Esoteric Grandioso P1/D1

Hello, wanted to start a thread on the new flagship Esoteric Grandioso P1 D1 digital system. Haven't seen any out there and also there is not much information on the web either. Just a couple of reviews and that is about it.

Idea is to share experiences and knowledge on this digital playback system from owners, people that has listened to it, with first hand experience for whatever reason, or just for those who may be interested to ask questions as potential future owners...

If you are reading this, you probably know the system is composed of 4 pieces: A transport, the power unit of transport, and 2 mono DACs for each channel.

Additionally, you can use (and I do recommend it to a great extend) the clock G01, so overall a 5 pieces system.

This digital replaces the old 01 which has been in the market for a long time and brings new interesting features it will be nice to discuss in depth.

Some are quite new or at least not seen before in high end audio like the use of a proprietary transfer protocol (ES-LINK 4) using HDMI cables.

it allows direct DSD and 352.8kHz/48bit PCM ultrawideband digital transmission using an HDMI cable for each DAC.

But most importantly, to discuss it's music reproduction qualities and different configurations and experinces.

Despite being out there for a while already, I can't understand why there hasn't been much said about them. I guess Esoteric should expend a bit in adds to get the atention of the pro audio publications... :-)

Anyway, I have these for less then a month, and despite having very little hours on them, they are quite something. However they are still evolving so will wait on my side a while still to talk in detail about the sound.

Hope this thread is of use and helps owners, potential ones, and others gather and share lots of information.

Hi Eli... I wish I could say that I am in the market for one of these multibox marvels... Realistically, I am not... Else I would have to join the "Prefered Divorse Program" that a teller of my bank told me about this morning... Yep, both my wife and I heard the same exact thing from the young lady.... Asked to elucidate, she corrected... It was the prefered "Rewards" program instead.... Ah, I was hoping for bank-sponsored financial assistance for suffering audiophiles under spousal threat of divorce for financial ineptitude.!

Anyhow... Here I am, affordability, or... Not!


As the owner of the po-1,do-1,GorB clock system for four years i too had much anticipation for the new Grandioso line but balked at another 4 [or5!] box system...

Much of what has been learned by Esoteric in those last years are present in the KO-1x all in one box!

To be fair the Grandiose affords a much greater deal of complexity as regards both different set-up options and variables to contour sound...

My goal, at 63, is to have the most undiluted representation of PCM as i believe it was never the disk, just the loss in the transfer of data!

Therefore i want no up or oversampling, 356,DSD, USB etc. etc. et al...:-)

Also the number of PC's and additional wires are now better spent on my other mistress...ANALOG!
Just one man's fight not to buy into a THIRD form be it streaming or downloads.
Hey Eli, from her grim disposition, I venture to guess that the young lady in question might be unhappily hitched to a financially profligate audiofool.... Uhrn, I meant, a dedicated audiophile!

Hey Eli, do you mean... Is G. still a suffering audiophile.... And is his better half getting inspired by the young teller in question? The answer is... Definitely yes, and, not sure.... SWMBO has not reached for the yellow pages for a family loyer yet.

Meantime, I am working on a review / break-in blog for the amazing High Fidelity PCs designed by Rick Schults in Dallas... Even the entry level is really amazing stuff.... I will create a thread before long on Audiogon.

For the rest... All's good, except for working almost 11 hours a day... At age 61, I'm starting to notice it *grins!*

HI Azjake.

I don't think it is only about set up options. The dedicated boxes with power supplies, specially keeping it far away from transport, plus the mono DACs do make a remarkable difference. I guess 4 or 5 boxes is the downside to it, but if you get a chance,try to listen to them in a familiar system. Would be great to hear your impressions.

Wow, This is exciting, I'm glad there is someone to share about these absolutely GREAT source components from Esoteric. This is my fourth Esoteric front end, I had the X-01/D2, the K-01, the D-02/P-02 combo, then with the G-01, and now this great source. I have always favored the Esoteric voicing, but always felt I has forfitting something to hear that detail and explosive dynamic presentation that I like with Esoteric. I think I could have been cool with the D-02/P-02, but after hearing the D1/P1 in my system I am glad I auditioned them and further more glad to now own them. These are Esoterics best source components I have heard, and by a wide margin over there other offerings.
I thought the D-02/P-02 was pretty good with Redbook, but I had heard better, but not anymore. The P1/D1 playback redbook CDs as good as I have heard in my system. Very natural presentation, drums and piano are in the room real. I have much to say but just want to get a few words in for now.
Very excited to see a thread for P1/D1 owners to talk tales and share tips. This is what I hope to be the ultimate in digital playback....with a little help from my friends on AudioGon.
You guys crack me up....think I've heard of that audiophile preferred divorce club before. Living with WAF round2 has it's challenges, I may be headed back to the club again if I am not careful :-) !!!

As for all you guys praising the new 01 generation to such a great extent both to-date and in the days to come on this thread, all I can say is thank you very much, I'm dying to hear these some day soon and am very happy with my P02/D02/C02.....and;

"Lord, Lead Us Not Into Temptation!!!
02 is indeed very good. No wonder you are very happy with them. I have been happy a number of years with them, and had not heard better digital until the 01s.

01s are, as rare as it may sound if you are used to the 02s, a good step beyond. I started a project to build a new system a few years back: room acoustics, speakers, amps, preamp, cables and so on. Besides speakers, these have provided the best improvement in sound well above any other addition. And I was coming from the 02s, which is, as you know fantastic in itself. Highly recommend to try to listen to it in a familiar set up.
Thanks Eelii08,...when will you be updating your virtual system with new component and cables lists and picture? Would love to see your setup....I remember your comparative demos of all the various levels some time ago; it would be great to see the finished product of all that listening!
Will try to do in the near future. Pictures are not my most beloved hobby, and updating all the list in the system is a bit of a pain (not really a bit...)

Latest pictures I have are of a couple of months ago with the system as it is right now but with the 02s still on.

Is there a way to send a private message here? I could send you in private.
A nice review of the units a friend pointed out to me. One of the only 2 I am aware of.
As the hours accumulate on the combo the level of realism is startling. This week I visited a friend with the same Ypsilon amps and preamp as I am using. He is driving Rockport Altairs with Tara Evolution cabling and Ypsilon DAC and Transport. We listened to all kinds of music for about 6 hours total. The reproduction of drums on his system is as good as it gets, which I have always thought to be one of the hardest instruments to blend Ina group, espiecally sounding real. Robs system is unbelievably convincing and equally fun to listen too. No drop off in resolution at the expense of detail. It's one of those systems that I could listen too all day and want to do it again tomorrow, no fatigue from listening. Usually the drums can take a toll on me, to get them to intigrate well they typically need decent volume, and then can't be too loud without wearing me out. I think the key is the level of realism. If the drums are not real sounding they just wear me out, couple of hours and blaah!
I came home and listened to tunes and noticed how good the P1/D1 reproduce drums... At any level, but espiecally loud. These Esoterics with drums are startlingly real. The level of resolution with instruments and sounds are as good as I have ever heard. I am using Salon II's for speakers with low hours, no uber priced super speakers, and it is amazing how good the whole system sounds. And again, I believe without the resolution, espiecally with digital it is difficult to listen long! ...And all this is with Redbook CD! This source is so good, as good as I have heard. I can only image, as they settle in with more break in time, it will improve even more, it makes me laugh!
I was listening to Eagles /!Hell Freezes Over which is live! Between tracks the live crowd cheers and claps. I can't help but too clap and cheer with them... And thankfully I don't have to clean up after them!
Hi ColeKat, have you tried to drive your amps directly with the Grandioso DACs, without linestage in the signal path? Results? G.
Yes I know what you mean. Many things to point out, but realism of reproduction is probably the most important achievement. All is just right. Bass, detail, expression, extension, sound staging... you name it. But it is altogether that gives realism levels not heard before. Listening to orchestral or symphonic music, it is amazing how there you are. I always remember when being in a concert, the sense of calm yet great dynamics when all the orchestra kicks in. But all in order and under control. This is best way to describe what I hear.

G I may be wrong, since early days and don't know in deep detail, but I don't think you can drive an amp directly from DACs. It does not have volume control. Or I have not seen it. Which for me is a plus actually since always have felt a good preamp improves sound and resolution over digital volume controls.
Hi G, No volume control on the new Esoterics. The D1 does not have it and the upgraded K-03X & K-01X no longer are equipped. When I had my K-01 I used it direct for awhile. At the time I had a Bryston preamp for multi channel, which is a pretty good preamp, and the K-01 was amazingly good sounding, but, After awhile I ran it through the preamp. I mostly listen to CDs and SACDs, so I would think that with Hi-Rez straight through the DAC could be the best hookup.
When I upgraded to the D-02 I had the Esoteric C-02 Preamp, and without doubt liked it better with the preamp.
And now I have no choice! there is no volume control offered. I am running the Ypsilon preamp and love the sound mated with the Esoteric. It clearly helped the D-02 balance out and I liked the darker overall presentation.
With the D1/P1 I am very satisfied with no filters using the ES-Link 4 HDMI protocol. The music just flows through these machines. Overall much more resolution than the D-02. I always felt that the D-02 was as good as it gets with retrieving detail. Finding the information on any format and playback was really good, but better with some stuff than others. When I got the Ypsilon preamp in line, that was as good as I had in my system, but Redbook didn't have the texture and resolution that the D1s provide. The D1s are great all around as any DAC I have heard, though I have not heard many of the top rated ones, I just don't feel like I am for loss, and can concentrate on other parts of my system to match the strengths of these babies. They may not be for everyone, but I would bet that more listeners would be happy with these Esoterics, and that may not of been the case in the past. For me they excel at everything Esoteric is known for, and they do well what they were not known for with the D1s. Best of dynamics, great detail, top of the line resolution, ultra super quiet noise floor... music arrives from nowhere, effortess flow, extremely smooth and incredibly lifelike presentation. I have not experienced any of that glare or occasional brightness, that plagued my K-01, just delightful, satisfying music!
Hi Colekat, I find it interesting that Esoteric has given up on volume control / attenuators. From a technological point of view, it is possible to design/implement DACs that have extremely graceful volume control and that by themselves do not require the additional processing provided by a linestage.

Many dedicated DAC seem to go that way, and there seems to be growing adoption of higher end system configurations sens-linestage. Adoption trend may be both based on economics and performance... Granted, my own front end is not at the level of Grandioso (old X-01 and Rowland Aeris DAC), but I am absolutely happy by the resolution and musicality that I obtain driving my M925 monos directly with the Aeris DAC.

I am wondering if Esoteric choice to phase out volume controls on DAC is somewhat marketing driven.... Existing customers traditionally were not driving their DACs directly into amps... And Esoteric wants to promote sales of their excellent line stages.
Congrats on your acquisition of the ultimate components from the Esoteric digital line. You are one lucky audiophile.

I think Esoteric's omission of volume control in these products may in all probability attest more to their in-house purist philosophy and approach to digital attenuation than anything else. With redbook at 16 bits, losing 1 bit of resolution with every 6 dB of attenuation may be acceptable but not so with dsd and hi-res pcm all the way to 384/24.
The 35 bit width of the newer AK dac chip may allow digital attenuation without affecting 24 bit audio. At least this is the case for the 32-bit ESS reference 9018.
Thanks John.

Ok finally updated my system. "My system" is called. Well actually builded a new one. Anyone knows how to get rid of an old system?

I have to agree with what Colekat mentions. It is that good.

Regarding preamp, and DAC volume attenuation, I always felt all my digitals sounded better with a preamp so for me it is indifferent. Alway I prefer if they don't have it. Assume Esoteric thought it was better that way and had a good reason for it, because it is true it could turn off some potential buyers.
Hi G, In a conversation with an Esoteric Exec. , he thought the processing needed for the new protocol was an issue/conflict with the volume control, though no one in Japan had substantiated that remark, he believed it to be true. I see or hear your point, one less component, one less set of cables, one less power supply, etc. Simplicity has its strengths, espiecally in HiFi. But, in my case with the Esoteric stuff, I had a better listening experience through the preamps, both the Esoteric C-02 & Ypsilon. Soundstage is much more natural with the Ypsilon in line, and as I stated a couple posts ago, the Ypsilon has a calming affect on the digital, although with the P1/D1 I hear none of the brightness or lack of weight with CDs that I heard with the K-01 espiecally. The Esoterics I had in the past were all excellent with SACDs, and the X-01 was great with multi channel, but at times CDs were lean and lacked the weight that so far has been one of the remarkable qualities of this player!
In theory, yes, but to design, implement and incorporate digital attenuation in a statement product like the Grandioso may compromise other aspects of its performance. Esoteric has decided that it is probably better to have the analog stage in a separate box altogether. And they have also decided likewise for the K-01X.
For me, like Eli and many others, SQ is better with a separate analog preamp in the chain. Of course, this is all set-up dependent.
Interesting. I think they went for simplicity to achieve the purest sound possible here. Not only taking out the volume; If you go the recommended way in connecting them, ES LINK 4 using HDMI, the options available in terms of up sampling, filters and the like are very limited.
Hi Colekat, I am confident that Esoteric engineering/marketing had a very carefully reasoned process that led them to omit volume control in their latest DAC designs. Whether their decision optimizes the long term success of the product line, or causes an eventual flexing of highest end market-share instead, only future will tell.

Hey G, You are right. I believe Esoteric is aligning themselves as a disc player/USB DAC combo player, with disc playing still being the main focus. I believe they will leave Integra to deal with the fluxuations in mainstream marketing with convienence and features being the focus.
After listening through the P1/D1 for almost 3 months now, there is no question in my mind that this is a Disc player, and an expectitional one at that, far exceeding any of my past experiences with other players.
As you say, time will tell if that is enough for further research and development of the future replacements for these awesome machines!
Interesting thread. I've decided to just muddle by with my P02/D02 and see where the market is around CES time. I have a rubidium clock but don't have it in the system due to spatial constraints. Not even thinking about how to squeeze a 4-box source into my new rack. :-)

If Esoteric brings the new P01/D01 to RMAF this fall, I will definitely give it a listen. Without hearing the new pieces, I struggle with the concept of spending lots more money to marginally improve upon the existing performance of my p02/D02. My best option, if I like what I hear at RMAF, is to get the pieces into my system and see how they sound. I am also a bit concerned about Esoteric now being run by a mid-fi company, but that's another issue for another thread...
Harve, in fairness, Teac was never born as a consumer audio high end company either.... Its bread and butter consumer audio products were lower to barely mid-fi at best, before they gradually opened up with Esoteric offerings.

Thus, I am not too concerned with Integra's past... Though its future in the high end is still unclear and requires some corroboration.

My concern is future support for what would be a new major investment, as we've already discussed... :-)
Hi Fplanner. You should try to find ways to use the clock. It does have a great effect on the 02s. But assume you know that. As for the 01s, the difference with the 02s is not small. Better in many material ways. If you listen to them in a familiar system you will be able to tell right away.

I am wondering on the HDMI cables. It is clearly the way to connect these things. Just wondering what kind of effect can have the cables in SQ. They come with a model from VDH. But you don't find that many HDMI cables out there. Auidoquest have one model, I think Nordost just came out with another one and Siltech has one on their mid series classic anniversary. They told me they can't produce a Royal signature HDMI cable given the connectors are too thin for a cable of high diameter.

I will try the Siltechs, but if anyone has an opinion if HDMI cables do make a difference in sound it would be interesting to hear.
I'll join Fplanner2000 in 'muddling' through with my P02/D02/C02 combo; as far as muddling is concerned, I think I'm doing just fine :-)

I can only imagine based upon the comments above from Tom and others who have owned the 02 series, just how good the new 01s must sound but I'll have to stow the 'jealous obsessive audiophile gene' away for now until that lottery ticket comes in!

Interesting thing about the clock (I'm a big fan) with the P02/D02 is that I found that when using the standard clocking modes of the D02 (176.4) to drive the P02, I kind of missed the separate clock but frankly ever since I kicked the D02 clock into 22.5792 Mhz master clock output mode, I've not looked back and question an absolute need to get a 'more precise' clock....the system simply sounds very good, very musical and just 'right' in so many ways. Having had the G0s for several years, it was extremely good and imparted a huge amount of accuracy to the reproduction but it was not until I stepped down to a 'less accurate' clock that I got the realism and musicality I was looking for. I'm sure Eso has improved things in this regard as of late but for where I am, I am happy.

As far as using HDMI, I've tried it with P-03U/D-03 and now the P-02/D-02. Perhaps ES-LINK4 with the O1s has improved things but at least with the 03 and 02 generation, Dual-AES cables are still 'where it's at' so to speak for the best in musical playback....

High-End HDMI and USB (and Ethernet) cable offering prices are off the charts compared to what's actually going on inside those cables. The same can be said for RCA, Analog, Speaker and Power cords but frankly given what HDMI and USB cables actually route and do, the prices are proportionately that much more ludicrous from the SOTA manufacturers (just an opinion, don't shoot the messenger)....
HI Zephir,

I agree with you 02 are no joke...

Regarding HDMI I don't know if I misunderstood you. None of the 03s or 02s had HDMI connectors. They had ilink, or RCA or XLR.

The 02 uses ESLINK3 through 2 AES/EBU. This is the best way to play them. But the 01s uses ESLINK 4 only through HDMI. If you plug 2 AES/EBU you just go back to ESLINK3.

Regarding prices for HDMI cables, actually they are not that crazily priced as other digital cables. A siltech is sold for 280 euros (the only one they make), and the VDH that comes with them (their highest model) at 220 euros. If you compare this with the prices of AES/EBU cables or any other it is far away. The most expensive HDMI cable out there for 1 meter is prices around 1000 USD. I just wonder if there is any difference or not between them.

Siltech claims that they can not connect high diameter cables to a HDMI plug. They would have to make thin pure momo x silver (as used in the DC models but much thiner) and that would be too expensive and not sure if there is a market for that.

In any case I will compare the stock cables with the SIltech and see if there is any difference. IN forums people claim there is in terms of image, but for pure sound applications, there is not much info out there.
Sorry,...meant Firewire-based iLink, not HDMI. Apologies for the brain spasm.....
01s at 400 or so hours and still improving. Nice change from 300 to 400 hours. It keeps surprising me how good these things really are. Nothing to do with any digital I've heard before. Pure magic and flow, detail, PRAT... Incredible.
Hey Guys, Trying out for rent clock set-up, so far like the results. The G-01 is very flexible with outputs, and I am auditioning the 10Mhz outputs. It brings everything into sharp focus, and really puts performers in the room. I will keep you posted!
Where is everyone, Summertime is not so good for blogging forums I guess. Will a couple of significant differences in the presentation after 4 months. I know I am repeating myself, but the Redbook performance of this rig is substantially better than anything else I have heard. I was listening to a 30 year old Copy of Rhyming Simon. This disk has always sounded anemic and soft, Paul Simon very forward, everything else just there. This rig brings it to life as good as I think it could possibly be. Usually the albums of these old CDs blow away the CD, in this case everything snaps into place, and without the problems associated with a thirty-five year old album. Of course I could buy new vinyl, but that is what the P1/D1 does so good. And think I saved $30.00 ! Pretty cool, hah! Just think, with every CD this rig resurrects I save $30.00, in 20000 playbacks the rig will have paid for itself!
Good Morning! We are busy trying to split time between work, a couple of vacation days and listening! Summer is tough,....give me a call sometime so we can catch up. Glad to hear you are enjoying that nirvana setup of yours :-) !!!!

For the clocking,....have you gone beyond the 10Mhz output yet?
Hey Zephyr, It has been tough, I have many projects coming to a close and hope to get to more serious listening before RMAF and a local dealer party coming up soon. Looking into making the break from the Salons and at very least hearing some new canidates.
As for clocking, I have been pleased with both 10Mhz and 22Mhz, but am still listening in 10Mhz, so I guess that says something. Also, I have purchased 50ohm adapters for the cable inputs on the clock. It makes no sense to me to build a system around 50ohm outputs, of which I need 3 and there are only 2, and have only 75 ohm inputs on the equipment. Anyway, I need some time with the adapters in line to know more, I have barely listened to music in 6 weeks.
Keep you posted and will give you a call Mark!


I thought I'd wake up this thread by letting you know that from what I've heard, Shunyata is about to release a pure 50-ohm SIGMA-level (i.e. their top of the line) "CLOCK50" cable with an absolutely certified 50-ohm connection that is their own in-house design.  I'm using two of their SIGMA AES/EBU cables for the last couple of months between my P-02 and D-02 with breathtaking results.  They replaced another high-end manufacturer's top-line cables that I could not find the better of for 5+ years and these new Shunyata's are by leaps and bounds better.   The differences are not subtle!
I need some advice as I’m unsure which option would give me the better SQ for my investment: I have an Esoteric X03SE and want to use it as a transport into the D1(s) (to be purchased) or buy a K1 Grandioso.
I don’t believe you can use the X03SE as a transport for a pair of D1 monoblock DACs as the X03SE does not offer dual-AES outputs. You could connect to one of the D1s using S/PDIF coaxial but not the other. If you looked at an D02X Esoteric DAC, you could run 1 S/PDIF output from the X03SE into D02X.

Unless you would plan to eventually move up to the P-02X transport to drive the D-02X to its full potential using dual-AES or dual-HDMI cable connect methods which unlocks all the magic and features that the combination of P-02X and D-02X is capable of, you are probably MUCH better off moving solely to an Esoteric Grandioso K1. That single-box unit is winning hearts and minds (and ears) of MANY people for the past few months. I know of 6 very picky audio-nuts that are loving theirs and reporting fantastic results saying they’ve never heard its equal in all their time in audio. 2 at least are vinyl fans and are saying it comes so close that they have been spending more time with their K1 than with their vinyl since getting the K1.
can anyone who has specific knowledge (I.e. owned any of these units) of the Esoteric 
separates lines give me a comparison between the D1/P1 Grandioso 
and the Esoteric D-02/P-02 (non x) units?
I’m seriously considering purchase (value is not the concern, ONLY sound quality).
Detailed differences are appreciated and I do not wish to offend current owners,
only to receive most knowledgeable feedback.
Thanks in advance,