Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › New Esoteric players (K-01, K-03): anyone has seen or heard?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

New Esoteric players (K-01, K-03): anyone has seen or heard?

post #1 of 161
Thread Starter 

Fantastic looks and promising specs, as expected from Esoteric, but how about first hand experience, anyone? http://www.stereophile.com/content/esoteric-k-01-and-k-03

 

 

K-01: 8-dac version, 1,470,000JPY (~18kUSD) retail price in Japan but seems to be more like 22k in the US.
 
EsotericK01.tiff

http://esoteric.teac.com/audio_players/k-01/

 

K-03: 4-dac version and more modest transport, 840,000JPY (~10kUSD)) retail price in Japan but seems to be more like 13k in the US.

 

 
 
k03.jpg
post #2 of 161

Looks like the APL NWO player, which is a modded Esoteric with neo transport and stacked AKM dacs.

post #3 of 161
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr No View Post


Looks like the APL NWO player, which is a modded Esoteric with neo transport and stacked AKM dacs.




 



Makes sense since APL is using esoteric box/drive/dsp...

What's even more interesting is that the k01 and k03 now use the same dac chips as APL. So, provided their solid state output stage is improved from previous versions, we could be in for a treat! http://forums.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?ddgtl&1290259610&openusid&zzMatjet&4&5
post #4 of 161

Thanks for posting this. I completely missed it despite being a big Esoteric fan (I was able to play with a x03 in Japan. i bet you could roll one down a hill and it would still play) and the news being a couple of month old. Interesting they are going with multiple DACs per channel (4 per side for the k03 and 8 per side for the k01) like APL was already doing. One day a used k03 will be mine! :)

post #5 of 161

I could probably go and listen to a rig with one in it, but being that it wasn't mine I am not sure I'd be able to give any useful impressions.

post #6 of 161
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

I could probably go and listen to a rig with one in it, but being that it wasn't mine I am not sure I'd be able to give any useful impressions.



Yes indeed, hearing one for me is no trouble in Tokyo (like Dyna 5555), but I'd need a reference for A/Bing. I guess I could ask them if I can bring my Yamamoto D/A but by principle I won't do it unless I am committed to a potential purchase... Given the price, I am not sure I'd want to buy from such store given they just sell at MSRP...

post #7 of 161

There's a small local new/SH dealer near one of the places I work whom I go to occasionally. I'm sure they'd let me compare my Reference 1 to it, if they had one in stock. Despite having what must be one of the tiniest spaces for listening, their main rig consists of large Tannoys Westminster-sized speakers (I forget what brand and model they are) and $100k or so of Pass Labs, Goldring, Luxman and Esoteric gear. If the owner didn't smoke, I'd be tempted to sit in there for a couple of hours every week and get familiar with what they have.

 

I don't imagine with the Esoteric that the house sound will have changed though.

 

20090123.jpg

post #8 of 161
Thread Starter 

Ah, it would be fantastic if you could do some A/B of your Audio GD DAC vs. the K03 or K01! About the change in sound signature, although I understand it's not the biggest player, a change was made in the DAC so maybe a bit of a departure sound?

post #9 of 161
Thread Starter 

Ok, there's no way I can justify such an expensive purchase but I could not resist going to listen to the K-01 and K-03 for a short while today...

 

I went to Dyna 5555 first. It was a loudspeaker setup (shame on me, I don't remember the speakers but some fairly high end full range stuff, probably in the 20-40kUSD range). Amplification / preamp was from mark levinson. I could A/B the K-01 and P-05/D-05 (in CD mode). I listened to some Jazz and Vocal (one of the songs being the most famous tune from Norah Jones) and it was not contest: The K-01 eats the P-05/D-05 alive. The most obvious thing is improved clarity and transparency as if the P05/D05 was hazy in comparison. The next obvious finding was that the voice presence and realism was clearly a notch above when listening to the K-01, it was extremely revealing yet natural at the same time. Very expensive but it appears the K-01 can make CD sound as good as it gets. I briefly compared the CD and SACD layers of the Norah Jones tune and while it wasn't night and day, the SACD layer conveyed room ambience more than the CD layer. In Japan, the K-01 is just slightly more expensive than the P-05/D-05 combo so it appears quite a few owner are currently upgrading.

 

If I get closer to puller the trigger (it would be after I acquire the C32 so may be a while), I will want to bring my existing Stax gear and Yamamoto D/A in the store and do some AB. But, my impression from today is that my YDA-01 stands very very little chance...

 

I stumbled upon the K-01 again AND K-03 while visiting another store in akiba. This time, I don't know the amplification but loudspeakers were B&W 804 Diamond. I could again compare the P05-D05 against the K-01 and it was even more obvious than last time around. The P-05/D-05 sounded muffled and muted in comparison to the K-01. I listened first to a Jazz SACD I was not familiar with and then the same Norah Jones album, but CD version this time. The voice was just sooo good with the K01, I was so surprised I was enjoying the sound so much because honestly I haven't been a fan of B&W high-end speakers for long time. I always find them too revealing, but somehow it sounded quite good with the K-01 even though it appears to be a very very resolving source.

 

Lastly, I could switch to the K03 after listening to the K01, listening to the Norah Jones tune (she sings "don't know why ... blablablabla blah" during the chorus, what song is this ? ;o) ). Well, it was enlightening because while it sounded much more open / resolved than P-05/D-05 it was very clearly a notch down from the K01. On a scale from 1 to 10, I would put the P05/D05 at 4 or 5, the K01 at 10 and the K03 at 7 or 8. So finally, after the listening today, I would go for the K01, not the K03. It is so crazy expensive though...

 

One interesting thing: another person had come to listen to the K01 before me and both stores staff told me the K01 is selling well. Actually, in the second store, waiting list for K01 is 2-3 months (about 1 month for the K03). Apparently, quite a few P05/D05 owners are upgrading. It's hard to imagine in the current economy and the trend to go to dematerialized source rather than old-fashioned CDs (and even SACDs considering stores like HDtracks), but seems like the new Esoteric players are doing well, at least in Japan!

 

Well, I could only bring back a brochure home this time, but I can imagine making the jump somehow, someday...

 

arnaud.

post #10 of 161

I heard both the K-01 and K-03 at CES, and they are fantastic.  Not sure what else I can say about them, other than I'd probably get the K-03 because it was close enough to the K-01 for me and a lot less money. 

post #11 of 161


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

There's a small local new/SH dealer near one of the places I work whom I go to occasionally. I'm sure they'd let me compare my Reference 1 to it, if they had one in stock. Despite having what must be one of the tiniest spaces for listening, their main rig consists of large Tannoys Westminster-sized speakers (I forget what brand and model they are) and $100k or so of Pass Labs, Goldring, Luxman and Esoteric gear. If the owner didn't smoke, I'd be tempted to sit in there for a couple of hours every week and get familiar with what they have.

 

I don't imagine with the Esoteric that the house sound will have changed though.

 

20090123.jpg


If you hang out in a place like that you may as well open direct payroll deposit as you will wanting all that stuff and you will be a light lighter for sure.

post #12 of 161
Has anyone tried the esoteric k-01 against the accuphase Dp 600 or 700. I understand that esoteric have become more analogue sounding and therefore approximating the accuphase sound.
post #13 of 161

I finally made it into the store with my MacBook Pro to have a listen, and the damn thing had a kernel panic attempting to use it with the K-01 via USB. So, back to CD I went. I was actually there to audition the Harbeth 7ES-3s and a Luxman L-550A amp, which is for sale at a reasonable price. I'd say the combo of a clinically efficient source and similar amp with the Harbeths was a touch too cold for my tastes (I think I need tubes in there somewhere, or the Parasound I now own). The K-01 definitely extracted more than I can remember from Getz/Gilberto than I ever remember from my own gear though that rig. I'll go back there and have another shot with the Audiophilleo or an optical cable when I have time. I didn't get the impression that Esoteric has let up on their typical sound signature. The Japanese seem to like a "just the facts maam" presentation, at least that's my impression. I might take one of my own DACs in there the next time. I'll see how things go.

post #14 of 161

Amos, did it have any of the G clocks connected to it? I'd love to hear an Esoteric someday, and compare it to the DCC2 SE or CDSA


 

post #15 of 161

Both Esoteric models are probably top of their class in SACD playback at this point. But at US$22,500 for a K-01 and US$13,000 for a K-03, I'm likely to wait for the (hopeful) release of a K-05 or even a K-07 before joining the game. Based on Esoteric's design philosophy, they usually retain basic audio performance even in lower priced models down the line, while bypassing some of their most "esoteric" features, although the new VRDS-NEO VMK-3.5-20S mechanism could be one of these omissions...


 


Edited by Arnaldo - 4/29/11 at 6:59am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › New Esoteric players (K-01, K-03): anyone has seen or heard?