If the Esoteric K03Xs CD/SACD Player has harsh leading and trailing edges...

GSOphile

Well-Known Member
Sep 4, 2017
283
121
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#61
Stereophile will usually pull a reviewed item from their recommended list when it's withdrawn from marketing by the manufacturer or the more nebulous 'not heard in long enough time' or words to that effect. Some components are classics and stay around for 10+ years (e.g., the two Revel speakers rated Class A).
 
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John57

Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2015
195
15
98
Saudi Arabia
#62
Stereophile will usually pull a reviewed item from their recommenced list when it's withdrawn from marketing by the manufacturer or the more nebulous 'not heard in long enough time' or words to that effect. Some components are classics and stay around for 10+ years (e.g., the two Revel speakers rated Class A).
Understood.
 
Mar 3, 2018
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#63
And so, what is your choice, now, John57 ?
 

John57

Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2015
195
15
98
Saudi Arabia
#64
Hi HKFF, thanks for asking.
Everyone is slow.
One new piece for me - the Luxman D-06u - is waiting in the USA for my funds to import it here.
The Pioneer PD70AE is having parts issues and slow delivery to Pioneer Assembly in Japan ETA to me is May-June.
Meanwhile I’ve tried 2 new scenarios as follows.
1. Downloaded Esoteric HD Player app and tried various FLAC & DSD files via USB from my MacBookAir.
Not bad... some quite impressive but not a reliable set up vs a dedicated Mac mini or similar unit.
2. Inserted a USB Stick loaded with DSD 64 2.0 and other FLAC & DSD files into the upgraded Oppo205SE and was totally astonished at the fidelity and power of this combination. My PMC MB2SE came alive via the Esoteric F05 SE. This was a dramatic result.
So whilst I wait for the other 2 units I am now preparing to travel back to Australia leaving all my beautiful gear here in Saudi.
These discoveries have been very worth while.
More to follow but who knows when.
 

Audire

Active Member
Jan 19, 2019
94
36
25
S. FL
#65
I have a Luxman D-08u. My amp Pass X260.8s with a XP-22 Pre-Amp. Since you have Pass Class A amps I would expect the Luxman D-06u to sound marvelous.
 
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John57

Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2015
195
15
98
Saudi Arabia
#66
I have a Luxman D-08u. My amp Pass X260.8s with a XP-22 Pre-Amp. Since you have Pass Class A amps I would expect the Luxman D-06u to sound marvelous.
Can I say bloody marvelous I hope!

My Pass XP20 Preamp has tortured me.
Twice XLR cables have become trapped in their XLR sockets. One required drilling out. The second has stopped working and will likely require the same drilling. I’m at a loss for words other than unpleasant one’s in frustration. 45EE79A0-F227-4EEF-8E98-68771FE2EAF2.jpeg
27D6E0F4-B297-4D13-B097-83731049E247.jpeg
 

Audire

Active Member
Jan 19, 2019
94
36
25
S. FL
#67
Yikes, I'd be highly upset as well. What kind of cables are you using? I use Shunyata and have had no problems. I have to go will try to post again tomorrow.


Can I say bloody marvelous I hope!

My Pass XP20 Preamp has tortured me.
Twice XLR cables have become trapped in their XLR sockets. One required drilling out. The second has stopped working and will likely require the same drilling. I’m at a loss for words other than unpleasant one’s in frustration. View attachment 64227
View attachment 64236
 

Audire

Active Member
Jan 19, 2019
94
36
25
S. FL
#70
Due to COVID-19, Pass Labs has been closed: March 19th, 5:00pm PDT. Until April 30th, 2020. But I would email them: INFO@PASSLABS.COM

Send them your pics.

I've heard of The Upgrade Company. What I "read" years ago (not experienced) is questionable - including the use of grey market parts ... So, this may or may not be part of the issue. I would discuss the Time Portal cables by The Upgrade Company with Pass Labs. Did the TUC modify your Pass Pre-Amp as well?

I hope Pass Labs can help with this situation. Good luck.
 
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John57

Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2015
195
15
98
Saudi Arabia
#71
Due to COVID-19, Pass Labs has been closed: March 19th, 5:00pm PDT. Until April 30th, 2020. But I would email them: INFO@PASSLABS.COM

Send them your pics.

I've heard of The Upgrade Company. What I "read" years ago (not experienced) is questionable - including the use of grey market parts ... So, this may or may not be part of the issue. I would discuss the Time Portal cables by The Upgrade Company with Pass Labs. Did the TUC modify your Pass Pre-Amp as well?

I hope Pass Labs can help with this situation. Good luck.
Thanks Audire. Its a non-issue as David will replace them in due course.
Fyi all my components are modded in this way. All of them so we are talking 11 in my set right now and working with him directly on a weekly basis for more than five years.
I have loads of experience with David. He's an amazing inventor and technologist. And he's never had a return. So I'm getting great value for the money I put in. And he can have a go at working out what the heck is going on, its not for me to bother with.
I was just letting off some surprise really and frustration. Thanks for your tips and input.
 

Bob Heinatz

Well-Known Member
Jun 22, 2010
43
10
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#73
Hi John,
I just found this thread and wanted to throw in my two cents. I have a very high end vinly system that gets about 80% of my play time but the Cdp that blows me away is the Rega Isis. It retails for $10k but is extremely analog sounding. No harsh digital here. Rega's totl stuff is very good. I have owned it for years and never longed for a better player. Used you can find one used in the $4k - $5k range.
 
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John57

Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2015
195
15
98
Saudi Arabia
#74
Hi John,
I just found this thread and wanted to throw in my two cents. I have a very high end vinly system that gets about 80% of my play time but the Cdp that blows me away is the Rega Isis. It retails for $10k but is extremely analog sounding. No harsh digital here. Rega's totl stuff is very good. I have owned it for years and never longed for a better player. Used you can find one used in the $4k - $5k range.
Thanks Bob I appreciate you taking your time to share here. I’ll embark on researching this suggestion.
 

rau

Well-Known Member
Aug 6, 2015
69
16
93
#75
Does anyone know how the bal vs single ended outputs on the K01 XD are electrically
treated ? Which one is better
 
Jul 2, 2015
908
146
135
Scotland
#76
Listening to my K03Xs SE in my system is a clear transparent articulate and full range CD/SACD experience.

Herb Albert is super crystal clear. Playing through any of my amps...

PassLabs XP20/XA25
Esoteric F05

To MB2SE (super transparent across the range) or funnily enough my Monitor Gold 50’s.

It’s bearable yet an obvious characteristic.
I’m wondering what alternatives there might be. And where to start?

The Lampizator Amber DAC II doesn’t help at all. Frankly I find this has a forward presentation anyway.

Is an alternative player the answer?
EMM Labs
T+A
Others?
Tubes output stage?

Is an alternative preamp or amp the answer? Tubes in the mix somewhere?

I’d welcome some wisdom. TIA. View attachment 62058
John i am a fellow Esoteric user with a p03 - d03, and i found grounding the signal to an Enreq Olympus Tellus, plus using Entreq interconnects with flying grounds to be transformative. I would never consider running without signal grounding now.

With different interconnects there was harshness to the treble, with Entreq the sound is so natural, airy, but has excellent body, drive and just stupendous bass, and had me working hard on my turntable setup to catch up to what digital is now doing in my system, specifically wrt body and dynamics
 
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Jul 2, 2015
908
146
135
Scotland
#77
I find this very perplexing especially at that price tag. At what point does Esoteric get the "voicing" correct? Other hi end brands have figured this out.

The brand has a reputation, amongst some, of being overly bright / analytical and lacking any sense of warmth and body. It also seems the brand requires very careful system matching.

FWIW, I had the K01 and returned it for that very reason. And now have a player that's less than half the price and is far more musical and engaging. And a better transport.

I know there are fans of Esoteric (and I'm glad they like the "house" sound) but the performance / price equation seems questionable.
That's so strange....i love my P03 - D03 so much i have trouble conceiving how the newer, more expensive models could possibly sound any better...!
Such a big, powerful, top-to-bottom coherent sound, from bass-driven electronica to light, airey and ethereal

If you're passing anywhere near to Scotland you'd be most welcome to have a listen.
I am currently considering moving further up the Esoteric range, but i feel i have found 'my' perfect digital presentation, just so huuge and powerful but full of nuance
 
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John57

Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2015
195
15
98
Saudi Arabia
#78
John i am a fellow Esoteric user with a p03 - d03, and i found grounding the signal to an Enreq Olympus Tellus, plus using Entreq interconnects with flying grounds to be transformative. I would never consider running without signal grounding now.

With different interconnects there was harshness to the treble, with Entreq the sound is so natural, airy, but has excellent body, drive and just stupendous bass, and had me working hard on my turntable setup to catch up to what digital is now doing in my system, specifically wrt body and dynamics
Thanks for sharing this experience IB. I’m still one for holding the original sound sig to account on the design of the unit.
Asking about voicing as DA has in their post is an interesting question. Recently in another system I’ve deployed a Luxman D-06u. It is a very different presentation, with similar dynamic range but sweeter - rolled-off? - treble.
I guess every good character - transparency for example, has it’s too extreme downside. In listening comparisons between the latest Esoteric K03XD and Luxman D10X the differences are dramatic in sound signature. The Esoteric's transparency and clear note presentation is preferred over the Luxman’s softness. Of course personal preference rules. Yet the differences are dramatic. Is it only this model or is it this series, the Xs series that has this character?
Do the their Japanese customers give the same feedback?
On the matter of tweaks like grounding, according to your experience, and in my experience, internal EMI RFI treatments at their limits, can change the sound signature. For me these tweaks should not be necessary to achieve satisfactory performance. Nor am I asking for the stars after buying the moon.
 

John57

Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2015
195
15
98
Saudi Arabia
#79
That's so strange....i love my P03 - D03 so much i have trouble conceiving how the newer, more expensive models could possibly sound any better...!
Such a big, powerful, top-to-bottom coherent sound, from bass-driven electronica to light, airey and ethereal

If you're passing anywhere near to Scotland you'd be most welcome to have a listen.
I am currently considering moving further up the Esoteric range, but i feel i have found 'my' perfect digital presentation, just so huuge and powerful but full of nuance
I have a similar experience with my PMC Twenty26 speakers. They are to me the perfect balance between soundstage tonality timbre and pace. All the following models the i-series for example, or the new Fact 12 or even the signature Finestria’s don’t make we want change at all! I much prefer the Twenty26 period. I also own a pair of PMC MB2SE. These are simply a different presentation altogether. And made me box up my beloved Twenty26. But that’s another story. Sometimes other models do make perceived progress and sometimes not. Keeping an open mind is helpful, and yet not everyone has this personality trait either.
 
Jan 16, 2011
1,434
137
485
Alto, NM
#80
In listening comparisons between the latest Esoteric K03XD and Luxman D10X the differences are dramatic in sound signature. The Esoteric's transparency and clear note presentation is preferred over the Luxman’s softness. Of course personal preference rules. Yet the differences are dramatic.
Hi John,

Curious as to how many hours the D10X has on it.? I found my D06u somewhat 'soft" to use your word (I would describe it as boring / uninvolving and undefined in the lower / upper bass areas which impacted the clarity / speed of the midrange and top end) until it had some 500 hours of break in time. After that, the sonic sig changed much for the better. And, of course, there's always system synergy in the mix.

The differences are indeed dramatic and only you can decide what "flavor" you prefer. From my recollection, I'd call the Esoteric K01 (which I owned for several months) a top down sound and the Lux a bottom up. Complete opposites. As for Esoteric and based on past practices, there will likely be a "new and improved" model released within a year. Luxman tends to "stay the course" regarding new model intros. Again, another complete opposite approach.

Good luck with your journey.
 
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