Product of the Year Awards 2017: Disc Players

Equipment report
Disc players,
Multi-format disc players
Hegel Music Systems Mohican,
Product of the Year Awards 2017: Disc Players

Oppo UDP-205
Oppo has followed up on its spectacularly successful UDP-105 universal disc player with the new UDP-205. This player does it all: CD, SACD, Blu-ray, Ultra HD (4k), and multichannel music. It even includes a multichannel digital preamplifier. The analog and digital connectivity are extensive, with built-in Wi-Fi, Ethernet, seven separate coaxial digital outputs, a separate audio-only HDMI output, a superb headphone amplifier, and balanced analog output jacks. Despite the plethora of compatible formats and low price, this new Oppo excels sonically in every respect, outperforming anything near its price in reproducing your music library. The sound from the analog outputs has natural detail without exaggerating the upper midrange. Deep bass is tight, full, and accurate. It also does very well in reproducing the upper bass and lower midrange—a region where many players lack the proper energy and balance. Peak dynamics and low-level dynamic detail are both very good, and sudden dynamic contrasts do not come with the slight hardening that is common to all too many players when a mass of instruments suddenly changes radically in volume. Even if you don’t need all of the Oppo’s capabilities, we still highly recommend it as a CD and SACD player, as a BD player, or as a multichannel preamplifier. It all adds up to one terrific bargain, and one of our Disc Player of the Year Award winners.

Hegel Music Systems Mohican
In the sunset years of optical discs, Hegel Music Systems of Norway has devoted considerable time and effort creating what it views as the ultimate CD player. The Mohican doesn’t have a digital input, won’t decode other sources, and has no other function than to play CDs. The company thought that many music lovers have large CD libraries, and that they would want to continue playing those discs well into the future. By limiting the Mohican to a single purpose, every aspect of its design can be optimized for CD, with no compromises. The Hegel Mohican CD player allows the listener to gain insights into the music—its various moods, its flow, its thrust—at a level reviewer KM had not encountered in CD playback for less than four times the price. It has very low levels of Red Book’s typical hardness and edginess. The Mohican has an analog-like ease, tonal density, and rhythmic fluidity that make it a recommendation for the long haul. To top it off, Hegel has laid in a large supply of replacement parts, assuring that the Mohican will live up to its name and be the last CD player you’ll ever need—and a Disc Player of the Year winner.