Electrocompanient EMP-2 vs. Oppo BDP-103


I was surprised to discover recently that looking inside the $3500.00 Electrocompanient EMP-2 Univeral Blu Ray player that its using the exact same high quality power board and transport thats inside the $500.00 Oppo BDP-103. The processor signal board in the EMP-2 looks average and I guess the much higher price is paying for the pretty face plate. Another example that Oppo player's are a steal. Curious if Oppo is providing OEM services for Electrocompanient and making their EMP-2.
audiozen
I'm not sure I understand what you are saying. Are both the transports and boards exactly the same?

"EMP-2 Univeral Blu Ray player that its using the exact same high quality power board and transport thats inside the $500.00 Oppo BDP-103"

"The processor signal board in the EMP-2 looks average"

To me, it looks like you are saying that the board in the EMP-2 is high quality, and then you go on to say it looks average. Also, did you compare the analog sections to see if they were the same as well? That also has a big effect on SQ.
Zd542...you missed what I wrote and need to read over again. I'm talking about two separate boards in the EMP-2. The high quality main power board that is in the front left of the unit and the signal processor board in the back. The power board in the front is an exact twin of the power board in the left front of the Oppo BDP-103. The Transport housing in the EMP-2 is identical to the one in the Oppo. Looking at both boards and the layout work in both units, it appears the Electrocompanient is a ripoff for the outrageous price of $ 3500.00. But of course you get a better machined face plate and those pretty gold buttons on the front.
By now you have discovered that life is all about 'packaging' and 'marketing'. The parts you find in most electronic items are usually from a single source. As one example you will find the chips in Sony CD players to be almost identical, with power supplies and other components slightly different. Sony also sells their chips and transports to others. Small manufacturers like Electrocompanient, do not have the resources to do their own chips and transports, so they go to the 'big guys', as do most of the other hi end brands. I think most buyers understand that hi end business model. Think about it, some Kia parts are to be found in BMW's. Who knew.
The EMP-2 is basically a modified BDP-103, but that doesn't mean that it's overprice cr*p... There's quite a analog audio path is quite different, the power supply (although based on the BDP-103) is not exactly the same, as you have different components (much higher quality). The transport is good, so why change it? Same thing does with the video board.

I doubt Oppo has anything to do with the EMP-2, except supplying components of the innards. Electrocompaniet does have their own machine shop and can really make some beautiful (and function) casings, etc.

I would agree that doesn't necessarily make the EMP-2 a good value though... I think you need to compared it more towards the BDP-105 and I suspect that the different at that point won't be that much...
Audiozen,

After reading your 2nd post, I see what you are talking about. I wasn't clear on the fact that you were talking about 2 different boards in the same machine.

Buconero117,

"By now you have discovered that life is all about 'packaging' and 'marketing'. The parts you find in most electronic items are usually from a single source. As one example you will find the chips in Sony CD players to be almost identical, with power supplies and other components slightly different. Sony also sells their chips and transports to others. Small manufacturers like Electrocompanient, do not have the resources to do their own chips and transports, so they go to the 'big guys', as do most of the other hi end brands. I think most buyers understand that hi end business model. Think about it, some Kia parts are to be found in BMW's. Who knew."

I think that statement applies to mass market brands more than it does to high end brands. While its true that most high end brands need to buy things like transports and dac chips, its what they do with them that's important. Transports can be modified. Chips can be paired with better components and designs. For some examples of what I am talking about, search for some pics of some common high end CD player brands. (Wadia, Ayre, BAT, Cary, ML, Krell, Arcam/DCS and whatever else you feel is in that league). You can almost always find pics with the top covers off the machines. To me, the inside of those components look like well made high end audio components. The inside of a Sony player dosen't; not even the good models. Teac, of course is an exception. I'm not talking about a fancy case, but the quality and implication of the actual components used to support the off the shelf parts made by the big companies. There will, no doubt, be some exceptions. Maybe the EMP-2 is one of them (I won't say, one way or the other, because I don't know the player that well). Armed with a little research and a lot of listening, I think your chances of getting stuck with an overpriced, average sounding CD player, is pretty low. As far as putting Kia parts in a BMW, that would be a very smart move for BMW. (Sorry, I just couldn't help myself.)
Audiojan..There is no difference at all with the power board regarding parts in the EMP-2 and the BDP-103. The parts are identical since they are twin boards from the same manufacturer. All you have to do is look at the interior shots on Bing and Google images. It is the same power board with identical parts with no changes whatsoever. Ii appears the Engineer's at Cambridge Audio have just surpassed Oppo toppling the BDP-105. Those busy bee's have just come out and upgraded the Azur 751BD with their newest model, the Azur 752BD using a switching mode power supply. Recent listening tests in London put it head to head against the Oppo BDP-105 finding the Audio playback
superior to the Oppo. The interior board work is stunning as is the Oppo and around the same price at $1200.00 Wouldn't surprise me if the new Cambridge equals the Electrocompanient EMP-2. As far as sub $1000 player's, the Oppo BDP-103 has no rivals.
typo.."It appears"..not Ii...need more caffeine.
"Wouldn't surprise me if the new Cambridge equals the Electrocompanient EMP-2. As far as sub $1000 player's, the Oppo BDP-103 has no rivals."

I don't mean to start an argument but unless you've actually listened to not only the Cambridge, but all the other sub $1000 players, as well, I don't see how you can make that judgement. Also, I don't put much faith in reviews. Your opinion is just a valid as anyone's.
I`d listen to the components before drawing any conclusions based on visual inspection alone. If the two players differ in their power supplies or analog circuit quality this would result in significant differences of levels of performance.
I read somewhere that part of the issue is that smaller manufacturers like Electrocompaniet cannot afford the high Blu-Ray license fees for small production volumes.

So they turn to larger manufacturers and source the base parts and in effect buy the license for a much cheaper price.

I have not listened to the units in a side-by-side comparison, but EC does add a balanced output stage and upsamples both PCM and SACD. I think the Ayre DX-5, also based on Oppo, does the same thing.

For some, Electrocompaniet's improvements, its quality reputation, and its house sound are well worth the price over the Oppo. For others, not so much.
What you are paying for in the Elecrocompaniet is a very different high quality dac board which is what Electro is adding the dac board is a $2k dac, hence the difference in price is the superior case and analog board.