Great question. I own an Esoteric X-01 D2 and just ordered an Oppo 105 Darbee, but I have not been able to compare the two yet. I would also love to know how the X-01 D2 compares to the PS Audio DirectStream DAC and PWT (seeing as a used Esoteric X-01 D2 is about the same price as the two PS Audio units that have been receiving rave reviews).
I just purchased the Oppo 105D to replace a Linn Karik which finally died. The Oppo sounds fine in a digital sort of way. I was hoping it would be a step forward compared to the older digital but it really isn't. The Oppo's analog outs compared to a 19 year old VAC tube dac via the Oppo's digital outs is too close to call. Yes, there is a slight difference that an audiophile might hear but would go unnoticed by an average listener.
Then there is the Chord Hugo connected to my Sony X779es with a Tara ISM cable that sounds like real instruments, no digital piano sound here. The difference with the Hugo is instantly noticeable to the average listener and it is not subtle. The only reason to play the Oppo is to demonstrate how good the Hugo is.
Play track 2 of Holly Cole's Don't Smoke in Bed through the Oppo and you'd think it sounds pretty good. Then switch to the Hugo and you find out what was missing.
I have not heard an Esoteric player to compare. From experience of listening to various digital players and formats, I think a Hugo would be the winner.
I have heard fully active Linn systems, but I have no experience with Chord products. From your description the Hugo sounds quite interesting.
I am quite fond of the Esoteric X-01 D2, but I just found a great deal on the PS Audio DirectStream DAC and Perfect Wave Transport. As this pairing has received huge accolades from professional reviewers and end users alike, I would love to hear from anyone out there with direct comparison experience against the Esoteric.
Once I complete my cross-country relocation, I will let you know how the Oppo 105 Darbee fairs against the X-01 D2 (at least in my system: Ayre KXR and Rowland Capri preamps, Theta amps, Vienna Acoustic Mahler 1.5 speakers, Furutech Reference III cables and XLR interconnects).
Just saw this thread. I cannot imagine a stock Oppo keeping up with serious gear. Now, once modified (yea, I do this) then they are another whole league better in sound and can compete with much more expensive pieces. The advantage of a modded Oppo is that it is so versatile. But if you just need a DAC....then there are other options including the new Schiit Yggy which is getting fanstastic reviews and is a mere $2300.
I owned an OPPO 105 before purchasing the K-01. Not even in the same league.
Aren't you giving too much credit to the Oppo with your statement. The fact that this $1k player is being compared with $20K+ player, should say something about the Oppo. I am sure the Esoteric is in a different league, but so is the entry price.
Hello Skinzy. Thanks for input. Could you advise how you used your ac power conditioning unit with your Oppo?
The isolation in the K-01 is quite exceptional; I would imagine "vastly" better than the Oppo 105. I'd like to get a handle on the difference between the K-01 (on its own) and the Oppo 105-with additional conditioning. Thanks for your thoughts.
Not in the same league with the X-01/D2 either. Now, you may not like the voicing of the Esoteric, but the Oppo is nowhere near the Esoteric in overall sound quality. The Esoteric excels in depth, delineation of tones and notes, weight, bass, etc. You get my drift. And it shouldn't be anywhere near the Esoteric. The Esoteric has a world class transport, much better power supply, and overall build. There is no video circuitry to deal with either. The better the supporting cast, the more apparent it becomes.
But, the Oppo plays movies, and sounds pretty damn good too. And even at a good price of around $5000.00, the Oppo is one fourth the price. So as a overall performer, the Esoteric wins. But, as an overall value, the Oppo is a much better deal.
Original question was not about value or price. I agree the OPPO is a good value. As to power conditioning I ran the OPPO through my Hydra.
Really, the question is about comparing two different players... Value and price are always a concern!
Does the Oppo makes a cymbal sound like a cymbal? Does the oppo make the little hairs go up, down your back?
There are distinctly superior playback with the Esoteric, in a well setup system. The hairs on my dog ears stood up when lazing on my lap, he would not lie and sleep! This is not a pun intended and happened only minutes ago before i stumbled on this thread.
For value, in a value system and don't even need to compare the Oppo, a sub thousand player does sound very good indeed.
FWIW, i had a Marantz SA11s2 modified to the max and effectively ended up costing double the price. It has a nice vocal from the start and ended up doing every thing very, Very well throughout the frequency range. But like what Cerrot said, never once made me startled that as if there was sound from a real instrument or sound popping out of nowhere which i have experienced on the esoteric, not all music, but a good many recording will reveal such experiences.
I am sure my dog was left rather puzzled as well. She never pricked ears at the radio or TV, ever before! It was really funny.
Dogs tend to do that once, then adjust and go back to sleep.
Yes I would of loved to gotten the esoteric myself...me being a audio cheapskate wouldn't let myself buy another thousands of dollar player...
Saying that the oppo I just got done running in is really quite impressive sounding...even if it is what it is...Is it perfection from a purist standalone....there are trade off's with everything.
There are things coming out of that thing I never heard with my sim I 5.3...technology improvements?
I am becoming a believer in this unit...even if I don't need all the bell's and whistle's.
Colekat....your right and Im wrong. Lets all buy Bose! In my opinion its the best value and I could have saved $150,000 on my system!
No your right, and I could have saved $200,000.00, but I did pick up a couple good deals along the way, shame on me for looking around. Does paying below retail count, or are we adding up what we could have paid... That would put me near $300.000.00! Wow, and that's $75,000.00 just in cables!!
Although I met my dealer at his house, and he clearly could use the money more than me!
Come-on, don't be hurtin' on Bose, we have a Bose in the SUV, and it sounds pretty damn good.
As for the Oppo and Esoteric X-01. I have the Oppo and had the X-01, and
when you put them side by side for listening, they both have strengths. But the Esoteric is clearly a better sounding CD player for my taste. But, the Oppo has far more flexibility, espiecally if you want connectivity to stored music and Hi Rez. There is no USB available for the X-01, they both play multi channel, but only SACD on the Esoteric, plus, Opps! , nevermind!
"There is no USB available for the X-01 Do you actually own the K-01? Ive been enjoying my Mac mini server using the K-01 as the DAC through its USB input for years.
If we measure the quality of a component by its feature set then Id go with a Pioneer VSX-824.....man does it do everything!
Skinzy, the X-01 had no USB input, the K-01 has. I owned the K-01 for a year or so, and enjoyed it very much. I had the X-01 before that and the K-01 was clearly a step in the right direction for Esoteric. I did like multi channel SACD with the X-01, but I get that with my Oppo. Sounds like I'm repeating myself... And drifting off topic, sorry about that Ptss.