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Options for playing digital music ... now that Oppo is out of business

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by robert_kc, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. tmtomh

    tmtomh Active Member

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    The 203 is no different than the 103 in this respect, as indicated by their back panels. The feature they lack, and that the 105 and 205 have, is the asynchronous USB DAC input.

    With all four of the players - 103/203/105/205 - you can play music files via USB by plugging a USB hard drive or USB stick into one of the USB ports. Of course the music will be using the DAC in the Oppo machine. But used this way, the Oppo is controlling everything: You can - and have to - use the Oppo's control interface to find the music and play it. You also have to depend on the Oppo's somewhat limited abilities when it comes to gapless playback.

    On the 105 and 205 machines, however, you also get a USB DAC input. This input makes the Oppo machine into an outboard DAC. You can't plug a hard drive or stick into this USB port. Instead, you plug in a computer, a dedicated streamer, or some other "smart" device into the port, and that device becomes your user interface. The Oppo just becomes a DAC - the volume control on the Oppo is pretty much the only separate function that remains active in that mode.

    This mode allows you more choice in the software and user interface you use to catalogue, select, and play your digital music collection. It also allows much better support for gapless playback, since all the work to make that happen is taken away from the Oppo in this mode.

    Now, the 103 and 203 do have ways to be used as outboard DACs. You can plug into their optical and coax digital inputs, and also into their HDMI inputs. (And the 105/205 also have these same options.) It's just that there are some limitations with those other input methods, especially optical (doesn't always support super high-res data transmission) and HDMI (limited number of external smart players/devices that have HDMI outputs).

    But the 103 and 203 are identical to each other as far as the ways you can, and cannot, connect to and use them.
     
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  2. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thx- that’s what I thought.
     
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  3. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I own UDP-205, BDP-105, and BDP-95.

    I don't own the UDP-203, BDP-103 or BDP-93. With that said, my understanding is that the optical and coax connections that you see on these units are outputs, not inputs.

    Here's what Oppo says on their web site about the difference between the BDP-103 and BDP-105:

    The OPPO BDP-103 and BDP-105 share the same primary components (including the mainboard, laser, and loader) for superb audio and video playback, and while the BDP-103 and BDP-105 are identical in performance when it comes to audio and video over HDMI, the BDP-105 offers a number of enhancements:​
    1. The BDP-105 features improved sound quality from its analog audio outputs with its implementation of dual 32-bit ESS Technology digital-to-analog converters, a toroidal power supply, and two sets of dedicated stereo analog outputs (balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA) for 2-channel enthusiasts. Customers who do a great deal of critical music listening using a very high end, analog connected system will benefit most from these additions.
    2. The BDP-105 features a headphone amplifier for use with high-quality headphones.
    3. The BDP-105 features three additional digital audio inputs: optical, coaxial, and a 2-channel asynchronous USB DAC input.
    Furthermore, the BDP-105 is graced with additional aesthetic and ergonomic enhancements that include a larger 4.8 inch tall chassis, sculpted aluminum front panel, touch sensitive front-panel playback controls, availability of an optional rack mount kit, and availability in Black or Silver.
    Here's what Oppo says on their web site about the difference between the UDP-203 and UDP-205:

    The OPPO UDP-203 and UDP-205 share many of the same primary components, and while the UDP-203 and UDP-205 are identical in performance when it comes to video, the UDP-205 offers a number of enhancements in terms of audio.

    The UDP-205 features improved sound quality from its analog audio outputs courtesy of its implementation of dual 32-bit ESS Technology ES9038 PRO reference DACs, a toroidal power supply, and two sets of dedicated stereo analog outputs (balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA) for 2-channel enthusiasts. Customers who do a great deal of critical music listening using a very high end, analog connected system will benefit most from these additions.

    The UDP-205 also features a high precision HDMI clock and special HDMI audio jitter reduction circuit on its HDMI Audio Only output. For more information about this feature, please read the following KB article here.

    As of November 2017, the UDP-205 supports the audio format MQA (Master Quality Authenticated). Customers are able to play MQA files from connected USB hard drives and thumb drives, DLNA servers, and SMB shares.

    Finally, the UDP-205 also features a headphone amplifier for use with high-quality headphones, as well as three additional digital audio inputs to take advantage of the internal DACs (optical, coaxial, and a 2-channel asynchronous USB DAC input.)

    If you look at the back panel of the UDP-205 and BDP-105 you see Digital Audio Inputs (Optical, Coaxial, USB DAC).

    UDP-205:

    [​IMG]


    BDP-105:

    [​IMG]


    I use the TOSLINK optical input on my UDP-205 and BDP-105 to connect Chromecast Audio - i.e., using the Oppo's DAC.

    On my UDP-205, I use the HMDI input to connect Chromecast (video) for Netflix, so that the UDP-205's bass management comes into play, and the subwoofer is engaged.

    My understanding is that you can plug a USB hard drive (or thumb drive) into all of the last 4 generations of Oppo machines, and it will read music files. (As others have pointed out, this is different from connecting a PC to the Oppo and using the Oppo's DAC - which is provided by the UDP-205 and BDP-105 asynchronous USB DAC input.)


     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
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  4. KrisM

    KrisM Lunatic Member

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    Lots of good info in this thread.
    I'm living with my 'lowly' 83, but have thought about upgrading at some point. Not in the budget right now, but still good to know what's what if I ever go the used route.

    A bit off topic, but not completely;
    Does anybody know what disc transports and laser assembly the various Oppo unit use?
    It might be wise of use that want to carry on with them to snag a spare.
     
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  5. N8Nagel

    N8Nagel AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I stand corrected. I swear I read some early info that either stated or implied that the 203 was getting the asynchronous USB input but apparently that is not the case.
     
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  6. slimecity

    slimecity Super Member

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    Did the OP miss 5.1 analogue outputs from his list? Thats one of the main reasons why I bought my BDP-95.

    Can one hope for a modern player to have these anymore these days?
     

     

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  7. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Yes - I agree - based on my needs, 5.1 analog outputs is an important feature. Here's how I described this requirement in my initial post: "Pre-amp functionality built-in, with remote volume control, suitable for directly driving a power amp. RCA analog line-level outputs for 2.0, 2.1, and 5.1. (In my case, to drive my vintage tube power amps without requiring another piece of equipment in the audio chain, such as a pre-amp, pre-processor, or AVR.)"

    Thus far, I haven't found anything that would meet my requirements as well as the Oppo UDP-205. I've added my name to the wait list for a possible future production run: https://oppodigital.com/blu-ray-udp-205/
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
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  8. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I just ordered another UDP-205 from the last production run. Unfortunately, limited to 1 per customer.
     
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  9. N8Nagel

    N8Nagel AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I never got my notification...? Got a link?
     
  10. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  11. N8Nagel

    N8Nagel AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    When I click it it just says "register for potential availability" and I already have.

    Maybe they didn't build enough to even cover all the interested parties and I registered too late? That'd make me sad.
     

     

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  12. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Perhaps it's time to enter the current world of file based playback with all of its advantages. I've already made that transition.
     
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  13. N8Nagel

    N8Nagel AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    If that was directed at me, I already have, but I would use the Oppo for other purposes, namely my horrible lashed up bedroom quad system (the HDMI inputs allow me to use the Oppo to downmix multi-channel sources to 4.0, which means I can use a quad receiver to watch TV) I'm currently using a 103 but if I could get a 205 it would future proof that mess. Unfortunately I'd have to keep all my stuff because my understanding is the 95 has the best of all DACs for 2 channel use, and the 103 can rip SACD, but the 205 is the only one that will do 4K... sigh...
     
  14. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Then you already have the solution.

    Are you kidding? All Oppos use mediocre op amp analog outputs. My 103 uses 5532s. The 205 uses LM4562s. Far better exists.
     
  15. tmtomh

    tmtomh Active Member

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    Location:
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    No, you are probably fine. Each purchase link Oppo emails to each customer is customized to the customer's email address. That's how they are enforcing the 1-per-customer limit. So you can't use someone else's link.

    The reason I still think you are fine, however, is that it appears that everyone who signed up with Oppo from April (when Oppo first created the sign-up web page) up through May 9, got their confirmation email from Oppo on May 9. So while lots of people got confirmation of sign-up emails all on the same date, those people actually signed up on a variety of very different dates, some of them weeks earlier than others. In other words, just because two people both got confirmation emails on May 9, doesn't mean both of those people signed up on the same date - and so one of them could be ahead of the other one (perhaps far ahead) in the queue.

    But Oppo has subsequently said they are doing three production runs, with the final one being the largest. So... if you have not yet gotten your email from Oppo with your unique, custom web link to purchase a 205, and you signed up with Oppo on or before May 9, it's probably because you signed up after most or all of the people who are getting their purchase links now. You might still get one in the next few days, but if you don't, then you will probably receive one in July or August, when the 2nd or 3rd production run becomes available.

    Even if you signed up after May 9, it appears likely you'll eventually get a purchase email from Oppo - since they're doing 3 production runs, and since the 3rd run will be the largest, it seems logical that they placed one or two additional orders, one of them a big one, when they saw how many people were signing up. That means it's likely that there will be one for everyone who signed up prior to the initial shipments beginning this past week.

    It is true that if you don't need to spin discs, then the Oppo units are much less relevant and compelling. The main problem posed by the departure of Oppo from the market (and by Cambridge, Sony, and everyone else removing the DACs and analogue outputs from virtually all of their universal disc players), is getting native/full-resolution playback of SACDs, DVD-As, and Blu-Ray discs using a two-part system of a disc player and separate outboard DAC. That's very difficult without these universal disc players with built-in DACs and full analogue outputs. And if you are not content with the sound quality produced by most AV receivers, it's also a very expensive proposition.

    As for the sound quality of the Oppos, yes absolutely - one certainly can do better. But if one needs the disc-spinning capability, then it's debatable whether or not one can do better for the money. I am pretty confident that E-Stat will respond that it's easy to do better than the Oppos even for the same money, but I've zero interest in getting into that argument - I can already tell by the tone and certainty of E-Stat's comments so far that there's a level of heat behind his view that makes it an argument not worth having. I will only say that op-amps are indeed a frequent source of audio degradation; and that like anything else, op-amps also aren't the be-all, end-all of a unit's sound - it's all about the overall implementation, the trade-offs made, and so on.
     
  16. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    We've advanced since 1980.

    Kal Rubinson of Stereophile rips his to DSD and PCM respectively. Can't say about BR.

    Just enthusiasm for instant file based play across multiple systems from a shared library, audio and video alike. I simply cannot imagine going back.
     
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  17. robert_kc

    robert_kc AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I agree that “We've advanced since 1980.” (I believe CDs came out in 1982.) Here’s a specific example: high-resolution multi-channel audio/video recordings of live music performances.

    Everyone’s situation is different.

    Some people only listen to recordings made 20+ years ago, and “CD quality” audio is all that’s available to them.

    OTOH, my favorite genres are classical music and opera, and there are many recent hi-res recordings that are available in consumer deliverables that feature multi-channel hi-res audio (e.g., SACD, Pure Audio Blu-ray), and in some cases hi-res audio/video (Blu-ray, and Ultra HD Blu-ray). And more hi-res multi-channel audio/video classical recordings are being released on a regular basis. My favorite way to consume classical music is currently Blu-ray audio/video with surround sound, and Ultra HD Blu-ray is starting to emerge.

    Apparently, some people enjoy copying their discs to a server. Considering the manual editing of metadata required for classical music (and the need to link multiple movements), this is not my idea of fun. (Moreover, copying multi-channel SACDs and Blu-ray reportedly is not an easy task.) I enjoy the convenience of dropping a disc into the tray and hitting the play key. (I listen to an entire classical composition (typically more than an hour long), and therefore concepts like “shuffle play” and “playlists” are not relevant.)

    I have some stereo hi-res downloads from HDTracks, plus many multi-channel SACD and Blu-ray (audio-only, and audio/video). (Ultra HD Blu-ray is very slowly becoming available for classical music, opera, and ballet.) The Oppo UDP-205 can handle them all, plus act as a pre-amp for my vintage tube amps, and serve as a crossover for my subwoofers, and serve as a DAC for my Chromecast Audio (Tunein radio, and Spotify Premium).

    The UDP-205 is not a mass market product, which is probably why it’s being discontinued. To illustrate this point, I’m currently helping a friend buy a system that will support stereo (plus possible future subwoofer) playback of his CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray, and (eventually) Ultra HD Blu-ray. (He currently has no interest in streaming, but the system we’ve selected will support streaming). I helped him decide on an Ultra HD Blu-ray player (Sony UBP-X700) that also plays SACDs and CDS. It will connect via HDMI to a 2.1 channel HDMI compatible AVR that fits his budget (Onkyo TX-8270). My point is that I recognize that mass market needs (like my friend’s) differ from my needs. (I’d personally never buy an AVR.) While I enjoy all that the UDP-205 has to offer - and I enjoy being able to drive my late 50’s and early 60’s tube amps directly from the UDP-205 (including surround-sound) – I recognize that’s not the best solution for most people.

    Again … everyone’s situation is different. As this thread has illustrated, I have found no solution that fits my needs better than the UDP-205, which is why I have another UDP-205 on order – scheduled for delivery next Tuesday.
     
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  18. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Optical disks are simply "removable" digital storage media varying only by capacity. Digital content can be stored on multiple terabyte spinning rust just as easily. Kal does it for all his MC music and uses JR River for playback if memory serves. Do you ever follow his columns since his interests seem to parallel yours?

    I've not faced that challenge. LMS indexes by composer, title, artist or album artist. Search for particular symphony if that's of interest. Since a disk has but one place on your shelf, what single choice do you make?

    Agree. I think optical players will be available for years to come, but only of the disposable quality intended for viewing movies. The market has moved to storing the bits elsewhere.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  19. tmtomh

    tmtomh Active Member

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    Sorry, but especially at a place like this, where a major part of the entire forum's culture is folks collecting vintage equipment from way before 1980, including vinyl LPs, it's just stilly and pointless to make that kind of flip comment. Are you in the Speaker sub-forum telling people that "we've advanced since" the days of the big Advents and the golden age of Klipsch? Are you in the tube audio sub-forum telling people that we've now got solid-state equipment? Are you in the solid-state subforum telling people that they should stop collecting and maintaining their '70s gear because we've advanced since then?
     
  20. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    "Do you think AK is about vintage or cheap ? If you do then you have the wrong web site. Its about a community who appreciates all audio and music."

    Given the context of that had to do with computer technology, are you so out of touch to not understand the magnitude of that observation? In 1980, the fastest computer was the vector processing Cray 1S. I have more power than that on my desktop with an eight year old Intel i7-860 computer. Today the IBM Summit offers 122 petaflops of computing power. In 1980, a 14" multi-platter 75 MB Memorex disk drive ran about $25,000 and was the size of a washing machine. Today, you can buy a thousand times that storage for $35 and place it on your thumbnail. Yeah, we've most certainly advanced since 1980. LOL!

    I have a pair of New Advents in the garage system. They harken me back to when I first purchased an earlier version in 1972 as a teenager. Have we progressed past then? Are you kidding me? Yes, Virginia in every way.

    I'm quite pleased with my Audio Research SP20 and pair of VTL MB-450 monoblocks.

    *Collecting* has nothing to do with acknowledging reality.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018

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