Esoteric Grandioso F1, top-of-the-range integrated amplifier
Granting a device the title of "best in the world" may seem daring, but if it is not the best, this Esoteric (a brand dedicated to high-end audio from the Japanese manufacturer Teac ) is among the very few that can aspire to be the best. That comes at a price , in this case no less than 27,990 euros , but it is about offering the most demanding music lover the most advanced technology for stereo music reproduction .
The Esoteric Grandiose F1 is an integrated amplifier , ie including within the functions in this range, could correspond separately to a previous (source selection and control of the volume) and one stage of power (signal amplification to attack speakers). In fact, Esoteric advertises that those two internal sections of the Grandioso F1 correspond to the preamplifier and separate power stages of the manufacturer's highest range, and each of those components is priced the same magnitude as the integrated one: it is an advantage , then, to have everything in a single box.
Tickets and preview
The control section or "preamp" is made in a completely double monophonic way (that is, the components of each channel are totally separate) and also each channel has a totally balanced architecture , that is, the signals in phase and are amplified separately. push-pull to eliminate noise and distortions of common origin. Actually, it is as if there were four preamps in one , which also ensures minimal interference between channels: this will allow to offer a wide , three-dimensional and precise sound scene .
The Grandioso F1 has two inputs for balanced signals (pairs of XLR connectors ), three for unbalanced signals (pairs of RCA connectors ), and a dedicated “ phono ” for turntables, and that is configurable for all types of capsules ( MM type or MC ). The critical volume control is called QVCS (“ Quad Volume Control System ”) and as the name suggests it is actually four controls in one , to keep the signal balanced and monophonic.
Each control consists of a network of precision resistors , and tone controls are added in three separate frequency bands (bass, middle and treble), always separated to minimize interference in purist use. It has a headphone output.
In addition to this, the Grandioso F1 can have digital inputs if the optional OP-DAC1 digital module is added at the rear. With this board we add an optical digital input, another coaxial and a USB , compatible with any audio format and resolutions up to 32 bits and 384 kHz in PCM , or DSD at 11'2MHz sampling frequency.
The amplification section does not stand out so much because of the maximum power figure obtained, 30 Watts per channel under loads of 8 Ohms , as because that power is obtained entirely in Class A (very inefficient but very musical ). In addition, with an ability to deliver current (and control difficult speakers) that gives an idea that the MOSFET output transistors are capable of delivering 78 Amps continuously or up to 150 A peak, each. They are transistors developed by the brand together with a Japanese semiconductor manufacturer.
As in the control and preamp section, the power stages are monophonic (two totally separate channels, on both sides of the chassis) and in a balanced configuration (internally each channel is actually two parallel channels). The supply of both channels is provided by a 1,000 VA toroidal transformer (for only 30W theoretical output, remember: very much) and a filtering with no less than 80,000 microFarads .
The Esoteric Grandioso F1 chassis is made of machined aluminum plates and its dimensions are 445 x 191 x 470 mm (width, height and depth). It weighs 30 kg .