Accuphase or Esoteric?

I am getting ready to pull the trigger on a new CD player. I've had an Accuphase DP-78 that sounds wonderful, but has developed some mechanical issues, so I think it's time for a new player. I've been offered a great deal on a new Accuphase DP-600, but also very good deals on an Esoteric K-03 or K-01. The only one of any of these I've heard is the K-03. I have a friend who has one, and we auditioned his against my Accuphase side by side, and found them roughly equal in sound quality, although they were different and we preferred one or the other, depending on what was playing. I'm interested in whether anyone has heard the Esoteric against the Accuphase, and also how much better the K-01 really is. The Absolute Sound review was pretty unequivocal, but I never know what reviewers are thinking, and there is a big price difference. Any advice would be very much appreciated.
" I have also heard some scattered stories about the Esoteric transports being noisy."

That's true. It depends on which one you get. I don't think any of their current models are noisy. My Wadia 850 had a noisy transport but my 861 and SE upgrade are both silent. Just to be clear, the noisy ones are only noisy when opening and closing, not during play.
The K-01 KILLS the K-03 - its not even close. Better everything, from power supplies to transport to DACs, to internal clock, etc. Some of their lower-priced transports are occasionally noisy, which usually is a stray ball bearing or mis-aligned tray. Easily silenced by their factory - customer support is very strong as well. I have a K-03 in my office and a P-02 at home and both are dead quiet. Ux-1 is sometimes a little noisy - it has been heavily modified.

Also, not sure if you realize that Esoteric transports spin at 4x the speed of CD's (and most other players) in an error-correction read-ahead buffer system. The superior build quality allows them to do that for their higher-end transports.

To me, the choice would not be Accuphase vs Esoteric, but rather which model of Esoteric to get. :-) Good Luck
I have had the K-03 now for about 8 months. As far as the noisy transport, I also read posts of a few remarking on this. My unit works silently and flawlessly. Esoteric is perhaps best known for their VRDS mechanism. They indicate the new VRDS-NEO VMK mechanism is an improvement over previous versions of their VRDS. There are several reference quality companies that use this mechanism in the design of their units, as they are highly regarded for performance and reliability. Nothing is always perfect so I can only conclude folks with noise issues have something seriously wrong with their unit. I use the K-03 for CD/SACD playback and for computer audio. For computer audio I have an Audio Quest Carbon USB directly to the USB input/DAC from a highly modified headless Mac Mini and also Audio Quest Carbon USB to Bel Canto REFLink USB Converter feeding the K-03 using a Transparent Ref 75Ohm Digital cable. My system is capable of portraying even the most discrete micro/macro transients and the level the K-03 has taken my rig is nothing shy of amazing. Once you get the settings dialed in to your liking, just sit back and enjoy the music. I have a hard time thinking that anyone acquiring this unit would be anything but highly satisfied; it is truly a reference quality swiss army knife of playback units. Have not heard the K-03, but; have spoken to others that have listened side by side and the improvement/feedback varies from a 10% - 20% improvement in performance. That said several dealers I have spoken with have commented this represents the best value in the current K line.
I'm starting to think that I asked an unfair, or perhaps, unanswerable question. A lot of people are advising the Esoteric, but I get the sense that few, if any, have actually heard an Accuphase. I know they don't get reviewed in the major stereo magazines, have a pretty small dealer network, and are pretty expensive. I can see that the Esoteric players have a loyal following, but I'm still not sure I've gotten many real comparisons. I do appreciate the comments that have been made so far, though.