Well, I got my BDP-95 yesterday, and I have all 3 units hooked up through their balanced XLR lines to my AR LS-26 preamp and Bryston amp. The big shoot-out commences!
My wife and I have been furiously doing A/B/C comparisons, but the fact of the matter is that it only took us about 10 minutes to decide how obvious it was that the BDP-95 was far superior to the Sony 5400 for CDs. I don't think break-in can make this much better; it is too damn good now.
We started off with the OPUS3 Test Disc #1, which we have both heard a hundred times, and it was obvious that we were hearing a whole new level of sound quality. The clarity of the bass was very striking on both several string bass recordings and organs, but the dynamics seemed to be expanded also, and everything was so much clearer that the imaging became very good, which was not so good with the Sony. The vocals were excellent.
We then went to the Hary Janos Suite on the old Minneapolis Orchestra Mercury CD. The clarity of the massed kettledrums on the last 2 tracks was so good that it was like being in Disney Hall hearing the orchestra live in LA. It was a distorted muddle with the Sony (a bit better with the Ayre). The cimbalom was also much clearer in many parts of the score. Major improvement throughout.
An interesting thing was the Impressions doing "Gypsy Woman". With the OPPO there was so much semi-random bass thumping, apparently due to the singers bumping repeatedly against the microphones/stand, that we had to turn off the subwoofer and listen with the Image T6 speakers alone. It never came through all that much with the other two players. There was something there with the others, but it was not that obvious what it was, or so much of an issue.
I could go on and on with the comparisons we did, but the bottom line is that we decided that the tentative rating we give the OPPO is a 9.7, with the Ayre C5xe/MP a 9.1 and the Sony 5400 a 8.5 ( 10 being the real thing). We even briefly tried the 13-year-old Sony SCD-777ES, but quickly dismissed that as not worth listening to at all (a 7.0 rating, maybe).
You guys at Stereophile might want to think about knocking the 5400 down from A+ to just A...lol.
We also did some SACD comparisons, with the first one being Horowitz playing the Chopin Sonata #2 on Columbia from 1962. Once again, the realism of the piano and the dynamics were unprecedented using the OPPO. The improvement with all SACDs was on the same order as with CDs.
If there is ANYTHING that sounds as good as the BDP-95 with CDs and SACDs, I have yet to hear it.
I WAS NOT expecting this level of performance. I thought it might edge the Sony and be almost on a par with the Ayre, but it pretty much blows them both out of the water.
This is pretty amazing audio performance for only $1000. I hope the video performance is equally impressive.
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson
Do you mean the D5? The report was in my MCH column.