How much better is Esoteric K-03 vs K-05?

Was about to pull trigger on K-05, but keep reading how incredible the K-03 is. This may be a function of less press/reviews/purchases of the K-05, but I really would like to know if the K-03 provides a small incremental improvement in SQ, or it's major. And if major, how so? If you've heard both, or know someone who has, can you please provide opinions and comments? Thanks much...
I am exactly your same boat. I am trying to keep this version of my system within a reasonable budget but the K-03 keeps beckoning me!
While there does seem to be an overwhelming amount of great press on the K-03, I really do believe (read: HOPE) it's simply that the K-05 has not gotten reviewed yet, and has not been out as long as the K-03. I sure would love to hear from those who have actually been able to compare the two though.
If you were going to buy the K-05, then stop reading about the K-03. If you don't, you'll only be unhappy. I haven't heard either unit, but let's say the 03 is "better" than the 05. Only you can say for yourself whether that sonic difference is worth the substantial difference in price.
Tboooe, I have surrendered to the inevitable. K-03 on the way.
The K-05 won a Japanese award.
Milpai, now you tell me, LOL!?!? No worries, I'm sure I will like the K-03 :)
Well, what I meant Jeffkad was - if the K-05 won the silver, the K-03 is much more (probably). Maybe they had not released the K-03 when the players were reviewed of something to that effect :-)
K-03 has a better transport and DAC implementation. K-05 is good, K-03 is considerably better, K-01 is the best single-box solution Esoteric makes. I own a K-03 in my office system and its REALLY good. K-05 doesn't have as much sonic "weight". With Esoteric, you really do get what you pay for.
Just having fun with you Milpai :)

Fplanner, that's good to know. I expected as much, and probably would have been very happy with the K-05, but I couldn't resist the K-03.

Other than a server, this should complete the 2ch aspect of my system, joining Revel Salon 2s upfront, a Mac MC452 amp, a Krell S-1200 pre, and now the Esoteric. Hopefully I can jump off the merry-go-round and settle into just listening instead of chasing better equipment :)
OK Jeffkad
To make you feel better I had k-05 for 3 weeks.
Natural sounding player with good amount of details and when properly burned in does not exibit digital glare. After that I decided to listen k-03 and k-01 (my dealer had a demos). K-03 is much more resolving and more dynamic player and I think, best/price combo in esoteric line. But I end-up buying K-01 :), because I am running K-01 direct to amplifier and K-01 was worth the price from what I heard. Please be patient and burn each filter option at least 300 hours before jumping to conclusions.
Thanks much Denon1. Yes, from your older posts and many others, I'm very aware of the burn-in time, and that it must happen on each filter you use. That is a bit daunting, but I will work my way through it eventually. I will probably put this up as a separate post, but interested in which two filters worked best for you? If I can focus on two, maybe on opposite ends of spectrum, that will make process less arduous. I have noted that in some cases, people preferred one filter before break-in and another after break-in.
@Denon1, just curious what your thoughts are on using the K-01 direct to the amp. Correct me if I am wrong but I thought the K-01 adjusts volume digitally??
Tboooe, yes K-01 have digital volume control, but because of its 8 dacs per side and 32 bits the impact of the loosing bits is not audibel at all (for me). Two important factor to consider when driving direct,
1.Input impedance of the amplifier. It should be in a higher (like 50 and up) digits.
2. Using great ICs.
So far I like to drive my krell 302e direct. May be if I got very good pre-amp (at least on a level of ARC 5se or esoteric c-03) I might have gotten even better sound (more life) from my system. But this costly and I will not go this road (I can’t even arrange a demo). That was the one of the key reasons I went with k-01 instead of k-03, driving direct K-01 is more harmonically rich and coherent. One thing to notice, before make any judgment on esoteric driving direct any amp, one needs to burn the digital control "ON" option for a good 300-400 hours.

I tried, as some experienced guys on this forum advised, the 4x up sampling with s_dly1 filter, but the sound (in my system) still had been more analytical that I wanted it to be. Later I found K-01 and K-03 overview of some guy and he recommended no upsampling and S-DLY1 filter.
I decided to try this combo and felt ( after braking in this combo) that this is the best combo for me. The sound became much more natural with bigger soundstage and more air. I really enjoy it now.

I would agree with your setting, it gives almost a 3D sound stage, very natural, good detail, body and for once I forget about what format I am listening to. Sounds like great music period.
I have a K03 and recently stopped using it preampless and now added an Ayre K5xe-MP preamp and have an awesome improvement. Im not buying the esoteric extra dacs and bits making up for the one bit of loss for every 6db of attenuation. I can easilly hear it. What caught my ear was the FM; I can play it at moderate volume levels and still have awesome resolution. The Esoteric needed to play at near full throttle to have the same amount of resolution (thats the digital volume control losing the bits-even if they are extra bits...I think the bits thye are losing are still too important). Just my ears with the player and my thoughts...
Anyone who can make a comparison of the k-05 versus the x-03SE?