Oppo BDP-105 Blu-ray 3D Player Page 2
Before I did any listening tests, I played a CD in an infinite loop for about four days. I wanted to be sure the player had plenty of warm-up time regardless of whether I feel this in fact makes any difference to the sound. From there, my focus turned to comparing the sound of this player to the spectacular BDP-95. I didn’t expect much difference given that they both use the same reference DAC, but considering the small differences in design, I wanted to make sure.
Two-channel playback was nearly identical, and any difference I did perceive was so slight, I might as well not even report it. The BDP-105 was every bit as detailed and dynamic as the BDP-95, and this was proven time and again with a large assortment of SACDs and CDs. I was particularly impressed by the latest SACD release of Holly Cole’s Temptation (Analog Productions, CAPSA048). Switching back and forth between the BDP-95 and the BDP-105 with this gem showed no difference in Cole’s sultry vocals or the music’s lush instrumentation. The recent re-issue of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here (Analog Productions, CAPSA3453) was also identical down to the last detail, whether I chose the stereo or high-resolution multichannel mix. Dynamics were outstanding and the tonal balance perfect. I’ve heard complaints that the upper end of the Oppo’s output is a tad sharp, but I found no signs of brightness or grittiness regardless of what I played through it.
Standard CDs fared just as well. I was lucky enough to snag a CD copy of (Ahk-toong Bay-Bi) Covered, which is a full cover of U2’s popular Achtung Baby album. The collection boasts covers from The Killers, Jack White, Nine Inch Nails, Garbage, Snow Patrol, and more. The highlight in the collection for me comes from Damien Rice and his incredible cover of “One.” This is such an amazing piece of music, with rich atmosphere, incredible detail, and one of the best male voices out there in my humble opinion. The BDP-105 delivered every ounce of feeling in Rice’s voice and never disturbed the gentle plucking of the acoustic guitar or the swells of the piano accompanying them. The rich bass lines of Nine Inch Nails’ cover of “Zoo Station” delivered a tight backup to the song’s synthheavy atmosphere, and imaging in this track extended wide across my soundstage. If you can find this CD, it’s an audio delight.
The asynchronous USB input proved just as capable. This is one of the features I was the most excited about, and I was quick to connect my modified Squeezebox Touch and access my uncompressed music library. This allowed me to play back some of my high-resolution files from HDtracks, including some 96/24 and 192/24 titles. Playback was every bit as good as using a high-resolution disc equivalent for songs that I could directly compare. I could definitely see replacing a good portion of my SACD and DVD-Audio collection with high-resolution downloads with performance like this. I would have plugged directly into my iMac’s audio library, but the Oppo doesn’t support AIFF audio files, which is what the bulk of my library is in. But using an external hard drive connected directly to the player provided perfect playback of any files I threw at it. The BDP-105 supports a large number of popular file formats, including WAV, FLAC, MP3, and more, so I’m sure most people’s libraries are covered.
Another big highlight of the BDP-105’s feature set is the inclusion of a headphone amplifier. I’m not a big headphone guy—most of my use revolves around travel and my iPod—but I thought I’d take a crack at it. I have a pair of V-Moda M-100s that mated well with the Oppo. It was definitely a noticeable improvement over my standard fifth-generation iPod touch in definition and bass. The bottom end tightened up considerably, and the upper end lost a bit of the veil I noticed with the same tracks on my iPod (again, all uncompressed music). I also tried a pair of Sennheiser PXC 450s. These have a bit more extension at the bottom than the M-100s but lose the air and detail the V-Modas deliver. The results were still a nice improvement over my iPod. I don’t know if I could use headphones for movie playback, as it just loses the sense of space my surround system affords; but music playback was outstanding, and I will definitely be revisiting this more going forward.
The Last Player You’ll Ever Need
Allowing you to tap into the reference-quality DAC and video processing so the rest of your system can benefit is a feature that truly sets the Oppo apart. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the BDP-105 as a replacement for a high-end digital preamp if your switching needs are covered. Once again, Oppo has raised the bar, and I honestly can’t imagine recommending any other product with more enthusiasm. The BDP-105 is an audiophile’s delight and the most complete performance package I’ve seen from a Blu-ray player.