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LIMITED TO: Oppo BDP-95 analogue audio sound quality vs. BDP-105 analogue audio sound quality

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
First, this Amazon thread strictly about sound quality of the -95 vs. the -105 is very well worth reading in toto: http://www.amazon.com/review/R9ITGWF9KQ3SE/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R9ITGWF9KQ3SE

Largely because of Johnny B. Goode's postings in the above linked Amazon thread, but also because of a smattering of remarks elsewhere about the -105 being 'brighter, thinner, more forward,' I grabbed an available -95. I am principally interested in classical music via CD's, streaming, or USB thumb drive off my desktop. Video and surround sound are very secondary for me.

Below the dotted line my quoted input, within the Amazon string, about a simple trick that GREATLY improves sound-staging, depth, and 'relaxation' (read: 'far less listening fatigue') of sound from any source out the analogue interconnect jacks of my BDP-95:

Sirhute says:

So largely because Johnny B. Goode codified my suspicions and fears about possible lesser sonics on the -105 as compared with the -95, I bought and have been using a BDP-95, for ten days or so. I'm very happy with the sound. It fully engages the sweet musical simplicity of my near-original HF-81 (with the "death-cap" snipped!), which drives a pair of KEF 104aB's superbly in a moderate-sized room. So clearly my credentials are not of much use to the 7.1 movie crowd. And I've never even heard a BDP-105!

But that's not what I'm writing about. I'm writing about a simple sonic trick that makes a BIG difference in how the -95 sounds. I'd go so far as to suggest that until one has tried this trick, comments on how it sounds are less than reliably accurate for others to take into consideration. I proffer this thought meaning no offense to anyone. I'm just bemused by the current apparent total absence of instruction about this trick in any forum whatsoever!

The trick? For about 50 years of audio dallying, I have never found a single piece of audio equipment that did not change sonic character when the AC line cord polarity was reversed. This can be done with a "3 to 2 adapter" plugged into the end of the power cord, available at any hardware store. Inevitably one polarity sounds brighter and more forward, and the opposite polarity sounds darker and more recessed and has more sense of space, i.e. depth and breadth. (I've never found that lifting the ground prong hurts anything sonically.)

I was faintly surprised to find that this situation still applies in spades to the Oppo BDP-95. I would politely suggest that any discussion of brightness, spaciousness and depth begin only after the participants have A-B'd this line cord trick.

It was in the '80's, I think, that The Absolute Sound presented a regular column of tweaks by one Edith Lumley, who touted this experiment as quite important in setting up a system to be as musical as possible. There were ramifications re how much stray high impedance AC voltage is measured floating on a chassis with either polarity. It was recommended to disconnect each component from all others and measure the chassis to neutral with each of the two possible line cord configurations, choosing the polarity that yielded the lower reading. But the sound change is so obvious that it's been years since I measured the floating voltage. While the 'forward' more sizzling sound can fool and excite one for a while, it's always refreshing and relaxing when you reverse the polarity for more natural 'air' around the instruments, depth and musicality.

The sonic difference is very much of the order that spending $1000 on new interconnects may bring, and far less variable result-wise!

I use the sonic terms above as one who plays classical music on a 9-foot concert grand piano in my home, and plays trumpet and other brass instruments, was once married to a good professional orchestral violinist and as one who has logged countless hours listening to live acoustic classical music in several orchestra halls and chamber music halls. I know what real unamplified music sounds like both up close and at a spacious distance. In a good hall there is no 'cringe factor' on loud crescendos, as is common on even very expensive stereos.

Hope this input is helpful. By the same token I fully realize that there are many individual avenues to musical enjoyment, and that there may be lots of folks for whom this trick holds no interest. Possibly many will prefer what I consider the 'unatural' polarity. At least such folks now know they may 'improve' the 'presence' via one of the two possible line cord polarities!

Please let me be clear that I fully respect and accept that people listen differently! However I do think that no matter how different the bandwidth and frequency response of my ears, and the processing by my brain, as opposed to any other person's, the more neutral the audio system the better it will allow me to hear and process in my own unique way at home, as I perforce did at the concert! So the oft-cited considerations of 'sonic preference' make up a moot point, unless one's 'preference' is to distort what one would have heard in the hall at the live acoustic concert, had one attended!

That said, I'm not looking for a fight here, only just proffering info for any interested party to apply experimentally if they wish.

G. Ratcheson says:

So what did you find with the 95? Did you go with reversed polarity or original?

Sirhute says:

I don't know! I live in an old house, and I have no idea whether the polarity is legit or not, sorry. On the (decent) chance that it is, I do in fact find that reversing the polarity of the line cord at this particular socket gives me more depth and spaciousness.

FWIW I've long felt that my personal psychoacoustical mechanism 'clamps down' for some finite period when impinged upon by unnatural brightness, and thus misses inner voices.

It may be that the depth is always there but that I can't hear it when the leading edges of the waveforms are, well, edgy. Please consider this a metaphor more than science. I am not a scientist.

post #2 of 3
I'm intrigued by your suggestion of reversing the AC polarity and it would be simple to try it. I remember Ms. Lumily though that particular trick I've lost. One question: many 3 to 2 adapters have one larger prong so they can be inserted only one way. I'm assuming that using suchwill not change the polarity. I need to find one that can be inserted either way, yes?
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Sorry, haven't been following... You just need to file or cut the wider blade. A pair of side-cutting pliers can nibble at it OK. Then you can insert it either way....
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AVS › AVS Forum › Blu-ray & HD DVD › Blu-ray Players › LIMITED TO: Oppo BDP-95 analogue audio sound quality vs. BDP-105 analogue audio sound quality