Will the Esoteric SA-10 sound better than my classe dac-1 cdt-t combo?
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That "old Classe" may be better than you think. I owned a CDP 10 and started looking for a replacement when is showed signs of acting up and knowing that it would be hard to access transport parts as the Phillips unit in it is no longer made. I bought an Esoteric X05 and was able to use both units and compare them before the Classe gave up the ghost. Of course the Esoteric had the ability to play SACD's but the redbook differences were not anywhere near as great as I had expected or hoped that there would be. The flavors were different, the Classe more mellow and laid back and the Esoteric a bit more forward, I could have lived happily with either one
i'm owning sa-50, which has digital input, it just takes really long time to break in, and could sound too lean if matched badly with other amp/speaker.
Esoteric has this really intense presentation, it's not harsh or anything, but it does the soundtage with a total honesty, if mellow or laid back sound is what you are after, esoteric isn't for you, especially sa-10 being their lower end, you could easily find more forgiving cdp with other brands.
For me esoteric compensates my laid back spendor speakers, though i had to change all my cables, i found that "cheaper" cables that has small amount of silver, produce this nasty glare especially when hitting the high note with violin.
I do apologies for not being helpful, at the time i was between ayre and esoteric, i bought esoteric for digital in.
I have not heard either digital player but folks often comment that Esoteric players are a little on the hifi side as opposed to the musical side of the spectrum. Other people object that those folks must be deaf, of course
I recommend the PS Audio combo because it has an apodising or minimum phase filter. I have an Ayre CX-7eMP, which also has a minimum phase filter, and I feel this is a big step forward in digital technology. To my ear it greatly reduces digital glare or harshness. So I think the PS Audio would be an improvement over your Classe gear.
I briefly tried the Esoteric SA-10 in my system and although a decent CD player it lacks musicality and doesn't sound organic and analogue. Detail is good but there is just something missing with the player. It can't seem to convey the soul and emotion in music as much as I like it to be. To each his own. I am still looking for a more analogue sounding player, or DAC.
If a CD player were made that sounded analog like a table me thinks the designer would make a pretty penny. When you hear a live band it is analog and those are the qualities that we look for in our recorded music which ever media we choose either vinyl or CD. You wanna listen to digital how 'bout some morse code transmissions