the most modest of upgrades

i had a denon dvd player for a while that i got a great deal on... 40 bucks new in the box from fry's. at the time i was under the mistaken impression that it had a burr/brown DAC onboard... it did not. the next model up in the denon line-up did in fact have a burr/brown dac onboard.

last year when i upgraded most of my components i picked up a NAD T533 dvd/cd player
for $65 used and put that in place of the denon. huge mistake. to make a long story really short. the NAD doesn't like a lot of burned cd's. works great with really clean scratch free factory cd's though... but for the most part... worthless to me...

so within a few months of discovering that the NAD hated about 60% of my cd's i decided i needed to replace it with something that wasn't so picky about media...

while i was all magnum p.i. i kept reading about oppo... although i was not familiar with the brand. (found out they don't even have a marketing department!) the more i read the more it seemed as though fellow "audiophiles" tended to view the audio sections of these devices quite favorably. never switched over to blu-ray so i've been looking for a oppo dvd player. there are a few apparently from what i read the 980H is the one to get. plays sacd and does dsd output via hdmi...

anyway... found one the other day for 20 bucks. picked it up tonight and inserted it into my hifi chain...

i had recently gone on a mad tear burning cd's from the library and the NAD hated the 100 for $9.99 cd's i was using. wouldn't play them. so far the OPPO has played everything i've put in it. burned cd's and dvd's. old, scratched redbook cd's etc. plus it looks way cooler than the NAD. i haven't done a side by side comparison yet with the NAD but from what I can tell the analog output is on par with the NAD. both the OPPO and the NAD are a bit above the Denon in terms of quality methinks.

i know at this late date in the development of technology it's hard for most ppl to get enthusiastic about a dvd player. but for me it's a big score. only about 1/3rd of my collection is converted to flac for playback via my mac mini/external DAC. most of my library is backed up on cd hard copies. and it's just easier to pop them in sometimes than it is to rip it to flac and play it back via the DAC.

i've read where a lot of ppl run optical out of the OPPO into a stand alone DAC but i think that's overkill... until i hear something flagrant i'm going to assume the OPPO dac and op-amps are up to the task.

anyway... i had to drive about an hour away to get it... and i couldn't go until after work and while i've confirmed functionality... and upgraded the firmware (bonus!) i won't get a chance to really put it through its paces until this weekend. i'm very much looking forward to it.

anyone else have any good luck with OPPO gear?


  • OldSchoolPolkOldSchoolPolk Posts: 133
    If you're referring to the 980h, then yep, I've been using mine for years and it won't die, still sounds great and unless a 103 or 105 comes up for sale in my area I'll be rocking it for the foreseeable future.

  • K_MK_M Posts: 781
    Library CD's know you are trying to burn them and skip to teach you a lesson :)
  • zuulzuul Posts: 96
    it is a 980h the more I look into it the more it seems like I got a good deal. I'll be clocking out in a few hours then it'll be time to kick out the jams.
  • ROHfanROHfan Posts: 1,001
    zuul wrote: »
    i've read where a lot of ppl run optical out of the OPPO into a stand alone DAC but i think that's overkill... until i hear something flagrant i'm going to assume the OPPO dac and op-amps are up to the task.

    It's not overkill..not in the least bit. The DAC on my BDP103 sounds very bright and shrilly to my ears. That's why I use the optical out to a TEAC DAC and a Vincent Audio tube pre. The sound is night and day compared to using the RCAs out on the Oppo to the Parasound amp. This is all, of course, IMHO.
  • LegenderLegender Posts: 263
    Hmmmm, interesting. I have the 103 and run it directly out to my parasound preamp. Maybe I should pick up the digital out to the DAC and feed it in and see if it makes a difference. Maybe a chance to buy more gear. Can't turn that down.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 12,901
    You will hear an improvement.
  • WardswebWardsweb Posts: 707
    I love OPPO gear. They just seem to do so much right and very little, if any, wrong. The company stands by their gear and supports it even after its manufacturing end of life. Old or new, it's all good.
  • PSOVLSKPSOVLSK Posts: 3,441
    Congrats! Looks to me like you got a great deal. Enjoy your upgrade.

    I've owned the 93 and currently own the 105. I'm a big Oppo fan.
  • BillJGWBillJGW Posts: 7
    I had an older Oppo, either 980 or 981 (can't remember which), a number of years back. IMO, when running CDs off it, the sound was rather hard and thin. So, maybe running a separate DAC might be a good idea.

    I now own an Oppo 105. It has a much more refined sound. Gone is the harshness and thin sound I recall. It is still not a lush sound and does miss some detail I'm used to from my old VSE-modified Sony, but it is decent enough.

    Back on topic, give the Oppo a good listen as is. Might be OK as is, might want to add a different DAC.
  • zuulzuul Posts: 96
    i spent some time doing a side by side with NAD that the oppo replaced before i sold it... there was a bit more clarity overall and especially on the high end with the NAD the oppo is the opposite... heavy in the lower mids and bass...

    turns out... unbeknownst to me i had a bunch of hdcd's lying around... which the player identified.... and sound great... jazz sounds particularly good... i think the oppo through my tube gear ultimately is a more natural sound than the NAD through the same gear which was a bit more clinical and flat.

    more importantly... the oppo plays whatever i put in it... including some old school VCD's. the NAD was very picky about what it would play and wouldn't play certain cd-r's at all. i've got a lot of those. plus the usb-in is a pretty cool feature.

    later this year i plan on upgrading my monitor and i'll start looking for an oppo BR player with the usb in and audiophile chips in it... until then... for the 20 bucks i spent on it i'm pretty pleased... especially considering the remote alone sells for significantly more than what i payed for the player and remote. when it comes time to re-home i'll easily double or quadruple my initial investment.

    there's a whole crew of people who hot rod these 980h's... mind boggling as to why... but you know... different strokes. i upgraded the firmware in it... that's about the extent of my modifications.
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 3,631
    The HDCD's can sound quite good when decoded properly. I haven't had a NAD in a while ( probably since late 90's) but when I had a nad unit, I thought it had a warm pleasing sound. About 2 years ago, I heard a NAD digital preamp and amp combo that was new on the market and I thought it sounded sterile and quite surprised the bloom was gone.
  • zuulzuul Posts: 96
    edited May 31
    when i still had my vinyl collection i used to rock (a couple different) NAD pre-amp's b/c the phono sections on their old gear are really good... i'd always had postive experiences with NAD which is why when i had the opportunity to get the NAD dvd/cd player i jumped.

    however... NAD was sold to a canadian conglomerate at the end of 99... and like a lot of smaller companies that get sucked up into huge companies... the prices went up and the quality of products went down. I would still recommend early NAD gear to a budding/novice/budget audiophile... but I don't think i could recommend anything made after 99 based not only on my experience with the DVD/CD player i had but also with a similar vintage integrated amp that i was using as a pre-amp. it did not have the classic NAD sound which is why i didn't keep it long and made the swtich to adcom.

    here's one of my NAD set ups from a while back... i think i had this system around 03-04...



  • halohalo Posts: 3,508
    zuul wrote: »
    here's one of my NAD set ups from a while back... i think i had this system around 03-04...



    Many hipsters would love to get their hands on that setup! ;)
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