esoteric products

Hi Goners!

With the recent purchase of controlling shares of TEAC, Gibson Int. has been on quite a tear solidifying both the instrument, pro and home audio areas of they're growth!

With a consolidation of Onkyo, among others, they have been quoted as saying that Esoteric accounted for only 1.9% of the audio division of TEAC!!

As to the future of Esoteric they again stated that the brand "will have to mature and evolve on it's own"...

With the core group of USA market and matinence people accepting other jobs outside of the TEAC group then, even if Teac still pledges to support the upgrading and repair of the units how long can it be before Esoteric does a nose dive?!!

Is this the reason EVERYONE is dumping they're Esoteric gear? Looks like a dead end for the GRANDIOSE line...

Your thoughts,

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"Esoteric accounted for only 1.9% of the audio division of TEAC!!

This is because of there ESOTERIC prices!!! Pun intended.

P.S. I still drool over a Neo Verdes transport though.
I agree. My K-01 player is still serving me well but I will not upgrade to another Esoteric product when its time is up.
"With a consolidation of Onkyo, among others, they have been quoted as saying that Esoteric accounted for only 1.9% of the audio division of TEAC!!"

Actually, that's a lot.
Agreed...TEAC home and pro audio sales world-wide is a huge number so almost 2% of that does not in any way mean that Esoteric should apologize for their revenue numbers. There has always been a natural ebb and flow of audio gear from Esoteric, DCS, and many others here, generally after new models come out (the Grandioso 01 and 02 lines are relatively new as are the K-01x and K-03x) so people look to upgrade or have already done so. In many cases as well, people are jumping/trying other brands so the amount of Esoteric gear posted appears relatively normal. Their pricing, like MSB, DCS and several others is on the high end so again, the 2% number is not something to be apologized for IMHO, in the least.

BTW...the phrase that with the consolidation of Onkyo/etc, Esoteric accounted for 1.9% of TEAC sales, superfluous, at least to the Onkyo part. Esoteric sales is a fixed percent of TEAC sales no matter whether Onkyo exists or vaporizes; don't know what that phrase is intended to imply or incite except to muddy the waters.
There are a good number of reasons for not upgrading to another Esoteric product :-
1. Poor resale
2. No streaming
3. Value for money upgrade
For current owners of an Esoteric player, the best value proposition would be to keep it as a cd/sacd transport and add a hi-res music server/streamer/dac for pcm/dsd/mqa.

The Onkyo comment was just to stress how aggressive Gibson is going after both the home and pro markets...Nothing incendiary suggested!
My comments, together with Jon2020 may culminate as to why the "ebb and flow" have recently been more of a Dam in the river...:-)

These pieces are going for pennies on the dollar as opposed to just three years ago!

The loss of key personnel won't help turn that around, in my opinion...

The 1.9% mentioned was IN COMPARISON to they're most recent group of acquired brands as a percentage of return...NOT a good number!
Of course it is a question of tastes for ME Esoteric as always been a very good make BUT not my cup of tea,they are built like tanks BUT to ME they also sound like tanks my preference is for a much warmer sound ( Zanden )( Audio Research )( Ayon )( MBL )( Chord )Bow Technologies ) to name a few.
"The 1.9% mentioned was IN COMPARISON to they're most recent group of acquired brands as a percentage of return...NOT a good number!

Again, I say not necessarily. Percentage of return is one thing, profit is something else entirely. Esoteric, even though its owned by a bigger company, is still a separate business. And as long as the Esoteric brand returns a healthy profit, that’s always a good thing.

Another factor not to be overlooked, is access to designs and patents not currently available to the parent company. They can use Esoteric technology in any of the other divisions with no penalty. A good example of this type of thing is Arcam/dcs. dcs developed the ring dac, which ended up going in Arcam CD players as well. And if that's the case, you would have to look past the 1.9%. Esoteric may be used to add value to some of the other brands.
good point zd542! I just feel the combination of losing key marketing and a7r people, along with "lukewarm'acrediting of Esoteric may spell bad times ahead for those thinking of purchasing or about to try and sell this brand!
The consolidation means cutting costs, and usually the first step is to outsource R&D, then all manufacturing, mostly to China. That is what McIntosh, Denon and Marantz have done. You then find all the company lines being pretty much the same, except for the pricing and branding. Also, the legacy brands are running out of customers, they are dieing off. The future is firms like Oppo, and I would not be surprised if they enter other products in their line. Today's top of the line Oppo decks beat anything in the esoteric line.
From filings it appears that TEAC annual revenues are around $185M. I don't know how much of this is attributable to its audio divisions, but assuming 1.9% of total revenues, Esoteric is no larger than $3.5M. This is decent revenue for a high-end audio company-- doubtless much higher than sales of any of its direct competitors (e.g. DCS, MBL, EMM). However, viewed within the broader landscape of consumer/pro electronics it is(like most other high-end audio manufacturers) a tiny number. But so are Corvette sales.... Hopefully Gibson will understand the value of a statement brand. I have doubts, but am very much enjoying a new K-01X.
Understood and agreed on all comments...did not think any of the comments were incendiary at all. I share some of the same misgivings on resale value drops, etc....but still see this as a platform that for my ears, gives me a great experience. When I compare to some of the other gear prices on the market from other multi-box stack vendors built on Oppo/other platforms, I am content to stay where i am for the time being and enjoy the music!!!
"Oppo, and I would not be surprised if they enter other products in their line. Today's top of the line Oppo decks beat anything in the esoteric line.
Buconero117 (Threads | Answers | This Thread)"

I find it highly unlikely you took an Oppo and put it next any Esoteric player, let alone the entire line. So, the only reasonable answer would be that you're guessing. (Reading magazine reviews and looking at spec sheets don't account for listening experience.)
+1 Zd542. Sitting next to my K-01X is a highly developed Twisted Pear Buffalo DAC. It implements the same ESS reference Sabre DACs as top Oppo, but in a more sophisticated dual-mono configuration with 12 linear shunt power supplies that surpass Oppo by a good margin. While it has some very nice qualities, the K-01X is better.

I've had the cover off the K-01X. There is 70 lbs. of formidable guts in there & no free lunch.
+2 Zd542. With all due respect I suspect that Buconero117 has been drinking a bit too much of that Oppo Kool-Aid! Anyone that actually compared the build quality and sonics of Oppo vs. Esoteric could not reach that conclusion.
The k01x has be for everyone palate.

It just a player that does everything very well. It has dynamics and solidity in tone and very detailed.

Their are many players/dacs which may be sweeter, may have a more romatic female vocals which cost much less.

Over the years of owning many others player, imho, esoterics does have the sonic foundation pretty spot on and one should tailor ones sonic preferences with cables and associated equipment to win my vote overall.

I actually did not care for the old esoteric series at all, was it too neutral, on the extreme cold side? But not so for the new k series, its an easy match with a wide range of equipment and sound fantastic!
I have both an Oppo-103 in my 3.1 system and an Esoteric-K 07 in my main 2 channel rig. There is no comparison between these two players.

And to the main point of the OP, Esoteric brand isn't going away, their products are well built, designed and sound excellent, there will always be demand for high quality products.
Fully agree. The K series sound fabulous and is built like a tank to last a lifetime. The only problem is that the dac section would need regular hardware upgrades and this cannot be done by the manufacturer a la Ayre products. Also, the transport mechanism will fail one day and I am keeping my fingers crossed that it would last at least 10 years. If it does, as a transport, it is a keeper for both redbook and sacd. When the dac upgrade bug smites, I would probably go with the Bricasti M1.
Axes anyone?It's beyond me why anyone (besides a tacky competitor)
would cast aspersions on the corporation or the generally fine products? I doubt they would appreciate a fine car either. I'm sure some would prefer the sound of Oppo, it's what they're used to. :-) To each his own. Red wine Sangria please, with brandy thanks.
I think a valid point has been raised in this thread, which is, the resale value of Esoteric products has plummeted dramatically in a short space of time. This is a fact, not mere casting of aspersions.
Current owners of Esoteric gear would be understandably anxious. Be that as it may, whatever the reason could be, it does not bode well for potential owners of new Esoteric products. Current owners like myself, who will have to upgrade one day, have no axe to grind. I have at any rate, resigned myself to an upgrade path as laid out above.
It may also be better to wait until the MQA dust settles. Turnover time for digital products burn so fast and furious with each passing day that to commit anything north of 20k may not be a prudent investment for digital nowadays.
This hobby for most of us is all about value for money. I doubt any of us who post here regularly are cost-no-object hobbyists. That we compare different components in different price bands indicates that we are essentially looking for value.
"03-16-15: Ptss
Axes anyone?It's beyond me why anyone (besides a tacky competitor) would cast aspersions on the corporation or the generally fine products?"

I think you may be missing something here. No one's bashing Oppo. This is a statement from one of the other posts.

"Today's top of the line Oppo decks beat anything in the esoteric line.
Buconero117 (Threads | Answers | This Thread)""

And my answer to that was this.

"I find it highly unlikely you took an Oppo and put it next any Esoteric player, let alone the entire line. So, the only reasonable answer would be that you're guessing. (Reading magazine reviews and looking at spec sheets don't account for listening experience.)
Zd542 (Threads | Answers | This Thread)"

The only way that comment would be valid is if the poster tried all of those components, and rated them accordingly. It has nothing to do with Oppo. If the same thing was said about a different brand, I would have made the same comment. I have nothing against Oppo. They make great equipment and have an excellent reputation. I might even buy the new headphone amp/dac they just came out with.
Thx ZD; but I was talking about Esoteric, not Oppo.
To resurrect an old thread......... Does anyone know of a competent repair facility near Tacoma, Washington state for an Esoteric P-10 transport? Something has gone bad with either the drawer or the clamp, & this unit sounds way to good to toss (BTW, I have an Oppo 95 which does outperform the Esoteric->Illuminatinti->PS Audio SL3 on hi rez; but the cd rig out performs the Oppo on 44/16 cd).
Esoteric responded to my email with a statement that the only authorized service center is ONE in California. With the cost of shipping, I guess I need someone not authorized (GRR).

Sad thing is I used to have several friends & acquaintances that could have done this; they've all either passed away or are about to. The only tech I know who works on vintage gear doesn't do digital; he only does real vintage..........
This is sad news indeed. 

Anyway, I have traded in my K-01 player for a non-mechanical dac/streamer in the form of the N-05 when an opportunity came up recently. Having ripped all my cd's to flac, I can now dispense with the transport.

One would expect anything mechanical like a transport to ultimately fail one day.

Jon2020: How do you like the N-05? What are you using in terms of NAS or local/remote cloud storage?
I've had several opportunities in the last few months to talk in detail about various products with the Sales lead and Support personnel that took over the Esoteric product line and came from the Integra/Onkyo side of the house. Back when this thread started as one can imagine they had their work cut out for them viz. having no knowledge of the products, no listening experience and being at the very beginning of a lot of work required to take on the Esoteric current and near-future product line.  Honestly, it was not readily apparent which way things would go back then given the magnitude of the task and quite frankly, the huge difference in capabilities and build-level of the Esoteric family versus their other offerings.  In more recent discussions though, it is 100% clear they have taken on the task and really gotten to know the products all the way up to and including the 02 and Grandioso "1" products including the "X" revisions of the 03 and 02 components, listen to them for long periods of time and have mastered the features/capabilities and proper application of the products and out there talking in detail and dispensing proper advice.  If you look at the latest price lists, there seem to be some sensible changes to make the price list easier to understand and not so far reaching (IMHO).  

To state the obvious; I'm NOT a dealer or 'industry insider' that would benefit in ANY way from saying these things financially or otherwise.  Quite the opposite actually as they have definitely tightened up how they watch their pricing/dealer network and some of the things that used to happen 'in the old days'.  

Like a lot of people, when Esoteric was bought, i had a very healthy level of audio-loyalist (to a brand/product line) skepticism and downright fear that things were about to go to straight to hell to be quite blunt.  It seems obvious, at least to me after a number of these conversations with ScottS/others there, that these folks have firmly picked up the line and are representing it extremely well and that Esoteric will not be taking a nosedive anytime in the foreseeable future.  I have to come to feel secure (post buy-out) in my decisions to keep going up the line and sticking with them for about 10 years now.  

As for repair of older gear, there were always situations where things had to go back to Montebello CA and in some cases, from there back to Japan (P-0s if memory serves) or wait for parts from Japan and certain expertise to come available.  I'm not sure there have been alot of changes in that regard (but could be wrong for sure....)

All the above are "my 2 cents, opinions and observations" and wanted to share them with other Eso fans/owners'...

Please. lets not compare oppie to Esoteric.  (I guess I mean oppo...)
Jon2020: How do you like the N-05? What are you using in terms of NAS or local/remote cloud storage? cloud storage?


The N-05 has turned out to be an amazing surprise. Its usb implementation has improved by leaps and bounds over that of the K-01’s. The 2nd Gen 4490 chip which AKM calls "Velvet Sound", the enhanced power supply and improved analog output stages have all come together to make it truly way, way better than the K-01.

The N-05 configured as described in my system, beats the K-01 spinning discs in its transport in every sonic regard. I am getting such great sound now from my thumbdrive/pc that I do not yet intend to move on to NAS via ethernet or a standalone music server. To me, the N-05 playing ripped flac files via usb is a massive upgrade from the K-01. Considering its price, it is very great value indeed for the money.

J. :)
"Please. lets not compare oppie to Esoteric.  (I guess I mean oppo...)"

+1 and then some :-)

Jon2020: Thank you very much for the details on your experience with the N-05; it is very much appreciated!

You have a srunning system with Esoteric source/electronics and others.

I can imagine how much better the N-05 would sound in your system with the Rubidium clock.


J: Thank you!  I'm very happy with the resulting sound and musicality of the system. I'm enjoying playback more now than in all years and system iterations prior to this.....
FYI: The ONLY reason I compared Esoteric & Oppo is those are the only 2 digital front ends I have owned in years; & what I wrote is my experience in owning both. The P-10 was a stunning transport for it’s time; to my ears it sounded much better than the flagship P-2.

Still no luck on finding a repair shop, which was the reason for my post.
I feel your pain. Tossing the P-10 transport is painful and so is the shipping and repair bill.
I bit the bullet a while back by replacing something mechanical with a server/computer.
My most humble opinion would be to use the huge savings from the shipping/repair costs to upgrade the dac to something from the same stable like the Directstream/Junior and play ripped redbook files from there.

Happy hunting!

I found someone (Northwest Audio) who without seeing it, is guessing it would be an easy fix ($100-$300) & is going to diagnose at no charge. I will be very happy if that’s the case.

Re streaming; I am going file on most new music & loading on Flash Drives (+ backup; btw I’m looking for a couple old external hd’s that will work with XP; the chipset that allowed XP to see over 2 TB has been removed from all current manufacture as far as I can tell).

With that said, the Esoteric/PS Audio sounds better on 44/16 then the Oppo; but I guess I could pop the Flash Drive in the Oppo for 44/16 & run an SPDIF to the PS Audio for 44/16. I hadn’t thought of that until you’re mention of streaming.

It would make an interesting comparison; as back in 1992 I clearly preferred the sound of the P-10 over the 5 times as expensive P-2. The P-10 was much fuller sounding then the P-2 (I believe the d/a used for that comparison was a Meridian.)

My main focus today is hi-res digital; but I still have thousands of cd’s (& a couple thousand albums as 44/16 files).

Robert Harley recommended the SL3 to me at an in store in 1999 or so. Only high end purchase I’ve ever made mail order without hearing the unit, & a choice I’ve been quite content with.

I did buy a McCormack DNA-1 here; but I already had heard & fallen in love with that amp before I bought it.

Oppo, and I would not be surprised if they enter other products in their line. Today's top of the line Oppo decks beat anything in the esoteric line....Dumbest thing Ive read on this site in a long time..but as they say you cant argue with stupid!.
Today’s top of the line Oppo decks beat anything in the esoteric line....Dumbest thing Ive read on this site in a long time..but as they say you cant argue with stupid!.
Stupid is as stupid does........ :)
I have the Oppo 105d and cannot live with the audio streaming of it, which was one of the main purchase points when I bought it on recommendation, and before I heard it in comparison with other kit. As a result I use it to stream films from my nas only. I also bought it to play blue ray, but have not found many decent films! Sonically it is harsh and a bit "weak" compared with proper kit. I play dvd and cd audio with my Meridian 800 which I have had for some time and which must be now the best second hand value purchase in the world ever.
For audio network streaming I use the Bryston bdp2 which is in an entirely different (better) league altogether. The good things about the Oppo are its versatility and ease of use, at not a big price. You can do quite a lot with it for around £1k. At that price I would hardly expect it to do anything particularly well. Oppo owners do seem to be very ready to praise them though.
I have owned the Oppo 95 and 105. Both nice units in their price range. But neither come close to my Esoteric KO 3x.
enjoy Pete

Problem with my P-10 are 2 belts. Diagnosis was cheap, parts are super cheap; only problem is it takes the only authorized parts supplier over a month to ship out 2 belts. They couldn't give me an exact ship date, but said it would be more then a month.
I have the Oppo BDP-105. I just ordered a K-01X. My last audio player. I can use it's DAC if I decide to ever give up CD or SACD. The Oppo is good at 2 channel analog playback for me but needed something better for playback to compliment the rest of my setup. 
I like Esoteric for SACD-playback only.  I could not seem to get into its CD playback "sound".

Why didn't you like the CD playback? Which Esoteric unit? I have not heard that from other owners. I have started buying SACD music and playing them back on the Oppo BDP-105. 
Statman: if you have K-01X on order (having heard the K-03 and K-01 and hearing reports already from a friend or 2 who went with the K-01X recently, and further, based upon my having owned DV-50s, UX1Ltd, P-03U/D03 and P-02/D-02), you will be very happy with both the Eso’s ability to play SACD as well as CD once you break the unit in fully (see threads on this forum regarding what that takes per playback option given CD, SACD and all the various upsampling and filter options). You'll also face some choices to find your preferred playback combination of upsampling (or none going straight RBCD 44.1 and SACD respectively) and choice of filters (or none).  Again, there are many threads on the forum on this gear, some of whom have alot of notes from Esoteric K and P/D owners regarding the attributes of the various filters and other options.

Earlier Eso units (I’m thinking my DV-50S and UX-1 Limited were admittedly better (subjectively and too my ears) at SACD than CD) but that went away a long time ago as a differentiator. Later Esoteric units (that I’ve heard & owned) excel at both formats and hold their own against alot of competition.

As an aside, I own an Oppo 105D for DVD and Bluray playback for family in the living room. I’ve heard it’s SACD and CD playback and find them very good but nowhere in a class with the P-03U/D-03 I owned for years let alone the P02/D02 or K01 and K03 generation players. All of the above is one man’s opinion...others can help given their listening impressions as well.

The K-01X you are expecting is going to be (IMHO) an eye-opening experience. Use of quality power cords and interconnects benefit this gear very much; what are you using?

Hope this helps...have a great week!

As an owner of a K-01X, I agree with Zephyr that you need to be patient with the long break-in schedule for this unit. Exercise each upsampling and filter option for hundreds of hours before jumping to conclusions about which settings work best. FWIW, after long hours with each option I have settled on 8x upsampling and SLDY2 filter. I’m looking forward to eventually comparing the external HD Player software filters and 2x DSD upsampling to the on-board options.  With that in mind, it's useful that Esoteric thought to include unfiltered PCM and unfiltered DSD settings.

Once you become familiarized with the K-01X, a 10Mhz Rubidium clock with a 75 ohm output like the Stanford Research Systems PERF-10 is a meaningful upgrade, with greater impact than any of the CDP’s upsampling and filtering options.

zephyr24069 and dgarretson,

Thank you for the replies much appreciated. I have read up on the K-01X and the filter settings for both CD and SACD. There are two different audiophile sites I regularly post on and zephyr you are also on it, as I have read your posts. ;) Yes, Ivan got me jumping on it due to the price and immediate availability. I will definitely use them all and find my own settings. I am so waiting to hear this unit setup in my system. I also anticipate the long break in for the different filter settings. I have read on those other sites that a few owners like the SLDY2 setting. I owned an Ayre CX-7e that had two filter settings. Is the SLDY2 favored by some due to a smoother roll off?

No offense to the Oppo owners as I am one also, but the Oppo is a good SACD/CD player that has shown some benefits from a good upgraded power cord and the right cable XLR or RCA interconnect to sound it’s very best! My opinion for the record. I know that the Oppo BDP-105 can be a bit more forward sounding and labeled "bright" in it’s presentation to some upon first listening. It is actually bringing out detail that may sound harsh in some owners systems. I briefly had an Audio Research Reference CD 9 player in my system to compare CD playback between the Oppo and the Audio Research and there was no comparison between the two. The ARC CD 9 was much warmer and more analog sounding and had wider and deeper soundstaging most likely due to the tube section. The issue is it cannot play back other formats, it is CD only. I have been in contact with a new Esoteric K-01X owner who had the CD 9 previously and explained away my concern of the K-01X regarding midrange comparisons. If all goes as scheduled, the unit should be here on Friday! ;)
You are very welcome...Esoteric just further added to all of our audiophile nervosa :-) factor by debuting a Grandioso K1 as yet another new product to lust after potentially!

Dgarretson: +1 on your comments about a 10 Mhz master clock to input into the K-01X. It does not seem to have a 50-ohm input on it for 10 Mhz so the SRS is a great, low phase-noise choice. The Cybershaft clocks I happen to like have the right specs, low phase noise, well but they are 50-ohm output devices.  I believe the Esoteric G-01 and Grandioso G1 clocks (the latter to hit our shores soon from what Ivan/others say) are also contenders.
They just debuted a new line of integrated amps, Grandioso F1, F-03A, F-05 and F-07 plus a new limited edition customized black case version of the K-01X (BR), K-03X (BR) and F-03A (BR) for their 30th anniversary out of Japan with availability in other countries reported to be a bit later this year. 

I would say this company under the new owners is very alive and well.

DV/SA- 60 player was my listening experience. The SACD playback crushed its CD playback.