G'Day. So much goes into the final sound. I heard my same speakers sound from bright to duller. The same gear only changes the power cords. used. Speakers also make an impression. I can understand what you saying about the Esoteric in your system in your room and that is all that counts in the end. I did not have that impression of the K-01, and a friend of mine purchased one also after hearing mine and his system is totally different and it sounds as good as his SME TT, arm, and his $6.000 cartridge, his joke is I own the best of both worlds and I can now enjoy both formats to the point now he buys recordings based on price as a consideration, he finds the cost of some vinyl sold online as a way too high vs. possible sound improvement because it is not that great, and I agree, but then to each his own. But you both have vinyl buying in our DNA because we grew up with it.