MORE Esoteric problems

Hi all, I posted an issue with Esoteric CD players a couple of years ago. I bought a UX-3SE from an eBay seller. It skipped all CD's. I called Esoteric. ALL SACD players with the "U" model numbers need to go to Japan because that's where the alignment jig is. $2500.00 at that time JUST for the shipping back and forth. I returned the player to the seller naturally. An Asian gentleman working at TAP electronics told me at that time that the models with the "X" can all be repaired in California. Great I said. I bought an Esoteric X-01. A great player! Now it doesn't read SACD's. I sent it to TAP last week. A follow up call from TAP gave me the dreaded news that NOW the X-01 needs to go to Japan for the jig alignment procedure. WHAT! They did reduce the transportation cost to $1600.00. And this is for shipping only. I think that the audio community needs to send Esoteric a message and boycott ALL Esoteric products. BTW, it's not just their CD players that are required to make the trip to Japan if repairs are needed. I understand that certain models of preamp and integrated amps fall under this requirement as well. How can a company such as Esoteric not do better for the consumer?
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This post scares me as I have an Esoteric UX 3 Player.  It works perfectly at present but the thought of spending 1600 just for shipping gives me pause. 
Where on earth are they getting these crazy shipping prices from?
Just do your own homework on the net and you will find much cheaper shipping options.

However that aside I agree it is a silly situation where products sold in the USA for the USA market then need to go to Japan to be repaired correctly!
Maybe this explains why my EMM Labs XDS1 has trouble reading some SACD discs (it has an Esoteric mechanism).  Not encouraging news.
Alex Peychev discovered the sacd rot and had a forum which was abuzz with owners that had these decoder boards problems, but he's shut it down.

Since it's introduction SACD has always had many problems, and if it's not with the lasers it was with the horror of the Philips decoder boards with the Mace 2 Furore chip set that had a cancer like bug, that couldn't be fixed, just got worse and worse till the item became a door stop. 
This effected many players that used it, Krell, Music Fidelity, Philips.

Then Sony had there own set of problems, it could have been the Philips chipset I'm not sure.
Now I'm not sure what Teac used in their Esoteric models, but it's enough for me to steer clear of any SACD players regardless of manufacturer.

This is a "Wayback Machine" cached page of the now deleted APL find. But this did fix the problem either.

But the many pages of APL forum tech talk about all this is now MIA on the web, CIA stuff from Philips, if you know what I mean.

I did find this post from Alex Pychev

Cheers George
Here is the 23k hits "archived" forum page 1/3 the way down, that had the thread.
" Announcement: Philips SACD1000 announcement"

But it’s been wiped as well, Sony/Philips must have had their heavies visit Alex.

Cheers George
Thank You for sharing this important information for Esoteric owners.I knew that I had read about these infractions previously. I did not know which series of players affected? It seems to me that TAP could have an Esoteric rep fly to California once every month to provide Customer Service. Additionally, TAP should have a jig arranger on-site. There are many of you guys that support this brand. Sad.
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Sad to hear of your issue.  Ship the device to California and let Teac flip the bill to japan.
I have owned Esoteric in the past, fortunately without issue, and had considered a newer Esoteric purchase but have reconsidered based on a number of similar threads to this. I’ll be at Axpona next month and I’d like to mention this to the those running the Esoteric room.
I don’t wish to compound the misery of the OP, but why he would have shelled out the kind of cash that Esoteric demands for their products after his initial problem is beyond me

After your Axpona visit next month post an update should you engage the representatives from Esoteric. Specifically, inquire about the special circumstances surrounding the jig alignment process. Happy Listening!
Having a Esoteric cdp still under 3 year warranty this post has me worried that I made a mistake. If anyone has contacted Esoteric USA about this ridiculous situation let us know.


Thank You! Enjoy Axpona for the rest of us.  Happy Listening!

I cannot imagine technically why a jig is required.

Just replace the whole mechanism would be a fine solution.

….....this concerns me as well as an owner of a K-01x CD player. I find it very surprising as well as very unsettling that a company as big as Esoteric / TEAC does not have the technical capabilities to repair their products here in the US. Something does not sound right or as I have head but unsubstantiated ; that Esoteric / TEAC  has not faired very well since the Gibson buy-out. I would like to see if this decline in US technical support including repairs coincides with the Gibson buy-out. I hope the OP as well as that other gentlemen here on Auduogon who had an Esoteric T-100 tube amp got that finally straightened  around. This stuff is not cheap and Esoteric needs to get this situation '' fixed'' real soon.     
OK, I'm back from vacation. I received the player back from TAP. Very strange! It plays SACD's perfectly. It seems that there are more questions than answers to this one. Did TAP clean it? Did they adjust it? I don't buy the idea that bouncing it in transit has a positive effect. At this point I guess I'll keep it for awhile to make sure it's still operating as it should. Anyone have thoughts on this matter? Joe


Thank You for the update. Do you have a repair/service invoice from TAP?  Keep us posted on the whole CD/SACD playback capability.

Happy Listening!

So, did it go back to Japan, or did TAP mysteriously repair it?  I ask because I posted this on the Esoteric forum at Audio 
All Tap charged me was a basic service fee plus shipping. With the shipping that I paid included, I'm out of pocket about $350.00 It did not go back to Japan. I'll keep you all posted. PLEASE keep this thread going here and everywhere else. Esoteric needs to fix an obvious problem. Joe
Perhaps look at it this way. Your older Esoteric player can still be worked on, there are still parts available for it...and there is a US group that does most of this work. That is a whole LOT more than a lot of other folks can say about their experiences with digital gear that offers none of the above...and is now essentially a ‘boat anchor’. 
daveyf, you must have read my mind! I had just picked up a replacement CD player in anticipation of selling my Esoteric. It is a perfect wave transport and a PS Audio NuWave Dac. It pales in comparison to the Esoteric! Thinking about it, does a new buyer of an Esoteric CD player care about servicing the player 15 years down the road? Probably not. Anyone willing to shell out $13,000 for a cd player is going to trade it in at maybe eight years or so. Does Esoteric feel obligated to maintain their players for 2nd or 3rd generation owners? Probably not. So. right now I'm in limbo. Maybe I'll have to bite the bullet and let TAP send it back to Japan one day. Right now it's working great. I was somewhat troubled by the information given to me by TAP. I'm not sure that they did ANYTHING to my player beyond a cleaning by means of a cleaning disc. That's another conversation though and only a gut feeling on my part. Can anyone recommend a CD player they feel equals the Esoteric? Thank you. Joe
You may want to check out the Luxman D-06U and the Music Fidelity Nu Vista players.
Ok. WHERE do the luxmans get serviced? They have come and gone over the years

did TAP expound any details about the ins-outs of sending these Esoteric spinners back to Japan?  Happy Listening!
Luxman has their own corporate presence in the US for the last few years, Luxman America. They handle NA sales with stock of product as well as servicing facilities in the US.
As an owner of the Esoteric K-01X 30th Anniversary model I can say without hesitation I would never buy another Esoteric. The Dac pales in comparison to the Luxman D-08U. Esoteric is highly overrated as a Disc Player. The Chord Dave/Blu2 Combo also sounds a lot better to my ears. I play mostly Classic Rock stuff and Esoteric is totally unforgiving of mediocre recordings which unfortunately is the vast majority of my collection.  I think most people buy Esoteric due to the name recognition...I know I did. Save some money and potential headaches/heartaches down the road and grab a Luxman/Chord/MSB and even possibly a T+A. Im sure there are others.

You mention the reason that the K-01x sounds worse to your ears...and yet that reason is exactly why many people would want an Esoteric! The ability to delineate a marginal recording from a superior one! Unfortunately, the vast majority of Classic rock is recorded poorly, but I don’t believe that the resulting poor SQ from the recording can be placed at the feet of the Esoteric!
Personally, I want a player that reveals the quality of the recordings and all their warts and issues....while at the same time being able to present a superior sound...if the recording warrants that. With the Esoteric, I can hear that exact ability. YMMV.
I’ll come to the defense of the K-01X. Over time I’ve added to it a SRS 10mhz master clock, a better power cord, a LessLoss 64x Firewall, and a Star Sound Rhythm platform. It has been responsive to these tweaks and has proved fantastic both as CDP and as a standalone DAC in conjunction with Roon DSD128 upsampling and SOtM endpoints. However, I am curious about the top Chord DAC and Scaler, which I have not heard.

At Axpona this weekend I did ask the Esoteric folks about the jig alignment issue. They realize this is a real issue with customers. There response was this type of procedure only affects the older X series players. I asked if it was possible these transports could eventually be fixed in the states and for a number of reasons I still don’t quite understand (microscope, special jig table, expertise in Japan) those will still need to go to Japan. What they have started doing though is to remove the transport from the player in their California repair facility then ship only the transport to Japan reducing shipping costs. Wait time for completed repair will still be an issue albeit with reduced shipping costs. Hope that helps.
So arch2, You appear to have already answered this question but I find it better to clear up any ambiguity before a problem arises. The K-0_ and K-0_x SACD players do not have to go back to Japan for the jig alignment treatment?  Thanks!

When talking to the representative he mentioned “the x series players from 11 or 12 years ago.” I didn’t enquirer further to the specific models beyond what he mentioned. I got kind of sidetracked at that point as he was describing the process of why those transports needed to go to Japan and what needed to happen. I didn’t push further but it still didn’t make a lot of sense to me as to why it needed to go back.
Wow! Thanks arch2. This helps, "I hope". The next question is; Is TAP Electronics aware of this change in procedure? I'm going to email them. I'm not optimistic. I'll keep you all posted.
    ALSO, It isn't just the "X" series that needs to go back. From what TAP told me two years ago, the UX models go back too. AND the current model of their integrated amp and one other model from their lineup needs to go back to Japan as well though which one escapes me right now. Lets see what happens. Joe
... It isn't just the "X" series that needs to go back. From what TAP told me two years ago, the UX models go back too. AND the current model of their integrated amp and one other model from their lineup needs to go back to Japan as well though which one escapes me right now ...
For all of the angst over this, I've yet to hear anyone claim that his Esoteric component actually had to be returned to Japan for service.
Good point cleeds. I'd like to know of people who used the service and if were they happy or not.

also,  I emailed one of the Japanese guys on ebay who sells Esoteric players from Japan. I asked him how much it would cost to send a unit from Japan to here. His answer was $800.00 to $1000.00 dollars. I guess TAP wasn't gouging on shipping. I remember selling two LP's to a guy in Japan a few years ago. The only way to get them to him and get a confirmed receipt was FED Ex. It cost $125.00 for shipping. (I got $800.00 for the LP's).
Thank You for taking the time to engage those Esoteric reps and posting said information here. Very helpful to the rest of Esoteric owners here on Audiogon.
Happy Listening!
always great to see you here in these forums. Happy Listening!
I emailed TAP electronics this week after arch2 posted. I expected nothing from TAP in terms of them being up to speed on this new procedure. Sal from TAP called me back the same day with the news that ,"Yes, its the new procedure" that the CD players go to TAP and then they remove the transport and send it to Japan for the repair. Sal tells me that the entire transport gets a rebuild, not just the laser assembly. It costs around $1000.00 for the parts and Japanese labor. Add to that Taps invoice plus shipping to Japan and back. Sal couldn't give me the exact cost. He said my unit would be the "guinea pig" unit as there may be a few unknowns. This still sounds more involved than I'd like to see BUT still the shipping probably will go from $1600.00 to maybe $400.00
I don't know if I'll send my unit right away as it's working perfectly. Let's keep this thread going! THANK YOU again everyone who got involved with this issue. It's great news if it works out. Joe
Glad you’re happy but that’s still madness for a brand that big in a country as big as the US not to be able to service units in country. While I can somewhat understand historical models where they might not have appreciated customer dissatisfaction with such arrangement, I'm struggling to understand why they’re still making units that need to go back to Japan for service after being made aware of it being an issue.
Much Thanks! for the follow -up. On one hand, it sounds (no pun) pretty cool to have the drive/transport assembly go back to Japan for special treatment. On the other hand, no reason why Esoteric could not incorporate said Lab somewhere in California? There are plenty of lab(s) and electronic-based personnel already in place.
Happy Listening!

So let summarize this thread. An old, 10+, used player was purchased and had a problem so it was sent into the repair center in CA. They returned it in a timely manor, with a reasonable fee to the second hand owner and all is good now.

I talked with Esoteric at Axpona and they answered all my questions. In reading this thread it sounds to me, that the repair center was very upfront on all possibilities and answered all of your questions, and did not take advantage of you.

So all of this other nonsense is paranoia about the worst case. Have any real people had to send their instrument to Japan for repair?

Shouldn’t a shoutout to esoteric be, thanks for repairing a second hand used instrument for reasonable fee.

jab, did you read all of the posts to this thread? It seems you did not!
I didn't bad mouth TAP. I wasn't unhappy with their service. They were polite and professional. This thread was instrumental in persuading Esoteric to modify their repair protocol. This is a win win for everyone.It is a model for how problems can be addressed and fixed. NOW, anyone sending a unit to TAP that needs to go to Japan will save $1000.00 at least. How is this a negative to 

The title is inflammatory with a caps "more," you then question whether they repaired it and in another you question whether they did any more than inserting a cleaning disk.

In another you state, "Does Esoteric feel obligated to maintain their players for 2nd or 3rd generation owners? Probably not."

Geez, they just fixed your player for a second generation owner. I would be very happy and telling people on this site that Esoteric is a good buy, because they will repair it for second owner. But you do not, you end with a negative. You must be fun at a party.

If you think your a change agent, that’s your opinion, but give Esoteric credit for doing a good job repairing your aging unit with out the negative about what could happen in the future. Well Eeyore, we'll see.

jab, if I won $1,000,000 in the lottery and posted that I'd like to share it with my fellow Agoners, YOU would find fault with that! You are the only one here with a negative attitude. There was an existing issue with servicing Esoteric units BOTH new (under warranty) and old. A thread here was instrumental in improving Esoteric service on many different levels. That is good for everyone EXCEPT YOU!!! You are the person whose glass is always half empty. Cheer up!
One of the reasons I acquired my Esoteric player is that the transport and laser sled can still be repaired and at a cost that isn't too exorbitant. 
Before I bought my Esoteric ( you can see it in my member Virtual System) I had listened to a number of other excellent players. That included the Marantz player and a Dcs. The Marantz, while superbly built, like the Esoteric, cannot have the transport or the laser shed replaced it is no longer available! This is true for a number of highly regarded other SACD players...even of more recent vintage! 
Esoteric, OTOH, are not in that position. Personally, there is a LOT of value to that fact! BTW, ask some of the Audio Research CD player owners what they think of their units, now that their players aren't able to be serviced...and that company is a US company!
Yes, you are right daveyf. I owned the Sony SACD player; the black model. Ten years is all most Japanese companies will support. Sony sold all of their NOS parts for their open reel recorders as well as everything else. I sold my Sony TC880-2 because I didn't want to deal with the hassle of finding someone to fix it. This was before the WEB. Darn! I wish I had that machine back! I sold it for $500.00 They now sell in excess of $3000.00 I owned three TC880-2 machines! 
   The fact that Esoteric modified their repair procedure is great for everyone and especially would be new buyers of Esoteric gear. 
    I hear you concerning other players. My first high end CD player was the mighty Krell KPS20i. When Krell release the 30i, Phillips discontinued the transport for it within one month of its release! Krell was upset to say the least. This entire post is a feather in Esoterics cap. Long live Esoteric!
"Long live Esoteric." Wow, at last a positive ending. 
I own a pair of Esoteric MG-10s. My grandson pushed the tweeter dome in on one. I called Esoteric and was told to contact TAD Electronics. This I did and got hold of Sal in service. I was told to send the damaged speaker to them and they would repair it. I sent it to them, care of Sal. I was kept posted every step of the way, as to arrival and condition of the speaker, progress on repair, return shipping and when to expect return. Process took 3 weeks, including shipment of a new tweeter from Japan. 

Just thought Esoteric and TAD Electronics deserved another positive.