Esoteric SACD Player

Gazzip

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Just bought me one of these, a model X03-SE, obviously second hand. Wow, wow, wow!

I got it as a transport for my red book CD's (not bothered by SACD) and can confirm that all transports definitely do not sound the same. Esoteric employ their own VRDS-Neo V transport system, which is electronically/mechanically quite different from anything else, and so is the sound.

http://www.esoteric.jp/technology/vrdsneo/indexe.html

The results are extraordinary. For years I have shyed away from using cliches such as "a veil has been lifted" and "night and day differences" to describe hifi, but in this instance I have no qualms whatsoever in using them. This thing is amazing and smashes my Bel Canto spinner with its Phillips CD Pro2 transport out of the park. The Esoteric is blessed with such clarity, such a low noise floor, such separation between instruments, sublime vocals, so much detail. Simply amazing.

If you are in the £2K market for a new CDP then I implore you to try one of these second hand beasties before defaulting to a new, middle of the road spinner with an OEM transport at its heart.
 

Gazzip

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David@FrankHarvey said:
Source is still important - even digital. If the front end isn't right, the rest in the chain are compromised before they even start.

Indeed. This has now got me thinking about my network player which sounds bland, flat and, well I hate to say it but veiled when compared with the Esoteric. How can that be?
 

Frank Harvey

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Gazzip said:
Indeed. This has now got me thinking about my network player which sounds bland, flat and, well I hate to say it but veiled when compared with the Esoteric. How can that be?
Dunno, but hearing the difference between my old Innuos Zen Mini (ripper/server) and my new Innuos Zenith (as well as its performance in general), I don't care how digital works, it's definitely not all the same! :)
 

Andrewjvt

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Gazzip said:
Just bought me one of these, a model X03-SE, obviously second hand. Wow, wow, wow!

I got it as a transport for my red book CD's (not bothered by SACD) and can confirm that all transports definitely do not sound the same. Esoteric employ their own VRDS-Neo V transport system, which is electronically/mechanically quite different from anything else, and so is the sound.

http://www.esoteric.jp/technology/vrdsneo/indexe.html

The results are extraordinary. For years I have shyed away from using cliches such as "a veil has been lifted" and "night and day differences" to describe hifi, but in this instance I have no qualms whatsoever in using them. This thing is amazing and smashes my Bel Canto spinner with its Phillips CD Pro2 transport out of the park. The Esoteric is blessed with such clarity, such a low noise floor, such separation between instruments, sublime vocals, so much detail. Simply amazing.

If you are in the £2K market for a new CDP then I implore you to try one of these second hand beasties before defaulting to a new, middle of the road spinner with an OEM transport at its heart.

Using the same dac and only new cdp as transport or is it the new dac in the cdp you are using?
 

lindsayt

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Thanks for that Gazzip. I'd like to try an Esoteric CD player some day myself.

It's a case of finding one at the right price...
 

emperor's new clothes

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Hi Gazzip,

Congrats. Might be worth trying a SACD. You can buy BIA for under a tenner if that's your thing or Mark Knophler's Shangri La is an equally excellent recording. For a remaster of early 70's 16 track analogue tape, Nick Drake's "A Treasury" is well worth a listen - try the Cello Song for "in the room" realism of acoustic instruments. got it for a fiver from amazon. (currently £17.50)

Most of mine are classical and recorded in DSD. Plenty to choose from.

Happy listening.
 

Gazzip

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Andrewjvt said:
Gazzip said:
Just bought me one of these, a model X03-SE, obviously second hand. Wow, wow, wow!

I got it as a transport for my red book CD's (not bothered by SACD) and can confirm that all transports definitely do not sound the same. Esoteric employ their own VRDS-Neo V transport system, which is electronically/mechanically quite different from anything else, and so is the sound.

http://www.esoteric.jp/technology/vrdsneo/indexe.html

The results are extraordinary. For years I have shyed away from using cliches such as "a veil has been lifted" and "night and day differences" to describe hifi, but in this instance I have no qualms whatsoever in using them. This thing is amazing and smashes my Bel Canto spinner with its Phillips CD Pro2 transport out of the park. The Esoteric is blessed with such clarity, such a low noise floor, such separation between instruments, sublime vocals, so much detail. Simply amazing.

If you are in the £2K market for a new CDP then I implore you to try one of these second hand beasties before defaulting to a new, middle of the road spinner with an OEM transport at its heart.

Using the same dac and only new cdp as transport or is it the new dac in the cdp you are using?

I am using the DAC in the Devialet not the Esoteric. Unfortunately one of the shortcomings of Devialets is that analogue and digital inputs are all crunched through the onboard DAC.

So, to use the DAC in the Esoteric and output to the Devialet would require digital > analogue in the Esoteric and then analogue > digital > analogue in the Devialet, which seems a bit bonkers to me. I think this also scuppers using the Esoteric as an SACD in my current setup as SACD cannot legally be outputed from a player digitally, or so I am told...
 

Gazzip

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lindsayt said:
Thanks for that Gazzip. I'd like to try an Esoteric CD player some day myself.

It's a case of finding one at the right price...

Honestly lindsayt you really must. I had another sneaky listen this morning before work, just to make sure I wasn't overly euphoric last night and imagining things. I was not.
 

Gazzip

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emperor's new clothes said:
Hi Gazzip,

Congrats. Might be worth trying a SACD. You can buy BIA for under a tenner if that's your thing or Mark Knophler's Shangri La is an equally excellent recording. For a remaster of early 70's 16 track analogue tape, Nick Drake's "A Treasury" is well worth a listen - try the Cello Song for "in the room" realism of acoustic instruments. got it for a fiver from amazon. (currently £17.50)

Most of mine are classical and recorded in DSD. Plenty to choose from.

Happy listening.

Thanks emperor. I have one SACD (Goldfrapp) to try it out, but as per my posting above to Andrewjvt I am not sure what the Devialet will make of it. Will report back.
 
Sounds like a great find. I know they are sought after. I think my Krell has a basic TEAC transport, though apart from one service it has been fault free in 17 years. Does yours have a clamp that screws down after the disc loads?

Have they completely ceased production, and if so what type of support is there?
 

Gazzip

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nopiano said:
Sounds like a great find. I know they are sought after. I think my Krell has a basic TEAC transport, though apart from one service it has been fault free in 17 years. Does yours have a clamp that screws down after the disc loads?

Have they completely ceased production, and if so what type of support is there?

Not sure about support/spares etc. Keeping my fingers crossed in that regard... Yes, it has the clamp that comes down after the drawer has closed.
 

spiny norman

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Gazzip said:
Thanks emperor. I have one SACD (Goldfrapp) to try it out, but as per my posting above to Andrewjvt I am not sure what the Devialet will make of it. Will report back.

The player will output the CD layer of the disc through the digital output(s), but you may have to force it to read that layer, as it will probably default to the SACD one, which will produce no output at the digital outs.
 
Gazzip said:
nopiano said:
Sounds like a great find. I know they are sought after. I think my Krell has a basic TEAC transport, though apart from one service it has been fault free in 17 years. Does yours have a clamp that screws down after the disc loads?

Have they completely ceased production, and if so what type of support is there?

Not sure about support/spares etc. Keeping my fingers crossed in that regard... Yes, it has the clamp that comes down after the drawer has closed.
Thanks, gazzip. Hope you enjoy!
 

NSA_watch_my_toilet

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I had the pleasure to listen to a few of them in Japan. They are very well made, and, at least in Japan, the aftersale service is very fine. After that, I listened to very good Yamaha and other Nad stuff that had exactly the same sound. But the construction of this beast is something. Happy that you found your joy.
 

Infiniteloop

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There's clearly a lot more to digital than merely 1's and 0's.

What's surprising is that some people cannot hear the difference between great transports and most of the digital dross out there....
 

Gazzip

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Infiniteloop said:
There's clearly a lot more to digital than merely 1's and 0's.

What's surprising is that some people cannot hear the difference between great transports and most of the digital dross out there....

Digital is an esoteric format which, although often presented as 1's and 0's due to its abtruseness, is really no more or less than simply 1's and 0's.

I have read scientific studies which have tested and concluded that all transports will extract 100% bit-perfect information from CD's. This is due to their sophisticated and over engineered error detection and correction, which can correct (not interpolate but actually correct) up to 4000 consecutive, missing bits. This I respect and believe to be true. However how that extracted data is presented to the DAC and what is swimming around in the output signal along with that data is where I believe one transport can be "better" than another.

Jitter seems to be the most likely culprit for making the data presentation in some transports better than in others. Poorly isolated power supplies, servos working overtime to read badly stabilised discs (read transport system quality), damaged discs etc. can all introdcue clocking anomalies in the output signal of a transport. To compound issues this signal is then buffered, split, and in the case of an outboard DAC squeezed down a coaxial cable before it reaches the DAC. At this stage the DAC locks on to the transport's clocking signal and produces its own local clock to match the incoming signal. if the incoming clock is compromised then so will be the local clock. DACs have various tricks up their sleeves to deal with incoming clocking errors, but all are a compromise as I understand it and none of them are fool proof or proven to actually work.

Take from this what you will. I firmly believe that a well executed transport and associated circuitry, which deals with jitter at source before it reaches the DAC, will always sound more accurate (ergo better) than a transport which has been allowed to produce jitter on the premise that it is retrieving 100% of the signal so the job is done. It is not done if the transport is producing and presenting avoidable jitter to the DAC for local correction. Simple as that in my opinion.
 

NSA_watch_my_toilet

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I think it's probably due to a simple thing. Between the transport and the DAC, a normal digitial piece of equipment normally have, that is called error correction. (check "reed solomon correction code" on wikipedia to see how it works).

So you could have prefect or unperfect extraction, the corrector will work and correct, bringing a perfect signal to the DAC for his job. After that, you could have jitter and other noises coming from the DAC part. But I can't remember having heard anything having some audible jitter going on since I started the Hifi hobby.

But it's always great to pay a bit more, and to have a great made product, with quality components that will not break apart so fast, and with no involvement of chinese slave labor whatsoever.
 

Gazzip

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NSA_watch_my_toilet said:
I think it's probably due to a simple thing. Between the transport and the DAC, a normal digitial piece of equipment normally have, that is called error correction. (check "reed solomon correction code" on wikipedia to see how it works).

So you could have prefect or unperfect extraction, the corrector will work and correct, bringing a perfect signal to the DAC for his job. After that, you could have jitter and other noises coming from the DAC part. But I can't remember having heard anything having some audible jitter going on since I started the Hifi hobby.

But it's always great to pay a bit more, and to have a great made product, with quality components that will not break apart so fast, and with no involvement of chinese slave labor whatsoever.

Timing errors between the information extraction device (transport) and the information conversion device (DAC) have nothing to do with error correction. You can have a 100% and perfectly corrected signal but still have jitter.
 

Native_bon

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Am in the process of an upgrade right now. I would love to listen to one of these, but just thinking of the disadvantage of having to change disc as suppose to steaming. I once listened to Cyrus transport & the results were just amazing. It was feed into the M-dac. It was rich & smooth & at the same time open & detail.
 

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