OPPO - BDP-95 EU UNIVERSAL BLU-RAY PLAYER
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- ES9018 SABRE 32-bit Reference DAC
- Balanced XLR & Toroidal Transformer
- SACD, DVD-Audio, HDCD, WAV & FLAC
- 2nd Generation Qdeo Video Processing
- 3D, Streaming, Wireless, eSATA & USB
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The OPPO BDP-95 is designed from the ground up with components optimized for enhanced analog audio performance. The OPPO BDP-95 features all-new analog audio stage powered by two ESS Sabre32 Reference Digital-to-Analog Converters, balanced (XLR) & unbalanced (RCA) dedicated stereo outputs, and a Toroidal linear power supply. Housed in a rigid chassis construction, these components work harmoniously to deliver exceptional sound quality that is detailed and accurate.
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I would like to say that It was shipped to me in record time and in record condition. Everything was there in the box and it was double boxed and a carefully put together package. And that cool black shopping bag with "Oppo" on it...Tres cool!
I have to say the player seems to be one of the most beautifully constructed bits of equipment I have bought in many a year and I love it. Terrific sound. Reference quality. If I didn't have a nice BDP 83 in the video system I'd buy another BDP 95...and I may yet.
Even though the player is great, check around locally for pricing. See the Oppo website for a retailed near you. The price on Amazon is not the normal selling price, which should be $999.
PS Oppo, if you read this....add an ipod USB port that pulls the signal bypassing the ipod DAC and playing it through the Oppo DAC. Do that and you have have a truely world class product.
Please consider this a placeholder review; I plan to greatly expand on it in the future; especially as I have spent little time with standard cd on the player.
My main purpose in buying this player was for hi-res audio; I don't even own a hi-def television. I was hoping to find a relatively inexpensive player (by high end standards) that would make hi-res music sound better than cd's currently do on my cd front end. It's replacing a Pioneer DV-578A that was great for the price, but was of lower sonic quality than the rest of my system.
I'm now at around 5 weeks of the unit being powered up for burn in. I'm using the Shunyata Venom power cord, & a 90's Tara (unbalanced RCA) "Analog Standard" interconnect.
While very sensitive to the mastering quality of what it's playing, on hi res this puppy is STAGGERING. I am stunned that this level of musicality is available at this price point. The only better front end I have ever owned was an entry level (around 2k in early 90's dollars) Well Tempered Record Player with a Blue Point standard; & that is based on a very OLD memory as I had to sell the TT in 1995.
2 tips for new owners:
1. People have told me it needs 100-500 hours of burn in before it sounds it's best. That has been my experience also. While it actually sounds quite good right out of the box, at 5 weeks it's still getting better & better.
2. If you plan to play iso's, make sure you have firmware dated no later than 12/11 (P9x-61-1219). Oppo has been forced to remove this capability starting with the 1/12 firmware release. One person states that Oppo's don't allow flashing to older firmware; so for some people this may be an important issue.
I've also been discovering the wonders of high res music files on a USB Flash drive; the Oppo will play music in 4 different ways: by disc, USB, E-sata (hard drive), & streamed over a network. There seems to be some thought that an advantage to playing files with a USB port is a reduction in timing jitter due to the lack of a spinning disc (or hard drive).
I haven't done much redbook cd listening due to time constraints. Did a quicky comparison tonight between my old but beloved Esoteric P-10->Illuminati->PS Audio SL3 & the BDP 95. The comparison was a bit flawed as somehow the PS Audio had been powered down (I don't know for how long). Under those circumstances the Oppo was more refined & had a better soundstage (IMO soundstaging is this puppy's #1 strength). I need to do follow up on this when i have some time.
For the price this puppy is amazing; especially if you look at it as a $500 Blu-ray player & a $500 audio player!
At this time I'd say it has 4 main weaknesses, all of which I can live with at this price point:
1. Unforgiving of bad mastering
2. Occasional lock ups & glitches with the internal (infernal??) computer
3. Apparently parts of the HDCD licensing have changed since the 90's; HDCD red book is AT LEAST the uncorrected 3db quieter than regular cd; it feels like considerably more than 3 db.
4. 1/2 second or so pause between tracks when playing computer files. Usually this is no big deal, but it made side 2 of Abbey Road (as an example) pretty unlistenable! This ONLY impacts computer files (wav, flac, etc), NOT CD, SACD or DVD-A.
Oppo tells me this is a known issue that they DON'T plan to fix.
The biggest strength is soundstaging, & it's musicality especially on hi-res material.
Very briefly on video: It has 2 processors: a high end Marvell that only works with "HDMI #1" & some sort of an Oppo processor for the component out I use with my CRT Sony Wega 36" & also is used with "HDMI #2". Even though i am using the low end video processor, the unit still produces the best picture quality I've ever had in my home on both dvd & blu.
In conclusion to this initial review: back in the days of vinyl I used to just sit with the lights out & listen to music, even on the "mid-fi" mass market systems I had growing up & as a young adult. With cd, for years I found myself getting distracted & having to read or something similar while listening as cd just doesn't feel very involving to me (& I'm not an analog is king kind of person, I own several thousand cd's), but with Hi-res music on the Oppo, I once again can just melt into the music & don't feel fidgety.
More to come when I have more time, this is such an amazing unit that I consider this review way too short.
Edit 4/13/12: I really still want to greatly expand this review, but for the moment 3 comments from extended listening:
1. I finally got to do some 16/44 redbook cd comparison between the Oppo & my Esoteric/PS Audio front end. My tentative conclusion: At 1/3 of what I paid for the cd player in the 90's the Oppo has significantly better soundstaging on cd, though I have a slight preference tonally for the old player (on cd only).
2. I have gotten used to the 3d imaging of (quality) high-rez really quickly. I largely now take it for granted except when it's not there: i.e. it's become a bit difficult to listen to regular cd at all on my high end system!
3. My one concern is the semi frequent computer glitches & lockups (mostly on audio only listening, not on video playback) that require a power cycle. While it's not a daily occurrence, it happens often enough that it is a little concerning. Fortunately I bought a 4 year warranty in case this gets worse.
There is one shortcoming which is maddening but fixable. The device can play MP3's -- indeed it plays them superbly. But you can't connect your iPod to the Oppo as it doesn't recognize the device. Your only easy option is to connect an external hard drive or USB memory stick. I could probably live with that. But the part that drives me crazy is that you need to turn on your video monitor to navigate all the menus and in order to play a track. I tried to memorize the sequence of button presses and arrow moves not to have to fire up my LCD projector to play an MP3 but couldn't find a way. Couldn't they have included even a 3-line text display on the device so what you wouldn't need to run your TV to play music. After all this is as much a CD/ music player as a DVD/video device.
There is solution - I bought a small 8" LCD screen for about $100, which I use to navigate the menus to play music. Seems silly and is annoying, but it works, and I still consider it worthwhile for an otherwise superb machine.
Two other notes: in theory you can network the device with the right kind of hard drive, although again this involves a computer or some other way to sort through directories.
Second, the Oppo works very well with Netflix, which allowed me to get rid of my Roku.