Originally Posted by Chriscpm
I bought an Oppo BDP-95 last year. I’m happy with the performance of the analog DACs on the 7.1 output. Its really nice for 2-channel high end audio too. I’m not sure there is a way to really optimize it for 7.1 use though.
I’m currently running a B&K reference 30 pre-pro, with the ref 50 firmware update. Someone here showed me how to use the zone 2 to drive the center rears. It’s a pain to switch around the wires (I have a mechanical switch), but it works. So that is solid, but a pain.
But when I run a 5.1 disc, the B&K matrixes in 2 center rear channels. That is OK, but degrades the oppo DACs with an a/d/a conversion. A B&K tech told me that was only on the rears, and the center and mains are a true pass though. I’m not positive on this and don’t know if I can check.
So I was thinking about getting something like a parasound P7. HT did a review paired with the 95. That would be great for true 7.1 discs, but for 5.1 discs I’d have nothing out of the center rears. I just don’t like that. Oppo said there is no way to send the same signal to the center rears for 5.1 material either. A parasound setup would also leave me in need of something to decode satt TV for day to day stuff.
If I always want 7 speakers going, I can’t see a good way to use the DACs on the Oppo. The best bet is just a whole new pre-pro with really good DACs, but those are really expensive. I tried a mid-range Rotel 2 years ago, but it had some many bugs that I returned it.
1. AVS posting shows the Parasound P7 as an excellent MC 7.1 analog pre-amp, which also includes some bass switching/processing, but no switching/processing of anything other than bass.
I happen to own/use a similar unit, the Bel Canto Pre6 which has 7.1 analog capability (both RCA and XLR); but I tried XLR and it offers nothing for the home user (however high end) over decent inexpensive (but not cheap) RCA IC cables.
2. If you go with Parasound P7 the cable situation can quickly get very messy.
Just one player (your above OPPO 95, great player BTW) needs 8 RCA IC cables from the player to the P7, then 8 RCA IC cables from the P7 to one or more amps.
I use *multiple* players with Zektor MAS7 switcher, so I've a clue on how quickly the messy MC RCA IC cable thing can spin out of control.
3. 20/20 hindsight, if I started again (now) knowing what I now know, I'd 1st look longest and hardest at a pre-pro like the Classe SSP-800 and likely buy one *used* as it's both a current product (i.e. company still in business and supporting current firmware updates), and so also a "mature" pre-pro item (i.e. been out for some time).
Despite it's price (likely somewhat higher than that of the Parasound P7?) it's been out long enough that it's easy to find used units for sale.
Meaning that used electronics (used pre-amps, amps, integrated amps, AVRs, and pre-pros) are the best used buys for the simple reason that the SQ offered (Sound Quality) has reached a stable point and doesn't change much, whereas SQ of speakers (e.g.) continues to improve much more quickly than that of electronics.
4. AVS has a great thread on the Classe SSP-800 at: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=980916
5. Last but not least, I've long thought (and continue to think) that best MC SQ is an analog driven thing, starting with a great player like your OPPO 95.
6. I had to double check, and see that this is the AVS "Audio theory, Setup and Chat" forum; so my above comments are on topic to this forum.