ESOTERIC N-01 Replacement For My PS Audio BHK Preamp & Directstream Dac with Brige ll

I have Auditioned the Esoteric Grandioso K1 on several occasions and I cant seem to find anything that comes close. My thoughts where to replace my BHK Preamp and Directream Dac for the Esoteric N-01 Network Player Dac since it is the same Dac as the Grandioso's minus the Super Audio CD Player. My thoughts is to go with the Esoteric N-01 XLR out to my Audio Research 160S direct and use it as a digital Preamp only out to my Focal #2’s.
As pe the gentleman proclaiming the Esoteric is built better not possible, the Esoteric is made out of plates of metal, vs the Lumin which is cut out of billet aluminium.

Rest assured that I have owned 2 Esoteric pieces along with 4 Lumin, including two X1's.  I could not find a single flaw in the metalwork or assembly on the Esoterics, the Lumins had plenty.  Including flaws in the raw base aluminum that the brushing process was not able to completely remove.  Most people wont notice but those who appreciate flawless finish will.
Only flaws in the X1 were early production cases all current cases are flawless.

The reality is solid billet trumps plate metal for sonics any day of the week.

Considering that the Lumin is $6k cheaper, offers optical network connectivity for superior ethernet connection,  as well as regular ota upgrades, and fantastic sound quality
 makes a pretty strong case for being the market leader at this price point.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ lumin dealers
But at the same price strata, the dCS Bartok offers multiple digital inputs and outputs allowing it to function as a true digital preamp. It also includes a 1st rate headphone amp, ability to use an external clock and also an updatable FPGA ring dac configuration which allows for it to be upgraded for free from the factory over its lifetime. dCS has a great track record of product updates over a 7-8 year window which is a lifetime in the digital world. The Lumin’s FPGA only controls the oscillator chip so any upgrades sound wise would be marginal rather then transformative. While I really like the Lumin products (and own one myself) they are not an expandable or upgradable platform like the Bartok is.
Only flaws in the X1 were early production cases all current cases are flawless.

Concerning on a $14K piece is it not?  Did Lumin take them back and replace them?  I think not based on my own experience with their $200 USD umbilical.

Lumin is a very communicative company with some well engineered products, but the almighty dollar rules.
Esoteric N-01XD is coming. I own Esoteric N-01 and I think it's fantastic, especially with an external master clock and Shunyata Sigma Clock-50 cable. In a completely different performance category to PS Audio.