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ESOTERIC D-03 D/A converter
D-03 Stereo D/A converter
The top-end model of ESOTERIC 2-channel D/A converters, developed from the high performance mono block D-01 - without any compromise in sound quality.

The Absolute Sound “2011 Editor's Choice Award”    The Absolute Sound “2011 Editor's Choice Award”

  • Stereo Sound “2010-2011 Best Value Component“
    D/A converter category (above ¥700,000) second prize

Stereo Sound “The Best Buy Component 2009-2010” D/A converter category (above ¥700,000) second prize
   Stereo Sound “The Best Buy Component 2009-2010”
D/A converter category (above ¥700,000) second prize

  • Stereo Sound “The Best Buy Component”
    D/A converter category (above ¥700,000) second prize

Stereo D/A converter based on the same design concept of the mono block D-01.

D-03 Internal structure The D-03 has completely separated L/R channel- components for power, analog audio circuits, etc. Each L/R component from power transformer through analog power circuit, to the analog audio circuit features a completely identical layout pattern. The D-03 follows the footsteps of the mono block D-01, combining two identical monaural D/A converter components into a one-piece body. This design concept provides even response between channels with extremely reduced channel crosstalk and exactly the same power-supply stability between channels. The D-03 proves the merits of these attributes in reproducing ambience and presence information recorded on the source; open acoustic space around the musical players, revealing the structure of instruments and clear imaging of even a concert hall environment.

AD1955 DAC devices driven by differential mode for DSD and PCM signal processing.

The D-03 features AD1955 DAC devices which are capable of processing both DSD and PCM signal formats. This processor extracts high-density and clear analog signals from the digital source: wide range smooth sound with rich aerial presence from Super Audio CDs, and texture-like detailed sound from CD. The D-03 automatically distinguish incoming signal formats between DSD and PCM, and converts directly from each format to analog.

Interfaces for various digital input formats

The D-03 can operate various digital input formats such as S/PDIF,AES/EBU, ES-Link and i.LINK, and is compatible with various source formats including CD, SACD and DVD-A. The D-03 can operate as high as 192 kHz for sampling digital source inputs from all interfaces including the DUAL AES interface.

Complete sound quality without compromises using know-how ESOTERIC has accumulated for over 20years.

The D-03 is equipped with three high efficiency R-core transformers which have low magnetic flux leakage and vibration. One is for digital processing and two are for analog processing. The stabilizer circuit for the analog power component is completely discrete.

The driver circuit which outputs the converted analog signal using a discrete design and discrete components drives transistorized and FET components at ±38V power. There are many advantages to designing the analog circuits discretely. Discrete design allows an acoustic engineer to choose component parts and circuit layouts based purely in the interest of providing better sound quality.

The D-03 also features a digital filter OFF mode. You can choose to have digital filtering on or off, according to your own musical taste, to match the source signal or to more closely match the characteristics of your system.

ESOTERIC improved the former PCM-only RAM-Link circuit to cope with both PCM and DSD signals. Incoming digital audio signals are temporally stored in this new RAM-Link circuit, the jitter is reduced by an internal high precision master clock, and then transmitted to the D/A converter circuit. (This RAM-Link circuit is only activated when the system is operated in Word Sync mode.)

Word Synchronization function with other digital components in the system.

Rear panel The D-03 features two Word Synchronization modes; OUT mode and IN mode. When set to the OUT mode, the D-03 can supply a high quality and very stable word clock signal produced from its internal ±3ppm VCXO oscillator. When the D-03 is set to the IN mode, it is possible to control the D-03 with an incoming master clock signal from an external component. The D-03 can also input/output an ESOTERIC original 100kHz Universal Clock signal, in addition to standard clock signal frequencies; of 44.1/88.2/176.4/48/96/192 kHz.

High purity 6N (99.9999%), copper wire strands for main internal wiring

High purity copper wire High purity 6N (99.9999%), copper wire strands are used for main internal wiring. This feature contributes to very high detail and texture-like sound expression from the P-03.

The RCA digital input connector features pure copper and gold plated WBT "nextgen," sockets for sound purity and true 75 Ohm characteristic impedance. The RCA analog stereo output connectors are WBT-0201, isolated from the PCB board and solidly mounted on the back panel to reduce stress on PCB board, and to avoid mechanical resonance being applied to the PCB from external vibration.

High quality AC power inlet features Rhodium plated pure copper terminal with ultra low temperature treatment.

Internal sub chassis and highly rigid body construction eliminates noise interference and unwanted internal/external mechanical resonance for higher sound quality.

Each component; power supply circuit, digital circuit and analog circuit, is divided by highly rigid internal sub chassis segments, This design eliminates the possibility of noise interference between each circuit, provides higher signal purity and isolates interference potential. Thick aluminum front panel, side panels, top panels and front-corner rounded block covers complete the chassis supported by a 5-mm-thick steel bottom chassis and three pinpoint isolation feet (patent pending) made of quenched steel. This feature offers highly precise component mounting and high rigidity. This design is known as non resonance, chassis construction. The brushed finish, front/side panels and 8-mm-thick sandblasted top panel finish contribute to the sense of quality found only in the highest-end audiophile equipment.

Audio features Total harmonic distortion 0.0006% (1kHz)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio (S/N) 115dB (JEITA)
Input terminals Digital audio input i.LINK ×2
XLR ×2
RCA ×2
Word clock input BNC ×1
Output terminals Analog audio output XLR ×1 (L/R)
RCA ×1 (L/R)
Word clock output BNC ×1
General Power supply AC 230V 50Hz
AC 120V 60Hz
AC 220V 60Hz
Power consumption 24W
External dimensions
445×159×420 mm
(17-1/2×6-1/4×17-3/16 ")
Weight 27kg (59-1/2lbs)
- 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.

D-03 D-03

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