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Oppo HDMI Audio vs Analog Audio Output  

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I've been comparing the audio output from the Oppo 83 SE analog vs HDMI. After careful study, I can off these observations:

The analog output is clearly superior is timbre accuracy and tonality -- the midbass the midrange are fuller and better defined. In two channel listenings the soundstage is superior to HDMI getting back to the old stereo imaging coming from vinyl and MC pickups.

But in multichannel soundstage, especially with Masteraudio recordings HDMI takes imaging to an significant new level. The spacial resolution is dramatic on well recorded sources. Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy is a well nuanced example -- in one scene someone was walking in an upstairs room. I thought my wife was walking around upstairs -- the foot falls were discrete and spacially correct. The ambiance in the squash court was spot on. Complex scenes with groups of people resolved into the central dialog surrounded by discrete well focused side conversations.

So after over a year of tweaking and study I have to say both outputs have their place, but I don't enjoy the analog multichannel as much as the digital even with the former's more pleasing tonality because of the digital soundstage advantage. Two channel listening is better with the analog.

Oppo should be rolling out its new models by November of this year, and I will have to decide whether to spring for the upper model which will likely offer enhanced analog audio output. I may keep the 83SE for two channel, and go with the standard digital audio from the new player.
post #2 of 5

Of course, all this is dependent on what is doing the signal handling after the Oppo and how it is being done.

post #3 of 5
Bottom line is that for analog audio, you are using the audio DACs from the Oppo, and for digital audio, you are using the audio DACs from your receiver. Which sounds better comes down to which equipment has the better DACs, nothing more, nothing less.
post #4 of 5
Well, and with the audio over HDMI, you can also have room correction and other work being done in the processor that likely isn't happening with the multichannel analog input. Your receiver could be doing this on the analog input as well (just not the multichannel one), unless you've disabled it.
post #5 of 5
Starting yet another Oppo thread (rather than posting in an existing one) on an old model to say nothing new, all subjective opinion, all hyperbole and of no general applicability to others esp. without knowing the set-up. I suppose if it takes over a year to come to this conclusion (considering people get PhDs in three years) that can't be an obvious difference that a reviewer or the ordinary joe can discover over a few days. wink.gif What would be new is to find out how objective measurements correlate with differences in "tonality", "timbre", "sound stage" and "spacially (sic) correct".
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