Welcome to Esoteric Audio

Perfecting the art of sound reproduction is our philosophy.
Since launching Esoteric Audio in 1986,
we are dedicated to supplying our customers with outstanding audiophile products
and personalised before- and after sales service.

We deliver worldwide


Based in Cape Town, South Africa, we offer some of the most prestigious Hi-Fi Brands available.

Audio Research Vacuum Tube Amplifiers, imported and distributed by Esoteric Audio South Africa

Audio Research was the pioneer at advancing the state-of-the-art for audio reproduction in the seventies, re-introducing the vacuum tube as the primary active amplification device. New product introductions are driven only by genuine advances in technology and performance.

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WATCH: The company's past, present, and future, as well as how they design and hand-make all of their products -- from 1970 to today.
Jeff Rowland Amplifiers, imported and distributed by Esoteric Audio South South Africa

For over 30 years, Jeff Rowland has established a reputation for designing and manufacturing amplifiers that have consistently mustered the test of time. Their trend setting technical innovations consistently become fundamental design elements in High-End Audio.

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WATCH: The high-end audio design process from Jeff Rowland's own drafting table to the high tech mil-spec machine shop of Vertec Tool in Colorado Springs, CO.

JL Audio

JL Audio powered subwoofers are designed and built to achieve unprecedented performance, articulate and dynamic bass that supports musical and cinematic presentations with equal aplomb. State-of-the-art bass sound that will improve the highest of High End Systems.


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WATCH: The technology behind JL Audio's E-Sub powered subwoofers.
Kii Three Speakers, imported and distributed by Esoteric Audio South Africa

"Kii Audio’s Kii Three Active Speaker is so different that it may be the beginning of an entirely new class of loudspeakers: An extremely high performance music reproduction system that fits classic as well as modern living spaces.

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Read review
"The next step in loudspeaker evolution"


MBL Akustikgeräte, imported and distributed by Esoteric Audio South Africa

There was a time when the “Radialstrahler” was only an idea on a sketch-pad. An idea that many people believed would not work, was turned into patent. Thirty years and countless awards later, thousands of audiophiles in the whole world are now closer to their beloved music than they had ever dreamt of.

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WATCH: How the Radialstrahler works.

Symposium Acoustics Isolation Methods for Audio Sound Systems, imported and distributed by Esoteric Audio South Africa

Symposium Acoustics offer products employing ball bearing isolation methods since 1997. Rollerblocks, platforms and rack systems that will reduce or eliminate the effects of both externally and internally generated vibration and noise.


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Townshend Audio Isolation Platforms for Audio Sound Systems, imported and distributed by Esoteric Audio South Africa

Townshend Audio has been designing audio products for more than 50 years. Originally known for their isolation platforms, the company has branched out into room acoustics, analog and digital sources, as well as cables.


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reel to reel tapes

and vinyl records

We import Analog Audio Tapes, based on the original AGFA and BASF specifications,
as well as Original Analog Master Tapes and Vinyl Records.

Please contact us for more information or browse available prodcts on links below

  and  

we supply amplifier valves
from audio research

KT120, KT150, 6550, 6FQ7 / 6CG7, 5881, 6L6GC, 6AS7, 12AT7 / ECC81, 6922, 12BH7, 12AX7/CZ, 7119, 5AR4, 7233, 6N1P, 6H30

Audio Research maintains a comprehensive inventory of quality amplifier valves for every product it has manufactured during its four-decade history. These vacuum tubes are secured from leading manufacturers and vendors around the world to meet Audio Research’s stringent standards for top quality at affordable prices. The valves may be purchased individually or in complete sets, selected for maximum performance.

NEWs

Jeff Rowland model 735
Mono power amplifier

Jeff Rowland Model 735 Mono Power Amplifier, Imported and distributed by Esoteric Audio South Africa

April 29, 2020, New Product Announcement:
Jeff Rowland's new Model 735 Mono Power Amplifier is now available for shipment to South Africa.
Here is a link to the introduction movie.


Since the ending of production of the popular Model 725 Mono Amplifier in 2018, there has been an increasing demand for a replacement of this fine amplifier.
By using the Model 725 as a platform for ongoing research and development, Jeff Rowland has incorporated a number of changes into the design of the new Model 735.

After many hours of critical listening tests done on several input transformer types, and consultation with Per Lundahl of Lundahl Transformers AB in Sweden, it was decided to incorporate a custom designed cobalt-based amorphous core input transformer instead of the standard high permeability, mu metal lamination core type previously used in the 725.

Due to the continuing increase of electromagnetic and radio frequency interference and pollution throughout the world, an improved input filter characteristic was incorporated in the input stage of the Model 735 to address this issue. Very small amounts of EMF interference from any source can have deleterious effects on sensitive input stages of all solid state circuitry, therefore these measures taken in the Model 735 yielded enhanced musical reproduction and background silence. A reduction of amplifier bandwidth to approximately 90 kHz was chosen and careful filter alignment achieved a very minimal group phase deviation, which guarantees signal fidelity.

Additional refinement of the error correction circuitry lowered the distortion well above 30 kHz to levels difficult to measure with modern test equipment. Although it may be difficult to determine if these measures yield substantial sonic benefit at this time, Jeff Rowland feels it is still an exercise worthy of effort towards the advance of knowledge and understanding of amplifier circuit operation.

The ceramic substrate circuit board material is carried over from previous models and has been redesigned in some areas to accommodate some minor circuit improvements and additions. A new color has been chosen for a unique visual identifier.

A new amplifier bottom cover has been designed with machined cavities to accept a proprietary damping material, secured in place with machined covers, which act as supporting feet for the amplifier. During the testing and evaluation of various damping materials and supporting elements, a material and configuration was found which completely isolates the amplifier chassis from its supporting structure, allowing the amplifier to express its full potential.

Reel to Reel Tapes,
Master Tapes and Vinyl Records

Reel to Reel Master Tapes and Vinyl Records, Imported and distributed by Esoteric Audio South Africa

We now import Analog Reel to Reel Audio Tapes as well as Original Analog Master Tapes and Vinyl LP's.

Recording the Masters is the leading manufacturer of Analog Reel to Reel Tapes, based on the original AGFA and BASF specifications and used worldwide in major recording studios.

Fonè is the historic Italian label for more than 30 years in high fidelity. They supply Vinyl Records and Analog Master Tapes between classical music, jazz and pop.

Please contact us for further information or browse available prodcts on links below.



Audio Research Ref 160S
Stereo Power Amplifier

Audio Research Ref160S Stereo Power Amplifier

Audio Research is pleased to announce the launch of the Reference 160S Stereo Power Amplifier.

Following the example of the internationally-acclaimed 160M Monaural Power Amplifier, introduced in 2018, the Reference 160S (REF160S) is a vacuum-tube design with dual transparent power meters that float in front of the eight KT150 output power tubes.

The 160S continues the feature set introduced in the 160M, including a proprietary auto-bias circuit, switchable Triode or Ultralinear modes of operation, balanced and single-ended inputs, and an output tube monitoring mode. The 160S also uses a four-layer circuit board, allowing music to emanate from a jet-black background. With a weight of 40 kg and a chassis depth of 54.6 cm, two rear handles were added to make it easier to lift and move. Larger 120mm, low profile fans are built into the bottom cover plate horizontally to provide ventilation.

Electronic Specifications  

Jeff Rowland Conductor
Phono Preamplifier

The new Jeff Rowland Conductor Phono Preamplifier is a statement product for serious vinyl lovers.

The multiple inputs are highly configurable and easily accessed on the back panel, you can start off with just one input, even just an MM, and add as you go, allowing to run up to 4 different cartridges by simply changing the input button.

Features
- 4 front panel selectable inputs
- Mute
- Mono
- Left minus right channel for easy cartridge setup
- Fully balanced transformer inputs and outputs
- Fully balanced internal circuitry
- Both XLR and Cinch inputs
- Subsonic filter

Specifications
- Gain: 42dB MM, 52dB High Output MC, 64dB MC, 72dB Low Output MC
- Max output level: 16V RMS, balanced outputs
- RIAA conformance: +/- 0.1dB 30hz – 80kHz
- S/N Ratio: 68 dB, ref. 0.5 mV@1 kHz, unweighted
- THD: 0.0015%, 30hz – 20kHz
- CMRR: 110dB, 20hz – 20kHz

AUDIO RESEARCH LAUNCHES TWO
SPECIAL EDITION PRODUCTS

Audio Research Ref160M

April 5th, 2019 – Audio Research is pleased to announce an SE update to the CD6 and Reference CD9 Transport/DAC.

The new CD6SE and Reference CD9SE feature beautiful faceplate updates that closely match ARC’s Foundation and Reference-series components. The redesigned faceplates, with matching buttons, illumination, and black plexiglass display allow an integrated and uniform look across the latest model platforms.


Both SE units boast the latest V3.0 USB audio card, providing compatibility with macOS, Windows 10, and any Linux-based system that supports ALSA devices. This feature allows full streaming capability from products like Aurender, or Roon’s Nucleus. This USB audio card offers a state-of-the-art FPGA design that re-clocks data and formats appropriately; firmware updates are not required. Digital inputs on the original CD6 included two TOSlink inputs, in addition to RCA and USB. The CD6SE will have one TOSlink input and one AES/EBU input, in addition to RCA and USB. Digital inputs on the REF CD9SE will remain unchanged, with the same inputs as the CD6SE.

Kii three BXT system

Kii THREE BXT

We are excited to inform you about the world wide launch of the brand new Kii Audio BXT System. The BXT is an extension module which turns any Kii THREE Active Speaker into a veritable floor standing loudspeaker of unheard quality, making use of 16 additional drivers and a total of 7000 Watts...

- Floor standing DSP controlled High-End playback system.
- 2 x Kii THREE speakers in high gloss white, graphite matt metallic or custom color.
- 2 x BXT modules in the same or a contrasting color.
- 1 x Kii Control offers volume control, input selection with touch switch operation, additional software menu, OLED display and is IR ready.
- Inputs: USB, SPDIF, TOSLINK, AES, ANALOGUE

The BXT makes full use of the Kii THREEs´ ACTIVE WAVE FOCUSING technology and adds more frequency range and SPL while still being a cardioid system that, despite its size, does not interact with the room. It has shown that even smaller rooms profit a lot from the line source concept.
Please note that existing Kii THREEs can be upgraded at any time with the BXTs giving you full investment security. Also the Kii THREEs are still transportable and can be run by themselves just by detaching them from the BXT and using a different software setting that you can set with the Kii CONTROL.

See Video on how easy you can mount a Kii THREE to a BXT.   WATCH HERE

Audio Research Ref 160M

Audio Research Ref160M

After two years in development, the new Reference 160M (REF160M) Monoblock Power Amplifier is here.

It features a refined audio topology with fewer and better components in the signal-path than in previous designs, switchable Ultralinear/Triode operation, proprietary auto-bias, output tube monitoring and protection, an advanced power meter, and much more. This array of features has never been offered before in an Audio Research amplifier.

The designers at Audio Research wanted to create a new style that would complement the look of the REF6 preamp while also featuring a transparent faceplate that allows a view of the glowing KT150 vacuum tubes. While this window allows you to see the output tubes, it also incorporates an innovative dual-layer construction with distinctively etched markings that create an integrated power meter. The power meter’s output-level markings illuminate via hidden LEDs, and the illumination brightness is adjustable.
The REF160M includes a sculpted cover with an integrated fan to cool the heat generated by the four (4) KT150 output tubes and two (2) 6H30 driver tubes. Solid-state power regulation was chosen to provide increased efficiency, stability, and reliability. The power supply stage uses a newly developed High Energy Capacity Transformer and a hefty bulk storage-capacity network to provide extremely high current on demand for transient peaks and intense dynamics, as well as for prodigious bass depth and authority.
It is understood that the best path is the shortest path. Audio Research engineers created a new audio circuit topology with the shortest signal path and the fewest components. Those components are not only the best available, many are custom made for Audio Research. Incorporating these quality components is a special 4-layer circuit board that lowers the noise floor to unprecedented levels, and a design which was previously reserved for use in our preamplifiers. The result is a new benchmark in musicality in every criterion of sound quality.
The REF160M also features a proprietary auto-bias circuit that works with various tubes types, including 6550, KT88, and KT120, in addition to the supplied KT150 and works constantly to maintain precise bias of the output tubes, while also adjusting for tube wear. There is no need to check or adjust bias ever again.
The new REF160M breaks new ground sonically, aesthetically and operationally, and will be available in Natural (Silver) or Black finishes.

Kii THREE ACTIVE Loudspeakers

Kii THREE Loudspeaker

NOW AVAILABLE IN SOUTHERN AFRICA!

The three-way, six-driver Kii Three is distinct from most other loudspeakers, it is self-amplified and -preamplified, DSP-controlled, and German. The most advanced loudspeaker on the market today.

The Kii THREE was designed to provide extremely deep bass from a relatively small and surprisingly lightweight cabinet. Each speaker houses a six channel DSP, six d/a converters and six power amp channels feeding each driver with its very own dedicated signal. The Kii amps feature sophisticated voltage/ current control circuitry to actively reduce distortion in each transducer. Six power amps at 250 watts each sum up to 1.500 watts of total power for each speaker.
Included in the Kii THREE package is the Kii CONTROL which offers three additional digital inputs: Coax SPDIF, Optical TOSLINK and USB (up to PCM 24/384kHz and DSD64/DSD128 on USB). Most importantly the Kii CONTROL enables lossless volume control inside the DSP of the Kii THREEs, keeping the signal path of the system as transparent as possible.

SPECIFICATIONS:
Size: 20 cm × 40cm × 40 cm (8”W × 16”H × 16”D)
Weight: 15 kg (33 lbs);
4 × 6.5” woofer, 1× 5” midrange, 1” waveguided tweeter, all individually driven
Amplification: 6× 250 W full-custom Ncore (power consumption in standby < 0.5 W)
Active Wave Focusing crossover filter frequency response: 20 Hz to 25 kHz ±0.5 dB
Phase response: Minimum (best possible time coherence)
Long term SPL: 105 dB • Short-term SPL: 110 dB • Peak SPL: 115 dB;
Controlled Directivity: 4.8 dB (80 Hz to 1 kHz, slowly rising thereafter)
Inputs: Analogue, AES/EBU • Selectable correction for free-standing, near wall, or in corner
Latency: normal mode = approx. 90 ms; low latency mode = 1030 µs (1.03 ms)

MBL Akustikgeräte Radialstrahler

MBL Akustikgerate Radialstrahler

MAXIMUM QUALITY - MADE IN GERMANY

MBL's Radialstrahler Loudspeakers are now available in Southern Africa!

For the third time in succession the magazine “The Absloute Sound” awarded the following 8 MBL products with the Editors’ Choice Award:
- REFERENCE LINE: mbl 101 E MKII, mbl 101 X-treme, mbl 6010 D
- CORONA LINE: mbl 120, mbl C51, mbl C11, mbl C21, mbl C31

For more information please go to our product page MBL Akustikgeräte.

Wondering how MBL Radialstrahler Loudspeakers work?    WATCH HERE  

symposium acoustics osiris rack

Symposium Acoustics Osiris Rack

Symposium is proud to announce the Osiris Rack: a modular, state-of-the-art component environment system with unique, patented features found in no other audio or video rack, at any price. The Osiris boasts outside-the-box technology and convenience features found nowhere else. These include:

- Compound Rollerblock® Isolation (patented)
- Magnetic Bearing Bias (patented)
- EMI/RFI "Faraday" shielding (exclusive)
- component electrical grounding (exclusive)
- superior shelf technology (no plastics, stone, woods, no sorbothane or rubber)
- solid aircraft aluminum, modular frame
- optional oxygen-free copper (OFC) frame (exclusive)
- ISO vertical wave isolation (exclusive)
- wire and cable management system
- modular design adapts to your changing system requirements
- several finish options
- custom shelf sizes and configurations available upon request

The Osiris inherited its core technology from the widely acclaimed Isis Rack, which set new standards for rack performance. Osiris starts at the performance level of its progenitor and exceeds its benchmarks, with new features and expanded, refined technology.

- Larger, Stronger Levels
Standard interior Osiris shelving is roomy enough for most components at 21 inches wide by 21.25 inches deep (53 cm x 54 cm) (note: other size shelf systems are available). XT "eXtended Top" levels with greater surface area accommodate even the largest turntables.
The Osiris shelf design increases rigidity and reduces shelf "breakup" modes for correct timbral preservation. Its four-post system ensures stability, strength, and ease of access.
ISO shelf levels provide well-damped, non-resonant vertical wave isolation for reduced distortion. "ISO" damped vertical isolation levels are available to provide an extra dimension of precision-damped isolation without the "bounce" or transient bloating caused by more common (and almost universally used) polymer-based isolation padding found in most isolation rack systems. The ISO system, in conjunction with patented Rollerblock® Compound Isolation, gives dynamic, musical, unsurpassed sonic results with all types of components - from analog turntables to the heaviest "monster" amplifiers.

- Electrical Grounding of Components
The Osiris' high quality stainless steel shelves provide effective (>20 dB at microwave frequencies) shielding from electromagnetic fields. Electrical grounding connections on each of the shelves, an industry exclusive, provide a conveniently placed, direct electrical connection to the chassis of a component on that shelf.
Electrically grounding the component to the Osiris' EMI/RFI-shielding shelves, coupled with the ability to ground the rack to a dedicated earth ground, reduces distortion from electrical field interference. This is an industry exclusive feature not paralleled by any other rack system.

- Optional OFC (Oxygen-Free Copper) Leg System
What's even better than solid, aircraft-grade alloy aluminum? There's only one practical candidate in nature - solid oxygen free copper, the best practical material for any rack or stand support (only pure silver would be a better mechanical conductor, but is not practical). The leg system of an equipment rack is of vital importance; its quality affects all aspects of sonics, including bass, imaging, harmonic integrity and more. Symposium racks have always been constructed of solid aluminum, which is superior to steel, brass, wood, plastics, and hollow metal tubing - even if filled with lead or sand. Filling hollow legs with lead shot or sand is done to damp the severe resonance of hollow tubing, a problem that does not exist with solid aluminum or copper legs (which are self-damped and acoustically "dead"), and does not improve mechanical grounding efficiency, which is the function of an equipment rack's leg system.

All Rollerblock Modules in OFC Osiris Racks are supplied in special edition 7075 aluminum version, a premium grade, super-strength alloy chosen for its superior strength, hardness, and performance.

townshend engineering F1 Fractal Speaker Cable

Townshend Engineering F1 Fractal Speaker Cable

Continuing forty years of development, the F1 Fractal™ speaker cable is Townshend’s first new speaker cable in fourteen years! This speaker cable is entirely constructed by hand to achieve the most transparent and neutral connection between amplifier and speakers. The no compromise option for sound quality.

The F1 Fractal™ speaker cable combines Townshend’s remarkable Fractal™ proprietary treatment, with its impedance matched cable geometry to bring you the most transparent, accurate and captivating speaker cable they can envisage.
Two Fractal™ treated pure copper strip conductors are spaced with ultra thin PTFE insulation with no adhesive and surrounded in flexible polyurethane polymer for truly comprehensive vibration damping. This entire construct is then encapsulated by a super-strong flexible conduit for ultimate protection, within hard wearing woven polyester braid.
Each end of the cable incorporates house-keeping electronics to ensure stable operation with ALL amplifiers and features radio frequency interference reduction circuitry. All contained within a machined solid aluminium capsule, that also works as a transition between the twin-strips and the wire tails.
The cable may be terminated with lockable banana plugs, spades or the connector of your choice. The F1 Fractal speaker cable is non directional and un-equal lengths may be used. It requires no burning-in and is available in lengths of up to 10 metres.

Reviews

Townshend Podium

MBL 101 X-treme Omnidirectional Loudspeaker

JL Audio Fathom f113v2 Subwoofer Review

Audio Research Ref160s Review

Kii Three

Audio Research Ref160M

MBL 101 Radialstrahler

Jeff Rowland 625

Contact details

THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN OUR PRODUCTS




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Audio Research Valve Amplifiers South Africa Jeff Rowland Amplifiers, imported and distributed by Esoteric Audio South AfricaKii Audio
MBL Acoustics Symposium Acoustics Townshend Engineering