..good is it? Can it be used to feed a quality DAC and keep up with CDPayers in the 3-4$K range?
I think through HDMI Stereophile rated it as Class "A+" in recommended components of OCT 2009 issue. Although I would think that doesn't apply in a regular system using spdif digital out cable connection. I would ask someone who has actually compared the oppo with other high end transports in a good high quality system. I think Chris Martin who reviewed the product is of no help. Neither are other "OPPO brand worshipers". Yea we all know its a great bargain for its price but how is it as a transport? ask someone neutral who would test it as just another transport among others.
I would appreciate it if you didn't dismiss me as an "Oppo brand worshipper." I don't worship Oppo by any stretch of the imagination, but I do respect the fact that the company makes an effort to offer products that deliver unusually good value for money. You'll find I'm consistently drawn to other value-oriented brands as well (e.g., Gallo, Paradigm, PSB, Peachtree, etc., etc.). As I see things, value-oriented yet also high-performance A/V products are terribly important because they can help build bridges between the high-end universe and the world of mass market customers--potentially inviting newcomers to cultivate a taste for the "good stuff."
In my Playback review, I didn't choose to explore the Oppo's capabilities as a digital transport for purist high-end audio applications because that is not, in my view, how the overwhelming majority of prospective buyers would choose to use the player.
As an audiophile, I haven't personally chosen to explore the Oppo-as-transport option for two reasons. The first is lack of time; I divide my time between work on my main job (AVguide/Playback), while also working on a host of side projects for The Absolute Sound and our automotive magazine Winding Road. So, my plate is pretty full. But the second reason that I haven't tested the Oppo as a transport with an outboard DAC is that I normally do most of my critical listening either through my analog system or through a very good single-chassis Musical Fidelity kW SACD player. Because I listen to a lot of SACD reference material, I really require a high end reference that can accommodate both SACD and CD discs, whereas many transport/DAC combos are geared for CD playback only (which feels somewhat limiting to me).
Editor, Avguide.com/Playback/The Perfect Vision
Chris Martens Wrote: "In my Playback review, I didn't choose to explore the Oppo's capabilities as a digital transport for purist high-end audio applications because that is not, in my view, how the overwhelming majority of prospective buyers would choose to use the player. As an audiophile, I haven't personally chosen to explore the Oppo-as-transport option for two reasons. The first is lack of time. my plate is pretty full"
Sure looks like your plate is full with too many projects at the same time. It also appears that you review products based on what suits "YOUR" listening preferences and conveniences. I don't know if you keep track of your colleagues or what else is going around you. In the last 2 years the world of DAC's, Music Servers and Transports(CD or iPod) is on fire and very popular among audiophiles. Even when you reviewed the oppo for TAS(for the most part a purely audiophile magazine) you ignored its digital output completely. Also if you haven’t noticed there is a lot of good discussion going on about products like Bryston BDA1, Benchmark DAC, Audio research DAC, Berkeley DAC and many more and reviewers like RH, REG and AT doing some interesting tests and coming up with very different conclusions while testing different Transports ranging from $500 to $10K+. Why don't you discuss the Oppo as a transport with them, or have them test it, or "DO SOMETHING" rather than just not even bothering with it. Even stereophile in the past have done some tests on old models of oppos done by some pretty reputable reviewers. If CD Transports and DAC's were such a waste of time and the majority didn't give a darn then why would some of the well known reviewers even bother wasting Valuable space in TAS for discussing these things or their valuable time in even reviewing CD transports, music servers and a DAC. Running all over the place, taking pictures of what ever is new and posting it online or in a magazine is not Audio reviewing, its audio news reporting. May be you should just get the info on what’s new and other people can review it who have the time. And I don’t' mean this regarding just the Oppo. If any reviewer is just picking and choosing things to evaluate about audio products then that’s not really proper reviewing, it’s just reporting. Per HP most peoples speakers don't go below 32Hz in bass so does that mean if you get a speaker that goes lower you will just choose not to evaluate its lower frequencies because majority of buyers don't use/buy these speakers? I'll make sure to skip all of your reviews in TAS from here on.
You make a good argument for why reviewing transports is relevant again, but give Chris a break...I frequently see his reviews posted on AVGuide.com...my impression is that he's one of the more productive reviewers and a frequent contributor to this forum as well.
It may be that my plate is overly full, but that's life in this modern era, isn't it.
Nevertheless, I think you misunderstood some of the points I raised, so let me try to address some of your concerns and criticisms.
1. No, I don't review products based on what suits my listening preferences and conveniences. Instead, I try to focus primarily on products that are of interest to readers. I do, however, work with multiple audience groups, not all of which include ultra high-end audio purists (even though my personal tastes may be skewed in that direction). In particular, I often write for audio and A/V enthusiasts who have high-end tastes but limited budgets, and it was with that specific user group in mind that I crafted the Oppo review.
2. Yes, as a matter of fact, I do keep close track of what my colleagues at TAS and HiFi-Plus are writing about (in fact, I probably pay more attention to their work than any other single person in our organization, since I work to make sure content from both those magazines and from Playback gets loaded into the AVguide database).
3. Yes, I am very familiar with differences between reporting on A/V components and actually reviewing them, since I do quite a lot of both--more than you may realize. Over the last six years, I have published roughly 280 in-depth reviews (not news articles, but real reviews) of various audio and A/V products, which I believe makes me one of our most prolific contributors. As you can imagine, this also means that I have exposure to (and insights into) a very broad spectrum of components.
4. Yes, I am thoroughly aware of the recent surge of interest in DACs. That is why I've recently reviewed the Musical Fidelity V-DAC, the DAC section of the Peachtree Audio Nova integrated amp/DAC, the DAC section of the Bel Canto S300iUSB integrated amp/DAC, and the Chordette Gem High-Definition Bluetooth Decoder/USB DAC. Have you by any chance read any of those reviews?
I've also recently auditioned (but not reviewed) the Benchmark DAC and the PS Audio Digital Link III, and have made an effort to hear (at least on a cursory basis) the very interesting PS Audio PerfectWave transport/DAC combination. In the past, I've looked into transport/DAC combos from dCS, Meitner, and Esoteric as well.
5. I do think that PCs and Servers, used as music sources, are what's driving the resurgence of interest in DACs. Part of this is a matter of convenience, of course, but I think that sound quality-minded listeners are also discovering that hard drives have some very desirable playback characteristics that (most) optical disc drive transports can not easily match.
6. I do try very hard to evaluate A/V components in realistic, real-world use contexts and to evaluate components when used for the purposes for which they were designed.
I understand your criticism that my Oppo did not comment on the player's performance potential as a digital transport for use with extremely expensive high-end DACs, and I will bear your comments in mind when I do future player reviews.
At the same time, I would argue that the BDP-83 was designed as a high value, high performance, standalone Blu-ray player that incorporates universal player functions designed to appeal to audiophiles on a budget. It was not designed with the primary goal of serving as a high-end digital audio transport.
But this raises an interesting question: if you are going to the trouble of looking into a product as sophisticated (and expensive) as the Berkeley DAC, why would you not also seek out an equally special dedicated transport and/or server--and one geared specifically for audio applications? It seems to me that that approach would offer the greatest potential for realizing maximum sound quality. Your thoughts? Bear in mind that an awful lot of the embedded technology in the Oppo (and therefore a lot of the product's cost) is devoted to serving video applications.
7. You imply that I said reviewing CD Transports and DACs was a "waste of time" and of "valuable space in TAS." I said no such thing. I simply said that I found CD-only solutions "somewhat limiting" as high-end audio references, since by definition they cannot play any of the excellent musical material currently available in SACD format. I am not alone in this viewpoint. Note that some of the very finest transport/DAC combinations presently available (again, from dCS, Meitner, and Esoteric) make a point of accommodating both formats.
I certainly feel it's valid for enthusiasts and writers to look into CD-only solutions (hence, it makes sense for such products to be reviewed in TAS), though I admit that I probably wouldn't choose one as my only digital audio reference.
8. News flash: Whether we like it or not, all A/V journalists pick and choose aspects of component performance to comment upon in reviews.
9. You are certainly free to skip my TAS or Playback reviews if you so choose. But honestly, I think that would be your loss. Even though we may not agree about all aspects of my approach to component reviewing, I believe my reviews contain enough information, insights, and core truths to make them a worthwhile read.
Chris Martens Wrote: "why would you not also seek out an equally special dedicated transport and/or server--and one geared specifically for audio applications? It seems to me that that approach would offer the greatest potential for realizing maximum sound quality."
My exact point or hot topic RIGHT NOW is that "Do super expensive Transports really sound different or that much superior then Budget Transports"? REG, RH, AT are all raising that question, investigating it to some extent and you seem to be not in the loop with them with this issue. And here is where oppo as a transport only could have shed more light to this important topic that has come up due to the new DAC's in the market. A lot of the revewers are also saying (including Stereophile magazine) that Hard Disk based music sounds better than $15K or even $30K CD transports from the likes of DCS or Esoteric. I don't know if you have heard of that or believe in it?
It appears that you do quite a bit of coverage of "Value/Budget products" and as you say for the most part those specific products don't match up in a high end system. I wouldn't try to put for example the entry level PSB speakers in an ultra high end system or the V-Dac as the primary digital source in a $20K system. When I asked if you followed up with what was going around you with your colleagues I was pointing to the issue of "Budget/Value CD Transports" Vs. "Ultra high end Transports" to be used with these new DAC's". Several of your colleagues are trying to figure out if the Type of CD transport makes much of a difference in these new DAC's. Some say they do, some say they don't, its a hot topic. Here the Oppo would have been an excellent test model with these high end DAC's to see if it makes a difference or not. If it doesn't why would anyone in their right mind go and spend $15K on a transport when not much of a difference is heard using a $500 Transport unless of course 1. you have the money, 2. you want to get that last bit of information, 3. you simply want something in your shelf that is expensive and of an ultra brand name.
My point is that there are at least 6 or more new DAC's that are changing the way we listen to music, with new filters, new jitter suppression, improved sound, where CD Transport differences have become much less significant. Hense given whats being discussed around us (by well respected audio experts) it would have been very benificial if you or TAS would have Tested this player and may be a few others to address the question of CD Transport quality a lot better given the current situation of Digital audio. Or you could have discussed with or sent the player to your fellow reviewers or may be try to do a follow up on it with another reviewers.....that would have been good. If you follow what I mean. Every budget product does not have to be tested in RH type system but this hot topic can be and should be in my view.
Sam -- the topic you propose is potentially interesting. However, this is not a topic that is in Chris' area of focus. There is a suggestion box for TAS:
There is also a suggestion box for AVGuide:
CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC
Tom, Thanks for your post and suggestion. Yes, after discussing with Chris, I do "NOW" realize that it is not Chris's area of focus. I was surprised that it was not especially concerning the oppo! Especially when so many audio reviewers in Stereophile and TAS are over and over questioning about packaged media, about CD transports, DACS, Hard Disk Music Servers and the shift in Technology and the way we will be listening to music in the near future. I was wrong to assume that everybody will be on the same page dealing with some of the most popular topics and items that are coming out in the market. And oppo is certainly one of them. I believe there is no need to post my "potentially interesting proposal" of the topic because all the big guns at both the magazines are already looking into this, they are talking about it, they are testing it, they recorded it on videotape a year ago at the RMAF 2008 in the Presense of the likes of RH, Sooloos guy, Wadia guy, P.S. audio guy, Recording people, etc.......... so its out there. It would have been nice if Chris could have given his input on such a highly praised transport by both TAS and Stereophile to the readers. It would have only benifited everyones understanding of where we are headed to in terms of disks on the fly(Different types of transports obviously) Vs. Hard disk music server based audio of the future. I apologize to Chris if I seemed like a jerk in my discussion, I was only pointing to "Audio related topics of present" and nothing personal. I also hold the Editors of TAS and Sterophile in very high regard, but I do question them at times as well when a topic or situation comes up to question them. Its only natural to do so. Further more I discuss with them with reasoning why I believe one way or the other and try to understand their point of view. I will try to watch my tone in the discussions. Thanks!
Good God Sam, you come across as a real prick.
Ratzass, When you deal with these things coming across as a prick is no surprise in some cases. The reviewers have a duty to fully cover certain products and trends of the current technology and products. They get paid for it! Its their job. The readers have a right to at least express their views (I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings). I subscribe to all the audio magazines like TAS, Stereophile, soundvision, hometheater, etc.... I go to shows and what not... so I guess I am a little more involved in this stuff then I should be. Some of the reviewers...and I mean some not all make such blatant mistakes and go back and fourth with their claims...one day one thing the next another, or totally ignore things that it becomes a joke and almost frustrating. The second cause of becoming a prick at sometimes (not all the time) are the jack ass dealers. They lie like there is no tomorrow. Their attitudes, and service alone makes it ok to be firm with them. The pricing and recommendations that they make are down right stupid (if you have done your homework). one customer is told one thing another another thing....for the sake of sales. I feel sorry for the masterminds who work so hard at creating a product with passion and a massive portion of the sale in the end goes in the pocket of the dealer who many times does nothing. Yes there are great and honest dealers out there but ONLY a few. Most will destroy this hobby as its already in trouble. Even after their crap behavior, they keep calling or contacting, requesting if you would buy. My answer, hell no. I'll go to someone who is knowledgeable, sincere, and a true hi-end dealer rather than the brats of the audio world even if I have to pay more. Just my 2 cents. And after going through all this for years and years.....ive spent thousands on my past and current setups. Music and audio systems are great, but dealing with some of the middlemen surely is frustrating and not a positive experience. May be next time I'll say nice things that will make me sound like a great guy, and follow your footsteps.
I have to say, I'm rather sick and tired that everytime I run out and buy the latest and the greatest Oppo player, another one is released that outdoes last months highly touted, highly publicized model. I now have a closet full of Oppos that are old news.
What a waste! I think I've stopped buying in Oppos until they have some kind of cash for clunkers program.
Berkley Audio rec Oppo as a go to transport.
Jlee, I thought u bought the esoteric xo5 and never even heard the Berkeley. Can you post the email by Berkeley or what exactly they said on here. They told me Nagra $12k or esoteric$5k as transports. I'll contact them again as well.
I did buy the X-05. I got this info from Music Lovers in Berkley CA (salesperson Tuan) when I was contemplating the Ayre and Tuan suggested I consider the Berkley DAC.
Music Lovers Claimed that they Demo the BAD alpha DAC with an Ayre CD player. 6 months ago Music Lovers were highly recommending the $3500 Ayre CX7e CD player as a Transport with the Berkeley and suggesting that it be later upgraded to an even more Expensive Wadia Transport. I guess if you already own a Berkeley then a $3K+ transport is best for you. If you are looking for a new player the Berkeley DAC is the recommendation and an Oppo is the Best Transport. As long as something sells. LOL Like I said to Bob, Trust someone who has tested these things without a bias or a sales interest.
Thanks to all. Tonite I compared the LINN Majik CDPlayer to the Sony 9000ES used as a transport feeding the DAC in the new Magnum Dynalab 309 integrated. I've just listed the LINN for sale at Canuckaudiomart.
I asked about the OPPo for the day the Sony dies.
I was very much looking forward to the Oppo BDP-83 review as I opened my new issue of TAS...because Oppo is bundling our HD Calibration and Demonstration disc with every unit. I was disappointed that the Spears and Munsil video calibration disc was mentioned in the review but not the disc that should have mattered more...the AIX HD Audio calibration and demonstration disc. It provides encodes of all of the new codecs available on BD discs AND some of our more recent recordings using HD Audio and Video.
Perhaps Chris received one of the early players that didn't have our disc included...and if that was the case I would happily send a copy of the calibration disc so that you can see and more importantly hear...the fidelity that the Oppo BDP-83 can produce. Just this morning, I received a call from an Oppo purchaser who stated that he was moved to tears upon hearing the opening track on the sampler.
Music recorded well and presented in HD Surround exceeds by a large amount the best of best two-channel playback no matter how expensive the system.
I am considering the Oppo BDP-83 player. I currently have the Panasonic BD-55, which I am 100% happy with, as a BD player, and that is it's only function, other than DVD.
The Oppo interests me as something I may be able to upgrade my SACD playback, as I now have a Denon DVD-2900, which, with it's Burr-Brown DACs sounds good to me, but the Oppo outputting DSD to my Controller, an Onkyo Pro PRC-885 (Integra 9.8), may be a better solution.
Thoughts on this?
Mecolwell - Like you, I have the Panasonic BD-55 and Denon DVD-2900 universal player. I upgraded to the DVD-3910 a couple years ago, and the improvement in sound was huge, the video not so much. I would love to have the Oppo BDP-83 for its all-in-one convenience, but am skeptical that it would be an improvement over what I already have. Based on the dramatic difference I experienced between the 2900 and 3910, IMO, you would see and hear a significant difference with the Oppo over your 2900.
I know when I got my BDP-83 it only came with the Spears and Munsil disk, and I believe I got mine around the same time that Chris got his.
It sounds from your description that your disc would be as useful for audiophiles as the Spears disc is for videophiles. It's nice that Oppo buyers now get both.
Contributor to The Absolute Sound, EnjoytheMusic.com, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and other fine publications
As you correctly surmise, Playback got its initial review sample of the BDP-83 at a point where the Spears disc was included, but the AIX disc was not.
I have since received a copy of the AIX disc, which I'm looking forward to trying out.
Chris: when can we get your thoughts about the Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition?
I'll do a blog on it shortly, though my sample is presently in transit.
Oppo's Jason Liao did caution me that the BDP-83SE will require a substantial amount of run-in time before its sound fully opens up, so he specifically asked me not to form (or, I suppose, to publish) judgements on its sound quality until I have given the unit plenty of playing time.
This time around, in Sam's honor, I'll also make a point of evaluating the player as a transport in comparison vs. the transport section of the best player I presently have on hand (namely, my Musical Fidelity kW SACD player).
LOL Thanks Chris! I think a lot of pepople will be interested in it and enjoy what you find out.
Thanks for your efforts in bringing us unbiased reviews of quality and well-priced components. It makes my hobby so much more enjoyable. I was one of the early adopters on the Oppo BDP-83. Currently, my front end consists of the BDP-83, feeding my Primare SP32 (AV processor) via HDMI. Compared to my Primare DVD30 (universal player) via XLR (digital output), the sound quality seems comparable with both CD and SACD. I am very much curious by your review of BDP-83 as a transport, since I use strictly HDMI (and not analog output). Thanks, again.
Can't wait to hear what you think of the OPPO as a transport and of the upgraded BDP83 special edition. Does anyone know if the Oppo can play the new downloaded DSD files like the Sony 5400 and Vaio computers? If not will be able too some day?
I have the bdp-83. I've tried it to feed dvd concert films (in pcm or dolby stereo) to my Cambridge Audio 840C DAC. I've also used it to feed cd to the 840C, and also SACD and DVD-A. I have the bdp-83 connected via digitial out with a QED (75? I think) rca digital cable, and have tried with a couple of better digital cables as well that are in the $200 price range of cable.
I also have a very old Pioneed Elite 100 disc cd changer connected to the 840C and an Iomega Screenplay 500-GB HDD connected to the 840C.
Both of the sources just mentioned do a better job as "transport" than does the bdp-83. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed that this proved to be case. I was expecting that the bdp-83, at least on DVD concert films, would sound better played via the 840C dac than via it's own 7.1 analog rca output. However, it has been my experience that the bdp-83 sounds better via it's own analog output on cd, dvd, dvd-a, and sacd, than do these discs played via the bdp-83 digital out to my 840C dac. The Pioneer cd changer and the Iomega HDD both sound fantastic (on cd) played via the 840C dac, in fact very close in quality to playing cd directly from the 840c.
The sound quality I get using the bdp-83 as a transport (on all music formats mentioned) tends to be a lot thinner and raspy and lacking bass in comparison to using the analog outputs, which have more air, more bass, and better musicality and clarity. BTW, the BDP-83 is connected via analog output to a NAD T753 surround receiver.
I have also tried a variety of AC cables on the bdp-83, most recently settling with a PS Audio Perfectwave. I have also tried the Shunyata venom (too soft) and the XLO Reference 2 (too rough) with the bdp-83. I mention this point since using a better quality power cable should theoretically give the bdp-83 an advantage (as a transport) over my Iomega HDD and the Pioneer disc changer, which both have built in AC cables that cannot be replaced.
I have also had the bdp-83 for about 3 months now and it gets a lot of use so it is fully broken in.
So that is my experience using the bdp-83 as a transport to an external dac (840c in my case). Certainly not a final word or definitive, but I have pretty much given up with experimenting with using the bdp-83 as a transport to my 840c.
Last point. I have also tried connecting an external HDD to the bdp-83 and then digital output to my 840c, to play WMA music files, and there the sound was similary thin and raspy compared to the analog outputs.
I've used the Oppo for about 5 months now and I must say that in terms of value for money it has set a new benchmark. The design may be utilitarian, the build quality may not be as top notch as the more expensive Denon's, the weight may not be what audiophile's dream, but all in all it gives hours of satisfaction be it watching movies or listening to music. It may not be good as a pure music player, and Oppo knows it, that's why they now have a <a href="http://www.oppodigital.com/blu-ray-bdp-83SE/">Special edition model</a> to cater to that market segment. But all in all the <a href="http://bluray-players.net/oppo/oppo-bdp83-review/">Oppo BDP-83</a> is one great machine that will satisfy almost anyone other than those with lots of cash to blow.
BTW, my comments posted December 6 were merely to respond to the question of using the BDP-83 as a transport to an external dac. In my case with my equipment, it did not work well. I've given this a bunch of testing time also with a vareity of quality Digital cables, feeding the Cambridge Audio 840C, and not very good results. As I mentioned before, my very old CD changer and a multimedia HDD both sound great when connected via digital RCA to the 840C.
As far as the Oppo goes for other use, I love it. The best universal DVD player I have owned (my 4th one), and the sound from the analog outputs for SACD, DVD-A, DVD, and BD material is very good. The picture quality via HDMI is stunning on both DVD and BD content. Could not be happier with the unit, but was hoping that it could also be used as a transport to my 840C to see if it's sound output in 2 channel could be improved upon (over the analog outputs), and I did not find that to be the case. Others might have a different experience with their setup.
Would love to trade it in though for the new SE version since I use the analog outs, but they won't offer the upgrade to Canadian customers. I was one of the first to purchase after the beta and early adopter program completed, but for some reason they won't allow the upgrade outside of the US. I have even offered to pick up the shipping tab both ways, but even that suggestion was turned down.