A New Renaissance in Playback as an Art Form
The artists of old never rested on their laurels. They constantly strove
for greater heights, pouring passion into every step of the way. At
Esoteric, we have taken that spirit of creation to heart, bringing the
skill and passion of those old masters to the next evolution of our
Super Audio CD player.
The K-05Xs, the third incarnation of the K-05, heralds a new renaissance in playback as an art form.
The K-05 Super Audio CD player is the core model in the K series,
following the legendary K-01 and K-03 players. The first version of the
K-05 was launched in 2011, and in 2015 this evolved into the K-05X. The
K-05X instantly became a top seller because of features such as the
VRDS-NEO Super Audio CD transport mechanism. This mechanism uses a
unique construction that enables it to provide an outstanding level of
musical performance, which is why it was adopted by a number of other
world-famous high-end audio makers. In its third generation form, the
K-05Xs, incorporates the best qualities of Esoteric's flagship model,
the Grandioso K1.
It combines established class-leading features, such as the VRDS-NEO
(VMK-5) mechanism and a high-rigidity aluminum chassis, with the latest
K1 DAC platform employing a new dual-mono D/A converter, high current
output buffer amplifiers and a new power supply.
The unique VRDS-NEO VMK-5 transport mechanism featured in this new model
incorporates high-precision turntable that greatly improves reading
accuracy by mechanically correcting for disc surface run-out. It's
hybrid construction integrates precision-machined aluminum with
polycarbonate to help minimize rotational inertia.
Formed of high-rigidity BMC (Bulk Molding Compound) and steel, the
hybrid turntable bridge also makes a significant contribution to the
suppression of rotational vibration and run-out. The transports spindle
motor realizes further improvements in reading accuracy with an advanced
servo control that uses rotation detection circuitry.
Following in the Footsteps of the Grandioso K1:
The New Dual Mono D/A Converter
The digital-analog converter section has been fully redesigned based on the latest platform used in the Grandioso K1.
An AK4493 32-bit DAC from Asahi Kasei Electronics has been combined
with premium components and the latest design technology to provide an
exceptional level of sound quality. Four converters are used in each
channel in a parallel differential configuration, to provide
class-leading linearity and extremely low distortion. Like the K-01Xs and K-03Xs,
additional buffer amplifiers are placed immediately after the DAC
outputs and this gives a more powerful bass and better reproduction of
low-level signals. The layout of the DAC power section has been revised
to provide further improvements to the noise performance and stability.
34-bit D/A Processing for Outstanding Powers of Musical Expression
The K-05Xs combines multiple 32-bit DAC chipsets and utilizes a 34-bit
D/A processing algorithm to convert the PCM signal to analog at a high
resolution of 34 bits. 34-bit processing achieves an astounding
resolution that is fully 1,024 times that of 24-bit processing. In the
digital range, full advantage is taken of high-bit data gradation to
minimize calculation errors and provide faithful conversion to analog,
thereby attaining outstanding powers of expression even with extremely
small music signals.
Esoteric-HCLD: A Unique Output Buffer Circuit that Optimizes Current Transmission
For an output stage to faithfully convey the wide dynamic range of a
musical performance to the next component in the system, it needs to be
able to deliver high currents at high speed. To achieve this, the K-05Xs
uses the same Esoteric-HCLD (High Current Line Driver) output buffer as
our top-of-the-line-models. This buffer uses high-speed output devices
to provide an exceptionally high slew rate of 2,000V/μs. Each channel
uses two buffer circuits. These are configured differentially for the
XLR output and in parallel for the RCA output to provide outstanding
linearity and dynamics.
ES-Link Analog: A High Sound Quality Current Transmission Analog Interface
As well as the standard XLR and RCA analog inter faces, Esoteric's
proprietary "ES-Link Analog" analog interface is also fitted and this is
incorporated into the XLR output circuit. This takes advantage of the
high current drive capability of the HCLD buffer circuit, making it less
susceptible to the effects of the impedance of the signal path and
enabling the audio signal to be transmitted with improved clarity and
dynamics. The maximum potential of this system is obtained when it is
used with compatible equipment such as Esoteric's F Series integrated
* Optional OP-ESLA1 input board is required.
Generously Rated High-Speed Power Supply
Together with the D/A converter and output buffer amplifier, the quality
of the power supply is also a key factor in achieving high sound
quality. In the K-05Xs, this has been re-engineered to provide greater
stability and lower noise, combining a large toroidal power transformer
with new capacitors designed for exceptional sound quality and a set of
super EDLC capacitors.* This set has an extremely large capacity of
330,000μF, enabling the power supply to provide each section with a
clean and stable power source.
* EDLC = Electric Double-Layer Capacitor
Wide Range of Upsampling Options
In addition to playing back a digital audio source at the original
sample rate, the K-05Xs can upsample PCM signals to 2x, 4x, 8x and 16x
(maximum 768kHz). It can also convert a PCM source to DSD 512 (22.5MHz).
A DSD filter may be switched in according to preference.
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 with DSD22.5MHz and PCM768kHz/32-Bit Asynchronous Transmission
The K-05Xs is equipped with a USB interface to allow it to receive digital data from a computer or an Esoteric N-03T Network Transport. The USB driver and Esoteric HR Audio Player
playback software may be downloaded free from the Esoteric website. The
interface supports DSD rates up to DSD512 (22.5MHz) and PCM data up to
768 kHz / 32 bits. The USB interface also supports the Bulk Pet protocol
to allow studio-quality playback.
High-Precision VCXO Clock
The heart of any digital audio player is the clock circuit. This ensures
that all the digital sections work in perfect synchronization and most
importantly, that the audio samples are reproduced at the correct rate.
The K-05Xs' clock uses a custom designed VCXO (Voltage-Controlled
Crystal Oscillator). This provides extremely low phase noise and a high
level of absolute accuracy (±0.5ppm), which in turn improves low-level
External Clock Synchronization Feature
Whilst the internal VCXO-based clock provides a very high-quality clock
signal, the audio performance of the K-05Xs can be further improved by
connecting it to a high-precision master clock generator such as the G-02X. This can be used when playing discs, or when receiving digital audio data via the USB interface.
The analog audio output can be switched between ES-LINK Analog, RCA, and
XLR. Hot 2 or Hot 3 XLR pin assignments can also be selected. Loss in
audio quality is eliminated with a non-contact system by performing
phase inversion in the digital domain.
The heavy aluminum chassis is supported by three of Esoteric's unique
precision-machined steel insulators to provide maximum vibration
suppression. The elegant styling of the chassis is the same as our
top-end models and employs round forms and heavy aluminum panels with
the minimum use of screws. These features are combined with an
attractive organic EL display to form an extremely attractive design
worthy of a leading product like the K-05Xs and enhance the pleasure of
using and owning this Super Audio CD player.
Playable disc types
Super Audio CD, CD (including CD-R and CD-RW)
Analog audio outputs
Maximum output level
(at 1kHz, 10kΩ load)
5Hz to 55kHz (-3dB)
* Super Audio CD, XLR output
Digital audio outputs
Digital audio inputs
Frequencies that can be input
44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192kHz,
10, 22.5792, 24.576MHz
Rectangle wave: equivalent to TTL levels
Sine wave: 0.5 to 1.0 Vrms
AC 220-240V, 50/60Hz; AC 120V, 60Hz; AC 220V, 60Hz
(W x H x D, including protrusions)
445 × 132 × 357mm
(17 5/8″ × 5 1/4″ × 14 1/8″)
15.1kg (33 3/8 lb)
Power cord set x 1
Remote control (RC-1301) x 1
Batteries for remote control (AAA) x 2
Felt pads x 3
Owner's manual x 1
Warranty card x 1