January 18, 2013
| by Grant Clauser
On the audio side, the BDP-105 supports bit-stream output and onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio. With SACDs you can take your pick of native DSD or PCM via HDMI or analog. The unit offers 7.1 channel analog outputs plus two ESS Sabre32 Reference DACs, a toroidal linear power supply, dedicated stereo outputs with both RCA and XLR balanced connections, and a headphone amplifier connected directly to the DAC.
If you have a vast digital music collection on a computer or external drive, the Oppo becomes an audiophile’s friend by offering an asynchronous USB DAC.
One of the most interesting features, and one I’ve not seen before on a Blu-ray player, is dual HDMI inputs (one supporting MHL) so you can connect other components to take advantage of the Oppo’s processing power. This means you can use the Oppo to upscale your Apple TV, game console, smartphone or cable box to 4K.
Strangely, with all those connections, Wi-Fi isn’t built into the player. It comes with a Wi-Fi adapter though, so it’s all good. The built-in Ethernet port is a better choice for a network connection anyway.
The setup menu and options are equally stuffed. Complete audio and picture adjustments let an installer tune the player to your system and room more than any Blu-ray player I’ve seen. This is clearly a serious home theater device, not the kind of player you hook up to a mediocre flat panel in the den. It even offers a stretch mode for systems that use a projector with an anamophic lens. In that mode the black bars on 2.35:1 aspect radio movies are eliminated, making a perfect fit for your Cinemascope screen.
With such a comprehensive wish list of features, you’d expect stellar performance, and that’s what I got. First, it’s pretty fast. Big box Blu-ray players still tend to be slow-pokes when it comes to loading discs, changing menus and going online, but the BDP-105 wasted none of my time. I hit the player with all the video-killing test patterns I could find, and the Oppo batted them away like Godzilla swatting down fighter jets.
For movie torture tests, I ran Jet Li’s Flying Swords of Dragon Gate. While much of the action, and all of the dialog, is a little ridiculous, the disc can be a serious challenge for a video processor. The opening scene in particular, where the camera cruises though a medieval shipyard, presents an obstacle course of masts, ropes and waving flags. My Panasonic Blu-ray player passes a lot of that out as artifact mashed potatoes, but the Oppo rendered most of the edges smooth and clear for my 120-inch screen.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.