I have a Ayre C5xe-mp and play my 5.1 SACDs, DVD-a's and DTS 5.1's on it and feel that they do sound better, much better, than the redbook versions. So I assume that you would get similar results on an Oppo.
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Click the "i" button on your Oppo remote and it will tell you whether the source is dts or mlp as well as the sampling. I presume you are linked to a monitor as the default layer of a DVD-A without selecting could be anything depending on the disc. Also go back thru your setup menu to be sure which 5.1 defaults you have selected.
Thanks for the tips Oldears. I hook up my computer monitor if I can't get it to play 2CH blind. There is also an Audio button on the bottom of the remote that pulls up the MCH or 2CH menu and scrolls through the choices. Of course you need a video screen to actually see the menu but the Oppo display will tell you which one you're playing.