By Jack Lawson December 2021
Streamer/Network Player, DAC, and pre-amp with superbe quality headphones, outputs, regular or fully balanced; one of my astute customers has called it a Swiss Army knife.
“Flawless, perfect jewel.... you know me, I admire Esoteric and it is hard to choose their greatest product but hard to argue that it isn't the N-05XD. Love it to bits.”
Truly the 22nd century arrives this year, and only Esoteric could achieve this definitive versatility, simplicity and quality of build, knowing in advance that the precision and musicality will deliver an experience the rest can only promise.
Just combine an amplifier and loudspeakers; or headphones; and in one classy chassis, silver or black, you have a one shelf solution, a lifetime of quality music.
Justifying its price tag is the build quality and a host of astounding techniques, from the fully balanced headphone output to the bonus of the unique ESL-A, which transforms a regular balanced (XLR) interconnect into one ten times its price. The menu system is simple but highly programmable.
The new remote is a gem.
It is easily verifiable on listening that this is also an advance on all previous network players. The music is utterly engaging because there is no compression, no MP3 flattening. The sound is outside the speakers and in three dimensions. Utterly sensuous, palpable. I’d say streaming has come of age and this product
offers a lifetime heritage of ease of use, jewel like beauty, glitch-free software.
No one will catch up because no one is Esoteric….
I mean, just look, touch, and glide that volume control: from the machined knob to its bearing; look at the patented pin point feet; it isn’t cheap but it is good value.