Originally Posted by JonStatt
I have some first impressions of the Oppo 105. I also have an 83 and a 95 (although the 95 will be going up for sale soon)
Firstly, its big and its heavy. It is very solid and feels a high-end quality product. Compared to the Oppo 83 of old, it is in a different class.
The only physical thing that the 95 had, that the 105 doesn't is plastic dust covers over all the RCA connectors!
In the box was the usual Oppo branded shopping bag, HDMI cable, new style remote, WiFi adapter and stand/cable for it, batteries and UK mains lead. And I was also given an Oppo branded 8GB USB stick and AIX 3D music and calibration disc.
One reason I wanted the 105 was to be able to simplify my set-up. I have a Lexicon MC-12 and use the analogue 5.1 inputs from my Toshiba XE1 HD DVD player, and the Oppo. To connect both things I had a high-end Zektor switcher. But this means lots of cables, and the switch must affect things no matter high-end it is. With the 105 I can connect the Toshiba XE1 through the Oppo, and use the DACs of the Oppo (which are better), thus meaning only one set of cables to the processor. I got this working very quickly, but I have had a couple of HDMI handshake hiccups that have left me with a black screen that I need to figure out what element in the chain is causing it.
Today, I spent most of the time comparing the Oppo headphone amplifier to my dedicated Burson Soloist. I have Audeze LCD-3 headphones, which are magnetic planar headphones. I am in love with them. When you want to listen to your music late at night, you don’t want to disturb others in the house (or neighbours), but you don’t want to compromise your listening either. Up until now I always thought headphones were a “poor mans” listen compared to my high-end speakers. These headphones changed my mind on that. Tonally they sound almost identical to my main set-up. They may not have quite the soundstage you get with speakers, but you do get more intimacy instead which isn’t a bad thing. They are more demanding than some headphones in terms of their power requirements. I was concerned that the Oppo would fail to drive them well. I need to eat a little humble pie. Although I have to turn up the volume to around 75 out of 100 on the Oppo, it is more than capable of driving the headphones. However, compared to the Soloist which can output watts rather than milliwatts, the Oppo is lacking some of the dynamics and texture, and ultimately realism of the original music. That is not to say it is poor in any way. Quite the opposite, the headphone output is firmly into audiophile territory. Some may love the smooth, sweet, and easy to listen to sound it produces. In fact I may choose to use it on occasions when I want to relax and unwind. It is also somewhat unfair to compare an 800 pounds headphone amplifier to a 1000 pound play-everything super player. The Oppo may do even better with easier headphones. While I would have been shocked if it had equalled or even bettered the Burson, it gets a lot closer than I thought it would!
I haven’t done much comparison yet with the 95 on the multi-channel and stereo outputs. I did notice that at the fixed output level they seemed to be a couple of dB quieter than the 95. I won't be able to A/B switch, but I will be able to ascertain if it is at least as good as the 95. The 105 removes the DAC stacking (4 per channel) on the dedicated stereo output in order to power the RCA/XLRs at the same time, and drive 2 per channel for the headphone output. Oppo claim they found no sonic benefit in stacking the DACs. This became fashionable but now seems to be falling out of favour. Also the 105 uses AC coupling rather than DC as per the 95. DC coupling has the advantage of ruler flat bass frequency responses down to 1Hz. Oppo assure us that although they have switched to AC coupling for compatibility reasons (with external amps etc), that they have still achieved very good linear bass response.
One thing I will say though, this player is fast. People bought the 83 for its speed over the Sony’s and Pioneer’s of the time. The new models really crank up the gears another notch, and even the settings menus are clearly much more zippy to use.