OPPO Digital of Menlo Park, California continues to amaze me with the quality of the product build and the sound from their products, for ridiculously inexpensive prices. From their very first DVD players, their products have been overachievers. They’ve caught everyone off guard with how good their audio sections sound. Want to know how good they are? Next time you’re at an audio show, notice how many OPPOs there are in rooms with systems that cost well over $50,000. Another way to know how good they are is to look at who is choosing to modify them.
The newest entry in the OPPO family of digital audio products is their Sonica DAC. It merges audiophile-grade performance with the latest network streaming technology for only $799. It’s hard to believe, but the Sonica DAC really does improve on the highly regarded audio performance of previous OPPO products, such as the HA-1 headphone amplifier and the BDP-105 universal player (which I own), by upgrading the DAC chipset to the flagship ESS ES9038PRO SABRE DAC.
In my full review, which will be published soon, I’ll get more into the features and sound of the Sonica DAC, but for now, I’ll just share what is so exciting to me about this product. Most of you know I’m first and foremost a vinyl guy. Still, really good FM radio is one thing that I miss in the 21st century. I live between the East Bay hills in the San Francisco Bay Area near Mount Diablo, and I can’t pick up a good FM signals even on a car radio. I don’t like satellite radio; it’s programmed playlists get boring really fast. With the Sonica, I can access and stream music from my computer and satisfy my need for a radio. This use for the product let’s me stream albums and decide if I want to buy them. Great sound for streamed music is something even you non-vinyl guys can get excited about. Stay tuned, I’ll finish the review shortly.