T.H.E. Show 2019: Esoteric and Von Schweikert

Sometimes you walk into a room and you just know you’re going to be impressed by the sound of the high-fidelity equipment curated for listening.

You’ve heard some of the gear previously, or in a different combination and been wowed, so there’s expectation.

The Esoteric and Von Schweikert room at T.H.E. Show with its impressive array of electronics and loudspeakers was one such room. The footprint of the setup and the fact they decided to use a standard-size room to display it speaks to the confidence level of those showing the gear, and having heard previous iterations in a much larger room I can attest to its pressurization abilities.

The setup under discussion was the all-new (North American debut at AXPONA earlier this year) all-digital front end and pre/power combo of the Esoteric Grandioso P1X Transport (new VRDS SACD ATLAS transport mechanism $50,000 USD), N-03T Network Audio Transport ($11,000 USD), Grandioso G1 Rubidium Master Clock ($26,000 USD), Grandioso D1X Monoblock DAC (new 64-bit architecture, ES-LINK4 ultra-wide bandwidth communication $50,000 USD/Pair), Grandioso C1 Linestage Preamp ($38,000 USD), Grandioso S1 Power Amp (150 watts/eight Ohms, 300 watts/four Ohms $27,000 USD), and the Von Schweikert Audio Endeavor E-5 MKII loudspeakers (frequency response: eight Ohms, 24Hz~40KHz (+/- 2dB), 140 lbs each $40,000 USD/Pair).

”Slam” is what I have at the top of my notes from the room, followed by “bass extension, power dynamics and life-like tonality.” I go on and discuss the tangibility of the playback and the system’s excellent timbral translational abilities which made it easy to discern differences between wood-bodied instruments like violins and cellos. Bass pluck and guitar finger-picking were clearly defined and the detail never got lost in the big picture of the performances. Overall, more to the lean, rather than the rich side sonically speaking, this was nevertheless coherent, musical, lifelike with in-the-room human scale and presence and excellent spatial sound stage placements to artists that changed from recording to recording.

Esoteric Audio/Von Schweikert Audio