Originally Posted by Harrypt
Good comparison, but you are missing some key points. First, the Oppo player that sounds good for audio is the 970. The 971 and 981 are not nearly as good for audio. Second, if you take the digital out to your Theta, you are just comparing them as transports.
The great thing about the Oppo 970 is that it sounds so good all on its own as a budget player. I own an Oppo 970 and 971. I also have a dedicated music system and use the big Meridian cd player (not dvd) as my reference. The 971 doesn't cut it for audio unless you are running it digitally into an AVR. The 970 (run analog out into a preamp) is a surprisingly good player. Up to snuff with my Meridian, no way. But it is better than it deserves to be for $150 and way better than anything I've heard in a long time in that price range. It reminds me of that inexpensive Arcam player people were talking about a year or two ago. I think the FMJ or something, around a thousand dollars.
I also recently purchased the 970 to replace my Kenwood DV-6050 which plays DVD-A but not SACD. I've had the unit for a little over a week and have overall been impressed with it. As this is my first SACD player, I have nothing to compare it to, but I think it sounds great. However, for redbook and DVD-A, I still prefer my Kenwood. The bass is not as refined on the OPPO for either format; it's not a huge difference, but it's definitely there. All listening was done via the analog outs on both players.
I'm going to return the OPPO in favor of another universal player, although I haven't decided on which one yet. One thing that bothers me more and more about the OPPO is the disc tray. First, it doesn't extend out all the way when it opens, so you can't just set the disc in the tray; you have to slide about an inch of inside the player, which concerns me that I'll end up scratching some of my discs. Second, the tray doesn't have any recessed areas around the edges where you can put your thumb to assist in loading/unloading discs. I end up just sticking my finger in the center hole of the disc and lifting it that way. It works, but it could be designed better. Still, for $149, it hard to beat everything it does.