External DAC For Oppo 105 At What Cost?


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Approximately how much would you have to spend on an external DAC to significantly better the sound of the internal Dac in the Oppo 105?
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Don't you want for other digital sources as well? I'd recommend to search for versatile DAC rather than for vintage design with at least USB input.
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Marakanetz,

All of the digital sources I need and use are in the Oppo 105. I only play cd's and listen to Pandora & Rhapsody. It also has the capability to stream digital files from a hard drive if I should ever decide to do that one day.

Approximately how much would you have to spend on an external DAC to significantly better the sound of the internal Dac in the Oppo 105?
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I don't know the answer to your specific question, but have you considered the Modwright modification? It is phenomenal!
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I'm aware of the Modwright mods. I'm more specifically interested as to how much I would have to spend to significantly better the dac in the Oppo 105.

Is anyone out there using an external DAC with the Oppo 105? If so, what are you using?
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Sure...I understand. My point was/is only "what if the Modwright version sounds better than the stock 105 with a better DAC?"
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Jfz, you know it doesn't end there. If I got it modified by Modwright, I'd probably still want to know how much I'd have to spend to significantly better the DAC in the modded unit. As far as I know Modwright doesn't do any mods to the DAC.
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05-31-13: Mitch4t
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Jfz, you know it doesn't end there. If I got it modified by Modwright, I'd probably still want to know how much I'd have to spend to significantly better the DAC in the modded unit. As far as I know Modwright doesn't do any mods to the DAC.
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Mitch4t (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread
That's a ridiculous question. The only way to know is buy everything in the market and compare them for YOURSELF.
I bought an Oppo 105 to use as a coax digital output to feed a dac. Can't say what the difference was/is because I haven't bothered using it on its own...I wanted to know it was (supposed to be) good all alone in case I felt like giving it a try someday but mostly as a back-up if I ever had any dac issues...My dac is a brand new Lampizator Level 4 Gen 4 and it's spectacular...I honestly can't imagine better (I gave up my Bryston BDA-1 for it which I really enjoyed...) it is truly a marvel. Maybe the Oppo is darn good? But I can't help you answer that at the moment. All told I have approximately 176 of the 200 required break-in hours and I couldn't be happier with the combo. (Yes, I know I could have paid a fraction of the price for something else as a transport/coax output but the reviews of the Oppo lead me to believe it was a good price/performance ratio for my system if I ever had to rely on it alone for any stretch of time). Good luck with your decision.
Forgot to add FYI the Lampizator ranges from about $5K - $6K depending on options.
Hi Lissnr, if you ever get bored one night, plug straight into the Oppo and give it a listen. Just like the original poster, I'm very interested in an answer to this question.
Mitch,
Modwright puts an excellent tube output stage on the DAC.....so yes, the DAC is improved with his mod. I also mod the 105 and also change the clock to the DAC and modify the power supply to the DAC as well as a host of other things. So, a modified 105 has a mucho better DAC. A Lampizator or other expensive DAC might sound better than my modified 105 (using simple zero feeback j-fet buffer for output stage)...but have not compared it to other such options. I would think several $1500+ DACs (Eastern Electric with Dexa op amps, Exasound, Mytek, etc.) would beat the stock 105 DAC/output stage.....but my modified DAC/output stage is way, way better than stock. None of the above mentioned DACs has as pure an output stage as mine. They all use the same DAC chip, as well.
"Because it's what I choose to believe." Scientist Dr. Elizabeth Shaw in the movie Prometheus, when asked why she believed that the alien Engineers were heading to Earth to destroy us.
Good point, Mitch. It never seems to end for us audiophiles.
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Knghifi, having a bad day?
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Ricevs, your response changes everything. Very informative and helpful. Thank you for the info.

mitch
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Hi Seikosha, If I'm ever a little bored/curious I'll do that and give the Oppo its straight shot. I'll let you know. Best,
06-01-13: Mitch4t
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Knghifi, having a bad day?
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Mitch4t (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers | This Thread)
Actually a fantastic day. Beautiful weather and chowing down fried clams. Thanks for asking.
Hi Mitch,
Ricevs's response is sort of what I was getting at.
John
Ricevs, your response changes everything. Very informative and helpful. Thank you for the info.

mitch

Ricevs' response doesn't change anything for us. It only makes you realize how ridiculous your original question was. No, I too am having a fantastic day. It's just that..I've just read an arrogant post.
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Kzhtoo & Knghifi, where do idiots like you come from that sit around and flame posters here on the 'Gon? Shouldn't you be somewhere pulling the wings off of insects or something?

Geez, if you don't like the post...keep moving.

Get a life.
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Idiot? I'm not the one who asked "how much more to spend to significantly better 105 dac" and followed up with more ridiculousness. Now, someone's really having a bad day.
You might as well be OK with classic DACs out there on the market and don't need to spend much even vs. modwright upgrades. old classic ead dsp7000 for low-hundreds used may make your day and if not it's safe to sell it.

personally, i'm happy to switch from cd-player to pc-dac because i can play higher resolution digital material that sound superior to red-book cd and very close to analogue.
Interesting question but I would tend to believe that the output stage and power supply of a modded 105 would be significantly better than an separate DAC, that is unless MAYBE you were to spend a significant amount more for a separate DAC. There is no way of knowing this without listening to better DACs' than some of the ABOVE recommended. Changing out an op-amp IS NOT going to compensate for a better designed power supply and output stage IMHO. I feel quite certain, based on my experience NONE of the above mentioned would improve on a modded 105, just a hunch but I have some experience with the 95 and 5 different outboard DACs. The Modwright "truth mod" is definitely, hands down in another league.
Interesting question but I would tend to believe that the output stage and power supply of a modded 105 would be significantly better than an separate DAC, that is unless MAYBE you were to spend a significant amount more for a separate DAC. There is no way of knowing this without listening to better DACs' than some of the ABOVE recommended, excluding the Lampizator which I haven't heard. Changing out an op-amp IS NOT going to compensate for a better designed power supply and output stage IMHO. I feel quite certain, based on my experience most of the above mentioned would not improve on a modded 105, just a hunch but I have some experience with the 95 and 5 different outboard DACs. The Modwright "truth mod" is definitely, hands down in another league. Good question Mitch but really tough to answer to the satisfaction of what you are looking for as a definitive answer.
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Tubegroover, thanks for your response, I really appreciate it. I am currently using an Audio Research CD7 cd player. I love the sound of my player. However, I listen to Pandora and Rhapsody much more than I play cd's only because it is much more convenient. I can get about $4500 for it if I sold it.

I like the idea of the Oppo 105 because it would allow me to stream my ripped cd's from a hard drive. Streaming my ripped music would give me the convenience that I get from Rhapsody & Pandora with much greater resolution.

The whole point of my question is, I'd want the Oppo 105 with an improved DAC to at least equal the sound of my current cd player. How much would I have to spend on an improved DAC if I bought the Oppo 105 to equal or better the sound of my CD7? I currently don't have a serious DAC/hard drive system to stream my ripped cd's

The new Audio Research CD9 comes equipped with a DAC that accepts inputs, including USB. It costs $13k and I just don't have that kind of scratch.

From what I've read in the above posts, the Modwright Oppo 105 seems to be the ticket.

Thanks to all of you for your positive input, I really appreciate it.

mitch
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After owning a Burmester 089 and GNSC modded Wadia S7i, I can without reservation, recommend the ModWright Oppo 105 with tube rolling.
Very entertaining thread! :-)

Hi Ric. ;-)
Mitch, I've owned the stock Oppo 105 and found its sound acceptable but not stellar. If you have CD7 you probably will be disappointed by a stock 105.

Adding an external DAC will get you computer audio capability, but the 105 is not a great red book CD transport either. Again it's acceptable but not stellar, I've compared it to Theta/CEC etc. And I found the 105's SPDIF output is actually 48kHz instead of 44.1kHz. The conversion from 44.1 to 48 is never a good thing!

On DVD and Bluray, the 105's SPDIF output is also 48kHz, I called Oppo to verify, no, it doesn't give you 24/96 unless it's via HDMI.

So, 44.1 becomes 48, 96/192 also becomes 48, the 105 as a disc transport is useless for audiophiles.

So my suggestion is either modify the 105 to the highest level, or go for a high-end DAC and leave the 105 intact for home theater duties.
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Yingtonggao, thank you for posting your comments. Very informative.
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This is a good thread and I do not want to derail it but have to ask a question that I have posted before and not received an answer.

Would the folks who have paid for the Modwright modification tell me what I am going to hear "better" or "more" for the roughly $2K investment?

I have enough ear to tell the difference between tubes and no tubes. Is that the only difference or what else?

I have actually sent a email to Modwright asking the same question and never received a response.

It is a genuine question because the straight Oppo 105 was a good improvement in my system - more detail and more analog like sound while maintaining the musicality.
Any well thought out dac in the $2k range will beat a modded player
9 out of 10 times ,just like separates you can fit much more digital hardware under the hood and companies like eXasound have completely isolated
Seperate power supplies to give even more isolation,and you can buy
An outstanding aftermarket powersupply for $400 or under that really
Improve the unit even further in every respect.i have had at least 10 dacs in the last 10 years,finally with DSD you are able to honestly
Compete with the best of vinyl
Myself want the best bang for the buck am leaning towards the eXasound E20 with optional 82fs Femto second which is a 1,000 times more then a pico second and for roughly $100 ,where msb wants $1000s which is insane, this and a bigger power supply ,are a great combination,and the only dac to do 4x DSD to date.future proof .
I ended up with the New Luxman da-06 it was IMO the most natural
Sounding in my system far more$$ then I anticipated but is all setup for up to 2X DSD and the naturalness cannot be denied.
Audioman58,
Did you ever audition the e20?
Audioman, no digital competes with the best of vinyl. The very limited nature of digital playback, and it's necessary conversion to analog, make it inferior in every way.
OP...Not trying to derail your thread but I had to comment on the last posters reply.

12-19-13: Macdadtexas

Is it safe to assume you have had a digital setup in your room of equal quality and value to your vinyl system to validate such a claim?

Theres nothing more anoying then when vinyl heads spew crap about the sound of digital because they, at one point, bought a half baked digital device/devices and were not happy with the sound and then stand on a chair to proclaim the superiority of vinyl because they failed in their own implementation of digital.

Not saying this is you because I know nothing about you but your tone lead me to wonder if you are one of "those people".

Now back to our regularly schedule program.
Suggest you might far more enjoy adding a decent two tube buffer, good tubes and cables between the 105 and your preamp. I did am truly blown away and so are my jealous $3k+ modified players friends. Remarkable how adding something in the chain opens up and makes everything sound more like real people playing real instruments and removes the electronics sound.
I’m writing to correct misinformation above from yingtonggao in the post on 09-10-13 at 12:44pm:

The Oppo 103(D)/105(D) coaxial and optical outputs are not limited to 48khz for all files types and do not upsample Redbook audio from 44.1khz to 48khz. These outputs send PCM data at 16-bit/44.1khz from Redbook discs, when streaming HiFi from Tidal, or when playing MP3 or lossless CD rips from a computer or local network/drive.

Per page 19 of the owner’s manual (http://download.oppodigital.com/BDP105/BDP-105_USER_MANUAL_English_v1.4.pdf), the optical and coaxial outputs cannot pass certain high resolution formats on certain types of discs due to bandwidth and/or copyright restrictions.

For DVD and Blu-ray discs, high-resolution lossless audio formats will not be passed through anything but HDMI. This has nothing to do with Oppo’s coaxial or optical outputs, but rather external factors. Per Oppo’s tech support via personal email:

"Digital coaxial and optical can do 24-bit/192kHz, but only from sources like AIFF, ALAC, FLAC and WAV files. For Blu-rays, you are restricted to low resolution 24-bit/48kHz due to [Digital Rights Management]."

However, for movies this sampling rate limitation does not really matter because nearly all DVD and Blu-ray movie soundtracks are encoded at 48khz. The only time this limitation actually limits you is if you are trying to play lossless movie tracks (bandwidth limitation) or a music/concert disc encoded at 24-bit/96khz or higher (copyright limitation) through the coaxial or optical outputs. The Oppo can play high resolution, 24-bit/192khz FLAC files downloaded from HD Tracks when piped to the player through a local hard drive, thumb drive or local network.

For Super Audio CDs, due to copyright restrictions DSD cannot be sent over coaxial or optical outputs on any disc player (save an Audiopraise Vanity103 HD DoP board-modified 103/D). When coaxial or optical outputs are used when playing SACDs, the Oppo performs internal DSD-to-PCM conversion and passes 24-bit/88.2khz despite the hardware being capable of 24-bit/176.4khz. For the reason why, please see the below from this FAQ:

Why not 176.4KHz when converting SACD to PCM?

The hardware is capable of doing 176.4 and the licensing is not different. OPPO believes that 88.2KHz actually produces a better quality result for SACD DSD to PCM conversion. OPPO feels that even to offer 176.4 as an option would mislead people into thinking the higher rate must be better when that’s simply not the case.

SACD players do not convert at a higher rate -- as measured at the Analog output. The process of producing Analog from DSD for SACD requires a 50KHz filter (just as exists in the OPPO’s DACs when DSD-Direct-to-Analog conversion is in effect), which is the equivalent of a 100KHz sampling rate limit (see Nyquist Limit). 88.2 is the highest multiple of 44.1 that does not exceed 100.

If you’re only going to play Redbook discs or Super Audio CDs, there may be dedicated players that would better suit your needs. This is likely because they have better damping in the chassis and the transport and do not have any network, video, or headphone amp functionality. However, you will not get a better value than the Oppo 105/D though, especially if you have any interest at all in Blu-ray or other video capabilities; streaming from a local network or numerous online services, now including Tidal; have a local hard drive or computer to connect via USB; or have external devices like an Apple TV, game console (watch the input lag!), etc. to use with the HDMI and/or other digital inputs. It’s truly an audiophile’s Swiss Army Knife (coming from someone who uses it with an external, PCM-only DAC in a video 2.0 system).

To clarify the above because I cannot further edit the post: no player can output music from SACDs from an optical or digital output (save the Vanity board modification I described) due to copyright protection. This includes even the CD layer. The DSD-to-PCM conversion discussed above applies to HDMI/analog outputs only. See page 19 of the owner's manual.
It all comes down to personal preference. I'm using MW Sony 5400 with the updated PS 9.9 and I prefer it to all of the Dacs I've owned to include EE, Bryston, Berkeley and the Lampi Amber upgraded/equivalent to the Lvl 4 Gen 5 with a Tungsol rectifier .

They all were refined and sounded pretty good but at the expense of a much smaller soundstage and a decrease in impact. The MW soundstage was much larger/fuller and that's why I'm hesitant in trying any other Dacs or MW new Dac, because I'm happy with the sound of my spinner...