Holy Cow Oppo BDP-103

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par4ken

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So I just bought an Oppo BDP-103, My first impression is Holy Cow how can every SACD I've tried sound so good. It makes me want to throw all my other players in the garbage. I was thinking that by purchasing this player I could reduce a bit of clutter in the living room, LG Super Blu for Blu-ray, Oppo 790HD for DVD-A and SACD and Sony BDP S5100 used for SACD ripping and 3D, but now I don't think that I can part with it from my man cave!
So I first tried out the BDP-103, not wanting to disturb anyone I listened through headphones (Koss K/L6CQ ) despite these phones having the drivers stacked vertically rather than horizontally the surround effect was amazingly good and the bass was excellent on Argent "In Deep". The next night (today) I listened through the speakers and was totally blown away. I remember the 8-track sounded like it was mixed for SQ with the sound alternating from front to back, designed for SQ Logic decoding, I mentioned that in my review in the SACD poll thread as it still sounded that way to me. Through the BDP-103 that effect is hardly noticeable. The overall sound quality is like night and day. To me it's like the sound of the Audionics Space & Image Composer compared to all other decoder/processors that I have auditioned! I assume that most or all universal players convert DSD to PCM, is that the difference? If so I'm a convert to DSD?

I'm going through my DV collection Guess Who, Rick Derringer so far and wow oh wow!

I got what I think was a deal on this player, it was missing the remote but a replacement was readily available on Amazon for a reasonable price, it arrived even before the player!

I was concerned with the packing of the unit as I've had damaged goods with much better packaging than the way this was packed but the player was fine!

Has anyone else noticed the dramatic improvement in sound quality between this or other high end Oppo players compared to typical universal players?

I might have to revisit my other posts, regarding sound quality of certain discs, after revisiting them via this player.
 
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Circular Vibes

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In my house the rule is no Oppo no dirgital. I love my Oppo and the sound out of all dirgital discs is phenomenal. When my Panasonic DVD-a capable player started acting up, I put it away and didn't miss it. The Oppo I would miss. It won't fix a bad recording but a good one is very good. This is coming from a record die hard.
 

par4ken

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I'm still wading through the user manual for this unit, almost 100 pages! I haven't tried DVD Audio yet, I wonder if it will sound as good as SACD. I wonder if DTS CD's will sound as good or better than with the Millennium decoder. I never thought that DTS was as good through the other universal players. I see that it can be used for home network streaming, great as long as Windows 10 hasn't screwed that up. I suppose that I'll end up putting it in the living room, it will replace a lot of other equipment. I'll just add the old stuff to the collection in my man cave.
 

fthesoundguy

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And just like that, I was all decided that I was going to get an X800 for everything if I could get it at a good price. Now I'm wondering if the Oppo should be back in for discussion. Definitely not any money available for that right now, but I want it.
 

Sonik Wiz

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I'm still wading through the user manual for this unit, almost 100 pages! I haven't tried DVD Audio yet, I wonder if it will sound as good as SACD. I wonder if DTS CD's will sound as good or better than with the Millennium decoder. I never thought that DTS was as good through the other universal players. I see that it can be used for home network streaming, great as long as Windows 10 hasn't screwed that up. I suppose that I'll end up putting it in the living room, it will replace a lot of other equipment. I'll just add the old stuff to the collection in my man cave.

Hey Ken...
Really fun to read about your adventures with the new Oppo. Over the years I have always bought the best disc players I could afford. A high end Toshiba is in the closet because it could not read R-DVD. A high end Denon is in the closet because I moved to Blu-Ray. My first Blu-Ray player was a Panasonic but when I found a refurbed Oppo 105 on their website I jumped at it. It is absolutely the best sounding, smooth operating well thought out disc spinner I've ever had.

I am wondering if you are using HDMI only or a combination of that with SPDIF or analog? I held out for the 105 over the 103 because I thought there was demonstrably superior design for the analog out stages, which is still important to me.
 

par4ken

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Hey Ken...
Really fun to read about your adventures with the new Oppo. Over the years I have always bought the best disc players I could afford. A high end Toshiba is in the closet because it could not read R-DVD. A high end Denon is in the closet because I moved to Blu-Ray. My first Blu-Ray player was a Panasonic but when I found a refurbed Oppo 105 on their website I jumped at it. It is absolutely the best sounding, smooth operating well thought out disc spinner I've ever had.

I am wondering if you are using HDMI only or a combination of that with SPDIF or analog? I held out for the 105 over the 103 because I thought there was demonstrably superior design for the analog out stages, which is still important to me.

For audio out I always use analog, I use HDMI for connection to the TV. I didn't expect the player to sound any better than my other machines, but was really blown away (jaw dropping) by the DV SACD's, all I've had time to listen to so far.
 

ssully

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If there is such a massive perceived audio difference in SACD playback between the two Oppos you have (or between them and the Sony), something is either amiss in the level/setting matching between them, or it's 'placebo'. DSD-->PCM vs pure DSD would not alone be the cause.

But if you're having fun being 'blown away' by comparing them, who am I to say nay?
 

par4ken

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If there is such a massive perceived audio difference in SACD playback between the two Oppos you have (or between them and the Sony), something is either amiss in the level/setting matching between them, or it's 'placebo'. DSD-->PCM vs pure DSD would not alone be the cause.

But if you're having fun being 'blown away' by comparing them, who am I to say nay?
There is absolutely no placebo effect, I did not expect that the BDP-103 would sound so much better (or better at all) but it does. Level/setting would not be the cause, I'm not directly
A-B-ing the machines. The Sony I only use for ripping and watching 3D movies, it has no analog output. . My favoured player has always been the Pioneer Elite DV-45A but it won't recognise some of the newer DV releases. In addition to the Pioneer and the other Oppo I also have a Samsung DVD-HD841. They all sound fine, just not like the 103 on SACD!

I have to admit that I'm an equipment junky, especially when you find deals in places such as eBay.

I use the LG Super-Blu for Blu-ray and HD-DVD, it sounds great as well. I haven't tried the 103 on Blu-ray yet.
 

Sonik Wiz

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There is absolutely no placebo effect, I did not expect that the BDP-103 would sound so much better (or better at all) but it does. Level/setting would not be the cause, I'm not directly
A-B-ing the machines.

Indeed. I think one of the revelatory expectations in audio is when you expect to hear something, but then the experiance is quite different, or even the opposite. This tells us our ears & brains are listening to how it is, more objectively than is usually given credit for.
 

Kal Rubinson

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Indeed. I think one of the revelatory expectations in audio is when you expect to hear something, but then the experiance is quite different, or even the opposite. This tells us our ears & brains are listening to how it is, more objectively than is usually given credit for.
I don't see how that can be validated. Expectation bias is as uncontrollable as any other kind.
 

Sonik Wiz

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It may mean something but it may not.

Agreed! Should one buy crazy expensive cables, audio bricks, tice digital clocks in the expectations they will make a great improvement in audio reproduction and they do not fulfill, then one is listening with open ears & open mind.
 

ssully

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There is absolutely no placebo effect, I did not expect that the BDP-103 would sound so much better (or better at all) but it does. Level/setting would not be the cause, I'm not directly
A-B-ing the machines. The Sony I only use for ripping and watching 3D movies, it has no analog output. . My favoured player has always been the Pioneer Elite DV-45A but it won't recognise some of the newer DV releases. In addition to the Pioneer and the other Oppo I also have a Samsung DVD-HD841. They all sound fine, just not like the 103 on SACD!

I have to admit that I'm an equipment junky, especially when you find deals in places such as eBay.

I use the LG Super-Blu for Blu-ray and HD-DVD, it sounds great as well. I haven't tried the 103 on Blu-ray yet.



Expectations (biases) are not necessarily conscious. They often aren't, in fact. That's why (double) blind comparison is key.

As best I can tell, you aren't directly A/B comparing, you aren't doing fast switching, you aren't level matching, and you aren't comparing blind.

Meanwhile, the way digital audio and playback hardware and human hearing work offer no necessary reason to expect a 'blow you away' sonic difference when you play the same SACD on different SACD playback hardware, when the usual precautions against artifacts are taken.

That points to either, some setup/output mismatch between players -- analog output levels can differ by dB or more, for example -- or 'placebo'. Audible 'differences' due to these factors are artifacts that go away when you control for them. They aren't intrinsic to the device's audio quality.

You can invest the time and effort (not minor, if you are comparing multiple players) required to carefully nail down the actual reason for what you are hearing, or not. But based on your evidence so far I don't, and no science-mindful person would, accept that it's because your newer acquisition intrinsically 'sounds better' than your other Oppo -- or that your players necessarily sound different at all.
 

par4ken

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par4ken almost be costin' timothyemerson a few grand.

ssully be savin' timothyemerson a few grand.

QQ doth saveth and taketh away.
You don't have to pay a couple of grand, look for bargains! With shipping and conversion from US dollars I paid about $480 CAD. Not really cheap but not thousands of dollars. Sometimes you get what you pay for. My first Pioneer cost me more than that, the others in my collection as I recall were all about $50 each.
 

timothyemerson

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You don't have to pay a couple of grand, look for bargains! With shipping and conversion from US dollars I paid about $480 CAD. Not really cheap but not thousands of dollars. Sometimes you get what you pay for. My first Pioneer cost me more than that, the others in my collection as I recall were all about $50 each.
Alas, by the time it gets to the bottom of the planet and NZ Customs/Government's palms have been well-greased, it ends up being in the thousands. I could get one new here for a couple of grand but I think I'll just stick with the ol' Sony for the time being. I got some steering work on a 40 year old Ford that's got my attention at the moment!
 

par4ken

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Expectations (biases) are not necessarily conscious. They often aren't, in fact. That's why (double) blind comparison is key.

As best I can tell, you aren't directly A/B comparing, you aren't doing fast switching, you aren't level matching, and you aren't comparing blind.

Meanwhile, the way digital audio and playback hardware and human hearing work offer no necessary reason to expect a 'blow you away' sonic difference when you play the same SACD on different SACD playback hardware, when the usual precautions against artifacts are taken.

That points to either, some setup/output mismatch between players -- analog output levels can differ by dB or more, for example -- or 'placebo'. Audible 'differences' due to these factors are artifacts that go away when you control for them. They aren't intrinsic to the device's audio quality.

You can invest the time and effort (not minor, if you are comparing multiple players) required to carefully nail down the actual reason for what you are hearing, or not. But based on your evidence so far I don't, and no science-mindful person would, accept that it's because your newer acquisition intrinsically 'sounds better' than your other Oppo -- or that your players necessarily sound different at all.
We will never agree, You obviously haven't listened to what I've been saying. I've had (and still have) many players and none sounded bad. None really sounded much different than the other based on my subjective listening experience. I didn't think that this player would be any different. I was not biased in my expectations at all. When I first listened I was blown away, how can that be?
There is something magical about this machine, that is why I started this thread. Scientifically I want to know why. Please don't dismiss the fact that it just does sound better. Maybe it's just a better analog output I don't know.
 

LuvMyQuad

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Just a few comments.

What the above posters are trying to say is that expectation bias isn't always logical, and is sometimes counter intuitive. Saying you weren't biased may be a subconscious clue that bias actually exists. Whether you think you are biased or not is really of no consequence. When you spend money on audio gear, regardless of what you think you feel, subconsciously you are expecting some improvement for the outlay. And your mind will surely work to justify the outlay.

Sometimes when I listen to something new I am also initially "blown away". It wears off and reality sets in, sooner rather than later, especially when you try to match levels and listen critically. One trick I try to use is to deliberately set what is thought to be the more inferior component to a slightly louder volume setting. Then if I compare the two components and the inferior unit still sounds worse, there is a good chance the difference may be real and its time time to investigate further.

Blown away is such a badly overused term, and it really means nothing. Is my "blown away" the same as yours? Or is mine a bigger bang? Too often for me, being blown away is due to my mood on that day.

If you hear a difference try to get specific about what it is you are hearing... very specific. That process in itself often reveals the truth. I've used this tactic with several friends who were convinced that vinyl was completely superior to digital, hands down. When pushed to describe the biggest difference and then point it out by switching sources in real time, they cant. All of a sudden they cant hear the difference anymore. But in spite of this, they still leave convinced that vinyl is all that and a bag of chips. Such is the power of the human mind. After all, you do get snap-crackle-pop and a large version of the album art. But if they are happy, why rock their boat?

There is nothing magical about the machine. Now, those wooden disks and high end power cords... those are magical. :ROFLMAO:

Oppo always recommended a 103 for use in systems where the HDMI output is used, allowing the DA conversion to be done outside of the player. For instances where the player was used to decode, the 105/205 was the recommendation due to the additional focus on the DAC performance. So, if you think the 103 is the cats meow, a 105 or a 205 should surely send you off into Nirvana.

For my part, my days of playing physical disks are long gone. No more investment in physical disk players for me. I buy the disks, rip them immediately, store them, and never play them again. If i could get MC downloads, I would go that route in a second. The only exception is a the rare playing of a video disk to watch, and with the emergence of all the on line streaming services, I don't think I've done that in several years either.

But for the record, your Oppo seems like a great machine, especially for the price you paid. And the icing on the cake is, it can rip SACDs. Enjoy. And if you feel it sounds better than the rest, that's your business.
 
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