C-03Xs Line Stage Preamp
Really excellent condition. Phenomenal preamp. Selling only because I am making the leap up to Esoteric’s Grandioso Series. I am the original and only owner to date.
Esoteric’s C-03Xs line stage preamplifier
carries on the refinement of the superb quality of musical reproduction cascading
down from their flagship Grandioso series. Hand-assembled one-by-one in Esoteric’s Tokyo
factory, each unit combines the most advanced technologies with an
unprecedented level of craftsmanship to give life to a preeminent philosophy of
At the heart of every fine system, it is the preamplifier
that determines the overall system’s character. Applying Esoteric’s wealth of
knowledge and technology, the C-03Xs delivers on high fidelity and breathtaking
powers of musical expression, drawing on the refined sensitivities of musicians
and engineers alike to transcend the boundaries of sound reproduction quality.
Independent Dual Mono Design
The C-03Xs' DC power supply features a fully independent dual
mono design that completely eliminates inter-channel interference. Its
dedicated array of power transformers for each channel also blocks noise from
the power line, enabling a pure, naturally amplified sound. Grandioso
technology reveals itself in such detailed new design refinements as its
independent left and right channel power rectifier circuits and its carefully
laid out power supply circuit boards, which further contribute to the C-03Xs'
superb sound quality.
Fully Balanced Configuration Provides Excellent
The preamplifier's source signal is first received by
dedicated buffer amplifiers integrated with each input, from which the circuit
configuration is balanced at each stage. Through the elimination of common-mode
noise and reductions in circuit impedance, a pure, noise-free signal is fed to
the gain amplifiers via the shortest path possible, for an exceptionally high
The C-03Xs' Esoteric-QVCS* volume control employs four
precision switched resistor ladder networks, which change in unison as the
volume knob is rotated. This arrangement allows the signal paths for the left
and right channels and their positive and negative phases to be kept totally
independent and as short as possible. Consequently, the sound has superb
clarity, excellent channel separation and highly accurate phase
characteristics. The elimination of audio board wiring to the volume control
further contributes to a reduced signal path, while preventing degradation of
sound quality and helping to maintain the low distortion one would expect of a
Quad Volume Control System
Ultra-Low-Noise Logic Control
Built into the front panel, the logic control section is
totally isolated, both physically and electronically, from the preamplifier
module by way of an optocoupler. To assure low-noise operation, it also shuts
completely down when not in actual operation, thus eliminating all possible
influence on the C-03Xs' audio circuitry.
Highly Responsive Low-Noise, Low-Impedance
Three independent high-capacity power transformers, coupled
with large banks of reservoir capacitors, provide power supply circuits that
have exceptionally low output impedances and very clean and stable outputs.
High-speed rectifier circuits further enhance resolution and the
signal-to-noise ratio for significant improvements in sound quality.
ESOTERIC-HCLD* Output Buffer Boosts Current
Transmission While EDLC* Power Supply Ensures High Stability
As a line driver, the preamplifier must be able to fully
drive the power amplifiers and faithfully convey the music signal's wide
dynamic range. The key to achieving this is a circuit that provides both high
current drive capability and high speed. The C-03Xs' output buffer circuitry
delivers an exceptionally high current drive coupled with a high slew rate of
2,000V/µs for sharp response. Independent buffer circuits for each output and
symmetrical circuitry for both the hot and cold phases of the XLR outputs
maximize instantaneous output current capability. Located closest to the output
buffer circuitry, the EDLC* Super Capacitor array, originally developed for the
Grandioso C1, was adapted as a highly stable power source. Its compact physical
size belies the extraordinary 100,000µF (0.1F) capacity it provides each
channel, for high levels of instantaneous output power and strong, steady bass
reproduction. Integrating these two technologies, the C-03Xs preserves musical
dynamics that would otherwise be lost if smaller current transmission levels
were employed between the pre and power amplifiers, allowing it to reproduce a
breathtaking level of audio reality.
High Current Line Driver * EDLC = Electric Double-Layer Capacitor
High-Precision Ball Bearing Controls
The C-03Xs' elegant volume and input selector knobs are
machined from solid blocks of aluminum. The control shafts use a VRDS drive
mechanism bearing system for precise rotation with no mechanical play. Rotational
torque has also been fine-tuned to provide a luxurious analog control feel in
keeping with this high-end preamplifier.
Highly Rigid 5-Cell Chassis Construction
Chassis construction plays a vital role in quality sound
reproduction. Its optimized design
utilizes a 2-layer 5-cell configuration that houses each circuit block in its
own compartment. This provides more space for the layout of components,
realizing a shorter signal path that helps minimize inter-circuit interference.
The chassis' 5mm-thick steel bottom plate and thick aluminum exterior panels
are supported at 4 points by milled steel isolation feet, which enhance chassis
rigidity while effectively suppressing resonant vibration.
Other key features
preset volume curves permit selection of the most comfortable operating feel.
input gain adjustability helps minimize differences in source volumes. (Range:
±18dB; 0.5dB steps)
left and right channel volume balance control.
(Range: ±6dB; 0.5dB steps)
phase inversion can be individually set for each source.
terminals permit switching between normal line output and AV-through output for
systems operated in both AV surround and pure two-channel modes.
controller features high-quality aluminum finish and can also be used to
operate any of Esoteric’s superb line of SACD players.
component name displays can be programmed using the remote controller.
equipped with dimmer, mute, and auto-display-off functions.