Esoteric Grandioso C1X line preamplifier Specifications

Sidebar 1: Specifications

Description: Solid state, dual-mono line preamplifier with outboard power supply and remote control. Inputs: 2 pair single-ended (RCA), 3 pair balanced (XLR/ ESL-A). Outputs: 2 pair balanced (XLR/ESL-A), 2 pair balanced (XLR). Maximum gain: +12dB (XLR in, XLR out). Input impedance: 50k ohms, balanced; 22k ohms, single-ended. Output impedance: 30 ohms, balanced. Max output: 17V. Frequency response: 1Hz–150kHz (–3dB, XLR in to XLR out). Channel separation: 112.5dB. Total harmonic distortion: 0.00035% (XLR in to XLR out). Signal/noise: 120dB (2V input, A-weighted, XLR in, XLR out).
Dimensions: Preamplifier: 17 5/8" (445mm) W × 5¼" (132mm) H × 17 7/8" (449mm) D. Weight (total): 44.6lb (20.2kg). Shipping weight: 54lb (24.5kg). Power supply: 17 5/8" (445mm) W × 5¼" (132mm) H × 17 7/8" (452mm) D. Weight (total): 64lb (29kg).
Finish: Brushed Silver.
Serial number of unit reviewed: 0020005. Hand-assembled in Tokyo, Japan.
Price: $45,000. Approximate number of dealers: 9. Warranty: 3 years limited, nontransferrable.
Manufacturer: Esoteric Company, 1-47 Ochiai, Tama-shi, Tokyo 206-8530, Japan. Web: US Distribution: 11 Trading Co., 3502 Woodview Trace #200, Indianapolis, IN 46268. Tel: (949) 374-4487

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."