K-03XD | SACD/CD Player | Discrete DAC
Since the first debut of our K-01 and K-03 Super Audio CD Players, Esoteric’s integrated digital players have captivated listeners with their unrivaled playback of musical sources. They have also gone on to win numerous awards as they have come to be regarded as the gold standard of digital players around the world. This new “XD” edition boasts even more advanced features, combining two innovative technologies originally developed for Esoteric’s flagship Grandioso K-1X model: VRDS-ATLAS, the superlative Super Audio CD transport mechanism, and Master Sound Discrete DAC, designed completely in-house by ESOTERIC to provide even more enhanced playback from digital musical sources. The incredible dynamic range and resolution achieved by these two technologies deliver thrilling reproduction of symphonic crescendos while reproducing an expansive spectrum of tones and faithfully rendering the subtle details of music with breathtaking depth and vivid realism. This broad versatility enables anyone to confidently enjoy an endless array of musical genres, from silky-smooth arias to pounding rock tunes. Now you too can fully experience a sound brought to life in a new pedigree of components from the name that has captured the hearts of music enthusiasts the world over: ESOTERIC.
VRDS (Vibration-Free Rigid Disc-Clamping System) is a core technology of ESOTERIC’s CD/Super Audio CD transport mechanisms that has been a key point of focus since the brand’s founding. The system firmly clamps the disc onto a turntable of the same diameter, thus eliminating both the rotational vibration of the disc itself and the effects of any extraneous mechanical vibration. Any latent disc warpage is also corrected by the turntable to significantly improve the relative optical axis accuracy of the optical pickup and the disc pit surface, while also minimizing servo current. This all combines to significantly reduce disc read error and further enable breathtaking sound quality.
The Master Sound Discrete DAC was first introduced in the Grandioso D1X as the most innovative DAC in Esoteric history, and its astoundingly realistic sound quality has consistently drawn rave reviews for causing listeners to feel as if they were at an actual live performance. The version featured in the K-03XD uses a simpler circuit configuration that incorporates the very essence of that found in the K1X to carry the 03 series models to new heights. Consisting of 32 elements per channel, each DAC element includes clock drivers, logic circuits, capacitors, resistors, and other component parts, while each group of 32 elements is kept isolated from the main parts. In keeping with D1X design philosophy, these DACs are packed with a luxurious selection of state-of-the-art components to ensure the pure, effortless output of boundless musical energy.
With a discrete DAC, where component tolerances are directly linked to arithmetic precision, highly advanced quality control is also required for the manufacture of electronic circuit boards. ESOTERIC’s own in-house factory boasts some of the world’s leading board mounting technologies, such as soldering performed in an oxygen-free furnace, which is located in a clean room featuring the same level of cleanliness found in a hospital operating room. Technologies cultivated in the production of electronic circuit boards for audio, medical, aerospace, and defense industries support the high production quality of the Master Sound Discrete DAC.
The K-03XD offers a wide range of digital inputs, including USB ports that support 22.5MHz DSD and asynchronous transmission, enabling use as a D/A converter. Functions to upconvert a PCM digital signal to 2, 4, 8, and 16 times higher bitrates (Max. 768kHz) and to convert PCM to DSD are also included. The K-03XD is also compatible with MQA-CD decode playback and full MQA decoding for playback of various digital inputs including USB.