Esoteric Grandioso C1X Linestage Preamplifier
The Preamplifier Revolution
For the control center of Esoteric’s flagship Grandioso X edition, our engineers looked ahead to what lies beyond what a preamplifier should be.
In order to surpass the Grandioso C1, winner of countless awards following its 2014 introduction, we set out to thoroughly reimagine the volume control system – often considered to be the fundamental core of a preamplifier – thereby dramatically improving its precision and clarity of sound to become the standard for a new era.
Esoteric’s accumulated engineering knowledge and expertise was focused on the creation of a new preamplifier that meets the desires of the consummate audiophile.
– The new Grandioso C1X
A Preamplifier That Draws Music.
In the world of preamplifiers there exists two fundamental types of volume control.
What are known as “fixed resistance switching attenuator circuits” are capable of bringing out some of the purest, most direct sound. This outstanding circuit delivers the best sound for preamplifiers designed to pursue the ultimate in sound quality. However, since volume is determined by switching resistors, in order to achieve a smoother, virtually stepless volume control, the size and scale of the circuit would have to become so large that it couldn’t realistically be installed in a stereo sound component.
On the other hand, so-called “variable resistance volume circuits” make possible smooth, stepless volume adjustments. However, wiring distances can be long, and inevitable crosstalk between channels and wear on the switching contacts tend to cause deterioration of sound quality over time.
Might it be possible to create a stepless attenuator circuit that can accurately set the desired volume, much like a variable resistance volume circuit, while still maintaining the excellent sound quality associated with the fixed resistance switching attenuator circuit?
Esoteric’s development team set out to challenge these two contradictory propositions.
The New Ultra Fidelity Attenuator System – Esoteric Arrives at the Ultimate Attenuator
To provide an ideal answer to these two propositions, Esoteric developed an entirely new attenuator circuit, the Ultra Fidelity Attenuator System.
Its proprietary UFA-1792 attenuator module realizes an attenuator circuit that achieves virtually stepless volume adjustment in incredible 0.1dB intervals.
Precision Volume Control at Your Fingertips
The C1X’s new Ultra Fidelity Attenuator System takes Esoteric’s signature Dual Mono Full Balance circuit to a whole new level, achieving an astoundingly precise 1,120 steps at 0.1dB intervals, which vastly exceeds the 100 steps at 0.5dB per step offered by the original Grandioso C1.
Our long-established Esoteric-QVCS quad circuit has undergone a complete renewal, providing an ultra high-fidelity attenuator system delivering remarkably fine accuracy volume control as well as excellent audio signal channel separation and polarity.
The new C1X brings the Grandioso series even closer to the ideal of Master Sound Works, accurately reproducing all the musical information recorded in the original master – an ideal that Esoteric amplifiers have advocated for since their inception.
The Heart of the System That Gives Life to Sound
Newly developed as a modular unit that can be used in both output and input amplifiers, Esoteric’s new IDM-01 Integrated Discrete Amplifier Module combines the advantages of a discrete configuration, which permits free selection of the individual parts that make up the circuit, and a modular form that can be assembled into a circuit having the smallest footprint possible. This new amplifier module will soon take its place as the heart of all future Esoteric amplifiers, delivering a dynamic yet delicate Esoteric sound.
Greatly Enhanced Drive Capability With ES-LINK Analog Output
The C1X’s two independent ES-LINK Analog outputs and two XLR outputs are powerfully driven by parallel Esoteric-HCLD buffer amplifiers that deliver up a remarkable slew rate of 2,000V/μs. This powerful drive can be connected to multiple power amplifiers, making it possible to confidently assemble a bi-amplified or multi-amplified system.
* Optional conversion from the ES-LINK Analog outputs to RCA outputs is available.
Additionally, the C1X’s regulated power supply features an EDLC Super Capacitor array installed in close proximity to the output buffer circuit to enable both instantaneous bursts of high power and unwavering low frequencies. Together, this conveys music’s full dynamism from the preamplifier to the power amplifier, and reproduces the source sound with breathtaking realism.
EDLC Super Capacitors
Compared to normal audio capacitors, Esoteric’s EDLC Super Capacitor features a total capacity of 250,000,000μF per channel, vastly increasing both the capacity and speed of the C1X’s power supply for remarkably enhanced sound quality, particularly as it applies to low-end resolution.