Oppo BDP-105D Review

The King of Blu-ray

Oppo BDP-105D review

Oppo is a company that in a relatively short time has become the reference Blu-ray player manufacturer. It has gone so far that the inside of very many Blu-ray players that want to be something on the market, is actually an Oppo that the other firms modified to one degree or another to put their own stamp on it.

And Oppo has never done anything but making ​​the best machines. There has not been any smart marketing and the machines have not been made extra sexy - quite the contrary. They have created a name for themselves by the rumor spreading that there was a "secret" company that made ​​something that was just better.

Quickly one of the most esteemed companies simply put an Oppo in its own cabinet and charged a lot of money for it. It was believed naively enough that no one would discover it, but it only took a few seconds before it was spread across the world. In the end, it became such a huge loss of prestige for the company that they are still struggling to rebuild their brand again.

Oppo became the standard, and now most companies don´t hesitate to use a modified Oppo in their machines - and why should they, now that the Oppo is already doing something that you can´t do much better? As competitors they have instead focused on making the sound better, but with the BDP-105D Oppo is trying to catch up with them on the audio side. The latest D models have also added a image enhancement, known as Darbee Visual Presence.

If we add that the player basically handles all media formats you can think of and then some, can act as a surround processor and additionally handle two-channel audio in a proper way, it seems that the new Oppo BDP-105D could be the ultimate solution to both home cinema and hifi. So, let´s look at it more closely.

​Delicious - and Simple

Even unpacking it feels good. A pretty nice and seemingly well built machine, well presented and with a good manual. But it looks pretty standard, it feels a bit like an old Nakamichi cassette player - completely unsexy and without any flair in a normal chassi that looks like most others, but inside it was just maybe the best you could get.

​I chose to go on intuition and see what I could get out of it without reading any instructions. There´s no major problems with guessing what to do when going through the various menus. And when I sit down to do all the setup routines, and set up the whole thing - and there is a lot that can and should be set up - I get a very positive impression of the device.

​You can start using it straight out of the box if you have the desire. It refused to show any picture with the 30 feet HDMI cable (of very ordinary quality) I had and connected to a projector, but with several other shorter versions, it was no problem. I chose to start going through the machine when it was connected to my TV.

​I plugged in the included wifi dongle and was on the Web almost instantly. The menu lists a variety of networking opportunities, including YouTube and Netflix, and there are some that you can not see unless you are in the right country, such as the BBC iPlayer and Vudu. It's perhaps not the biggest selection, and as usual it´s quite sluggish doing a search on YouTube with a remote control. Netflix didn´t always start, and it seems at this moment to be a problem between Netflix and some Netflix-compatible hardware. But it is possible to get in and then it works fine and with the best Netflix picture I've seen so far.

​Otherwise, the picture quality and the whole set-up procedure of the machine is one of the best I´ve encountered. You can set up just about anything that is important and everything in the menu section feels solid. Being a multi-player, it is also reasonably fast in disc management, which is positive for an impatient reviewer.

Oppo BDP-105D inputs and connections

The back contains all the inputs and outputs you need - and then some. Note that the stereo output is available in both balanced and unbalanced form.

Audio​

If we look at the inputs and outputs, there are plenty, including MHL for mobile devices. Here is everything you need. In addition, all specifications are top notch, it seems Oppo hasn´t tried to take any shortcuts anywhere. Quite the contrary. This test has limited space, so we can unfortunately only cover a few things, the rest you may find yourself interested in you can find on Oppo's website where you can download the manual to see all the things it can do. And that's basically everything.

Oppo have of course put extra effort in the sound of the 105 model. It has two ESS Sabre32 Reference Audio-digital converters, 7.1 outputs and a stereo output. Both use a 32-bit Hyper Stream DAC topology that is said to provide a wider dynamic range and minimize both jitter and distortion. There is both balanced and unbalanced dedicated analog stereo output and digital outputs in the form of RCA and Toslink.

​Had I made a pure CD player in the same price range and a bit upwards, I would be nervous - Oppo BDP-105D certainly sounds compelling with music. Sure, you can find CD players that sound better, but probably not at this price. And it can play all discs and can handle both two- and multi-channel, even a HDCD filter is built in. Considering all the things the Oppo 105D can do picture-wise in addition, it is simply brilliant value for the money.

​I have heard many significantly more expensive CD players that gets beaten by the Oppo 105. You get a sound with the calm, the detail and the super quiet background that I really only expect from dedicated CD players of high class. The DAC has a slightly different, slightly warmer character than the Burr-Brown type I'm used to, but it's just another side of the same coin. It's still a good DAC.

​They have upgraded the asynchronous USB input to also cope with DSD 64/128, and also handles 24/192. In addition, Oppo also had the good taste to build a really good headphone amplifier in the device. When we see a headphone jack in this type of device, we usually don´t cheer about the quality, but this is the exception that proves the rule. It's a surprisingly good headphone amplifier which is connected directly to one of the Sabre32 DACs, and also confirms that when Oppo is doing something, they do it properly.

​Sound-wise, you can also use the Oppo BDP-105D as a simple surround processor. There´s outputs to the amplifiers for each channel, and you can set up the whole sound processing via an intuitive menu.

Oppo BDP-105D interior

Image​

4K up-scaling, DVD Up-Conversion, Full HD 1080p Output, True 24p Video, picture-wise the Oppo BDP-105D is, as we have already mentioned, state-of-the-art. That´s it. The picture is exceptionally good on Blu-ray and I really do not know what device you would use that could be decisively better.

​The availability of Darbee Visual Prescence is just some extra icing on the cake, but at the same time more or less overkill and mostly for those who really demands something extra. One should always be suspicious of manipulating circuits, but here you have something that actually works and makes the experience of the image a bit better. The result is that you get an experience of a little better focus and more clarity, but without the image becoming overly processed as it easily do with conventional control options. It feels a little more high-end and amazingly enough, you get a feeling of more naturalness. But it's very subtle differences involved.

​We can also reveal that if you use a TV you won´t have the same advantage as if using a projector and the bigger picture format. You can see a little difference with Darbee engaged if you look closely, a difference in the form of a generally more distinct image - which, in and of itself, is a given. But the better and bigger picture you watch, the more use you´ll have of Darbee.

​On my 50-inch TV it´s hardly worth the effort really, but with the projector and 115-inch screen it makes a little more sense. But one should be careful of how much you use it, a bit too much adjustment and the picture becomes harder and more unnatural again. You can turn it on and off and adjust Darbee via a button on the remote.

Conclusion​

Oppo BDP-105D is simply the king in this product category. Not only is the picture awesome, the extra Darbee function and handling of almost anything you can dream of, it also has got an audio quality that is the picture quality worthy. Highly recommended!

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What is Darbee Visual Presence?

The picture will be even better, they say, with the Darbee circuit. But what is it really about? In short we can say that it is a kind of video processing to enhance the sense of clarity and depth. It is achieved by Darbee by working with the luminance (brightness) of the individual pixels, a bit like how an artist works to reinforce the depth and detail of a painting. It will result in a more dynamic and "real" image. The effect is adjustable, so you decide how much 'power' you want. It works down to individual pixels, which of course requires a lot of computing power. The technology itself is not easy to explain, but you can visit the Darbee Visual Presence website to find more information.

Darbee also have their own stand-alone products, but as far as I know, the Oppo is so far the only Blu-ray player that incorporated the possibility. Darbee put themselves up to sell the possibility to more manufacturers, and we predict that this will be the case.

And just to point out - the Darbee feature does not replace any part of the original Oppo BDP-105, it is just an extra option that you can use if you want to. Otherwise, the Oppo 105D works just as before.

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