Oppo UDP-205 UHD Blu-ray Player Review

The UDP-205 is the universal disc player perfected, and then some 5 Stars

Flagship products are generally harder to evaluate for reviewers like me, since they cost a lot more than their capable siblings and generally offer only incremental improvements. Thankfully, in Oppo’s case it’s not nearly so hard, because they offer a truly unique feature set in addition to myriad improvements to justify the $750 price jump from the UDP-203.

As a matter of principle, when working on products like the UDP-205 designers rarely make any compromises with component quality or design complexity, this usually results in higher performance and cost, which some folks are bothered by. Oppo is truly unique in offering a product that is engineered as exactingly as any five-figure audiophile product, but doesn’t carry the absurd price tag nor useless “audio jewelry” chassis, despite being very handsome regardless.

Features & Improvements Of The UDP-205

Like the BDP-105 before it, the Oppo UDP-205 is their flagship universal optical disc player, offering Redbook CD, DVD, SACD and Blu-ray playback for both HD and UHD discs. The UDP-205 can also take the place of an AV receiver or processor by utilizing the 7.1 analog outs directly to an amplifier and making use of the units internal volume control and bass management features.

Unlike its predecessor, the BDP-105, the UDP-205 no longer has YouTube or Netflix app support, and has given up the front MHL HDMI input. None of these are big losses for most of us, as most enthusiasts and consumers have discovered the increased utility of dedicated streaming media players like Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast in the last few years largely relegating these apps on most Blu-ray players to the category of unused and unsightly irritations that clutter the home screen. Oppo’s decision to remove these apps has also allowed a simplification of their interface that is both beautiful and elegant. The interface is overlaid on a beautiful wallpaper image, and focuses on simplicity and elegance, which is a refreshing change compared to the majority of competitors.

In terms of outputs, the UDP-205 is nothing short of impressive, offering the aforementioned 7.1 analog RCA outs, as well as stereo RCA and XLR outputs. Moving to the digital side, the UDP-205 has optical and coaxial digital outputs in addition to dual HDMI outputs. One HDMI port is fully HDMI 2.0a HDCP 2.2 compatible, while the other is audio-only and is useful for those who need to bypass a legacy receiver to run UHD/HDR video directly to a display. In the UDP-205 (unlike the 203) the audio only HDMI output is fed by upgraded HDMI jitter-reduction circuity with a high-precision clock.

On the internal side, most of the upgrades the UDP-205 enjoys over the 203 are oriented towards improving audio performance. The UDP-205 uses dual ES9038PRO SABRE DAC chips (the UDP-203 utilizes a single AKM AK4458VN DAC chip), each feeding a different set of analog outputs, with the first being dedicated to the 7.1 analog outputs, and the second feeding the RCA and XLR stereo outputs, with the XLR outputs getting a dedicated differential signal path. The onboard DACs can decode PCM up to 768KHz and DSD512, however the player’s USB DAC functionality (via the port in the back) is stereo only, though still a fantastic value-add in what would otherwise be an optical disc transport only, and extremely useful for those like me who have a home theater PC in need of a great DAC.

Like its predecessors, the UDP-205 supports network or local USB port based playback of the majority of audio formats including the most popular lossless formats of WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF and multi-channel DSD, which can be output anywhere you like including the stereo or 7.1 channel analog outs.

In addition to these improvements, the UDP-205 offers a built-in headphone amplifier with improved power over the BDP-105 that is connected straight to one of the ES9038PRO chips, and a large toroidal power supply for the analog audio circuity.

Build Quality & Appearance

The UDP-205 is built like a tank, weighing 22 pounds and measuring nearly 2 inches taller than the UDP-203. Everything about the UDP-205 exudes quality, from the chassis’ brushed aluminum faceplate to the all-black PCB’s used internally and extremely clean cable routing. The UDP-205 puts the vast majority of optical disc players I’ve seen to shame in terms of internal cleanliness, component separation and  design. The rear panel is made of standard materials, but is logically laid out and clearly labeled. If I were to offer one critique, it would be that the HDMI ports do not offer any strain relief, though the screws in place above the ports make this an easy DIY improvement.

Testing – The Setup

The UDP-205 was evaluated with my personal system which consists of a Marantz AV8802A pre/pro feeding a D-Sonic M3a-5400-7 amplifier and Legacy Audio speakers (Signature SE mains, custom Marquis HD center, and Phantom HD surround). On the video side, testing was done using my Sony VPL-VW675ES projector, which is a native 4K projector that supports HDR10, but not Dolby Vision at this time.

Usability – Menus & Navigation

Oppo has redesigned their interface for their UHD models, opting to show a high-resolution background wallpaper image by default, with the menu navigation located towards the bottom of the screen, and arrayed horizontally. The overall effect is clean, well-organized and a pleasing differentiator from the app-cluttered home views I’ve become used to on other more commercial players.

Audio Performance & Network Streaming

Evaluating the audio performance of the Oppo was relatively easy, requiring a simple swap of XLR cables from my Marantz pre/pro to the Oppo for my left and right channels with Audyssey bypassed. I performed this test by playing my standard list of review material, beginning with some uncompressed WAV demo files I keep on hand, many of which are uncompressed bootlegs from the mixing console – I have some very kind friends to thank for these files.

Playing these back over both my home network and via USB, was extremely easy on the UDP-205. I moved on from the WAV playlist to some albums I enjoy in FLAC (B-Tribe’s Volume 5 and Volume 6, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones Little Worlds, and finally Mickey Hart’s Global Drum Project) running through my playlist over the course of a few listening sessions, switching from the Marantz to Oppo and back. Overall the Oppo delivers a detailed, rich audio experience that measures up surprisingly well to the extremely expensive circuitry in the Marantz AV8802A. The vast majority of listeners wouldn’t be able to tell the two apart, and the most picky among us would still be very pleased with the exemplary performance of the UDP-205.

Blu-ray & UHD Blu-ray Playback

In terms of the UDP-205’s core job as a Blu-ray player, it’s clear that this product is as much an Oppo as anything else they’ve ever produced, but it’s also a new generation. To put it succinctly, the UDP-205 is stable, fast to load, and does a truly fantastic job no matter the content all while offering the unparalleled configurability we’ve come to expect from Oppo including subtitle adjustment, picture and audio adjustment and a plethora of other options that are beyond the scope of this review. Oppo’s decision to remove apps and let the player do what it is best at results in a greatly simplified, more elegant experience in the home theater, and truly deserves commendation.

While I was unable to test Dolby Vision HDR content, both 1080p HD Blu-ray and HDR-10 mastered UHD Blu-ray discs played back flawlessly on my Sony projector. When a UHD disc with HDR encoding was inserted, the projector instantly swapped to HDR mode without any of the fuss or handshake problems I experienced with Samsung’s UHD player.

Picture quality on the UDP-205 is superb, demonstrating no flaws to speak about. Simply put, the UDP-205 is everything that a dedicated Blu-ray player should aspire to be, and it’s glorious.

 Conclusion

Oppo has been the choice of uncompromising enthusiasts for over a decade now, with a track record of excellence dating back to the era of DVD. Oppo has continued that track record with the release of the UltraHD Blu-ray format, and their flagship UDP-205 player is a testament to the prowess and dedication of their engineers.  For those seeking a universal disc player primarily for video use that don’t need a high-end DAC integrated into their player, the UDP-205’s little brother the UDP-203 is likely a better fit.

For people like myself who straddle the line between audiophile and home theater enthusiast, the Oppo UDP-205 represents a near perfect amalgamation of the ideal optical disc and digital file transport for 2-channel listening, in addition to being a world class Blu-ray player capable of all the latest formats and resolutions. While the UDP-205 is costly at a list price of $1299 USD, no product on the market can touch its feature set, build quality and overall attention to detail. The UDP-205 is the universal disc player perfected, and then some. Highly Recommended.

 

 

 

 

 

Published by

Dave Upton

administrator

44 Comments

  1. This review is as impressive and inspiring as the latest Oppo described. With zero references to other Oppo players, I already know that my first Oppo will be the UDP-205. So close was I from purchasing what was thought to be the latest model. But, at this point, why shouldn’t I start at the top? Without ever a test drive; to which I normally do; I have fuly believed all the past reviews of prior Oppo models and plan to save further, in order to be in on this remarkable component; which will be the first building block towards my first home theater. Thanks for the review, Mr. Upton.

  2. Robert Crawford

    If I wasn't retired, I might think about it.

    Clinton McClure

    If I wasn't married, I might think about it. :laugh:

    If I wasn't working, single and paying bills, I might think about it, as well.;)

  3. Are you able to pause/still frame and then go frame-by-frame forward or backward? I can't on my Oppo 203 (and not on my Samsung UBD-8500 either). It seems odd not to be able to do this when it's been part of the DVD and BD spec since the beginning.

  4. All joking aside, I have no qualms about saving for this Oppo.
    My sole advantage is that I didn't purchase last years model.
    Mr. Upton's review locks it in for me as being well worth the extra wait.

  5. It's a great review, Dave.

    But, wow…what a difference in price with the 203 (which I've been very happy with, by the way). While it all sounds great, I cannot imagine my system would even come close to being able to take advantage of what the 205 has to offer.

  6. I have this player and it is indeed glorious. The build quality is insane and you know it when you lift it. I also enjoy the built in headphone amp. I have a good set of headphones I can finally hear 🙂

  7. I currently have the 95 and will upgrade to this unit when I go 4k. I currently take advantage of the player's DACs for music ( I play direct) , both stereo and multi-channel, and use the receiver's DAC for movies (both scenarios calibrated independently) and will do the same for the 205.

    One complaint I have with the 95 is that I have always thought the disc transport was not as solid as it should be. It exhibits a bit of play when you gently move it. The rest of the unit is quite solid, of course. Is the disc transport of the 205 solid in housing the disc with no play? My Denon DVD player has a very solid transport and I am hoping the 205 does as well.

  8. Gary Seven

    I currently have the 95 and will upgrade to this unit when I go 4k. I currently take advantage of the player's DACs for music ( I play direct) , both stereo and multi-channel, and use the receiver's DAC for movies (both scenarios calibrated independently) and will do the same for the 205.

    One complaint I have with the 95 is that I have always thought the disc transport was not as solid as it should be. It exhibits a bit of play when you gently move it. The rest of the unit is quite solid, of course. Is the disc transport of the 205 solid in housing the disc with no play? My Denon DVD player has a very solid transport and I am hoping the 205 does as well.

    The Oppo 203 disc transport is very solid so I expect the 205 to be the same if not better.

  9. How much better is the video from this player compared to a mid-range Sony, etc? (I expect that digital player is going to read bits from disc, decode those bits, send them to AVR which does to D/A on audio bits and passes video bits unchanged to display which then does all ththe stuff that would affect the image. The standard digital argument: read out device should have no effect so long as it’s competent.)

    Who is this device for? The multitude of analog outputs suggest a budget / frugal buyer looking to save money by skipping AV gear. But a frugal buyer isn’t buying a $750 player nor the separate amps needed. That’s the domain of high-end buyers.

    But high end buyers have a good, if not flagship, AVR or prepro/separates and don’t need anything but HDMI output from a player.

    Maybe OPPO imagines an customer that has a dedicated UHD theater room: player, amps, display. Nothing else. No AppleTV no Roku no PrePro to add signal-chain voodoo. But such a niche high-end buyer surely has a 7.2.x Atmos system. This Oppo can’t drive the dual sub setup this hypothetical person would have or plans to have.

    I’m baffled. Who is this player designed for? What’s the use case? Why would someone use any of its steaming features over that of their Roku or Chrome or AppleTV? And how does its picture compare to any other player, especially something costing half the price?

    Thanks!

  10. My interest in this player is that of an audiophile, and I assume that is the target. I make use of the analog outs (and they are separately calibrated) to play music, both stereo and multi-channel, sending the signal direct to the receiver with no artificial processing. The two SABRE DACS are apparently designed for that. Some people like that artificial processing. I don't. The HDMI is used for movies, so I use the receiver's decoding and equalization for that. That is why I buy it.. I no longer buy flagship AVR's as they cost too much for such a short lifespan. Short in that once new codecs come out, that flagship is obsolete. So I buy a not-so flagship AVR, an additional external amp so when I need a new AVR, its not so cost prohibitive (the external amp never needs replacing). My Denon does not support ATMOS. I have to buy an new receiver later on. That will be 1000 – 1500 dollar purchase rather than 3000 – 5000 were it a flagship AVR.

  11. Just as an FYI to my previous question, I sent an email asking Oppo about frame forward/advance and received this reply:

    This looks like a limitation of the UHD specifications, so it is not likely that we will be able to add this feature through a future firmware release.

    Very interesting. I had not heard that it could be a limitation by the spec.

  12. PMF

    Since I have neither the Oppo 203 nor the 205, wouldn't it be to my advantage to save a bit longer and go for this grander design?

    It may depend on your budget and goals and priorities. If all you need is a blu-ray UHD player connected by HDMI to an AVR or display you might be better off buying a more affordable player. But if you’re into listening to stereo music on headphones or care about its niche features like a strip metadata button, then the high end Oppo could be what you want.

    Here’s some additional perspectives as I’ve sought to learn more.

    "Oppo UDP-205 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player Review | AVForums"
    (http://www.avforums.com/review/oppo-udp-205-4k-ultra-hd-blu-ray-player-review.13754)

    The UDP-205 is a superb Ultra HD Blu-ray player that delivered a flawless performance when it came to HDR10 content. Although we should point out that the cheaper UDP-203 is identical in this regard and that players a fraction of the cost of the 205 can also deliver a video performance that is equally as impressive. If your primary interest is in playing Ultra HD Blu-rays over HDMI then the 205 will struggle to justify its price tag because it won't be able to deliver a picture performance that is any better than the cheaper players. However the 205, like the 203, is a classy performer with extensive options in terms of setup and a few handy features that other players don't offer.

    vs a player that costs about a quarter as much
    "Panasonic DMP-UB300 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Player Review | AVForums"
    (http://www.avforums.com/review/panasonic-dmp-ub300-4k-ultra-hd-blu-ray-player-review.13700)

    Panasonic have publicly stated that all their Ultra HD Blu-rays players use the same chipset and processing which means that, despite what you might read elsewhere, they deliver exactly the same image. This is common sense really, if a player is reading a digital signal off a disc and outputting it digitally via HDMI then assuming it isn't doing anything it shouldn't, the image must be identical. Ultimately the signal is composed of ones and zeros, so any reviewer who claims they see incremental differences in picture quality between the UB900 and UB300, for example, is simply talking rubbish. However we did check Panasonic's claims using the same setup, test discs and calibrated displays and we can confirm that the UB300 performed identically to the UB400, UB700 and UB900 that we also tested. This is great news for anyone buying the UB300 because, despite Panasonic removing certain features to reach a lower price point, they haven't compromised on image quality.

  13. PMF

    Since I have neither the Oppo 203 nor the 205, wouldn't it be to my advantage to save a bit longer and go for this grander design?

    As I said, the 205 is more for the audiophile (and I don't listen to music with headphones) as you will gain nothing with the video over less expensive players. If you plan on exploiting the two DACs in the 205, then this player is for you. If you plan on using the AVR DAC, get the less expensive player.

  14. Guys, I was lucky enough to buy the last 205 at my local Best Buy Magnolia store. I wasn’t planing to buy one as I’m not 4K ready yet. I was planning to upgrade to the most current Oppo player when the time comes. But because Oppo announced cease of blu ray player production, I decided I better act now.

    My current set-up is an Oppo 105 to Rotel RSP-1572 Pre-pro. Speakers are B&W 804 Diamond Nautilus mains with B&W center channel and surrounds in a 5.1 configuration. The display is a Panasonic VT-30 plasma. I swapped out the 105 to the 205 last night and setting it up was pretty quick. I had to set audio output for SACD to PCM as the Rotel cannot accept the format. I mainly listen to music files I ripped from CD into ALAC files with a hard drive attached to the Oppo.

    This is a really nice solid machine! The new brushed aluminum bezel is very nice and matches the Rotel. Though I was disappointed that the feet appear to be plastic. The 105 appears to have metal feet. I’m not sure if the metal feet make any difference in the stability of the unit, but it sure looks better. Looking at the 105, the metal might be only a thin outer skin attached to the plastic feet. So maybe a third party has an upgrade for the feet. 🙂

    I was surprised by the updates to the Oppo 205. I was going to use the old remote, but I’m glad I used the new one as I didn’t expect the lighted keypad that activates when it senses motion. That small, but a cool thing! I like the new user interface, while the same, it looks so much better. I wasn’t expecting that when I browse the files on my hard drive, the Oppo lets me see the music files as albums, or artists or songs.

    So far, I’ve only spent a few hours with the Oppo 205. I’ve played an SACD, Dark Side of the Moon. Sounds great! I’ve played ALAC music files I ripped from my CD’s that I own. I played the Apple Beatles FLAC files and those sound better then the CDs. I was surprised, as I haven’t listened to The Beatles FLAC files in a while. I’ve set up the Rotel to by-pass so I’m playing the analog output for stereo music listening as I let the Oppo’s DACs do the processing. And it sounds great! For SACD, right now I’m letting HDMI do the work with the Rotel.

    Last weekend I was indulging in the some James Bond Roger Moore sound tracks, Live and Let Die and that led to watching the blu ray, I was really impressed with how good that blu ray looks. I had not seen the blu ray in a while. I was listening to The Man With The Golden Gun and carried on with the blu ray of the movie last night. So that was the first blu ray I played on the 205. It really did sound great! For movies, I’m using the HDMI connection for video and audio processing from the Rotel. The music was clear and detailed on the title track in the film. I listened the CD afterwards and I could hear the same things that I hadn’t noticed before.

    Video wise, I’m not sure I’m seeing any major improvements from the 105. The image from this blu ray is great. You can see the dark spots on Roger Moore’s hands and face. I even saw the toupé edge lacing on Christopher Lee in one shot where it was lifting. Surprised the make-up people missed that. I’m sure the Lowry restoration of the material is what I’m seeing so clearly and not due to the Oppo making it better.

    By the way, the Oppo had firmware that dated to June 2017. So this machine must have been built a while ago. So I updated the firmware this morning before I did the music listening. It was such a pleasure to do the firmware via wireless with the built-in WiFi. Nice upgrade from the 105.

    I’ll have to try another blu ray after the firmware update. I have the Blade Runner blu ray/4K combo set. While I can’t see the 4K, I can try the disc. I’ve been more focused on the audio side which is why I went with the 105 and now 205.

    I have a lot of other blu rays to watch and try-out and other types of music to try, so it’s going to be a lot of hours to spend to get to know the Oppo 205. So far, I’m really liking it.

    By the way, I read about the ModWright audio upgrades to the Oppo players. They have an upgrade for the 205 and it is over a $2000 modification on top of the cost of the 205. This upgrades the audio side. I’m not sure I want to go that far, but I’m really curious about how that sounds. I’m not too crazy with the look of two vacuum tubes sticking out of the top of the Oppo. I like the idea of trying a tube amp, so nothing against the tubes, but I’d hate to cut up a perfectly good brand new Oppo!

  15. Yeah I was tempted to buy another 203 and keep it in box. But I have to give Sony some credit, I bought their X800 because it was cheap for the bedroom…and it performs pretty darned well, and supposedly also plays SACD and DVD-A (haven't tested it yet because my main system is the living room HT with the Oppo).

  16. Thought I’d add that I got the Oppo app for my iPad. I hadn’t done that for the 105. I used it to successfully control what the Oppo was streaming from my hard drive as I was experimenting with the app during music playback via a hard drive connected to the Oppo.

    The reviews for the app were poor but I was curious. I used it mainly to see the contents of the drive and pick tracks or albums. Worked fine! What’s nice is I don’t have to have the TV on or set to display the Oppo screen. It’s on my mobile device. So I don’t have to worry about image retention on the TV.

    Carlo, I just saw your post about pausing a Blu ray and then stepping frame by frame. I haven’t tried that yet. Might do that and see if it works. Maybe the limitation is on the HDR discs.

  17. Carlo Medina

    Yeah I was tempted to buy another 203 and keep it in box. But I have to give Sony some credit, I bought their X800 because it was cheap for the bedroom…and it performs pretty darned well, and supposedly also plays SACD and DVD-A (haven't tested it yet because my main system is the living room HT with the Oppo).

    Carlo,

    Your Sony will handle SACDs and DVD-Audio discs just fine. I use my X800 for both formats. The newer X700 dropped DVD-A support but added Dolby Vision, via a promised future firmware upgrade.

  18. I'm not super worried about DV right now. I upgraded my 2 sets last year and the year before and neither supports DV, so I won't be in the market for a DV capable TV probably for 5 or more years. Unless I hit the lotto or get a ridiculous raise in the near future.

  19. Guys, I’ve been messing around with the Oppo 205 this past week. I was going to see if anyone here uses their Oppo’s to play SACD discs? I only have one, a hybrid that is Dark Side Of the Moon. I’ve never heard the stereo layer on that disc before as I listen to the multichannel version. It wasn’t clear how to make the Oppo only play the stereo layer. I think I figured it out by setting the SACD priority to stereo and SACD audio output to DSD. I wanted the Oppo to process the signal and I think that was the stereo layer I was hearing out the analog output.

    I also listened to a DTS CD of Gaucho. I will listen to that CD again as I recall from earlier listening more panning happening. I also listens to a version of The Planets , the track for Uranus. Earlier listening on the 105 I thought revealed some details I didn’t hear as clearly this time. I’ll also listen to this again. Maybe the DAC is processing it differently from the 105.

    Other then that, I was playing a lot of ALAC files I ripped from my CD’s and some FLAC files using the Oppo’s DAC. This had me going down a path that’s off topic, and I was wondering about the debate of vinyl verse digital and CD’s. I think after some reading that they are two different animals. Analog vinyl will introduce the noise of the needle on the record and the pops and crackles that are what people may love about the sound. From what i’ve Learned, mastering for the vinyl records is done such to suit the limits of the vinyl record. CD’s can be mastered differently to take advantage of its abilities. I’ve not listen to LP’s much after the mid eighties and before that I only had a real stereo, and not a very audiophile one, with a turntable for a couple of years. So I guess I’m more of the CD era. Though I grew up in the vinyl and tape era. I wasn’t able to afford my own gear til that period of transition to digital CD’s. I think vinyl has pluses and minuses and the same for Digital. Though the dynamic range is wider for CD’s and digital. I’m not a fan of the compression we are seeing. My point is from this digression is whether listening to digital files and CD’s is giving a truer experience of what was recorded in the studio? In listening to a discussion on NPR of audio experts, the answer is yes, you get out what you put in, more or less with digital. However, I still want to get a decent turntable and try the experiment. 🙂

    Back on topic, I enjoyed watching a few blu rays. I still have to try a DVD. So far image quality is no less then expected. The new experience this time was using the Oppo app on my iPad. As I said earlier, it’s a really convenient too to use to avoid having the TV on or switching it to the blu ray input for finding music files and playing them. It’s crashed a couple of times, but I think I know why.

  20. Hey Philip, thanks! I’m sure you’ll be getting your 205 soon! And i’ll Look forward to your impressions.

    Hey Carlo, I forgot to mention, I wasn’t sure how to make the Oppo do a frame by frame step. But I did pause and then used the slow motion forward and back at a very slow rate. I’ll try again the next time.

  21. I don’t think frame backwards works for me at all on 4K discs, although I didn’t try slow motion backwards. I’ll check later. It’s only on 4K discs these functions didn’t work. Worked perfectly on standard blu rays.

  22. Nelson Au

    Hey Philip, thanks! I’m sure you’ll be getting your 205 soon! And i’ll Look forward to your impressions.

    Hey Carlo, I forgot to mention, I wasn’t sure how to make the Oppo do a frame by frame step. But I did pause and then used the slow motion forward and back at a very slow rate. I’ll try again the next time.

    At the moment, my only impressions are that of Marlon Brando, Stan Laurel and Diane Keaton.
    Until then, I am forced to live vicariously through your posts. Keep 'em coming!

  23. I wish I could still get a 203 🙁 The 205 is more horsepower than I need, and a greater expense than I can afford at the moment. Heck, the 203 was more than I could afford earlier in the year, and I ended up not getting one.

    So best of luck to all of you 205 hunters! 🙂

  24. Well I got the new 205 yesterday, which is an upgrade from the 95 I have. One big difference is the absence of a fan, which makes the unit completely quiet now. Despite the fact this came from the factory recently, it still required a firmware update (the network adapter is built in now). The discs do load faster.

    I bought this unit because it allows me two configurations…one for music (analog setup) and the other for movies (digital).

    In setting this up for analog, I found my test tones were not working on the unit. After googling, I found I had to shut the player down, unplug and plug, then turn it on. The test tones were now there. It probably was the result of the firmware update. Manual calibration is the same but the big difference is the introduction of the player's variable volume control. Out of the box it is set to 100 and I found on my system, it produced a somewhat harsh sound compared to the 95. This required me to lock the volume at 85, and calibrate from there, which produced the sound I was looking for. Tip on the calibration, find the channel that is lowest output and attenuate the remaining speakers to match rather than boosting other speakers to match the max.

    For digital, the above is not required and is straightforward as before.

  25. Gary, congrats on the 205! That’s great you got ona]e and so quick sinc they announced they are no longer producing players.

    I’m not familiar with how you’re setting the levels on your Oppo. I usually set the speaker levels on the pre-amp. And I actually play music via analog as well. Though I’m not sure it’s the same way you’re doing it as I use the Oppo’s DAC and left and right analog out to the pre-amp and the pre-amp is set to by-pass.

    Enjoy it!

  26. Nelson Au

    Gary, congrats on the 205! That’s great you got ona]e and so quick sinc they announced they are no longer producing players.

    I’m not familiar with how you’re setting the levels on your Oppo. I usually set the speaker levels on the pre-amp. And I actually play music via analog as well. Though I’m not sure it’s the same way you’re doing it as I use the Oppo’s DAC and left and right analog out to the pre-amp and the pre-amp is set to by-pass.

    Enjoy it!

    Thanks.

    I do not have a pre-amp, it is integrated. I do have an external amp to power the mains while the integrated powers everything else. I have all seven channels of the analog hooked up from the Oppo to the amp (Denon), though I only use 5 actually. I use the left and right connection to make use of the 2 channel DAC (rather than use FR and FL in the surround connections).

    In the Oppo set up menu there is a section to configure audio, and in there to configure the speakers. For analog I have it mix down to 5.1 for 5.1 multi-channel SACDs, while stereo plays just stereo. In the speaker config, you can use test tones (though a calibration disc for sound is advised, rather than using the test tones) to identify the speakers and with a SPL meter, set the speaker levels so they all match in sound output. When I did this with the 95 model, I set the output of the speaker to match my max speaker, which was wrong since that can introduce clipping. Also, in that same audio section, there is a variable volume control, basically to match the sound output with other devices hooked up to the amp. The default is 100. I did set it to 85, but after attenuating my speakers quite a bit, I raised it to 100 again. Out of the box, the sound was a bit harsh. For analog, I calibrate for 5.1.

    I have my speakers hooked to the amp via banana clips. When I listen to multi-channel music, I switch out the side speakers for the rears. since the rear speakers are better for music (the side speakers are di-poles) and switch the amp to external. I have a universal control, so except for the speaker connections, everything else switches automatically. Afterwards I switch the speaker connections back so digitally, it plays 7.1, which I use for movies and TV. For calibration for digital (using the HDMI connection), I just use Denon's calibration mic and program. Thus, in the end, there are two calibrations, one for movies and one for music.

  27. Hey Gary, I had a feeling that was the case, that you were going directly from the Oppo to the amplifier. I wondered about that and there seemed to be a consensus that it wasn’t always an ideal way to set-up a system for music. But if it works for you, then great.

    I’m pretty happy with my set-up so far. I just use the by-pass feature on my set-up and send the analog out directly through the pre-amp for stereo and then set the pre-amp for the HDMI input for the movie soundtracks. The next thing I’m thinking of doing is connecting all the analog out connections into the pre-amp so I could see how that works for multichannel music as well as movies. So in that case, I’d probably have to calibrate the system for that.

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