Oppo’s latest Blu-Ray player, the BPD-105 has been in my home for the last 12 months. It has mainly seen duty as a video player and to stream Netflix movies and TV content. It’s a truly Universal player so I’ve also used it occasionally to play my collection of DVD-Audio discs and high-rez downloads from USB sticks. The BDP-105 works admirably as a video player and can keep up with the most demanding 3D wide screen display. It’s full of video features such as 4k up-scaling and surround sound. However, is it a real high end player that will satisfy a demanding audiophile?
I set up the BDP-105 in my audio system and configured the player for 2-channel audio. The first observation was that it should not stand on its own feet. Four small Weizhi graphite blocks strategically placed under the disc drive and power transformer cleared up the sound substantially, as will other vibration dampening devices. I did not bother with the stock power cord but used my higher end cable. The Oppo was connected to my ASR Emitter I Exclusive version Blue via the stereo RCA outputs with Acoustic Zen Absolute cables. The player has XLR output as well for those who prefer a balanced connection with their preamplifier. I gave the Oppo an extensive break-in when I first bought it which improved sound quality considerable.
I dropped an SACD in the player and sat back to listen. As expected from an SACD, the music emanated from a dark background with great dynamics. This was full range presentation with solid bass, great highs, with dynamic range with very low noise. My first thought was: This is the best sound most people will ever hear. But Audiophiles are not “most people.”
The BDP-105 plays CD, SACD, DVD-A, DVD-V, Blu-Ray and some other media discs. In addition to playing discs, the Oppo has some interesting features that can make it work as hub for most media. There are 3 USB inputs, 1 in front and 2 in the back. The front input is generally used for the WiFi USB Stick that the player uses for communication with a computer network. It receives Netflix or other streaming video. It can also receive Pandora streaming music and the quality of the free content just about equals MP3s played on a cheap car radio.
The USB ports can be used to plug in a disc drive or a USB stick. The player displays the files on-screen if a TV is connected. It’s easy to find the album or track on the menu by navigating with the remote control UP/DOWN and LEFT/RIGHT buttons.
The file plays almost instantaneously when the PLAY or OK button is pressed. Since an external hard drive can hold several TB of space there’s basically infinite storage available for a music collection. I find it very practical to download music on my PC and then transfer the files to a USB stick or hard drive. This way I avoid messy computer connections directly to my HiFi rack. Hopefully all DAC’s and media players will have the direct media play feature in the future. The Oppo also has a LAN port for connection to a network.
Oppo has issued firmware upgrades that allow the BDP-105 to play DSD and DIFF files in addition to the standard WAVE and FLAC formats. I was also able to play files directly off data discs from Reference Recordings and MA Recordings.
Oppo has a free App for Apple and Android devices that works as a remote control/screen. I tested the iPad version. The App quickly finds the player and shows any storage devices plugged in – just like the TV screen. Files can be found and played without having a TV attached, which is an advantage. There’s even a volume control on the app so no need to find the remote for your amplifier. You’d have to turn up the amplifier volume since the 100% on the player is standard 3V output. For serious listening the player should be at 100% volume out. The App I tested did not have a way to build a play list from the attached media.
The App has one screen that shows the remote control – cut in 3 pieces – which works exactly like the remote supplied with the player. This is needed to play discs. Unfortunately, the App does not pick up track information from the disc which still requires an attached TV. This is mainly an issue with DVD-Audio and Blu-Ray discs where it’s important to set the player to 2 channels to get the best sound in a stereo set-up.
Oppo BDP-105 as a Disc Player
The Oppo BDP-105 signature sound is big bass and sharp edges on guitars and piano with good presentation of mid-range voices. In other words, rock and Jazz are a good fit for the player.
Red Book CD’s hardly tax the capabilities of the Oppo. They sound as good as can be expected with their limited dynamic range and resolution.
SACD is the disc of choice for the Oppo. As mentioned earlier, the player takes full advantage of this superior format. The dynamic range and frequency extension are great improvement over CDs. One thing that always strikes me with SACD is how much better bass sounds compared with CDs. You’d expect the top frequencies to be improved, which they are, but lower frequencies should be a good fit with a 44.1 kHz sampling rate. In addition, bass attack and timber are considerably more natural with SACD.
DVD-Audio is a mixed bag. Most recordings are in 96 kHz even if the format allows for 192 kHz. Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors album was one of the first DVD-A’s in my collection. I had the LP when it first came out and it’s perhaps the best sounding rock album ever made. The DVD-A version is also fantastic. On “The Chain” the drums come through distinctly and the guitar and vocals are excellent.
On the other hand, large orchestral works are rather muddled but this can be blamed on the recordings.
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