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  #11  
Old 02-19-2019, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by SCAudiophile View Post
My 2 cents on this having heard alot of DCS gear, EMM Labs and others and sticking with Esoteric....competition for Esoteric gear is replete with many examples (DCS, EMM, CH, MSB, etc...) that offer excellent playback. For me, my preference for Esoteric has always been around transparency, resolution top to bottom over the entire frequency spectrum including the best rendering of bass frequencies (fast, articulate, profound without bloat), imaging and 3D soundstaging. To my listening preferences, Esoteric does a better job than DCS and EMM Labs as they focus on what must be a different set of design goals and overall different output sonic signature. One year ago December I was fortunate enough to hear a top flight system in an insanely great custom-built room in MA. featuring 4-box DCS stack, Magico M3 with MPods and QSubs, Spectral Monos and Pre-amp and a 'just right' mix of top of the line Shunyata, MIT and WW cabling. A too die-for system that one would have a hard time picking apart any weaknesses in a room that frankly was my idea of audiophile Nirvana in terms of its huge size and overall acoustic properties. Spent 5-6 hours there planted in the chair fully enveloped in a top line DCS playback experience. If I'd never heard Esoteric, never owned, I would have thought it could be everything anyone could ever want (and it is...).

Less than 18 hours later I was at Ivan's hearing the Grandioso K1 and G1 clock and later the 4-box Esoteric stack in the Burmester Aida system and a brief stop in the TAD R1 system with Esoteric D02X DAC and C02X pre-amp. About as close an apples/apples comparison that is ever possible back to back separated by very little time in the middle so all listening impressions were still very fresh from the day before.

The Esoteric 4-box, 2-box and 1-box offerings have their own signature to be sure; I found myself continuing to come back to my preference for Esoteric's overall transparency, detail retrieval and resolution of the total dynamic spectrum more than what I'd heard from the DCS 4-box stack. It has that 'something extra' that appeals to me plus build quality and fit & finish that check the box with me in a way that other brands do not.

In short,...all these options are top of the stack. I've not even mentioned MSB, TotalDAC or CH that have seen many DCS and Esoteric owners wind up liking them more and jumping ship. They are all reputed to be fantastic products.

IMHO if you like a bit warmer more rounded playback experience (transient edges, midrange, a bit smoother etc..) DCS 4-box/in general and the Grandioso K1 (and EMM Labs) all are in the same realm. If like me and others you want more transparency and unbridaled, I would suggest Esoteric K-01xs, P-02X, D-02X or the 4-box stack is something you definitely want to listen to.

The best part of all these choices is there is no right or wrong,...great music comes out no matter which you choose; it's all a matter of personal preference.

FWIW...don't shoot the author !
In addition, there is no way to beat the build quality of Esoteric. It's next-level, designed and built to withstand a nuclear blast. Once you pick up a 75lb CD player, you realize that you are not playing with plastic crap!!!
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  #12  
Old 02-19-2019, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by 2fastdriving View Post
In addition, there is no way to beat the build quality of Esoteric. It's next-level, designed and built to withstand a nuclear blast. Once you pick up a 75lb CD player, you realize that you are not playing with plastic crap!!!
Or Grandioso M1 Monoblocks at 140lbs each.
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  #13  
Old 02-19-2019, 06:47 PM
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Or Grandioso M1 Monoblocks at 140lbs each.
Nice. But with an amplifier, you kind of expect it to be really heavy. With a CD player, it's shocking to struggle to lift it up and move it around. I still love telling my friends my CD player was shipped on a pallet. It blows their mind!
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  #14  
Old 02-19-2019, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 2fastdriving View Post
Nice. But with an amplifier, you kind of expect it to be really heavy. With a CD player, it's shocking to struggle to lift it up and move it around. I still love telling my friends my CD player was shipped on a pallet. It blows their mind!


Isn’t the shipping on a pallet more related to reducing concern of physical handling when it comes to the laser?
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  #15  
Old 02-20-2019, 03:14 AM
chadisrc chadisrc is offline
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Originally Posted by SCAudiophile View Post
My 2 cents on this having heard alot of DCS gear, EMM Labs and others and sticking with Esoteric....competition for Esoteric gear is replete with many examples (DCS, EMM, CH, MSB, etc...) that offer excellent playback. For me, my preference for Esoteric has always been around transparency, resolution top to bottom over the entire frequency spectrum including the best rendering of bass frequencies (fast, articulate, profound without bloat), imaging and 3D soundstaging. To my listening preferences, Esoteric does a better job than DCS and EMM Labs as they focus on what must be a different set of design goals and overall different output sonic signature. One year ago December I was fortunate enough to hear a top flight system in an insanely great custom-built room in MA. featuring 4-box DCS stack, Magico M3 with MPods and QSubs, Spectral Monos and Pre-amp and a 'just right' mix of top of the line Shunyata, MIT and WW cabling. A too die-for system that one would have a hard time picking apart any weaknesses in a room that frankly was my idea of audiophile Nirvana in terms of its huge size and overall acoustic properties. Spent 5-6 hours there planted in the chair fully enveloped in a top line DCS playback experience. If I'd never heard Esoteric, never owned, I would have thought it could be everything anyone could ever want (and it is...).

Less than 18 hours later I was at Ivan's hearing the Grandioso K1 and G1 clock and later the 4-box Esoteric stack in the Burmester Aida system and a brief stop in the TAD R1 system with Esoteric D02X DAC and C02X pre-amp. About as close an apples/apples comparison that is ever possible back to back separated by very little time in the middle so all listening impressions were still very fresh from the day before.

The Esoteric 4-box, 2-box and 1-box offerings have their own signature to be sure; I found myself continuing to come back to my preference for Esoteric's overall transparency, detail retrieval and resolution of the total dynamic spectrum more than what I'd heard from the DCS 4-box stack. It has that 'something extra' that appeals to me plus build quality and fit & finish that check the box with me in a way that other brands do not.

In short,...all these options are top of the stack. I've not even mentioned MSB, TotalDAC or CH that have seen many DCS and Esoteric owners wind up liking them more and jumping ship. They are all reputed to be fantastic products.

IMHO if you like a bit warmer more rounded playback experience (transient edges, midrange, a bit smoother etc..) DCS 4-box/in general and the Grandioso K1 (and EMM Labs) all are in the same realm. If like me and others you want more transparency and unbridaled, I would suggest Esoteric K-01xs, P-02X, D-02X or the 4-box stack is something you definitely want to listen to.

The best part of all these choices is there is no right or wrong,...great music comes out no matter which you choose; it's all a matter of personal preference.

FWIW...don't shoot the author !
Thanks for the detailed explanation SCAudiophile. You are very fortunate to hear a couple of great systems like that. I bought a lotto ticket recently and I am praying to the audio gods that I can use some of the winnings to get myself into a system like one you have listened to. Although it probably won't happen, it sure is fun to read about this stuff, and dream. I love this hobby, and its fun to speak with people who enjoy it as well.
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  #16  
Old 03-14-2019, 08:24 AM
GSOphile GSOphile is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCAudiophile View Post
My 2 cents on this having heard alot of DCS gear, EMM Labs and others and sticking with Esoteric....competition for Esoteric gear is replete with many examples (DCS, EMM, CH, MSB, etc...) that offer excellent playback. For me, my preference for Esoteric has always been around transparency, resolution top to bottom over the entire frequency spectrum including the best rendering of bass frequencies (fast, articulate, profound without bloat), imaging and 3D soundstaging. To my listening preferences, Esoteric does a better job than DCS and EMM Labs as they focus on what must be a different set of design goals and overall different output sonic signature. One year ago December I was fortunate enough to hear a top flight system in an insanely great custom-built room in MA. featuring 4-box DCS stack, Magico M3 with MPods and QSubs, Spectral Monos and Pre-amp and a 'just right' mix of top of the line Shunyata, MIT and WW cabling. A too die-for system that one would have a hard time picking apart any weaknesses in a room that frankly was my idea of audiophile Nirvana in terms of its huge size and overall acoustic properties. Spent 5-6 hours there planted in the chair fully enveloped in a top line DCS playback experience. If I'd never heard Esoteric, never owned, I would have thought it could be everything anyone could ever want (and it is...).

Less than 18 hours later I was at Ivan's hearing the Grandioso K1 and G1 clock and later the 4-box Esoteric stack in the Burmester Aida system and a brief stop in the TAD R1 system with Esoteric D02X DAC and C02X pre-amp. About as close an apples/apples comparison that is ever possible back to back separated by very little time in the middle so all listening impressions were still very fresh from the day before.

The Esoteric 4-box, 2-box and 1-box offerings have their own signature to be sure; I found myself continuing to come back to my preference for Esoteric's overall transparency, detail retrieval and resolution of the total dynamic spectrum more than what I'd heard from the DCS 4-box stack. It has that 'something extra' that appeals to me plus build quality and fit & finish that check the box with me in a way that other brands do not.

In short,...all these options are top of the stack. I've not even mentioned MSB, TotalDAC or CH that have seen many DCS and Esoteric owners wind up liking them more and jumping ship. They are all reputed to be fantastic products.

IMHO if you like a bit warmer more rounded playback experience (transient edges, midrange, a bit smoother etc..) DCS 4-box/in general and the Grandioso K1 (and EMM Labs) all are in the same realm. If like me and others you want more transparency and unbridaled, I would suggest Esoteric K-01xs, P-02X, D-02X or the 4-box stack is something you definitely want to listen to.

The best part of all these choices is there is no right or wrong,...great music comes out no matter which you choose; it's all a matter of personal preference.

FWIW...don't shoot the author !
Great post! Thanks for sharing.
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  #17  
Old 03-14-2019, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by chadisrc View Post
Thanks for the detailed explanation SCAudiophile. You are very fortunate to hear a couple of great systems like that. I bought a lotto ticket recently and I am praying to the audio gods that I can use some of the winnings to get myself into a system like one you have listened to. Although it probably won't happen, it sure is fun to read about this stuff, and dream. I love this hobby, and its fun to speak with people who enjoy it as well.
You are welcome...I do love this hobby and am looking for that lottery ticket myself !!!
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  #18  
Old 03-14-2019, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCAudiophile View Post
My 2 cents on this having heard alot of DCS gear, EMM Labs and others and sticking with Esoteric....competition for Esoteric gear is replete with many examples (DCS, EMM, CH, MSB, etc...) that offer excellent playback. For me, my preference for Esoteric has always been around transparency, resolution top to bottom over the entire frequency spectrum including the best rendering of bass frequencies (fast, articulate, profound without bloat), imaging and 3D soundstaging. To my listening preferences, Esoteric does a better job than DCS and EMM Labs as they focus on what must be a different set of design goals and overall different output sonic signature. One year ago December I was fortunate enough to hear a top flight system in an insanely great custom-built room in MA. featuring 4-box DCS stack, Magico M3 with MPods and QSubs, Spectral Monos and Pre-amp and a 'just right' mix of top of the line Shunyata, MIT and WW cabling. A too die-for system that one would have a hard time picking apart any weaknesses in a room that frankly was my idea of audiophile Nirvana in terms of its huge size and overall acoustic properties. Spent 5-6 hours there planted in the chair fully enveloped in a top line DCS playback experience. If I'd never heard Esoteric, never owned, I would have thought it could be everything anyone could ever want (and it is...).

Less than 18 hours later I was at Ivan's hearing the Grandioso K1 and G1 clock and later the 4-box Esoteric stack in the Burmester Aida system and a brief stop in the TAD R1 system with Esoteric D02X DAC and C02X pre-amp. About as close an apples/apples comparison that is ever possible back to back separated by very little time in the middle so all listening impressions were still very fresh from the day before.

The Esoteric 4-box, 2-box and 1-box offerings have their own signature to be sure; I found myself continuing to come back to my preference for Esoteric's overall transparency, detail retrieval and resolution of the total dynamic spectrum more than what I'd heard from the DCS 4-box stack. It has that 'something extra' that appeals to me plus build quality and fit & finish that check the box with me in a way that other brands do not.

In short,...all these options are top of the stack. I've not even mentioned MSB, TotalDAC or CH that have seen many DCS and Esoteric owners wind up liking them more and jumping ship. They are all reputed to be fantastic products.

IMHO if you like a bit warmer more rounded playback experience (transient edges, midrange, a bit smoother etc..) DCS 4-box/in general and the Grandioso K1 (and EMM Labs) all are in the same realm. If like me and others you want more transparency and unbridaled, I would suggest Esoteric K-01xs, P-02X, D-02X or the 4-box stack is something you definitely want to listen to.

The best part of all these choices is there is no right or wrong,...great music comes out no matter which you choose; it's all a matter of personal preference.

FWIW...don't shoot the author !

Very valuable first-hand experience!
Thank you for sharing.
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