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

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.



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