Several people commented on yesterday’s post about the modified OPPO BDP-103 that I will be taking to Chicago for use in our demo room. They complained that I’m using a piece of equipment that is unavailable to attendees. I should have explained the situation more carefully. Yes, I’m going to using an OPPO machine that is capable of outputting multiple S/P DIF, high-resolution, digital streams but if you want to accomplish the same thing, you can. But it will cost you more than the price of the player itself.
I actually heard from a reader that owns the OPPO BDP-103 add-on module called a Vanity 103 HD, which suits his purpose perfectly. If you want to get high-resolution, multichannel digital audio from an OPPO 93 or 103, the Audiopraise HD Vanity series modules can do it. They are pricey…$1000 for the 103 version. That’s more than the cost of the BDP-103 by itself and very close to the price of a BDP-105, which has high-resolution DACs built in.
Here’s how the company describes the modules:
“High-resolution multichannel digital output modules for OPPO BDP-93 and BDP-103 with re-clocking and advanced DSD processing.” I love the inclusion of the “advanced DSD processing” line…as if anything could improve the flaws of DSD.
You can read the whole spiel at the product page of their website by clicking here.
I could have opted to purchase a module from Audiopraise and accomplished the goal for our demonstration room at AXPONA but I wanted to save the $1000. However, it is a real option for those looking seriously at high-resolution, multichannel output. While not state-of-the-art like the Benchmark DAC2 HGC converters that we’ll be hooking up to the OPPO 103, the OPPO-105 with its ESS Sabre DACs does a very good job of conversion. This would be my preferred route.
The multiple S/P DIF streams should be connected to a single state-of-the-art multichannel Benchmark DAC8 (I keep bugging John at Benchmark to put this in motion…no luck yet!). As it is, we’re challenged by the need to turn the volume up or down on multiple DACs. Level matching is critical in delivering the 5.1 surround mixes as I intend them. Using the volume output on the OPPO remote control is less than ideal. I should ask the folks at OPPO how they handle volume. There’s a right way and a wrong way.
The wrong way is to digitally reduce the amplitude by using fewer bits of the total available. In fact, John Siau of Benchmark shared with me his analysis of the TIDAL service. You know JAY-Z’s new acquisition that purports to deliver “high-resolution” audio streams, when they are really CD-spec (and that’s a step up from Spotify). But if you turn down the volume you’re reducing the number of bits. Listening to 10 or 12-bits compromises the dynamic range. Ideally, you want to have the TIDAL incoming stream at full volume and turn down your preamplifier.
I’m still crazy trying to get a few hundred pounds of stuff to Chicago in 4 packed bags. See you in Chicago.