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ESOTERIC I-03 Integrated Amplifier
I-03 Integrated Amplifier
Esoteric's flagship integrated amplifier with the Master Sound Works impression.
May,2011 release

  • Stereo "Best Buy Component 2015"
    Integrated amplifier category (¥350,000 - 700,000)

Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2016"    Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2016"
Integrated amplifier category (¥500,000 - 1,000,000)
Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2015 Summer"    Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2015 Summer"
Integrated amplifier (above ¥500,000)
Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2015"    Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2015"
Integrated amplifier category (above ¥500,000)
Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2014 Summer"    Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2014 Summer"
Integrated amplifier (above ¥500,000)
Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2014"    Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2014"
Integrated amplifier category (above ¥500,000)
Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2013" Bronze Prize    Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2013"
Integrated amplifier category (above ¥500,000) Bronze Prize

  • Stereo "Best Buy Component 2012"

Stereo Sound "2012-2013 Best Buy Components"    Stereo Sound "2012-2013 Best Buy Components"
Integrated amplifier category (above ¥500,000)
Ongen Publishing "Vidual Grand-Prix 2012 Summer"    Ongen Publishing "Vidual Grand-Prix 2012 Summer"
Integrated amplifier category (above ¥500,000) winner
Stereo Sound "2011-2012 Best Value Component"    Stereo Sound "2011-2012 Best Value Component"
analog Grand Prix 2012    analog Grand Prix 2012
Ongen Publishing "Audio Excellence Award 2012" Bronze Prize    Ongen Publishing "Audio Excellence Award 2012" "Bronze Prize"
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" Silver Prize    Ongen Publishing "Visual Grand-Prix 2011 Summer" Pure Audio Grand-Prix / integrated amplifier category (above ¥200,000) "Silver Prize"

Sensuous French Impressionism and spirit of German Classicism. Cool West Coast jazz and hot East Coast jazz. Dynamism of black contemporary and sophistication of Eurobeat.

The unique characteristics of sound and flavor of music that were cut in the original master recordings are passed on to the listeners without any trimming of parts. Esoteric is committed to new developments in order to fully apply the Esoteric-original Master Sound Works concept to the integrated amplifier.

Ingenuity that breaks from conventional concepts and use of materials without cost constraints. Esoteric has consolidated audio technologies it has fostered over years of developing separate types of amplifiers and has without compromise, applied them into creating an integral type amplifier. The result has been the birth of Esoteric's flagship integrated amplifier I-03.

When you look at the simple body form that eliminates all excessive features, you can discover the passions of our engineers in their devotion to developing new high-end models and the flavor of reproducing music in its original form.

Esoteric MSW* Pure Class D mono block power amplifier
*MSW= Master Sound Works

Introducing design know-how of professional studio-use power amplifiers

The power amplifier is the core of our integrated amplifier I-03. Esoteric has introduced know-how collected through designing professional studio-use power amplifiers to the power amplifier sections of I-03. The power amplifier of the I-03 continuously balances outstanding drive power and natural tones, and conveys the essence of a master sound recording regardless of the size and efficiency of speaker combinations.

Using Esoteric MSW Pure Class D power amplifier with dual mono architecture

Esoteric MSW Pure Class D power amplifier with dual mono architecture The I-03 is equipped with a MSW Pure Class D power amplifier that is mounted with high-efficiency and uses the latest high-speed MOS-FET devices in a 3-parallel push-pull configuration to achieve superior speaker drive performance. This power amplifier uses power amplifier blocks mounted in a dual mono architecture separately for each channel to obtain a high practical-use maximum output of 320W+320W (6Ω).

Analog power circuit support for robust drive performance

Analog power circuit A solid power supply unit makes the music pulse. The I-03 adopts powerful analog power circuits configured using largesize capacitors and high-capacity custom transformers (each transformer weighing approximately 10 kg (22 lbs.)). The MSW Pure Class D power amplifier produces an optimal and distinctive tone that is both robust and smooth.

High-grade dual mono preamplifier with C-03 technologies.

High-grade dual mono preamplifier with C-03 technologies The I-03 preamplifier inherits stereo preamplifier C-03 technologies that are highly reputed worldwide and have received a number of awards. This type of preamplifier uses a dual mono architecture with a completely independent board for each channel. The chassis compartment dedicated for the preamplifier is partitioned using a 2mm thick steel plate to install two preamplifier boards for the left and right channels.

Volume controls based on dual-mono concept Esoteric DVC System*

Esoteric's DVC System uses a rotating control to transmit signals to two preamplifiers located on both sides of the I-03 and simultaneously drives both volume control amplifiers, (which are installed separately on left and right preamplifier boards). Volume controls are provided independently for left and right channels to maintain the left and right audio signals separately, and to achieve a clear sound quality with exceptional channel separation. Furthermore, there is no audio signal wiring from the audio board to the volume control, which significantly reduces the signal path to prevent deterioration of sound quality.
*DVC=Dual-mono Volume Control

Delicate and dynamic sound with low-noise operation

The Esoteric DVC System control board, used for central control of the left and right channels, is installed in a compartment separate from preamplifier boards and has a separate power supply. This design assures low noise operation with a complete shutdown of the control microcomputer except at the time of receiving an operation request.

Bi-amplifier and multi-amplifier drive support

The I-03 responds flexibly to system upgrades of the future. The I-03 is equipped with a RCA output terminal that can be switched between PRE OUT and REC OUT. Any level offset can be set for signals sent to the power amplifier during the PRE-OUT output stage. The I-03 also offers a bi-amplifier architecture that allows connecting various types of external power amplifiers with different input gains.

Making the most of the preamplifier function with the power amplifier shutdown function

The I-03 is equipped with a "power amplifier shutdown function" that shuts down the power amplifier blocks for users who want to use the standalone high-grade preamplifier function. The I-03 is also provided with a headphone jack that enables users to listen to it's high-grade preamplifier sound through the privacy of a stereo headset.

Other features
  • Equipped with a number of input terminals (RCA x 3 channels, XLR x 2 channels).
  • Enables fine adjustment of gain and L/R channel balance for each input.
  • MM/MC/LINE can be switched for the RCA1 connections.
  • The AV throughout function bypasses volume adjustment, which is convenient for systems with AV surround environments and pure two-channel environments.
  • Enables selecting the change curve of the audio signal, while operating the volume control from five types of curves.
High-grade aluminum remote control
  • Supplied with a high-grade aluminum remote control that can operate the Esoteric Super Audio CD players.

Highly rigid, chassis construction that inherits the K series engineering concept

Highly rigid, chassis construction Highly rigid, chassis construction

High sound quality structure from a multiple chassis design

Each circuit block is placed in a dedicated compartment. The compartments are assembled three-dimensionally to minimize interference between circuits and use the shortest signal paths. The internal chassis is divided into five parts, with two separate preamplifier boards for each channel mounted in dedicated compartments closest to the rear connectors. This design keeps the audio signal path short and direct. Two Esoteric MSW power amplifier blocks are connected from the preamplifier using the shortest signal path. These blocks are assembled in dedicated compartments on both sides of the chassis and mounted via aluminum plates on both side panels. Using the side panels as heat sinks, this integrated amplifier efficiently discharges heat without compromising its sleek form.

High-capacity power transformer and power section layout for highest quality sound

The heavy-duty class, high-capacity power transformer is installed in the center and fixed with a 5-mm thick steel base plate on the bottom chassis. Also, the entire body is supported at three points on Esoteric original pinpoint feet* to reduce vibration and maximize high rigidity. Each component of this integrated amplifier incorporates the housing design and know-how applied for the K series (Super Audio CD/CD Player K-01 and K-03). Esoteric has meticulously pursued high sound quality and functionality up to the point of the placement of each component. Esoteric has paid a lot of attention to details, even in the unseen inner portions of this amazingly heavyweight, 31 kg (68.3 lbs.) integrated amplifier model I-03.
* Patent 4075477

Bold and delicately sleek round body form

Bold and delicately sleek round body form Like the K series, this integrated amplifier has inherited the round form design of Esoteric flagship models. Thick aluminum material has been used for the front, top, side panels and front corners. The preamplifier volume control and input selector have been machined from large-size aluminum blocks. Precisely tooled, rounded ergonomic design offer both a sleek appearance combined with an ideal balance of operational control.

Bold and delicately sleek round body form

Speaker Outputs
Rated output power 180 W + 180 W (8 Ω)
240 W + 240 W (6 Ω)
300 W + 300 W (4 Ω)
Maximum output power 250 W + 250 W (8 Ω)
320 W + 320 W (6 Ω)
380 W + 380 W (4 Ω)
Total harmonic distortion 0.03 % (1 kHz, 6 Ω)
Frequency response 5 Hz - 70 kHz (+1 dB, -3 dB, 6 Ω)
Signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) 110 dB (JEITA)
Minimum required impedance 4 Ω
Speaker output terminals Binding posts x 1 stereo
Analog audio inputs
Jacks RCA jacks x 3 stereo
RCA2: can be connected to an AV-amplifer's pre-output
RCA3: can be switched among LINE, PHONO MM and PHONO MC
XLR jacks x 2 stereo
Input impedance LINE: 100 kΩ / PHONO MM: 47 kΩ / PHONO MC: 100 Ω
Analog audio outputs
Jacks RCA jacks x 1 stereo
Output impedance 470 Ω
Power supply AC 230V 50Hz
AC 120V 60Hz
AC 220V 60Hz
Power consumption 280 W
External dimensions (W x H x D) 445 x 162 x 468 mm
(17 1/2″ x 6 3/8″ x 18 3/8″)
(including protrusions)
Weight 31 kg (68 lb)
- 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.

I-03 I-03 I-03
I-03 I-03 I-03

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