Esoteric SA-10 or Ayre CX-7e: Too close to call??

I have heard the Ayre CX7e and like the sound very much; I have no way to hear the Esoteric SA-10. I recently have seen ads for both in VG condition on AG for approx $2000.

Both retail for $3500; I have not heard the Esoteric, but read the reviews on this player. Has any members owned the Esoteric, or even possibly compared it to Ayre CX-7e Thanks, Jim
I owned an SA 10 for 2 weeks this Summer. I didn't like it that much as I found it very uninvolving. Previously I had an Esoteric DV50 which I loved and should have kept. I am now using an Esoteric UX-3 player which I love and will keep.

The SA 10 sounded too smooth. Music that I knew well and had a lot of dynamics sounded flat on the SA 10. I think it had to do with the Cirrus Logic dac Esoteric was using in it. If you like smooth buttery sound with little dynamics, it may be just the ticket for you. I have never heard the Ayre, so I can't discuss.
Buy what you have heard and liked. No matter what others may say about another player, it may not be to your tastes. Get over the anxiety of thinking about other players you haven't heard and thinking they might be better, because that's just a waste of energy.
Over the last two months you have been all over the map asking questions about every piece of equipment.(speaker cable, interconnects, amp, pre, CD players.) Why do you insist on letting a community of audio enthusiasts, whom you have never met and have not experienced their tastes and vice-versa pick "YOUR" gear?

Do you want a bunch of strangers to pick your dinner menu as well?

Get out and listen and make your own observations and decide for yourself. You are making a huge and costly mistake by constantly asking for endless recommendations. Merry-go-round.

Buy something and listen to it for three or four weeks and if you like it keep it and be happy, if not sell it.

You have been around long enough to know that these threads NEVER produce an answer, only a mis-mash of gear to confuse you.

IMO, you are chasing your tail with this methodology and will always question your decision and your component selection. You will likely not enjoy your journey and your appreciation for the music (remember the MAIN GOAL)... will suffer.

Tom6897. First, I pick my own equipment. I have the last word on what I buy!!!! Considering the opinions of other is not by default either wrong or inappropriate, especially if they have better access to the components in question. I did not realize Audiogon has installed a thread surveillance system so we can ridicule those who have questions and seek advice

Second, I live in Honolulu, Hawaii which more or less is the backwaters of hi-end audio. There are two major high end dealers who are not necessarily open to loaners, or home demoes, and generally sell at retail. To depend on internet dealers for home trials is financial suicide because of the expense of shipping to and from the mainland. An internet dealer may ship you a product for free but you must pay for return shipping. Also, I am not of the habit of buying a product, trying it for a couple of weeks, and then shipping it back for a refund because the same shipping costs apply; and, believe it or not, it is a pain in the ass to repack to avoid restocking fees.

Third, your attitude is not only counter to the spirit of this site, but insulting to me personally. I did not ask for your e-mail address or cell number to contact you at 3:00 AM in the morning for advice. You have no idea what my physical condition might be; I might be in a wheelchair and disabled, or weakened by chemotherapy and unable to get around much. Fortunately, neither is the case.

Fourth, It is none of your goddamn business as to what methodology I use to assess and evaluate equipment. I did not realize the membership had voted you the spokesperson of the site....or guardian against what you consider frivolous threads

BTW, you and member "Chayro" seem to come from the same intolerant, opinionated, self righteous mold. Actually, by denigrating and questioning the advice of other members, you equally insult them and their knowledge and experience of high end audio. Jim
Sunnyjim, you are a riot. You don't want to pay full price, you don't want to ship, you don't want to pack, you don't want to pay restocking fees. Yet, you somehow want A'gon members to magically tell you which player you will enjoy listening to. You said you heard and liked the Ayre, so I suggested that it was sensible to purchase something you were familiar with. I'm sorry this offended you but I thought it was sound advice when I gave it. Perhaps you are realizing that was pretty silly to ask strangers whether you should purchase something you know you like or something you have never heard. I don't mean to insult anyone, but if you have two dealers, I suggest to avail yourself of their services, pay their price and hopefully pick out some gear you will be happy with for years to come rather than trying to do it by telepathy. Ultimately, you will save money and, more important - you might just enjoy audio instead of it being a source of grief, as it is to so many audiophiles who endlessly buy and sell. Best of luck to you.
Chayro, I think you missed the point again. Audio is not a "source of grief" for me.I enjoy the "helpful" and reasonable responses to my threads, and reading the threads of others. However, rude, intolerant, and overly self-assured people ARE a source of grief. Even though, you don't completely fall into that category as Tom6897, you are nibbling at the edges.

Take a look at Stereo5's response above yours. That, to me is helpful advice without the chastizing lecture. I always offer advice to members if I have knowledge of a particular component,or to issues of acoustics and speaker placement, etc.

Case closed!!! After 41 years of doing audio, maybe, it is time to learn how to sail, surf, and paint sunsets.
Sunnyjim - What value was Stereo5's post when he could not compare it to the Ayre? In his opinion, the Esoteric was "too smooth", but you might love it. Judging from your post history, you are just another neurotic audiophile, endlessly asking questions and never reaching a high degree of satisfaction with your system. Case (really) closed!!!.
Charyo, I was correct; you and Tom6897 are cut from the same cloth.....judgemental, arrogant, and opinionated

Let me see if I can find an old Rolling Stones copy of "I Can't Get No (Satisfaction)" Should provide the appropriate musical background necessary to create, by your myopic standards, more unsettling threads.
I really don't understand why someone should be ridiculed for asking for advice on these forums.
We all need to listen and make our own decisions, but what is the harm in querying others?
Some people should take some Prozac and chill
Richard, Thank you for the support. By making members self conscious of asking even the simplest questions, however far out or bothersome is to make them gunshy of ASKING ANY QUESTIONS AT ALL and forever Jim
Chayro & Tom6897 reminded me why I left these forums. Things haven't changed much in the past 30 years I guess.
Both you and I love Ayre....go for it.
I have enjoyed the SA-10 for over two years , finally selling my Electrocompaniet 1Up. I love the way it plays both formats an sounds excellent. I have auditioned a couple of more expensive Esoteric model (SA50, X03SE) and the SA-10 really holds its own. As you move up their line you may hear more detail but if you didn't hear the more expensive models, you wouldn't realize anything from the presentation was missing.
Sunnyjim asked a valid question about comparing Ayre to Esoteric and I believe we should answer his question. It makes no difference to me how many questions he asks as long as it helps him get closer to making a decision. His equipment choices are limited since he lives in Honolulu and he has a limited number of retailers to select from. Many people are asking questions on Audiogon to help them get closer to the right decision for them.

I own the Ayre CX-7e MP CD player and like it very much. I experimented once with the Ayre QB-9 USB DAC. At first, I was impressed with the way it sounded. I used the MAC Book Pro computer with 4 GB RAM and the 120GB solid state drive. I used the Seaport Free Agent Go Pro 500GB external hard drive to store my music files.

After many months of listening, I decided I did not like it the way it sounded in my system. In addition, there were too many boxes and too many wires in my living room. I sold everything and returned to my Ayre CX-7e MP CD player. I never looked back and like my CX-7e MP CD player very much.

For me, I liked the sound coming from the Ayre CX-7e MP better than the sound coming from the MAC computer and the Ayre QB-9 DAC. It felt more natural and clearer than the computer and DAC did. I do not know how the Ayre sounds compared to the Esoteric but I like my Ayre very much. My Ayre CX-7eMP is running balanced into my integrated amplifier. I hope this helps.
Sorry for taking this slightly off topic.

"For me, I liked the sound coming from the Ayre CX-7e MP better than the sound coming from the MAC computer and the Ayre QB-9 DAC. "

When I got my QB-9, I compared it directly to my CX-7eMP (using rips in the QB-9 of the same CD played in the CX-7). I was careful to use the same interconnect on both units. In my system/my ears, they sounded *almost* indistinguishable. The QB-9 was, maybe, a tad smoother and musical. The CX-7 *might* have been just a touch more dynamic. But it was a close thing and I doubt I could have distinguished them blindfolded.

The CX-7 is MUCH easier to use: just plop in a silver disc and you're golden. Computer audio is a PITA with ripping, tagging, and backing up files. Plus, you can drive yourself crazy with the endless computer-side tweaks (luckily, the QB-9 seems pretty immune to most of this non-sense). But the big pay-off is being able to play hi-res files up to 24/192 (soon to be DSD files after the upcoming upgrade). The great majority of my favorite music is at CD resolution but I find myself gravitating to my >16/44 library. Most of those files just sound so good! I now listen to classical way more than I ever did, mostly because that genre dominates my highest resolution files.

I've been a part of this forum and others for years. Your preference and electronics in your system is always going to make the performance of every disc player, dac, and component, vary from stereo system to stereo system; this has become common knowledge in audiophilia. This is what diminishes some, but not all of the value of owner/user testimonials and critiques of high end gear. You never know until you put the piece in your system whether it will perform as others have said. Independently, these pieces are quality performers, but only with the right associated pieces.
Foster 9 post above is absolutely correct. You can ask 100 people for their opinion on a component but you will never know how it sounds until you listen to it in your system and listening space. While it is reassuring to hear positive comments from others, the real test is if you like it in your environment. Unfortunately, there are no short cuts to determine the impact of a new component in your system until you listen in your system. Hopefully you can find a retailer that will allow you to return the component if you do not like it. I know that many people buy used, listen and sell again if they do not like it.

If you cannot do this, you have a problem. You can ask for the opinion of others but the answers you receive may, or may not, mean the piece is for you. My only recommendation is to find a retailer you trust and, hopefully, he can help guide you to make the right decision for your system. I use this approach and it generally works. Yes, I have made costly mistake so I correct the mistake and move on with this crazy hobby..