I just got off the phone with Oppo about this exact question. They stated, as many do, that it's mostly user preference. Now, if you are planning on using the analog outs (I'm not), then the 983 is most definitly an upgrade in sound as it has a lot of updated and superior components on it's audio board. Me, I just don't want to go out and buy 8 cables to put into my system for what might turn out to be a small upgrade, downgrade or lateral move for a $230 upcharge (albeit with better video, but we're talking two channel here) over the 980. I'll just use the HDMI for now and get a separate red book CD player for the two channel stuff.