The D 03 uses the Analog devices AD1955 dac chip. Don't know much about that dac but I do know the newer Esoteric stand alone dac's use the AK dac chips. Since the p/d 03 retails for 28,000.00 I can only assume it is an excellent product. I would look into that particular analog devices dac chip to see what others say. If it is an older chip, I would go for something else.
I have an Esoteric stand alone player, the UX-3. It uses the Burr Brown PCM 1704 chip which I like very much. The sound is sublime and the build quality is one of if not the best in the business.
I have a X03SE bought used as the seller was moving up to the new K01.
It has been a delight and I feel it was money well spent. Doubt I will get another spinner but if I do I will in all likelihood be buying Esoteric.
I've owned both the single box and separate Esoterics. I used to own the X-03 and the P3/D5 combo. If I was in the market for a CDP I would definitely get Esoteric again. Their drive mechanism is incredible. The sound is detailed yet non fatiguing. That being said, I would go for the single box units unless you have a GREAT system and really superb hearing. To me there isnt enough of a difference to justify the increase in price.
I've owned several Esoteric players, great drive mechanisms but the sound to my ears was just to sterile YMMV.
Perhaps what Joey_v is trying to get here is some feedback whether to buy P03/D03
combo or its newer one box brethren say K-01x or K-03x assuming similar price point -
used for former, and new unit the later. Also if the older combo's sound is comparatively
still relevant in current state of digital.
Bvdiman, nicely clarified, sounds logical.
A friend owns a discontinued (x-3?) CD player which sounds great. Detailed yet non fatiguing as mentioned above. The analog circuitry remains superior even if the dac chip is old. Lack of a digital input limits flexibility in his unit. YMMV
Yes exactly... Say p3/D3 vs the newer k1?
well, owner bias may well play a part here... but I listen to my P-03, D-03, G-0Rb on a daily basis... It is a highly musical and engaging product.
I also use the D-03 with a Human Audio Tabla USB/SPDIF converter and get terrific sound from my Mac server...
All things considered- sound quality, build quality, durability, etc., short of the newer P-02/D-02 combination, I'm not sure I've heard another digital source I'd readily trade it for.
Contrary to some of Esoteric's popular reputation, the P-03 D-03 has a warm and musical tonal balance, with sufficient inner detail to be a real contender in my book...
Hope this is helpful.
There's also this X01 that I'm seeing float around too.... so many choices. I'm sure they're all good.
I think the one thing I like about the K1 is that there is a USB input... and the p3/d3 does not.
The P-03/D-03 is definately relivent. The one misconseption about digital is that the overall sound of the newer stuff blows away the older stuff. Obviously versatility of the new stuff blows away the old stuff... HDMI, USB, DSD compatibility, etc. The biggest problem being media, the newer stuff hooks you directly to hi rez much easier. All things considered, the Esoterics have terrific analog outputs and bullet proof power supplies, and that is going to have a bigger effect on overall sound more than the digital section and chip sets used. The chip set configuration and implementation is similar in the Esoterics, and the house sound is not much different player to player. If you can get a great deal on a P-03/D-03, which you can, you will be very happy, as long you like Esoteric to begin with! I saw athe pair for sale with 3 year warranty for $8000.00, now thats a slammin deal.
Hi Colekat, knew you'd come to the rescue here! ;)
Nicely summed, however like to point to OP perhaps the importance of cabling too..
I'd wager new K-01x using top flight wires--say Mexcel D6300 II IC + Kraken PC would
probably outdo older P03/D03 with lesser cabling? And that if the combo aspire to be
stringed at similar level it'd cost a bomb--what say you running from experience? Not to
mention the prospect of adding clock to both as natural future upgrade path.
So unless one could comfortably $tretch their budget, imo better to stay with current
single box offerings--easier, as well cheaper to optimized.
I'm 100% computer-based front end. Super optimized. Excellent DAC and all that, but I always liked Esoteric a lot. I would encourage you to re-think the USB input in an Esoteric as a great feature. In my book it is not really worth much. Hold your flames! ;-)
The Esoterics are pieces for the long-term. You might never buy a spinner again, as someone said. And if you like the DAC presentation, you are likely not going to get an analog section like that in any of the PC-focused DACs. But computer audio is changing very rapidly. Now everybody is talking about DSD, even 4xDSD. 2 years ago you hardly heard about it and the rave was about 24/192 PCM, which in turn were hardly heard of 4 years ago...and I doubt this is going to change anytime soon.
So I would suggest you consider using a very good USB-to-SPDIF converter that can be upgraded as technology evolves, and you just hook it up to your D03 or X03, or whatever you end up getting. I have an Audiophilleo with PurePower that was one of the best 2 years ago and it was $1k. Should it become outdated it would be relatively inexpensive to replace (relative to the price of the DAC).
Bvdiman, I see your point, and if money is no object, than this thread is not relevant, unless someone likes the D-03/ P-03 better than the newer offerings. And that may be the case, I'm sure some people perfer the older Esoterics.
But, don't discount the D-03/P-03 just for hi-rez compatibility. There are great USB to SPDIF interfaces, and with most software you can input whatever format you want, do all the processing in the computer and send it to the DAC as perferred.
I don't believe alot is different DAC to DAC when it comes to signature sound. A good DAC 5 years ago is still a good DAC, and taking the processing away from the DAC is not a bad thing.
The Esoterics have great power supplies and great analog outputs, that will influence the overall sound, along with cabling, more than anything else. And with the D-03s input technology outdated, you get a slammin deal that will sound GREAT!
So yes they are still Relevant in a big way!
I say yes. I like the older DV-50/60 for SACD duty (not to my liking on red-book cd), it is an excellent spinner. Many times a newer model is not always better- there are trade-off(s) for certain. Happy Listening!