“Oppo” BDP-105 Blu-ray 3D Player
A Review By: Alphonso Soosay
To be very honest, there is a shortage of very good Blu-ray Players in the market. I was lucky that I had the opportunity to review the Oppo’s then flagship Blu-ray player, the BDP-95, at West Coast Hi-Fi and it was a match made by the mind readers. It is designed to serve your Eyes, Ears, Heart and the Brain of your connected Home Theater system, I made sure I conveyed how highly I thought of the reference Blu-ray player in the review and how its outstanding analogue audio section was and it was one of the best I have tested. For this review, I got to try out Oppo’s successor to the BDP-95, the new BDP-105, which builds on the BDP-95’s design and adds specific features I honestly never thought I would see in a Blu-ray player. In fact, I don’t even know if I would categorize the BDP-105 as a straight Blu-ray player, as it could easily be identified as a digital processor given its new connectivity and processing features for both audio and video. Whatever you want to call it, the BDP-105 shows once again that Oppo is not afraid of disrupting the industry and raising the already incredible bar set by its previous BDP-95.
The Good News is that Oppo’s first Blu-ray player, the BDP-83 was a pixel-perfect Blu-ray player that’s just as much a reference 2D Blu-ray player today as the day it was launched. This creates an interesting issue when reviewing Oppo players.
All of the models from the start have been as good as it gets for video playback, so the only real things to talk about are the added features. When you have bit-perfect video every time, the only reason to spring for a new player is for something other than video performance. Later came the BDP-93 and BDP-95 which added some streaming features along with 3D playback support and a new chassis. Again, you could stop there and still have one of the best Blu-ray players available today. I honestly didn’t know what Oppo would bring to the table to improve on the last crop aside from simple functionality updates or more streaming features.
The BDP-105 shares the basic DNA of the BDP-103 with a few new goodies. In the latest international review of the BDP-103, David Vaughn found it to be a top-performing player that continues the tradition already set by Oppo’s previous offerings. But these players are so much more than just standard Blu-ray players. The BDP-103 and BDP-105 share a pretty exciting feature: two HDMI inputs, one on the front and another on the back. These inputs not only allow for switching of two other sources, they give you the ability to utilize the outstanding Marvell QDEO video-processing chip inside the player to de-interlace or scale whatever source you have attached. The new players use an updated QDEO chip from the last generation that scales sources up to 4K resolution. This is a better video-processing chip than what’s found in most AVRs or surround processors on the market today and is more in line with what you would find in a high-end stand-alone video processor. This player will also decode legacy surround sound formats or accept high-resolution PCM audio from another Blu-ray player. The front HDMI input is even Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) compatible, giving you the opportunity to use the Oppo with your compatible source and add even more streaming functionality to the player. The powerful video processor section features high resolution up-conversion that transforms standard definition (SD) video content to high definition (HD), and provides up-scaling of 1080p HD to 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160 pixels) for compatibility with the latest high resolution displays, along with 3D pass-through.
But the BDP-105 takes things even further than the BDP-103. Adding to the HDMI inputs are three audio inputs. On the back panel, you will find a Toslink digital connection, a coaxial digital connection, and a USB asynchronous audio input that supports high-resolution digital audio files up to 24 bits/192 kilohertz. This allows you take advantage of the BDP-105’s custom analogue audio section, which sports one of the most lauded digital-to-analogue converters on the market today, the Sabre32 Reference Audio DAC. The player features two of these DACs, one for the dedicated two-channel output and one for the seven-channel output. Taken all together, you have a very capable audio/video processor here that could easily replace a digital pre/pro, depending on your needs.
The BDP-105 shares a bit of the BDP-95’s aesthetics, though it stands a bit taller than its former sibling. Its front face sports a very elegant and simple design with a machined-aluminum panel and touch-sensitive buttons for most of the controls. In addition to the HDMI input mentioned earlier, there’s a USB input and headphone jack.
Gone are all the analogue video outputs included on the BDP-95 with the exception of a diagnostic composite output for using the menus if you get in a tight spot. You still get the dual HDMI outputs and two USB inputs for external drives or Oppo’s included Wi-Fi dongle. The analogue audio outputs include RCA’s for 7.1 playback, plus a dedicated two-channel output via either XLR or RCA. The XLR outputs are truly balanced differential outputs, which is a rarity for a Blu-ray player (or any other device for that matter). The new features are the second HDMI input and the digital audio inputs mentioned above.
The BDP-105 uses the same Sabre32 Reference Audio DAC used in the BDP-95, but some minor changes have been made. The configuration of the DAC channels has been altered to accommodate the new headphone amplifier. The Sabre32 is an eight-channel DAC, and some of those channels are now allocated to the headphone amp as opposed to using all of them for the two-channel output. Oppo also changed the power transformer and went with the company’s own design. Furthermore, the BDP-105 is a passively cooled player that doesn’t employ a fan like the previous model. I’m sure this will be a welcome addition.
The Taste Keeps Developing Better
Its bit perfect in every way. In other words, you will not find a better Blu-ray player for reference-quality video playback. I do wish I had the chance to try out its new 4K scaling, but I don’t have a 4K display handy. I can say that I never once had an issue with any material I watched, whether it is 2D or 3D, and the image quality was what I have come to expect from”Oppo”.
In some ways this represents a qualitative description that is the limiting factor of Blu-ray and it also is indicative of the volatility of the format that the manufacturers are unwilling to invest in it above a certain quality level. That being said the Oppo BD105 is on the top of the current pile, with its excellent weighty chassis well equipped with outputs including balanced out stereo pair, comprehensive video boards and excellent build, this is the flagship of this brand that has cut a stripe through the Blu-ray player market. The other good quality brand tested is “Denon”.