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• VRDS-NEO “VMK-3.5-20S” Mechanism
• VS-DD dedicated spindle servo driver
• Double-deck structure and 3D optimized chas-sis construction
• AKM AK4497 392kHz/32-Bit DACs
• 35-Bit Processing
• ES-LINK Analog Output ( for use with F1 )
• Four independent toroidal power transformers
The Grandioso series is the supreme range of Esoteric products. The Grandioso K1 takes its place at the pinnacle of this range as an all-in-one Super Audio CD player comprised of only the very best in luxurious materials expected of a Flagship model. It adopts a high precision VRDS-NEO VMK-3.5-20S transport mechanism and newly designed premium D/A converters with separate left and right power sources for each of its eight differential circuits. It also includes the AK4497, which is the highest performance DAC in the history of AKM*. Esoteric has also developed “ES-LINK Analog”, an original high quality current transmission method for connecting with the Grandioso F1 Integrated Amplifier. Furthermore, every last corner of its electronic circuits has been refined, such as its 35-bit D/A processing algorithm, a HCLD buffer amplifier including 125,000 μF super capacitors, and a high-precision clock. To put it simply, the Grandioso K1 opens up a new horizon for digital players.
VRDS-NEO “VMK-3.5-20S” transport mechanism
The culmination of Esoteric's most advanced mechatronics know-how, the VRDS system radically improves the reading precision of Super Audio CD/CD discs by using a turntable for rotation and mechanically correcting for surface run-out. The Grandioso K1's VRDS-NEO VMK-3.5-20S drive also features two sets of specially selected high-precision ball bearings supporting a duralumin turntable constructed to micron-level accuracy, and a 20 mm-thick steel turntable bridge. The combined mechanical structure weighs an impressive 5.2 kg ( 12 kg including the rigid base ).
The drive employs proven Esoteric technologies, including a high-flux-density magnet-driven core-less three-phase brushless spindle motor, a thread feed control derived from the thinking behind the renowned P-0, and a shaft-sliding pickup which consistently illuminates the disc with a precisely perpendicular beam of laser light.
VS-DD* spindle servo driver and proprietary toroidal power supply
At the heart of the VRDS-NEO drive is a spindle driven by Esoteric's proprietary VS-DD servo driver circuit. This uses a discrete three-channel amplifier to optimize the motor drive current, minimize vibration, and provide ultra-smooth spindle operation and high-accuracy servo control. The Grandioso K1 is also equipped with a proprietary toroidal power supply that greatly enhances noise isolation.
Chassis construction and parts layout
The VRDS-NEO transport mechanism is located in the center where it is fixed to a 5 mm thick steel bottom chassis and supported by four proprietary pinpoint feet ( patent no. 4075477 ). This effectively limits vibrations from the rotation mechanism. The internal structure of the chassis features a double deck with the audio boards on the top level and power supply circuits and transformers on the bottom level, which prevents magnetic flux leakage and vibrations and also shortens the power supply wiring. The Grandioso K1 contains a total of four high capacity toroidal transformers for the two monaural D/A converters, digital circuit, and "VS-DD" spindle servo driver, which enables the unit to provide the ideal power supply to each circuit block.
Newly designed integrated dual monaural D/A converters for the ultimate in quality
The D/A converters of the Grandioso K1 feature the lavish specifications expected of a premium all-in-one model in the Grandioso line. This completely new design utilizes the finest possible materials and circuit technology available in the world today. The circuit incorporates the premium 32-bit AK4497 DAC shipset from AKM ( Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation ) in conjunction with the high-end MUSES 03 operational amplifier from New Japan Radio Co., Ltd.
Eight parallel/differential circuits drive each channel to achieve outstanding linearity and low distortion. The D/A converter features separate left and right power transformers and eight power supply regulators for each channel located directly next to each circuit to ensure a clean and highly stable power supply. The isolation of the digital circuits and analog circuits has also been made even better than before to endow listeners with vivid musical reproduction that is not only pure but also carries a superior image and depth.
The Grandioso K1 combines multiple 32-bit DAC chipsets and utilizes a 35-bit D/A processing algorithm to convert the PCM signal to analog at a high resolution of 35 bits. 35-bit processing achieves an astounding resolution that is fully 2,048 times that of 24-bit processing. In the digital range, full advantage is taken of high-bit data gradation to minimize calculation errors and provide faithful conversion to analog, thereby attaining outstanding powers of expression even with extremely small music signals.
The ability to produce comparatively large currents and high slew rates are two of the most important factors that enable an analog output circuit to accurately transmit the wide dynamic range of a music signal without degradation. The Grandioso K1 offers the ultimate performance as a line driver by adopting high-performance elements with a high output current capacity and exceptionally fast slew rate (2,000V/µs) for excellent response speed. Two of these buffer circuits are employed per channel. By configuring them differentially to drive the XLR outputs and in parallel to drive the RCA outputs, the instantaneous output current available is maximized. Furthermore, an EDLC*2 super capacitor array is utilized as the power source of the buffer circuits. Its amazingly high capacity of 125,000 µF for each channel provides unwavering low-frequency ranges and enables the reproduction of musical dynamism with breathtaking reality.
*1: HCLD = High Current Line Driver
*2: EDLC = Electric Double-layer Capacitor
In addition to regular line connections ( XLR and RCA), the Grandioso K1 features the new "ES-LINK Analog" transmission method developed by Esoteric. This is a current transmission signaling that utilizes the high performance of the HCLD buffer circuit and its enhanced ability to supply current at high-speed. This is the ideal analog audio transmission as it is free from impedance of signal route, thus fully maximizes the system's potential when connected to a compatible device.*
*Included in the Grandioso F1 as of September 2016. A standard balance cable ( with an XLR terminal ) is used for connections, but the "ES-LINK Analog" method can only be used with compatible devices since it is a proprietary transmission method.