Esoteric D-05X: Uncompromising digital-to-analogue converter

Esoteric D-05X
Esoteric D-05X

The new Esoteric D-05X digital-to-analogue converter inherits the uncompromising philosophy of the flagship Grandioso D1 and updates the circuit components of the previous Esoteric D-05 – to achieve the same high-quality sound quality that is considered common in ultra-high-end devices. The Esoteric D-05X DAC has a powerful power supply with high-capacity capacitors and two large toroidal transformers – separately for the left and right channels. The double-sized DAC circuit includes four differential subcircuits per channel.

The Esoteric D-05X features proprietary ES-LINK4 digital data interface, 34-bit digital-to-analog conversion, ESOTERIC-HCLD buffer circuitry from the Grandioso C1 preamp, and a unique ES-LINK analog transmission system for enhanced sound quality. The Esoteric D-05X supports playback of high-resolution formats such as DSD 22.5 MHz for truly outstanding sound quality. The Esoteric D-05X uses 8 (4+4) AK4497 DAC chips from Asahi Kasei Microdevices to achieve extremely low noise and phenomenal linearity. In addition to direct processing of DSD signals, a new 34-bit digital-to-analog conversion algorithm converts PCM signals with 34-bit precision, resulting in smooth and detailed playback of high-resolution recordings.


High-speed current transfer capability is the most important factor for analog output circuits to convey the widest dynamic range of music signals without loss. The HCLD (High Current Line Driver) circuit of the Esoteric D-05X output buffer amplifier has expanded its capabilities as a driver. Delivering high currents, it boasts an exceptionally fast slew rate of up to 2,000V/µs, which is an indicator of remarkable response speed.

Maximizing the ability to instantly deliver high currents, the Esoteric D-05X reproduces the full dynamic range of music with breathtaking realism. In addition to the regular connection methods (XLR and RCA), the Esoteric D-05X is also equipped with the new “ES-LINK Analog” data transmission method created by ESOTERIC. This is a current-based signal transmission method that takes advantage of the high speed HCLD buffer circuit and its ability to deliver high current at high speed. This is the ideal analog audio transfer because it is independent of the signal path impedance, thereby maximizing the full potential of the audio system when connected to a compatible device.

In addition to playing signals at the original sampling rate, the Esoteric D-05X can upsample it by 2x, 4x and 8x for PCM format, as well as convert PCM and DSD formats using a proprietary algorithm that allows you to obtain a 22.5 MHz DSD stream from PCM signals. This ensures significantly smoother music playback. The Esoteric D-05X’s coaxial and optical inputs support PCM signals with resolutions up to 24-bit/192kHz and 2.8MHz DSD (DoP). Two XLR inputs support 48-bit/192kHz (ES-LINK3), 24-bit/384kHz (Dual AES 8Fs) and 5.6MHz DSD (DoP and Dual XLR mode).


The Esoteric D-05X is also equipped with a USB input for connecting to computers, and the Esoteric driver for PC in combination with the company’s free HR Audio Player software can be downloaded free of charge from the website. The D-05X supports asynchronous transmission and playback of formats with resolutions up to 22.5 MHz DSD and 768 kHz/32-bit PCM – i.e. studio master quality. The phase of the output signal can be contactlessly inverted in the digital domain, so that the owner can select Hot 2 or Hot 3 on the XLR outputs without any loss of audio signal quality.

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