Welcome to Esoteric Audio

Since our launch in 1986, we are dedicated to supplying our customers with outstanding audiophile products and personalised before- and after sales service.

Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research Audio Research

our brands

Based in Cape Town, we are the distributors of some of the most prestigious brands in High-End Audio.

Audio Research

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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Jeff Rowland

For 25 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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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.


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Kii Three Speakers

"Kii Audio’s Kii Three 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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MBL Akustikgeräte

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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Symposium Acoustics

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

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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Audio Desk Systeme

Reiner Gläss’ company specializes in LP and CD cleaning equipment. The highly acclaimed Audio Desk Vinyl Cleaner Pro incorporates a new technology which makes it the most efficient and most effective LP cleaner on the market.


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we  supply  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 valves 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


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Audio Research Ref 160 M

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.


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Kii THREE 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)


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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


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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.


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townshend engineering F1 Fractal Speaker Cable

Townshend Engineering F1 Fractal Speaker Cable


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audio research VT80 SPECIAL EDITION Valve Amplifier

Audio Research VT80 Special Edition

Introducing the VT80 Special Edition, the Audio Research amplifier with the widest appeal to the greatest number of music lovers worldwide. By combining world-class performance with flexibility and features like auto-bias, the VT80 has been an amp that is easy to take home and just forget as you enjoy your music collection again for the first time.

The big change to the VT80SE is upgrading from the KT120 to the KT150 output tube. Audio Research has been deeply enamored of the KT150 as they feature it in all of their other amplifiers, from the VSi75 to the REF 750SE; its performance is unparalleled and its 3,000 hour life allows years of uninterrupted listening. The VT80 was originally designed with the KT120, the predecessor to the KT150, but these two tubes are electrically interchangeable and the demand for delivering the VT80 with the KT150 could be ignored no longer. Because the KT150 is a much costlier tube, the retail price of the VT80SE is higher than the original VT80.
With its auto-bias design, the VT80SE can also be used with 6550, KT88 or KT120 output tubes, the circuit will adjust immediately when a new tube is installed. Protective fuses are installed for each output tube and can be replaced if the need ever arises. What sonic improvements will you hear with the VT80SE? As Audio Research's Warren Gehl said, “More music!” Tonal color, detail, dynamic swing and clarity are all improved, along with a bigger and more robust presentation. The music gets better, in every way.
Aside from the beautiful curves of the KT150 tubes, the only other way to distinguish the SE from the original VT80 is by a small sticker on the rear panel. Nothing else needed to change. The existing (optional) ventilated tube cover can be used with the taller KT150 tube set, there is still sufficient space to breathe. Hear for yourself how good your system can sound with the new VT80SE, it will make a tube-lover out of anyone who loves music.


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Audio Research Manufacturing

Audio Research was featured on July 3, 2017 during Manufacturing Marvels®, as seen on The Fox Business Network® on July 3, 2017.


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JEFF ROWLAND MODEL 535 POWER Amplifier

Jeff Rowland Model 535

Jeff Rowland Design Group has announced it's new Power Amplifier, incorporating active power factor correction to reduce AC line harmonic noise pollution and increase AC line power utilisation to 99 per cent. This is made possible through Jeff Rowland using a high-efficiency SMPS (switch mode power supply). Tricky speaker loads have been allowed for by the upgraded power supply capacitance which has been doubled. As with all Jeff Rowland products, the new 535 has a chassis that’s milled from a solid block of aircraft grade aluminium.


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audio research VT80 Valve Amplifier

Audio Research Foundation Series

The new VT80 is the much-anticipated amplifier that finally allows the Foundation series to be shown as a complete system, combining an enticing new esthetic with worry-free operation and great audio performance.


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audio research foundation series

Audio Research Foundation Series

The following is a press release issued by Audio Research. May 5, 2016

Audio Research is pleased to introduce the Foundation Series. From the same engineering and design team responsible for the award-winning Reference Series, the Foundation family of vacuum tube components has been created to provide incredible musical experiences. Spatial definition, dynamics and detail abound while providing the most natural musical experience.

The first three components include the LS28 line stage preamplifier, the PH9 phono stage, and the DAC9 digital-to-analog converter. A new amplifier will follow, with other products to complete the series. All models will be available in both black and natural anodized aluminum finishes. Each unit comes with its own custom metal remote control.
Since 1970, High Definition has been more than our trademark; it has been our guiding principle for all products. The Foundation Series continues this passion and philosophy, offering the listener stunning playback, great value, and unparalleled long-term support.
All products at Audio Research follow the exact same path from concept to production, regardless of the series or model. The Foundation Series shares the same lineage, build quality, and many design characteristics found in the more costly Reference Series. The result is a consistency in the Audio Research sound, and the ability to create a range of components which offer exceptional performance and value.
Many of the parts in an Audio Research product are proprietary, while some are designed for a singular model. This attention to detail is inherent to all processes at Audio Research - from the hand-soldering of every circuit board, to the final listening test which is conducted by the same person who helped guide the design. Our commitment at Audio Research is to deliver the most musically satisfying experience at every level. Audio Research - music in High Definition.
Audio Research LS28
The LS28 line stage is a flexible and intuitive preamplifier. Four balanced and four single-ended inputs, and two sets of both balanced and singleended outputs, allow maximum connectivity. The straightforward menu allows control of numerous parameters, including input naming, tube hours, auto shutdown, and home theater passthrough. Phase invert and mono are also standard functions. At the heart of the LS28 are four 6H30 vacuum tubes in the analog circuit. While the LS28 is the perfect match for any Audio Research amplifier, it has been designed to work with nearly any amplifier on the market today.
Audio Research PH9
The PH9 phono preamplifier is a great pairing with most cartridge and turntable combinations. A trio of 6H30 vacuum tubes are at the core of a simple and clear signal path to provide the most transparent preamplification possible. Five different impedance settings allow for cartridge loading, which can be changed on the fly with the included metal remote. Cartridge impedance, tube hours, auto shutdown, and other features are included in the menu system.
Audio Research DAC9
The DAC9 digital-to-analog converter decodes most current formats with state-of-the-art vacuum tube technology. Five digital connections - USB, RCA, BNC, AES/EBU, and Toslink - provide connectivity to all of your digital sources. Quad DAC architecture provides a balanced digital signal, wide dynamic range, and decoding resolutions from red book CD up to 384 kHz and native DSD sampling rates. A pair of 6H30 vacuum tubes are the heart of the analog circuit. Both balanced and single-ended connectors are provided for output connectivity. Native-rate upsampling and selectable digital filters allow customization of the digital signal.

Reviews

Audio Research Ref160M

MBL 101 Radialstrahler

Townshend Engineering F1 Fractal Speaker Cable

Audio Research LS28&VT80

Jeff Rowland 625

Audio Research Ref6 review

Audio Research Ref 6 review

Audio Research Ref PH3 review

Contact details

WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST IN OUR PRODUCTS
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Audio Research Jeff RowlandJL AudioKii Audio
MBL AcousticsAudio Desk Systeme Symposium Acoustics Townshend Engineering