Esoteric . . . your thoughts please

Does anyone have any experience with the Esoteric P-05/D-05 combination?

I was also wondering about others' experience with different Esoteric products. I am considering trading a McIntosh Mcd301 for an Esoteric unit, in an effort to obtain better build quality and superior sound reproduction. Any insights would be appreciated. I am aware that Esoteric has a newly released D-07, which has more digital inputs than the D-05. Eventually, I want to include a computer server into my two channel system. But my primary interest is in having the best sounding two channel system playing cds. The P-05/D-05 combination is priced at the maximum dollar amount I would be willing to spend.

Thanks for your thoughts.
I have been a proud and delighted owner of an Esoteric X-01 Limited for almost 4 years. There appears to be a sonic characteristic in common with most Esoteric players. . . discount anything they do be fore you have put about 1200 hours of break-in on them: the 1st 500 hours in particular, are akin to a hellish trip to the dentist without the benefit of novocain, but once these devices have reached their best, they show their true colors, and are incredibly musical on top of being resolution and staging champions. On the P-05/D-05 combo, Garebear can give you his direct comments, because he is an owner.

For what's worth, the X-01 Limited, and the newer incarnation X-01 D2 even more so, are said by Esoteric to exceed the performance of the 05 combo, but I have not been able to verify this claim by myself as I have not had the combo in my system.

The D-05 has just been released, and I have no information nor informal scuttlebut about its musical prowess one way or another.

Esoteric is a great sounding unit. I have recently heard the '5'. However, it is not a great value. I have heard units, recently the oppo 83se, that almost equaled the '5'. Yes, I know 'almost' is very vague. But the listening test I did was at a dealer that switched the 5 and oppo in and out. I could not always tell which sounded better. My ears, not yours. So, give a listen and let your ears make the decision, not your wallet.
I would consider the D-05 as the better half of the combo insofar as the processing is done in the D-05 and it can upsample on its own, something which even the D03 or D01 cannot do. I've owned the X01, UX1, P03, D03 and D05 and may soon have the X01D2 if I pursue the D2 upgrade for my X01. The D05 has a certain fineness in sonic presentation, the transients are slightly softened compared to the other Esoteric gear (with the differences being greater as against the PCM1704 DAC based units than the AD1955 D03). It is however, wonderful to listen to and I think a step in build quality from the McIntosh.
I have the X03SE and absolutely love it. TOTALLY agree with Guido-1200 hours before this baby sings its lovely song. Buconero117, if an Oppo came close to the Esoteric in your audition, it (the esoteric) could not have been broken in. The Oppo isn't even close to the Esoteric in sound (or build) quality. The transport mechanism is the best out there (no being outfitted to the other top flight CD mfg). I actually think the Esoterics are great values. Not cheap, mind you, any maybe not affordable to many but digital very difficult to reprorduce correctly and I feel Esoterics ability to render digital as it does is well worth the price of admission. Esoterics sound best with the balanced out, like good cables and responds well to power cord and line conditioner upgrades. The owner of Esoteric is an audiophile and he really wanted to do something special-and, IMHO, boy, has he.

"The D-05 has just been released. . ."

Oops, that was wrong. . . I meant to say that the D-07 has just been released, not the D-05. And of course, at this time, we have no information on the musical prowess of D-07.. . . Apologies for confusion. G.
Guido, not to go off topic but in the past, you mentioned that the Shunyata digital cables (power cables with digital filtering) restricted the sound on the esoteric as it (the esoteric) already had great digital filtering. I replaced my digital PC to a non-digital and you were 100% correct. Also, to take it one step further, I am not using the digital input on my hydra, and now using the analogue. My Esoteric does sound better (more detail, soundstage oozes off the wall, more front to back but more musical and dynamic. I just wanted to let you know. I also mentioned it to my dealer (an MIT grad) and he hadn't thought of it before but felt your theory made perfect sense.

Thanks, Guido. You are a big help with your posts.

Thank you Dennis, since then I have been experimenting with the Shunyata King Cobra CX. . . and I like it even more than the Helix Anaconda Alpha. The good news is that the new Shunyata CX series has completely abandoned the FeSi filtering material, so it has no trace of the old 'laquering' effect of the VX variants. Furthermore, I found that the King Cobra CX that I am trying right now on digital front ends and power products is much more dynamic than the Anaconda Helix Alpha, which while extremely refined in itself, suffered a little bit from over-polite transients and smoothened dynamics. King Cobra in my system appears to be a total generalist that has been happily applicable to every position I tried it on: X-01 Limited and other digital front ends, JRDG 312 power amp, and Furutech ETP-309 conditioner. Only on JRDG Criterion KC appears to have no appreciable effect. . . but no PC I tried this far seems to alter the performance of Criterion.

In my system at least, KC yields all the refinement of the older Helix Alpha series, but with even more transparency, staging, and much better dynamics. Unfortunately I have not yet tried Hydra or the newer Shunyata conditioners. Guido
I had D05 for a year before switching to Berkeley Alpha DAC. Both were used with my computer based music server via Lynx AES16 card. In my system, Berkeley has smoother sound, richer midrange but fatter, slower bass. I think D05 is more fun if you are listening to a lot of rock, pop type music. But if you are listening to classical, vocal, jazz, Berkeley may be better. However, if you are going to get P05 as a transport, ultimately, D05 is probably better choice as you can use external clock. D-05 also sounds better in dual XLR mode than single XLR which Berkeley does not support.
I can also confirm that during a single 2 hour listening session in my system, Berkely Alpha DAC has slower somewhat thicker bass than my X-01 Limited. On the other hand, Alpha is somewhat sharper and less relaxed than X-01, with X-01 seeming also to yield a more defined stage. G.
I've had a UX-1 upgraded to a UX-1pi by Esoteric and a G-0s rubidium clock for over 2 years now and couldn't be happier. Retained the UX-1 VRDS transport. Build quality is great and they are really nice people to deal with. You can take their gear up another notch or 2 with proper cabling for your system - they respond very well to my SR and Mexcel digital cabling. I'm using an external APL prototype 32-bit Super DAC with incredible (at least for me) results.
If you want the snappy, quick bass and control of the Esoteric D05 along with a smoother, more musical presentation you need to look at a Wadia 521 GNSC. I owned both the 521 (still own the 521) and the D05 and did extensive comparisons. I sold the D05 as the Wadia 521 with mods was just in a different league musically. So much more musical through the mid band, but retained all the detail, grunt and low end of the D05.
Who perform the modification to the Wadia 521, and what was modified/changed, and with what perceivable audible differences? G.
Great Northern Sound (GNSC) does the mods. They add a ton of black gates and power upgrades as well as some dampening. I did not own an un-modded GNSC 521 so cant tell you the exact differences, but I have owned other digital gear basic and modded by GNSC and can say the difference is astonishing.
I have a D-05 and G-03X. Fantastic combination!
Catastrofe, what do you use as a source/transport? G.
I'm full computer audio. . .Mac Pro with Lynx AES16e card. Lynx and D-05 both clocked by the G-03X.
As the one who started this thread, I just wanted to thank everyone for their comments. I brought home a P-05 / D-05 combo over the weekend, and I don't think it will be going back to the store anytime soon.

Enjoy your music.
Congratulations Thefirstchorus! Keeps us posted on the evolution of its sound during break in. . . and be patient and steadfast with it. . . Esoteric gear does not make for easy instant gratification. . . but the end result is pretty glorious! G.  
which is better sonically: D-05 or D-07? The later one has more "modern" DAC but I don;t know and wonder if anyone listen both?


I did not listen to the D-07. I was told by Esoteric and the dealer that the D-07 does not quite have the sound quality of the D-05. Although the D-07 has newer software and the obvious USB port, to reach the targeted lower price point, the D-07 does not have the same build quality as the D-05. For example, the D-05 has two independant power supplies, one for each channel. The D-07 has one power supply.

I hope that helps.

Thank you thefirstchorus,
I am waiting for something like new X-01 but wih high quality digital inputs (with or without USB - I don't mind to install good sound card in my computer. I have SA-50 but would not mind to upgarde it...