Banner
Banner
cookie-banner
Article Index
Oppo BDP-105D Blu-ray player
page 2
page 3
p4 sound quality
page 5 conclusion
page 6 measured performance
All Pages

OPPO BDP-105D BLU-RAY PLAYER REVIEW

 

FOR CD - try this!

 

Oppo BDP-105D

Oppo's BDP-105D Blu-ray player uses one of the best digital convertors going and sounds superb with silver discs, including CD. It puts Noel Keywood in a spin!

 

Using one of the world’s best DAC chips, an ESS Sabre32, Oppo's BDP-105D Blu-ray player offers high-end CD replay, as well as top quality DVD and Blu-ray audio – and you can connect up a computer via USB to play CD or high resolution audio I found.
    For £1000 that’s a whole lot of ability, plus there’s a lot more I haven't yet mentioned. Are there limitations? Turns out there are.
    Not only does the BDP-105D play almost all silver discs, including SACD and DVD-A, it also has S/PDIF digital audio inputs, optical and electrical, so any external digital device, like a Mac Mini, MacBook Pro or Astell&Kern AK100 high-resolution portable player can be connected to take advantage of its quality.
    Because the ESS Sabre32 has huge dynamic range, to exploit it, balanced audio outputs are needed, so Oppo fit balanced XLR output sockets, as well as unbalanced phonos of course. Multi-channel audio is down-mixed to these outputs.
    That’s the audio side covered in basic outline, but there’s more. Playing DVDs and Blu-ray video and audio discs, the BDP-105D decodes all video disc audio formats, especially DTS HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD. It outputs video’s audio stream digitally through HDMI to a receiver, and in analogue form through phono sockets in seven channels, plus subwoofer, for a legacy seven-channel receiver with analogue inputs, or any other set-up. There are no analogue video outputs, only HDMI digital. All the same, there is on-board video adjustment, as well as optional processing via Darbee, so whilst the Oppo doesn’t have legacy video it does have copious modern-day video processing ability.
    The front panel has only disc play functions. The remote control is therefore an essential item, even to change inputs, so best not to lose it down the back of the settee. And like many A/V products you navigate via on-screen menus; there are no secondary displays on the player, so a TV or video monitor must be connected and switched on, except when playing CDs or SACDs. 

 


Internally, the BDP-105D reveals its complexity. A screened toroidal mains transformer (bottom left) provides power and the disc transport mechanism sits at centre. The ESS Sabre32 chip is a small square block nestling at centre of the right hand circuit board.

 

Able to play Netflix and Vudu, this player is also internet savvy. It has an RJ45 network socket and auto-detects new firmware versions. I updated to latest version 10XEU-75-0515 before testing or using the player. It sees UPnP media servers and saw EyeConnect on my Mac (OS: Mavericks) and Windows Media player on my PC (OS: Windows 7), although seeing the Mac took some prompting at times. It sees the iTunes library, which means no FLAC, only WAV and iTunes formats, but that does mean high-res lossless too.
    And it will read files from a memory stick, music, video or picture files, from one front panel socket for short term sneakernet use, or two rear sockets for long term storage. Unusually, the User Manual doesn’t say what formats are recognised “support for content is on a best efforts basis”. Eh? The User manual is available on-line and you can find this in p43. More later.
    After measurement I used the Oppo at home, and also in our office listening room, in two quite different systems. At home I ran it through a Marantz SR802 receiver driving a six channel system, with two Martin Logan Electromotion electrostatics up front, two Surround speakers and two Backs. Alternatively, with volume control active it ran a WAD 300B valve power amplifier running the Electromotions in a stereo system. At work the Oppo’s volume control was also used, allowing it to connect direct to a pair of Quad II-eighty power amplifiers driving Tannoy Kensington Gold Reference loudspeakers;  Quad QMP1 monoblock power amplifiers run  through balanced cables was an interesting alternative, but I did not try it, because there was too much else to run through.
    I mention all this partly to illustrate that with on-board volume control (built into the Sabre32 chip) and XLR outputs swinging a full 4V (as well as phonos swinging a conventional 2V) the Oppo can drive any power amplifier in a stereo system, so can be used as a high quality stereo source, as well as an equally able Blu-ray player, or just a high quality CD player. It mixes down multichannel to stereo of course.


 

That this is a high resolution player is underlined by its balanced XLR outputs on the rear panel. There are two USB mass storage sockets, one HDMI input and two HDMI ouputs, one streaming native DSD. Note also eight multi-channel audio outputs.

 

Now to a few small funnies and limitations. Under test I found the S/PDIF inputs went silent when fed 176.4kHz or 192kHz sample rate digital, odd since this is not a limitation of the Sabre32, and electrical S/PDIF, at least, always works to 192kHz these days. Unfortunately, on the BDP-105D it does not and the User Manual confirms this in a note on p21. I got silence when playing back ‘192s’, like Otis Redding’s ‘Otis Blue’ (24/192) from my Astell&Kern AK120 portable player via its optical digital output. This was an unexpected limitation.
    The question then arose: would it play 24/192  WAV and FLAC files from a memory key? It did, playing test files perfectly. It also plays DSD files with .dff and. dsf file extensions. This is a peculiar inconsistency: via S/PDIF it won’t play top resolution files, but from a memory key it will. 
    So on to USB - and here it became even stranger. Oppo quote 192kHz sample rate, but our UK sample player signalled to my MacBook Pro (OS: Mavericks) it accepted 384kHz sample rate - and it did! The Sabre32 will work up to this rate, so its powers have been fully exploited via USB. There are no file limitations, as long as the music player in use can play them, but I could not get sound when playing DSD files (.dff and .dsf) with Simple Audio player and Audirvana, even though the Oppo saw a 358.2kHz sample rate PCM input from my MacBook Pro, indicating it was getting a high resolution data stream. It may just be it was detecting a high rate DSD stream, flagging it erroneously as PCM. Whatever - I got silence over USB, although the Mac was playing, connected headphones showed.
    Other small limitations to be aware of are that the video side inevitably has regional management and ours was a Blue-ray Region B / DVD Region 2 (Europe) player, not a U.S. A/1 player. Also, although DVD-A discs are played, HD DVDs are not. SACD discs are played, in full multichannel form and output over HDMI2 can be set to DSD for a receiver that can process DSD, or PCM for a receiver that cannot. Note that internally the Sabre32 processes DSD from SACD discs and outputs it via the rear panel analogue audio outputs, so you get the quality of the Sabre32 here - and measurement showed excellent figures from an SACD test disc.

IN USE
In use I found the remote control a mixed bag. It has a good Direct button that switches off internal video processes and sends a black signal over HDMI so there is no high frequency (data rate) info on the R, G and B data lines. It has a strong back light for the buttons too and audio functions are conveniently in a line at top.
    The remote was just-about legible in low lighting. Some of the user-interface behaviours were odd: why step through a menu with the Audio selection button, for example, when up/down buttons on a joy stick are purposed for this and used elsewhere?
    I started out playing a Blu-ray I know well, John Meyer’s ‘Where the Light Is’ and stopped immediately: the picture was too contrasty. Switching video to ‘straight through’ cured this and I got on with listening.



SOUND QUALITY
The qualities of the Sabre32 were very obvious when spinning Carlos Santana’s ‘Supernatural’  DVD-Audio disc (24/96). The Sabre is smooth yet deep, in my experience of it, and Put Your Lights On immediately reflected this, being easy on my ear from a smooth almost silky flow to notes from Santana’s guitar, yet full bodied sound to the Latin American percussion accompanying him. There was a subtle sense of air around the vocals from Everlast, helping bring an extra sense of dimension to the song’s setting. In all this struck me as about the best I had ever heard the song, and following tracks all benefited similarly, sounding more atmospheric than I had ever heard them - and  less digital. Digital glare and jitter were down, and subtle nuances more apparent; the whole was easy yet natural. I’ve not spun my DVD-As through a Sabre32 before and this showed me yet again just how good a DAC it is, bringing out the best from digital by suppressing all those properties that act against it.
    Does it work as a high quality CD player? It certainly does. Interesting was the fact that even old discs were less hashy and confused than I know them from other players; Gerry Rafferty’s “Time’s caught up on you” from On a Wing & a Prayer, an early 16bit  DDD from 1992, revealed this, sounding as if it had been digitally cleaned to become less confused and more focussed, but here I encountered another issue: treble level was fully supported and very strong. I wanted to reach for a ‘slow’ filter of the sort you get on Audiolab’s M-DAC, but there isn’t one. The Sabre32 comes with fast and slow filter options built in, but Oppo don’t enable this feature; they use fast, which gives a better measured result, but can sound a tad lacerative with old CD. Slow reduces time domain ringing and zingy treble, and is subjectively preferable with CD I feel, as do many others. Oppo are missing a trick here.
    Spinning Purcell’s ‘Rondo from Abdelazer’ on SACD was gripping: the organ sounded vast, the notes were well formed, as if the organ pipes themselves were in my lounge, and trumpet at centre was big and bold, and also rock stable - another property of the Sabre32 I’ve detected before through my Martin Logan Electromotions that in themselves have razor sharp imaging and can illuminate jitter, or lack thereof. I was almost shocked by the sheer scale, smoothness, depth and dimensionality of the BDP-105D. This great performance was carried on through endless SACDs: choral works like Canticum Canticorum placed the choir in an atmospherically open space, accompanying strings were smooth and wonderfully separated, one from the other.
    Replay from memory stick was also great fun, because there was no file faffing: the Oppo just got on with playing WAV, FLAC and DSD without murmur. Blood Sweat and Tears in DSD (.dsf) playing Spinning Wheel placed David Clayton Thomas clearly in front of me: trumpets and trombones had power and presence in the room and images were again superbly outlined. The Oppo has scale and I suspect this is attributable to a good on-board power supply.



CONCLUSION
This is one of the best digital players I have ever heard. It’s Sabre32 DAC, which my ears tell me has been very well implemented, gave devastatingly good sound quality - so much so that I’ll likely be getting one to replace my much used and loved Cambridge Audio 650BD universal player. The Cambridge also plays it all but the Oppo is a step up sound-quality wise, a generation ahead - and in front of the DAC pack generally, with the arguable exception of Audiolab’s Sabre32 equipped M-DAC and Q-DAC, but they don’t play video or SACD.
    Inability to play 192kHz sample rate files through S/PDIF is a little strange, but often they will be transferable to a memory stick, and then they will play, so there is a work-around to this limitation. Similarly, inability to play DSD over USB can be worked around in the same manner: use a memory stick.
    Such drawbacks are minor I feel against the player’s major ability: to play almost every silver disc out there, with superb sound quality. So if you’re looking for an ultimate player of just about anything - this is it. It’s as simple as that! Low price is an extra.


OPPO BDP-105D     £1050  (U.K.)


OUTSTANDING – amongst the best

VALUE - keenly priced

VERDICT

Fabulous sound quality and great versatility make this a superb player.

FOR
- sound quality
- plays most silver discs
- plays files, including DSD

AGAINST
- no 192k S/PDIF digital
- awkward input control sequences

- no DSD over USB


OPPO Digital UK Ltd

+44 (0)845 060 9395

www.oppodigital.co.uk


Measured by our Rohde&Schwarz UPV, the world's most advanced audio analyser

MEASURED PERFORMANCE

Using the Oppo BDP-105D as a DAC, frequency response with 192kHz sample rate PCM digital from a LaCie USB key (memory stick) extended to a very high 90kHz, so Oppo have opted to use the Sabre32’s ‘fast’ filter. Similarly, running the same file from a MacBook Pro via USB gave the same result, so the player has enormous analogue bandwidth, as high as possible from 192kHz sample rate.
    Interestingly, the Mac showed, on its Audio/Midi console (in Utilities), 352.8kHz and 384kHz sample rate options, usually only available through an I2S link, and at these output sample rates from the Mac the Oppo played perfectly, but it does not of course alter the analogue bandwidth of a 192kHz test file. You must record at these sample rates to be able to benefit from them, and 384kHz is way off the consumer map at the moment.
    The S/PDIF inputs, electrical (coaxial) and optical, accept 96kHz sample rate data maximum, a peculiar limitation, especially via the electrical connection (optical is often limited to 96kHz by the TOSLINK optical receiver unit). Analogue bandwidth extended to 46kHz (-1dB) through these inputs. The problem here is not performance related, it is that playing 192k invokes a “no play” scenario (i.e. silence) from the player, and this is best avoided. Play of 192kHz sample rate data via S/PDIF electrical is common nowadays, so this limitation of the BDP-105D is baffling, and in stark contrast to its ability to play 384kHz via USB.
    With 24bit data, distortion at -60dB was as low as it can get at 0.015%, but the Oppo outputs from the Sabre32 direct to XLR and this is what the ESS DAC can do. Dynamic range (EIAJ) measured 123dB and this is also exactly as expected from a Sabre32 properly implemented. It is a very high figure, only bettered when two Sabre chips are used, one per channel, with all eight channels paralleled. So this player fully realises the potential of the Sabre32 and should fully convey its excellent sound.
    With SACD, measured performance was equally impressive. Analogue bandwidth extended to 40kHz (-1dB) and distortion was a very low 0.018% at -60dB, right on par with 24bit PCM code: the BDP-105D gets the best from SACD discs.
    Measurements from the BDP-105D are as expected from a Sabre32 DAC, meaning they are as good as it gets when one chip is used, and well beyond rivals. That puts this player in the top league, measurement wise. However, there are inconsistencies, inability to accept 192kHz sample rate PCM data via its S/PDIF inputs being major. NK

Frequency response    4Hz-90kHz
Separation    113dB
Noise    122dB
Distortion    0.015%
Dynamic range    123dB

 

FREQUENCY RESPONSE, 192kHz sample rate

 

DISTORTION, 24bit, -60dB

 

DYNAMIC RANGE (EIAJ, –63.227dB – 60dB = 123dB)

 

Add your comment

Your name:
Subject:
Comment:
  The word for verification. Lowercase letters only with no spaces.
Word verification:

Search

Hi-Fi World, Powered by Joomla!; Hosted by Joomla Wired.