Esoteric K07 + Audio Research Dac 9 = Audio Research Cd 9

    In another post I asked about the required USB drivers for a Mac running El  Captian to a Cd 9. The response was that the CD 9 ( trade in from a dealer ) being sold to me ( currently still on home audition ) is a circa 2013 production unit which needs a Dac hardware upgrade costing almost $2000. No wonder I couldn't get it to work. Anyway, I still stream music half the time so the Dac upgrade is important to me and this unit is not being sold for a song either. So, it's either I purchase this one or return it.
     Now the problem, having the Cd 9 for the past 2 weeks ( still haven't returned it ) on audition I find my Esoteric unlistenable ( at least on redbook CD's). I prefer the overall presentation or "bloom" as other have called it on the Cd 9. I was willing to shell out the dough for a 2nd hand CD 9 but a new one is quite pricey at $13000.  But it is  only the circa 2017 units that will have the Dac that will be compatible with USB 2.0 or least with El Capitan. So a different 2nd hand unit is out of the question.
     My other concern aside from the price is that the Cd 9 has been out 4 years and will be due for an upgrade to maybe a cd 10 soon.
     Hence, the question above. Anybody tried it? I know it won't be the same but will it be close? My dealer does not have one on hand. It is by order only and no auditions. It will be a blind buy. But if it works out, I get to save almost half the cost plus I don't have to sell or trade in my Esoteric at a loss. 
     Inputs appreciated. Thanx.

My equipment
Audio Research LS 28
Audio Research Ref 75SE
Esoteric k07
IC's /speaker - MIT
PC's -  Shunyata
Harbeth SHL5+
Just to clarify, I was planning to use the Esoteric as a transport and use the Dac of the Dac 9 instead. 

 If I am not mistaken the DAC9 is solid state.  I know my DAC8 is. The CD9 is tube including the power supply. Having compared my DAC8 to my CD7, I can tell you that my DAC8 is nowhere near as smooth as my CD7.  Not even close.

My suggestion would be to get something like the Singxer SU-1 XMOS XU208 USB Digital Interface. USB from your Mac to the Singxer and then AES to the CD9. No more worries about Audio Research drivers. I don't now about the CD9, but the AES input sounds much better than USB on my DAC8.


    The Dac9 has 2 6h30 tube complements. So it's not solid state. I don't think ( pure speculation ) the Esoteric-Dac9 will be close either. Just hoping it might. 
    Thanx for the advice on the Singxer, I'll read up on that.

 I did not know that. I wish my DAC8 was tube as well.

The Ref CD players are very smooth and analog. I would only consider replacing mine with maybe a CD8 or CD9 eventually. But I am very happy with my CD7 and really feel no need to upgrade.

My major complaint about my DAC8 is the drivers. There are no Linux drivers. It also does not work well with either the Aurender or Moon streamers. The Singxer  is suppose to be one of the best sounding converters. It is suppose to be slightly better sounding than my older Gustard converter.


I,too, like an Esoteric for SACD playback only. The CD9 is known for its killer DAC for streaming/server audio.  Otherwise, go for a CD5, CD6 or CD7 in the ARC.

Keep me posted and Happy Listening!

I did some experimentation and used a Line Magnetic 502 ca tube dac together with the Esoteric K07 as transport which  I totally forgot I had in in storage. Changed the stock tubes to some Pvane  12au7's. Did an A/B with a quick flip of the switch on  my LS 28 for about an hour or so.  The Cd 9 still sounds  more open,natural and airier but at least this combo tamed a bit of the edginess and forwardness of the K07, in my opinion. It's about 85% there, I think. I'll give it some more time. Hopefully, it's something I can live with.
I don't really need the DSD capability that the Dac 9 has to offer ( which the CD 9 does not have as well. ).
I  don't have the guts to spend that much on a cd player either and maybe I get to save some more with this combo ( versus the untested Esoteric- Dac 9 combo).  I could actually use the funds to finish my analog front end instead.
I've been through most of ARC's CD players from the CD-3 on, and have been using my CD-7 since it was new. I sent it back to the factory for the power supply upgrade (highly recommended) bringing it up to CD-7se specs. I replaced the stock fuses with two SR Black fuses and put Herbie's tube dampeners on all of the tubes. This player, with these moderate tweaks, is KILLER! With good recordings it gives off 3-D imaging and a natural presentation like some of the best vinyl rigs I've ever heard. Who knew that red-book CD's could sound like this? I will NEVER sell this piece of miracle electronics.