Esoteric N-01 network audio player Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Digital Sources: dCS Paganini SACD/CD transport & Scarlatti clock & Rossini DAC; Linksys router with two TP-Link gigabit Ethernet media converters and multimode duplex fiber-optic cable; Intel NUC7i7BNH with 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD running Roon; Apple MacBook Pro computer with Intel i7, SSD, 8GB RAM; external hard drives, USB sticks, iPad Pro.
Preamplifiers: Audio Research REF 6, Lamm Industries Reference L2.1.
Power Amplifiers: Dan D'Agostino Master Audio Systems Progression monoblocks.
Loudspeakers: Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia 2.
Cables: Digital (Ethernet): AudioQuest Diamond, Wireworld Platinum Starlight Cat8. Digital (USB): Nordost Odin 1 & Odin 2 & Valhalla 2. Interconnect, Speaker, AC: Nordost Odin 2.
Accessories: Audience aR2p-TSSOX, Synergistic Research Transporter & PowerCell, Tweek Geek Dark Matter Stealth (with High Fidelity & Furutech options) power conditioners; Nordost QB8, QK1, QV2, QX4 power accessories; GreenWave filter; AudioQuest NRG Edison outlets; Grand Prix Monaco rack & amp stands, 1.5" Formula platform; Nordost Sort Lifts (speaker cables); Marigo Clear Transformation mat; Stein Music Super Naturals, Signature Harmonizers, Blue Suns/Diamonds, Quantum Organizer; Bybee Room Neutralizers; Absolare Stabilians; Resolution Acoustics room treatment; Stillpoints Aperture panels. Room: 20' L by 16' W by 9' H.—Jason Victor Serinus

Esoteric Company
US distributor: Integra USA, Division of Onkyo USA
18 Park Way, Upper Saddle River
NJ 07458
(201) 818-9200

Ortofan's picture

... match the levels as closely as possible in a vain attempt to ensure a level playing field was simply insufficient.
The levels must be matched electrically (at the speaker input terminals) to a precision of within +/-0.2dB - which is equivalent to about +/-50mV relative to a 2V signal.
So, sadly, the outcome of your A/B comparison is of no value.

CG's picture

I'm not sure it's of no value. After all, unless one's head is in the proverbial vise at the listening position, there will be variations of at least 0.2 dB. And, the variations will not be uniform across the audio band. This is but one detail of A/B testing that gets lost in the dogma.

But... Using a wide-enough bandwidth true RMS meter to measure the applied voltage to the speakers is a pretty good practice. If a reviewer wants to make A/B comparisons, I don't think it's unreasonable for them to buy and use some variant of the Fluke 87 multimeter. Its bandwidth is around 20 KHz and it has been available for around three decades. You can buy refurbed meters for a very reasonable price online. Of course, there's other usable meters but the Fluke is pretty widely used and available.

ok's picture

Esoteric’s default digital specs and even crucial measurements seem suspiciously close to Kalista’s recently much maligned ones, while their sonic character appears more like a Yang-Yin opposite thing. Don't really know who to trust these days anymore..

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Police quote: In God we trust. All others are suspects :-) ............

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

we are all manifestations of God. We also have ears. Some of us trust them.

dumbo's picture

Price: $20,000

respectable measured performance

possible 120Hz hum on the DAC chip's voltage reference pin

It sure looks pretty though...Sigh