Official OPPO BDP-105 Owner's Thread - Page 328 - AVS Forum
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post #9811 of 11318 Old 03-29-2014, 03:45 PM
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^ OPPO UK handles all of Europe.

I've not heard anything through Beta Tester channels here in the US which contradicts that tech note published by OPPO UK.
--Bob

Well, why not just call OPPO yourself and ask?

Omar

Sorry to be a bit slow getting back on this; the fellow I asked at OPPO Digital was traveling.

What follows is from Jason Liao, CTO of OPPO Digital here in the US. As you'll see there are considerations which different engineers might weigh differently. For example, it makes sense to me to pad the recommended input impedance for the amp to give some safety margin against the variability of impedance vs. frequency as pointed out by Rich B., above.:

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Hi Bob,

The technical specification information on the OPPO UK site is correct except for the output impedance of the 7.1ch. I believe that all channels have 100-Ohm output impedance, and there is no difference between the front and surround channels. I need to double check this when I return to the office. The general recommendation for input impedance is that the input impedance should be at least 10 times the output impedance, so a 47K-Ohm input impedance power amplifier should work fine, but it does not need to be that high. People drive tube amps with 1k-Ohm input impedance using the 105 without any problem.

The BDP-105 was not designed to be or to replace a pre-amp. I would not call it “well suited”, not because the performance of the BDP-105 is not good enough, but because the lack of some pre-amp features such as no physical volume knob. There is also the danger of very high output volume if the user is not careful when resetting the player.

Although we do not recommend using the 105 as a pre-amp, some users do it anyway. Some other users connect it to active speakers. In order to help these users, we recently added some features such as maximum volume level so a spouse or child does not accidentally set the volume too high. We also added the feature of remembering the last used input. These “pre-amp like” features do not mean that we encourage using the BDP-105 as a pre-amp. Our intention is to help the users who have already decided to use the 105 this way.

If you do not consider room correction or other “enhancements” a full featured pre-amp can provide, from a sonic quality point of view, a direct connection to the power amp will have less distortion and interference for sure. Introducing a pre-amp in the signal path adds a source of distortion and interference. If the pre-amp is a quality one, this impact should be minimal and usually cannot be heard. If the pre-amp is not so good, the signal can be degraded. This is why our customer service technicians sometimes tell users that if their pre-amp is a quality one, there is no need to take it out, and removing the pre-amp should only be considered if the pre-amp quality is not that good. The answer is not always black or white. It depends on the entire system configuration. Sometimes people are willing to trade convenience for performance; sometimes the opposite can happen.

Another more important factor that complicates the decision is the sensitivity of the power amp and speakers. We found some users were using the BDP-105 with volume set to 1 or 2 in order to get a comfortable listening level. This severely under-utilizes the dynamic range of the player. In this case, the player’s normal output level is too high for the power-amp, and a pre-amp should be used to reduce the level. If there is no pre-amp, passive attenuators should be used instead. If the player’s volume level can be set to anywhere between 70-100, the result should be good.

Best regards,

Jason

So here's MY take on this: A key factor is whether the output level and output impedance of the 105/105D happen to be well matched for your amp and speakers. If not, having a quality preamp in the Analog signal path CAN improve audio quality simply because it acts as a buffer and/or attenuator in the signal path. I.e., it provides a convenient way for you to adjust for that mismatch. Obviously if the preamp is not a good one the degradation from that alone may outweigh such benefits of having it in the signal path.

If your amp and speakers ARE well matched for the output levels and output impedance of the OPPO then putting a preamp in the signal path (and with no audio processing engaged) can not improve the audible quality. The signal can't be made any better than what is already present on the outputs of the player. It can only be made worse. (I.e., the preamp, no matter how good it is, can not magically re-create information which is not in the player's Analog output signals to begin with.)

Reaching for that "perfect" rendering of the signal on the player's Analog outputs does not come without cost. At the very least you lose the ability to play other, Analog sources since the player has no Analog inputs. And then there are the convenience factors, such as the lack of a physical Volume knob as mentioned above.

You also have to be careful about how the Analog outputs of the player render different types of content to make sure you are not falling into a configuration trap. When using the Asynchronous USB DAC Input, or when playing DSD files with DSD-Direct-to-Analog conversion engaged for example, no audio processing is possible in the player, since that processing is done digitally, and those two types of playback bypass the digital processing and head straight for the DACs. Which means you lose Crossover processing, among other things. Which can change the amount of Subwoofer boost needed external to the player to match the Analog Subwoofer output to the other Analog outputs. For folks who want to do this type of playback, the benefits outweigh such complications, but the complications do have to be kept in mind.

And if you add back in the value of audio PROCESSING, then there's a whole additional set of considerations. I use the OPPO players with an Anthem Statement D2v pre-pro. My speakers are chosen to require support from a subwoofer, and thus there's a premium on the quality of that blending. I use Anthem Room Correction (ARC) in the D2v to do that and it sounds great. But that means Analog input from the OPPO has to be re-digitized prior to that processing and then converted back to Analog in the D2v for output. I love the result, but it does mean that trying to bypass the D2v to try a pure Analog path comparison is a problem, because I'd have to redesign my bass solution to be as good as what I get from ARC.

In general then, including a preamp or sound processor is valuable because:

1) Additional types of inputs (e.g., Analog) and convenience features are included

2) Adjusts for inherent mismatch between amps/speakers and player, and

3) Addition of "value added" audio processing options, when you choose to use them.

The better the quality of the preamp the more likely you will be able to keep it in the signal path without degradation of the Analog audio.

If you hear better audio with a preamp included in the signal path, then the simplest explanation is that the preamp is providing benefit #2, above.
--Bob
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post #9812 of 11318 Old 03-29-2014, 04:10 PM
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"And then there are the convenience factors, such as the lack of a physical Volume knob as mentioned above."

IMO that is not an issue since I can control the Oppo volume from the remote Vol + - buttons.

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post #9813 of 11318 Old 03-29-2014, 04:16 PM
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^ Sure, but it's a reason the player would not be seriously considered by someone in the market for a normal preamp.
--Bob

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post #9814 of 11318 Old 03-29-2014, 04:45 PM
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I use Anthem Room Correction (ARC) in the D2v to do that and it sounds great. But that means Analog input from the OPPO has to be re-digitized prior to that processing and then converted back to Analog in the D2v for output.
Bob, why do you have to use Oppo's analog outputs to your D2v if you're re-digitizing the audio signal in your pre-pro? Is there something gained in doing that as opposed to sending a digital stream from the Oppo (via hdmi) to your D2v? I would think you'd want to keep the signal digital all the way to your D2v, apply ARC, then let your pre-pro's DAC do its thing.
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post #9815 of 11318 Old 03-29-2014, 04:48 PM
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Excellent reply, Bob. Thanks. That all makes perfect sense. Perhaps whenever I get around to upgrading my amp, I'll try again. I would like to be able to run straight to my amp, but for now it just doesn't work as well as I'd like, and probably for the reasons you and LairdWilliam have laid out.

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post #9816 of 11318 Old 03-29-2014, 04:51 PM
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Laird, thank you for this thoughtful and knowledgeable reply. Definitely some new information for me in there...so it appears that preamplifiers are not just voltage regulators after all, and amps are often more involved than they appear to be. With all the money and time that goes into R&D on these devices, and all the options available on the market, this certainly would be consistent.

Omar
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post #9817 of 11318 Old 03-29-2014, 04:57 PM
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^ I use Analog primarily for Beta Testing -- i.e., comparisons and bug hunts. (I also use the Headphones output.)

Some features of the player are only available on Analog.

I also sometimes use Analog as a quick way to bypass my default surround processing. The D2v sees it as 5.1 input even when playing Mono or Stereo content, so it doesn't try to raise it into the Surrounds. I could also turn that off on the D2v, but selecting the Analog input is faster.

I've not been able to detect any quality difference between HDMI and Analog from the 105D into the D2v (with ARC both ways) so I've got flexibility to play around like this.

For example, the D2v does not accept HDMI DSD, but I can play DSD via the 105D's DACs when I want to experiment.
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post #9818 of 11318 Old 03-29-2014, 05:20 PM
 
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Would the Outlaw 975 be considered a quality pre amp?

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post #9819 of 11318 Old 03-29-2014, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by LairdWilliams View Post

If your speakers sound good bass-wise when a preamp is present in your system and don't sound good without one, then the issue really has little-to-nothing to do with your speakers. You have already proved that your power amp can drive your speakers just fine. What you have demonstrated (assuming that your preamp is a pure preamp, more on that shortly) is that for some reason the amp is not receiving enough signal voltage from the Oppo. As we have all noted, this might have nothing to do with it being the fault of the Oppo, as it could easily be (and often is) a problem with the interconnect. But it could also be a simple matter of how much signal voltage your amp needs at its input in the first place.

The Oppo is pretty normal as regards signal levels and impedances at its output, so unless your unit is malfunctioning I would not look there. Your amp has a 100k-ohm input impedance. That is pretty high, and should be sufficient for connecting ANY decently-designed piece of home theater gear, including the Oppo. (Of we were in electric-guitar-land and not home-audio-land, however...) So my first hypothesis would be this: apparently, your power amp simply needs a higher-than-normal voltage present at the input in order to provide enough signal for the rest of the power amp to use effectively.

So...here at AVS, we talk about preamps and power amps and use the words pretty loosely. We have named our components using the name for ONE of the functions that each performs, and this can confuse discussions about interconnects and setup sometimes. A preamp is technically just a voltage amplifier, whose purpose is to raise a voltage to a level that a power amp can use effectively. The fact is that most of our "preamp components" are much more than just "preamps" in the electrical sense. Similarly, most power amp components sold today are indeed largely power amps, but many have preamps built in. You can't tell from looking at a power amp whether it has a preamp present at its input or not. Lack of a volume control tells you nothing except that if the unit does have a preamp, it has a fixed overall gain at the input stage. There are also ways to put very high-quality volume controls in some power amps even when no preamp is present, so the presence of a volume control is not definitive either.

The net is that some power amps need more signal at the input. That does not make them bad or good. But you have to feed the power amp, and in such cases a preamp may be necessary to "multiply the loaves" coming from your audio components, independent of speaker efficiency or impedance matching at the interconnect.

As it turns out, our "preamp components" also serve to mitigate other issues, since most of them also serve as signal buffers. Insertion of a high-quality signal buffer at the interconnection between components where impedance matching is a problem will usually resolve any impledance-related issues. This is why many folks who have impedance matching issues when directly-connected (from Oppo to power amp) are finding that the problem goes away when a preamp is added to the mix. That makes perfects sense, but in such cases it is not because of the "preamp" function of the "preamp component'; it is because of the "buffering function" of the "preamp component." And I bet a lot of those folks could purchase a nice, high-quality audio buffer and get the benefits they need from it - assuming that they KNOW that impedance matching is the only issue.

I wish I could be less pedantic about this subject, with all this "preamp function", "preamp component", "power amp component", "buffer function" stuff - but the fact is that if we really want to understand this stuff deeply, we have to be extremely detail-oriented and clear about what we say and how we say it.

Great explanation ...
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post #9820 of 11318 Old 03-29-2014, 06:45 PM
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Would the Outlaw 975 be considered a quality pre amp?

I would definitely say yes to that question, but at the same time that does not mean you should run your analog audio through it.
I'm not saying you should or shouldn't, but to carefully weigh what was said from Oppo and Bob above, and apply it to your own setup.

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Another more important factor that complicates the decision is the sensitivity of the power amp and speakers. We found some users were using the BDP-105 with volume set to 1 or 2 in order to get a comfortable listening level. This severely under-utilizes the dynamic range of the player. In this case, the player’s normal output level is too high for the power-amp, and a pre-amp should be used to reduce the level. If there is no pre-amp, passive attenuators should be used instead. If the player’s volume level can be set to anywhere between 70-100, the result should be good.
So, based on Jason's comment above, for customers that are going direct to amps, if we're not able to get our Oppo volume in the 70-100 range, are we not attaining audio nirvana with our 105's? Are we truly "under-utilizing" the player's sonic capability?
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post #9822 of 11318 Old 03-29-2014, 07:52 PM
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^ Dynamic range. If you are operating with the Volume at 10 then you are -45dB down from full output, which means you've lowered the content signal that much closer to the noise floor. At 70 you are down only -15dB. (1/2dB per Volume step in the 105/105D.)
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post #9823 of 11318 Old 03-29-2014, 08:18 PM
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^ Dynamic range. If you are operating with the Volume at 10 then you are -45dB down from full output, which means you've lowered the content signal that much closer to the noise floor. At 70 you are down only -15dB. (1/2dB per Volume step in the 105/105D.)
--Bob

I'm wondering about how the channel trims also affect all of this.
If someone wanted to increase the output volume from let's 50 to 70, would trimming all the speakers by -10db be a solution, or is that just swapped one degradation for another?

~Dave

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post #9824 of 11318 Old 03-29-2014, 08:22 PM
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Need help! I have a NAD T785 AVR and recently changed my Arcam DV139 dvd player to OPPO-105.But yesterday I decided to test stereo CDs. And I was completely disappointed! Just after a few seconds of first track on first CD I knew that something with sound was wrong. It was flat and "cheap" like from very small speakers or cheap soundbars. The bass is still there, just the sound is flat. I've changed a couple of CDs and it was all the same. The sound from Arcam DV139 was "rich and deep". The player is the only thing I've changed in my system. I've thought that with Oppo my stereo listening (along with multichannel) will be also upgraded from Arcam dvd player, since all web reviews praise oppo's stereo dac and etc. But in reality it downgraded... Maybe I set up something wrong? What should I try to improve stereo sound? My front speakers are Monitor Audio GS20. With Arcam dvd player I was using Analog Bypass mode on the AVR as I'm using it with Oppo.

I have the NAD T775 HD connected to my Oppo BDP 95 (not 105). All my connections are to the 7.1 analogue outs from Oppo to analogue ins on Nad (only a 5.1 system so I also have downmix set to 5.1 in the Oppo). Sound is fantastic, so something is screwy with your setup, believe me - it is not the 105 as such. A year ago I had called in a speaker techie to examine my 25+ yr old FL/FR speakers because they sounded exactly as you described - I was playing all my music in artifical surround mode just to bring in my newer, smaller, bookshelf surround speakers to get a "fuller" sound.

Before the techie got here, I decided to check the speaker wiring one last time, and discovered that sometime in the past, while I had still correctly wired the amp to speaker + and -, I had turned around the crossover wiring from the mid to the bass on one of the speakers, putting the FL/FR speakers out of phase. Fixed that and WOW - (surprise) I fell in love with two-speaker stereo sound all over again.

So, is there any chance that, when disconnecting your old arcam and connecting the Oppo, that you temporarily disconnected your speakers, and reconnected the wrong way? (by the way, I also have my front speakers set to large, because I am happy enough with the bass that way, although I do of course get a bigger bass response, even with only a stereo source, when I set them to small)

If not, try changing the FL/FR connections from the stereo out on the 105 to the L/R out from the 7.1 analogue out. If this changes things, (and I hope it does) then somewhere within the Oppo setup you must need to change something - can't help you there, as there are some differences here between the 95 and the 105. Maybe someone with more tech savvy might know if the signal level out from the Oppo Stereo out is lower than the L/R analogue outs (you haven't mentioned which L/R ins you are using on the NAD: the 7.1 analogue FL/FR or one of the NAD Stereo ins - again I don't know if that also could make a diff, hope a more tech-savvy member can help you there, but again, mayber playing with the outputs/inputs combo, you might get what you should from the Oppo.

Failing any of the suggestions above, and any further replies from members in this forum, ring or email Oppo - their customer service is second to none.

But my main message is: persevere. The Oppo sound is beautiful, once you get your connections and settings correctly working together.


[Edit]: have only just realised how old your post was that I am replying to: maybe you have already sorted the prob out? if so, curious as to the solution
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post #9825 of 11318 Old 03-30-2014, 06:38 AM
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^ Dynamic range. If you are operating with the Volume at 10 then you are -45dB down from full output, which means you've lowered the content signal that much closer to the noise floor. At 70 you are down only -15dB. (1/2dB per Volume step in the 105/105D.)
--Bob
But even if you listen at that volume (i.e. 10) on the 105, isn't the electrical noise floor of the 105's dac output rated at roughly -135db? Just because you're closer to the noise floor doesn't mean, at least in this example, that you will hear the noise floor, even at low volume settings on the 105. So, if we're not able to audibly hear the noise at lower than typical volume settings of the 105 when we connect direct to our power amps, I'm not sure what there is to gain by placing the 105's volume closer to or at its 0dbV maximum.
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post #9826 of 11318 Old 03-30-2014, 09:21 AM
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"If you do not consider room correction or other “enhancements” a full featured pre-amp can provide, from a sonic quality point of view, a direct connection to the power amp will have less distortion and interference for sure. Introducing a pre-amp in the signal path adds a source of distortion and interference. If the pre-amp is a quality one, this impact should be minimal and usually cannot be heard. If the pre-amp is not so good, the signal can be degraded."

"If the player’s volume level can be set to anywhere between 70-100, the result should be good."

I really like the OPPO in direct mode, to be honest the volume is never above 50 and it sounds great so I am not sure I understand the point that the volume needs to be between 70 & 100?
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post #9827 of 11318 Old 03-30-2014, 10:25 AM
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"If the player’s volume level can be set to anywhere between 70-100, the result should be good."

I really like the OPPO in direct mode, to be honest the volume is never above 50 and it sounds great so I am not sure I understand the point that the volume needs to be between 70 & 100?
It's the point that Bob made in his last post: Dynamic range. If you are operating with the Volume at 10 then you are -45dB down from full output, which means you've lowered the content signal that much closer to the noise floor. At 70 you are down only -15dB. (1/2dB per Volume step in the 105/105D.)

The lower the volume setting of the 105 the closer you are to the noise floor which means you are closer to signals that are considered noise. And you are further away from the full output of the 105 which means that you are not using the full dynamic range of the 105. Hope I got that right Bob.

That said I think it still comes down to what is the configuration that sounds best to the listener. I'm generally at 20 - 40 (with no preamp) depending on the recording and how loud I want to listen at. It is still better than when I had my preamp in the path.

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post #9828 of 11318 Old 03-30-2014, 10:36 AM
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"If you do not consider room correction or other “enhancements” a full featured pre-amp can provide, from a sonic quality point of view, a direct connection to the power amp will have less distortion and interference for sure. Introducing a pre-amp in the signal path adds a source of distortion and interference. If the pre-amp is a quality one, this impact should be minimal and usually cannot be heard. If the pre-amp is not so good, the signal can be degraded."

"If the player’s volume level can be set to anywhere between 70-100, the result should be good."

I really like the OPPO in direct mode, to be honest the volume is never above 50 and it sounds great so I am not sure I understand the point that the volume needs to be between 70 & 100?

Don't sweat it. The 70-100 number is conservative. And obviously it also depends on the content you play (mix of very soft and very loud passages for example).
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post #9829 of 11318 Old 03-30-2014, 12:43 PM
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Having read Jason's reply to Bob in which he believes all channels of the BDP-105 have an output impedance of 100 Ohms and that an input impedance 10 times higher than that should be adequate, I'm left at a loss to explain why I heard soundstage smearing and lack of timbre detail when using the 11K Ohm unbalanced input to my amp but not with the 100K Ohm balanced input to the amp. The sound using the balanced input was remarkably similar to that with the preamp in the path using the unbalanced input. There is one difference, though: The balanced connection doesn't pass through the KEF KUBE whereas the unbalanced does. The KUBEs are unbalanced with an input impedance of 51K Ohms. I previously used a pair of Jensen Iso-Max to go from balanced to unbalanced, but I have not bothered to reinsert them for this test.

db

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post #9830 of 11318 Old 03-30-2014, 12:54 PM
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Then you are not comparing apples to apples.

With dual subs, stack'em in the corner and put on a jockstrap. Don't want EVERYTHING in the room jingling!
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post #9831 of 11318 Old 03-30-2014, 02:20 PM
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Don't sweat it. The 70-100 number is conservative. And obviously it also depends on the content you play (mix of very soft and very loud passages for example). -Bob

Good for music it is between 25 - 40 and for movies between 35 - 50 biggrin.gif
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post #9832 of 11318 Old 03-30-2014, 04:11 PM
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Good for music it is between 25 - 40 and for movies between 35 - 50 biggrin.gif
I concur. TV around 35 - 50 as well.

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post #9833 of 11318 Old 03-30-2014, 04:38 PM
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40 for TV. Music is at least 30, depends on my mood and genre. 70 - 80 for movies.

With dual subs, stack'em in the corner and put on a jockstrap. Don't want EVERYTHING in the room jingling!
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post #9834 of 11318 Old 03-30-2014, 05:56 PM
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40 for TV. Music is at least 30, depends on my mood and genre. 70 - 80 for movies.

What amps do you have?
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post #9835 of 11318 Old 03-30-2014, 07:37 PM
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Wow. My ideal music listening level is where the OPPOs internal test signals register between 73-75 dB per channel. When running straight to my amp, a setting of 74 on the OPPO equals 73 dB level for test tones.

For movies, I generally run where the test signals cal to between 75-80, depending on the movie, but never higher.

A thing i do when running via preamp is to set the level of my preamp to where 100 on the OPPOs volume equals 80 dB calibrated per channel, because I never go above that 80 dB level, I'm always at the upper end of the OPPOs dynamic range, between 86-100 on its volume control.
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post #9836 of 11318 Old 03-30-2014, 07:37 PM
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Then you are not comparing apples to apples.

That seems a non sequitur. If the KUBE and preamp are in the signal path the sound is superb with unbalanced line to the amp. It's only if the preamp is removed from the unbalanced path that the sound deteriorates.

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Thorens TD 124, SME Series III arm with Ortofon SME 30 H cartridge into Parasound JC-3 phono stage
Ayre C-5xeMP & Oppo BDP-105
Parasound JC-2 preamp into Proceed HPA amps
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post #9837 of 11318 Old 03-31-2014, 01:35 AM
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What amps do you have?

I have an ATI 150x5.

With dual subs, stack'em in the corner and put on a jockstrap. Don't want EVERYTHING in the room jingling!
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post #9838 of 11318 Old 03-31-2014, 09:44 AM
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Whether 105 through preamp to amp unbalanced or 105 direct to amp balanced, volume of the 105 is set in the 65 to 85 range, with DirecTV HD and some hot jazz recordings in the 60s, most classical in the 75 to 85 range. I tried trimming the mains 6 dB to account for the higher level balanced output of the 105, but the result with the surrounds and subs suggests Proceed may pad the balanced inputs 6 dB, so I reset the mains to 0 dB. I suppose it makes sense for preamps and amps to pad balanced inputs so there isn't a jump in level when inputs are switched.

db

Thorens TD 124, SME Series III arm with Ortofon SME 30 H cartridge into Parasound JC-3 phono stage
Ayre C-5xeMP & Oppo BDP-105
Parasound JC-2 preamp into Proceed HPA amps
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Velodyne SMS-1 bass managers & a pair of HGS-15 subs
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post #9839 of 11318 Old 03-31-2014, 10:24 AM
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^ You can verify level match with a calibration disc and an SPL meter. I recommend the LPCM test tracks on AIX Audio Calibration, Blu-ray.
--Bob

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post #9840 of 11318 Old 03-31-2014, 12:12 PM
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I still have a hard time understanding the difference between the 103 and 105 and the upcoming HA-1 (see http://oppodigital.azurewebsites.net/future/HA-1_Headphone_Amplifier.aspx ). Oppo told me a few days ago that they plan to release the HA-1 in late April. I have the following questions:

I am currently in the process of renewing my audio system after my legacy Oultaw 950 finally gave up. This means I am happily updating a few components. So far, I have:
- a Mac Mini Server for ALAC music files, currently testing Audirvana
- an Oppo 105D, currently using as DAC, 2.0 preamp and CD-player (straight into amp)
- a Class D Audio 470 stereo amp
- a Marantz 15S Turntable with Pro-Ject phono stage
- Axiom Audio M60 front speakers
- a DYI sub from PartsExpress

I am thinking of getting:
- Oppo HA-1 as preamp and possibly DAC
- new HDMI projector (TBD; I have no TV)
- in a later stage: a full 5.1 setup incl. 3 more amps and speakers (TBD)

As you can see, I am not finished yet. In order to use the turntable and in order to make the system more user friendly with a volume know (my wife wants it), I am planning to get the Oppo HA-1 when it is released. Now, the HA-1 also contains a DAC, presumably the same (or similar) as in the 105D. I am thinking that the 105D and HA-1 is overkill.

If I do get the HA-1, would it be advisable to return the 105D (I am still in the return window) and get the 103D instead? Will the HA-1 and 103D together not fullfill all my 2.1, and later , 5.1 preamp and DAC needs?

Thanks, Marius
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