Oppo BDP-105 Universal Audiophile Player
The Oppo BDP-105 Universal Audiophile 3D Blu-ray Disc Player is the successor to the very successful BDP-95. This is in fact a very good upgrade, which includes new features such as an asynchronous USB DAC input and a fan-less design. The list price also moved up to $1200.
According to Oppo Digital:
“The OPPO BDP-105 is designed from the ground up with components optimized for enhanced analog audio performance. The OPPO BDP-105 features an all-new analog audio stage powered by two ESS Sabre32 Reference Digital-to-Analog Converters (DAC), balanced (XLR) & unbalanced (RCA) dedicated stereo outputs, a Toroidal linear power supply, and asynchronous USB DAC input. These high-grade components are housed in a rigidly constructed metal chassis and work together to deliver exceptionally detailed and accurate sound quality along with reference quality video.”
After unpacking the unit, I quickly agreed that build quality was excellent and clearly well thought out. The feet are relatively tall (allowing for generous airflow from underneath the unit) and had extra damping material to reduce vibration and acoustically isolate the unit. The vent slots on top are large, which also assist in good airflow. The unit weighed in at a nice 17.3 lbs (7.9kg) and felt very solid. Since there are no fans, the unit was dead quiet when playing audio files from an external USB disk. After running the unit for several hours using different optical disks and an external USB audio disk, the unit was barely warm.
Based on the above schematic, you will notice that no matter which input is used, the 2 channel stereo output will always be processed by the high quality 2 channel Reference DAC. The listening tests were done using the following setup:
1. A USB hard disk loaded with FLAC files of varying sample rates and bit depth. These included "Meet Me In London (192kHz Super Hi Def Edition) by Antonio Forcione & Sabina Sciubba" from Linn Records, "Seasons Dreams by Anne Akiko Meyers" from HDTracks and "Order of Distinction by Ernest Ranglin" from iTrax among others.
2. A Mac Mini running Amarra HiFi connected to the USB input playing the same tracks as above.
3. Various optical disks i.e. CD, DVD-Audio, Blu-ray including some quality recordings from AIXRecords. AIXRecords proudly states "No dynamic processing, no EQ, no artificial reverb" in all their recordings. Notable albums included "Play something sweet by Rita Coolidge" and "The Latin Jazz Trio with Luis Conte, David Garfield, and David Carpenter". See article on AIXRecords founder Mark Waldrep and his recording philosophy.
Some stereo listening was done using the built in DAC and comparing it with my outboard Arcam rDAC. The rDAC is a very neutral DAC (the way a DAC should be) and the 105 compared well with the rDAC. The 105 was better in the sense that it can handle files up to 192 kHz via USB while the rDAC has a limit of 96 kHz via USB. In my opinion the 105 is a decent file player. It serves the same basic function as the Bryston BDP-1 but at a much-reduced cost. Is the Bryston BDP-1 a better file player? Yes, but I did not find the Oppo BDP-105 lacking in this area. For file playing I used an external Hard Disk connected via USB and compared it with the Mac Mini via USB. As expected, I could not hear a difference between the external USB from a hard disk connected and from the Mac Mini connected to the OPPOs USB.
The headphone amplifier was a treat and I found the volume control via the handheld Remote Control works as good as the amplifier's analog volume control. There is a technical explanation available here for those interested in the details. A very nice feature worth mentioning is a "pure audio" button on the remote control which shuts down all the video circuits. This is useful if you are concerned about stray video noise signals interfering with the audio signals while listening to music.
The handheld Remote Control is well laid out, functionally intuitive and has a nice solid feel. The response from the player was also quite fast.
The Remote Control app for iPhone/iPad (iOS) was kind of a let down. It simply mimics the handheld remote in form and function except that it is more cumbersome to use since the entire remote is split into several screens. I hope Oppo Digital will develop an improved version soon, which allows the user to navigate the menu without the need to have the TV on. That would be a great improvement. Another annoying thing was that the player always started up in the home menu no matter what settings were last used. It would be nice for the player to remember the last selection e.g. if the last selection was playing music from a USB disk, it would start up in that mode.
The Oppo BDP-105 can easily become the heart of your entertainment system if you connect the 5.1 or 7.1 analog outputs to a multichannel amplifier and speakers.
I did not cover the 5.1 or 7.1 configurations during these tests but from a Stereo point of view, this player is totally awesome and well worth the money.
- Oppo-BDP 105
- Linn Ninka Speakers
- Arcam rDac
- Musical Fidelity A3 CD
- Bryston B60 Amplifier
- Blu-Ray and DVD Audio disk from AIXRecords Audio FLAC files from Naim Label, iTrax and HDTracks.
- Mac Mini with Amarra HiFi