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ESOTERIC C-03 Stereo Linestage Preamplifier
C-03 Stereo Linestage Preamplifier
Introduction
Introduction
Features
Features
Specications
Specications
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Gallery
Regain the dynamic sound of the original master tape with Master Sound Works
Discontined
Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2013" Preamp category   Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2013"
Preamp category (below¥1,000,000)

  • Stereo "Best Buy Component 2012"

Ongen Publishing “Vidual Grand-Prix 2012 Summer“    Ongen Publishing 天idual Grand-Prix 2012 Summer“
Preamp category (under ¥1,000,000) winner

Stereo Sound “2011-2012 Best Value Component”    Stereo Sound “2011-2012 Best Value Component”

Ongen Publishing “Visual Grand-Prix 2012” Pure Audio Grand-Prix    Ongen Publishing “Visual Grand-Prix 2012”
Pure Audio Grand-Prix
Ongen Publishing “Visual Grand-Prix 2011 Summer” Pure Audio Grand-Prix / preamp category (below \1,000,000) “Bronze Prize”    Ongen Publishing “Visual Grand-Prix 2011 Summer”
Pure Audio Grand-Prix / preamp category (below \1,000,000)
“Bronze Prize”
6moons.com “2009 Blue Moon Award”    6moons.com“2009 Blue Moon Award”

  • Ongen Publishing “Visual Grand-Prix 2008 Summer”
    Pure Audio Grand-Prix preamp category winner (¥500,000 to ¥1,000,000)

State of the art technology that will reintroduce you to the sound enjoyed from master tapes of the live recording.

Master tapes capture all of the music information as it is-the individual expression of the strings, wind instruments, drums, and vocals, the color and harmonization of their sound, and well beyond that, the atmosphere of the concert hall and the passion of the audience.
ESOTERIC created Master Sound Works with the goal of regaining the richness of the master tapes without losing anything.

Carrying forward the next generation of TEAC's long heritage in advanced audio tape technology, ESOTERIC sets a new standard in high-end audio.

High-end design concept based on the essentials

Deliver premium quality audio signals into a carefully configured central circuit and eliminate any elements that are not absolutely necessary. This minimalist, essence-oriented circuit design brings unequaled sound quality to the C-03 linestage preamplifier.

Eliminating extraneous circuits such as those for tone control and REC out functions from the signal circuit, has enabled us to create the shortest possible signal path. By minimizing circuits, we've been able to achieve an optimal layout with the highest grade of components. We have also arranged the input and output audio boards with one above the other in a dedicated compartment at the rear of the chassis close to the rear ports. This design results in an even shorter signal path that is "true to the source." The buffer amplifier in the C-03 uses a high definition discrete circuit configuration for input and output. The output stage delivers signals to the external power amplifier via an output buffer circuit with the same high voltage design as our monaural D-01 D/A converter. This allows ESOTERIC to deliver all musical signals through the purest possible path and with power to spare.

Meticulously continuing ESOTERIC's L/R dual mono design implementation

C-03 L/R dual mono design implementation

C-03 L/R dual mono design implementation
ESOTERIC's high-end L/R dual mono designs have won critical acclaim worldwide and this implementation has been fully incorporated into the C-03. Stereo equipment usually combines the signal path for right and left channels, the power path, and the component layout into one circuit board. Unfortunately, this type of design often includes various disadvantages. The C-03 nullifies these disadvantages with its dual mono design incorporating two identical audio boards, for each of the right and left channels. Furthermore, each channel has its own dedicated power section and large 200VA toroidal transformer. By completely dividing the right and the left, the C-03 achieves perfect separation between channels and enjoys an overwhelming superiority over traditional systems.

The volume control system, a key component of the preamplifier

C-03 volume

C-03 volume
When designing the C-03, we reviewed numerous devices and worked on developing circuits and housings from the earliest stages of the system's evolution with the goal of achieving the very highest sound quality. In our search for the perfect components for the master sound concept, we conducted repeated trial listenings to compare the sound of variable resistance amplifiers and volume control amplifiers, finally settling on a volume control amplifier made by Burr-Brown (TI). By locating this device independently on each audio board, we pursued the dual mono configuration even into the realm of the volume control-something that is usually shared between the left and the right channels. Because the audio signals are routed through the audio board only, the audio circuit can be limited to the rear half of the compartment, where the input/output terminals are also located.

The volume control knob indicates the volume intuitively through the position of the pointer. A microcomputer recognizes the knob's position via an A/D converter, setting the correct volume for the knob's position on the volume control amplifier. Control of left and right channel balance, input sensitivity, and total gain, are comprehensively controlled by a microcomputer which sets the volume control amplifier's gain in a single location. Unlike when these controls are performed by several circuits, with the C-03 there is no signal degradation or changes in acoustic quality when each item is adjusted.

High sound quality via five lines of input and three lines of output

C-03 input/output Connect up to five input devices to the C-03 via its three RCA and two XLR input lines. Input terminals other than those selected are completely isolated from the circuit, totally eliminating electrical impact from inactive inputs, helping to achieve a higher level of sound quality. Input terminal RCA3 can bypass the preamplifier in the main body so it is convenient for connecting an A/V system to the C-03. In addition to one XLR line, the outputs include two more useful lines for bi-amplification. The C-03 provides three output options so you can choose between RCA, XLR, or a combination of the two.

An elaborate design cuts out noise from the microcomputer

e've enhanced the purity of the sound signal by electrically isolating the control signals from the microcomputer to the audio circuit, courtesy of a photo coupler that prevents digital noise from originating in the control section. Additionally, the C-03 turns off the microcomputer for a few seconds after you stop using the volume control. The microcomputer kicks back in when a dedicated circuit detects that the volume control is being adjusted again. The whole circuit is designed with the aim of achieving sound of the highest possible purity; even the microcomputer's clock is suspended while you enjoy the music signal.

High grade parts employed throughout - ESOTERIC carefully selects high grade components after exhaustive trial listening.

High grade parts

High grade parts
When designing the C-03, we reviewed numerous devices and worked on developing circuits and housings from the earliest stages of the system's evolution with the goal of achieving the very highest sound quality. In our search for the perfect components for the master sound concept, we conducted repeated trial listenings to compare the sound of variable resistance amplifiers and volume control amplifiers, finally settling on a volume control amplifier made by Burr-Brown (TI). By locating this device independently on each audio board, we pursued the dual mono configuration even into the realm of the volume control-something that is usually shared between the left and the right channels. Because the audio signals are routed through the audio board only, the audio circuit can be limited to the rear half of the compartment, where the input/output terminals are also located.

A super heavyweight body provides the ultimate in vibration resistance

C-03 internal

C-03 Foot
Weighing in at about 22kg (48.5lbs), the C-03 is a super heavyweight - the most solidly built preamplifier ever designed by ESOTERIC. The input, output, power source, and control circuits are each separated into their own dedicated compartments, preventing mutual interference and also enhancing the amp's mechanical strength and rigidity. The input and output terminals are mounted on thick 2mm steel plates that we've used for the rear panel and are connected to the inner board with flexible copper wire, isolating the inner board from the adverse effects of external vibrations. Combined with a heavy 5mm thick bottom plate supported by three pinpoint feet, this system design thoroughly eliminates the impact of external vibrations on the circuit boards.

High-end amplifier with casual elegance

The C-03's body construction follows the design concept of the ESOTERIC P-03 and D-03. The short scratch finish and blast finish contrast beautifully on the C-03's thick aluminum body. With the formative beauty of a screw-less top panel and rounded corners, the C-03 integrates beautifully with other products in the high-end ESOTERIC family.

Wireless remote control as standard

A wireless remote control that enables you to operate the input selector, the volume control, and the basic functions of ESOTERIC disc players* is included as a standard accessory.
* Operation excludes the P-01 and D-01

Audio features (Gain=0dB mode)
Maximum output level 7V
Rated output level 2V
Output impedance 47ohms (RCA)
100ohms (XLR)
Total harmonic distortion 0.005% (1kHz, 2V input)
0.001% (1kHz, 2V input, Awgt)
Frequency response 5Hz to 120kHz (-3dB)
10Hz to 35kHz (-0.5dB)
S/N ratio 100dB (2V input,Awgt)
Gain 0dB/+12dB/+24dB switchable
Input sensitivity 2.05V (rated output)
870mV (850mV output)
410mV (400mV output)
Maximum input level 7V
Input impedance 40kohms (RCA,XLR)
General Power supply AC 230V 50Hz
AC 120V 60Hz
AC 220V 60Hz
Power consumption 18W
External dimensions (W×H×D) 445×129×383 mm
(17-1/2×5-1/16×15-1/16 ")
Weight 22kg (48lbs 8oz)
- Design and specifications are subject to change without notice.
- This product is available in three different power supply variations shown in the chart above. Make sure that the voltage shown on the rear panel matches the AC line voltage in your area.
- The shape of the AC inlet and plug of the supplied power cord depends on the voltage rating and destination country.

C-03 C-03 C-03
C-03 C-03 C-03

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