Oppo Blu-Ray Universal disc players.
Oppo first came on to our radar when we heard about their NuForce modified players. While these never found their way to New Zealand, Oppo obviously took the idea of someone else taking their players and making them sound better seriously and realized that it was worthwhile doing this themselves.
From that point they have built better and better disc players that have now become the standard not just for any serious home cinema enthusiast, but also for a whole new generation of digitally based audiophiles. Their range has recently become more coherent and competitively priced and the introduction of the new Darbee Edition versions means that the time is now right to introduce Oppo to our line up. That they are also a logical companion to the recently introduced NuForce AV range made the choice even easier.
Each of the three models fills a specific niche but they all share a common DNA and quality of construction.
The entry level BDP103au is simply unbeatable value - the picture quality is fantastic, the features and connection options are comprehensive. For anyone looking to replace an ailing DVD player and get both better DVD performance and all the high definition goodness of BluRay discs, the BDP103 only costs a little more than the ordinary players - yet gives you far more.
For the new BDP-103D, OPPO has replaced the previously included QDEO video processing chip with a Silicon Image VRS Clearview chip that provides some additional detail, edge enhancement, and video smoothing functions, as well as taking over the 4K upscaling functions of the previous QDEO chip.
However, more importantly, OPPO has also added a new feature to the BDP-103D. Darbee Visual Presence adds a new twist on video processing, not by upscaling resolution, reducing background video noise, eliminating edge artifacts, or smoothing motion response, but by adding depth information in the image via a clever use of real-time contrast, brightness, and sharpness manipulation (referred to as luminous modulation).This process restores the missing "3D" information that the brain is trying to see within the 2D image. The result is that the image "pops" with improved texture, depth, and contrast range, giving it a more real-world look.
And the 103D will not just improve the picture with discs - because it also has an HDMI input, you can route signal from Sky or any other source through the 103Ds video processing and dramatically improve picture quality.
Click through to this comprehensive review which provides graphic illustrations of exactly what Darbee can achieve.
The BDP 105D is the best Oppo model of all - while the video side is essentially the same as the 103D, the audio has been dramatically improved - we are effectively full circle here with Oppo now doing even more to their own machine than what Nuforce had before. The 105D effectively replaces not just any disc player but all preamp functions associated with most home cinema amplifiers. The audio quality rivals that of any serious CD player, the internal DAC that of any outboard unit. The BDP105D is the centerpiece of a state of the art cinema system.
Here's the key to the BDP105 - if you are building a new system, you don't need a conventional home theatre receiver - just run it directly into a high quality multichannel power amplifier and you’ll be both saving money and greatly increasing performance. We suggest the new NuForce models MCA 18 or MCA 20 being a great place to start.
In a nutshell, the BDP103 is an entry level player that beats most other ‘best’ units and is perfect for modestly sized or older screens. The BDP 103D has even better picture and the BDP 105D has the best picture AND sound.
Anyone with a new large screen should go straight to the Darbee Editions versions as the difference will be readily apparent. If your AV receiver has multichannel analogue inputs and you want the best possible sound, go to the 105D and connect via these. Likewise if you have seen the logic of direct connection to multiple channels of power amplifier.
Oppo as a transport.
If you go to any serious audio show in the States, it very quickly becomes obvious that Oppo is the transport of choice for almost all demonstrations of DACs and Digital amplifiers from many specialist designers. Because these are universal players, every disc type is catered for and the USB and network connections provide compatibility with even more formats - all of which can be routed through an external DAC. It is our understanding that the digital output from all 3 models is essentially identical. So which player to choose as a transport will simply come down to how good a picture (if any) is required. The combination of an Oppo 103 and either NuPrime or Nuforce DAC will far outperform any similarly priced CD player and a great many beyond. If you have a CD, DVD or Bluray player that is starting to falter, don’t just replace it with another until you have investigated both versions of the BDP103 as a more future proof and higher performing alternative.
For more detail on how the Oppo preforms as a transport click through here.
Oppo vs Cambridge Audio.
For the last couple of years, one of the reasons we didn't do Oppo was simply that we felt the Cambridge Audio players were better options - and in fact if you want a player to do duty as a CD or SACD player first and foremost, the consensus is that the Cambridge 752BD is still the best choice, especially if your listening tastes favor the UK sound. On paper the Sabre DAC within the Oppo has some advantages, but the Cambridge design with multiple Wolfson DACs is considered to give a warmer more musical sound, every bit as good as their best CD players.
The new Darbee editions of the Oppo have pushed past the Cambridge in terms of video quality and with a choice of 3 models to the single Cambridge, there is a greater spread of price both above and below the 752BD. Cambridge does however offer twice the warranty period and is directly analogous to the more costly BDP105D in terms of audio features and connections.
All models share a significant amount of common components and design as they both originate from the same OEM factory - the Cambridge is NOT a modified Oppo or visa versa. If we were to try and generalise, we suggest the Cambridge is designed with the UK market in mind and benefits from their analogue and music replay heritage are clearly obvious. Meanwhile the Oppo is firmly aimed at the bigger US market where more emphasis is placed on large screen and surround sound performance.
Which player is best for you will come down to three factors - Picture quality, the audio performance of the system into which into which it is going. And while price is most definitely the third factor, you should carefully consider things in a system context - remember that with both the Cambridge 752BD and Oppo 105D, you are able to run directly into power amplifiers as you effectively have full audio and video control and connectivity in both.
If you look closely at the rear panel of the BDP105 above you'll see the row of analogue outputs on the right - this covers all 7 front and surround channel and subwoofer feed. You can also see there are dedicated left and right channels - with both RCA and Balanced connection. All of these are active and can be set to either fixed or variable output.
With the NuForce MCA18 power amplifier's 8 channels of serious power at under $1500, both of these models will combine do do what no conventional AVR and lower priced player can every hope to achieve for the same end price. And the MCA20 will simply blow away any possible alternatives.
Of course with NuForce being the wicked company they are, there are further upgrade options via their multichannel preamp and processor options in the same range. So if you look at the rear of their MCP 18 preamplifier above you'll quickly start to see why Oppo and Nuforce go so well together
Are you still with us? We have only scratched the surface of what the Oppo players do - the connectivity - both direct and via networks is mind-bendingly comprehensive, not to mention all the video and audio fine tuning via the onscreen menu system. While every model works perfectly well straight out of the box, there is the ability to completely customise and optimise settings and operation to best suit your personal tastes and system requirements.
Help NZ’s Hector Dolphin
We may not be the only people to sell Oppo in New Zealand, but we are the only ones who’ll give a worthwhile donation to the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Hectors Dolphin program when you buy your Oppo from us. And to say thank you you’ll get a WWF gift from us.
Drop us an e mail or call if you'd get your hands on a new Oppo player. Or have any questions you want answered. And if you can, why not call into the shop to see and hear just how good the new Oppo models are for yourself.
BDP 105D NZ$ 2,199 including GST
BDP103D NZ$ 1,199
BDP103AU NZ$ 999
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