Now for a taste of true high end hi-fi. Esoteric is a sub-division of the Japanese company, TEAC. The goal of Esoteric is to deliver no compromise high-end hi-fi. This is a no-holds barred approach to music reproduction where the very best engineering and technology combine to provide the best possible sound.
The Esoteric High-End System
Five Esoteric components sat on a tall rack with a pair of ProAc Response K6 speakers either side. The ProAcs themselves are worth £13,000. The system comprised the S-02 Stereo Power Amplifier, G-01 Master Clock Generator, N-05 Network Audio Player, K-03X Super Audio CD/CD player and C-02X Stereo Linestage Preamplifier.
The S-02 power amplifier is part of the Grandioso range and puts out 145W into 8 ohms, doubling to 290W at 4 ohms. Quoted power output even goes to 2 ohms – delivering 580W of power! So is this something of a beast? Not exactly, with power comes finesse and the S-02 delivers that in bucket loads.
Sitting on the shelf above the S-02 was the G-01 Master Clock Generator which features an ultra high precision rubidium oscilliator. This sounds impressive but what does it all mean? Essentially it provides incredibly accurate timing to devices such as a DAC or CD Player. All digital devices include their own clock which is used during the digital to analogue conversion process. The G-01 effectively outsources this component.
Next up is the N-05 Network Audio Player which was in use while I was in the room. The N-05 is controlled by an iOS app called Esoteric Sound Stream and can play pretty much any file format. If a USB hard drive is connected to the back then the N-05 can also act as a music server. Inside are a pair of dual mono AK4490 DACs on conversion duty.
Second from top is the chunky K-03X Super Audio CD/CD Player. The CD drive mechanism is the VRDS-NEO which is said to give ultimate levels of transport accuracy. Dual mono DACs are also to be found inside, this time using the AK4495S. Sitting on the top of the rack is the C-02X Line Stage Preamplifier. This again operates in dual mono mode providing a very high level of music reproduction accuracy.
The Esoteric / ProAc combination produced a very natural and realistic sound and was a delight to listen to. Everything the system did just seemed so effortless. If money is no object then this system should be on your list because it is that good. The rest of us will look on with envy.
Limited Edition “Bordeaux” black
The limited edition black “Bordeaux” variants of the K-03X Super Audio CD Player and F-03A Integrated Amplifier were on display at the back of the room.
Esoteric products make a statement. Now where is that lottery ticket…