OPPO BDP-105 Multi Player Review
By Luther Ward
By Luther Ward
Audio like many items has a law of diminishing returns. It reminds me of some guys when asked, what is the best performance car? The first guy says the new Chevrolet Corvette, the next guy says the Mercedes SLS Black, the next guy ups the bar with the Lamborghini Aventador and the last guy trumps with the McLaren P1. There is over a million dollars difference between the first and last car. Is the McLaren a better performance car than the Chevrolet? The simple answer is yes, but unless you’re an oil sheik or rock star with money to burn, it isn’t so simple. Different people have different wants and needs. Only you can decide if the added performance, bells and whistles are worth the additional dollars to you.
Black box disc players are very much in the same arena. You can run down to your local electronics supermarket and pick up a blu-ray player for $100 or shop a high end company and spend $30,000 or more. With OPPO’s BDP-105, you get audiophile grade music and a lot more, for far less than a sports car or boutique player. Now that doesn’t mean you won’t get just as many smiles. In fact, you will most likely get more, when you realize how much money you saved.
My first introduction to OPPO was back in 2009 when I took part in the Early Adopter Program for the BDP-83. This basically consisted of getting on a waiting list to be able to purchase the player before it was released to the general public. The BDP-83 was in my home theater system up until my recent purchase of the BDP-103 for 3D viewing. The BDP-83 has since moved into a 2-channel system. Armed with this OPPO history, I was excited to review the BDP-105 and see just how good it really is. I’ll give a hint; it’s more than just good.
Build Quality, Appearance and Functionality
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12439[/img]Your first impression of the BDP-105 comes as soon as you pick up the box. 24 pounds is what the UPS label had printed on it and you feel that heft. Open the box and you get an idea of how much thought has gone into this world class unit. You are first greeted with a beautiful full color insert giving you some of the highlights of this player and its capabilities.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=12440[/img]Next you find the BDP-105 is protected by a nice cloth bag with handles and surrounded with high density foam. The bag is great for carrying audio goodies or vinyl records to your next audio get together. Even the accessories come in a box worthy of retail display.
You see the fit and finish continue, as you proceed to unbox and hook up the player. The black finish of the steel chassis has a level of execution that you normally find in very high end gear or exotic cars. Yes, it’s that good. Not only is the look sleek and modern but has a nice tactile feel. A big plus for many of you will be there is no more fan cooling.
Having spent over 25 years in high tech electronics, from radar and deep space satellites to military “black box” tech and system security, I just had to open the OPPO and take a look around. Folks let me tell you, this was not something thrown together or done in a hurry. There was a lot of thought put into board layout and PCB execution. It even uses state of the art surface mount technology to maximize performance and get the most fidelity from the limited space.
For instance, there are separate stereo and multi-channel audio boards, a substantial toroidal power supply and two (one pair) of SABRE32 Reference ES9018 DAC chips in this player, one on the stereo audio board and the other on the multi-channel audio board. Each DAC chip has 4 pairs of DAC channels (8 channels in each chip). For the multi-channel board naturally each DAC channel drives one of the 7.1ch output. For the stereo board, the DAC channels are assigned as: 1 pair for the RCA outputs, 1 pair for the XLR outputs, and 2 pairs stacked for the headphone amplifier. Yes, I said for the headphone amplifier. OPPO has all the bases covered. So, for you can lovers out there, all you need is the BDP-105, your favorite headphones and you are good to go.
Be sure and check out the features below. I know it is an extensive read but it is the only way to learn of all the features the BDP-105 is packed with. If I were to write about each one, this review would quickly turn into a novel.
Here is another area where OPPO has gone above and beyond. The BDP-105 boasts a plethora of input and output options. Starting on the top left you find both XLR balanced and RCA single-ended outputs. Moving across to the right, there are individual analog 7.1-channel surround outputs (front, surround, sub, center and surround back). Drop down to the bottom row and you get Ethernet and HDMI input. Next are both coaxial and optical outputs. These are followed by two HDMI outputs. A very cool feature here is your choice of “Split A/V” or “Dual Display” configuration. When “Split A/V” is selected, HDMI 1 is the primary video port and HDMI 2 is the primary audio port. HDMI 1 outputs video at the highest possible resolution, by way of Marvell's Kyoto-G2H video processor with the latest generation Qdeo™ technology, and it mutes the audio. Moving on, you find two USB inputs, the IR control and an RS-232 control port. Last but not least, there are the digital audio inputs; optical, coaxial and USB. It really doesn’t matter what your application is or how you want to use the BDP-105, you are good to go with this player.
Setting up the BDP-105 was a breeze. With everything clearly marked and easy to read, it was just a matter of minutes to plug in the power cord and hook up to each of my systems; first to my two channel system and later to my home theater. Even accessing my network via the supplied USB WiFi dongle was super simple. Plug it in one of the USB input on the back and setup via the on screen menus.
Speaking of menus, the default menu is great for quickly accessing whatever it is you want to do. Be it watch a movie, listen to music, view photos, stream Netflix and more are all available with a quick click from the supplied remote. If you have read some of my other reviews, you may already know that I am picky about remotes. Let me say here and now, I love the OPPO remote. The buttons are large, laid out great for one handed use and it is back lit, so I wasn’t fumbling in the dark while watching movies. My wife liked the Netflix button for quickly getting to her favorite movies.
For dedicated two channel playback, I had the BDP-105 connected to a McIntosh C36 preamp. The pre feeds two Shanling SP80 mono blocks running 6CA7EH output tubes. The amps are driving a pair of custom horn speakers. You may read more on these on the Home Theater Shack Forums: http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/diy-speakers/27525-custom-3-way-horn.html
For video, the BDP-105 was connected to a Panasonic PT-AE8000U projector and an Onkyo TX-SR607 AVR. The AVR drives the center, surrounds and rear surrounds. The AVR also feeds an EV-DX38 that bi-amps a pair of Klipsch Jubilee speakers. A pair of Ampzilla 2000 mono blocks drives the bass bins and a DIY 6DN7 tube amp drives the horns.
Pat Metheny Group – Letter from Home
I started with a CD that is one of my favorites and as a way to slip into a listening mood gently. From the opening song, “Have You Heard”, the BDP-105 showed its prowess for aural bliss. The layers of music here are thick and can easily be muddied by poor players. The OPPO gave detail and separation of, not only these layers, but of the notes themselves. The cymbals and snare were delicate and seem to hang on air. Pedro Aznar's beautiful vocal arrangements blended seamlessly, and at times, sound like just another instrument in the mix. Pat’s own solo work was spectacular. His playing came through, from sharp attacks and string bends to his mastery of the fret board. Even the bongos stood out with a fingering pop that made them real.
All the way though this album, I was mesmerized by the how much more of the music came through with the BDP-105. The subtle nuances in tone and inflection, the way the music floated on air and how I wasn’t just listening to the music, but hearing the music. Then the final song, the title track “Letter from Home.” The OPPO took this beautiful, almost lullaby of a song, and made it ethereal. I could feel the emotion in the notes; the sense of longing out on the road and the contentment from reading a letter from home.
Wes Montgomery – Plays for Lovers
Continuing on with my somewhat mellow theme, I gave Wes Montgomery’s “plays for lovers’ a spin. Having played Pat Metheny, it reminded me that he is a huge fan of Wes Montgomery. While Pat and Wes are both guitar players that is about the only similarity you could say about them. With different styles and from different worlds and times of jazz, they play a different music.
From the first few bars of the first song “ghost of a change with you” the fidelity is apparent. The piano notes are distinct, the cymbal sizzles and Wes’ guitar has a richness and clarity that brings him into the room. Over and over again with each song, I was hearing a level of detail that brought a smile to my face. The old school vibe the organ brings on “for all we know” brought pictures of a Leslie horn spinning in the background. Then with “prelude to a kiss” the BDP-105 brought a symphony of instruments alive. The lushness of a string section, the vibrato of a bass fiddle and the distinct sound of Wes’s guitar are clean and clear. Never more evident than on the last track “while we’re young”, where each note, each sting, evokes a warm gentle side of jazz. The tonality of his Gibson L-5 guitar is rich and sounds like you’re listening to his Fender amp and not your home stereo.
I have used Skyfall previously when reviewing receivers and feel it may become my go to for video. The AVC 2.40:1 1080p encoding makes for spectacular viewing and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 brings audiophile source material to your system. Given this material to work with, the BDP-105 truly shines. Much has been said about the night scenes in Macau. Yes, they are breath taking. Here the OPPO delivered rich blacks and separation of color off the water and the fire works in the sky, but movies or player for that matter need to excel through out. Take for example a dreary scene in Scotland. This is a picture I took with my Nikon D50 on a tripod of the actual screen image from my Panasonic projector.
The amount of detail is stunning. Every line, every crease, ever hair is there in crisp clear visual detail. While I have watched this movie many times, the OPPO gives it more life. I found myself being totally drawn in experiencing the movie.
The audio is just as high def as the picture. Not just the voices that you hear but layers of back ground have their own separation and nuance. During fight scenes, the landed blows and things breaking or the sounds of shots that ring in the air, I’m thinking this is what it really sounds like. Even the sound of the Agusta Westland AW101 helicopter may have you ducking. The thump of the blades and the sound of the M2 machine gun firing .50 BMG rounds are intense and real.
At every point in the movie the BDP-105 delivered studio quality definition.
Conclusion and Recommendations
It is easy to become a fan of OPPO. They really have you covered with this player. It doesn’t matter what format of movie you want to watch, what format of music you want to listen to or if you’re looking for a great DAC or headphone amp, the BDP-105 fits the bill and so much more.
The team has thought of everything for maximum flexibility and usage. It is not only impressive for the video and sound quality you get, but that OPPO has done this at a price point you won’t find anywhere else. I feel this makes the BDP-105 one of the best bargains on the market today. Yes, you can spend more, but why, when you don’t have to?
On a side note, not only does OPPO build fantastic machines, they stand behind each and every one of them. They are as much a customer service company, as a bunch of gear heads. I recently had an opportunity to witness this first hand. My old BDP-83 started having an issue with the disc tray sticking. I thought being a discontinued model and years out of warranty, I would be out of luck, but one email to service changed all that. They listened and without hesitation informed me they would repair it for free. They even sent me the shipping label to return it. Their turn around time was just as awesome, as their gear. Not only did they repair my problem quickly but upgraded it to the latest firmware. The service was like this during the entire process. I was kept informed all along the way and even after they shipped it back, I received a followed up email to make sure I that everything was to my satisfaction. Kudos to OPPO!
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