OPPO Digital is a very interesting company; an independently operated division of OPPO. Founded in 2004, it is based in Mountain View, California and quickly became known in the audio industry for the sound of their universal DVD and Blu-ray disc players. Not long after their start, their players became so highly respected as being close in sound to the very best digital that often in audio shows they would be the source in very expensive systems.
I owned one of the early OPPO players, and while it sounded very, very good for the money, nothing about its build quality, packing or even its sound said high-end. Well, that changed with their 105D. Everything about it says high-end in an understated way. Now, there is the UDP-205. It is a universal player that even plays 4K discs. The casework is substantial and expensive looking. When removing the 205 from its velvet case, I knew that this player was intended to appeal to senses other than auditory. The UDP-205 can play any commonly available 45/8″ silver disc and decode and output almost all audio and video content. The packaging, the build quality and most of all the sound says high-end in a most emphatic way. Its beautiful reinforced case contains a toroidal transformer in its power supply and enough strategically placed heatsinks to eliminate the need for a fan. The 205 fits right into my system both in looks and sound with the Pass Labs XA30.8, Teresonic Ingenium XR speakers, AMG V12 Turntable and V12 Turbo Tonearm.
The 205 weighs in at a considerable 22 pounds, and it costs a very reasonable $1,299. It has two cutting-edge ES Technology ES9038PRO 32-bit HyperStream DACs, which OPPO says, “sets a new benchmark for audio excellence with its best in class 140 dB of dynamic range.” What is even more important for most of you is that OPPO says it was engineered to provide high-end quality sound. OPPO says it uses a “high-stability, high-precision HDMI clock and a special HDMI audio jitter-reduction circuit” that reduces jitter and eliminates timing errors when you use the audio-only HDMI output port for connecting the audio signal.” If it weren’t for their past units, one might take all that as marketing, but experience and my ears tell me otherwise.
Installing this unit was easy in both my digital/video system and my reference system. The home menu acts as the hub for all of your digital media should you use the UDP-205 for more than just playing Ultra HD Blu-rays. It lays out all the options from left to right at the bottom of the screen for your media playback as icons. The first item listed is the type of disc in the drawer ( Blu-ray, SACD) with music, photos, movies and network connectivity following. The setup menu is also in this layout. You will do most of the setup when the player is installed, but this menu can also be brought up during playback via the setup key on the remote. This is a convenience that I have not seen before.
In My Digital/Video System
I started using the OPPO 205 in my video system for break-in and to see what the picture would look like. My system consists of a 65-inch Sony XBR 4K TV, an Electrocompaniet PI 2D Prelude Integrated Amplifier, and DirectTV HiDef DVR. The Electrocompaniet is driving a pair of Audience ClairAudient 1+1 V2+ Loudspeakers and TBI Audio Systems Magellan VIP Active Subwoofers. The cables in this system are Audience for speaker cables and digital. The interconnects are also from Audience. I used the 205 with its stock power cord in this system.
I started by only using the 205 as a movie player. I was shocked that the picture was better than it had been on the 105D on any disc I watched; in fact, it was much better! The 4K discs I played were even more incredible, but from what I’ve heard from others, you can get this kind of video from the new 203 which cost $750 less than the 205. So with that said, the point of this review is how does it sound? I eventually used the 205 as the media player for the DVR and for all the music and videos available on our house server. It sounded best using the Electrocompaniet just as an integrated amp. I also used it both with the wonderful Audience ClairAudient 1+1 V2+ speakers and the Fritz Carrera BE.
In my review of the OPPO 105D when comparing the 105D to the Electrocompaniet DAC in the same system I said, “The sound has less of a digital edge, is fuller, has more tonal color and more detail. It is especially better than the Electrocompaniet when it comes to air and spatial information. In this system, I felt the bass was powerful with nice air and decay. Voices, both male, and female, sounded really natural with great air and space around them. This was true of solo voices, small ensembles or even choral works.” As I have already said, I was surprised by how much better the 205 sounded. After playing it for over three weeks in this system, I moved it to my reference system.”
Listening to the UDP 205 in My Reference System
For this review, I removed the DS-Audio Master1 phono stage and plugged in the OPPO. There were two reasons for this. First, it allowed me to use the best power cord and the same interconnects that I was using in the reference system. Second, wasit forced me to listen only to digital for a couple of weeks. The 205 was connected to my Emia Remote Autoformer which is connected to my Pass Labs 30.8 that drives my Teresonic Ingenium XR Silver speakers. All the cabling was Audience Au24SX and the all the power cords were Audience Au24S that were plugged into an HB Cables Marble Power Distributor.
The OPPO 105D was a wonderful SACD player but only a good CD player. So, the question for me was how much better would the 205 be, especially as a CD player. Well, yes it is better as both a SACD player and a CD player. It is also very, very good when streaming DSD and HD files. The truth is, when streaming these files or as an SACD player, it comes pretty close to playing with the big boys. As a CD player or when streaming CD-quality files, it is good, really good for the money. Still, if I was listening to CDs, I would rather listen to them played on a 47 Labs 4735 Midnight Blue CD Player or an Audio Note 4.1x/II. Now the 47 Labs cost twice as much and the Audio Note many times as much, So, without a doubt, the OPPO is a very good CD player for the money and a great universal disc player for any price. Add in the fantastic video it gives you when you use it for the hub of a video system, and this unit is simply amazing.
I don’t remember ever reviewing a product I could recommend as being such an outstanding value for the money in so many different roles. Like the 105D, the UPD-205 is a great SACD player. The 105D wasn’t nearly as good on CDs, but the UPD-205 is a very good CD player. It is also a great DAC for High Res and DSD files. As a DVD, Blu-ray, and Ultra HD (4K) Blu-ray video player it’s the best I have seen. It is also a pretty good digital preamp, but not for a true state of the art system.
OPPO UDP 205 SPECIFICATIONS
FORMATS: 4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, AVCHD, SACD, CD, Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW, DVD±R DL, BD-R/RE
VIDEO CODECS: HEVC, H.264, VP9 4K, Hi10P, MPEG-2
AUDIO CODECS: DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, AIFF, WAVE, ALAC, APE, FLAC, native DSD64 2.0 & 5.1, DSD128 2.0 & 5.1 converted to PCM
ULTRA HD: BT.2020, HDR10, Dolby Vision (with firmware upgrade)
UP-CONVERSION TO: 3840×2160
VIDEO OUTPUT: 1x HDMI 2.0 w/HDCP 2.2
SECONDARY OUTPUT: 1x HDMI 1.4a
HDMI input, 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, RJ-45 (LAN), RS-232C, trigger in/out, TOSlink, coaxial, 7.1/5.1/stereo RCA analog out, XLR stereo out, USB/coax/TOSlink in
DIMENSIONS: 16.8W x 12.2D x 4.8H inches
WEIGHT: 22 lbs.
WARRANTY: 2 years