Bad Firmware Update to Oppo BDP-83?

stereodaves -- Wed, 11/18/2009 - 23:31

I am wondering if anyone out there has had this same problem. Recently, we had a customer who downloaded the current firmware update from Oppo. This helped make more disc titles compatible and playbable by the player and also helped on loading times of times. But on the flip side, the player seems to have had its top and bottom end frequencies accentuated significantly, while losing midrange. This creates a harsh and exaggerated sound to the high frequencies and a an exaggerated overblown bass. Sounded quite awful actually. Has anyone noticed this or had this problem? We were able, after many hours to modify this out and get it back to how it sounded before, but we were just curious if anyone else had this happen to them or notice. It was rather obvious to him. In other words, it was not a subtle thing.
 
Thanks,
Sean and Rick
Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative
www.stereodaves.com

Steven Stone -- Thu, 11/19/2009 - 11:09

 I updated my Oppo last week via its network settings.
 
I haven't noticed any sonic changes.
 
 

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound, EnjoytheMusic.com, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

Chris Martens -- Thu, 11/19/2009 - 11:16

 stereodaves,

I updated the Playback BDP-83 when the new firmware release became available and did not notice any sonic changes.

Best,

Chris Martens

Chris Martens
Editor, Avguide.com/Playback/The Perfect Vision 

stereodaves -- Thu, 11/19/2009 - 16:04

Thanks for the replies. We were rather puzzled about this and wondered if this had happened to anyone else. My friend and customer did all the updates at once at his friend's place, as he had never updated his player after he purchased it through early adoption. Is there a possibility if one does all the updates one after another, instead of gradually as they come out,  that a problem may  occur? Or can you just get lucky and have a bad firmware update or an update that doesn't install properly? We have installed firmware updates multiple times to receivers and blu-ray players and have never had one yet that caused such a negative impact on a machine's sound. In fact, it sounded considerably worse than when the machine was brand new, before modification. Extremely thin and with no body, coupled with exaggerated bass. At first, I too was taken aback that a simple firmware update could have changed the character of the piece so dramatically. Well, we can only hope he is the only one. Thanks for the replies.

Sean and Rick
Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative
www.stereodaves.com

Steven Stone -- Thu, 11/19/2009 - 16:23

 I did a number of updates one after another with no problems.
 
Did YOU hear this difference when compared to another otherwise identical player?
 
 

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound, EnjoytheMusic.com, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

stereodaves -- Fri, 11/20/2009 - 02:57

Dear Mr. Stone,

No need to get snippy. We were just simply asking an honest question regarding our friend and customer's experience and wanted to know if other regular Oppo owners had ever experienced this issue when downloading firmware or if he just happened to get lucky. We are hoping it was just him. Our customer was really very satisfied with the modified Oppo player and thought he had a quite excellent player until the audio suddenly changed after the firmware update, which he decided to implement in order to improve disc compatibility and speed up the loading time; which did actually happen.

In response to your question, yes, we and two other people (which counts to 4) heard this same not-so-subtle change in his sound immediately after he did the firmware update. In fact, it was his friend who called us and told us that something had gone horribly wrong. We were naturally incredulous and asked him to check his settings in the setup menu of the player, as we were certain that something must have gotten changed in the setup when the firmware was being installed, but everything remained unchanged. We were all very familiar with how this same player sounded previously on his system and ours, as it had a very good amount of warmth. We all listened to the player on both systems, and the character of the machine had changed. As we stated before, the warmth had pretty much disappeared, leaving an almost skeletal presentation with very hot exaggerated highs and excessive low bass. Hopefully, it's just a fluke, but we wanted to know if others had heard any difference to the sound for better or worse after a firmware update.

Sean and Rick
Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative
www.stereodaves.com

ender21 -- Mon, 11/30/2009 - 09:48

Show of hands: Which individuals that haven't had this issue are using HDMI as their path for audio?

Still more info regarding the customers' system needed. If it's all through analog, then perhaps an issue with the firmware DOES exist. However, I would think something like that would spread around the web like wildfire by now, despite the BDP83's prevalence as a digital transport more than an analog.

Steven Stone -- Fri, 11/20/2009 - 10:16

 I wasn't being snippy, just trying to get the facts, details such as "Our customer was really very satisfied with the modified Oppo player"
 
How was it modified? Perhaps the modifications have some bearing on the issue?
 
Perhaps the mods have "gone bad" and the changes are related more to their function than to the firmware?
 
 

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound, EnjoytheMusic.com, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

stereodaves -- Sat, 11/21/2009 - 00:01

Not likely that it was our modifications. We do rather simple and effective modifications that facilitate electron flow in the units that would have no bearing on the ability of the unit to receive firmware updates. We have never had one unit that was modified suddenly have the modification "gone bad." Also, the unit was working / sounding perfectly up until just after his first firmware update. So obviously, something went awry with the update. Another fascinating note, is that we found after the firmware modification, that the left and right channels were transposed, which I was reminded of today when I talked to the customer / friend. We are well aware of other companies that make Blu-ray players having various technical problems and glitches; which is not uncommon at all. (many of whom have been reported on this site and others). So we are not just singling out Oppo, but wanted some honest customer feedback to our inquiry. Thanks for your replies.

Sean and Rick
Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative
www.stereodaves.com

Steven Stone -- Sat, 11/21/2009 - 12:48

 You are making an assumption - the firmware update caused the problems.
 
Perhaps some part failed, say in your upgraded circuitry; but it just happened to occur or be apparent AFTER the firmware upgrade?
 
Sometime cause and effect aren't what we think they are.
 
Just a thought, but over the years I've seen and heard many mods that have failed, so I'm not singleing out YOUR mods as the culprit, but you wanted honest feedback, and I'm saying that perhaps your assumption that it is the firmware that is defective is misguided.

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound, EnjoytheMusic.com, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

stereodaves -- Sat, 11/28/2009 - 18:06

Dear Mr. Stone,

We are very confident in the reliability of our modifications. As we mentioned,
we have not had a modification go bad. Furthermore, your assertion  that somehow
our modification would fail just at the same time as the firmware was updated
for the first time on the unit is just too much of a coincidence for us and the
owner of the unit. Obviously, something changed, as he and we noticed somethings
were improved, such as loading time, disc compatibility, but his channels were
transposed and the sound of his unit was changed noticeably.

Also, of note, our modication does not modify the firmware  / software section
of the player, as I would say most modifications do not touch this area, unless
you have a region code modification. So I can say with confidence that our
modification would not have affected the unit's ability to be upgraded by
firmware.

We are not saying that Oppo is a bad company by any means, as I have had good
dealings with their customer service department in the past, but we were merely
asking around if anyone else had had this problem. Their customer service is
better than the ordinary. For all we know, there may have been an error during
the installation process. It doesn't necessarily even have to be an error that
influenced the sound quality of a piece. It could be quality that Oppo meant as
an improvement in sound that may work for some systems, but not work for others.
If my friend and customer is the only one, we have no problem with that, but we
just wanted to see if anyone had experienced this issue. And you cannot tell us
that technology is flawless. It's a pity that for such a simple inquiry a
company is automatically maligned when we all know that things like this happen
no matter how good the company is, especially when it has to do with updates.

We have also noticed on other product review sites that whenever anyone had
posted a not totally positive review of an Oppo Blu-ray unit, the person was
jumped on, harrassed, and pretty much discounted. One person that replied to a
purchaser's negative rating (2 stars out of 5) even questioned how the purchaser
could even justify giving the product such a low a rating for problem he reported having with the unit. To question the
validity of a customer review directly on the review site is rather out the
ordinary.
 

Sean and Rick
Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative
www.stereodaves.com

Steven Stone -- Mon, 11/30/2009 - 00:06

 The Internet is a wonderful thing, BUT one vocal critic can affect the reputation of a product far more than they could before the Internet existed.
 
You've asked your question and gotten no corroborating  evidence to suggest that Oppo did indeed post defective firmware upgrades.
 
I've suggested some other scenarios that could result in the similar result that you have rejected as impossible. I suspect that your customer got a faulty download and if I were he I would certainly try re-installing the firmware upgrade and if that fails contact Oppo about an RA to rectify the problem.
 
Your last paragraph smacks of  the old "slime 'em through an inference" gambit and, frankly, makes me suspect YOUR motives.
 
Do we really need to continue this further?
 
 
 
 

Steven Stone
Contributor to The Absolute Sound, EnjoytheMusic.com, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications

Chris Martens -- Mon, 11/30/2009 - 00:33

Gentlemen: come let us reason together.

 

It seems to me that the objective is to have a satisfied customer whose player meet or exceeds reasonable expectations. Is that not so?

 

With this thought in mind, let me ask if Oppo technical support has been consulted to see what might have happened with the latest firmware update and possible interactions (however improbable they might seem) with the Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative modifications. 

 

Note that the Oppo folks do not live in a vacuum. They are well aware that others (Stereo Dave's, NuForce, and many more) offer modified versions of the BDP-83 and they may be able to help troubleshoot whatever went wrong with the firmware upgrade for this particular player. I can't speak for Oppo, of course, but I think you will find that they will pitch in and help to diagnose the problems at hand--even though the player has been modified in ways that Oppo might not have foreseen. But they can't help unless they're given the chance...

 

Let's stop flinging barbed comments and try to get the customer's player working properly, shall we? I would suggest that a technically qualified member of the Stereo Dave's team begin by calling Oppo technical support in an effort to compare notes and to pool resources to look for a solution. 

 

Give it a try, at least, and let us all know how things work out.

 

Best,

 

Chris Martens

Chris Martens
Editor, Avguide.com/Playback/The Perfect Vision 

stereodaves -- Mon, 11/30/2009 - 03:49

We appreciate Mr. Martens thoughtful comments. The player has already been sent to Oppo to be re-updated and also upgraded by the customer to hopefully remedy the issues that the customer had after the firmware update, which is the only reason we became involved in posting this question in the first place.  We have modified a number of other players, particularly of the Samsung and Pioneer brands, which our customers have been very satisfied with. This unit was our first Oppo blu-ray modification and was done only by customer request, as he really liked the player, but had certain things he wanted improved. We ourselves were impressed with a number of aspects of the player (stunning video and a very clear mid range).
That being said, we do not agree with Mr. Stone's assertion that any critism on the internet of a product (no matter how small a criticism), should be attacked or dismissed because of the possibility of tarnishing a companies reputation. What would be the point of reading customer reviews on products if there was no possiblity of reading a negative or less than totally positive review of the product?  There are any number of audio products from other companies that have recieved far more negative comments (even on this forum) of a more serious nature, which no one had any objection to. Why should Oppo be an exception? Why have a forum if negative feedback of certain products or companies or even much less damaging questions about a particular product are unwelcome?
Since we have not seen any other feedback regarding this problem, we woudl be inclinded to concur with Mr. Stone that it is a real possibility that our customer did get a faulty download / installation of the firmware.
In terms of our motives, it was merely to obtain information outside of our knowledge / experience regarding this player, as we know that many people on this forum seem to own Oppos. As we are not connected with any company, we have no reason to smear Oppo particularly. We did not mean to cast a shadow on Oppo's reputation. We only wanted to know if others had a similiar experience or not. If not, our customer, just got unlucky.
We will keep you both posted on what happens when our customer gets back his unit.
 

Sean and Rick
Stereo Dave's Audio Alternative
www.stereodaves.com

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