To take full advantage of these network-connection options, the BDP- 105EU offers DLNA compatibility, complete with support for DMP (Digital Media Player) and DMR (Digital Media Renderer) protocols. In practice, the means the BDP-105EU can access audio, picture, and video files stored on DLNA-compatible digital media servers (that is, personal computers or network attached storage devices) that share a common network with the Oppo within your home.
Video enthusiasts will want to know that the BDP-105EU sports a powerful Marvell Qdeo Kyoto-G2 video-processing engine that can be used either by the Oppo itself, or by outboard video sources whose signals are routed through the Oppo. The Marvell engine offers picture adjustments (brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, sharpness, noise reduction, color enhancement, and contrast enhancement), provides upscaling to “4K” (that is, 3840 x 2160) resolution, and can convert 2D material for 3D playback (the latter two being features the BDP-95EU did not support).
From this technical overview, you can see that the BDP-105EU is an extraordinarily flexible source component, but for most audiophiles the key question is, and always will be, “How does it sound?” Let’s focus on that question next.
From the outset, the BDP-105EU struck me as being a very high- resolution player—one that made child’s play of digging way down deep within recordings to retrieve small, essential pieces of musical information that helped convey a sense of realism. To hear what I mean, try the track “O Vazio” from the Jim Brock Ensemble as captured on Jazz Kaleidoscope—a sampler disc (in HDCD format) from Reference Recordings. Throughout this track the Oppo did a stunning job of rendering the distinctive attack and action of each of the instruments in the ensemble (accordion, bass, drum kit, guitar, trumpet, winds, and other more exotic percussion instruments), giving them a commanding sense of presence with precisely focused placement within a wide, deep, three-dimensional soundstage. In particular, the105EU showed terrific speed and agility on the leading edges of notes (especially on the drums), rendering them with the sort of surefooted clarity and convincing impact that reminded me of the sound of far more costly players.
But another song from Jazz Kaleidoscope, “Jordan” from the Brock/ Manakas Ensemble, contains a brief, quiet passage that reveals another important aspect of the BDP-105EU: namely, its impressive ability to maintain focus and resolution even when playing at very low- levels. After the introduction of the song, which lasts about 35 seconds, the music comes to a dramatic pause that eventually is broken by the extremely faint sound of a cymbal (or small gong?) gently introducing the rhythmic pulse that will supply a heartbeat for the rest of the song. At first, the cymbal is heard so softly that its sound barely rises above the noise floor, yet even so the Oppo gets the sound of the instrument right, preserving all the essential elements of attack, timbre, and decay. This uncanny ability to resolve very low-level musical information enables the BDP-105EU to flesh out soundstages in a delightfully coherent and believable three- dimensional way, enabling listeners to here all the little interactions between instruments and the acoustic spaces in which they are playing. While the original BDP-95EU did a fine job in this respect, I would say the BDP-105EU sounds better still.
The voicing of the BDP-105EU is generally neutral, with taut, deep, and well-controlled bass, transparent mids, and revealing, extended highs (though this is a player that tends to expose mediocre recording for what they are). Pleasing though the Oppo can be, some might find it a bit lean sounding or austere compared to some of the more deliberately warm-sounding offerings on the market. If you prefer components that give a voluptuous musical presentation then the Oppo might not be your cup of tea, but if sonic honesty and neutrality are your things you should get on very well with this player indeed.
Let me expand on my voicing comments by pointing out that the BDP- 105EU needs a lot of run-in time to sound its best (some say as much as 200 hours or more). As playing time accumulates, sonic traces of leanness and austerity gradually melt away, thus enabling the player to reveal a smoother, more full-bodied, and more forgiving sonic persona.
If you buy the notion that some source components try for a softer, smoother, and thus ostensibly “musical” presentation while others aim for maximum musical information retrieval, then I would say the Oppo falls squarely in the information retrieval camp (as do a great many other high-performance solid-state players). Thus, tonal colors are rendered vividly through the Oppo, but without any exaggeration or oversaturation, so that there is nothing artificially sweetened, enriched, or “glowing” about the 105EU’s sound (you would never mistake it for a typical tube-based player). Instead, the Oppo is one of those rare “what you hear is what you get” sorts of players whose primary mission is to tell you how your discs or digital music files actually sound, which in my book can be a beautiful thing.