F-03A Integrated Amplifier
Class A Reference Model.
Setting out to create one of the most desirable integrated amplifiers available, Esoteric brought together a fully balanced preamplifier and a Class-A power amplifier— both directly derived from its well-respected Grandioso line—to created a new reference for integrated amplifiers that gives full expression to the smooth, full-bodied tones and delicately shaded textures of your favorite music. Featuring distinctive dual monaural construction that extends through all stages, from preamplifier inputs through to the final stage of its power amplifier output, the F-03A Integrated Amplifier brings out the full audio potential of Esoteric’s highly regarded K and N Series of digital players.
F-SERIES PHILOSOPHY: Basic and Complete
Representing a new generation of integrated amplifiers, Esoteric’s new F Series has been thoroughly invested with proven results gained in the development of our flagship Grandioso line of separate amplifiers. With the goal of capturing all the inherent warmth and texture of music, not only were the outstanding expressive powers of the Grandioso line pursued, the utmost limits of audio performance were also concentrated into an integrated configuration that offers excellent usability combined with an attractiveness that more than compensates for the limitations of their size. Basic and Complete. With sights set on creating a unique presence in the category, the Esoteric F Series is born.
Analog amplification circuitry inherited from Esoteric’s flagship Grandioso series for consistently superb sound quality.
Aspiring to be superior examples of the integrated amplifier format.
Invested with the finest materials and expertise in pursuit of the essence of amplifier design, while seeking uncommon sophistication and substance in the most basic format.
Offering more versatile tone control capability than separates, while bringing out the full potential of the integrated amplifier by providing ample functionality and abundant expandability in its overall refinement.
A Fully Balanced Preamplifier
One result of the lavish attention given to the development of the F Series is the preamplifier’s fully balanced configuration, which derives from our highly esteemed C Series preamplifier models. Impervious to noise, it delivers pure and powerful signal amplification at ultra-low impedance.
Dual Monaural by Design
The one design feature of these amplifiers that most clearly reflects Grandioso thinking is their dual monaural configuration, which maintains complete left and right channel independence through all stages, from preamplifier to the power amplifier’s final stage. As Esoteric integrated amplifiers, the major investments made in circuit construction expertise and materials developed over the years yield excellent channel separation and a measure of sound quality that transcends the class.
Playing a significant role in the F Series’ balanced dual monaural configuration is the proprietary Quad Volume Control System (QVCS), which incorporates a total of four precision switched resistor ladder networks operating in unison to electronically and independently control the left and right channels and their positive and negative phases. This system helps maintain superb audio clarity, excellent channel separation and highly accurate phase characteristics. Further, by eliminating all volume control wiring on the audio board, the resulting shorter signal path minimizes deterioration of sound quality while realizing exceptionally low distortion. * QVCS: Quad Volume Control System
Ultra-Low-Noise Logic Control
As a countermeasure against noise, all control lines have been electronically separated from the main body of the preamplifier with the use of isolator elements integrated into the front panel.
High-Precision Ball Bearing Control Knobs
Employing the same high-precision bearing mechanisms used in our Grandioso components, the F Series’ volume control knobs and selector switches provide exceptionally smooth operation with an analog feel free of any mechanical play. Sparing no cost, all panel knobs are also custom-machined from solid aluminum.
Dual Mono Phonostage Preamp
The dual mono phonostage preamp (MM/MC) features independent left and right channel power sources and independent circuits.
High-Quality Headphone Amplifier
The powerful headphone amp provides abundant output to effectively drive even difficult to power high-end high-impedance headphones.
3-Band Tone Control (Treble/Middle/Bass)
Commitment to achieving all the quality associated with high-end components results in a balanced dual monaural configuration consisting of four circuits (L/R, –/+) for each band. This system enables users to adjust tone settings free of any concerns about sound quality deterioration. Shifting the variable band more than usual toward the high and low frequency ranges (14kHz/63Hz) permits fine adjustment of bass and treble without adversely affecting the original source signal. Fully electronic control also permits fine adjustment of up to ±12dB in 0.5dB steps. The middle band can also be utilized as a loudness preset when set to the minus side and used in conjunction with the Tone Bypass switch.
POWER AMPLIFIER SECTION
Power Amplifier Input Stage Features Balanced Configuration
The power amplification section’s front stage is balanced in line with the thinking behind our S Series separate amplifiers. Its low impedance and clean amplification further enhance the dynamic range.
Large-Capacity Custom Power Transformer — The Nucleus of the Finest Power Amplifiers
The power supplies of the F Series feature large-core 940VA custom EI power transformers and 40,000μF block capacitors for each channel in a dual monaural configuration. Large-gauge cable is used in all connections to help minimize impedance. As in our separate power amplifiers, this outstanding power section achieves a theoretically linear power output ranging from 30W at an 8ohms load to 60W at 4ohms (F-05: 120W/8ohms, 240W/4ohms) for faithful reproduction of every musical dynamic.
Low Impedance for Enhanced Drive Capability
Utilizing eight 1mm-thick bus bars formed of high-purity OFC, the speaker output section employs MOSFET switching with no mechanical contacts. Coils have also been eliminated from the output stage to minimize impedance and enhance drive capability.
Large Bipolar LAPT Transistors Deliver 34 Amperes of Instantaneous Peak Power
Featured in Grandioso models up to and including the M1, large bipolar LAPT* transistors deliver an outstanding continuous current capacity of 17A, and 34A of instantaneous peak power. Their superior high frequency characteristics also play a critical role in the accurate reproduction of the most delicate tones. * LAPT: Linear Amplified Power Transistor
3-Stage Darlington Circuit with 3 Parallel Push-Pull Configuration + LIDSC
Derived from our flagship Grandioso line, the F Series’ amplifier modules feature a three-stage Darlington configuration that utilizes three parallel push-pull sections to faithfully bring out the superb high-frequency characteristics of their LAPT transistors. Proprietary LIDSC* circuitry reduces the drive section’s second stage to final stage output impedance, achieving loudspeaker drive capability nearly equal to that of our separate amplifiers. NFB has also been minimized to realize a more natural sound quality brimming with life. * LIDSC: Low Impedance Drive Stage Coupling
3D Optimized Chassis Construction
The F-Series’ 3D Optimized Chassis features robust construction that gives each circuit block its own dedicated compartment. Interference between circuits is effectively minimized while achieving the shortest possible cable routing. Chassis exteriors are formed of thick aluminum panels manufactured without compromise following the same design philosophy imbued in Esoteric’s separate amplifiers. As a result, their heavy-duty construction tips the scales at a total weight of 32kg, exceptional among integrated models. The F-03A’s pinpoint feet* and the steel insulators supporting the F-05 at four points are just two examples of the rigorous countermeasures taken to minimize the effects of vibration. * Patent No. 4075477
Designed for System Upgrades
The preamplifier and power amplifier sections of the F Series boast the same degree of refinement as Esoteric’s separates, and can both be used as standalone devices, or even disabled if not in use. The PRE-out employs a powerful buffer amplifier, while XLR outputs achieve a highly effective fully balanced configuration. System upgrades can also be performed with no compromises in quality, and a card expansion slot facilitates the installation of an optional OP-DAC1 D/A Converter Board, which adds full compatibility with 11.2MHz DSD and 384kHz/32-bit PCM signal inputs.
- Organic EL display (Normal / Large font).
- Two speaker terminal systems (A / B / A+B).
- Independently adjustable input gains (±18dB; 0.5dB steps).
- L/R channel balance.
- Individually selectable phase inversion for each source.
- AV through output (volume bypass) ensures seamless coexistence with AV systems.
- Preamp output jacks (XLR & RCA) can be switched between PRE Out and REC Out.
- Aluminum body remote controller can also be used to operate Esoteric’s SACD players.
- Displayed source device names can be remotely programed.
- Mute, dimmer and automatic display OFF functions.
|Rated output||30W + 30W (8Ohm)
60W + 60W (4Ohm)
|Total harmonic distortion||0.006% (1kHz, 8Ohm, 30W)|
|Frequency response||10Hz – 100 kHz(+0/−3.0 dB at 1W output)|
|S/N ratio||104 dB (IHF-A)|
|Minimum compatible impedance||4Ohm|
|Speaker output connectors||2 pairs (L/R) (screw type)|
|Input impedance||XLR, RCA 10kOhm
PHONO (MM) 47kOhm
PHONO (MC) 100Ohm
EXT. PRE IN 47kOhm
|Output impedance||XLR, RCA 100Ohm
PRE OUT S/N ratio (at 1V output)
XLR, RCA input 110 dB
PHONO (MM) input 93 dB
PHONO (MC) input 75 dB
|Gain||Preamplifier 24.5 dB (when VOLUME at maximum)
Power amplifier 29 dB
|Tone controls||BASS ±12 dB (63Hz)
MIDDLE ±12 dB (630Hz)
TREBLE ±12 dB (14kHz)
|Power supply/Power Consumption||AC 230V 50Hz / 290W (no signal: 290W)
AC 120V 60Hz / 290W (no signal: 215W)
AC 220V 60Hz
(W x H x D, including protrusions)
|445 × 191 × 468 mm
(17 5/8” ×7 5/8” ×18 1/2” )
|Weight||32kg (70 5/8 lb)|
|Power cord x 1; Remote control (RC-1301) x 1; Batteries for remote control (AAA) x 2; Felt pads x 4; Owner’s manual x 1; Warranty card x 1|