To S. Andrea Sundaram,

I'm wondering if you could help me decide between [the Ayre C-5xe and the Esoteric X-05 players]. I'm currently using a Simaudio SuperNova and love its speed and clarity, but the midrange/treble is a bit too lean for me. I'm looking for a player in the same price range that has plenty of detail and speed, but also sounds more organic and real than the thin-sounding SuperNova. I don't have SACDs. Thank you very much. 

Brano Ivaska 

I own the Ayre C-5xeMP and have heard a number of Esoteric players, but not the X-05. In my opinion, neither of these players would be considered lean through the midrange though my experience with the PCM-to-DSD upsampling option on the Esoteric SA-60 leads me to believe that you could coax a slightly warmer sound out of the X-05. One decided advantage of the Ayre is that it can also play DVD-Audio discs. That might not seem important, as there aren't so many of those around anymore, but it would enable you to download high-resolution music, burn it to a disc, then play it back through the C-5xeMP. . . . S. Andrea Sundaram