Differences Between Esoteric SACD Players

I cannot find a dealer in my area that has the x-03se and the x-05. I am sure there are people who have compared them. Can you give me some idea if you think the x-03se is worth the extra $6-700 extra over the x-05? Finally, is the SA50 close to the x-05? I like the DAC accessability in that unit as I would like to listen to internet radio, but that is not a major decision point for me. I have a large SACD collection so that is the priority. Thanks for your help.
Hey Teeshot,
Check out a Modwright 9100 or 5400 Sony with the separate tube power supply, listen, smile and pocket the extra change to later buy more music. I'll bet you the sound is every bit as good or better for a whole lot less money. Dan Wright's stuff is drop dead gorgeous to listen to in cd or sacd.
The Esoterics are wonderful sacd/cd players. I have enjoyed the entry level SA-10 very much. I have also heard in my system an X03SE and a P05/D05. As you move up through the range the sound gets even better. By better I mean the weight and impact as the sound goes from fantastic to even better still. The seperation of instruments and listening pleasure just gets better.You have to here the better units to see what you are missing from the still very good lesser ones.
The transport makes a huge difference in the sound of any cd player,so I can't imagine the SA-50 with its VOSP transport sounding as good as the X-05 with its VRDS-Neo but perhaps others have first hand experience.
This may be of interest to you.

If you go to the 'high-endaudio' link you will find a $90K configuration, including a separate clock box. I wonder what $90K sound is like. I will be checking a NYC dealer on this.
Dorkwad: I like Dan's stuff...I own a 36.5 preamp and the KWA 150 amp. I am looking to Esoteric for the reliability as well as the sound. I am not sold on Sony reliability given the myriad problems people have had over the years with the various SACD players. The one thing I hate most is no music while a piece of my sysyem is gone to a manufacturer for a month.
Hi Buconero,
The reason I posted the link was that they cover a range of Esoteric players and explain what you gain as you move up the range.

Teeshot: I'm not sure if this means anything but I also like Dan's stuff (and own the LS36.5 and KWA150) and chose the Esoteric X-03SE because it sounded great and is built like a tank. Their transports are unsurpassed and operating the machine makes you feel like your money was well spent. I did not compare the X-03Se to the X-05 but did discuss the differences with the dealer I worked with and, given the better DAC's, transport, internal wiring, ETC I felt it was worth the extra dollars. Since then I have read numerous comments on this machine that suggest it is the proverbial "sweet spot" in their lineup, representing the best sound and build quality for dollars invested. I don't know what your budget is or whether you are looking to buy new but I do believe that Esoteric has come out with a replacement model called the K-03, however I suspect that is considerably more expensive than the X-03Se. Sorry I cannot comment specifically on your question but perhaps this will provide some help in making your decision.
I've had the Esoteric SA-50 for 6 months now and love it. By far the best CD player or SACD player I've used. I was hesitant at the price but now consider it an excellent value.
It is very flexible with the upsampling/filtering. I like to convert the CD/PCM stream to DSD, really sweet sounding digital. Much better than my prior efforts with various CD players (MoFi, others) and transport/DACs (Bel Canto, Benchmark, others).
SACD is great. It's Esoteric after all, they are pretty good at SACD.
The icing on the cake is the DAC inputs - toslink & RCA/coax. So I can feed my computer audio files and also a Squeezebox Touch for internet radio. Finally, this thing has got a volume attenuator so you can go direct to a power amp. But it sounds better through a pre-amp.
I did not have a chance to compare it to other Esoteric units, but I've been very pleased with the SA-50 - to the point of having no further upgraditis with regards to CD, SACD or DAC!
One drawback, the USB input is not a good implementation, so you need something else between PC and the SA-50, of which there are many different solutions to choose from.
Good luck, you can't go wrong.
These are excellent responses. Everyone to a person,and I have gotten some emails as well, seems to love their Esoterics and it seems I cannot go wrong. Since the X series is considered to be the better series due to its more sophisticated transport, I just have to decide if I want to spend the extra for the X-03se over the x-05. Again, if you are out there and have directly compared them, please chime in.
I would be patient and see if an X03 comes up in your budget range. The X03 has the improved mechanism, which is really what distinguishes upper end Esoteric players from any other marque, including those which buy the lower-end transport mechanism to put in their SACD players (I once owned the Playback Designs MPS5, which is an excellent product but not relevant here). Having owned a variety of Esoteric gear, I currently own the UX1 among others and love it for the reasons mentioned here. You don't feel like you were at all shorted on what you spent - the engineering, build quality, feature set are all top drawer. If you were to get an X05 you might start ruminating on an upgrade whereas with an X03(SE), you'd probably be set for a while.
I have the X03se and it's the way to go. You see a few here for +\- 4,000.