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.

Curt's picture

SACD and DVD Audio have had a tough time, in part, because of the critical speaker placement required for spatiality...Go check outthe Sherwood booth ar CES to see how one can put speakers where they like and have perfect spatial reproduction! Thanks to!

Mike A's picture

Maybe the labels should not have abandoned SACD. Certainly audiophile labels haven't given up the ghost. But media guys like you talked it down in favor of DVD-audio which even with lossless behind it was not as good as SACD. That made a lot of people sit on the fence and not buy either.

CKKeung's picture

SACD is still very popular in Asia: Japan, Hong Kong, Mainland China & Taiwan. If you visit these places, you will be able to find a lot of SACD (both new & reissues) softwares but unfortunately most of them are not for export to USA/Canada.

Wes Phillips's picture

"Media guys like you?" I think you must be confusing Stereophile with some other entity. We have so consistently declared our preference for SACD that the DVD-A consortium uses our magazines as dartboards.

Jay Coe's picture

I, for one, have been waiting for the introduction of this model. I was waiting for a unit with their famed VRDS and with DSD to analog conversion as opposed to DSD to PCM to analog like X-03 does, AND not in the 10K price range. (Hhew that was mouthful.) People mention that not all VRDS are equal, i.e. the VRDS in their higher model are superior. Or is it that their VRDS is evolving with newer models? Does anyone know?

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poseidonsg's picture

Nice to see a new twist to abandoned system by esoteric. But $5600 is hell lot of a price. I wish it were cheaper that way it would have helped its adoption. I, for one, had been waiting for this model. But the price is too high. Looks like i got to watch out for discount sites ( for steep discounts. Hoping that around christmas or black friday this system will be available at much lower price :)

AnalogueFan's picture

Great Player for digital recordings.