Esoteric K-03X vs Accuphase DP-720


I’m looking for a new CD player to replace my 5.5 years old Esoteric X-03SE. I’m happy with my Esoteric but want to try something new, I only listen to contemporary Jazz music, about 80% musical instrument performance and 20% vocal (mainly female vocal). Esoteric K-01X seem to be over my budget, and now my target is Esoteric K-03X and Accuphase DP-720. May I know what is your choice between these two CDP?

PS: My thought is K-03X are using wonderful drive system, in the near future I can buy an external DAC to work with my Esoteric if I want to get another new sound. Yes, maybe Accuphase’ s transportation system is also good but not as good and famous as Esoteric’s VRDS-NEO drive mechanism.
mm622
These two players have very different sound qualities. The Esoteric is more on the analytical side with exceptional detail. It's not lacking a natural sound, but isn't overly warm or rich sounding. The Accuphase excels at capturing excellent tonality of the music, with a fuller and more textured sound quality compared to the Esoteric. Both have excellent build quality.
Too bad Dan Wright doesn't offer his tube mod for Esoteric players, ay?
I own the Esoteric KO3x, and very happy with it. being able to add a better clock/dac is a big plus. You can add your lap top direct to the KO3x for playing high rez down loads. The only down side to the KO3x is you can not run it direct to your amp, no volume control. With the older KO3 you could go direct to the amp. but it would not take your lap top direct. I do not think you can go wrong with a new KO3x.
enjoy Pete
Thanks for information! Now I’m using a Esoteric G-03X Master Clock with my old X-03SE CD Player, I wonder if the sound quality has any big improvement if I use my G-03X on a K-03X? This is because I heard K-03X’s internal clock is very good, even very near G-02 Master Clock. Some user said even they use the G-02 master clock on K-03X but can’t hear big difference. Is it correct?

Mm622 hi, do you listen to mainly Redbook cd's?

The reason I ask is that Redbook is PCM and to get "Bit Perfect" conversion the best way, is for it to converted using a Ladder Multibit dacs, which your Esoteric X-03 has, and the best ones at that the PCM1704's, which have been phased out recently because they are more than 10 x the price to manufacture than Delta Sigma dacs, and never to be seen again, only in discrete form with companies like MSB do with their $40K Diamond DAC V.

"ESOTERIC X-03 4 x PCM1704 – SM5847AF VRDS-NEO VMK-3.5-10 – SPU3162"

Sending a Redbook PCM digital signal to a Delta Sigma type dac ( which are in the Esoteric K-03X vs Accuphase DP-720 so they can do DSD and SACD) is taking a step backwards from what you already have for Redbook cd replay.

So saying this if you play mainly Redbook and have no interest in DSD or SACD. Stick with what you've got, which is one hell of a machine for Redbook CD replay.

I would kill to have your Esoteric X-03SE
Cheers George
Hi Georgelofi

Thanks a lot! Your information are very useful, I need to study and think about this. And yes, most of my CD are normal Redbook CD, I have very few SACD or HQCD. But since my Esoteric X-03SE is nearly 6 years old, I'm thinking to get a new machine. Also I think DSD is a trend, it will be more and more popular, that’s' why I'm interested in DP-720 and K-03X.
Think long and hard Mn62, once gone, that's it for the best Redbook you'll get. Here is a small excerpt from a review of it against it's more than double the price big bother separates, (PO5/DO5) that uses Delta Sigma based AKM 32-bit DSD/sacd converters.

A/B review:
"The most critical difference between both is their dynamic ability and sense of pace and rhythm. I concluded the review of the P05/D05 by saying that their only weakness was some raw energy left behind, a small lack of rhythm and speed. No such thing can be said about the X03SE"

This is exactly what I hear even from the latest Delta Sigma based dacs that can do DSD, when playing Redbook the R2R Multibit dacs (your unit)just has a jump factor and midrange body that Delta Sigma simply can't match on Redbook.

PS: from what I gather your X-03se can also do sacd/dsd which means it down converts to 24/96 of the PCM1704, you could feed it DSD files to it's digital input on the back.

Cheers George
Hi Mm622,
As some would kill for the X03SE dac, you can sell this off for a song and use the resulting profits for a new dac that you can audition at home before a purchase decision. System synergy is paramount, as always.
J. :)

X-03se is a player not a dac.
Silly to sell it for a song before you know your going forward in RB sound replay, as the OP said most of his collection is Redbook.

I'll buy it Mm622 if all it takes is a song.

Cheers George
The emphasis was on the dac section of the X03SE, not as a player. Would kill for it but would only pay the cost of a song. Put your money where your mouth is? Nah...
11-09-15: Bill_k
These two players have very different sound qualities. The Esoteric is more on the analytical side with exceptional detail. It's not lacking a natural sound, but isn't overly warm or rich sounding. The Accuphase excels at capturing excellent tonality of the music, with a fuller and more textured sound quality compared to the Esoteric. Both have excellent build quality.
That's a very good description Bill. I asked a friend who has a very good ear about Esoteric & he just said it sounds like "very good digital". The OP didn't ask for any other options, and both players mentioned are SACD players, so this might be a moot point anyway. But FWIW I would also consider the new Vitus SCD-025Mk2 which is RBCD only. I own this player & can say it is easily the best player or dac I've ever owned. Vitus sounds even more pure, analogue-like & musical than Accuphase imho, especially when paired with Vitus amps. Though I understand distribution is sparse in the states. This guy traded in an Esoteric K-01 for an SCD-025Mk2 - [url=http://www.hifiwigwam.com/showthread.php?125842-ESOTERIC-K-01-6-months-old-Warranty.[/url]