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Esoteric Super Audio CD/CD Player-K-03Xs

Model #: K-03Xs
At a Glance

Carrying on the high-end concepts and technology from winning integrated players such as the Grandioso K1 and K-01Xs, the K-03Xs is what happened when we asked how far we could go, what heights we could reach with our performance model.

Available in Store Only
$13,000.00Save $NaN

Get to know this product.

The classic VRDS-NEO [VMK-3.5-10] drive mechanism contains a VS-DD circuit for smooth, quiet driving of the spindle. Developed based on the new DAC platform used in the Grandioso K1, the K-03Xs has a differential 4-circuit/channel dual mono DAC and Esoteric's patented proprietary 34-bit D/A processing algorithm. The essence of our flagship model can be seen throughout the K-03Xs, from many of the latest devices to the DSD-compatible USB and core sound quality features and functions.

  • VRDS-NEO “VMK-3.5-10” Mechanism
  • VS-DD spindle servo driver circuit
  • 4 32-bit (AK4497) DAC circuits per channe
  • 34 bit processing algorithm
  • USB Support for 2.8/5.6/11.2/22.5 MHz DSD and up to 786/32-bit PCM

VRDS-NEO [VMK-3.5-10]

The VRDS-NEO mechanism is used in our flagship model the Grandioso P1 to achieve the ultimate transportation precision. A high-precision turntable is used to rotate CDs and Super Audio CDs, with mechanical correction of surface vibration and dramatically improvese reading precision. The K-03Xs takes this high precision even further with the VRDS-NEO [VMK-3.5-10]. The VS-DD spindle servo driver is used for smooth, high-precision servo control. The transport unit weighs 4.4kg, with a total weight of 11.2kg including the rigid base. The collection of heavyweight parts includes a duralumin turntable and a 10mm-thick steel turntable bridge. These are complemented by high-quality classics from the VRDS-NEO, such as the coreless three-phase brushless spindle motor driven by a strong magnet.

New Dual Mono D/A Converter

The D/A converter section was created based on the latest platform used in the Grandioso K1, with the very finest premium materials and circuit technology added to take it to the highest level of sound quality. The AK4497 32-bit premium DAC device from Asahi Kasei Electronics is combined with a high-quality operational amplifier MUSES8820. The K-03Xs has 4 circuits per channel parallel/differential circuit structure for powerful linearity with minimal distortion. The circuit patterns of the DAC's power section have been further improved, a clean and highly stable power supply. Both the digital and analog circuits have more thorough isolation than previous models, achieving true-to-life playback with outstanding purity and superb sound stage depth.

Esoteric-HCLD (High Current Line Driver): Esoteric's Exclusive Output Buffer Delivers Powerful Signal Transmission

The ability to produce comparatively large currents and high slew rates are two of the most important factors that enable an analog output circuit to accurately transmit the wide dynamic range of a music signal without degradation. The K-03Xs offers the ultimate performance as a line driver by adopting high-performance elements with a high current output and exceptionally fast slew rate (2,000V/µs) for excellent response speed. Two of these buffer circuits are employed per channel. By configuring them differentially to drive the XLR outputs and in parallel to drive the RCA outputs, the available instantaneous output current is maximized. By maximizing instantaneous current output, the K-03Xs reproduces the full dynamics of music with breathtaking realism.

"ES-LINK Analog" Method for High Quality Current Transmission

In addition to regular line connections (XLR and RCA), the K-03Xs features Esoteric's new "ES-LINK Analog" transmission method. This is a current transmission method that utilizes the high performance of the HCLD buffer circuit and its enhanced ability to supply high-speed current. This is the ideal analog audio transmission as it is free from signal route impedance, thus fully maximizing the system's potential when connected to a compatible device. (A standard balance cable (with an XLR terminal) is used for connections, but the "ES-LINK Analog" method is a proprietary transmission method which can only be used with compatible devices.)

Wide Range of D/D Conversion According to Source

In addition to the original Fs playback, this series has a function for up-conversion of PCM digital signals by 2x, 4x, 8x or 16x (maximum 768kHz). It also features a PCM > DSD conversion function using a proprietary algorithm. DSD is up-converted to 22.5MHz. The unit also features a DSD digital filter that can be turned on or off as desired.

Digital Inputs

Three digital inputs (USB, coaxial, and optical) enable connection to a wide range of systems. Coaxial and optical inputs support DSD 2.8 MHz (DoP) input and PCM of up to 192 kHz/24-bit.

USB Audio Interface Compatible with DSD22.5MHz, PCM768kHz/32bit and Asynchronous Transmission

The unit is equipped with a USB port enabling connection to a computer. The driver and playback software (Esoteric HR Audio Player) can be downloaded from the Esoteric website. The unit supports asynchronous transmission and a high sampling playback of DSD22.5MHz and PCM768kHz/32bit, and even enables high-quality playback of studio master quality sources. In addition to conventional asynchronous transmission methods, it supports the new Bulk Pet method for an even wider range of tone selection.

High-Precision VCXO Clock

The clock circuit supplies a high-accuracy reference clock signal to the digital circuitry. The Grandioso Custom VCXO (voltage-controlled crystal oscillator) is a high-precision custom clock that utilizes a large crystal element to ensure exceptional sound quality with excellent center accuracy (±0.5ppm) and extremely low levels of phase noise.



Playable Disc TypesSuper Audio CD, CD (including CD-R and CD-RW)

Analog Audio Outputs

XLR/ESL-A Connector1 pair (L/R)
RCA Connector1 pair (L/R)
Output ImpedanceXLR: 84O; RCA: 37O
Maximum Output Level (at 1kHz, 10kO load)XLR: 5Vrms; RCA: 2.5Vrms
Frequency Response5Hz to 55kHz (-3dB)
S/N Ratio120dB
Distortion0.0008% (1kHz)

Digital Audio Outputs

XLR Connector x 1Output level: 3 Vp-p (into 110 O)
RCA Connector x 1Output level: 0.5 Vp-p (into 75 O)

Digital Audio Inputs

RCA Connector x 1 (input impedance 75 O)Input level: 0.5 Vp-p
Optical digital connector x 1Input level: -24.0 to -14.5 dBm peak
USB-B Port (USB2.0 standard)1

Clock Input

BNC connector1
Input impedance50O
Frequencies that can be Input (±10ppm)44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192kHz, 10, 22.5792, 24.576MHz
Input LevelRectangle wave: equivalent to TTL levels; Sine wave: 0.5 to 1.0 Vrms (50 to 75O)


Power SupplyAC 220-240V, 50/60Hz; AC 120V, 60Hz; AC 220V, 60Hz
Power Consumption29W
External Dimensions (W x H x D, including protrusions)445 × 162 × 438mm (17 5/8? × 6 1/2? × 17 1/4?)
Weight28kg (61 3/4 lb)

Included Accessories

Power Cord1
HDMI Cable1
Remote Control Unit (RC-1301)1
Batteries for Remote Control (AAA)2
Felt Pads3
Owner's Manual1
Warranty Card1

Misc. Specs

Product Weight61.7500
Width (in.)17.63
Depth (in.)17.25
Height (in.)6.50
WarningProposition 65 Warning for California Residents