I am in complete agreement with Hhop. I have an EVS-modified Oppo 105 (the plain one, not the D version), and before that I had a 95 also modified by Ric. The 95 was already very very good, but the 105 is on a different level. I have done all the modifications listed on Ric's site, including the linear power supply and balanced jfet output buffers. The balanced outputs go straight into a Bryston amp driving Gallo Strada II speakers; volume control is done in the Oppo.
The modified 105 has more of everything. Tonal accuracy of instruments is very important for me: with this player you can tell different types of violins, and piano sounds (almost) like a real piano. Detail is also excellent: you can count the frequency of vibratos on string instruments, and appreciate different bowing styles and attacking techniques on the strings. It is very easy to tell apart the different players in chamber music. But what the player does really well is orchestral music. It keeps its poise in noisy tutti passages, with the players distinct in their correct positions.
Ric doesn't seem to promote himself as much as other modders, but he definitely knows what he's doing, and the sound of his modified Oppos is there to prove it.
"I consider the Dunlavys to be the weakest link in my audio chain."
Your weakest link is far better than most people's strongest link.
Another happy EVS customer. Did the complete set of 2-channel mods. I mostly listen to Redbook, with a smattering of SACDs and DVD-Audio. Dramatic improvement in low-level detail, and most sonic attributes. Ric was a delight to work with.
Aftermarket upgrades are a great source of system improvement and I have been reading several sites, including EVS, Modwright, etc...all of which offer their own variations and varying levels which are ostensibly designed to improve the player as a "complete source".
My purchase of an Oppo 105 about 8 months ago was strictly as a transport to feed CD's into my separate Dac...I use the single RCA/Spdif digital output only, into my Lampizator Model Big 6 dac. Both the Dac and the Oppo rest on their own Sistrum Isolation platforms,and both use Triode Wire Labs powercords, plug into a dedicated - for - digital - equipment - only Pi Uberbuss power conditioner which is plugged into its own dedicated 20amp line via another TWL powercord.
My only reason for the Opps's use is as a transport serving a 2 channel system only.I don't use it for video, or multichannel, or internet radio, or any of its other [apparently many] features. It was purchased exclusively as a "coax out" transport. Period.
My question for the upgrade market people would be how much work (and cost) would be involved in simply improving the transport aspects of the player alone, all else remaining essentially stock... [or perhaps simply benefiting as an aside from the transport upgrades such as the power supply, etc]. What/where would be the main areas of attention inside the unit and would it really be a significant cost/upgrade ratio...I know I am the only one who can truly decide such a thing but I am very curious.
Any opinions welcome...
Lissnr, I do the same thing with a Cambridge Audio 752, which uses the Oppo's mainboard. Its transport only, feeding my 2 channel system via the RCA coax output.
My experience is, you can still get gains in sound quality by cleaning up the power supply that feeds the digital mainboard boards. I use a custom LPS from Oppomod.com and I disconnect and remove the audio board.
I have also heard the Oppo transport can get more performance with a clock mod. I have not done this but will be in a few weeks.
EVS does all this, they now have their own custom Linear Power Supply, and can do a mainboard only clock mod, while ignoring the analogue audio side of things.
Thank you Agisthos, you have confirmed what I had suspected...I was sure there must be room for improvement(s). Lamark, I'm happy for you and the many others who have utilized Ric at EVS.
All out 2 channel EVS mod here. Happy with the results. I'm running the Oppo balanced into My Sanders Sound System...2 Magtech amps, Sanders pre, 10c electrostactic speakers with the digital xovers including an excellent equalizer. I love the versatility of the 105 with it's HDMI ins and outs. I have both cable and Apple TV connected and and Roku stick around for extra measures.
When I listen to music I mostly listen to redbook CD's, but the occasional SACD and Bluray disc are played and fully enjoyed. Great unit!
Ric Schultz has been modding digital players for me for well over a decade. I have had my EVS 105D with the all-out two channel mods for about two and a half months now, and am absolutely delighted with the results. Going through many dozens of my favorite cds, I continue to be amazed by the plethora of ambient cues/microdetails, transparency, and air and spaciousness of this player, and how real the instruments sound in my system. Down the road I will exploit the video capabilities of this player (I have only a small monitor at this time and my collections of dvd and blu ray concert discs is not large), but I had these mods done mainly to get the best possible two-channel sound from my cd collection. RicÂs mods provide me with a terrific one-box source, and what I consider a great bang-for-the-buck price.
I know this is audiophile heresy, but--as is the case with my Zu Def4 speakers and ASR Emitter Exclusive Version Blue amp--even if I won the lottery I doubt I would feel compelled to seek out a better digital player than the one I am now enjoying.
Ric Schultz (EVS) modified my Oppo 103 to use the digital HDMI out only. I use it as a player for Blu-ray 5 channel surround sound with video & 2 channel Stereo . He change the switching power supply to a linear power supply, modify the transport, remove the toslink connector, install a super low jitter clock on the main processor and install a AudioMagic Pulse Gen ZX. I must say that I am still amazed at the improvements this made. The sound is so real & believable. Nuances of sound appear everywhere. Separation of instruments, air, articulation is better than anything I have ever heard. There is no harshness. The bass is very well defined with good impact. The bass just seems right & takes it place in the orchestra with out distorting or coloring the other instruments. The top is elegant & the midrange is just glorious! I know you are not interested in video but the video takes on similar characteristics. The video looks 3D but it is not a 3D-TV. The images are sharp & blacks are as black as I have seen. The pictures are so real which is the same characteristic I would give for the sound. I think you would be impressed & happy with RicÂs work.
I too have a fully modified OPPO-105D by EVS for the past two months. I use it strictly for CD/SACD 2-channel audio with balanced IC's. Took a few hundred hours to fully mature and is now the best sounding player I've had in my system over the last 20 years.
I took Ric's advice and removed the steel cover and replaced it with one of his [last ?] MDF covers that just sits on top. I noticed the improvement in a more open sound. The original cover is easily removed with a small Phillips screwdriver and is well worth the effort.
I also have an EVS modded 103 with all the bells & whistles. I also have the top cover removed and replaced it with a clear lucite cover. Highly convenient and just the ticket for being able to frequently access the innards for adding WA Chips, upgraded fuse, 3M AB5100S, what have you.
The jfet outputs only 1 volt. How do you maintain dynamics without a preamp unless your speakers have a very high sensitivity ?
The modded Oppo with the zero feedback fet buffer output stage has 1V per phase and he is running balanced so he has 2V. His Bryston amps can be set to run at 1V sensitivity. His speakers are 90db efficient. He will probably never turn the volume all the way up. Still, some might feel that they get better dynamics going through a preamp. This is sometimes the case. He obviously likes what he hears. Great multichannel preamps are rare! Most of my customers are using preamps (especially for 2 channel listening) but some run the Oppo directly to the amps and are very happy.
Heard from the master. Didn't realize that with my balanced IC's, I'm actually getting 2V output.
I used a Placette passive controller for my previous 4V output player into a 1V sensitivity amp and still ran out of headroom on some CD's. Changing to an active preamp eliminated that problem and improved dynamics with no noticeable decrease in clarity. With my current 2V balanced EVS OPPO , I still have plenty of unused headroom.
Ric's explanation (previous post) pretty much explained it. I can set my Bryston amp at either 1V, 2V, or 4V sensitivity. I discussed this at length with Ric before doing the mod, and he was very helpful. Right now I am using the 2V setting to match the total voltage output of the balanced connection (1V/phase) and use the Oppo volume control, normally between 40 (quiet) and 80 (loud). I have gone up to 100 (max setting) once just to try it, but I wouldn't be able to take that for too long. If I wanted more loudness, I could switch the amps to the 1V setting, but then I would use the digital volume control in a suboptimal range (too much attenuation).
I am very pleased with the dynamic range and overall sound I get with this configuration, a I subscribe to the theory that one should not increase complexity unless there is a clear need for it.
This raises a question re OPPO volume control. Is it modulating the analog output or is it operating in the digital domain ?
32 bit digital volume control built into the ESS DAC chip.
So at a volume setting of 50 when playing a SACD, is the resolution cut off at 16 bits ?
see the pdf athttp://www.esstech.com/PDF/digital-vs-analog-volume-control.pdf
for a technical description of volume control in the Sabre DAC.
If I understand this pdf correctly,it doesn't compare what happens when a 24- bit number from SACD is fed into the 32-bit Sabre DAC.
SACC is 1-bit encoded, I am not sure what happens to the signal in the DAC. As for 24-bit PCM (and 16-bit PCM CDs), the word length is simply padded with 0 to fill the extra bits. Nothing happens to the data: the trailing 0 simply mean that there is no data available for that portion of the signal amplitude (that would be the portion encoding the sounds with lowest volume). This padding process is performed by all DACs that operate with internal resolution higher than 16 bit, but it doesn't mean that the system is capable of operating at that level of signal-to-noise.
Let me also add my praises for Ric's mods on the Oppo 105d. Based upon these glowing comments, I ordered an Oppo 105d, had it sent directly to Ric, and asked him to perform his basic mods, the balanced out upgrade, and new linear power supply. I've been running it now for 4 days. I am just enjoying listening to rebook playback now more than ever. Without the new unit fully broken in, I am hearing no digital glare or grunge, just pure, sweet sounding music, full of details, warmth, PRAT, great sound stage, full base, and great inner details. Ric made this whole thing easy; he was a delight to chat with, was happy to be honest about how I could get the most bang for my buck, kept me updated, and shipped it out promptly. If you have an Oppo, I urge you to try to these mods. The video picture on VUDU and BD playback are also phenomenal...even though I use this player for equal part music and vide. I agree with the glowing comments of the previous posters...and I usually don't write these glowing reviews....but I'm happy to in this case.
Don't want to beat a dead horse, but if you still have the OPPO cover on, take it off and hear the improvement. Ric does all his testing and listening with the covers off. You can have a Lucite cover made to just sit on top.
I'm assuming a clear lucite cover provides more of a see through sound quality. :-D
I have had an EVS modified OPPO 95 for quite a long time, and have been very happy. Mine was a very early all out mod, so he has been very busy since mine was done. I recently sent mine back to get all the latest mods. All the mods that are for the 105 luckily are available for my 95 as well, so I had the fet output stage as well as the linear power supply done. This has turned out to be a pretty major mod. As I expected, there was increased detail across the board, but I did not expect the resolution of all the background instruments and vocals to greatly improve. Everything can be heard much more discretely. Thanks again Ric, for your good work. Keep it up.
I probably have more than 500 hours on my EVS Oppo-105D and found that its musicality has improved significantly.I had a friend over today who has critical listening skills and grudgingly gives praise.He was very impressed with the current sound vs. his last session here after only 150 hours.
So it appears that the Fet zero-feedback stage needs plenty of break-in, but it's well worth it.
Ric installed the J-FET output stage on my Oppo BDP-105.Sounds is detailed,quiet with OUTSTANDING imaging.Sound is so good I feel I didn't need the Linear power supply mods and the transport mods although I still might get them done at a later date.
Have you guys compared how the 105 sounds via XLR Vs RCA?
Suggest you get the full mods if you can.I'm sure you would hear another layer of improvement.
My player was originally interconnected with XLR's.I made the shift from RCA's several years ago and immediately heard the difference.
I just got my oppo 105 moded by Ric and it managed to give me one of those Wow moments. I've listened to a lot of great gear over the years and not all of it surprises me, but this $650 mod did.
I received my modified output board yesterday (3 week turnaround inc coast to coast shpg). Now 20 hrs break-in.
What I hear is improved attack, texture, and decay all through the range (easy to hear on kick drum & plucked bass). Also improved image & PRAT. Fuller, richer sound.
I was pleased with the Oppp 105, but with what I hear now I would characterize the pre-mod sound as "light-weight". I could not go back. Highly recommended!
I've been experimenting with a bunch of BlackDiscus samples on my EVS OPPO-105D for the past few months and thought I'd pass my results on to those of you who have this player.
Ric suggested a BD over the 2-channel DAC, but I didn't get any perceived improvement and it got hot trapping heat unnecessarily over the DAC.
I got noticeable clarity and imaging improvement in the following areas:
-two single[half] BD's over the 4 horizontal caps in the right rear [analog board]
-two single BD's over the 2 vertical can caps in the right front
- a trio of 3 sample sets [6 singles] under the disc tray centered 3 -1/2 inches from the front face
- a double stack of BD's [4 singles] centered on my wood cover over Ric's transformer, left rear.
Am intrigued by the sonic benefits users are describing with EVS mods, but to my admittedly untrained eye the pictures of these mods look pretty scary.
Yes his mod pictures look like a dogs breakfast. But I guess it's the performance that counts.
I think his issue is he uses copper wire sheathed in cotton as the connecting links. So it does not look very clean.
I agree that the Oppo 105 if upgraded properly is a world class piece of gear. I had John Tucker of Exemplar Audio upgrade mine and it is simply stunning. I would place it in "up to 15K" comparison. No edge, brightness, no sterile sound just gorgeous sounding. It is very MUSICAL, quite analogue sounding.
$4750. for a tubed modified OPPO !! Wow! What all did he do for that price? I thought that Modwright was the primo tube -modified OPPO-105 with a separate tube power supply.
Alternatively: Get those delightful gains and save several Benjamins. Just add a Maze Audio Ref4 PC, a Yaqin CD-3 tube buffer with better tubes after the OPPO with Maze or Silnote interconnect. "Absolutely stunning, WOW, OMG musicality, zero digital sounding" without risking the OPPO's reliability/factory serviceability. Just a happy-as-a-several-clams-I-did thought. Saving those $$$ toward the next OPPO.
Can I assume your tube buffer solution would only affect analog out?