The Oppo BDP-105 arrived last week and I have been putting it through its paces. Unboxing was a bit of a chore, as the player was double-boxed and the interior heavily padded. The cables were stashed in a separate box inside, and the player came not in a plastic wrap, but in a soft reusable tote bag with Oppo logo on its exterior.
The weight of the 105 is substantial, much more solid than the Pioneer Elite DV-45A it replaces. The panels feel much thicker, and the faceplate is thicker still, with a matte finish. Neat touch is that the play controls are touch-sensitive behind the glass front panel.
It took awhile to hook up. I ended up purging quite a few cables that had strayed behind the shelving unit, got rid of the surround receiver I had tethered into the system for surround (which I hadn’t used in a year), and am mothballing the cassette deck again for several months since it’s had its workout for the time being. Messing around with the cables made it clear that I am going to be shopping for some better interconnects. I need a few in a half-meter length to reduce some of this cable clutter.
And judging from the photo, I also need a serious upgrade in audio shelving. It is about time I invested in something more substantial, which also has some isolation properties to it. It also needs a good, sturdy top shelf to support a 50 pound turntable setup.
The BDP-105 is not only a universal player (capable of CD, SACD, DVD-Audio and BluRay), it can also play files via the network. It is DLNA/UPnP capable, which fits in perfectly with my networked media server. I had considered getting a Pioneer N-50 network media player but, given the cost and unknown sonics, it was not that much of a stretch to revise my search upward a bit to include disc playback. As this was a lightly used demo unit, it really did not cost too much more than the N-50.
Upon first playback using both discs and networked files, two things strike me immediately. First, the sound is much smoother, lacking the grit, roughness and edgy highs of the Pioneer. Music sounds more naturally balanced in tonality, and high frequencies do not leave me on edge as they do with other digital sources. An unexpected side-effect: I hear less hiss on analog-sourced files–I guess that exaggerated high end of the Pioneer was doing more than making the sound intolerable!
Second, that soundstage! Even if not sitting in a good listening position, you can hear the music filling the room. In the sweet spot, imaging of instruments is dead-on accurate. Playing one of the Living Stereo classical SACDs, I could easily place the different sections of the orchestra, and also get a great sense of the space inside the hall it was recorded in.
On both a Nexus 4 and Nexus 7, I use the BubbleUPnP app as a control point between a music server and the renderer. It works nicely with the 105, even better than the laggy response I’d get when playing music through the WDTV Live. Oppo’s own app requires a lot of hunting to find what I want to play, and another app I tried (offered by Linn) was very laggy and unintuitive. The nicest part is that I can finally play back all of my high-resolution digital files in their proper resolution, not downsampled. That was my intention of getting a proper network music player, and aside from playing SACDs, I can use the network player to save wear on the player’s disc drive.