My Esoteric having issues....what should I do


   My Esoteric X-03SE player is having loading issues,basically I have to pop the top lid and manually by pressing the eject button internally(sorry I dont know the tech name for it) to get the tray to open.Im not complaining/well maybe a little as it is over a decade old but I was in the mindset when purchased  i was done with having to buy again.Anyway,I spoke to Esoteric on the west coast and from the little they would tell me its somewhat common (as there were several currently in for repair with the same issues) and very expensive,$300.00 plus just for shipping to and from with a 1000.00 plus plus repair bill expected on a 15 year old player.......My question is this,does anyone know of another source for repair that makes sense money wise to get this working correctly?...or can i buy something similiar in/ or better in performance for under $1500.00..I dont have internet  in my home and an extensive red book and sacd library..thanks in advance
missioncoonery
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It might just need lubrication to solve its problem. I bought some Teflon grease, and carefully lubed wherever it looked like lube would help. And it did. No more problems with the disc drawer hanging up.

Hope it helps. Regards,
Dan
Thanks guys for the info...ill try the lub thing first then try and call Bill and see what he recommends 
Update..I made a couple calls today,one to TAP service and was told the loading mechanism was failing.The replacement cost is very expensive,possibly a very long wait to get it back and shipping back would be pricey as well...The second was to Music technology where i was told Esoteric wont allow parts to anyone but TAP,sorry we cant work on it..Will I have it repaired,no way,Not on a 15 year old player..Would i buy Esoteric again,hell no!Never,Not with the crap customer support or lack of it......So what do I buy under $1500 as a single stand alone player,any suggestions?
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That's a tough situation.  Just shipping a beast like that cross-country costs hundreds.  Unfortunately, $1500 doesn't seem to go very far in the CD world.  I would probably go for a Cambridge or Audiolab transport for about $500 and stretch a bit to one of the many nice $1500-2k dacs you can read about here.  Nothing wrong with single-box players, but I think you have more choices with the transport/dac option.  Then of course you'll need a digital cable...  It adds up.  
missioncoonery

what was the quoted repair cost per TAP ?

Happy Listening!
Jafant...The repair estimate sounded vague but at or beyond what I would pay.I heard the tray was at its projected life span,sooner than later totally failing  and the laser was at its limit as well.Repair is really not an option now for me knowing other issues are expected soon.
Yet another thread on the failings of Esoteric's repair service, but getting 15 years of use from a CD player is better than most.
onhwy61
Yet another thread on the failings of Esoteric's repair service ...
I don't see any failure here - the OP just doesn't like the cost of repair. The parts to service the 15-year-old player are readily available. That's exceptional imo.
The Cambridge and Audiolab won't play the OP's  SCAD collection, there are some CD/SCAD players in the OPs price range. Will those options  be operationally and SQ wise as good as the Esoteric, or acceptable only the OP can answer.
Onhwy61....there is failure here.Failure in the unit and failure in customer support.If Esoteric only allows parts to go to one facility (regardless of age of the unit) then a monopoly is made. I pay whatever this monopoly says or I don't get it fixed ,the customer support has failed me.If independent repair shops or even other certified warranty shops had access to parts which they dont,my repair cost would then be competitive and I'm sure cheaper.IMO,Esoteric needs to change its practices on non warranty repair and allow shops to have access to these parts to fix very expensive units of the day .I started this thread in search of a repair facility outside Esoterics inner circle to hopefully get my unit fixed at a reasonable cost,doesnt exist.
Besides Marantz, there's a nice Denon unit that meets your criteria.

The best solution would be the Marantz Ruby, but even used that's above your price point.
Disappointing to hear as I own a X03SE and if or when it needs service I would lean on Bill for the fix as he is honest and has reasonable rates.  Know for a fact as I have used him in the past with my cj equipment.

Esoterics are killer machines and reproduce well mastered cd's and sacd's with weight, authority and wonderful detail.  I have a K01 and XOSE and think they are all that but have to agree with other posters that although I can see the reason not to release parts to anyone and suffering the fallout from botched repairs or substandard work STILL they could release them to known and well established techs.

I have had a disappointing repair experience with Teac California on a reel to reel and so did a good friend of mine.  I would never send anything there for service.  Just my personal experience.  Thank God Sam Palermo from Skywave made the reel to reel sing.

In any event I am sorry to hear of your issues with the Esoteric.  I bought Esoteric primarily on the hope of reliability as I had never heard one when my Sony SCD777ES kept having issues and started turning into an expensive piece of equipment.  When I scored the X03SE (used) I was pleasantly surprised with how awesome it sounded.

Hope it works out for you and shame to hear of the issue.  
Definitely try the lube job suggested by islandmandan and I have also heard of problems in general, vs esoteric specific, with pulley belts stretching and that sort of thing.  Somehow I have the feeling you may get this up and running yourself.
@missioncoonery I have a Teac VRDS 25x that I sent to TAP after a few phone calls and talking to Sal the manager. I was told that the mechanism was failing also. I took the unit apart and replaced the to drive belts but broke on of the clips that hold the 18 pin flat cable to the servo board so the connection is bad. Sal told me it would be $641 to repair the mechanism. Told him I would pick up the unit unpaired, the quote TAP sent me showed $85 to repair mechanism and $550 in labor which is outrageous. Im waiting to hear from Teac regarding 3 replacement parts. 
I suspect we will be getting more posts along the lines of this one, and not just for Esoteric units. I'm guessing that most manufacturers do not have parts available for older disc spinners. 

I feel fortunate that TAP was able to repair my UX-3pi. The cost was less than $600, including parts and labor, for the same recommended repair that they gave to the OP. Although their hourly rate is high, they only charged me for 2 hours of labor. They have the machinery and technical ability to do the work efficiently. The parts, including the laser assembly, were inexpensive.

I'm guessing that the OP's X-03SE is one of the few Esoteric models that needs to be shipped to Japan, where they have specialized jigs for some of the older units. That might make the repair too costly and prohibitive. In that case, I would not fix it.

If TAP can repair it here in the US, and if OP is satisfied with the sound, my opinion is that it would be worth the cost to get it fixed. The cost would probably be less than $1k including shipping. I would ask myself, what could you buy today for under $1k that would sound as good? 

Also, take a look at what people are asking for used units in good working condition. I see someone sold one recently here that had an asking price of $2900. That seems a little high, but If the value of an X-03SE is really north of $2k, I would be going back and forth on whether to get it repaired if it required shipping to Japan. If it can be fixed by TAP, it's a no brainer, I would get it fixed. You might be able to sell it later and come out ahead instead of having a brick.
Ok...the issue here isn't Esoteric does not have parts for older units,the problem is they only release them to one repair facility.                                                                    The estimated repair cost and it's always more,estimated months to get to it,their insistence of shipping back strapped to pallet via ground truck instead of carrier (and yes I have all packing and boxes) being told the laser unit will be failing soon so fix it now or fix it later/even more money.....im not doing it........Ok I spent an hour trying to lubricate anything that seemed it was in the loading process,nothing changed..the belts all seem fine,gears ok so check that off the fix list.I guess I'll just keep my eyes open and read any suggestions on what to check out ..again thanks
I'm guessing that the OP's X-03SE is one of the few Esoteric models that needs to be shipped to Japan, where they have specialized jigs for some of the older units. That might make the repair too costly and prohibitive. In that case, I would not fix it.
Does anyone know what a "specialized jig" means or is used for?

Riverdance Slip Jig - YouTube




I have a Esoteric DV-50, got it as a Demo when the D-60 came out.  I seem to remember Esoteric stopped using Philips Transports and started making there own about that time.  The early 90's were still the early years of digital playback and the mechanical areas of the CD players were the weakest part of the chain.  The Philips Transport in my unit has lasted so long because 85 percent of my digital playback is Computer/DAC and I just don't use it all that much.  I've forgotten how many CD players I've had since 1985 but they died because of transport issue.
 Yes I understand the  transport is the weak link but if Esoteric wont sell the parts needed to me directly or to a repair shop of my choosing then they need to be called out for crap customer support. I paid if I recall 6 grand for the player 15 years ago which was a lot of money back then,well heck it's still a lot of money..i feel I have the right to make such a statement.
missioncoonery
... if Esoteric wont sell the parts needed to me directly or to a repair shop of my choosing then they need to be called out for crap customer support ... i feel I have the right to make such a statement.
You do basically have the right to make that statement, but that doesn’t mean your claim has any real value. By insisting that the service be done by its own approved shop, Esoteric can guarantee the quality of the repair. It obviously can’t offer that to you if you attempt a DIY repair.

I think you’re being offered excellent support. The unit is 15 years old. An original replacement assembly is available and factory approved service is being offered to you. That you don’t like the price isn’t a reflection on Esoteric service, imo, but a reflection of your values.
Cleeds..you missed the point big time...i have no intent on repair myself..and honestly I have the funds..the point is it's out of warranty,why should esoteric care on who does my repair assuming they are qualified..the point you miss  which was pointed out to me from more than one repair facility....we can't get parts therefore if you want it repaired you pay whatever the one shop that esoteric supplies parts to makes  you pay, you wait the time frame the one shop makes you wait,you have it shipped the only way they allow it to be shipped...that my friend is crap customer support.
I used to own one esoteric cdp, when they work, they are superb, but repair is only available in California.
Missionconnery my experience they won’t sell parts to my technicians.only to TAP, it will cost me $900 including shipping, the player is worth $1500 so I said no ‘more repair.
Hmm, the fact that you can't get parts for an out of warranty Esoteric and have other tech's work on them, is a no go for me.  I don't care how good they are.

Exactly....a simpler example for those who don't follow me like my friend above ...You buy a brand new car.The warranty is 3 years,5 years later (so it no longer qualifies for warranty repair ) the starter goes out.You take it to your local repair facility,one that does good work at competitive prices..."sorry we can't work on your car,that starter is only available at one repair shop and they won't sell parts for your car to anyone "..they are 2000 miles away,the wait time is basically whatever they say,nornally months.....and they can charge you whatever they want because they have a monopoly ..so you either do the dance or park the car and move on....now how ridiculous is that...their customer support sucks no other way around it, and until they change their policies ill tell everyone I know not to buy Esoteric simply for that reason. 
missioncoonery
... You buy a brand new car ... the starter goes out.You take it to your local repair facility,one that does good work at competitive prices..."sorry we can’t work on your car,that starter is only available at one repair shop and they won’t sell parts for your car to anyone "..they are 2000 miles away,the wait time is basically whatever they say,nornally months.....and they can charge you whatever they want because they have a monopoly ..so you either do the dance or park the car and move on....now how ridiculous is that ...
It’s pretty ridiculous because it’s a faulty analogy. First, a disc spinner is not a car. But even if we follow your reasoning, an Esoteric spinner is not a Ford - it’s closer to a Lamborghini. You wouldn’t take a Lambo to your local Midas Muffler shop even if it does "good work at competitive prices." You’d take it to an exotic car specialist, and you’d wait for the part to be delivered and for the tech to get it in his schedule for repair.

Moreover, compare the lifespan of a car - the average car on the road today is about 12 years old - to a consumer electronics product, which typically has a much shorter lifespan, if only because its technology becomes obsolete more quickly. You’d be rightfully annoyed if you couldn’t get a part for a 15-year-old car. But outside of a few manufacturers (such as ARC, Mac, Esoteric), you can’t expect parts availability on consumer electronics for 15 years.
their customer support sucks no other way around it ...
Your experience wouldn’t dissuade me at all from buying Esoteric. I perfectly understand that the company’s service doesn’t meet your expectations, however. Someday you’ll move on.
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OP, I understand you all the way.. I would question HOW it was repaired?
Moreover why they can’t provide parts to a piece of equipment they built..
Something is wrong.. I’ll bet it is a 5 dollar part and they want to charge you 1000.00 plus shipping the thing all over the country.

One of the reasons I love my Macs, parts.. Cary, same way.. I think there is an argument to be made, you got ripped off..

Accuphase TRIED to pull that with me over a lamp RECALL. they wanted me to send it to them on my dime for 14.00 usd of bulbs and a resistor pack.. 450.00 in shiping at the time, I was overseas.. I got my parts, instructions and receipt for 35.00 usd, FINALLY..

No I wouldn’t buy from them NOW...Not with that policy..

Regards..
oldhvymec
I would question HOW it was repaired?
It wasn’t repaired. The OP doesn’t want to pay the cost of repair.
Moreover why they can’t provide parts to a piece of equipment they built..
They have the part for this 15-year-old product in stock.
... I’ll bet it is a 5 dollar part ...
Have you ever seen the Esoteric drive mechanism? It isn’t a $5 part.
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Bottom line for me is Esoteric has horrible customer support on units out of warranty .I can't speak to warranty work but the same applies to only one repair facility in the USA,and the wait times are I'm sure the same.
missioncoonery

Thank You for the follow up. Agreed, if TAP could not lock in a set price for repair- skip it. There has never been a better time to purchase a CD/SACD player new or demo/used. Have fun auditioning.

Happy Listening!
jafant
... if TAP could not lock in a set price for repair- skip it.
I'm sure TAP would be willing to provide a price for the repair, but the OP would have to be willing to ship it to them first. No good tech is going to offer a firm estimate on a product he hasn't examined first. That's how it works with audio, with cars and with pretty much everything else.
That's not how it works....all legit car repair shops have a price/hours book...you need a starter for a specific year car they know it takes x hours and they give you a repair cost..if there are other issues they inform you at that time and you then have the option of additional repair..No shop says oooh i dont know bring it in and we will get back to,your just ridiculous.My question to you is why are you insistent in defending  Esoterics repair process or lack of it and not understanding how their whole process is bs...do you have skin in this TAD monopoly?
missioncoonery
... all legit car repair shops have a price/hours book...you need a starter for a specific year car they know it takes x hours and they give you a repair cost ...
Correct. But the tech can’t be sure what’s wrong with the car until he inspects it. Similarly, TAP can’t know for sure what repair your Esoteric spinner requires until they inspect it - and you’re not willing to pay the cost to ship it to them. That’s your prerogative, of course, and it might be the best choice for you. There’s the logical fallacy of "sunken cost" and - for you - it may be best to just walk away from this spinner. It depends on how much value it has to you.
My question to you is why are you insistent in defending Esoterics repair process or lack of it and not understanding how their whole process is bs...do you have skin in this TAD monopoly?
We just disagree, that is all. You’re the one with skin in the game, not me. I think a manufacturer offering to repair a 15-year-old consumer electronics product using factory original parts - and presumably providing a warranty for the work - represents good service. Whether it is good value or not is up to the individual; there is no "right" or "wrong" here, and that seems to be your problem. Esoteric hasn’t met your expectations, but my expectations would be different.

As an aside, I just paid $900 to have a factory-authorized shop repair my McIntosh spinner. That’s crazy money! But this is just a hobby for me and I really like the player, so I approved the work and paid the bill. It now works like new and I’ll probably get decades of use from it.
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Ok..i understand what you 2 are saying but I see it different.Im not ok with only one facility able to do repairs and I pay whatever they say reguardless of if its a fair deal or im grabbing my ankles, or walk away from the unit which is what I've done already....im not ok with accepting them telling me the repair down time is very long and we will get to it when we get to it...im not ok with having to ship it 2000 miles knowing there are qualified shops closer but can't do the work because parts aren't allowed to them...im not ok hearing from them that the only way they will ship it back is tied to a pallet with weighs ontop of the factory boxes and packing I have via truck costing even more money,no other shipping option.So yea I'm trashing their process.Im  an esoteric customer and not satisfied with the experience.I paid for the right. 
missioncoonery
... i understand what you 2 are saying but I see it different.Im not ok with only one facility able to do repairs ... So yea I’m trashing their process.Im an esoteric customer and not satisfied with the experience.I paid for the right.
Yup, you’ve paid for the right to be unsatisfied, you’ll have no argument from me about that. It is purely subjective.

But I’m genuinely curious - what do you plan to buy to replace the Esoteric?
I don't know what ill buy.Marantz has been suggested and ive heard a couple of their sacd players .Before I highjacked my own post as I had already determined i wouldn't  repair the x03se player after speaking with TAD. I was hoping for suggestion under $1500.00..im not too interested in separates.I have a very modest system now,as my days of obsession , upgrading  and chasing the never ending wait this is better are over.........so I'm open to suggestions ,new or slightly used

cleeds3,586 posts
02-01-2021 1:54pm
oldhvymec
I would question HOW it was repaired?
It wasn’t repaired. The OP doesn’t want to pay the cost of repair.
Moreover why they can’t provide parts to a piece of equipment they built..
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

That is my point.. Show me the part, then we'll talk about a 1500.00 USD repair bill. 

If they have the part why not sell it to a customer.. makes no sense. Again something is wrong.. But me and the OP are on the same page.. By By Esoteric. 6K.. and broke.. no thanks..

I have Sonys that are 3 times that old.. I'll bet close in SQ, actually better, mine are not broke.. At 5 - 10% or 90% usage for that matter.. I'd pay 1500.00 total MAYBE...SDAC, for under a grand.. Tough to beat.. and easy to find..

Regards
OP
While it isn't likely to be in the same build quality league as the Esoteric I have a Oppo 105 purchased new way back when. About 2 years ago while surfing on ebay, I came across DIY replacement power supply boards and Furutech Rhodium IEC with solid silver tail that connects to the power supply. The aftermarket parts were ~ $350 and AFAIK, still available. Used 105s are selling around $1000. I can HIGHLY recommend this. My system is very revealing Audio Alchemy DDP-1 + PS 5, EVS 1200 dual mono amp and Emerald Physics 3.4s + 2 old SVS powered subs.

Having audio nervosa, I would love to hear the Technics SLG 700 SACD/CD player, but it's $2999, the least expensive high quality player Ive come across. https://www.whathifi.com/us/reviews/technics-sl-g700
I had considered an Oppo 105 but the only issue for me is i dont really want something used used in ,sacd player .if that makes sense.Now if I could find a slightly used demo then yes
I have a Exemplar Audio tube Denon 2900, when disc drawer failed I bought a Exemplar tube Oppo 105 which is still running fine. I hated the idea the 2900 sitting in a closet just because the top had to be removed to open drawer. In order to open drawer you just had to put slight pressure on a little plastic piece inside the unit while you push the eject button. I took a Drimel and cut a small square hole on top of the cover and just use the new method of opening drawer. I have been using the the Denon 2900 for the last 8 years in a second system with no other issues. If I would have considered cutting the hole I may have never bought the Oppo and saved my money. I would also think Esoteric does not make the transport mechanism and may be cross referenced and bought off the internet new or a used CD player that uses same transport and then removed and installed in your Esoteric.
paulcreed
... I would also think Esoteric does not make the transport mechanism and may be cross referenced ...
Esoteric makes its own transports and they are among the best. That's part of the issue here.
Yes ,the transport mechanism is still being made as it was used in a few models...but as cleeds just pointed out they wont release it to other audio facilities......anyway enough of getting it fixed,its in a box and forgotten for now unless some one steps up and offers me some cash for it,lol.....lets get back to current available sacd players to buy under $1500.00
jab

Good to see you as always. I can see your point of view as well.
The fact that, Esoteric Japan, instills  trust into 1 operation to take care of North American customers speaks to me.

Happy Listening!
There’s a Krell SACD MkIII for sale on here for $1,600.

Yes, it’s an older unit but they are pretty reliable.

I bought an Esoteric DV-50S about 3 years ago when it was already 14 years old. I paid $900 for it and it works flawlessly.
I only recently started by-passing its internal DAC (when playing CDs). My modded Gustard x20 Pro only just outperforms it.

If it dies in a couple more years, I’ll look for another older, high end model.

You pays your money and you takes your chances...

Good luck finding a Marantz Ruby at $1500...