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Oppo 105 as player, transport & DAC


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As a long time Oppo 105 owner (and 95 beforehand) I still think it's one of the best value audio products out there and certainly inducted me into the joys of SACD, DSD, file and network playing and DLNA.

 

But as my digital experience has grown, I realise as a player its sound is, in relative terms, unrefined and "grainy" compared to more expensive, more recent or more focused alternatives.

 

Funnily enough when used solely as a transport I still find that basic grainy character comes through regardless of the DAC. However, recently circumstances led me to use the 105 as a DAC for the first time fed by my Bryston BDP via coaxial and to my surprise I'm hearing quite a different sound, very sweet, precise, refined and detailed - dare I say it even with a touch of the "high end"

 

Interested to hear other owners' evaluation as player, transport and DAC.

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I have a 105D and my feeling is that my other electronics, especially my amps (Bel Canto s300s: ICEPower Class-D designs), are the biggest impediment to sound and will give me a better sense of the 105's true capabilities. This player is really amazing as a DAC for the money. I think it is better than my earlier Schiit Bifrost, though that is still a very strong unit. I won't up my DAC game until my amp and cable situation is solid with eventual installation of 4 Hypex nCore400 channels, delayed over a year now. After that I'll first look at what Exasound, Resonessence, and Schiit have to offer.

 

The 105D remains an outstanding unit: it would be a bargain at double the price.

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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We compared Oppo 105 and a noisy mac air into the Lampizator as a transport, the noisy mac air performed better (with HQPlayer on it).

The MBA isn't a transport. How did you conduct the test?

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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Personally I find any external transport such as the Oppo a waste of space and just another component that can be eliminated altogether. As much as it's a one all component for those folks who don't want to spend the time or energy into computer audio/video playback, or multi channel/SACD playback, it has limiting factors on SQ growth. Thus it's a grand wasted that can be accomplished better with more control and mobility on my existing computer audio system. Which is basically what this forum is about. Take the blue pill and continue down the rabbit hole.

(JRiver) Jetway barebones NUC (mod 3 sCLK-EX, Cybershaft OP 14)  (PH SR7) => mini pcie adapter to PCIe 1X => tXUSBexp PCIe card (mod sCLK-EX) (PH SR7) => (USPCB) Chord DAVE => Omega Super 8XRS/REL t5i  (All powered thru Topaz Isolation Transformer)

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Thus it's a grand wasted that can be accomplished better with more control and mobility on my existing computer audio system.

 

Not everybody wants a bulky computer whirring away in their lounge room,(certainly not SWMBO) or wants the additional expense of a server , which may, or may not, do the rest of their system justice. As for your typical laptop used to do that, pull the other leg, it whistles !

The main reason that most would buy an Oppo is for the playing of BluRay movies etc. as part of the entertainment system for the WHOLE family.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Not everybody wants a bulky computer whirring away in their lounge room,(certainly not SWMBO) or wants the additional expense of a server , which may, or may not, do the rest of their system justice. As for your typical laptop used to do that, pull the other leg, it whistles !

The main reason that most would buy an Oppo is for the playing of BluRay movies etc. as part of the entertainment system for the WHOLE family.

 

That, and it makes a pretty good HDMI switcher if you don't want to run an AVR.

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Personally I find any external transport such as the Oppo a waste of space and just another component that can be eliminated altogether. As much as it's a one all component for those folks who don't want to spend the time or energy into computer audio/video playback, or multi channel/SACD playback, it has limiting factors on SQ growth. Thus it's a grand wasted that can be accomplished better with more control and mobility on my existing computer audio system. Which is basically what this forum is about. Take the blue pill and continue down the rabbit hole.

 

It certainly has a complementary role though in allowing me access to my music library on my "main" system when I'm in the living room, and it is the one component my video oriented wife understands, uses and enjoys. Value add in that respect.

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oppo with spdif into the dac, and Mac with USB into the dac, playing a file ripped off the same CD.

 

You compared the Oppo's transport with a Mac server, yielding no useful information. Try the Mac running a transport like an attached Bluray drive to compare to the transport function of the Oppo for a useful comparison.

 

Personally I find any external transport such as the Oppo a waste of space and just another component that can be eliminated altogether. As much as it's a one all component for those folks who don't want to spend the time or energy into computer audio/video playback, or multi channel/SACD playback, it has limiting factors on SQ growth. Thus it's a grand wasted that can be accomplished better with more control and mobility on my existing computer audio system. Which is basically what this forum is about. Take the blue pill and continue down the rabbit hole.

 

You have no use for the Oppo's capabilities, but I happen to like watching movies and using the Oppo's HDMI switching when going between my 35" screen and my 110" screen. And the Oppo will not be the SQ limiting factor in *your* system whenever you use your Outlaw amp.

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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You have no use for the Oppo's capabilities, but I happen to like watching movies and using the Oppo's HDMI switching when going between my 35" screen and my 110" screen. And the Oppo will not be the SQ limiting factor in *your* system whenever you use your Outlaw amp.

 

(grin) I was right with you up to the last statement. I use a set of Outlaw 2200 monos and - while there are certainly better amps out there - there are a hell of a lot worse. Most of the "worse" ones costing a lot more money than the Outlaws.

 

Are you using the Oppo to switch inputs or just to drive two displays? I have been thinking about reconfiguring to have mine drive multiple inputs, but am not at all sure if that is a good idea or not. I know HDMI switchers cannot approach the reliability of even an extrremely modest AVR, much less a decent prepro. From experience I am afraid...

 

Also, to my ears, the Mac tends to beat the pants off most transports, including the Oppo. That of course, being a relative comparison, as both of them provide excellent sound in comparison to any of the $69 BetstBuy special bluray players.

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Hi Guys

 

I have an upgraded Oppo I use as the centre of my system - for two channel HT and as the main transport for my DAC's. The upgrade is a new output stage and Terra Firma clock. As a DAC its actually very good - just a fraction off some of the more expensive stuff I own like the Playback Designs and DAC's like the Direct Stream I have compared it to - they are better - but I can tell you it's close. Not in a bulls roar of my beloved Killer DAC, but that is an entirely different beast.

 

I have owned a MAC as source as well as a NUC with very low noise power supply. The NUC is easily better than the MAC for me. However of them all I prefer the Oppo using a really great 3D SPDIF cable from Keith Eichmann:

KLEI gZero3D SPDIF/IC | KLE Innovations

 

At a recent GTG many were intrigued (maybe even dumbfounded) how it sounded compared to USB:

GTG Listening session with Redefy on Saturday, 4 July 2015 in Alexandra Hills, Brisbane - Queensland - StereoNET

'The S/PDIF was very rich & organic without any hint of glare or edginess. IMHO USB (using the "Curious) offered a bit more detail & resolution.'

 

I preferred the SPDIF which is why I switched to it in my rig over USB - but then again because my Oppo has a Terra Firma clock its a very low jitter source - a lot better than the transport used at the GTG..

 

Thanks

Bill

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(grin) I was right with you up to the last statement. I use a set of Outlaw 2200 monos and - while there are certainly better amps out there - there are a hell of a lot worse. Most of the "worse" ones costing a lot more money than the Outlaws.

 

Are you using the Oppo to switch inputs or just to drive two displays? I have been thinking about reconfiguring to have mine drive multiple inputs, but am not at all sure if that is a good idea or not. I know HDMI switchers cannot approach the reliability of even an extrremely modest AVR, much less a decent prepro. From experience I am afraid...

 

Also, to my ears, the Mac tends to beat the pants off most transports, including the Oppo. That of course, being a relative comparison, as both of them provide excellent sound in comparison to any of the $69 BetstBuy special bluray players.

-Paul

 

Hi Paul,

 

I supposedly switch inputs, meaning I feed both my Mac Mini server and my AppleTV output through the Oppo, and the video and combined audio and video carried over long HDMI stretches works great, but I can't strip any sound off my AppleTV's HDMI stream inside the Oppo to get to the Oppo's DAC. And my AppleTV's toslink out doesn't work...I need to replace it. Gawd, my Apple gear fails at an alarming rate. But it is growing on me, and I'm sure the phone would be very good.

 

On the question of what is a limiting component in sound quality, IME everything limits *and* everything passes through the qualities of superior signals. That is, you can hear past the noise and distortion of your speakers/amps/DAC/whatever to hear artifacts tens of dB below the distortion and noise floor of those components. So the only useful observation is to point out the *relative* limiting fidelity of one component vs. another. In my case I have pretty good amps in the Bel Cantos, but their noise and distortion should by measurement limit the Oppo more than the reverse. Sorry, I'm tired and didn't state that well... ....do you follow?

 

Regarding sources, especially early and poorly-transferred complex music, nothing on earth can deconflict the screech of two dozen violins recorded with a dithery, early 16/44 recorder. For much of my music, a change in components only changes the texture of the noise floor of the recording. I've experienced that a lot with really good components. HQPlayer, when reformatting 16/44 PCM to DSD128 has extracted more from redbook than I ever expected, but I feel that hi-res recordings, transfers from analog tape, or analog sources are needed to enable me to really find the limits of my gear.

 

Interesting to hear your findings about the Mac as transport. I very rarely hear CDs or SACDs any more, all my stuff is ripped. I'll probably spring for a Regen if I don't get a high-end DAC first.

 

Cheers, Sam

Mac Mini 2012 with 2.3 GHz i5 CPU and 16GB RAM running newest OS10.9x and Signalyst HQ Player software (occasionally JRMC), ethernet to Cisco SG100-08 GigE switch, ethernet to SOtM SMS100 Miniserver in audio room, sending via short 1/2 meter AQ Cinnamon USB to Oppo 105D, feeding balanced outputs to 2x Bel Canto S300 amps which vertically biamp ATC SCM20SL speakers, 2x Velodyne DD12+ subs. Each side is mounted vertically on 3-tiered Sound Anchor ADJ2 stands: ATC (top), amp (middle), sub (bottom), Mogami, Koala, Nordost, Mosaic cables, split at the preamp outputs with splitters. All transducers are thoroughly and lovingly time aligned for the listening position.

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