Esoteric Grandioso C1X line preamplifier Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Digital sources: dCS Rossini SACD/CD transport, Rossini DAC, and Rossini Clock; Synology 5-bay NAS 1019+; Roon Nucleus+ music server, Uptone Audio etherRegen, Small Green Computer Sonore opticalModule, TP-Link gigabit Ethernet media converters (2) with multimode duplex fiberoptic cables, Linksys routers (2), and Arris modem, all powered by (3) 300W four-component linear power supplies; external hard drives, SSD USB sticks, iPad Pro; Apple 2017 MacBook Pro computer with 2.8 GHz Intel i7, SSD, 16GB RAM.
Preamplifier: Dan D'Agostino Momentum HD.
Power amplifiers: Dan D'Agostino Progression monoblocks.
Loudspeakers: Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia 2.
Cables: Digital: Nordost Odin 1 & Odin 2 & Valhalla 2 (USB) & Frey 2 (USB adapter), Wireworld Platinum Starlight Cat8 (Ethernet). Interconnect: Nordost Odin 2. Speaker: Nordost Odin 2. AC: Nordost Odin 2 and Valhalla, AudioQuest Dragon HC, Kimber Palladian.
Accessories: Grand Prix Monza 8-shelf double rack & amp stands, 1.5" Formula platform, Apex footers; Nordost QB8, QX4 (2), QK1 & QV2 AC power accessories, QKore 1, 3, and 6 with QKore Wires, Titanium and Bronze Sort Kones, Sort Lifts; AudioQuest Niagara 5000 power conditioner & NRG Edison outlets & JitterBugs; Tweek Geek Dark Matter Stealth power conditioner with High Fidelity and Furutech options; Ansuz Darkz T2S resonance support feet; Wilson Audio Pedestals; Vibex PDR footers; Resolution Acoustics and GIK Acoustics and Stillpoints Aperture room treatment; Stein Music Blue Suns/Diamonds, Quantum Organizer; Bybee Room Neutralizers; Absolare Stabilians; Symposium Ultra Platform; Marigo Aida CD mat.
Room: 20' L × 16' W × 9' H.—Jason Victor Serinus

Esoteric Company
US Distribution: 11 Trading Co.
3502 Woodview Trace #200
Indianapolis, IN 46268
(949) 374-4487

Axiom05's picture

Give me a break, $45K for a preamp and only a 3 year warranty. Bryston gives 20 years and Simaudio gives 10 years. Why don't manufacturers show that they have some faith in their products? Oh, I guess I answered my own question.

Ortofan's picture

... mechanical parts, such as a laser transport, volume control and/or switches.

georgehifi's picture

With todays sources having digital volume controls, and output stages very well capable of driving most amps, and more than enough gain to send those amps into clipping.
This is a review of a very expensive switch box.
Because of it's 12db output gain stage, it has to throw away most of the sources output voltage!! (sacrilege), so then it's 12db gain stage can boost it back up again noise, distortion and all.
Doesn't make sense any more to have them. It's just a very expensive switch box that adds noise and distortion, than if you went direct.

Cheers George

PeterG's picture

Although many excellent sources do have their own volume controls, and their well respected manufacturers agree that you do not need a preamp, I cannot remember a review of any of those sources that did not note they they sounded better with a pre amp in the system.

jgossman's picture

The issue is the sense of VOLUME. You can spin a pin wheel with an air compressor, lots of voltage, but never feel the cool air. Now think of a brisk wind on a summer day, you can feel it. The pin wheel (measuring device) doesn't know any difference, but you know the difference. That's the difference in a unit with 1-3 volts of output and a digital volume vs a 10 or 20 volt output POTENTIAL. It's the sense that the music never runs out of steam.

ejlif's picture

Yin and yang that is how you sum up the comparison to the D'agastino preamp? You also reviewed the AR preamp and didn't really commit to how it sounds to the Rossini direct. Inquiring minds want to know So the preamps are complete polar opposites? Hard to really decipher what is meant by that whole jumble of words in the comparison section. Esoteric Rolex, D'gastino greta garbo concealed as her name is bathed in blue on Sunset Blvd. WTF?

windansea's picture

i concur

That Other Guy's picture

I find the styling atrocious.

windansea's picture

and the marketing seems to focus more on the exterior looks rather than the underwhelming PCB innards

rwwear's picture

I'm sure it sounds great but blue displays are so nineties. And it's rather ugly IMO.

ACranston's picture

Based on JVS's comments that this preamp revealed information from well-known recordings that he had not noticed before, I would guess that this preamp is even more revealing than the D'Agostino HD. It would seem that this preamp highlights detail where you notice the individual trees more than the forest where the D'Agostino highlights the opposite. Regardless, I would love to hear it.

georgehifi's picture

"I cannot remember a review of any of those sources that did not note they they sounded better with a pre amp in the system."

Or worse!!

It hardly ever gets A/B'd and commented on, when available.

Cheers George

AnalogueFan's picture

"the component that delivers a lifetime of joy and pleasure."

It is something difficult, if the Warranty they give is so short, a few Years of Warranty vs. High price is strange.

At least I wouldn't try a Japanese preamp, at any price, because I had a phono one and it was a disaster, to be honest.

Thanks for the candid report: "The C1X speaks in ways that only the finest components can."