If you're going to use this machine to watch movies, then the CA blue ray players or Oppo will be just fine. If you have a lot of SACD then I'd look at Marantz. Can't speak on the Oppo 105d, but I think the CA 751 is probably close. I can tell you if you're primarily listening to red book cd's, a CA 851C is far better than the CA blue ray machines. As far as your CAL goes, any of the machines you noted will be better. CAL's were very nice machines in their days and still good today, but not up to these machines. If you have a lot of SACD's don't overlook Marantz.
In my experience, until now the Oppo would have been my first choice. Straight out of the box, no mods. Also my experience, Arcam has bested Cambridge in sound quality. I have heard several players and DAC's.(even though at one time they both used Wolfson DACS)
Here are a few quotes I have found on line regarding Arcams universal player UDP411.
"...In fact, it’s worth mentioning here that the OPPO BDP-105D, the UDP411’s closest competitor, offers a decent range of smart functionality (Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube), dual HDMI ports, multichannel outputs and DVD-Audio playback for around £100 less than the Arcam..."
"...We had a OPPO BDP-105D on test at the same time as the Arcam and were able to do a straight comparison. There isn’t a great deal between them – these are clearly two audiophile decks operating at the top of their game – but we preferred the Arcam’s slightly smoother and more insightful presentation..."
I personally would audition each unit. It's the only way to be sure.
I think Oppo or Cambridge Audio players would be all you'd ever need if they're within budget. The Oppo BD105 is a bit of a Swiss Army Knife but it might be nice to have all those input and output capabilities for some time in the future. I own a CA 751BD which, to echo Willland's post, is a very reliable machine and its video performance is very good indeed--it upscales DVDs to nearly Blu-Ray standard. However, I've found its audio performance could stand some improvement. I'm using an outboard DAC for PCM formats (CD, DVDa, video DVD, Blue-Ray, etc.) but since my DAC doesn't have DSD capability, to play SACDs I have to rely on the CA's own decoding which, to my ears, is rather shrill and piercing.
I'm not 100% sure here but from what i was told by the Cambridge dealer the cambridge is basicaly an Oppo BD 105 inside the Cambridge chasis with some slight mods to the analog output. if this is true then your only real dissision between the two would be buying from an online store (Oppo) or a local dealer for the Cambridge.
I have used my Oppo 105D for a couple of years now. In addition to the audiophile-quality sound, it loads almost as soon as you insert the disc. I have found that many universal players, particularly Blu-ray players, are notoriously slow (and I mean slow), to begin playing. "Swiss Army knife" is a good description of the 105D. It doesn't seem to matter what kind of disc you are feeding it. It never gets confused like some other players.
" I'm not 100% sure here but from what i was told by the Cambridge dealer the cambridge is basicaly an Oppo BD 105 inside the Cambridge chasis with some slight mods to the analog output. if this is true then your only real dissision between the two would be buying from an online store (Oppo) or a local dealer for the Cambridge."
I think this has been covered many times before but both the CA 752BD and Oppo 103/105 are built on the same MediaTek foundation.
Randy-11, I am guessing you skipped the link that answers that question. Quote from the article.
Granted, the Cambridge player lacks the BDP-105’s 32-bit DAC, balanced outputs, asynchronous USB input, headphone amp, and increased girth, which puts the Azur 752BD, for the sake of comparison, somewhere betwixt the OPPO BDP-103and 105.
It looks like Cambridge Audio's newest player, the CXU, can do most of what the Oppo does, minus some streaming capabilies. It seems that the two machines use different DAC chips though, with CA opting for Wolfson WM8740 chips (the same ones that are in my 4-plus-year-old 751bd) while Oppo uses ESS Sabre32. Poking around a bit, I discover that there's a newer and probably more capable Wolfson chip available (the WM8742) and I'm wondering if CA might be incorporating this into a future player or whether it's worth waiting for in the first place? Anybody know this DAC chipset or have an opinion about it?
Had to look around a bit for the specs, but the CA player has a 24-bit DAC chip instead of 32-bit, which I think is what the author was trying to convey but with clumsy wording. The CA player has not just one, but 5 Wolfson DAC chips (one for each available channel). As far as I can tell, neither the 751bd nor the 752bd players can be configured as separate DACS, but I believe the Oppo can (and possibly the CA CXU as well) on account of their expanded input and output capabilities.
Thanks. It looks like Oppo sells the BDP-103 via Amazon as well as directly. I am finding the $500 price a lot more interesting than the $1200 to $1300 cost on others. Maybe it is made in China? (Oppo is owned by Chinese company BBK Electronics.)
Any ideas on benefits or problems with buying via Amazon?
It depends how resolving you want the player to be. The 103 is very nice for video, in fact the same as the 105. However, the 105 has a significantly better audio section and that is what the price reflects. The 105 sounds very nice; it ousted a Cambridge Audio 840C in my system. It was no small improvement. The Oppo sounds much better than the 840C. I have not heard the 851C, so I can't help there. I can tell you the video was much much better than the Marantz BD7003 Bluray player I had at the time. Very easy to see the improvement. I have not seen a Cambridge Audio CXU vs. Oppo 105D review, but would be interested.
Oppo says the sound quality difference is in the analog output - if I wind up feeding digital out into a digital pre-amp, it shouldn't matter.
I found a refurb 103 for $415 so I bought that. I have 30 days to think about it, with shipping fees being around $40 if I send it back.
I'm sure there will be something groovier and much better as USB-C wipes out HDMI as an interface, as 18K video takes over, and so on. For Disc players, I may just buy a new $500 model every 4 years, right?
I also have some 15 year Maggies I want to replace, maybe the Sonic Frontiers pre-amp I use and maybe even my Sunfire amp. Not to mention the plasma TV, sports car parts, wine and etc.
I've had Universal Players through the years from Marantz, Denon, Oppo, and NAD.
My advice would be to have a really good DAC for CD. There are at least 2 DACs that have HDMI inputs which you could use with a BD player for SACD and Blu Ray (NAD and Bryston ), or failing that I would probably go with the Oppo 105. Marantz players and amps tend to roll off the top end.
If you were to tell us budget it would be easier to guide you
I have both the Oppo BDP-103 and the BDP-105D and have used both in the same system. Substituting the 105D for the 103 was a definite improvement in sound quality to my ears. They do use different DACs. The 105D uses the ESS Sabre32 32-bit DAC (ES9018), the BDP-103 uses a 24-bit Cirrus Logic DAC (CS4382A). My Oppos, by the way, are used in systems with Maggies (1.7i or 3.7i), if that has any import for the OP.
I have owned a 105 for about the last 4 years now and I gotta say that it has performed very well. I recently performed an upgrade to the a/v portion of my system (minus the 105) and I was forced to use the 105 as an HDMI Switch. It performed brilliantly and note that the phone app makes it easy to operate all functions with your smartphone to boot. All of the streaming functions have also worked well too. My only complaint is that the transport mechanism doesn't always seat properly back into the unit when closing.
Couple of points:
1. I own an older model Oppo and have had no problems and have listened to the 103 & 105. Regarding online purchasing: Oppo is very good (or it was when I dealt with them) for customer service. I did not have problems with my unit, but did have a few questions. They answered promptly and in detail. Their customer service is very good, and one of the reasons I tried them in the first place. I wouldn't be too concerned about ordering online; more about supporting local dealers.
2. If you have any plans to use the Oppo DAC and have the budget, go with the 105. They have done a nice job incorporating the Sabre 9018 and the sound is superior to the 103. It also has a few other features that are worth it for the flexibility imo. It really punches above its weight.
That's the thing! The 95 uses the same Sabre 9018, it does not let you use it as a system DAC (not into that yet), have HDMI audio out (my receiver has no HDMI in) or support 4k video upscaling (I'm not even connecting to a TV!). I thought I could save a pile of money by scoring a used 95. But they must still be in high demand. I wish Oppo made a cheaper Audio only version like Marantz does with the SA8005; but I guess that wouldn't play DVD-A either.
I have both an Arcam (older model) and an Oppo 105 D with the Modwright tube mod. The Oppo is very good and I would find myself hard pressed to do better, especially for the money. The older Arcan is also very good and I also have respect for it. I don't think you could go wrong with either of these choices.
I bought a refurbed BDP-103 and it has arrived. I haven't tested it A-B against the same CD or pressing vs. my Cal Audio Icon yet, but it sounds good and is pretty easy to operate as a disc player.
BUT, I am having trouble getting it to play music from my Mac using iTunes. I have ripped all my CDs onto the Mac in Apple Lossless files.
I can get the BDP-103 to recognize my WiFi network, password, etc. but it keeps asking for another Username and password when I open the Network icon on the player, my computer name, and then either the Music or Photos file icons the player then shows.
I am not using it as a DAC, except to play a few files loaded on a USB thumb drive. I may want to with the new unit.
Yes, I have it connected to an HP PC monitor for programming and a little DVD playing.
I have discovered that Oppo makes, but sell only to custom installers, the BDT-101ci. Interesting; but I probably don't have the b#lls to deal with it.