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Gryphon Diablo 300

To Garrett Hongo,

I have been in this hobby for 65 years and have grown up with classical music, and your wonderful review of the Esoteric K-05X SACD/CD player painted a wonderful word picture of what you heard in your listening to classical music. Unfortunately, it is a little more expensive than I can spend [unless the wife can loosen the purse strings]. Thus, the reason for my e-mail: Would you, if you have heard the K-07X Esoteric SACD/CD player, be able to give me your impressions of its presentation of large orchestral classical music, especially its string sound?

I have read extensively on its technical merits, the transport, and the power supply. Can you make some general descriptions of how these technical differences translate into transparency, bass definition, frequency extension, lack of steeliness, presentation of soundstage, [and whether it has] sweetness like tubes?

I would appreciate so much your insights. It was a great review.

Highest regards,
Tony
United States

Thanks for your question and your appreciation of my review of the Esoteric K-05X player. I’ve only heard the older K-07 player and that was at a show long ago now, so I can’t give you a useful view of the new K-07X player, though our own Tom Mathew did review it in January 2016, so I do recommend reading what he wrote. But, in general, I find Esoteric players quite superior to others in their price range, a lot because of the attention to the rigidity and reinforcement of the proprietary transport assemblies. However, that said, the K-07X player uses a different transport mechanism than the K-05X.

I think the Esoteric K-05X transport has a lot to do with bass response, extension, and refinement (what you may hear as transparency). As far as sweetness and lack of steeliness go, I attribute that to the DAC. I had a Cary 303/300 tube-output player I’d kept for years (because of finesse and sweetness of string sound) before the K-05X. I found the Esoteric was comparable in sweetness, but even better with resolution. A better DAC does wonders for string sound, depth/layering, and resolution.

Mind you, I’m not endorsing the K-07X as I’ve not heard it. My recommendation is to audition a K-07X and judge for yourself with attention for what concerns you and what I’ve pointed out about the K-05X. . . . Garrett Hongo