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G'day maties,

Well, I guess that time has come... for a small upgrade in the digital front.
Going back 10yrs, I purchased the McIntosh MCD301 in 2010 brand new. I used it in various systems since, from Maggies, Quads, SF's, Infinity's, Theils, Wilson's, then back to maggies, Quads and now Martin Logan's. Also amongst those speaker systems were various CD players, ranging from Marantz, Arcam, Musical Fidelity, Cambridge Audio, Audio Research, CJ's DV2B, Meridian, Wadia and some I can't even remember. Anyway, none of these players lasted too long, some were superior to the big Mac but this Mac outlasted the lot! It's still going and hasn't missed a beat nor flinched even once. Whichever unit gave me better or a higher sense of recorded music was obviously the preferred option.

However, as the years passed and as my system developed into a more resolving, engaging, transparent and more immersive approach, after upgrading nearly every other aspect of it, including cables, wiring and interconnects, I began to realise that the Mac was not upto par as compared to the CJ gear or to the CJ phonostage to begin with. So I thought to myself, in order to significantly upgrade the digital front, I would have to spend some serious green notes. And so my quest began in 2013 after 3 years of having the Mac.

It has served me extremely well and has always been totally engaging, nothing short of musical. I will miss the big fella and I'm sure passed on to the next owner, will certainly look after it well. Afterall, it still holds strong and can playback SACD's.

So with that said, much searching and numerous auditions, research and development done over the years, history in the making, hard work and hard work... I finally managed to close a special deal on a brand new digital playback system marvel! Introducing to you the - Esoteric digital playback systems - K07XS.

Oh my goodness gracious! This is a serious level of digital playback and one that when fitted into a high quality system, the synergy is just superbly superior in every angle!
More to come with a few pics. I just took delivery on Thurs but couldn't get to it until now, so initial setup has been completed and only a handful of hours on it. There's, tremendous potential in this thing, I can feel it every minute it warms up... the only issue is, according to the manual/ other Esoteric owners, it requires over 200hrs to really get going, and once that happens, the marvel takes place.

I'll place a few pics this weekend, since I will be finalising setup. At least by then it'll have about 20hrs on it.

Cheers to digital!
RJ

 

BTW, my previous McIntosh SACD player never made it to Classifieds... huh. Guess it was not meant to be...

Anyway, the unit will be going elsewhere. At least it will be well looked after.

Edited by Big Dog RJ
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Welcome to the world of the Esoteric SACD player ; I own the K-05Xs and the quality of playback of both CD and SACD discs is just superb. Look forward to your review of the K-07Xs.

Cheers

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Yes Stump, it is a cut & paste from CJO, that's my resident forum, being a member on it since I learned to bias tubes more accurately and mod to a higher Class A bias.

 

075Congo; thanks for the warm welcome. 

I did have the opportunity to access the 05xs version. However, after a very honest approach from the MD himself, and a lengthy discussion, although the 05xs is even better, the improvement is only incremental. It's not within my Benchmark percentage of improvement, which has to meet 35-40%. Whereas the 03xs and 01xs definitely are, and this is something I will work my way towards.

 

I must say, the level of resolution and detail through the CLX's driven by a full array of CJ amplification, this Esoteric gear is nothing short of marvellous! It's just superb, I can't fault it in any way whatsoever, only to look forward in settling in more as the hours run in.

 

If anyone is searching for a serious level of fine digital playback performance, this is basically it!

 

Cheers, and have a good one. 

Enjoy those fine tunes!

Best, RJ

Edited by Big Dog RJ
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Wow, wow wow! This thing just landed in the Starship Enterprise!

OMG! What a performance! Tonal density, speed and transient control, along with a top end frequency extension is just superb!

Its clocked in about 10hrs, maybe less but every minute the potential is formidable, there's no doubt I can feel every nuance easily. There's so much to talk about, not sure where to begin...
I'll try to make it simple as possible because it's very very hard to type this whiles discs are spinning.

Features: amongst the usual goodies at this level, the special transport mechanism is superb, and the build quality is first class! The layout connections at the back are high grade stuff, and the Crystal cable power cord fits in snug and tight, as if it was made for this unit. There are a few settings you need to finalise before hitting the play button, until these are properly set no tunes play.
Two very cleaver features I really like are the fact that after a while of no signal at all the unit shuts itself off. Also after a certain time of playback the display shuts off leaving just pure music! What a great thing for the team at Teac to think of.

Sound performance:
1. The speed, clarity, definition and accuracy is superb! It captures anything and everything, macro, micro, which was on the Mac as well but in this case it's far more profound.

2. The energy pick up is superb! As if the musicians woke up from a dull nap... and suddenly drank a litre of Red bull and just started playing their socks off! The vibrant pulse and energy comes with great force, pick up speed and agility in all areas.

3. Having said point 2, with all this greatness in pick up energy and impact, also comes a fine sense of balance and control. It's just marvellous, nothing of too much of anything.

There's this one standard CD from Norman Brown - Better Days Ahead, that I always play whenever I install any new gear. I know it so well, dates back to my student days in the US purchased in 94. Each and every time I play this CD on any given system with whatever improvements, it keeps sounding better all the time. The last time I played this particular album was demoed on ML's Statements Evo-II's and that was awe-inspiring!
Now with the Esoteric K07xs this thing has shifted gears to such a level, I can state it's an easy 45-50% improvement, without a doubt! And it gets better.. so it has easily shattered my benchmark indicators by a far margin. 

Anyway, I guess my upgrade path is set for now because if and when I'm ready I will definitely consider the K03xs or K01. Can't possibly imagine what that would sound like, oh my!

As a closing statement, all I can say at this stage is that my system is now complete!
Cheers, and a mad woofty woof woof!

best, RJ 

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Currently listening to Four Play- Elixir. It takes me back to the live event in Illinois Naperville back to 94 at Frankie's Blue Room, simply marvellous!

Bob James and his crew at their finest!

Cheers to Four Play!

RJ

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  • 2 weeks later...

What just happened...?

 

Update incoming....!

Well it seems like I've managed to just clock in around 50hrs or so of burn-in on this thing, and it has just shifted a few gears again! Apart from the top end frequency extension and beautiful midrange, that CJ midrange magical partnered with this beautiful work of Art from Esoteric is absolutely stunning, marvellous and outstanding! I think I've run out of vocabulary...

The most profound frequency range is the LF detail. The bass lines are so crystal clear and you follow each and every bass detail to the core, no fuss, no strain and the low extension is superb! Speaking of adding subs? Forget it! Not at all required. So, basically it was the source that made all the difference, without a doubt.

Now, referring to the title, "what just happened..."
I decided to play a particular CD from Russell Malone- love looks good on you album. On track 7 titled Amsterdam something, just around the 3.48min or so it skips and usually gets stuck. It just won't budge and you feel frustrated and need to skip the trach to track 8 then the CD plays as normal. I wrote to the recording label company and they replied with a "don't know, not sure sort of answer..." so that wasn't really helpful.

Anyhoo, I decided I must try this particular Russell Malone CD and just check what happens with the Esoteric on track 7... absolutely nothing! It plays flawlessly! No skipping no stopping nothing, just smooth sailing all the way to the next track. So I repeated the track three times, and nothing, all good crystal clear.

So what just happened? How come on my previous Mac it always skipped! 10 out 10, always skipped, just wouldn't play track 7...

Anyone has the experience with such variations in digital playback? Or have I missed something or any settings with the Mac? There's also a dual layered CD with Donald Byrd and Kenny Burrel, where disc 1 doesn't load for some darn reason. I even took the these two particular CDs to the dealers demo rooms and tried them on Mac's top of the line MCD500 & MCD550, both of these players showed the exact same symptoms. 

 

So the question is, why do these two discs load and play flawlessly on the Esoteric or was I/ we doing something wrong? Three of us stood in front of these players, the sales rep, the owner of the dealership and myself, and we concluded that the Mac gear just didn't like these particular discs. 

 

Interesting to see if anyone knows or has experienced similar variations. 

Cheers, RJ

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

On 30/10/2020 at 3:21 AM, Big Dog RJ said:

So the question is, why do these two discs load and play flawlessly on the Esoteric or was I/ we doing something wrong? Three of us stood in front of these players, the sales rep, the owner of the dealership and myself, and we concluded that the Mac gear just didn't like these particular discs. 

 

Some discs/some tracks will do that in different transports....

As you mentioned earlier, only problem with Esoteric, they do make you question "whats the next model up sound like?"

I started off with a DV-60 (very nice), moved up to the K-03  (wow) and finally had the opportunity to purchase my end game- the K-01Xs (oh yeah).

There were major sonic improvements all the way, you just have to decide how far is far enough.

.

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The K01XS, that should be beyond superb! Of course the rest of the gear in the system must be on par... to really get the utmost best out of this marvellous Esoteric gear. What a work of art!

 

Just pulled out this one by Bob James and Kirk Whalum, where I actually saw these guys play live way back in 98, separate performances though. This particular CD I had not played since nearly 20yrs... took it for a spin, simply marvellous! The K07xs is nicely settling in, clocked in beyond 50hrs now but I can still sense the improvement every time it runs in.

I'm sending the CJ monoblocks for a final SE upgrade that includes all the fine goodness- Teflon caps, Vishay resistors and so on... so after this is completed within a few weeks or so, I'll have to wait for a further burn-in on those notorious Teflons! Oh well, might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.

 

Craig&Kim, btw was wondering whether you've ever had the chance to audition the Luxman DX10 player? It's supposed to be right up there but I haven't had a chance to hear one yet. Perhaps on my next trip, whenever and if ever that happens, I know the Luxman chaps in Spore, might as well take the opportunity just to experience it.

 

I've been in touch with them, and although they would obviously like to promote their own brand, the chief tech guy mentioned that since I'm using the Esoteric now, to just stick with it and it's basically the end game. Whereas the Luxman is slightly different flavour... some may like it or not, obviously depends on system interaction.

 

Interested to learn your thoughts if you've had the chance to audition one.

 

Until then cheers to all and enjoy those fine tunes!

Best, RJ 

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Nope...not even looking at any other transport. 

Thinks it gets too costly to chop and change at this level. 

Only reason for this purchase... price too good to pass up + unit was less than 12mths old.

I was very happy with K-03, but always wondered what K-01 would be like.

 

Yeah know what you mean...you start listening to discs you havent touched in years....rediscovering how good they actually sound.

 

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Ok fair enough, and good point.

Definitely agree on that. I'm not going to ever change from this point, and especially at this level, it's definitely a marvellous thing! I was advised about the clock unit, if I were to seek a solid upgrade but that thing alone goes for around 20grand. Just for a clock!

My personal benchmark percentage has to be around 40-45% in performance improvement, otherwise I can't justify the spend...

At this stage I'm really not sure if this clock is going to make such a significant difference in that performance percentage...

I'll give it some thought. 

 

Cheers mate, thanks for your reply. 

Best, RJ

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