D and A interconnects for Esoteric P-03 and D-03

Dear fellow Audiogoners,

After a long upgrade hiatus, I recently went ahead and purchased a set of mint Esoteric P-03 and D-03 demos from a long time dealer in NYC, who cut me a reasonable deal considering these are now vintage units.

As I took the plunge, I held a schizophrenic struggle within: Reason was telling me to not buy another transport, as optical media are clearly losing ground to computer based HD formats. Meanwhile, a little devil was urging me to go ahead, reminding me of how long I coveted these units, which retailed way above my price range when I last upgraded my digital source to the Simaudio Evolution Supernova CD player that I still enjoy today.

Obviously, the devil won: as I write this post, the P-03 and D-03 are singing the night away, atop my equipment stand. I may even take it up a notch and go for an external Rubidium clock, when the right deal comes along.

As I handed out my credit card, I thought of the thousands of CDs which I still have in my listening room, all sorted by genre, artist and performer, alphabetically and chronologically. Even if one day I do find the time and patience to rip them all into lossless files, at this point for me it is simply easier –and even faster- to just pop a cd into the transport, and let it fly.

Unlike the plastic Philips transport in the Supernova, the VRDS Neo transport in the P-03 is built to last forever, so that’s that. Icing on the cake: The Esoteric combo allows me to explore some cool SACD titles available online.

As for the D-03 I understand that, despite all the sampling and conversion modes it handles, it is no longer a cutting edge unit, because in recent times DAC technology has incorporated even more bits, while taking the asynchronous USB route. Although at some point Esoteric did announce a USB upgrade program for the D-03, they ultimately decided to launch the D-02, which is way out of my range right now.

In any case, my ears report that the P-03 and D-03 combo is as good as it gets for CD and SACD playback, and will only get better when slaved to an external Rubidium clock. Plus, I can always incorporate an asynchronous USB converter later on, such as the BelCanto RefLink, for reasonable scratch.

Right now I am running dual generic XLR digital pro audio cables from the P-03 to the D-03. From the D-03 to my Simaudio Evolution P-8 preamp, I am temporarily running an old set of Audioquest Columbia RCAs, simply because my balanced Nordost Tyrs were simply too bright for the already razor-sharp sound of the Esoteric combo.

So now I need:

- A great pair of digital XLR cables, to run from the P-03 to the D-03.

- A great pair of analog XLR cables to run from the D-03 to my Preamp, which maintain the amazing resolution and authority of the Esoteric, but take off a tiny bit of edge, for a better rounded more musical and less fatiguing sound.

And while I’m at it…

Will the firewire input on the D-03 accept data from the firewire output of a MacBook Pro?

Will the D-03 decode DSD data from a source other than the P-03? How?

If so, what software would I need to achieve all of the above?

Thank you for commenting and enjoy the music!