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opusover21

Esoteric D-05/P-05 Vs X03SE

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opusover21 wrote:

Just wondered if anyone has looked at the new dac/trans against the one box fav the X03SE?? Its the D-05 that interests me more.. anyone?:dunno:

Ironically for me it is the other way around. The two box should be better (I've only heard it at shows though) but the real appeal to me would be to match that excellent transport to a slightly more emotive DAC- I'd be happy to lose SACD replay however.

The X-03 is a cracking device though. I confess I'm interested in the X-05 in the slightly longer term.

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I'm interested in X-05 too.... especially as it does SACD properly as DSD, unlike the X-03 which downsamples to 88.2Khz.

Anyone heard it?

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Nick Brown wrote:

I have the P-05/D-05 but haven't directly compared it to the X-03SE, sorry. :?

Well, there's a little history to preamble this question.

I used to run, and still own, a dCS P8i player. This player really convinced me of the benefits that properly treated SACD could bring, so I have now bought a fair number of both classical and jazz SACDs.

One thing that I always thought was a weak spot on the dCS was the floppy transport, although to be honest it never gave a moments trouble in the two years I ran it. I made up my mind that I wanted to stick with SACD/CD for the foreseeable future but was equally aware that the player market might diminish over the next 5-10 years, yeah I know they told us the same about turntables !!

So I started looking for a new player with a more solid transport and one that handled SACD without conversion to PCM. As I looked around it became clear that this was not a very large market. So after hearing the P-05/D-05 and realising it was a bit out of budget I ended up with a McIntosh MCD301. The MCD301 is a great player, IMO not quite up there with the SOTA in SACD terms but to my surprise it handily out performed the dCS on redbook CD.

Then a huge case of "Sod's Law" occured. Not more than 10 days after I got the MCD301 a dealer had a 6 month old and little used P-05/D-05 combo come up for sale. After much hand wringing, calculation and pleading with 'er indoors I bought those units.

I am very impressed with them. I think Frederic Beudot's review on 6Moons sums up the strengths more eloquently than I could manage. I find the sound to be refined and accurate in terms of tonality. The treble is particualrly fine compared to most other players I've owned. From what I gleaned from Fredric's follow up the X-03SE is a touch more ballsy and vivid than the P-05/D-05. It's definitely going to be a personal choice which you might prefer, I guess I'm more a tonality/refinement guy than a PRAT guy. I don't think that either of these units would turn out to be a one trick pony and to be sure I expect the differences would be fairly subtle. But as you know subtle can be meaningful.

The flexibility of the D-05 is great, although to be fair some of the more interesting options seem only to come to light with an Esoteric transport in place. With all the options for treatment of redbook CD I can't imagine anyone not finding a flavour to suit them, although there will always be someone to disprove that theory.

The P-05 is, to put it mildly, well built. It is smooth in operation and deathly quiet more than the dCS ever was on certain discs. Even though this transport doesn't offer the metal drawer of some of the other Esoteric players it's still confidence inspiring.

Sorry to waffle on !! If you want to ask me anything else please let me know.

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Nick - on well recorded true DSD SACDs, how does the Esoteric compare with the dCS P8i? Ta.

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musicbox wrote:

Nick - on well recorded true DSD SACDs, how does the Esoteric compare with the dCS P8i? Ta.

Well, I would say the Esoteric is less clinical than the dCS. Much as I liked the dCS I was sometimes aware of a slightly analytical quality to it with some material, almost like some kind of shine had been applied to the sound. The Esoteric doesn't have this but there is no apparent drop in resolution, if anything the Esoteric presents detail more naturally than the dCS.

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Thanks Nick - I'm a bit suprised the transport isnt a higher up the chain or compared to the x03 the same unit? I would have thought it would be the same at least??

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opusover21 wrote:

Thanks Nick - I'm a bit suprised the transport isnt a higher up the chain or compared to the x03 the same unit? I would have thought it would be the same at least??

If you want the same transport as the X-03SE you have to drum up the extra cash for the P-03 I'm afraid.

However some interesting design work went into making the VRDS Neo Mk5 which in some ways make it even more designed for the higher rotational speeds required for SACD. Reading a description from the Esoteric R&D team for Mk5 they really endeavoured to maintain performance levels even though slimming down of transport and cost were required.

So while it doesn't boast quite the level of Exocet proof-ness it is still very confidence inspiring and beautifully engineered.

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The dCS P8i..I had one of those and IMHO its one of the best players around...i know not many people like it but for acoustic/single vocal type pants I like it was very very good...I went for another opus to fund my CJ and Quad kit..the X03 and P8i were very very good players..I think the ARC Ref CD7 would be what i'm after

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opusover21 wrote:

The dCS P8i..I had one of those and IMHO its one of the best players around...i know not many people like it but for acoustic/single vocal type pants I like it was very very good...I went for another opus to fund my CJ and Quad kit..the X03 and P8i were very very good players..I think the ARC Ref CD7 would be what i'm after

I agree the P8i is a great player. The Esoteric is a more accomplished all rounder I think.

I've heard the ARC CD3, I understand this is some way below the CD7, and was a little underwhelmed, not that it was a bad player just not as great as I'd expected. I get the feeling the ARC players excite some people to the edges of orgasm and leave others wondering "Huh ??".

A bit like everything else I guess. :D

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