Esoteric X-05 SACD/CD player
Esoteric unveiled its new X-05 SACD/CD player ($5600), which employs a new VRDS-NEO "VMK-5" drive mechanism that includes a precision machined aluminum turntable and a polycarbonate clamping mechanism. The VMK-5 is said to be extremely rigid and optimized for SACD's high-rotation speeds.
The X-05 also uses Esoteric's new lens tracking system, which mounts the laser-pickup assembly on a shaft to ensure that the laser optical axis is always centered on the the pit track. Esoteric credits this with a huge amount of the mechanical performance of the X-05.
The X-05's D/A converter incorporate Cirrus Logic’s 24-bit / 192 kHz processing DAC device in a dual mono configuration. The analog audio output circuits are also dual mono for better channel separation.
We found the X-05 a fascinating example of how dedicated high-end manufacturers continue to perfect playback mechanisms for formats that the recording industry have essentially torpedoed. The turntable was more or less perfected long after the "death" of the LP—now it looks like companies like Esoteric are improving SACD playback at a time when the labels have abandoned it.
Perhaps that's the very essence of the High End.