Another song from Jazz Kaleidoscope, “Jordan” from the Brock/ Manakas Ensemble, contains a brief, quiet passage that reveals another important aspect of the BDP-105: 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 listeners to here all the little interactions between instruments and the acoustic spaces in which they are playing. While the original BDP-95 did a fine job in this respect, I would say the BDP-105 sounds better still.
The voicing of the BDP-105 is generally neutral, with taut, deep, and well-controlled bass, transparent mids, and revealing, extended highs (highs that can, however, expose mediocre recordings for what they are). Pleasing though the Oppo can be, some might find it a bit lean-sounding compared to the deliberately warmer-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 it.
Let me expand on my voicing comments by pointing out that the BDP-105 needs a lot of run-in time to sound its best (some say as much as 200 hours or more). As playing time accumulates, 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 more “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 105’s sound. 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.
As a disc player, the BDP-105 is more than good enough to show in palpable ways that well-recorded SACDs really do sound better than their equivalent CDs (there’s greater smoothness and ease with SACDs, and simply more “there” there, so to speak). But as a DAC, the Oppo really comes into own, sounding much like it does when playing discs, but with subtly heightened levels of tonal saturation and warmth that make the music more engaging and intense.
Are there caveats? Apart from the extensive run-in requirements noted above, I can think of only a few. First, the BDP-105 is an inherently complex product that—at the end of the day—is simpler to navigate and control when it is connected to a display screen. Second, the player’s sound is so unashamedly refined and sophisticated that you may feel inspired (if not compelled) to use top-tier interconnect cables that will wind up costing more than the player does. But trust me on this one: The Oppo’s worth it.
If ever a product deserved to be considered the Swiss Army knife of digital media playback, the BDP-105 is the one. Whether you choose it for multi-format disc playback, for network- streaming capabilities, or to use as a DAC at the heart of a computer-audio system, the BDP-105 will consistently serve up levels of sonic refinement and sophistication the belie its modest price. Enthusiastically recommended.
SPECS & PRICING
Disc types: BD-Video, Blu-ray 3D, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, AVCHD , SACD, CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD-R DL, BD-R/RE
Internal storage: 1GB
Inputs: Three USB 2.0 inputs (one faceplate accessible), two HDMI inputs (one faceplate accessible and MHL compatible), three dedicated DAC inputs (one coaxial, one optical, and one asynchronous USB), one Ethernet port (RJ-45), one Wi-Fi port (via USB dongle)
Outputs: One 7.1-channel analog audio output, two stereo analog audio outputs (one set balanced via XLRs, one set single-ended via RCA jacks), two digital audio outputs (one coaxial, one optical), two HDMI outputs (can be configured for video output on one port and audio output on the other), one headphone output
DAC resolution: (USB Audio) 2 channels @ 192k/24b PCM, (Coaxial/Optical) 2 channels @ 96k/24b
Dimensions: 16.8" x 4.8" x 12.2"
Weight: 17.3 lbs.
Oppo Digital , Inc.
2629 Terminal Blvd., Suite B
Mountain View, CA 94043