OPPO also makes the flagship BDP-105. With this model, OPPO added considerably more to the design budget and added a seriously good digital-to-analog converter (DAC), the gizmo inside of the player that translates the little ones and zeros into the music. The BDP-103 uses Cirrus Logic CS4382A 8-channel 24-bit 192KHz DACs and the BDP-105 uses the ESS Sabre32 Reference DACs. The difference between these two DACs makes the audio section of the BDP-103 is as different from the BDP-105 as an MP3 player is from a standalone high-quality CD playback system. In other words, both play music but what do you really want to use for serious listening? Do you want a Generation Six NASCAR or a SOTA Formula One?
The BDP-105 also sports a toroidal power transformer, something to look for in any really high-end component. The audible effect I've noticed using a toroid over an I-E style found in almost everything is that the bass response is thghter and deeper. This also holds true in the OPPO where bass is exceptional revealing much of the detail in my reference analog source. There is no strain heard throughout the whole spectrum and listening becomes less critical or analytical and more pleasurable. SACDs sound luxurious and very close to the "being there" experience all high-enders strive to achieve. Standard CDs sound - well as good as they can due to the insanely limiting format of 16-44. While the power supply is not linear, it too is a logical place for aftermarket improvements.
I have not removed the cover as yet since I am waiting a few weeks to rule out infant mortality but once the initial burn in phase is passed I will reveal more of what goes on inside. Speaking of burn-in, this unit takes a lot longer for this to occur. Other reviewers have reported as long as 200 hours before things start to settle down and I have clocked about 70 on mine. I can say that this morning is the first time I have heard any sign of change for the better. I'll update this review with a followup after the 200 hour mark is reached.
And now for the not-so-good stuff...
Another issue I have found is that the volume control is unresponsive when playing a FLAC file with no content information (I play a high-res Pink Noise file for use with my RTA to make periodic before/after tweak measurements). Holding down the volume key does not show the volume level display on screen and the volume does not change. After a while, the unit catches up with the remote control command and all is well in OPPO-land once again. Service asked me to unplug the network and see if I could repeat the problem (disables the search). It did not and reverted back to its flawless performance coordinating remote volume control and on-screen display (also repeated with an MP3 file at OPPO service).
Related Articles See all entries about the OPPO BDP-103 in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3; see all entries about the OPPO BDP-105 in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 and the updates here and here.
Copyright © 2015 by Philip Rastocny. All rights reserved.