When I moved to Canada in 2011, I still had my Studio L890 JBL speakers for the fronts and my (then) brand new Oppo BDP-93 as a CD player. All connected to the Yamaha Z-11 (from Europe and therefore on a massive, and noisy, voltage converter). At that time, I thought the Z-11 was as much as I would ever spend on a piece of gear. Boy was I wrong...

It all changed when I went looking for a better CD player and visited Rob and Ron at Altronics Stereo 2000 in Toronto.

They turned me on to the Esoteric products and helped me with multiple upgrades - most importantly the front speakers from the JBL Studio L890 to the JBL LS80 and now the JBL 1400 Array. You can see a snapshot of an earlier incarnation in the last image. Still using the Z-11 but already upgraded the speakers and using mono blocks for the fronts.

In the meantime, I had gone for the Bryston SP3, replaced it with the Marantz 8802A while, at the same time, investing in better cables from the power cords to ICs and speaker cables.

The next big change was replacing the Bryston 9B-SST with the Earthquake Cinenova Grande 7 BR.

Blu-ray players have come and gone (Denon 4010 and most recently sold the Pioneer 88FD) and I've now settled on the Sony UBP-X800 as a universal solution with the Panasonic UB9000 on UHD duty.

Things have come full circle after I spotted the Esoteric K-01X as a trade-in at Altronics. Since this crazy ride had started with the quest for a better CD player, it's only fitting that my most expensive addition is (probably) the best and last CD player I'll ever buy.

It's been quiet for a while but since a warranty replacement of my TV earlier in 2020 - a free upgrade to the 77" B9 OLED from LG - I've also gone for the Panasonic UB9000 UHD player (Dolby Vision was calling) and most recently spotted the last missing piece for sale: A used Esoteric C-03X!

I've been wanting to add a dedicated 2-channel pre-amp to my system for a long time and always had my eyes on the Esoteric. The price was right and also coincided with a nice tax return - you could say it was meant to be :)

But since one upgrade never comes alone, I had to add another shelf to my rack (turning it from a Solo 4 into a Solo 5) and also get some RCA cables to hook up my Marantz 8802A to the C-03X for HT throughput.

This should be my endgame system and I don't really see my adding much else, if anything, anytime soon. But as we all know in this hobby, never say never!

And since writing the last paragraph above, I've spent a tidy sum on new cables. Namely three Acrolink power cords and the piece de resistance, a set of Nordost Odin XLR cables. So yes, I think I'm done upgrading the connection from the source to the pre-amp for a very long time!

I finally bought my first house in March 2021 and the first couple of pictures now show the dedicated theater room in the basement. Complete with painted walls and lots of acoustic treatments. And I can honestly say that the system has never sounded better!

Fast forward to November 2021 and with the outdoor season mostly over, it was time to invest into my theater setup again and upgrade the subwoofers. Now rocking a pair of SVS PB-2000 Pro subs - more than enough for a room with roughly 2000 (how fitting) cubic feet.

2022, another year another batch of upgrades. Besides some cables (switched to RCA for the Cinenova because the XLRs were putting out too much volume), I finally got the power regenerator I've been looking at for a while: the PS Audio PerfectWave P10!

On top of that, I've doubled the number of bass traps (from 4 to 8) and added some more absorption panels on the right wall as it felt that I was still getting some unwanted reflections from that side.

Oh, and I got a matching Esoteric BNC cable for my Esoteric Master Clock Generator and yes, it does sound a lot better in terms of detail and frequency extension.

Please let me know what you like, what you don't like, and where you see potential for improvements and better synergies.

Room Details

Dimensions: 19’ × 12’  Medium
Ceiling: 9’

Components Toggle details

    • Esoteric K-01X
    CD / SACD player
    • Esoteric G-03X
    Master Clock Generator
    • Esoteric C-03X
    Stereo pre-amp
    • Marantz AV8802A
    Surround processor
    • Bryston 7B SST2
    Pair of mono blocks for the front speakers
    • Earthquake Sound Cinenova Grande 7 BR
    7-channel amp for center, surround, and surround-back speakers
    • JBL 1400 Array
    Front left and right speakers
    • JBL 880 Array
    Center speaker
    • JBL Studio L890
    Surround side speakers
    • JBL Studio L830
    Surround back speakers
    • SVS PB-2000 Pro
    Pair of subwoofers
    • Stillpoints LLC Ultra 5
    Isolation feet for the front speakers
    • Stillpoints LLC Ultra SS feet
    Isolation feet under the mono blocks
    • SVS SoundPath
    Decoupling feet for the SVS PB-2000 Pro subwoofers
    • AudioQuest Red River
    RCA cables from the Marantz 8802A to the Esoteric C-03X (for HT throughput) and Cinenova Grande 7 BR
    • Esoteric 7N-DA6100IV MEXCEL
    75 Ohm digital cable between the G-03X and the K-01X
    • Nordost Odin 1
    XLR connection between the Esoteric K-01X and the Esoteric C-03X
    • Nordost Valhalla 1
    RCA connection between the Esoteric K-01X and the Bryston BHA-1
    • Nordost Tyr 2
    XLR cables from the Esoteric C-03X to the Bryston 7BSST2 mono blocks
    • Nordost Valhalla 1
    Speaker cable for the front speakers
    • Nordost Reference Bi-wire jumpers
    Jumpers for the front speakers
    • Nordost Frey 1
    Speaker cable for the center speaker
    • Nordost Norse 2 Bi-wire jumpers
    Jumpers for the center speaker
    • Acrolink 7N-PC9100 Mexcell
    Power cord for the Esoteric K-01X
    • Acrolink 7N-PC7300
    Power cord for the Esoteric C-03X
    • Acrolink 7N-PC7100
    Power cord for the Esoteric G-03X
    • Nordost Tyr 2 Power cord (Norse) Second Generation
    Power cord for the PS Audio P10
    • Nordost Frey 2 Power Cord
    Power cords for the Bryston 7BSST2 mono blocks
    • Nordost Heimdall 2 Power Cord
    Power cords for the Bryston BHA-1 and Panasonic UB9000
    • Audio Sensibility Testament
    Power cords for the SVS PB-2000 Pros and Marantz 8802A
    • PS Audio PerfectWave Power Plant 10
    Power regenerator for the Esoteric K-01X, C-03X, and G-03X, and Bryston BHA-1
    • Chang Lightspeed Hyperdrive CLS 715

    Power conditioner for the Bryston 7BSST2 mono-blocks, Marantz 8802A, Panasonic UB9000, Sony UBP-X800, and LG OLED77B9PUA OLED TV

    • Nordost QRT Qv2 AC Line Harmonizer
    Pair of AC Line Harmonizers
    • Nordost QRT Qk1
    Pair of AC Enhancers
    • Furutech FP-15A-N1 (R)
    Pair of duplex receptacles
    • LG Electronics OLED77B9PUA
    77" OLED TV
    • Panasonic UB9000
    Main UHD player with Dolby Vision / Blu-ray player / DVD player
    • Sony UBP-X800
    Multi-Channel SACD / DVD-A player / Backup UHD Player
    • Toshiba HD-XA2
    HD-DVD player
    • WireWorld Platinum Starlight 7
    HDMI cable from the AV processor to the TV
    • WireWorld Starlight 7
    HDMI cable from the UHD player to the AV processor
    • Bryston BHA-1
    Headphone amp
    • Focal Utopia Headphones
    • Solid Tech Radius Solo 5
    Equipment rack for the Esoteric K-01X, C-03X and G-03X,Bryston BHA-1, and PS Audio P10
    • Solid Tech Radius Duo 3
    Equipment rack for the Bryston 7BSST2 mono blocks, Marantz 8802A, Cinenova Grande 7 BR, Panasonic UB9000, Sony UBP-X800, and Chang Lightspeed
    • Vicoustic Cinema Round Premium
    24 wall panels for absorption at the first reflection points on the side walls in front and behind the listening position.
    • Vicoustic Multifuser DC2
    6 ceiling panels for diffusion above the main listening position.
    • Vicoustic Wavewood Diffuser Ultra
    3 panels for the back wall to add sound scattering as well as some level of diffusion and absorption.
    • Vicoustic Super Bass Extreme Ultra
    6 bass traps - two in each rear corner, one for each front corner along with a pair of Vicoustic Super Bass Extreme Premium.
    • Vicoustic Super Bass Extreme Premium
    2 bass traps for the front corners along with a pair of Vicoustic Super Bass Extreme Ultra
    • APC House Acoustic Fabric
    4 additional wall panels for a little more absorption.
    • Valencia Oslo
    Home theater seat

Comments 1

I have some of the JBL Models including the LC 310 -1, 4312E , and the 4319. Big Audiophile secrets very nice sounding speakers at reasonable  prices .


Showing 1 post