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Oppo BPD-105D Blu-ray Player

November 9, 2014

oppo 105d frontOppo 105d back

I have had techno-lust for an Oppo Blu-Ray for a long time because it is a relatively reasonably priced piece ($1300 – they also have $500 models too) of audiophile gear that will meet most of your digital needs.

My wife and I recently celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary – she go a ring and I got an Oppo.  I got to give her a lot of credit: she knew what I wanted and went outside her comfort zone to travel to planet nerd (the back of Best Buy store to their Magnolia section to buy it).  True love!  Of course I was a brat by returning the 105 for a 105D (more about why later).

First let me point out that I never intend to use the Oppo as a video device – I plan to use it for pure audio.  So if you want any opinions on how it performs in the video world you will need to go somewhere else.

What attracted me to the Oppo 105 was that it has a good quality DAC that I could play files and stream from my Mac and that, as an audio buddy of mine pointed out, it can play any spinning shiny object you can put in its transport short of a dime (conventional CDs, HDCD, Super Audio CDs, DVD Audio, Blu-ray, etc).  In addition you can play almost any file imaginable via a USB port.  So this is your new digital music friend.

So far I have been playing mostly conventional audio CDs (Red Book), HDCDs and streaming Spotify and Tidal from my Mac.  I have tried a few Super Audio CDs too.  I have not gotten around to DVD-A, Blu Ray audio and HD files.  It all sounds great! A huge upgrade from my previous CD player (Pioneer DV-563A DVD Player) and DAC (Jolida FX DAC Mini).  Everything sounds less harsh and with more definition – much closer to the vinyl experience I love.  Of course this is very dependent on the source material.  I have a huge CD collection and I expect to move toward HD streaming/downloading so I needed a quality device to facilitate all of this. The Oppo appears up to the job.

The Oppo is impressive visually.  It is in a solid case (the thing weighs a ton compared to a flimsy $100 Blu-Ray).  It has a nice simple look to it.  Solid easy to read and use remote with back lighting.

Set up provided me some challenges. Plugging in and playing a CD was a piece of cake.  I could not get my Mac to play through the DAC.  The hefty manual was of no help.  No help on Google either.  On a lark I called Oppo customer service and they were shockingly helpful.  Turns out I had to adjust a setting in the Mac’s Audio MIDI Setup.  My Mac sometimes forgets that the Oppo is its DAC – but I have not really figured out a pattern here – assume it is because the Oppo’s DAC is not always on.  It does seem to help to have the Oppo turned on and set to USB input before sending sound from the Mac.  I guess this makes sense – my old DAC was always on.

Most of the setup and controls require a monitor – most of the user interface is via a monitor and not the face of the device.  Not an issue for most users who are using the device in a home theater setting – but a bit of hassle for a two channel audio guy without a TV in my listening room.

A cute feature is that Oppo has an app that allows you to use your iPhone or iPad as a remote.  I set this up and was charmed.  A couple of days later my phone seemed to have forgotten the set up and it no longer worked. I have not taken the time to reconfigure it.

The Oppo needs to boot up – it is not an instant on device.  It does seem to remember last settings  (USB DAC input vs. CD) and where it was on a CD when it was turned off.

I have had random problems with the disc controls on the face of the Oppo not working.  The remote’s disk controls have always worked.  A complete shut down and unplugging seems to solve the problem.  But something I will be watching.

As I write this blog I got up to change a CD and the device decided after I ejected the CD to do a firmware update and shut itself down. Fortunately this was just a few minutes event and it did give you a percentage complete status on the face of the devices so you had an idea of what was going on.

In addition to the universal nature of the device, the thing that really appealed to me about the Oppo was that it is really too players in one – there are distinct electronics for the home theater multi-channel output stage and one for stereo audio.  I won’t go into the gory details – you can go to Oppo’s site to see that.

Why the 105D vs. the 105 – why spend the extra $100?  The main reason for most people would be the enhanced video quality provided by Darbee processing (I don’t have a clue what that is and I don’t care).  For me it was that 105D is Oppo’s latest and greatest as evidenced by a small feature that will likely be important later – an upgraded USB DAC to support DSD 64/128.  I have not done any test driving of HD files of any format – only streaming through Tidal (and that is merely CD quality).

In summary, I love this device, but it is not for a technophobe.  This a complex device that will require the user to invest some time and patience in its operation and set up.  But the rewards are there – this has been a huge upgrade in the sonic quality of my digitally sourced music.  This is as exciting as my first CD player in 1985.  My last universal device (Pioneer DV-563A DVD Player) sounded terrible.  My first DAC (Jolida FX DAC Mini) was a major step beyond my Mac’s on board DAC, but this is yet a another huge step forward – I know have a legitimate rival to my turntable and beloved LPs.

PS – another bonus is the Oppo has built-in headphone amplifier too!

 

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