dCS Puccini is more analytical.
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Not heard the K-01 but the spec looks interesting but owned X-01, Puccini and Scarlatti stack. They all are very super detailed and analytical. Pair them carefully in a system.
Emm Labs sounds silmilar but not as much as those mentioned. I now own a Playback Designs MPS-5 which IMO best them all.
I would love to audition a K-01 at some point because I just love their built quality and their transport mech.
I had the MPS5 for a year side by side with the P03D03Rubidum clock and I'd say that the Esoteric stack, when upsampling redbook CD to DSD were similar. I later sold the Esoteric transport and DAC to save money and space and then bought the dCS Paganini stack and ran it with the Esoteric clock. I found the Paganini to have better deep bass definition and slam with incredible detail and energy; that being said I still sold it as I found the sound to be a bit overwhelming. I did later sell the MPS 5 (I understand there were factory updates to the unit but mine only had firmware not power supply etc.). The one constant through all this has been my Boulder DAC, which is the unit I've preferred for redbook all the while. I am still looking for a be all end all SACD player, preferably one chassis.
My transport (Esoteric UX1) serves as my SACD solution and I'm not sure it's worth my SACD collection to spring for a Emm XDS1 or K-01. However, I've thought about it...and have done the system appraisal to see what I have that I am willing to part with.
I did hear the K01 at an audio show in Asia but I was in the Esoteric room to buy the SACDs and the gear was completely unfamiliar to me. The rep did say the P03D03 was still likely a step up from the K01. That being said, if the K01, using AKM DACs, has a sonic signature similar to the sweet sounding D05, I may consider it.
I owned the DCS Scarlatti 3 box stack and although it did dig a bit deeper than the MPS-5 on SACD, I still found it a bit harsh up the top end. The MPS-5 sounded more musical on Redbook playback to my liking plus I got away with so many expensive cables.
A friend owns the Emm Labs XDS1 and I have to say that it's a great sounding player and there's not much in it between the two just system synergy. I would happily keep mine or buy the XDS1.
BTW, my friend with the XDS1 owned the esoteric 5 box stack P-01, D-01 and rubduim clock and to our eyes, it was no where close to the Emm's.
Did the Scarlatti owner have the Upsampler, or the Word Clock as part of his 3 box stack? The Upsampler allows you to upsample to 176, which I have always preferred to DSD. The Word Clock makes an incredible improvement; without it the Scarlatti is just another good CD/SACD player. If you can spend that kind of money, you should go for the full monti.
I own both of the great players - Esoteric K-01 & dCS Puccini. I would say they both are very analytical, but K-01 is more analytical. It also gives a bigger soundstage and ultra dark background.
K-01 is a better pick for classical music because it is lack of coloring.
For Puccini, it is more musical. I would say it is a all-rounded player.
At this price level, both players offer exceptional quality, so it is a tough call to pick one!
do you use the Puccini with clock ?
I personally own the Puccini & clock
a close friend owns the K-01
but I can't tell nothing serious because our systems are so different
the only thing I can tell, I prefer the k-01 to the 03 combo which he had on demo in his system ... the k-01 seems more musical than the 03 which could sometime sound a little bit harsch
I have an Esoteric K-01 but a G-03X and in my opinion is the best to listen to digital sources! in my opinion much better than the DCS to be heard! For me the K-01 with the clock is in the same league as the Escarlati, at a price much lower! Have a 500HS against requiring of break ing in each filter and sampler up! Another critical point is that it requires a good powercord would not say exceptional, in my case I use Purist Limited Edition + Furutech FI50/51, and as the clock BNC cable for Purist Canorus with all these products at least for me! end the search for the beloved musical nirvana!