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Insider with Robert Harley — Oppo Universal Player

Is the $149 Oppo DV-970 Universal Disc Player a Giant-Killer?

Dec 12 – There’s been much buzz about Oppo’s bargain disc player being competitive with much more expensive units. There’s no question regarding the DV-970’s functionalityâthe machine plays CD/SACD/DVD-A (in two-channel or multichannel) as well as every other format imaginable (Photo CD and MP3, for examples). It even has a memory-card reader and USB port. To top it off, the Oppo has video upscaling to 1080p via its HDMI output. All for $150.

That feature list doesn’t mean much of the player doesn’t deliver sonically. In fact, one would expect such a full-featured player to have focused on versatility rather than sound. But Oppo has, through clever design or pure chance, managed to give the DV-970’s more than a touch of high-end sound. The Oppo’s presentation is open and spacious, with a level of refinement not expected at this price. I wouldn’t characterize the Oppo as a “giant killer,” but it is competitive sonically with machines at two-to-three times the price.

By Robert Harley

My older brother Stephen introduced me to music when I was about 12 years old. Stephen was a prodigious musical talent (he went on to get a degree in Composition) who generously shared his records and passion for music with his little brother.

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