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K-03Xs Super Audio CD/CD Player


    The Overview

    Carrying on the high-end concepts and technology from winning integrated players such as the Grandioso K1 and K-01Xs, the K-03Xs is what happened when we asked how far we could go, what heights we could reach with our performance model. The classic VRDS-NEO [VMK-3.5-10] drive mechanism contains a VS-DD circuit for smooth, quiet driving of the spindle. Developed based on the new DAC platform used in the Grandioso K1, the K-03Xs has a differential 4-circuit/channel dual mono DAC and Esoteric's patented proprietary 34-bit D/A processing algorithm. The essence of our flagship model can be seen throughout the K-03Xs, from many of the latest devices to the DSD-compatible USB and core sound quality features and functions.

The Features

VRDS-NEO [VMK-3.5-10]

 The VRDS-NEO mechanism is used in our flagship model the Grandioso P1 to achieve the ultimate transportation precision. A high-precision turntable is used to rotate CDs and Super Audio CDs, with mechanical correction of surface vibration and dramatically improvese reading precision. The K-03Xs takes this high precision even further with the VRDS-NEO [VMK-3.5-10]. The VS-DD spindle servo driver is used for smooth, high-precision servo control. The transport unit weighs 4.4kg, with a total weight of 11.2kg including the rigid base. The collection of heavyweight parts includes a duralumin turntable and a 10mm-thick steel turntable bridge. These are complemented by high-quality classics from the VRDS-NEO, such as the coreless three-phase brushless spindle motor driven by a strong magnet.

New Dual Mono D/A Converter

 The D/A converter section was created based on the latest platform used in the Grandioso K1, with the very finest premium materials and circuit technology added to take it to the highest level of sound quality. The AK4497 32-bit premium DAC device from Asahi Kasei Electronics is combined with a high-quality operational amplifier MUSES8820. The K-03Xs has 4 circuits per channel parallel/differential circuit structure for powerful linearity with minimal distortion. The circuit patterns of the DAC's power section have been further improved, a clean and highly stable power supply. Both the digital and analog circuits have more thorough isolation than previous models, achieving true-to-life playback with outstanding purity and superb sound stage depth.

ESOTERIC-HCLD*: Esoteric's Exclusive Output Buffer Delivers Powerful Signal Transmission

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 The ability to produce comparatively large currents and high slew rates are two of the most important factors that enable an analog output circuit to accurately transmit the wide dynamic range of a music signal without degradation. The K-03Xs offers the ultimate performance as a line driver by adopting high-performance elements with a high current output and exceptionally fast slew rate (2,000V/μs) for excellent response speed. Two of these buffer circuits are employed per channel. By configuring them differentially to drive the XLR outputs and in parallel to drive the RCA outputs, the available instantaneous output current is maximized. By maximizing instantaneous current output, the K-03Xs reproduces the full dynamics of music with breathtaking realism.
*HCLD=High Current Line Driver

"ES-LINK Analog" Method for High Quality Current Transmission

 In addition to regular line connections (XLR and RCA), the K-03Xs features Esoteric's new "ES-LINK Analog" transmission method. This is a current transmission method that utilizes the high performance of the HCLD buffer circuit and its enhanced ability to supply high-speed current. This is the ideal analog audio transmission as it is free from signal route impedance, thus fully maximizing the system's potential when connected to a compatible device.*
* A standard balance cable (with an XLR terminal) is used for connections, but the "ES-LINK Analog" method is a proprietary transmission method which can only be used with compatible devices.

Wide Range of D/D Conversion According to Source

 In addition to the original Fs playback, this series has a function for up-conversion of PCM digital signals by 2x, 4x, 8x or 16x (maximum 768kHz). It also features a PCM > DSD conversion function using a proprietary algorithm. DSD is up-converted to 22.5MHz. The unit also features a DSD digital filter that can be turned on or off as desired.

Digital Inputs

 Three digital inputs (USB, coaxial, and optical) enable connection to a wide range of systems. Coaxial and optical inputs support DSD 2.8 MHz (DoP) input and PCM of up to 192 kHz/24-bit.

USB Audio Interface Compatible with DSD22.5MHz, PCM768kHz/32bit and Asynchronous Transmission

 The unit is equipped with a USB port enabling connection to a computer. The driver and playback software (Esoteric HR Audio Player) can be downloaded from the Esoteric website. The unit supports asynchronous transmission and a high sampling playback of DSD22.5MHz and PCM768kHz/32bit, and even enables high-quality playback of studio master quality sources. In addition to conventional asynchronous transmission methods, it supports the new Bulk Pet method for an even wider range of tone selection.

High-Precision VCXO Clock

 The clock circuit supplies a high-accuracy reference clock signal to the digital circuitry. The Grandioso Custom VCXO (voltage-controlled crystal oscillator) is a high-precision custom clock that utilizes a large crystal element to ensure exceptional sound quality with excellent center accuracy (±0.5ppm) and extremely low levels of phase noise.

The Specs

Playable disc types Super Audio CD, CD (including CD-R and CD-RW)
Analog audio outputs XLR/ESL-A connector 1pair (L/R)
RCA connector 1pair (L/R)
Output impedance XLR: 84Ω
RCA: 37Ω
Maximum output level
(at 1kHz, 10kΩ load)
XLR: 5Vrms
RCA: 2.5Vrms
Frequency response* 5Hz to 55kHz (-3dB)
S/N ratio* 120dB
Distortion* 0.0008% (1kHz)
* Super Audio CD, XLR output
Digital audio outputs XLR connector x 1 Output level: 3 Vp-p (into 110 Ω)
RCA connector x 1 Output level: 0.5 Vp-p (into 75 Ω)
Digital audio inputs RCA connector x 1
(input impedance 75 Ω)
Input level: 0.5 Vp-p
Optical digital connector x 1 Input level: -24.0 to -14.5 dBm peak
USB-B port
(USB2.0 standard)
1
Clock input BNC connector 1
Input impedance 50Ω
Frequencies that can be input
(±10ppm)
44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192kHz,
10, 22.5792, 24.576MHz
Input level Rectangle wave: equivalent to TTL levels
Sine wave: 0.5 to 1.0 Vrms (50 to 75Ω)
General Power supply AC 220-240V, 50/60Hz; AC 120V, 60Hz; AC 220V, 60Hz
Power consumption 29W
External dimensions
(W x H x D, including protrusions)
445 × 162 × 438mm
(17 5/8″ × 6 1/2″ × 17 1/4″)
Weight 28kg (61 3/4 lb)
Included accessories Power cord x 1
HDMI cable x 1
Remote control unit (RC-1301) x 1
Batteries for remote control(AAA) x 2
Felt pads x 3
Owner's manual x 1
Warranty card x 1
- These products are made available in three different power supply variations, as shown in the chart above.
Make sure that the voltage shown on the rear panel matches the AC line voltage in your area.
- The shape of the AC inlet and plug of the supplied power cord depends on the voltage rating and destination country.
- Specifications and appearance are subject to change without notice.
- Weight and dimensions are approximate.