Esoteric X-01 D2

Hoping for some more information on this player in terms of strengths, weaknesses, likes or dislikes. Of course, associated equipment would be appreciated with those preferences.

Have great day all,
I have just put one into my system to replace a Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista SACD player. The reason for replacement was that the MF had lost a channel and rather than repair it I chose to trade it in on the Esoteric unit because the MF dealers told me that ulitmately all the MF Tri-Vista transports go bad and there is no replacement whatsoever.

The new Esoteric unit sounds gourgeous. I think it needs breakin as it has been sounding better each week for the four weeks I have had it. The three DACs are a great touch and you can easily and clearly hear differenced between them. So that CDs can sound better with one DAC over another.

Overall the unit is very musical. The image presentation is focused and filled with detail. I hear more musical character in vocals for example. The dynamics of the unit seem stronger than the previous MF unit. I will venture that the Esoteric does not have a sound of its own as many of my CDs and SACDs now sound so different from one another than previously. There is more detail, more dynamics, and the unit makes music at low volumes a more engaging experience.

The units appearance and overall build quality seem very high end. The remote is very easy to use and it may have the first owner's manual that is easy to read and actually helpful.

So my recommendation is very positive. The thing sounds gorgeous and this will in all likelyhood be my last CD/SACD player.
Your response to the X01-D2 may vary depending on the voicing of the remainder of your system and the choices you make with respect to a power cord, isolation and interconnect. In my case, I replaced an existing X01 Limited Edition and could not be happier. Several suggestions: (i) the isolation feet that are provided with the unit are very good but not as good as the Finite Element cerabases which work very well with the Esoteric, particularly if the unit is sited on a Finite Element stand; (ii) the Esoteric really works well with the top of the line Mexcel 7N power cord which mitigates a slight tendency of the unit to sound dry and overly analytical; my guess is that the top of the line Shunyata's would also work well; (iii) the unit sounds best running in balanced mode into a true balanced preamp; and (iv) again the top of the line Mexcel 7N balanced interconnects are an extremely nice match for the unit. Given that Acrolink and Esoteric are related companies in Japan, it is not surprising that a certain synergy exists. By the way, try the various decoding options. They all sound different.
Thanks fo rthe great reponses gentleman. Sounds like a very nice player with extreme build quality. I am very attracted to the quality level of their transport. Fcrowder, I'll check out Acrolink power cords. Right now, I have XLR Stralth metacarbons as my cables running from pre to player, so I;ll try those out when I get this player. I'll check out the power cords as well.

Huntermusic, appreciate the fine review. Glad you like it as I just ordered one with out an audition. Auditions are impossible for me as I live very rurally in Montana, but I went on faith. Good to hear some other folks are having good expereinces.

have you guys tried putting any type of wieght on the top plate of the plaayer. I know with my AA prestige, i put some HRS plates on top and it improved the bass and imaging. Any experiments like that with the D2?

Peter, congrats on ordering the D2. I have only heard the X01ltd but I understand the D2 is superior. I love my Esoteric and hope to move up to either the D2 or the P3D3 soon. Please let me know what you think of it when it arrives. My feeling is that you are going to be amazed at all the additional detail, nuance, and subtlety you hear. It will be like listening to different versions of songs you know well. Enjoy!
I like this thread so here are some more thoughts:

I am not usually a tweaker but might consider some trial and error with isolation. My equipment is in an Arcici rack and the whole system is so dead quiet that I can hear the studio resonance and some A/C system rumble on certain recordings.

The best thing about the Esoteric D2 is its ability to make listening at moderate or lower volume as pleasureable as when I can listen loudly. This makes it possible to me to enjoy music far into the night when others are sleeping

I also just added a new BAT 52se preamp into the system and that is sounding like big upgrade on my Pass x-1 (which always sounded good to me).

The most remarkable thing about the Esoteric is that so many recordings now sound different from one another--what I was trying to say about the unit not having its own sound. And these are recordings that I know well for many, many years. When you add in the multiple DAC units it really gives the ability to fine tune source material. The differences in the way the DAC units sound are most noticeable on vocals; not only in the sound quality of the vocals but also in the perspective (for example in opera recordings) where one can hear the voice sitting into or in front of the orchestra or band.

I am running Purist Audio Venustas IC cables and a Shunyata power cord. These were in my system before and I am going to keep it at that for the forseeable future.

I too bought it without an in-home audition (in fact any audition at all) but I do trust the dealer I work with and his recommendations have been right on about equipment in the past (great prices too). I would be happy to communicate privately with anyone for the recommendation.

next up: new speakers. but right now the system sounds gorgeous. And I feel that I have at least a year or more of just listening to all my CDs and about fifty unopened SACDs before I get any more upgrade vibes.
Great minireview! I too require times when I must listen at lower to moderate volumes because my house travels sound very well especailly through the ducts. So that is great news Hunter. When i first got into audio I was told that one judgement of a good system is that even at lower volume levels, one should still be involved and invited into the music coming from the system. Again good to hear.

I have not heard of this rack you speak of. Right now I have made contact with SRA about their craz rack and the price they quoted me for the design I desire was a lot. I understand their built quality is exceptional so I may still consider it but ir is quite a stretch for me right now. I'll have to sheck into the rack you have.

By the way, nice system!!

I am planning on running the payer with Stealth Metacarbons, balanced but not into a truly balanced pre. I did hear this player sounds best with a truly balanced pre but right now, since I just bought a new pre it might be quite some time before I look at another. So would you say hunter you prefer the sound of the Esoteric with your tubed Bat over your SS Pass X-1?

Thanks for your input Hunter

Well for what it's worth I too have an X-01 D2 coming after the EMM "one box wonder", the ARC Ref07 and a DCS P8i. In my mind the Esoteric is on a much higher playing field than the other three. It takes a bit of time to break in but then the resolution coupled with a highly musical presentation is very satisfying.I very much doubt that redbook can go much furthur but who knows. I thought the EMM to be much better than the ARC and DCS but not as clean and refined as the Esoteric. Frankly the ARC is grossly overrated to me and is best suited to systems that are bright or overly detailed because you're going to miss the high end detail provided by the EMM or the Esoteric in a well balanced system IMO. However also in my humble opinion the EMM player's ergonomics and build are shameful at the price and the company is goofy. The Esoteric people are helpful and friendly which is nice in audio these days. A very good one box player!
would suggest you check out my review of the XO1-D2 on, but i also have the EMM in. granted, its only 12hrs on it, so prelim impressions are just that (and i'll write a formal review on dagogo in which i compare the two). very quickly, the XO1 has a more firm foundation and better dynamics, not to mention build quality that isn't just 50% better, but 500% better. that said, the EMM doesn't sound like digital...its more resolving (the most resolving digital i've heard), eminently musical, and is nigh on the sweetest player i've heard (doing wonders for bad recordings).

quick thought: if you've undynamic speakers (planars / stats), i'd go w/ the Xo1. if i had horns, i'd go w/ the EMM. beyond that, its personal preference.

ultimately, you cannot go wrong with either. and any personal preference i may have (which i don't at present) is not necessarily yours. suggest you hear both---they sound similar, but the differences b/w the two might be meaningful to you.
to Mariasplunge:

I know it is considered "wrong" to change out multiple pieces of equipment at the same time but I had just gotten the new Krell EVO402 which was a very, very big upgrade over my Krell 400cx, the sound of which I knew very well.

I was eager to try something in the tube preamp area and was shopping for a ARC Ref3 preamp. The dealer I have used in the past had a ARC Ref3 that he had taken in trade and I was ready to jump but he said that he had just A/B tested the Ref3 against the BAT 52se and told me that it was clear that the BAT was superior. His ears had jibed with mine in the past and so the deal was done. It sounds great. who knows I may wind up with tubes all around someday. I have to say there is a resolution to the tubes where there is not only more detail but more "more" if you know what i mean. I hear woodiness on woodwinds, I hear more bell on the brass instruments. I hear different timbres from the same players on a record when they change their tone and dynamics. On vocals I hear more parts of the voice, the chest voice, head tone, throat chamber and I hear them in a way that is coherent and beautiful.

So now I am a BAT fan and firmly in the Esoteric D2 camp. I think with these two pieces of equipment there are very, very small (if any) further sonic upgrades to be had without a too huge investment on my part.

all in all I am even more amazed that the JM Lab Mini-Utopias I use (with a Utopia Sub) keep sounding better and better.

The whole bug for an system upgrade started when I was eager to move to the VTL S400 tube amp but no one would care to make a home audition possible, under any terms. Pretty strange for the price I thought. So I auditioned the Krell at home for a couple of weeks and it sounded great, so then I just went crazy and started making the wholesale changes. But right now I am typing this while I listen to the Mozart Gran Partita on a magical performance by Otto Klemperer (on a long ago out of print CD) and it is taking me to that special place. The whole family is out at the pool, the house is dead quiet, the dogs are asleep, the A/C is off and the music sounds incredible.
I have to agree that for some reason the Esoteric sounds great with tube preamps. I think I read somewhere that Teac uses ARC Ref 3 pres at shows when demonstrating their Esoteric cdps.

Huntermusic, I auditioned the BAT 52se when it first came out months ago. I think the BAT is a great piece. It has a lot of authority and dynamics normally found in ss gear. Any thoughts of upgrading to the REX?
Talking about the musical....
I replaced my Burmester 001 with an Ayre C-5xe then EMM two boxes SE ,finally the Esoteric X-01D2 + G-0RB.

X-01D2 alone is a very super high-end digital player, however when combined with G-0RB they become much more like
a well tunning Analog system.The search is over at least in the near future.

Thats good to know. I wondered how much that clock bit did to the sound. Could you describe what you are hearing over the single D2. I would be interested.

Thanks everyone for the great responses. Seems like the D2 owners are enjoying themselves.

Tommy, how bout you. Going to make the leap and join the club?
Is this a finished review or an ongoing review. If finished could you direct me to the read. You are right, it would most interesting. Funny but I choose the D2 over the EMM single box largely because of build quality.

Thanks for your time,
Peter, LOL. Man the last thing I need is another audiophile buddy urging me to upgrade. Believe me it does not take much for me to upgrade (as everyone can see by my threads here!). Seriously, I definitely want to upgrade my cdp. Right now I am considering modding my X-03se, getting the D2 with clock, or getting the P3D3. I did consider waiting for the upcoming P5D5 but my dealer friend says it has an inferior transport and DACS. Personally I think the transport is the most important part of a cdp which is why I think Esoterics are the best to my ears.

Anyway, I want to upgrade badly. No one likes to throw money at audio gear more than I do. I just need to figure out what route to take. Any suggestions?
to Tboooe: I looked at the price of the REX and decided that while I spend alot of money on equipment, I don't want to spend the most. With my system it seemed like overkill. BAT equpiment is upgradeable so you never know. . . .

I like bringing a system along in total, piece by piece if necessary. The BAT 52 sounds great. I will focus on speakers next. . . .
Yeah, Tommy, I am urging you, but maybe more precisely, nudging. Anyway Silent Runnig Audio just got back to me with the estimate on the rack I want from them. 10 grand. So I say to myself, alright. Thats for a rack. I must be slightly over the edge. Any suggestions?

You guys are great
You can find the sound character of X-01 D2 that Rhyno reviewed on ,plus a more spacious and deep soundstage , more continiously synergy from high to buttom end and let you get more involved in the music which is so called "Analog" when combined with the G-0RB.
Fcrowder is right , the top Esoteric Mexcel power coed works very well with X-01D2 but it will save you big bucks and get the same result when using the Acrolink 6N-PC6100.
Peter, $10K for a rack??? Hmmm...I cant say that I think that is too much. Give me a few minutes and I can justify almost any audio expense. That must be one heck of rack man. Hold on let me check it on the those are pretty cool looking racks! If you get the rack I will go for the p3d3+g0 clock! What do you say? :)
Hey Tommy. We must be cut of the same cloth. I too am finding new and inventive way every day to justify these purchases. They all make since to me. It does seem a little less crazy when you can form a partnership though doesn't it?

So lets do it!! The rack I am looking at is SRA's Craz Rack which they have drawn up specs and dimensions on for me already. And I say, built exactly to my specifications just for me? Oh boy!! I haven't let the hammer fall yet? And build time is something like 9-14 weeks so I might see it before the year is out. At least with the Esoteric combo, you'll get pretty immediate satisfaction. Which by the way, what type of rack are you using?

So here we go down the rabbit hole and I am enjoying every minute.

Peter - Down the rabbit hole indeed!

My wife will be delighted to know that I found yet another audiophile nut.

As for my what rack I am using...I am a bit embarrassed to say that I am using s regular rack I purchased from Best Buy. My plan is to buy either a Symposium or Sistrum rack after I figure out my power delivery issues.

Please be sure to post pix of your new setup.

Any ideas on what Esoteric system I should get? (D2 + G) or P3D3 + G0)
I am surprised that external clocks are making a difference on the single box D2. While I concur that on P03/D03 the G-0S clock is having a very significant positive impact, I have never heard a more than imperceptible effect on X-01 Limited. I had reached the conclusion that external clocking addresses problems on multibox solutions, but has little impact on single box players. I may however been rash in this hypothesis.
Check this Japaness website

Many users use External Clock with single box player.

To hear is to believe!!!
"To hear is to believe!!!"
I agree Vsfang; I will believe only when I hear a difference on D2 with my own ears. I heard the G0S with X-01 Limited several times on two systems and it made no difference. yet, as I also said. . . big difference on P03/D03 combo instead.
I sell Estoeric and if a customer owned a D2 and had $14K to spend, I would not encourage the external clock.

That amount of money would be much better spent upgrading another component(s) IMO.

I agree with Guido based on hands on experience.

Disclaimer: Esoteric retailer.
There is nothing to do with D2 or Limited.It's the system that you are not familiar.Why don't you loan a G-0RB or G-03X and have a audition in your own system? It will make your X-03SE shine if your system was properly set up.
NO idiot will spend big bucks for nothing including me.
Thank you Vsfang for your words of encouragement. Unfortunately I do not own the exalted X-03, but only a lowly X-01 Limited, which is mayhaps not good enough to take significant advantage of external clocks of any kind.
Furthermore, very much heeding your advice, I believe only that which I can hear, and therefore tend to restrict the usage of my meager funds for such components that--in my admittedly modest musical experience--have a chance of benefitting my humble and ill-cobbled-together system the most.