Jun 2014 / Oppo BD Player

Premium modded Oppo 105D..sound quality that was really impressive

This subsequent review was actually based on 2 Oppo player level mod from us.  The first part of the review is based on our Premium mod for digital section on Oppo 105D (Linear Power Supplies, and Low jitter clock for digital section only).  It does not contains any direct mods to the analog section to the Oppo (for the RCA and XLR output).  Even so the improvement to the digital and analog output of the player is substantial.

The customer was suitably impressed and subsequently sent in his Oppo 105D for our full premium mods.  This is the 2nd part of the review.

Hi James,

I have managed to run in the Premium modded Oppo 105D for about 100 hours. Here is my impression of the player which I hope will be of interest to you as a feedback to your work.

Before that, some information about the audio setup. I connected the HDMI output of the Oppo to my Meridian HD621 which is connected to the Meridian Reference 861 version 8, a system which only accepts PCM 88.2 or 96 kH at 24bits.  This means that any DSD or PCM signal higher than 96kHz will be down converted and therefore the Oppo's performance will not be fully evaluated, although admittedly the Meridian does an excellent job with D/A conversion.

Separately the Oppo analog output is connected in two ways: the balanced XLR front left/right go directly to the Mark Levinson 52 preamplifier, while signals for the other channels go to the Meridian 861, which does A/D and then D/A conversion at 192kHz/24 bits. This of course still means that one does not quite get the "pure" Oppo analog sound for the center, rear and sub channels, and may or may not be entirely satisfactory for evaluating the capability of the Oppo.

The ML 52 is connected to the Goldmund 350 monoblocks for front left/right channels, and then to a pair of Franco Serblin Ktema speakers, while signals for the other output channels are fed to a Mark Levinson 533H (with the low frequency going to a Revel sub). The surround speakers are Sonus Faber Guaneri.

Below is the first part of the review based on the Premium Mod for digital section for the Oppo 105D. 

During the first phase of the mod which focused on digital output through HDMI, I had a chance to compare its DSD sound (converted to 88.2kHz to be compatible with the Meridian) with my other system, which was a Teac Esoteric D02/P02 combo. I was interested only in the Oppo's capability to reproduce hi-rez discs such as SACD and DVD-Audio (since the Esoteric does not play DVD-Audio, no comparison was made for this).

The first two SACD discs played were "John Denver's Greatest Hits" (two channel) and "Mancini" (multi-channel). The sound from the Oppo was flat compared to that from the Esoteric. The latter was rounder, much more analog sounding, and sweeter. I realized that the unit was still new and needed time to run in.

I also played a multi-channel SACD by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (Mahler Symphony No.2). Again the sound from the Esoteric was fuller and music more involving.

For DVD-Audio,  the Chessky Ultimate Surround Setup Disc was used. In the absence of a comparison with the Esoteric, the sound from the Oppo was very impressive.

The first time I listened to the Oppo 105D's analog output using its internal ESS Sabre Reference chipset was some days later when I decided to do a direct comparison with the Esoteric---analog versus analog. I was surprised by how much better the Oppo sounded. It was not quite the equal of the Esoteric, but very close. Considering the price difference between the two, this was totally unexpected. I played the John Denver and the Mancini discs again, and then the Mahler. The improvement over the HDMI output was obvious.

Below is the second part of the review based on the Full Premium Mod for the Oppo 105D. 

After the Oppo received its full mod, and run in for about 100 hours, I can say that it is again an improvement over the earlier mod. The most revealing are the John Denver track "Leaving on a jet plane", Mancini's "The Pink Panther" (the track I always use to do comparison tests), and the last movement of Mahler 2. In addition, I also listened to the 2L demo SACD/Blu ray dual disc set, plus a Pentatone DVD-Audio on chamber music (the latter was used to compare the Oppo's analog output with its HDMI output since both were processing PCM hi-rez in this case). In all, the Oppo delivered a sound quality that was really impressive: There was a lot of detail in the music; timbre, midrange and bass were what one would expect from a hi-end disc player.

I continue to be pleasantly surprised by what I hear, and that makes me eager to try more discs with which I am familiar, just to see what the modded Oppo can do. As an indication of how satisfied I am with the modded Oppo, it is now my only disc player in the system. The 105D is not quite the Esoteric D02/P02, but is very close in sonic quality. On top of that, it is multi-channel, accepts DSD via its USB inputs (which I also tried with equal satisfaction), and a universal player.

Finally, I have not had the opportunity to compare the Oppo with and without the mod.  Considering the amount of work that went into modifying the stock unit, and the replacement with high quality parts and highly accurate clocks, I believe that much of what I hear currently has to do with the mod.

Congratulations on a job well done!

- Mr Chong, happy with his premium modded Oppo 105D

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