Esoteric C-02X Line Stage Pre-amplifier
Esoteric C-02X Line Stage Pre-amplifier
What we Say:
The Esoteric C-02X is a fully balanced Line stage Pre-amplifier. The large chassis allows a true dual mono construction. Single ended inputs and outputs are available on RCA and XLR connectors. The C-02X weights 32kg, the 4 toroidal power transformers play a big part in the overall weight. Using multiple separate linear power supplies for each section gives this unit superb audio performance. The Audio input and output circuits are carefully shielded within their own screened enclosures.
The Esoteric C-02X is a fully balanced Line stage Pre-amplifier. It has 2 balanced inputs on XLR connectors and 3 single ended on RCA. There are pre-amp outputs on RCA and XLR. It can have a phono stage fitted as an optional extra.
The large chassis allows a true dual mono construction. Single ended inputs and outputs are available on RCA and XLR connectors. The C-02X weights a substantial 32kg, the 4 toroidal power transformers play a big part in the overall weight. Using multiple separate linear power supplies for each section gives this unit superb audio performance. The Audio input and output circuits are carefully shielded within their own screened enclosures.
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What they say:
Stereo Linestage Preamplifier
Audio expression, symphonic beauty, artistic passion, the concert hall’s spatial feel, the excitement of the audience. Esoteric’s Master Sound Works is an audio product concept that recreates all of the music information in original master recordings with the most state-of-the-art technology available today.
The C-02X’s DC power supply features a fully independent dual mono design that completely eliminates inter-channel interference. Its dedicated bank of five generously rated power transformers for each channel also blocks noise from the power line, enabling a pure, natural amplified sound. Grandioso technology reveals itself in such detailed refinements as the careful layout of the power supply circuit boards, which further contribute to the C-02X’s superb sound quality.
The preamplifier’s source signal is first received by dedicated buffer amplifiers integrated with each input, from which the circuit configuration is balanced at each stage. Through the elimination of common-mode noise and reductions in circuit impedance, a pure, noise-free signal is fed to the gain amplifiers via the shortest path possible, for an exceptionally high signal-to-noise ratio.
Version-up service is available that changes the RCA3 Input into MM/MC-compatible PHONO input.
The C-02X’s Esoteric-QVCS* volume control employs four precision switched resistor ladder networks, which change in unison as the volume knob is rotated. This arrangement allows the signal paths for the left and right channels and their positive and negative phases to be kept totally independent and as short as possible. Consequently the sound has superb clarity, excellent channel separation and highly accurate phase characteristics. The elimination of audio board wiring to the volume control further contributes to a reduced signal path, while preventing degradation of sound quality and helping to maintain the low distortion one would expect of a reference model.
* QVCS: Quad Volume Control System
Built into the front panel, the logic control section is totally isolated, both physically and electronically, from the preamplifier module by way of an optocoupler. To assure low-noise operation, it also shuts completely down when not in actual operation, thus eliminating all possible influence on the C-02X’s audio circuitry.
Five independent high-capacity power transformers, coupled with large banks of reservoir capacitors, provide power supply circuits that have exceptionally low output impedances and very clean and stable outputs. The low-noise silicon carbide (SiC) Schottky barrier diodes used in the high-speed rectifier circuit further enhance resolution and the signal-to-noise ratio for significant improvements in sound quality.
As a line driver, the preamplifier must be able to fully drive the power amplifiers and faithfully convey the music signal’s wide dynamic range. The key to achieving this is a circuit that provides both high current drive capability and high speed. The C-02X’s output buffer circuitry delivers an exceptionally high current drive coupled with a high slew rate of 2,000V/µs for sharp response. Independent buffer circuits for each output and symmetrical circuitry for both the hot and cold phases of the XLR outputs maximize instantaneous output current capability.
Located closest to the output buffer circuitry, the EDLC* Super Capacitor array, originally developed for the Grandioso C1, was adapted as a highly stable power source. Its compact physical size belies the extraordinary 100,000µF (0.1F) capacity it provides each channel, for high levels of instantaneous output power and strong, steady bass reproduction. Integrating these two technologies, the C-02X preserves musical dynamics that would otherwise be lost if smaller current transmission levels were employed between the pre and power amplifiers, allowing it to reproduce a breathtaking level of audio reality.
* HCLD: High Current Line Driver * EDLC = Electric Double-Layer Capacitor
- Dual mono” construction provides excellent signal separation between left and right channels.
- MC load impedance value is selectable between 20, 100, and 300 ohms
- Functions are easily accessible by using remote controller.
- 4-layer print circuit board achieves the shortest possible signal path.
- Unique power regulator design minimizes unwanted sonic interference to the line stage.
- Noise-free, shielded internal wirings.
*The installation of the board includes hardware and software updates of the main unit, thus can only be done at our factory. Please contact your local authorized ESOTERIC dealer for more information.
The C-02X’s elegant volume and input selector knobs are machined from solid blocks of aluminum. Like the Grandioso C1, their control shafts use a VRDS drive mechanism bearing system for high-precision rotation, with no mechanical play in their movements. Rotational torque has also been fine-tuned to provide a luxurious analog control feel in keeping with this high-end preamplifier.
The C-02X’s optimized chassis design features a 2-layer 5-cell configuration that houses each circuit block in its own compartment. This structure shortens the signal path to help minimize inter-circuit interference. The chassis’ 5mm-thick steel bottom plate and thick aluminum exterior panels are supported at 4 points by Esoteric’s own patented ‘Pinpoint Feet’ (patent No: JP4075477), which enhance chassis rigidity while effectively suppressing resonant vibration.