The BDP-83SE, however, is a whole different animal, so that when you listen to it you may find, as I have, that you unconsciously shift from thinking of it as a “very good” player to thinking of it as either a “great” or as a “near-great” player. What changes? In two words, the answers are resolution and refinement; the BDP-83SE takes readily noticeable and in fact quite sizeable steps forward in both areas. How big are the differences we’re talking about? Well, if you’re listening through a relatively decent (though not necessarily hideously expensive) stereo or surround sound system, let’s just say that you won’t have to work very hard to hear them.
So here’s how things shake out. Though the BDP-83 is steal at its price, its sound quality can be topped by that of players selling for under $2k. The BDP-83SE, however, sounds enough better that it can go hunting for much bigger game (think in terms of players in the $4k range and up). While I suspect the BDP-83SE can perhaps be edged out by at least some higher-tier players (for example, players along the lines of the $6000 Marantz universal Blu-ray player my colleague Alan Taffel has recently reviewed), the fact is that the Special Edition Oppo has elevated its level of play to a point where even finicky listeners may be apt to ask whether it is worth the time or money required in order to obtain something that is truly better. This is a roundabout way of saying that, for audiophiles, the “Special Edition” Oppo may be an even more compelling bargain than the standard BDP-83 already is.
My first sample of the BDP-83SE sounded great, but it had a subtle problem, which was that—every once in a great while (that is, perhaps only two or maybe three times per album)—it would exhibit about a 0.5 second dropout in audio output and then resume playing beautifully as if nothing had ever happened. I contacted Oppo about the problem and they advised me that they had a firmware update that addressed the problem. I installed the update and found that, while it increased to time interval between audio dropouts, it did not completely eliminate them. When I advised Oppo of this, they immediately arranged to send me an alternate review sample to correct the problem.
Though Oppo’s turnaround time was admirably quick and I now have a second sample in hand, the fact is that a few other review products showed up in the interim, so that the BDP-83SE’s position in The Perfect Vision review queue got bumped down a few places. I plan to get back to the Oppo as soon as possible and to offer a full review shortly. Stay tuned for more…
For more information, visit: www.oppodigital.com.