Optimizing Sound Quality with a High-Performance Blu-ray Player
Q I have an Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray player, a Marantz AV7701 preamp, five Marantz monoblock amps, and Definitive Technology speakers. Given the rave reviews of the Oppo player’s built-in DACs, how would you recommend I set my system up to optimize sound quality? Should I bypass my preamp and hook the Oppo up directly to my monoblock amps, or should I use an HDMI connection to run everything through the Marantz? —Dick Costello / via e-mail
A One main advantage of the Oppo BDP-105—and a reason why it costs $700 more than the company’s BDP-103—is that it contains the high-performance DAC. (There are actually two separate DAC chips in the BDP-105, one for the 7.1-channel output and a second for the stereo output.) Since you spent the extra dough for the BDP-105, I’d recommend that instead of using HDMI, you get your money’s worth by tapping the player’s analog outputs. You could, as you suggest, make a direct connection from the player to your Marantz amps—the BDP-105’s setup options include variable crossover settings and level trims for each channel, along with speaker distance compensation adjustments. Once you’ve set all those up, you could control system level using the volume +/– buttons on the player’s remote. That being said, it seems as though your Marantz AV7701 has plenty of features you’d want to retain (Audyssey MultEQ XT and DSX, AirPlay, phono input, etc.), so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend taking it out of the loop. Just connect the Oppo to the AV7701’s 7.1-channel analog input, and you’ll be ready to rock.