Esoteric X-01 SE vs EMM CDSA SE

Hi guys and Happy New Year!!!
Has anybody got the chance to compare side by side these two great players?What is you opinion?
Im interested in purchasing one of the above players so i would really appreciate any comments from you!!!
Are they both the same "flavour"??or is it just a matter of taste in the end?
There is an X-01, X-01 Limited, and an X-01 D2 which has been just released. There is however no X-01 Se. I have an X-01 Limited in my system, which is a wonderful device, but I have not been able to do a direct comparison to any EMM products. If you have the opportunity of auditioning these devices together, make sure they have at lease 1000 hours of operation on them, or you may walk out of the audition unnecessarily dissatisfied with both.
Guidocorona im talking about the limited edition one!!!
Im very interested in these two as they are in the same price range!!!Hope somebody has done a direct comparison of these two!
Mixalis between these 2 I vote for the new EmmLabs cdsa se.
The new xo1-d2 is also a strong contender it has the p03-do3 transport and selectable dacs. Only a side by side comparison will tell the truth though.

Did you listen the new Emmlabs?
There is one player you should audition, it is the Meridian 808i. We comparred it with the Esoteric X-O1. And I was surprised how much better it was compared to the X-O1. Only when played on sacd the low frq. where better. All the other aspects the Meridian was of another league.
Kops i dont think George will bring the EMM LABS as demo....So either i buy it without auditioning it, or i m getting the Esoteric!!!As you understand its impossible to do a side by side comparison.....Tough choice!!Heard great things about the Emm Labs though!!!
Leonx ill try to audition the Meridian as well!Dont want to leave out a strong competitor like that especially as you are saying its better than the Esoteric!
Mixalis: I'm not sure if this helps, but I did have a standard X-01 in my system and was not impressed at all. The high frequecnies were very analytical and fatiguing. Bass was excellent. Overall it sounded very "digital" to my ears. I'm not sure if the Limited or D2 would compare. The build quality on the Esoteric is amazing and "could" be bought for that reason alone. It is a work of art.

The EMM Labs CDSA SE is to my ears the much better sounding player. It is truly engaging and musical with wonderfully extended and smooth highs, incredible staging and imaging, prodgious bass that is detailed and tight, and a midrange to die for. It is not up to the Esoteric in build quality, although is very attractive and an improvement over previous EMM products. Best wishes on choosing a player.

There are some to claim there's no difference between meridian G08 and 808 as for sound. In this price I'd like to have good SACD playback.

Mixalis if I were you I'd go for the EMMlabs.
We compared sacd on the Esoteric X-01 and the cd layer on the 808. The X-01 had more power in the low freq., but overall we found the 808 better. I tested many sacd recordings and a lot of them make instruments and voices sound to big. And that is why sacd is often not natural sounding. People should listen to instruments first and then of a system. And then they will understand what it means. Many peole of recording studio's had to admit that this is a problem of sacd.
Leonx, I have heard SACDs where the imaging is bloated and overgrown as you suggest. Other disks where the imaging appears to be right on the button. My experience is that the bloated instrument images is mostly on SACDs that are remasters of old tapes from the 50s, e.g. Dvorak Cello Concerto with Piatigorsky/Munch, or Starker on Bach suites.
This may be just a case of conscious over-engineering of old master tapes by sound engineers that should quite frankly consider visiting a concert hall before indulging in any more fantasy pastiches of unrealistic hyper-realism.
Guido, the Piatigorski/Munch Dvorak sounds OK on vinyl. I'm surprised the sacd doesn't.
Thanks for the helpful answers!i think it would be interesting as well to hear from somebody that had done a direct comparison.Digital is, in my opinion, something tricky when it comes to comparing two machines.Its really important to compare side by side.Though its not the first time i hear that esoterics are kind of mechanical!
Leonx: I assume this was the standard X-01 you were comparing, i.e. not the Limited or D2?
Gregm, it is not at all surprising that the LP does not have the problems found on SACD. Consider that in most cases engineers start from the old master tapes. they remix, enhance, depress frequencies and tracks according to whatever canon they have chosen to follow. . . and that in SACD reprints of old recordings is often the 'wow' factor more often than not. Or in other words, SACDs do not murder music. . . irresponsible recording engineers with SACDs murder music!
Yes it was the X-O1. But I don't think that they are able to make this new one sound more natural en more revolving. It will still have the analyticle sound.
The most recordings on sacd are made what they call a back-up copy. Because it cost a lot of money to keep a master. They sample these back-up copies to sacd. A lot of the sacd recordings from Sony are done like this.
SACDs do not murder music. . . irresponsible recording engineers with SACDs murder music!


We did an extensive two weekend shoout-out between sveral top notch players incl. the Esoteric X-01 Ltd. The clear winner was the GNSC Ref. Level modded Wadia 581 I´ve owned followed by the DCS P-8i. Unfortunately the D2 version and the one box EMMLabs weren´t released that time.
I know what you mean Leonx. I would also love to make my X-01 Ltd more revolving, but I just can't bear the thought of putting it in my microwave oven just to see it spin round and round. It would not be a high end solution. , you understand? and I do not have the budget for a matching SOTA turn table to load it on to. I guess my X-01 will have to stay sadly stationary and analytical for the time being. . . oh well, I'll keep on dreaming!
We have a new model scheduled for release in the spring of 2007. It is the X-01LE(R).

It is both limited and revolving.
I have had comparisons done in audio dealers between the following:
-Esoteric X01
-Esoteric P01 combo
-EMM separates before ES series
-Sony SCD1

The system was the same for all and got 2h with them for what it is worth.

I chose EMM hands down between these. The esoteric gear sounded lean, sort of like looking at the horizon, laid back. The EMM was more real sounding, more 3 dimensional and overall the sound filled space more accurately. This was at Dynamic Audio, the largest dealer in Japan. They told me Japanese customers were returning their Esoterics to switch to EMM. That was 2 years ago before anyone in the west had heard about the P01 and EMM had just arrived in Asia.

For those of you who dont know, it seems that the one box measures better than the separates. So if you do not need a preamp, the CDSA might be as good if not better than the separates. I have not heard it so I dont know for sure.

Most important advice: go listen before you buy. Taste plays a big role. And service, quality etc. Esoteric is ahead in that regard.

Finally, Accuphase played their new separates which also upsample 2x DSD at CES. Worth a listen, especially given the option for room equalization with a DG38.

Mixalis, last weekend I got together with two other audio nuts and for two days we were doing some interesting demoing in which the EMM CDSA SE player was involved along with a AUDIO RESEACH REF7, both are amazing players. I own the ARC Ref7 so when we did the blind tests I new every time when it was installed but I have to say the EMM was also a favourate. Two different flavours but both outstanding, I really believe in synergy so you are the one in the end who needs to hear which ever unit in your own system to make the final decision. Lets face it these are all top notch players, even the other units mentioned from others, Meridian, Wadia etc.

Here is one of two examples; friend (a) had Lin two piece and said it was the best bla! bla! bla! One of his freinds showed up in hand with the Wadia player and a long story short with this player in his system it was the best sound ever he had heard. Was the Wadia better hum! many will argue this but what I believe happened was synergy came into play and it just worked.

Example two; Meridian top of the line player in another freinds system, now he was open to hearing anything as I am. I brought over my ARC Ref7 and ARC3 MK2 player, the ARC7 did not sound like what I am usually use to hearing and my jaw almost hit the floor in shock. I went and checked to see if it was hooked up properly, changed cables with no success then changed to my ARC3 and it was much better but his Meridian still sounded better in his system set-up.

I will tell you no way does the ARC3 sound better than the ARC Ref7 so back to my place to hear my system along with my friends Meridian, if what I heard at his place is the same in mine I will be getting the Meridian.

Long story short Winner ARC Ref7, second Meridian and third ARC3 and we are talking hands down victory.

I dont know what happened in my freinds system, bad match issues, synergy what ever you want to call it but in the end I believe you really need to try it in your own system because this can happen to you.

I'm looking forward to hearing the EMM unit in my system in the near future.

Mixalis yesterday I listened cdsa one simple word AMAZING! Not in my system, but in a system I knew.
For me in the up to 15.000$ (maybe more) Emm cdsa se one box is the King and the good part is it's around 9000$.

Mihalis if I was to buy digital today, Emm cdsa se one box is the one for me. (I also heard and know Esoteric x01, x03 and ux03).

Before 10days I had in my system Esoteric P03/d03 also amazing, it was like I changed amplifier and source and room..... but EmmLabs sounds more like an expensive analogue setup. Not yet had the opportunity to try them side by side but believe me the EmmLabs cdsa se rival from Esoteric is p03/d03 and not any X01 in any version.IMHO.