August 15, 2017
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Yep, time to get into Blu-ray. This was mostly precipitated by the imminent arrival of a new Gentle Giant compilation, Three Piece Suite, which features 5.1 remixes of tracks from their first three records. The Oppo BVD-103 had been on my radar for a long time… so long, that it was discontinued in favor of the newer UDP-203. But the newer model doesn’t support older formats like HDCD and VCD, so I was off to find the older model.
As much as I thought it could be found for less than the newer model ($550 MSRP), the reality was that I really couldn’t find one. However, Amazon did have a few listed as “Warehouse Deals,” so purchased one for $430 that was listed in “very good” condition. I figured if it didn’t turn out OK, I would simply return it – the beauty of dealing with Amazon!
I received the player with Prime shipping the following day. It was complete with the exception of a manual (which I downloaded from the Oppo website), and the battery contacts on the remote needed a little scrubbing. Otherwise, it was in top condition, and immediately upon connecting the player to my (wired) network, it set opon upgrading its firmware — definitely a good sign. I disabled HDCD decoding on the Oppo to get those discs to play right, and went pretty much default on the other settings for the player.
In addition to providing me Blu-ray capabilities, the UDP-103 is definitely a step up from my previous Oppo universal player, which I purchased about 9 years prior. It sounds better, especially the analog output from the Oppo (which I run through my stereo system), and this funky issue I had with the output volume between digital and HDMI appears to have vanished.
December 13, 2008
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Okay, after years of denying it, I'm now interested in multi-channel audio. It was the recent Genesis archival box set that put me over the edge – what does the Lamb Lies Down On Broadway sound like in 5.1 audio? Now where to start. Obviously there are three things you need for multi-channel audio: 1) six speakers, 2) a receiver to process the audio signal, and 3) a disc player that can play all those formats. Well, I've got 2.1 setup with my PSB speakers, so I just need to purchase a couple of surrounds (Alpha LR1's for $85 each) and a center channel speaker. I honestly have no idea on a receiver, as this seems like the most daunting purchase (and a later post).
But the player ended up being quite an easy choice. I'm not sure how I stumbled on to it, but the Oppo DV-980H is one amazing universal disc player. Nuforce, who brought us the wonderful Icon amplifier, even offered a 20% discount on the player for their customers. A trip to Amazon.com and $134 dollars later, I've got a universal disc player that can play DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD, HDCD, VCD; in fact, every format except BlueRay and the now deprecated HDDVD. It handles up to 7.1 audio, sports 24-bit, 192kHz high resolution audio D/A converters, and has Dolby Digital Surround EX decoding. Stylish, easy to setup, and above all, one great sounding disc player, it's no wonder that the Mountain View based Oppo Digital has won too numerous accolades to mention. As a DVD player, it also upconverts, which may be of interest to those looking for HD video.
I almost forgot to mention – it also plays discs with Divx and Xvid files, and it's easy to hack into an all-region player too. Check out the Videohelp website.
On the web:
Oppo Digital DV-980H