See if you can take all three home and see for yourself.
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of the 3 the one with the most potential,a modded Esoteric.A good tech knows some stuff that us brick and moter guys dont.Then I can sleep a little easier knowing I dont have to be searching for that answer.Is my soarce capable of delivering the sound?Are off the shelf pieces at their very best in sound.IMHO no way.A couple minor tweeks You could have a great player.Kyle @ RAM of riverside,ca answered all my questions.A great web site.A lot of info Good luck
Frankly, I believe it's beneficial to bring home one at a time and live with it for a week. Then, when you replace the first one with the second one, you may realize immediately that you either miss the first one, or that the second one is preferable. Same goes for the third.
Having three at once and swapping them quickly in and out doesn't allow the sound of any of them to settle into your psyche.
I originally went back to the dealer with the intension of
taking home the Esoteric, he thought I should try the Audio Research CD3 mkII, well it had transport troubles so I couldn't audition it properly.I now have the Esoteric at home and after a full audition I can safely say that there isn't much of a difference the Cary has fantastic smooth bass and it seems a bit softer sounding as the Esoteric has a ton of resolution, and it sounds a bit harder, ever so slight. I could also say the bass on the Esoteric was very good and it was tighter than the Cary. Truthfully, with the right power cords you could get either one of them to sound like the other easily. So now it all comes down to price...
IMO, the difference in sound between the Cary and Esoteric likely has a great to do with their respective output impedances. The Esoteric is pretty low, which would explain the bass quality and resolution you describe. I don't know the output impedance of the Cary.
My experience with an Esoteric UX-3Pi has been that power cords have not had a dramatic effect.