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  1. #1
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    Cool My experience with the K-03XD

    Hi,
    I have been enjoying my new Esoteric K-03XD (black edition) now for almost 2 weeks and I wanted to share my experience here.

    First of all the unboxing experience and the beefy looks and placement pleasure are fabulous. Clear manual, nice untraditional 2-sided bespoke remote, easy to use front panel controls and amazing vault-like disc tray are signs of excellent quality.

    I have placed it above my Soulution 330 integrated amp, which now looks kind of tiny from the front. The Soulution is a lot deeper though.

    I have heard the K-03 at a friends place for years (and before that the TEAC VRDS 25 CD player) and always respected the incredible stage, pinpoint precision and depth. Crystal clear sound creating large landscapes.
    Since then I have always desired to own one myself or at least to have a similar soundscape and 3D precision. But not until last year did I have the fortunate situation to be able to invest time and money to upgrade my audio to these levels and also have time to enjoy it again.

    So, on this front I am completely amazed or flabbergasted. The sound signature is exactly what I was searching but then even some more. The XD is indeed a significant upgrade to the previous whilst still being of a recognizable Esoteric character.

    Also, I had been listening to streamed music via Roon on my Grimm MU1 connected to the Soulution DAC. This has been an extremely enjoyable journey since my upgrade from a Chord Qutest with SBooster linear psu. But now that I connected the Grimm to the K-03XD.... wow!.... not just next level but for me more like Doom Eternal's Ultranightmare uberlevel. Every aspect of sound quality and the experience thereof have improved. Most notably the bass going much deeper and the 3D soundstage.

    I find myself addicted. I cannot stop listening to just any music including CDs and Rips on the internal SSD of the Grimm or DSD64 downloads from NativeDSD.com.
    Even MQA, which I had frowned upon before and cancelled my Tidal account, has gained enough interest again. I happened to discover that I have an UHQCD of Astrud Gilberto and Gilberto Gil and found that the Esoteric presented an incredible picture, way better than the stream from Qobuz or the CD rip. "MQA???" I thought.
    So that curiosity made me take another month of Tidal to discover if there are more MQA albums worth it, and I ordered another Japanese UHQCD of Regatta de Blanc and Stevie Wonder. A recommendation is to listen to Roger Water's latest Lockdown Sessions in MQA... very very enjoyable!
    Of course I also play SACDs, Pink Loyd's 2018 remaster of Animals and Dire Straits Communique SHM are my current favourites.

    So, I am extremely pleased, and also see here on the forum that my experience is shared by many. That's in some way also comforting... sharing similar goosebumps around the world.

    My brain now keeps telling me I should find a way to compare my Soulution 330 to an Esoteric amp. Maybe the F-03 integrated, but with just 30W class A? Or the pre- and power amp combo C1X solo and M1X? Unfortunately the C1X doesn't come in black (yet). Will it ever?
    The Soulution 330 is stellar, proving with the above that it can bring out the best in the Esoteric and drive the Q3s like a charm.

    Dreaming is part of the fun, right?

    Cheers
    Vitus Audio MP-L201 or Zanden 3100 with Soulution 511 / Grimm-audio MU1 music server with Roon core / Magico Q3 loudspeakers / Esoteric K-03XD SACD player / Kimber Kable Select KS6063 speaker cables / Ansuz A2 Digitalz interlink / Kimber KS1136 XLR analog interlinks / Nordost QB8 powerblock & 2x Qv2 / Kimber Kable PK10 Gold power cables / Bassocontinuo Accordeon XL4 MC Edition audiorack
    Soon for sale: Marantz TT1000 mkII turntable with SME V-series magnesium tonearm + Goldring Excel cartridge with van den Hul tip

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Jul 2013
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    Florida
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    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    Congratulations pietpara! The K-03XD is a terrific CD/SACD player. I’m sure it looks great in black!
    _______________

    Mike

    Amplification: MBL 6010D, MBL 9008A Monos
    Analog: Kuzma R, Kuzma 4Point (11”), MSL Ultra Eminent EX
    Phono Pre: Pass XP-27
    Digital: Esoteric N01XD Esoteric K05
    Speakers: MBL 101E MKII
    Subwoofers: REL Carbon Specials
    Conditioner: Shunyata Triton 3
    Power Cables: Shunyata Sigma 1 & 2, Alpha 2, Delta and Venom
    ICs and SCs: Wireworld Platinum 8
    Rack: Artesania Exoteryc

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2022
    Location
    Colorado
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    160

    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    Your experience with the K-03XD mimics my own. The Esoteric Master Sound Discrete DAC is a significant advance over the previous generation. There is so much wonderful music to enjoy, cheers to you as well.
    Preamp; Pass Labs XP-22 with w/ Audioquest Dragon source PC (C15)
    Interconnects; Nordost Valhalla V2 XLR
    SACD Player/DAC; Esoteric K-01XD w/ Shunyata Omega QRs PC (C15)
    Music Server/Streamer; Aurender N20 w/ Shunyata Omega QRs PC (C15)
    Digital cables; Shunyata Sigma V2 Clock (50 Ω & 75 Ω), Nordost Valhalla V2 S/PDIF
    Amplifier;Westminster Lab Rei Monoblock w/ Westminster Lab Ultra PC (C15) x 2
    Speakers; Magico A5 w/Apods, Westminster Lab Ultra speaker cable
    Power; Shunyata Everest 8000 w/ Sigma XC PC (C19)
    Grounding; Nordost QKore6 w/ premium and standard grounding wires
    Master Clock; Cybershaft OP21A-D Ultra Precision OCXO 10MHz w/ UpTone Audio JS-2 Linear Power Supply
    Network switch; Nordost QNET 5 Port Network Switch w/ QNet Stand and Nordost TC SORT Kones, Shunyata Omega Ethernet

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2023
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    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    BtW, I just saw on the Esoteric offical site that the C1X solo is soon available in black too.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2023
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    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    I have a question to those owning a K-03XD.

    Which clock is master when you use SPDIF RCA input on the K-03XD?
    I've connected my Grimm MU1 this way and I thought that I read somewhere that this way the Grimm's clock would be master. But maybe there's a setting or it's not the case with the Master Sound DAC?
    And if so, is there a way to select which clock is master, for instance by certain connection / cabling?

    And if SPDIF automatically masters the clock, is that depending also on the upconv setting of the K-03XD; I.e. if upconv is set to something different than the source rate, does it revert to internal clock?

    Thanks in advance!

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Apr 2017
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    Australia
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    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    There is no clock selection option (except for 10MHz master clock input). The block diagram does not show clock coming in on the RCA digital input. I don't think this is something you need concern yourself with. Just enjoy it for what it is.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  7. #7
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2023
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    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    Thanks brodricj. Certainly enjoying!
    I was just wondering since its one of the "advertized" features of the Grimm MU1.
    Have a nice weekend.
    Vitus Audio MP-L201 or Zanden 3100 with Soulution 511 / Grimm-audio MU1 music server with Roon core / Magico Q3 loudspeakers / Esoteric K-03XD SACD player / Kimber Kable Select KS6063 speaker cables / Ansuz A2 Digitalz interlink / Kimber KS1136 XLR analog interlinks / Nordost QB8 powerblock & 2x Qv2 / Kimber Kable PK10 Gold power cables / Bassocontinuo Accordeon XL4 MC Edition audiorack
    Soon for sale: Marantz TT1000 mkII turntable with SME V-series magnesium tonearm + Goldring Excel cartridge with van den Hul tip

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2023
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    España
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    12

    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    I'm considering the CMS Center stage 0.8 to place under the K03xd. The stock feet height 2.10cm and the 0.8's 2.06cm therefore initially they won't fit.
    I've tried to remove the stock feet but I couldn't find the way. Can they be removed?
    Many thanks.

  9. #9
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    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    0.8 CS2 fits under Esoteric components with the stock Esoteric pin point feet sitting clear of the shelf. You do not need to remove the stock feet, just sit the Esoteric chassis on 3 or 4 CS2.
    You might also consider using RevOpods. I have RevOpods on order and I will compare these with CS2 footers under my Esoteric components.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  10. #10
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    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    Thanks for your reply. Looking forward to this comparison.

  11. #11
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    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    The RevOpods have threaded studs so the stock Esoteric pin point feet would be replaced with those. The stock feet on Esoteric components screw out in the normal way. Just exert more effort in undoing them. You aren't going to damage anything. But as I say, you don't need to remove them for the 0.8 CS2.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  12. #12

    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    As a new Esoteric K-03XD owner, does it take 200 hrs to run it in and are there any other milestone points along the way? Would this apply to each filter being used/ Out of the box it sounds pretty good and I know it will get better. Any other tips? I'm using it on a Townshend platform. Thanks.

  13. #13
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    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    It's been reported that break-in is on a per filter basis. Look, I wouldn't concern yourself with this at all. Just run the player in the normal way and enjoy the journey however it plays out.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  14. #14
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2020
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    Huntsville, AL, USA
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    10

    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    I've had mine for a number of months and haven't heard a sudden burst of performance after so many hours. It sounded great right out of the box, and has certainly only gotten better. I did put it on repeat disk four or five times in the beginning for a couple days at a time, and I do keep power on unless going out of town. As brodricj said, just enjoy it, in my opinion, its a great piece!!
    Joe

    Main: XA60.8’s, XP22, K-03XD, Optical Rendu, SmallGreenComputer(Roon Core), Analysis Plus Silver Apex interconnects, Shunyata PCs

    Second: MA352, Lumin D2, T+A DAC 200, 8300CDQ, Project RPM-5 Carbon, Zphono XRM, Nordost & Kimber interconnects, Shunyata PCs

    Shared: Focal Kanta 2’s, Furman, Custom butcher block/steam pipe/granite slab rack

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    Quote Originally Posted by jet787 View Post
    ...Any other tips? ..
    The biggest sound improvement with Esoteric disc players does not arrive via break in, it comes by adding a master clock generator. Then by adding a Shunyata clock cable. Improvement is immediate, and plainly apparent. Sometimes on this journey you can get distracted chasing your tail but the optimization of these Esoteric digital products is well established.
    Speakers: Magico M3, ACC, S-SUB | Electronics: Esoteric Grandioso stack | Amplification: Halcro |
    Analog cables: Crystal Cable | Digital cables: Shunyata Sigma | Rack: YG Acoustics Rack 1.8
    | Source: Kaleidescape Premiere (4 x 6TB) | Power: Shunyata Typhon-QR, Everest and Denali

  16. #16
    Junior Member
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    Jan 2020
    Location
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Posts
    10

    Re: My experience with the K-03XD

    I have been considering external clocking my 03XD! I’m not sure whether to choose Esoteric or one of the others. I have read differing opinions!
    Joe

    Main: XA60.8’s, XP22, K-03XD, Optical Rendu, SmallGreenComputer(Roon Core), Analysis Plus Silver Apex interconnects, Shunyata PCs

    Second: MA352, Lumin D2, T+A DAC 200, 8300CDQ, Project RPM-5 Carbon, Zphono XRM, Nordost & Kimber interconnects, Shunyata PCs

    Shared: Focal Kanta 2’s, Furman, Custom butcher block/steam pipe/granite slab rack

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My experience with the K-03XD

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