• QuadraphonicQuad welcomes you and encourages your participation! Treat all members with respect. Please keep all discussions civil, even when you have a strong opinion on a particular topic.

    Do not offer for free, offer for sale, offer for trade, or request copies or files of copyrighted material - no matter how rare or unavailable to the public they might be. We do not condone the illegal sharing of music. There are many places on the internet where you can participate in such transactions, but QuadraphonicQuad is not one of them. We are here to encourage and support new multichannel releases from those companies that still provide them and as such the distribution of illegal copies of recordings is counter-productive to that effort. Any posts of this sort will be deleted without notification.

    Please try to avoid discussions that pit one format against another. Hint for new users: make liberal use of the search facilities here at QuadraphonicQuad. Our message base is an incredibly rich resource of detailed information on virtually all topics pertaining to surround-sound. You will be surprised at what you can find with a little digging!

OPPO BDP-103 Analog Outs to [insert musical 5.1 receiver here] - Looking for opinions, reviews, advice

Help Support QuadraphonicQuad:

MCDave

300 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
325
Location
Colorado
The Oppo players work beautifully driving power amps directly, as the analog outputs have a max output voltage of 2Vrms, which is roughly the same as the max output for the vast majority of preamps out there. Oppo has never said you "can't" or "shouldn't" use their players this way; they only have stated that they don't support using them this way because they weren't designed with the intent to be used this way. In other words, they can't officially condone this use because if they do, they would be on the hook for any warranty claims caused by such use.

That said, many people use them this way, myself included. The key to successfully doing it depends on careful selection of the power amp(s) that you pair the player up with. @edisonbaggins tried the A-800, which is too loud with the Oppo at max volume setting. It's obvious why if you look at the specifications of the amp.

Input sensitivity: 700mV
Gain: 29 dB

The input sensitivity figure means the amplifier will reach full output at an input of .7V. But the Oppo outputs 2V at the max setting, which means you're going to have to run the Oppo's volume control WAY down from max in order to save your speakers, amp, and ears. Any time you reduce the volume setting of a digital volume control, you sacrifice dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio. That's one reason you can hear noise (hiss) during quiet passages. In addition, 29 dB of gain is pretty high. That makes the problem even worse. Bottom line is that the A-800 is not a good amp to be using with the Oppo.

What you need is an amp with an input sensitiviity that is much higher (less sensitive), and preferably one that has less gain. I, and someone who posted earlier, are using vintage Adcom amps, which are perfect. I use a pair of GFA-555 II's, and a GFA-5500. The GFA-555 II specs are as follows:

Input sensitivity: 1.25V
Gain: 27 dB

So the gain is a lot less and the input is far less sensitive, which means I can run the Oppo's volume control much higher without frying anything. At a comfortably loud volume in my room, my 205's volume is between 90 and 95, depending on the level of the recording itself. This is perfect.

So if you want to avoid using a preamp, make sure you select an amp whose input sensitivity figure is well above 1V, and/or has a low gain figure, so you can run the Oppo's volume control as high as possible. At any volume level less than 100 (or fixed), you are sacrificing dynamic range (bits) and raising the audibility of noise. According to the experts on the AVS forum Oppo threads, you should keep the volume setting above 80 to avoid a significant degradation of sound quality.

Yes, a preamp gives you additional features such as EQ, a lot more inputs, fake surround formats and a host of gimmicky features, but they are not going to provide better sound quality than you can get from a direct connection to the amps. Any time you add another component to a signal chain, you introduce the possibility of additional noise and inadvertently going through an unwanted A/D and D/A conversion routine due to improper configuration or selection of preamp features.

The reason so many audiophiles like to use the Oppo xx5 this way is because the DACs and analog design of these players are high end, and are better than the vast majority of preamps and AVRs out there. If the rest of your system (and room!) is revealing enough, the benefit of the sound these players are capable of, plus the advantage of one less component, one less set of interconnects, and two fewer sets of connections can result in a noticeable improvement. But the power amp pairing is crucial to make it work.

P.S. If your amp's inputs are too sensitive, you can lower the incoming signal level using inline signal attenuators, such as these - https://www.parts-express.com/harrison-labs-12-db-rca-line-level-audio-attenuator-pair--266-244?gclid=CjwKCAiA6vXwBRBKEiwAYE7iS9rpLm6-1DIbeDMfrHbuh35LRNQr0sLt5OXVl8JMvU6pD9_z4ZdGLxoClxcQAvD_BwE

Oppo users have reported that they are a wonderful solution.
 
Last edited:

MCDave

300 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
325
Location
Colorado
Hey MCDave, good questions.

For years, my OPPO BDP-103 connected via HDMI to my main HTS. First a Pioneer Elite 7.1 AVR, then a Denon x6400H 11.1 AVR. It sounded great/just fine in both cases.

Recently, I pressed it in to service for this listening room project, because it can play all my Quad sources, connecting via HDMI to a Sherwood 7.1 AVR.

As you may be aware, the speaker setup is an array of Klipsch KG full-range floor-standers from the '90's.

If you haven't seen the Operation Quad Station video, it explains a lot of this:

I was not thrilled with the sound of the Sherwood. Rather than hunt for another AVR, it was suggested I focus on gear meant only for sound, not video.
I should have googled "do OPPO BDP-103 analog outputs suck?" but I didn't think to. I figured if OPPO equipped them, they've got to be good. The fact is, OPPO's own support folks have clarified online that you basically have to use a dedicated, external preamp if you use the 103's analog outs. OK... Good to know...
What they recommend is using the 103/203 with a preamp because you can run the Oppo's digital volume control at 100%, which prevents giving up bits of dynamic range as you lower the volume below 100. 1 bit = 6 dB of dynamic range. The 103 and 203 have volume controls that are in 1-dB steps, so a setting of 94 means you've given up 1 bit and 6 dB of dynamic range. At 88, 2 bits and 12 dB. This is what Oppo meant by truncation in their email response. For that reason, you always want to use the Oppo as close as possible to 100. This isn't as big a problem with the 205, whose volume control is in 0.5-dB steps. So in the 205's case, running at 88 sacrifices the same dynamic range as running a 105 at 94. That's one reason why the 205 is much better than a 105 in this application.


So, I picked up an Emotiva A-800, per a recommendation in this thread. As I've said, when the music is loud and robust, I think it sounds great. During quiet passages, there is GOBS of hiss.

As I see it, I have 3 possibilities to pursue:

1) Score a 95, 105 or 205 and try it out with the Emotiva. If I understand correctly, this would leave me digitally contolling volume with the OPPO and maybe that's undesirable in some ways. Yet, there seems to be a consensus that xx5's sound good without the need for a preamp. Maybe they actually have analog volume control? IDK.
The problem is the A-800's inputs are too sensitive. Not a good pairing with any of the Oppos. You'll have the same problem with all of them, except (maybe) the 205.

2) Score a suitable preamp and try that out. I guess it would behoove me to find out what the voltage of the 103's analog outputs are at 100% (fixed) volume.
And make sure the preamp can handle that?
All of the Oppos have the same max output voltage - 2Vrms. Perfect for any preamp.

3) Score some kind of AVR with lots of flexibility, like @timbre4 has suggested. His 3 recommendations can accept either HDMI or analog input and have the needed analog preouts for my use case.

All of these options have pros and cons.

I think one of @timbre4 's recommendations is likeliest to make me happy with my listening room project. However, an additional AVR of this type is highly unlikely to be useful for integrating in to my main HTS in the future (the plan is to consolidate amps, full-range speakers and such in to my main media room in the future, when my son isn't so destructive).

An OPPO xx5 would doubtless get use over the years, in any system setup. But, what if I get it all hooked up analog and there is still too much hiss for my taste? That would be disappointing in the here and now.

A preamp would most likely not be of much benefit being integrated in to my main HTS later (or maybe it would still be great upstream from the A-800 - the thought being to take some load off of the x6400H via it's preouts, leaving it to only power the heights, perhaps). And what if I hook it up and it doesn't solve the 103's hiss? However, it might work, could be fairly cheap and might possibly sound the best of all my choices, assuming it is a good match for the 103 and the A-800.
A preamp avoids any hassle of amplifier compatibility, and adds features that you might want. But if you're going to use a preamp, use the HDMI connection from the Oppo! Most modern preamps do all of their signal processing in the digital domain (EQ included), which means if you use any of the processing features in the preamp, an incoming analog signal will get re-digitized and then coverted back to analog after processing. That entirely negates the advantage of using the Oppo's superior analog performance. Most AVRs and some preamps have a "pure audio" (or similar) mode, which provides an analog pass through (but allows volume control), but that mode makes all of the preamp's features unavailable, including speaker configuration and bass management. You may as well take the preamp out of the signal chain in that situation.

Someone earlier said they're using a Parasound P7 preamp, which is entirely analog. It's a fantastic product which I wish they were still producing. That's the only preamp I would use with the Oppo's analog outputs. What makes it unique is that it's multichannel.
 
Last edited:

Tim Casey

Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2019
Messages
12
Location
Boston
I tried the HDMI connection once, but it sounded "different". In the end, I preferred the Oppo 105 analogs at 100% volume (no offense to emotiva; the rest of my system comes from them.)

Also, the analog inputs on the emotiva UMC-200 preamp bypass all the digital processing (except for the room correction, if you use it). You'd only be hearing the D/A conversion from the Oppo.
 

Beefalo

QQ Supporter
QQ Supporter
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
713
Location
La Mirada, CA - USA
Try setting the volume for each individual channel to the lowest setting. I believe they call it "trim"
It should be a negative number.
Bottom of page 70 in the manual
My plan A, at this point is to connect my 103 to the UMC-200 via HDMI. And, of course, the UMC-200 to the A-800 via RCA.
I'm happy to experiment with the 103's analog outs at 100%, but I have a suspicion that it does HDMI better.
I have asked Emotiva support whether the UMC-200 does analog in or HDMI in better. I'll follow-up if they reply.
Will your new set up bypass bass management & room correction?
 

jimfisheye

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
1,155
I think we may have blindsided Mike here a little, @MCDave!

I wonder if there's an understanding between a digital signal and an analog one. I suspect not from what I've read.
So just this little piece of info for a starting place:
Understand that anything you hear as sound comes from an analog signal.
We digitize it so we only have to send ones and zeros down the wires in between.
You don't listen to that! It would sound like modem startup sounds (remember that from dialup days?) if you connected a digital signal to a speaker.

The converters. Analog to digital for the way in, digital to analog for the way out. The DA converter is the piece of gear that re-creates the analog signal from the digital data. THAT is the piece of gear directly responsible for your 'fidelity'. And THAT is why AD and DA converters are the big ticket item for price among all this gear! Your DA converters are literally the heart of your listening system.

When I see comments along the lines of "comparing my digital vs analog outputs" but with no mention of what converters you might be sending that digital signal to in such an example... You're either leaving a big detail out - the DA converters you sent that digital signal to, or there's a big misunderstanding and you aren't aware that you're even doing that with a digital connection. It's all going to stay a confusing mystery unless you understand the difference between digital and analog signals. And you'll end up buying 3 sets of converters among various combo products and probably have everything hooked up in a compromising way to boot.

Wrap your head around this one thing to get started here. Then it gets straightforward again. You easily spot the different devices bundled into combo products like HDMI surround sound receivers. You'll know what to look for in the available connections and what to expect. And you'll more easily spot the grifter products and stay the heck away from them.

None of this rant is intended to be opinion driven for one product over another. It's more aimed at: Understand this system so you can make informed purchases and get the most out of your gear. And so you can make the most out of your existing gear, which may do more than you thought it did!

My comments on avoiding the stand-along players aside for a moment...
Oppo is the one exception of that style of product that are pointedly going against the grifter grain and offering a genuine product. They aren't doing the format war bit with disabling all kinds of formats. The nicer analog stages claim sounds legit. Using one as a preamp (minding connections and levels) is legit. You WILL get so much more bang for the buck with a computer and audio interface of choice but if you already have one of these Oppo players, you're not doing too bad! Learn the digital/analog bit here to get the most out of your current system and to guide you moving forward.

Blathered on a little too long again I fear...
Hope this helps someone! :)

(And apologies for any incorrect assumptions!)
 

Beefalo

QQ Supporter
QQ Supporter
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
713
Location
La Mirada, CA - USA
No, it will allow the UMC-200 to employ both, which I like. Though I can likely turn them off, if desired?
Do you see bypassing them as a positive or negative?
I think at one point we were discussing running DSD. That bass management & room correction will convert the DSD to PCM.
The way I understand it (and could certainly be wrong) is that the less conversion the better.
It would be better to avoid converting the DSD to PCM.
A DVDA is PCM already so no conversion is necessary.
 

LuvMyQuad

QQ Supporter
QQ Supporter
Joined
Aug 12, 2010
Messages
2,034
Location
Western NY
I think at one point we were discussing running DSD. That bass management & room correction will convert the DSD to PCM.
The way I understand it (and could certainly be wrong) is that the less conversion the better.
It would be better to avoid converting the DSD to PCM.
A DVDA is PCM already so no conversion is necessary.
Certainly the less conversion the better, but that said, I have ripped all my SACDs to 24/88.2 PCM (FLAC). I tried A-B ing about the first half dozen. I could not detect a difference between the SACD in the player and the PCM coming from the file.

I could however detect a significant difference when using room correction DSP on the material that originated as DSD. Its well worth the conversion from DSD to correct the acoustics.
 

jimfisheye

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Joined
Jan 8, 2010
Messages
1,155
Could be! This is so friggin' complicated. Audio was so much more fun back in the day of LPs, humongous Pioneer receivers and big box speakers with 15" woofers :D
Indeed! :)

Well, we'll see how well my little digital vs. analog tutorial goes over. (I have an idea already unfortunately...)
If one can wrap their head around that though, I think there's fun to be had in a modern way again here with system building. There's impressive technology available here (and that's even reasonably affordable) that makes me call these times the golden age of audio.

Worst case confusion leads to a staggering low return though. You could sink 5 figures into all this and not have anything that impresses you to show for it. Hoping to empower more of the folks around here who think this is all important!
 

edisonbaggins

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Joined
Aug 13, 2015
Messages
6,735
Location
Wherever I May Roam
I think at one point we were discussing running DSD. That bass management & room correction will convert the DSD to PCM.
The way I understand it (and could certainly be wrong) is that the less conversion the better.
It would be better to avoid converting the DSD to PCM.
A DVDA is PCM already so no conversion is necessary.
Aha! I got you. Yes, listening to pure DSD, without need of bass-management is something I'd like to achieve with this setup.
If the UMC-200 can handle DSD (or if I decide the 103's analog outs sound good at 100), I'm all set in that regard. I have full-range main channels, so I should miss little to no bass for 2.0 - 5.0 recordings.
I'd be sacrificing room correction, yes, but it could be fun to experiment with which sounds better: pure DSD with no processing or DSD to PCM conversion with processing.
 
Last edited:

LuvMyQuad

QQ Supporter
QQ Supporter
Joined
Aug 12, 2010
Messages
2,034
Location
Western NY
Aha! I got you. Yes, listening to pure DSD, without need of bass-management is something I'd like to achieve with this setup.
If the UMC-200 can handle DSD (or if I decide the 103's analog outs sound good at 100), I'm all set in that regard. I have full-range main channels, so I should miss little to no bass for 2.0 - 5.0 recordings.
I'd be sacrificing room correction, yes, but it could be fun to experiment with which sounds better: pure DSD with no processing or DSD to PCM conversion with processing.
The UMC-200 will not accept DSD over HDMI. I'm not even sure the Oppo will pass DSD over HDMI. You will be limited to the 103's analog outputs. It used to be that nothing would pass DSD over HDMI, but I think there are now components that can.
 

Beefalo

QQ Supporter
QQ Supporter
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
713
Location
La Mirada, CA - USA
My plan A, at this point is to connect my 103 to the UMC-200 via HDMI. And, of course, the UMC-200 to the A-800 via RCA.
I'm happy to experiment with the 103's analog outs at 100%, but I have a suspicion that it does HDMI better.
I have asked Emotiva support whether the UMC-200 does analog in or HDMI in better. I'll follow-up if they reply.
Curious to know how it turns out:
Analog out using the Oppo DAC or
HDMI out using the A-800 DAC.
 

Beefalo

QQ Supporter
QQ Supporter
Joined
Jan 5, 2019
Messages
713
Location
La Mirada, CA - USA
The Oppo players work beautifully driving power amps directly, as the analog outputs have a max output voltage of 2Vrms, which is roughly the same as the max output for the vast majority of preamps out there. Oppo has never said you "can't" or "shouldn't" use their players this way; they only have stated that they don't support using them this way because they weren't designed with the intent to be used this way. In other words, they can't officially condone this use because if they do, they would be on the hook for any warranty claims caused by such use.

That said, many people use them this way, myself included. The key to successfully doing it depends on careful selection of the power amp(s) that you pair the player up with. @edisonbaggins tried the A-800, which is too loud with the Oppo at max volume setting. It's obvious why if you look at the specifications of the amp.

Input sensitivity: 700mV
Gain: 29 dB

The input sensitivity figure means the amplifier will reach full output at an input of .7V. But the Oppo outputs 2V at the max setting, which means you're going to have to run the Oppo's volume control WAY down from max in order to save your speakers, amp, and ears. Any time you reduce the volume setting of a digital volume control, you sacrifice dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio. That's one reason you can hear noise (hiss) during quiet passages. In addition, 29 dB of gain is pretty high. That makes the problem even worse. Bottom line is that the A-800 is not a good amp to be using with the Oppo.

What you need is an amp with an input sensitiviity that is much higher (less sensitive), and preferably one that has less gain. I, and someone who posted earlier, are using vintage Adcom amps, which are perfect. I use a pair of GFA-555 II's, and a GFA-5500. The GFA-555 II specs are as follows:

Input sensitivity: 1.25V
Gain: 27 dB

So the gain is a lot less and the input is far less sensitive, which means I can run the Oppo's volume control much higher without frying anything. At a comfortably loud volume in my room, my 205's volume is between 90 and 95, depending on the level of the recording itself. This is perfect.

So if you want to avoid using a preamp, make sure you select an amp whose input sensitivity figure is well above 1V, and/or has a low gain figure, so you can run the Oppo's volume control as high as possible. At any volume level less than 100 (or fixed), you are sacrificing dynamic range (bits) and raising the audibility of noise. According to the experts on the AVS forum Oppo threads, you should keep the volume setting above 80 to avoid a significant degradation of sound quality.

Yes, a preamp gives you additional features such as EQ, a lot more inputs, fake surround formats and a host of gimmicky features, but they are not going to provide better sound quality than you can get from a direct connection to the amps. Any time you add another component to a signal chain, you introduce the possibility of additional noise and inadvertently going through an unwanted A/D and D/A conversion routine due to improper configuration or selection of preamp features.

The reason so many audiophiles like to use the Oppo xx5 this way is because the DACs and analog design of these players are high end, and are better than the vast majority of preamps and AVRs out there. If the rest of your system (and room!) is revealing enough, the benefit of the sound these players are capable of, plus the advantage of one less component, one less set of interconnects, and two fewer sets of connections can result in a noticeable improvement. But the power amp pairing is crucial to make it work.

P.S. If your amp's inputs are too sensitive, you can lower the incoming signal level using inline signal attenuators, such as these - https://www.parts-express.com/harrison-labs-12-db-rca-line-level-audio-attenuator-pair--266-244?gclid=CjwKCAiA6vXwBRBKEiwAYE7iS9rpLm6-1DIbeDMfrHbuh35LRNQr0sLt5OXVl8JMvU6pD9_z4ZdGLxoClxcQAvD_BwE

Oppo users have reported that they are a wonderful solution.
Curious on the best volume level settings on my AVR:
"Any time you reduce the volume setting of a digital volume control, you sacrifice dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio"
Considering this... how should the indidual volume levels for each channel be set ?
The range is -10db to +10db.
 

LuvMyQuad

QQ Supporter
QQ Supporter
Joined
Aug 12, 2010
Messages
2,034
Location
Western NY
Curious on the best volume level settings on my AVR:
"Any time you reduce the volume setting of a digital volume control, you sacrifice dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio"
Considering this... how should the indidual volume levels for each channel be set ?
The range is -10db to +10db.
It may not be a digital control. If your AVR has an analog bypass mode, and most do, those adjustments carry through and are done in the analog domain.
 

ssully

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Jul 2, 2003
Messages
2,540
Location
in your face
". Any time you reduce the volume setting of a digital volume control, you sacrifice dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio. "

And whether it is audible depends on the type of digital VC (16 or 24 or 32 bit), the bit depth of the source (16 vs 24), the noise floor of the DAC, and the amount of attenuation from digital full scale. And that's leaving aside the *actual* dynamic range of the *content*, and the listening room, which are typically well below the limit of even 16 bit formats.

In practice today, not something to obsess about.
//



Bottom line
From a theoretical standpoint, a well-implemented analog volume control on the output of a DAC will provide superior performance. However, when a DAC chip has sufficiently low self-noise, the digital volume control will lag only slightly behind. When considering the performance of the system as a whole under normal listening conditions, any differences may not actually be audible. And for those who wish the highest-fidelity signal path -- i.e., the one that least alters the signal between source and loudspeakers -- a traditional preamplifier should be avoided unless it is of extraordinary quality.
 

MCDave

300 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
325
Location
Colorado
The UMC-200 will not accept DSD over HDMI. I'm not even sure the Oppo will pass DSD over HDMI. You will be limited to the 103's analog outputs. It used to be that nothing would pass DSD over HDMI, but I think there are now components that can.
Yup, the Oppo players 103/105/203/205 all can output DSD over HDMI. Also, my Onkyo receiver that I bought in 2008 can receive multichannel DSD over HDMI, so I'd bet most receivers and pre/pros these days can do so.
 

MCDave

300 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Oct 4, 2016
Messages
325
Location
Colorado
". Any time you reduce the volume setting of a digital volume control, you sacrifice dynamic range and signal-to-noise ratio. "

And whether it is audible depends on the type of digital VC (16 or 24 or 32 bit), the bit depth of the source (16 vs 24), the noise floor of the DAC, and the amount of attenuation from digital full scale. And that's leaving aside the *actual* dynamic range of the *content*, and the listening room, which are typically well below the limit of even 16 bit formats.

In practice today, not something to obsess about.
//
So true. There are plenty of other things about a system and the listening environment that have a much greater impact on sound quality than the things we've been discussing!
 

Nyad

Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2019
Messages
11
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Yup, the Oppo players 103/105/203/205 all can output DSD over HDMI. Also, my Onkyo receiver that I bought in 2008 can receive multichannel DSD over HDMI, so I'd bet most receivers and pre/pros these days can do so.
I've got the 103 going into an Onkyo TX-Nr609, DSD however is down-converted to 44k 16bit, which seems to defeat the purpose (DSD is output over HDMI 2 from the Oppo, HDMI 1 outputs PCM from SACD)
 
2


Top