CD Sound ; Esoteric x-03 versus Oppo 105

For CD sound; any difference?
Are you kidding?
Like the above response, I can't believe this is a serious question. I have never heard the Esoteric x-03 but I have both the Oppo and a Meridian 08, and true there is a difference in price, but the sound is not even in the same hemisphere.
i have the 105 and the Esoteric KO3x, the Oppo does well in its price but it is no match for the Esoteric
A legit question -guys. I do not like the Esoteric for CD playback. I do enjoy the Esoteric for SACD playback, as it is, superb.

Keep me posted and Happy Listening!
yes, it's a serious question.
The Esoteric is from 2005...
The 105D is virtually new.
10 years difference.
Is it unreasonable to think technological
improvements over 10 years could be that great?
Based on other electronic developments-I don't
think it was such a stretch.
Would a super TV from 2005 match
today's 4K?

Forgetting about the price differences, for Redbook CD replay the Esoteric has proper dacs, 4 x PCM1704 R2R Ladder Multibit dacs.
Where the Oppo just has Delta Sigma type dacs.

This is the biggest difference. Esoteric would win hands down for CD replay.

Then on top there's the transport quality differences.

Cheers George
I have heard several BIG BUCK (>> $10k) CD/SACD players, and NONE matched my obsolete Sony 5400!


It is a legitimate question.
"09-26-15: Ptss
yes, it's a serious question."

I was just kidding. The way you worded your question made me laugh. I know you were being serious. There's a pretty big difference between the 2.

"10 years difference.
Is it unreasonable to think technological
improvements over 10 years could be that great?
Based on other electronic developments-I don't
think it was such a stretch."

Its a valid question. One thing to keep in mind is that CD has been out for about 33 years. I think high end audio designers have squeezed about as much as you are going to get from the format. Its been like that for a while, and I don't think we'll see any more big improvements for Redbook.

There is one major issue that quite a few people overlook with digital audio sources. And that's the analog section of the player. It's just as important as the digital section. So even if you're comparing CD players with the same dac chips and transports, the players can sound very different from each other due to the design of the analog stage.
I own an Oppo 105D and have owned Esoteric DV50S, UX1-Limited, P03U/D03 and currently own the P02/D02. I've also listened extensively to the K01, K03, and X03 and UX3 models along the way. Summary of my thoughts;

SACD: no contest, no matter whether you go back to the DV50S or other more recent units, Esoteric wins

RBCD: IMHO, I prefer the Esoteric RBCD in more recent units, particularly UX3, UX1 and into the K and P/D units

All of the above using XLR balanced outputs; the best option for Eso IMHO....

10 year old tech/design by a SOTA vendor versus Oppo: does not matter, think about the fact that Esoteric engineered for a more no holds barred approach in each case at a higher price point. Oppo is a fine unit with a different objective and different price/parts/design philosophy. Also the post by Georgelofi hits the question of DAC parts choice squarely on the head....

Oppo105D: Amazing video quality all the way up to UHD-4K; this is why I own it....not for audio playback. Only player I've seen whose video beats my prior P03U. (That video section bested all "newer and better" players, even BluRay until the Oppo 105D came out), again all IMHO.

If you value quality audio playback, look at UX3, X03, UX1Ltd if you can find one or better yet, save for a used K01.

Enjoy the music and good luck to you!
If age is important to you, the 105D is the same for CD playback as the 2012 105.

I have a query;
can you comment on the sound/difference between the DV-50S and X-03/X-03SE models?

I have posted this same query, in a separate thread, if you wish to post your thoughts/impressions for me ?
Georgelofi. Th Sabredacs in the Oppo seem to have a good rep.
What is the difference to the 'older' dacs in the Esoteric and why are they better? Thanks.
Jafant: You've got the same question essentially going on 3 current threads....:-)

The X03 is less analytical and much more musical than the DV50S (I never heard the SA60) for both CD and SACD. The X01 (having the most DACs per side of the circuit) is even more so. I owned the UX-1Ltd as I needed video and it had 1/2 the number of DAC chips per side as the X01. Both were great units but the X01 was even more full bodied and musical. My advice, if you can get an X01, grab it in lieu of the X03 only because the X01 is even better. You won't go wrong however if availability or price dictate an X03.
Thank You! Zephyr.
I will keep you posted on my decision.
Happy Listening!
I have a oppo 105 and krell sacd standard 3..krell has more resolution,soundstage is not even close and greater dynamics..etc at its going price now not that more expensive
Some of the qualities you guys are listing with regards to all these different players, is almost certainly due to the differences in the analog section of the dac's.
I have an Esoteric UX-3 SACD player which is the same as the X-03 minus the video portion. This is the smoothest most natural sounding player I have ever owned and heard. When I picked this player up at Spearit Sound, the dealer told me this is one of the top 3 cd players made. The pcm1704 dac chips are superb. They are the R to R type, not a single Delta Sigma chip. The player has 4 of them. The analog output is one of the best, all discrete parts. No off the shelf OP Amps on this baby. It's built to last, weighing in at over 50 pounds and the VRDS NEO transport with a milled aluminum tray is the best in the business, period.
Zephyr. I appreciate your response and the difference in build and analog quality. I was thinking more along the line of a 10 yr old state of the art hi-def,1080P TV versus a new good quality 4K TV and wondering if that was the situation. Thanks.
Stereo 5, I have not questioned the quality of the Esoteric. Just considering the evolution of the technology.
Ptss: No worries, I understand; write me on Audiogon mail if you wish to talk further on this subject either phone or email.
I am wondering would the Oppo 105 with the Modwright modification sound better than the X-03?
"10-10-15: Ptss
Zephyr. I appreciate your response and the difference in build and analog quality. I was thinking more along the line of a 10 yr old state of the art hi-def,1080P TV versus a new good quality 4K TV and wondering if that was the situation. Thanks."

That's a valid concern with video, but not audio. 4k TV just came out, but there has been no new audio formats introduced in the last 10 years.
You can never underestimate a Modwright Oppo 105 D. Dan did my
Sony9000es maybe 12yrs ago we did a shoot out one is esoteric i
forgot the model one is exemplar cd player mod by alex p my sony
did extremely well and it was the cd of choice who were present.Sad
to say my sony is now retired the laser wont work.
Thanks Zephyr. I will. I took a look at your magnificent system and appreciate your attention to detail.
Thanks Zd. As I'm not knowledgeable about DACS I thought perhaps the newer Sabre DACS may be much better than the 10 year old units in the Esoteric. As for the analog side I appreciate quality but know significant improvements have taken place there as well.I still use a Spectral DMC20. It has a separate power supply the same size as the preamp. I'm assuming it was highly regarded when it came out -but- newer preamps from Spectral seem no larger than my preamp--but don't use (need) a separate power supply and are more refined according to all reviews. I view the elimination of all that hardware for the power supply to be very significant as I've had to use serious isolation and conditioning units to significantly improve the sound of my DMC20. Yet all my 'stuff' is now within the newer tiny preamps. Ergo, I speculated on the Oppo improvements despite modest size and less cost.
PTSS...thank for the plays music beautifully which is why it exists the way it does. I'm a music lover,...that much is certain. Have a great day!
Yes Zephyr, I agree it's all about the music and without question the reproduction by a quality system certainly enhances my enjoyment of particularly classical music, jazz and solo instruments. High end reproduction allows me the greatest 'highs' from the genius composers and players. Our addictive hobby pays great rewards for me, and it sounds like most of us here.