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Welcome to
Your Ayre QA-9 offers a significant advance in the
musical performance of high-fidelity equipment.
The warmth and immediacy of a live performance
are apparent from the first listening. The
combination of superb resolution and a natural,
relaxed quality will draw you into the music, time
and time again.
This degree of performance has been implemented
using the highest levels of workmanship and
materials. You can be assured that the Ayre QA-9
will provide you a lifetime of musical enjoyment.
To our North American customers, please be
sure to mail your warranty registration card and
photocopy of your original sales receipt within 30
days in order to extend the warranty to five
Overview and
The integration of the personal computer (PC) into
the home stereo system has provided a revolutionary
way to purchase, organize, and play your digital
music collection. The Ayre QA-9 analog-to-digital
(A/D) converter provides an equally revolutionary
way to store and play back your analog music via
your PC with unprecedented fidelity and realism.
The QA-9 is available in two versions, both covered
in this manual. The standard version include both
USB and AES/EBU digital outputs and will meet
the requirements of virtually all users. The Pro
version adds both DSD and word clock outputs for
simplified use in a professional studio environment.
The QA-9 utilizes opto-couplers to provide total
electrical isolation for the connections between your
computer and music system. This minimizes the
introduction of unwanted radio-frequency
interference (RFI), generated by all computers.
Avoiding the use of wireless networks (e.g.,
Wi-Fi), by employing wired connections instead,
will reduce RFI levels in your home and results in
improved sound quality for any music system.
Connections and
The Ayre QA-9 is easy to connect and use. The
following guidelines will ensure that the installation
goes smoothly.
Analog Inputs
The Ayre QA-9 offers balanced inputs. Balanced
connections are made via three-pin XLR connectors.
High quality singled-ended-to-balanced adapters
are included for single-ended analog sources.
USB Output
Connection via the USB
output simplifies operation, as
many of the converter settings
can be adjusted with your
computer’s software.
The USB output uses the squarish “B” type
connector designed for computer peripheral devices.
The rectangular “A” type connector at the other end
of the cable is designed to plug directly into the
computer itself.
The USB 2.0 standard specifies a maximum cable
length of 16 feet (5 meters); It is not recommended
to use extenders or hubs with the QA-9.
AES/EBU Output
In the case that a USB connection is not available,
the QA-9 also incorporates an AES/EBU output for
compatibility with other systems. One advantage of
the AES/EBU output is that connecting cables in
excess of 300 feet (100 meters) may be used.
Your local Ayre dealer can supply high-quality
balanced-to-single-ended digital adapters if your
system does not accept a balanced XLR digital
When the USB output is active, the
AES/EBU output is disabled.
DSD Output (QA-9 Pro only)
The Ayre QA-9 Pro also offers conversion to digital
using Sony’s single-bit DSD system. Two DSD
interface formats are available to ensure
compatibility with the widest range of equipment,
SDIF-2 (DSD-Raw) and SDIF-3. Both use three
transformer-isolated 75 Ω BNC connectors (Word
Clock, Bit Clock, Left Data, Right Data).
Word Clock Outputs (QA-9 Pro only)
Digital studio equipment with word clock inputs
can be slaved to the QA-9 Pro with 75 Ω coaxial
cable(s). The transformer-isolated BNC connectors
present TTL-level signals derived directly from the
ultra-low jitter master clock inside the converter.
There are no standards for external
word clock signals. Contact Ayre for
support with compatibility.
AC Power
The QA-9 may be plugged directly into an
unswitched wall outlet. Although proprietary RFI
(radio-frequency interference) filtering is built into
the QA-9 A/D, in some situations an AC power-line
filter (such as those offered by Ayre) may provide
additional sonic benefits.
As virtually all computers use switch-mode power
supplies that introduce unwanted RFI on the AC
power line, it may be beneficial to use an AC
power line filter for the computer and its
accessories (e.g., display monitor), many of which
also utilize switch-mode power supplies.
100 to 500 hours of music
played through the system will
ensure full break-in.
Due to the manufacturing processes used for the
printed circuit boards, wires, and capacitors, a
break-in period is necessary for the QA-9 A/D
converter to reach its full performance potential.
Configuring the Computer
No matter what operating system (OS) your
computer uses — Apple, Windows, or Linux —
you’ll need to set up your computer with the
appropriate software.
Transferring analog sources is easiest with archiving
software such as Vinyl Studio (Apple and
Windows), Pure Vinyl (Apple), or Amarra (Apple).
Creating new digital music files is easiest with
recording software such as Audacity (Apple,
Windows, and Linux), ProTools (Apple and
Windows), or Audition (Apple and Windows).
Additional information on setting up your
computer for use with the QA-9 and QA-9 Pro A/D
is available at the Ayre website:
Optimization and
While the Ayre QA-9 A/D is typically configured
with your recording software via the USB
connection, the AES/EBU settings and other options
are configured with small toggle switches accessible
on the rear of the unit.
AES/EBU Sample Rate
The AES/EBU output sample rate can be configured
as detailed in the table below:
Sample Rate
44.1 kHz
48.0 kHz
88.2 kHz
96.0 kHz
Don’t Care
176 kHz
Don’t Care
192 kHz
The AES/EBU output is only active
when there is no USB connection.
Digital Filter
The digital filter used in the PCM encoding of the
Ayre QA-9 features two user-selectable algorithms.
One algorithm produces greater accuracy in the
time domain and is labeled “Listen”. The other
algorithm produces greater accuracy in the
frequency domain and is labeled “Measure”.
Normally the selector switch is set to the “Listen”
position when listening to music. However some
listeners may prefer the additional high-frequency
energy provided by the “Measure” position.
This setting applies to both the USB and
AES/EBU outputs.
Display Brightness
The front panel display of the QA-9 has two
brightness levels. The switch position labeled
“Bright” will make the display readable in all
conditions. Setting the switch to the position
labeled “Dim” may be desirable for low-light
Word Clock Outputs (QA-9 Pro only)
To enable the word clock outputs at the rate
indicated on the front panel display, set the switch
to the position labeled “WCk En”. Switch position
“WCk Dis” will turn all the word clock outputs off.
DSD Output (QA-9 Pro only)
Three of the BNC output connectors can be
configured to output digital audio data in the
professional SDIF-2 or SDIF-3 DSD format. To
enable the 3-wire DSD output set the switch to
“DSD En”.
Enabling he DSD output
overrides the word clock output
settings for the three shared
BNC connectors and forces the
fourth to 44.1 kHz.
The front panel display will indicate “DSD” mode
with a red LED to the left of the numeric display.
The numeric display will then indicate the DSD
output rate, e.g., “128” (signifying the multiple of
the 44.1 kHz CD rate), as set by the three sample
rate selection switches in the table below:
Rate (x Fs)
Don’t Care
Don’t Care
SDIF-3 is not available at 256x.
Controls and
The Ayre QA-9 A/D uses a zero-feedback,
variable-gain analog circuit to adapt to a wide range
of input signal levels. This allows the full dynamic
range of the analog source to be realized in the
digital recording.
Adjustment of the analog input sensitivity is only
available via the front panel knob.
Gain Adjustment (Input Sensitivity)
The front panel knob is used to adjust the input
sensitivity. Twelve levels, each having a step size of
2.0 dB, are provided. The input sensitivity will need
to be set separately for each analog source.
The color-coded front panel bar-graph displays how
much of the available digital range is being used.
The uppermost segment is red and indicates that
clipping has occurred (with a display hold time of
ten seconds).
It is recommended to set the audio
level prior to recording by playing a
loud passage from the analog source.
Adjust the QA-9 gain so that the peaks
occasionally illuminate the amber
LEDs but not the red clipping LED.
If the red clipping indicator LED(s)
illuminate during recording, it is
recommended to restart the recording
with reduced levels.
Signal level metering is usually provided in the
recording hardware or software, but the QA-9
front panel level meters provide the most
accurate insight into the actual analog-to-digital
The 3-digit numeric display indicates the current
sample rate (e.g., “192”) for the active output.
Vertical bar-graph LEDs on either side of the
display indicate the digital signal level being
generated by each channel of the QA-9.
A green LED to the right of the numeric display
indicates the USB status and will be lit when there
is an active USB connection. A red LED to the left
of the numeric display indicates that DSD output
mode has been enabled.
When the green “USB” LED is lit, the
AES/EBU output is not active.
Numbers and
Analog Input Impedance
2 MΩ (1 MΩ per phase)
Analog Input Sensitivity
10.0 Vrms – at minimum gain
0.75 Vrms – at maximum gain
Analog XLR Input Polarity
USB Audio Output Signal
Class 2
Class 1
AES/EBU Output Signal
Word Clock Output Signals
DSD Output Signals
Power Consumption
Pin 1 = Ground
Pin 2 = Non-inverting (Positive)
Pin 3 = Inverting (Negative)
44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192 kHz at 24 bits
44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96 kHz at 24 bits
44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192 kHz at 24 bits
XLR, 110 Ω, transformer-isolated
44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192 kHz
BNC, 75 Ω, transformer-isolated
64x, 128x and 256x
BNC, 75 Ω, transformer-isolated
25 watts
8-½" W x 11-½" D x 3" H
21.5 cm x 29 cm x 7.5 cm
5 pounds
2.3 kg
Statement of
North American Warranty
Your Ayre QA-9 analog-to-digital converter is
warranted against defects in materials and
workmanship for a period of ninety days from the
date of original purchase. This ninety-day coverage
is automatic upon acceptance of delivery and no
registration is required.
Additionally you have the option, at no cost, to
extend the warranty for a period of five years from
the date of purchase by returning the completed
Warranty Registration Card and a photocopy of
your original purchase receipt in the enclosed
postage-paid envelope to Ayre within thirty days of
product delivery. This optional warranty is only
available within the thirty-day registration period.
North American Warranty Statement
1. If any defects are found in the materials or
workmanship of this Ayre product within the
warranty period, the unit will be repaired or
replaced by Ayre Acoustics, Inc. (Ayre) or its
authorized agent.
2. Purchaser must return the product, packed in the
original shipping carton, freight prepaid to:
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
2300-B Central Avenue
Boulder, Colorado 80301
or to Ayre’s authorized agent. The product must be
accompanied by a written description of the defect
and a photocopy of your original purchase receipt.
Ayre will not be responsible for any shipping
damage and strongly recommends the purchase of
shipping insurance.
3. Ayre reserves the right to inspect any product
that is the subject of any warranty claim prior to
repairing or replacing it. Final determination of
warranty coverage lies solely with Ayre.
Out-of-warranty claims will be billed for labor,
materials, return freight, and insurance as required.
Any product for which a warranty claim is accepted
will be returned to the purchaser and the cost of
shipping and insurance will be factory prepaid
within the boundaries of the USA. Units to be
shipped outside of the USA will be shipped freight
collect only.
4. Ayre strives to manufacture the finest possible
equipment, and therefore reserves the right to make
improvements on its products, without necessarily
assuming any obligation to retrofit such changes
upon its previously manufactured models.
5. The above warranty is the sole warranty given by
Ayre, and is in lieu of all other warranties. All
implied warranties, including warranties of
merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose
shall be strictly limited to the duration of the above
warranty. Ayre shall have no further obligation of
any kind, whether express or implied. Further, Ayre
shall in no event be obligated for any incidental or
consequential damages as a result of any defect or
any warranty claim, whether express or implied.
6. Ayre does not authorize any third party,
including any dealer or sales representative, to
assume any liability of Ayre or make any warranty
for Ayre. The unit must not have been altered or
improperly serviced. The serial number on the unit
must not have been altered or removed.
7. The remaining period of this warranty is only
transferable to subsequent purchasers if the product
is resold by an authorized Ayre dealer.
International Warranty
Warranty terms outside of North America may
vary. Please contact the authorized Ayre distributor
in your country of purchase for the terms of
warranty and also the service itself.
A Place for
Serial Number:
Purchase Date:
Rev. 1.2
Ayre Acoustics, Inc.
2300-B Central Avenue
Boulder, Colorado 80301
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