This One’s For Serious Audiophiles
February 17th, 2010 -- by Chris Martens
Source: The Perfect Vision
Important note: Buyers who plan on using digital connections only between their players and home theater or music systems would, for obvious reasons, be better served by purchasing Oppo’s standard BDP-83. The Special Edition version is geared specifically for those who want to use either stereo or multi-channel analog audio connections.
Ratings (relative to comparably priced Blu-ray/universal players)
- Video Quality DVD: 10
- Video Quality Blu-ray: 10
- Audio Quality: 10
- Features: 9
- User Interface: 9
- Value: 10
- Blu-ray Disc with BonusVIEW and BD Live support (includes 1GB of onboard memory).
- Kodak Picture CD
- AVCHD, MKV and other file formats from discs or USB drives.
- Anchor Bay Video Reference Series video processing technology.
- Scaling options: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i and up to 1080p at 50Hz or 60z.
- 24p video options: for users with 24p-compatible displays.
- Source Direct mode outputs audio and video content as read, with no processing of any kind (intended for use with external video processors/scalers).
- Multiple Zoom modes: provides “multiple levels of aspect ratio control and image zooming, including a vertical stretch mode for customers with a 2.35:1 CIH (Constant Image Height) display system.”
- HDMI v1.3 digital video and audio outputs with 30-bit and 36-bit Deep Color support.
- Improved power supply board.
- Improved audio circuit board with ESS Sabre Premier (ES9006) 8-channel DAC feeding the player’s 7.1-channel analog outputs.
- Improved audio circuit board with ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC (ES9016) feeding the player’s 2-channel outputs. Specifically, Oppo adds that, “the dedicated stereo output uses another 8-channel Sabre32 Ultra DAC chip by stacking 4 DACs for each of the Left and Right channels to achieve even greater audio performance.”
- Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD with analog and bitstream outputs and (optional) conversion to LPCM.
- Onboard decoding for DTS-HD Master Audio with analog and bitstream outputs.
- SACD digital audio output either as DSD bitstream or in LPCM format.
- 7.1/5.1-channel analog audio outputs.
- Dedicated stereo outputs.
- Coaxial and optical digital audio outputs.
- Two USB 2.0 ports (one front, one rear).
- NTSC/PAL conversion (subject to DVD and BD region restrictions).
- Provides IR In/Out ports.
- HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) compatible.
- Universal voltage power supply.
- Back-lit remote control.
- Accessories include 6-foot HDMI cable and copies of the Spears & Munsil High Definition Benchmark Blu-ray Edition disk and of the excellent AIX Records Audio Calibration Disc/HD Music Sampler.
- (Optional) IR External Sensor Kit ($20).
- (Optional) Wireless Bridge Kit ($79).
The BDP-83SE has a highly intuitive user interface that, on first-time start-up, presents an Easy Setup Wizard to walk users through basic setup procedures (though experienced users can bypass the wizard if they wish, to access a more advanced menu).
Once basic setup is complete, or whenever you press the Setup button on the Oppo remote, a menu opens up with seven clearly labeled options: Playback Setup, Video Setup, Audio Format Setup, Audio Processing, Device Setup, Network Setup, and Exit.
Following standard Oppo practice, menu options are extensive and, importantly, allow you to make on-the-fly adjustments so that you can see and hear what effect your choices have on sound and/or picture quality. I applaud this approach and offer the comment that I wish all universal players allowed real-time, on-the-fly adjustments.
After setup is complete, the Oppo will, on power up, take you to an all-new user interface screen that offers six options: Music, Photo, Movie, BluTV, My Network, and Setup. The BluTV option is of particular interest, as it provides a combination of Games and Internet Widgets (weather, clock, unit conversion tool, and biorhythm calculator), plus a Channel option that’s reserved for future use. While Oppo’s online content options are pretty minimal at this stage, the new interface obviously points the way toward a future when additional content options should become available.