Esoteric S-03 Power Amplifier
Piece by piece. By the delicate hands of specialists schooled in perfectionist-minded engineering. That is how each Esoteric S-03 power amplifier is assembled in Tokyo – because some things are too important to leave to soulless robots and mechanized processes. Yes, such mastery costs, but what price can you place on a component that creates seemingly endless vistas of spaciousness and enough power to drive loudspeakers to their wildest potential, delivering music with full-spectrum dynamics and heart-palpitating vibrancy at any volume? S-03 takes you there. And how.
Inspired by the flagship Grandiose M1, S-03 seeks to faithfully replicate every nuance in the audio signal. Nominally rated at 145Wpc into eight ohms and able to provide a mammoth 580Wpc into two ohms, S-03 relies on a superbly linear 2x2 dual-mono power supply distinguished by the separation of the left and right channels of both the front and drive stages into four independent sections. The dual-mono topology extends from the secondary windings of the transformers to the rectifier circuit, leading to extraordinary channel separation on par with reference-setting monoblock amplifiers.
S-03's large-capacity, El-type, 940VA power transformer is equally remarkable. Featuring separate windings on the left and right channels, a 5mm-thick steel base plate mount, three parallel 4,700 F capacitors per channel, heavy-duty cable wiring, it affords the type of full-bodied bass and tight, fast responsiveness that make songs, symphonies, and the like come alive with head-turning realism.
Esoteric also loaded S-03 with discrete balanced input buffer amplifiers, nine bus bars for each channel, bipolar LAPT transistors that boast an instantaneous peak capacity of 34A, a three-stage Darlington circuit with five parallel push-pull sections, and a unique LIDSC (Low Impedance Drive Stage Coupling) circuit to further enhance drive capability. All these decisions matter – you can read more on the technology below – but the upshot is that the only thing you need worry about is how to allocate more hours of listening time from your day
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