Esoteric E-02 Balanced Phonostage Audio Preamplifier

MSRP: €9500,00
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Discrete Dual Monaural, Fully Balanced
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The apex of vinyl playback

To meet the demands of vinyl lovers the world over, ESOTERIC has poured knowledge accumulated over many years of developing audio technology into the E-02, our newest phonostage preamplifier. The E-02 inherits the philosophy that guided our highly acclaimed E-03 phonostage to be a continual best-seller for the last 8 years, and adds the new fully balanced transmission and amplification circuit utilizing MC cartridges to achieve a level of analog playback that was previously unimaginable.


Review The Absolute Sound 2019/6







Audio expression, symphonic beauty, artistic passion, the concert hall's spatial feel, the excitement of the audience. Esoteric's Master Sound Works is an audio product concept that recreates all of the music information in original master recordings with the most state-of-the-art technology available today.

Fully Balanced Circuit Design


The E-02 is a fully balanced phonostage preamplifier that features fully balanced circuits from the input stage right through to the final output stage. It is perfectly designed for handling the extremely low level signals from a MC cartridge, minimize noise interference and powerfully amplify signals with low impedance to bring the very best sound out of your beloved MC cartridge collection.

Dual Mono Construction


Identical power supply transformers, power boards and amplifier circuits are mounted independently on each channel. Outstanding channel separation and robust power supply components deliver solid, powerful, and exceptionally high quality audio playback.

Super High Quality MC Head Amplifier and RIAA Amplifier


The E-02 features a newly designed fully balanced MC head amplifier and RIAA amplifier. The NF-CR type RIAA amplifier achieves outstanding RIAA characteristics of ±0.2dB together with minimum Negative Feedback, and the high voltage power supply delivers an exceptionally wide dynamic headroom.

Equipped with ESOTERIC-HCLD, ESOTERIC's Proprietary Current-Enhancing Output Buffer Circuit

The E-02 employs the same buffer amplifier technology as our flagship Grandioso C1 preamplifier, which features a high current output capability and an exceptionally high slew rate of 2,000V/μs. Each channel is equipped with two buffer amplifiers which drive the hot and cold signals separately when the system is in XLR output mode. When switched to RCA output mode, however, the amplifiers work in parallel to maximize the output linearity. This design achieves super-fast current output, resulting in breathtaking super-dynamic sound.

ES-LINK Analog Output

The E-02 is compatible with ESOTERIC's unique ES-LINK Analog current transmission in addition to regular XLR and RCA outputs. ES-LINK Analog is a current transmission method that fully utilizes the high speed and powerful capabilities of the HCLD circuit to fully maximize the potential of compatible devices.

Three Types of Input Including XLR Balanced Input


The E-02 is equipped with one XLR (MC dedicated) input and two RCA inputs, with the RCA inputs also featuring fully balanced transmission throughout all stages after the input amplifier. Cartridge impedance, filter ON/OFF and MONO switch ON/OFF settings can be configured as presets for each input, and switched easily using the large dial control on the front panel.

Load impedance switching function that exploits the full potential of the cartridge


The E-02 enables you to select between nine different impedance positions (MC: 10Ω, 50Ω, 100Ω, 200Ω, 300Ω, 500Ω, 1kΩ, 10kΩ, MM: 47kΩ).

Various Control Functions

Simply playback a record for around 30 seconds with the DEMAG function switched on to demagnetize any unexpected magnetization of the cartridge's coils or step-up transformers and recover the original sound. The E-02 is equipped with a sub-sonic filter (17Hz, -6dB/octave), a MONO switch and output switching (XLR, RCA, ES-LINK Analog) controls.

Highly Rigid Chassis Construction


Phonostage amplifiers that amplify extremely low signal levels are highly sensitive to vibration, which is why ESOTERIC pays special attention to chassis construction in order to control vibration wherever possible. The arrangement of each component is designed in minute detail, and a slit construction is used in the bottom chassis that supports all of the circuits to minimize interference. The highly rigid thick aluminum enclosure and proprietary pinpoint feet (patent no. JP4075477) are extremely effective in minimizing the effects of vibration from external sources.


Use of High Grade Components


In our uncompromising pursuit of superior sound quality, ESOTERIC uses nothing but the highest grade components including custom-designed power supply capacitors and machined gold-plated RCA terminals. The two large selector knobs on the front panel feature a ball-bearing structure based on the VRDS drive mechanism, providing a beautifully smooth analog feel without any wobble. Knobs are sculpted from solid aluminum for a truly refined, high-end look and feel.


Spec description

Phono inputs  
XLR 1 pair (exclusive for MC)
Input impedance 10, 50, 100, 200, 300, 500, 1k, 10kΩ (MC, switchable)
Input sensitivity 1mV (MC, 1kHz, at rated output)
Maximum input level 4.8mV (MC, THD 0.1%)
RCA 2 pairs (MC/MM)
Input impedance  
MC 10, 50, 100, 200, 300, 500, 1k, 10kΩ (switchable)
MM 47kΩ
Input sensitivity  
MC 1mV (1kHz, at reated output)
MM 20mV (1kHz, at rated output)
Maximum input level  
MC 4.8mV (THD 0.1%)
MM 100mV (THD 0.1%)
Analog audio outputs (switchable)  
XLR/ES-LINK Analog 1 pair
Output impedance 20Ω
Rated output level 4Vrms
RCA 1 pair
Output impedance 23.5Ω
Rated output level 2Vrms
Power supply  
  AC 230V, 50Hz
  AC 120V, 60Hz
  AC 220V, 60Hz
External dimensions (W×H×D) 445 × 131 × 377mm
17-⅝" × 5-¼" × 14-¼" (including protrusions)
Weight 12.5kg / 27-⅝ lb
Included accessories Power cord × 1
Felt pads × 3
Owner's manual × 1
Warranty card × 1


Audio performance

RIAA deviation ±0.2dB (10 to 20kHz)
Total harmonic distortion 0.007% (1kHz, MM, rate output)
S/N ratio  
MC 80dB (Input short, rated output, IHF-A)
MM 100dB (Input short, rated output, IHF-A)
XLR 72dB (MC)
46dB (MM)
RCA 66dB (MC)
40dB (MM)
Channel separation < –96dB (MM, 10kHz)
Sub-sonic filter 17Hz –6dB/octave


  • This product is available in three different power supply variations, as shown in the chart above. Make sure that the voltage shown on the rear panel matches the AC line voltage in your area.
  • The shape of the AC inlet and plug of the supplied power cord depends on the voltage rating and destination country.
  • Design and specification are subject to change without notice.
  • Weight and dimensions are approximate.

View product brochure.

Download english/french/spanish user manual.

Download german/italian user manual.


2 years

9 Reviews Hide Reviews Show Reviews

  • 5
    Esoteric E-02 Phonostage

    Posted by Allan Moulton - The Absolute Sound 2019/6 on 10th Mar 2021

    The Esoteric E-02 is, by far, the least expensive phonostage that I’ve had experience with to simply do the job of amplifying a small signal many thousands of times. I didn’t say it was inexpensive (so don’t get all unnecessarily huffy), but if you want my industry opinion, it has been underpriced at $9000, both in terms of its performance and in relation to the pricing of the smaller E-03 (which is $6500). That makes it a bargain, and yes, it makes my day to tweak half of you reading that statement.

  • 5
    Best Buy Component 2017-2018

    Posted by Stereo Sound Publishing Inc. on 28th Oct 2020

    Phono Equalizer category

  • 5
    Best Buy Component 2018-2019

    Posted by Stereo Sound Publishing Inc. on 28th Oct 2020

    Phono Equalizer category

  • 5
    Audio Excellence Award 2018

    Posted by Ongen Shuppan Publishing Co., Ltd on 28th Oct 2020

    Silver Prize

  • 5
    Stereo, The Best Component of the Year 2017

    Posted by Ongaku no Tomo Sha Corporation on 28th Oct 2020

    Analog Disc Player related products, 1st. Prize

  • 5
    Analog Grand Prix 2018

    Posted by Ongen Shuppan Publishing Co., Ltd on 28th Oct 2020

    Gold Prize

  • 5
    2019 Phonostage of The Year

    Posted by The absolute sound on 28th Oct 2020


  • 5
    Editor´s Choice Award 2019

    Posted by The absolute sound on 28th Oct 2020


  • 5
    Editor´s Choice Award 2020

    Posted by The absolute sound on 28th Oct 2020