APL Esoteric X-01

Anyone had their Esoteric X-01 redesigned by Alex at APL. Design 1 or design 2.5?
If so what are your impressions?
Thanks, Greg
Hi Greg,

I have ordered the APL NWO-2.5 based on the Esoteric UX-1 and will post my impressions when I receive it. Several owners (and non-owners) have posted their impressions of the APL NWO-1.0,2.0, and 2.5 on various threads on Audiogon and the APL Forum. For example, check out the following links:


Best Regards,
Greg, when it comes to transport and DSP, the UX-1 and X-01 are identical. Just the X-01 has the DVD Video and Audio disabled.

When it comes to the APL re-design of these, it is also identical with absolutely the same end result. It's just that you will not be able to play DVD-A and Video on the X-01.

This said, the links that Puremusic(John) has provided above apply 100% for a re-designed X-01 as well. You can also look at the NWO-2.5 thread here on Audiogon

Thank you John and Alex for your information. It will be 5 to 6 working days before I recieve my X-01. I do want to listen to it in stock form and compare it to my other players before I make the leap. I also have to come to terms with my wife on what equip. stays and what goes. I am planning to buy new Eggleston Works Andra IIs and bi-amp them with Pass labs XA-160s for the mids and highs and X-350s for the bottem.
Hi. First, as to the Andra IIs, this is not a hard to drive speaker, and in fact the manufacturer's recommendation is 100 watts per channel, unlike the original Andras, which ate power. I biwire them with McIntosh 501s, which have about 5 times the recommended power, and that is vastly more than needed for any conceivable purpose, in any likely room. Before I got rid of my old amps, Classe CAM-300s, I tried biamping, first with the Macs on top, and then the Classes, and there was no gain, and maybe some loss, as to clarity, soundstage, etc. I really think, unless you already have the Pass amps, that you are spending a lot where there isn't any great likelihood of gain.
On the other subject, if you are getting an original X-01, the upgrade to Limited is a vast improvement over the original, for $1200, and the warranty is extended. The Limited is far warmer and richer than, but equally as detailed as the original, without any of the etched quality which sometimes made the original a bit offputting. If you've heard the Limited and still want to get it, or the original, modified, fine. But if you haven't, and are just going on the difference in sound between the original X-01 and the after-market modification, you're going blind--aurally, that is. But to each his own, of course.
Mgottlieb, I am perfectly aware (in-depth, down to the last component) what are the differences between the "normal" and "limited" UX-1 and X-01. There is no doubt that the "limited" is better, but it is still 90% similar to the "normal" version.

The "after-market modification", as you put it, involves complete removal of ALL original clocks, upsampler, digital filter, DAC and analog stages. The end result has nothing to do with Esoteric except for the beautiful enclosure and the superb VRDS-NEO transport. You are welcome to visit the links provided above and read more information about it.

My comment still goes: before sending an X-01 out for modification, I'd listen to a Limited to see if, afterwards, there still is a desire to do so. That's all I said, and I directed the comment to Greg, who asked the question.
Mgottlieb, "you're going blind--aurally".
Judging from Grandme posts above, he was "going blind--aurally" when when he bought the X-01. I don't see any difference between that and going the APL route. If the NWO2.5 is as good as the owners claim, then he would have wasted $1200.+ on the upgrade.
I bought a X-01 Limited based on the owners rave reviews. (I was going blind--aurally). It's an outstanding player and the build quality is the best IMO. However I still preferred my EMM gear and sold the X-01 Lim.
I'll be listening to the NWO 2.5 this weekend at Rocky Mountain Audiofest and will probably order one and without hearing it in MY system, I'll be "going blind" once more.
Once again, doesn't anyone read? All I said was LISTEN to the Limited, which is available from numerous dealers, before passing up the upgrade of the original by the manufacturer for a more expensive one. Blind, it would appear, is blind, period.
Here is the problem as I see it. Yes, it makes sense to listen to the X-01 Limited, and perhaps it sounds substantially better than the stock X-01, and perhaps the sound of the X-01 Limited would be enough to satisfy someone who did not have the thought of owning the APL version. However, if the listener has APL's redesigned X-01 in the back of his/her mind, then it doesn't matter how exceptional the X-01 Limited sounds...it won't be enough to quash the listener's nagging urge to own the more expensive APL. It's just human nature of desiring what is not owned. It's Law #2 of the Audioholics Code.

BTW, I happen to believe the APL redesigned X-01 will probably sound better than both the X-01 and X-01 Limited. However, I also am quite certain the APL X-01 will have no semblance of the Esoteric house sound. That could be an important factor for an owner of the Esoteric X-01.
No doubt that the X-01 and X-01 Limited are two of the best sorts of "apples" money can buy, however, the NWO-2.5 is an "orange". Simply, the two can not be compared and just like Tvad said; they sound totally different.

So there is no point for further argument here.

Greg, please listen to the Limited. Even better, since we are almost neighbors, lets try to find a local SF Bay Area X-01 Limited owner who is willing to bring it over for A-B test. This way you can hear what the differences are and make up your mind easily.

Hey guys lets not get our panties all bunched up! I will listen to the X-01 in stock form. I'm in the middle of substantial changes to my system. Lots of gear going out... lots or gear coming in...When I get done, will I have the $10,000 for the Apl 2.5... I hope so. I "blindly" believe it is a great player, we will see.. I just put a Marantz Sa-8001 and my 2 Rel Storm 3 subs up for sale, joined shortly by my Pass Labs X-350 and my beloved Audio Physic Virgo 2s. If My XA-160s don't sell with this run on the 'gon... I'm keeping them! S...t, I didn't want to sell them anyway. My problem is, as Tvad and Boa2 know is, I have it Bad...
Hey Greg, if you sell your amps what are you goong to use to power the Eggleston Works Andra IIs??? Also, if you sell your speakers what are you going to use to listen to your awesome new X-01??

I have it bad too...I have swapped speakers 3 times in one year (not to mention changing amps, preamp, and cdp twice). Hopefully I am done for a while (not likely)....
Tbooe, I just canceled my XA-160 Audiogon add. Put up my Pass X-350, my Rel Storm 3 subs,my Marantz SA-8001 CD/SACD player and my audio Physic Virgo 2s speakers. The two Pass Labs amps do not match up for bi-amping. The X-350 has a 30 db gain, the XA-160 a 20 db gain. I have been told by "reliable" sources, the XA will handle the Andra IIs... no problamo. I'm still open to a speaker change ...I've always liked the Audio Physic Avanti 3s. I can get them new for $4000.00 less than the Eggleston Andra 2s. I still need cash... anyone what to donate to Greg's addiction?
My problem is, as Tvad and Boa2 know is, I have it Bad...
And my problem is I can't afford your problem. :-)
Tbooe, Just saw your 802ds up for sale. We are brothers in dementia!!!! What did you not like about those wonderfull B&Ws.
Greg, LOL!!! My wife would never let me hang out with you!!

The 802D are GREAT speakers. I am looking for something that sounds a bit more dynamic, nimble, and quick. The 802d are a bit slow for my taste. The bass is also a bit loose and boomy. I (like you) am on the look out for speakers that mate well with the XA160s. Any suggestions...:)
From what I've heard from the guys at Pass, the 600.5 will speed up those 802Ds, higher gain, more control, not as musical. The 800d and the 802s love big amps.
I just put 4 items on sale to start my angling on a pair of Eggleston Works Andra IIs.
I also like the Audio Physic Avanti 3. The Wilson W/P 7, 8s or Maxxs are great but have no W.A.F. In fact... I do not care for the Wilson Look. It is hard to love a speaker you don't like to look at!
Well Greg...its a done deal. The 802d sold (in less than 1 day wow!). Right now I am seriously looking at the Usher be-10. I think their berillium mid and tweeter and fast bass response should be a good match with the XA160. I think I have read somewhere that the Ushers compare favorably to the Wilson but without the price (though they still cost $15K) and weird looks. I think the reviewer on Stereophile also recommends the XA160 with Wilsons. So there you have it. I was also considering the Avalon Ceramique but I have heard that the sound is a bit laid back which may not be a god combo with the XA. I think I am going to give the Ushers a try. Worse case I sell them and keep going with my audiophile insanity!!!!!

When do you think you are going to get the Andras?
Way to go on your sale! I have not heard the Ushers.... heard good things about them.
When Stereophile did their review of the XA-160 they used the Wilson W/P 7s and the Audio Physic Avanti IIIs. Both were recommended matchups.
I ordered my Andras today... so probably 3 to 4 weeks till I see them in my room!
My fedex arrival date for my X-01 is 10/24(back to digital) I have a pair of Kimber Balanced interconnects coming for the Esoteric. My system will be all balanced after this....what ever that is worth..
I don't have the money for the cd players talked about here, but I definitely would listen to APL's version. I'm the "When is digital going to get the soul of music" person. I really had no hope for digital, as I thought the medium was inherently flawed. One's and zero's describing music? My best music comes from Alex's Denon 3910(my version). It took out my $10,000 analog(circa 1992). I did not believe this was possible. I also want to mention that Alex seems to listen to what you say, and backs it up. Also, I believe there is a discussion about Alex's version of your player on the APL Hi-Fi site.
"When is digital going to get the soul of music?" I just reached to this point last week when APL NWO-2.5, modified from UX-1,arrived. It has now superseded my high-end Vinyl source for enjoying natural music with much more dynamic and extension on both treble and bass. It proves that musical information planted in the CD's, not necessarily SACD, has been as good as, if not better than, that in the Vinyl records.
Hi All,
Slightly off point but I am trying to source a secod hand UX-1 or XO-1, 230v version for APL to mod and if anyone has any ideas or suggestions it would be much appreciated.
Kind regards
Actually, Chungted, I was afraid of the conclusion you came to with your APL NWO-2.5, because I suspected that was the case. My analog is just not competitive with my digital. I hope to rectify this in the future, so I can listen to the 2,500 lp's I have. Listening at Alex's might help get me started. My last comparison between analog and digital at Oritek Audio, still had analog ahead in terms of relaxation, but behind cd in detail.
Does your APL accept digtal inputs? I'm now in the market for a really dood dac, but I still need a standalone player.

David Shapiro
David, I should be getting my NWO 2.5 later this week, I know you live by me, if you wanna check it out, let me know. Alex is working on accwepting digital inputs as I type. Should be ready in the next month, or so, after it is complete, I will be sending mine for the upgrade.
Deshapiro, there are number of NWO-2.5 players with the digital input (coax S/PDIF up to 192/24) so this option is available now.

The two other options which will be available in a month or so are Wi-Fi (wireless audio stream from PC) based on re-designed Squeezebox and Analog input.

Do you mean to compare between NWO-2.5 and Analogue? Was NWO directly hooked up to the power amps without passing through the pre?
Alex, why don't you put the digital input n mine, so David can try it?
Alex, why don't you put the digital input n mine, so David can try it?

I knew this is coming... :-)

Ok, I will, although I don't really see what other digital source would outperform the Esoteric VRDS-NEO transport in the NWO-2.5. :-)

May be Deshapiro can tell us what he has in mind?

Hi Alex,
I think the future is trying to get here. I believe that before long optical transports will be completely superceded by hard-drive based transport. OTOH, good dacs will be with us for a long time. I actually had this same conversation via e-mail with Weiss, of Weiss Medea fame. He basically agreed, although he wasn't sure what the best connection format would be between the drive and the DAC.My current Esoteric Limited player is excellent, but it lacks a digital input, and will be a paperweight pretty soon.