Are all Oppos created equally for 2-channel - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 02-27-2008, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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It appears that Oppo players are uniquely positioned in the market such that they can play SACDs and give very good 2-channel performance with their DACs, and also at the same time, one can stream the DSD decoded PCM to a pre like the Integra DTC 9.8 to get fantastic 7.1 channel sound.

The only other player I am aware of is the PS3, but the 2-channel performance is not to be even compared with the Oppo from what I read.

With that said..
1. Is the 2-channel performance of all Oppo players here the same?
2. The review from Secrets about the 983HD is intriguing but not useful for what we are interested in, 2-ch. Will it be better than any other Oppo player to date when it comes to 2-ch. Is this player available now, or is it scheduled to arrive in March as said in secrtes?
3. What DACs do they use in Oppo? I am amazed after reading all the reviews.
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post #2 of 45 Old 02-27-2008, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcomp124 View Post

1. Is the 2-channel performance of all Oppo players here the same?

If you email them, they will suggest that the 980 is the best player audio-wise.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcomp124 View Post

2. The review from Secrets about the 983HD is intriguing but not useful for what we are interested in, 2-ch. Will it be better than any other Oppo player to date when it comes to 2-ch.

My understanding is that this new player will have the same exact analog audio performance as the 980, however, you may want to email OPPO for confirmation.


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Originally Posted by jmcomp124 View Post

3. What DACs do they use in Oppo? I am amazed after reading all the reviews.

Again, email them for details, but my understanding is that the DAC is from Mediatek. That said, there is more to a player's audio performance than the DAC used.



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Originally Posted by jmcomp124 View Post

It appears that Oppo players are uniquely positioned in the market such that they can play SACDs and give very good 2-channel performance with their DACs, and also at the same time, one can stream the DSD decoded PCM to a pre like the Integra DTC 9.8 to get fantastic 7.1 channel sound.

Honestly, if you are considering connecting a 980 digitally to the Integra, you MAY find that the Integra does a better job with 2-channel than the player's analog stage. The benefit of the 980 with SACDs is also best realized by passing DSD from the player to the Integra via HDMI.

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post #3 of 45 Old 02-27-2008, 08:26 PM
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In case you didn't see my edit, above:

The benefit of the 980 with SACDs is also best realized by passing DSD from the player to the Integra via HDMI.

Here is a nice discussion of the 980/DTC 9.8 combo:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=957339

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post #4 of 45 Old 02-27-2008, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

In case you didn't see my edit, above:

The benefit of the 980 with SACDs is also best realized by passing DSD from the player to the Integra via HDMI.

Here is a nice discussion of the 980/DTC 9.8 combo:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=957339

I don't know if passing DSD from the 980 to the Integra over HDMI would make a difference, compared to the 980 decoding the DSD to PCM (it can do this right?) and sending it over HDMI. I wonder if codecs indeed make a difference. Similar argument to bluray where will decode in player be better than decode in pre-amp a/v receiver vice-versa. What would make a difference is which analog section is better (DACs being a major part of the equation).
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post #5 of 45 Old 02-27-2008, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcomp124 View Post

I don't know if passing DSD from the 980 to the Integra over HDMI would make a difference, compared to the 980 decoding the DSD to PCM (it can do this right?) and sending it over HDMI. I wonder if codecs indeed make a difference. Similar argument to bluray where will decode in player be better than decode in pre-amp a/v receiver vice-versa. What would make a difference is which analog section is better (DACs being a major part of the equation).

I think the benefit of passing DSD to the Integra via HDMI is that, unless digital bass and time management is required, the conversion to PCM is not necessary. The thread I linked you to has quite a bit of discussion regarding this.

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post #6 of 45 Old 02-28-2008, 08:17 AM
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After reading the 983 thread along with the new review posted in that thread, it seems that the 983 will not pass DSD over HDMI, so if that is important to anybody, it looks like the 980 will be the player of choice.
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post #7 of 45 Old 02-28-2008, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

I think the benefit of passing DSD to the Integra via HDMI is that, unless digital bass and time management is required, the conversion to PCM is not necessary. The thread I linked you to has quite a bit of discussion regarding this.

I don't understand what you are trying to convey. You say there is a "benefit in passing DSD to the integra" but don't mention what that benefit is but rather you say "unless digital bass and time management is required conversion to PCM is not necessary". Yes I agree, conversion to PCM is not necessary in the player. But a player not being able to send DSD is not a downside. Unless there is a difference in codec between the player and the Integra, there should be no difference between decoding DSD in the player vs in the Integra.
Now if the Integra handles PCM from HDMI differently, from internally decoded PCM, then that should make a difference. I don't see how it would handle PCM from HDMI differently from PCM decoded froM DSD internally.
Please elaborate your point. Maybe I am missing something.
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post #8 of 45 Old 02-28-2008, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

If you email them, they will suggest that the 980 is the best player audio-wise.


My understanding is that this new player will have the same exact analog audio performance as the 980, however, you may want to email OPPO for confirmation.


Again, email them for details, but my understanding is that the DAC is from Mediatek. That said, there is more to a player's audio performance than the DAC used.



Honestly, if you are considering connecting a 980 digitally to the Integra, you MAY find that the Integra does a better job with 2-channel than the player's analog stage. The benefit of the 980 with SACDs is also best realized by passing DSD from the player to the Integra via HDMI.

I took your suggestion and emailed Oppo and got some very useful information. Here is what they say..

"The two channel performance is better on the DV-980H over that of the DV-981HD or DV-970HD. The DV-983H should further improve on the analog accoustics, but it will also sell at a premium price.

For all of our players we use different revisions of the Cyrrus Logic DACs"

Then I asked more specifically what changes they made to the analog design and here is the response...


"The expected retail price will be $399.00.

We have redesigned the audio board. We have upgraded to even higher quality capacitors and resistors and improved the layout for more efficiency. We have also increased the power and efficiency of the power board.

DSD over HDMI is not supported. Like the DV-981HD the DV-983H will processes DSD to PCM"
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post #9 of 45 Old 02-28-2008, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

I think the benefit of passing DSD to the Integra via HDMI is that, unless digital bass and time management is required, the conversion to PCM is not necessary. The thread I linked you to has quite a bit of discussion regarding this.

I read through that thread. I recall reading that there was a difference between DSD decoded in player vs DSD decoded in the Integra that someone noticed. It appears subjective. If indeed there is a difference, I would like a plausible explanation. If there are codec differences there something is lost in translation .
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post #10 of 45 Old 02-28-2008, 08:26 PM
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Perhaps one of the units converts DSD to PCM before converting to analog? Not all D/A converters can handle DSD. That could explain a difference in SQ.
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post #11 of 45 Old 02-28-2008, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeHudetz View Post

Perhaps one of the units converts DSD to PCM before converting to analog? Not all D/A converters can handle DSD. That could explain a difference in SQ.

DSD to PCM should happen before D->A in both cases.
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post #12 of 45 Old 02-28-2008, 09:00 PM
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Really? Interesting. I know my NAD T-585 universal player has a BB dac that can convert DSD. I would have hoped that the Integra would have something similar.

Does anybody know how the conversion is done, or rather, what chip(s) are used to do the conversion? If they take a different approach to this, that could also explain a SQ difference (assuming there really is one).
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post #13 of 45 Old 02-28-2008, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeHudetz View Post

Really? Interesting. I know my NAD T-585 universal player has a BB dac that can convert DSD. I would have hoped that the Integra would have something similar.

Does anybody know how the conversion is done, or rather, what chip(s) are used to do the conversion? If they take a different approach to this, that could also explain a SQ difference (assuming there really is one).

PCM and DSD are both in the digital domain. Any processing from DSD to PCM should be done in the digital domain rather than converting to analog and back to digital again to do processing. All such conversion after being done in the digital domain can then be sent to the DACs. I am confused about your surprise?
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post #14 of 45 Old 02-29-2008, 05:43 AM
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Based on the title of this thread, I will try my question here (no response on the main 980H thread...).

Has anyone tried playing a two-channel DVD-Audio disc on the 980H? If so, did it play out of the left/right speakers only, or all front speakers? Mine is playing out of all front speakers, which I do not want. I'm using the 5.1 analog outs to my Rotel RSP-1068, using the multi-channel bypass inputs. There should be no down(up)-sampling of any sort going on, so I cannot figure out why it does not just play the main channels straight thru.

Any suggestions?

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post #15 of 45 Old 02-29-2008, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcomp124 View Post

PCM and DSD are both in the digital domain. Any processing from DSD to PCM should be done in the digital domain rather than converting to analog and back to digital again to do processing. All such conversion after being done in the digital domain can then be sent to the DACs. I am confused about your surprise?

I think that if no bass or time management or EQ is required, you can go directly from DSD to ANALOG with the Integra. No DSD to PCM conversion is necessary.

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post #16 of 45 Old 02-29-2008, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blindamood View Post

Has anyone tried playing a two-channel DVD-Audio disc on the 980H? If so, did it play out of the left/right speakers only, or all front speakers? Mine is playing out of all front speakers, which I do not want. I'm using the 5.1 analog outs to my Rotel RSP-1068, using the multi-channel bypass inputs. There should be no down(up)-sampling of any sort going on, so I cannot figure out why it does not just play the main channels straight thru.

When you say "all front speakers" I presume you mean the center in addition to the front L/R, correct? It shouldn't do that. Are you certain you selected the 2-channel tracks on the DVD-A? Are you certain that the multichannel analog connection is what you are listening to? Can your ROTEL apply any DSP to it's multichannel analog inputs and if so, are you certain that's not what is going on?

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post #17 of 45 Old 02-29-2008, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcomp124 View Post

PCM and DSD are both in the digital domain. Any processing from DSD to PCM should be done in the digital domain rather than converting to analog and back to digital again to do processing. All such conversion after being done in the digital domain can then be sent to the DACs. I am confused about your surprise?

(apologies for the thread drift)

Yes, I realize they are both in the digital domain. But they are fundamentally different in nature and I, persoanlly, would prefer that the DSD stream be converted to analog directly as opposed to going through some algorithm, transforming it into a different data structure, before being converted to analog.

Of course, I am thinking in terms of pure 2-channel listening. If down-stream processing is necessary, such as bass management, then you are probably right - it's probably better to keep it in the digital domain and only go through one analog conversion.

I do wonder what happens in the NAD if I were to use the player's bass management.
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post #18 of 45 Old 02-29-2008, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

When you say "all front speakers" I presume you mean the center in addition to the front L/R, correct? It shouldn't do that. Are you certain you selected the 2-channel tracks on the DVD-A? Are you certain that the multichannel analog connection is what you are listening to? Can your ROTEL apply any DSP to it's multichannel analog inputs and if so, are you certain that's not what is going on?

Yes, I mean left/center/right. I am certain I'm playing a two-channel track; in fact, one disc I tried is an Alan Parsons HDAD, which is *only* two-channel. I am also certain the Rotel is not applying DSP. The multi-channel bypass on this processor is pure bypass; there are no settings to modify the sound (save boosting the LFE).

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post #19 of 45 Old 02-29-2008, 07:48 AM
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Not sure about the 980, but in the 970 there is a setup option (only available when the disc tray is extended) that allows you to set the priority of DVD-Audio. The choices are "DVD-Audio" and "DVD-Video." Not sure if this would impact your problem but it's worth checking, assuming you have not already.
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post #20 of 45 Old 02-29-2008, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

I think that if no bass or time management or EQ is required, you can go directly from DSD to ANALOG with the Integra. No DSD to PCM conversion is necessary.

That is interesting. But isn't DSD to PCM lossless?
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post #21 of 45 Old 02-29-2008, 08:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeHudetz View Post

(apologies for the thread drift)

Yes, I realize they are both in the digital domain. But they are fundamentally different in nature and I, persoanlly, would prefer that the DSD stream be converted to analog directly as opposed to going through some algorithm, transforming it into a different data structure, before being converted to analog.

Of course, I am thinking in terms of pure 2-channel listening. If down-stream processing is necessary, such as bass management, then you are probably right - it's probably better to keep it in the digital domain and only go through one analog conversion.

I do wonder what happens in the NAD if I were to use the player's bass management.

I see what you are thinking now. Still, there should not be a difference as long as it is lossless and no interpolations or smoothing is done. It would have been nice if there was a fixed output in the Integra where the Integra simply acts as a codec and DAC with no volume control. My 2ch preamp is a tube and I use stepped attenuators with high quality resistors for volume control. I see exactly your concern about getting a pure signal.
It is beggining to look like the 983H is the player for me .
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post #22 of 45 Old 02-29-2008, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeHudetz View Post

Not sure about the 980, but in the 970 there is a setup option (only available when the disc tray is extended) that allows you to set the priority of DVD-Audio. The choices are "DVD-Audio" and "DVD-Video." Not sure if this would impact your problem but it's worth checking, assuming you have not already.

Thanks. I already checked this as well...set to DVD-Audio. What I need to do is pop in a standard CD (or two-channel SACD) and see what happens. Will try this tonight.

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post #23 of 45 Old 02-29-2008, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmcomp124 View Post

That is interesting. But isn't DSD to PCM lossless?

DSD is 2.8224 MHz, 1-bit technology that is completely different from PCM. When DSD is "converted" to PCM, that is changed.

I would suggest reading that thread that I linked you to as well as the article by Kal that is sited. And you may want to post questions in that thread; see if Kal responds.

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post #24 of 45 Old 02-29-2008, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Blindamood View Post

Thanks. I already checked this as well...set to DVD-Audio. What I need to do is pop in a standard CD (or two-channel SACD) and see what happens. Will try this tonight.

Okay, I tried with a CD and the same thing happens -- plays through all 5 speakers. It seems that the 'down-mix' option (set to 5.1) is actually 'up-mixing' in this case -- weird! When I change it to 'Stereo' it plays fine, but then does not play multi-channel SACD or DVD-Audio. It appears that the 'down-mix' option needs an OFF setting, so that the Oppo does not interpret the incoming signal at all.

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post #25 of 45 Old 02-29-2008, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Oppo is taking pre-orders for the 983H. I just ordered one.
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post #26 of 45 Old 03-01-2008, 06:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blindamood View Post

Okay, I tried with a CD and the same thing happens -- plays through all 5 speakers. It seems that the 'down-mix' option (set to 5.1) is actually 'up-mixing' in this case -- weird! When I change it to 'Stereo' it plays fine, but then does not play multi-channel SACD or DVD-Audio. It appears that the 'down-mix' option needs an OFF setting, so that the Oppo does not interpret the incoming signal at all.

Well, as of this morning, my two-channel playback is now working as it should. How it happened, I can only guess, but I did go back through all of the setup steps to make sure I got it right. Oh well, as long as I can enjoy two-channel music, I'm happy!

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post #27 of 45 Old 03-04-2008, 11:53 AM
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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.
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post #28 of 45 Old 03-06-2008, 08:56 AM
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Problem with 983 for my 2-channel setup is that the price reflects high end video features that I do not care about. Next time I buy video upgrades, it will be blue ray, not std def. So for audio the 983 is in the same price range as the pioneer elite 58v which has been compared very favorably to the 980 in terms of audio and upgrade potential. Not sure how 983 would compare though.
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post #29 of 45 Old 03-06-2008, 11:53 AM
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The 983 is said to build upon the 980, but uses a more robust power supply and better capacitors among other components. Due to these changes, I suspect that the 983 will receive glowing reviews that include many large adjectives about how much more realistic and lifelike the sound has become for the reviewer. Maybe it'll even sound better too.
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post #30 of 45 Old 03-07-2008, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjcruiser View Post

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.

If you are using 2-ch, you need just 2 cables. Yes, the cost of cables quickly adds up. For multi-channel, I sure would prefer the Integra to handle it and I will be using the HDMI from the player. I would also prefer bass management, time delay and post processing and maybe audyssey as I am not equidistant from all speakers and all speakers are not the same. The 2-ch will feed through my tube pre.
I think of the video as a bonus.
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