Edited by TheGhostWhoWalks - 2/13/12 at 8:01am
- 631 Posts. Joined 7/2005
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Edited by TheGhostWhoWalks - 2/13/12 at 8:01am
I've a pair of SR-009's and I have the BHSE on order. My source is the K-01 which for now I only use with SACD's + CD's. Until I receive the BHSE I'm only able to use it with my Pico Slim + Shure se535's + Beyerdynamic DT 1350's, and if I was told I could only use the K-01 with those for the rest of my life, I'd still be a very happy headfier. The K-01 is an incredible piece of audio equipment.
I hope you enjoy your K-01 when you receive it, which I'm sure you will.
I was trying to decide between a K01 and an MSB Diamond DAC + Platinum Transport.
I ultimately chose to go with the MSB Diamond DAC + Platinum Transport because I heard very good things about the new Femto Galaxy Clock. I ended up buying the Femto Galaxy Clock (supposedly the lowest jitter currently available). It makes the price very expensive but I'm told it is a big difference.
I still haven't received my DAC, but it should be here within 2 weeks. Hopefully it was a good choice. I'm sure the K01 is excellent as well.
PC still has a ways to go yet, I think. It's much better than it was even two years ago, but there are still issues. If you use something like a Mach2Music Mini, you'll get a half dozen different answers about which player is best (or even which version!). Driver support for Linux based players is a real problem when it comes to asynchronous USB. Windows is a little bit easier, I think JPlay in hibernation mode is unequaled - but then there's the question of whether the DAC supports KS with zero latency, or whether inferior WASAPI mode has to be used.
Rather than computers adapted for audio use, I'm more interested in products like the Burmester 111, something designed purely for playing digital audio with the build and attention to detail of a K-01.
Just a few months after the release of the K-05, Esoteric is bringing out another model down the line, the K-07 SACD CD/CD Player. According to JPubb.com, suggested price is JPY390,000, or less than 5 thousand US dollars after the Yen's recent correction. Shipping in March, at least in Japan.
The specs look surprisingly similar between both models, except for different Asahi Kasei 32-bit DACs. The K-05 uses the AK4399, while the K-07 uses the AK4392.
The K-05 Super Audio CD/CD Player is now up and running on the Esoteric Japan website. Being that the specs page lists power supplies for 3 regions, it shouldn't be long before the international launch. It remains to be seen though how much fat was cut to bring the K-01's stratospheric price down to a somewhat earthly US$9,900 for the K-05.
Well, it took much longer than expected. My K-01 got here in late February, but because I knew I was going to build a PC Music Server for it and I was out of outlets I finally decided it was time to put in a couple of dedicated lines, which meant buying more Oyaide Outlets and Wall Plates, as well as some good 10g cabling (got it from Jena Labs--I wish I could've afforded the Acrolink but at $30-per-foot and 140+ feet needed... you do the math) and hiring an electrician. So far so good, but it turned out my electrical panel was old, obsolete, and even dangerous, so I was pretty much forced to upgrade that. For the new panel, 2 lines, and whole-house surge protector it cost another $2500--I hope I didn't get screwed on the price, but it sounded reasonable.
Anyway, after some serious spring cleaning (electricians make a mess, don't they?) I finally got to spend all last week on my K-01 (through SinglePower SDS-XLR w/Tung-Sol VT231 drivers and RCA Grey Glass VT231 output: a very musical, rich combination) and I was more impressed by the hour. My first thought was a sigh of relief that it was able to equal my Reimyo CDP-777 in most respects. I still give the edge to the Reimyo in terms of tone and musicality, but I think the K-01 edges it in detail, dynamics, bass impact, and liquidity. I think both are about equal in terms of soundstage and imaging. I know part of me is going to miss the luxurious tone of the Reimyo, but I think the K-01's strengths make up for it, and it's not as if the tone is harsh, digital, or in anyway bad--it just doesn't have the same richness.
Anyway, I spent all my time listening to classical SACDs, including a large selection from Linn (Bach, Mozart, Handel, Purcell), the remastered 60s Karajan Beethoven Symphonies, the Zinman Mahler, and others. It was a lot of fun, and I was mightily impressed at how effortlessly the K-01 handled large-scale pieces even at high volumes. One downside of the R10s and a 6SN7 amp is that the former is hard to drive and the latter can distort at high volume levels, but I was able to crank it up about 3/4 with almost no distortion, even with output tubes as sluggish and quiet as the RCAs. I was also impressed with the level of impact, as both the TS and RCA tubes are really more of the distant, musical, relaxing, soft variety, but there was tons of rhythmic and dynamic attack in Karajan's 7th and 9th (eg). I really think the system was at its best with the Herreweghe Brahms Requiem, where the K-01 really got to show off how it could separate dense textures and make everything audible. For anyone who says that Esoteric misses the soul of the music, is too clinical, etc. I beg them to give this disc a spin: it's such a spiritual experience and the K-01 is as involving as any player I've ever heard. It was also superb on chamber music (Mozart and Purcell on Linn) and solo pieces (Tunnicliffe's Bach Cello Suites in particular with huge and lush).
So after breathing my sigh of relief I really just got back to enjoying the great music. Hearing Karajan on SACD (even if it was 24/96 and not DSD) was like hearing those performances for the first time again, and I'm definitely looking forward to revisiting many other old favorites, as well as trying out some rock and metal with a more lively/dynamic tube combination.