First off the so so performance on the 970, is not nearly as good or even the same on the newer units... So don't be afraid, The 980 and 983 are far better just stock with red book CD if you have not heard them, and yes superior to all in the price for video as well... I don't think modding them is worth it, not only re-sale but more performance can be had simply using them as a good transport and adding a much more outboard external DAC, this also allows for you to choose not only on using the transport, but possibly if you have a DAC with USB you can take advantage of all the newer ideas and formats from the PC based audio in the future as well...
I've thought about adding a DAC to the 970 to improve its sound for now. Then wait until Oppo reveals its BluRay player and use the DAC with it. Then I have the best of both worlds. What do you think?
Sounds good, but actually we might get very lucky and oppo corrects their current USB input on the units in the next generation allowing them to work as a standalone dac with any other transport or PC format and the internal optical drive
Along with blu ray, this is nothing new, many units from Wadia, and like Quad cd players have Digital inputs as well as outputs.
So then you got the best all in one for good price playing all formats including the SACD, Red book, DVD-A, HDCD, Blu ray etc
Along with any ipod or pc you want to hook into it simply still using the same dac inside the unit feeding your one pair of Left and Right analog RCA's to the preamp.
Thats kinda what I am waiting on, if it does not happen, than I will be adding a good priced USB dac myself and use the oppo as a transport, and as for blu ray add a cheap machine if necessary, but I think OPPO will kill several birds with one stone in the next 2 years for under 500 bucks. They seem to listen to the consumer very closely on this and have come thru for the most part in the digital wars so far.
Oh and if oppo is reading maybe a headphone jack would be nice too :-)
I added a PS Audio DAC to my Oppo 980 and it makes great music. It was very good before, now even better. I advise you to get a 980 or 983, depending on your display connections, and then later get a DAC for even better 2 channel. The PSA unit, like the famous Benchmark, has Toslink, RCA digital, and USB inputs. There are other even less expensive DACS that do the same thing. My point is, get one of the new Oppos and be happy!
There is a review of the modded Oppo here in audiogon. I owned the Reference Audio Mod Oppo 980 (full mod verison) and made my comment therein. Feel free to email me if it could be of help.
I'm very cynical about dumping hundreds of dollars in mods into a player with a $50 transport and a few dollars worth of electronics stock. The 981 is a very good player for the money as I've owned one, but still a very cheaply built unit. Assume the 983 will be along those lines. Not sure who would even repair it if it were to go down. It is a disposable unit.
Well its faster than I thought... Here it is...
It would be worth waiting for the Oppo S83 BluRay player. I was told that its CD/DVD performance is a 983 with the addition of BluRay. We must be patient.
Most cd players also have $50 transports from Sony and Philips. Actually, the Oppo transport is good.
My new Oppo 980H with a Asylum/Crump cord and a few vibration minimizing tweaks has now supplanted my Sonic Frontiers SFCD-1 with vintage 6DJ8 tubes, Isoclean fuse, Daruma ball bearing feet and a Venhaus Flavour 2 power cord. This was after many hours of comparison. Overall, the 980H lacks a bit of depth and midrange liquidity/smoothness but is a little more dynamic and detailed.
I have since sold my SFCD-1 and put the $900 net difference into more music to listen to.
My suggestion is to try it first before judging the new Oppo's redbook abilities. Your results may be different depending on the rest of your system.
The rest of my system is composed of:
Bryston B-60 and 2B-LP in biamped configuration powering Totem Arros and Dreamcatcher powered sub. Cables included Venhaus DIY cotton insulated 99.99% pure silver interconnects with Eichmann Silver Bullets and Sonocable silver speaker cables.
Thanks everyone. I bought the Benchmark DAC1. This way I can use any cd transport, DVD, or universal player I want. Even a BluRay play can be used for movies and cd playback with the Benchmark providing excellent sound in my 2 channel system.
Yeah this way it keeps 100% of your options open with any format you want, and is cheaper to change out a player for a couple hundred, and still have the core performance of a good DAC for the final sound, plus resale on the DAC will not suffer nearly as much as a modded DVD player.
Let us know how the DAC1 sounds - can you hear a solid imprvement or not? I note that Benchmark's DAC1 has a few years under its belt and yet lives on with high resale value - an almost certain sign of a good product. (I avoid bleeding egde latest and greatest and am a mere follower when it comes to products - many satisfied users with better ears than me and five or more successful years in the market without "lemon reports" is my weeding out - stay-off-the-merry-go-round selection process).
I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner, but this way I can tell you what the Benchmark DAC1 really sounds like after living with it for a while.
I'm running the DAC1 directly into a tube power amp using the Benchmarks volume control without a preamp. The DAC converting the digital signal to analogue, instead of the Oppo's analogue output, has very balanced sound the entire audio spectrum w/o highlighting an one instrument over another.
The background is so black that I initially thought something was missing. Something was...the noise and grain I was used to hearing. It is quite eerie not to hear it anymore. I can hear where one instument stops and another is placed in the sound stage, because it is black in between.
Even though there is greater air and upper frequency detail it is smoother. Not the smoothness associated with tube gear or soft presentation, but the smoothness of each note not having any distortion, grain, or harshness.
It is amazing to me how much I want a detailed sound, now that the noise and harshness is gone, and all that is left is clarity. I can design my system to emphesis detail if I want.
It shows again just how critical the DAC is. I hope the next few years advance that technology. I haven't read about Benchmark DAC modifications like there are on the others. I am very pleased with my PS Audio Digital Link III, but still curious about what the mods would do. Are there Benchmark mods?
6 moons verviewed the Benchmark DAC1 with and without mods.
The Benchmark DAC/Pre has a better preamp section than the DAC1.
The Lavry DA10 is said to be better than the DAC1. I don't know about the DAC1 USB or DAC/Pre version. This is according to the pro audio reviews.
I don't know anyone that has compared the Digilink3 to it. But I wanted the volume control that both Benchmark and Lavry offered, and the Benchmark matched my amp better. So that is how the Benchmark took up residence in my system.
I do think stand alone DACs are the way to go with a 2 channel system because of the changing face of digital playback CD, DVD, BluRay. I can use them all...ahhhh!
There is a side benefit not normally mentioned to a standalone dac, its simple, the DAC quite honestly may not be much better than the internal ones on many machines, in fact in some ways might be worse, and having the extra cables etc
Don't help either, HOWEVER they are guaranteed Isolated and separate power supplies from your whirring mechanical transport being fed in the other machine on the shelf :-)
Yes, having its own power supply and chassis to isolate it from the vibration producing transport is a positive side of a stand alone DAC, not to mention the added versatility.
As far as the extra digital cable, the Benchmark's design has the specific characteristic of not being dependent on needing a good digital cable, so the only cable to be concerned about is the analogue interconnect which you need with any cdp. This pro DAC can use up to 300' of basic RG-6 cable w/o loss or jitter. It has been tested with 300' of Radio Shack cable with no difference in sound. But I do use a reasonable quality digital cable anyway. The Benchmark even processes the optical input w/o jitter.
Yes, having its own power supply and chassis to isolate it from the vibration producing transport is a positive side of a stand alone DAC, not to mention the added versatility
I don't think it is the mechanical vibration isolation that is so much the benefit of a separate DAC. The problem is the secondary effects of the control system in a CDP player, which has to manage the transport (lazer focus/tracking etc.) Since the disc rotates there is a good chance to induce sinusoidal variations in the power demanded by the servos in the transport. Jitter is not such a bad thing if it is completely random, however, if you can imagine that the transport servos could be causing sinsoidal or cyclical power demands from the CDP power supply then it is easy to imagine how the shared power supply could subsequently induce a specific jitter frequency in the nearby DAC clock.
There are many ways to imagine this happening. If you turn up the volume loudly then the CD itself may vibrate slightly - inducing periodic control corrections in the lazer pick up. If the hole in the CD is not absolutely perfectly centered then during every revolution there will be a sinusoidal control signal sent to the lazer. If the metal layer within the CD is not perfectly flat or aligned within the plastic then this too may cause periodic corrections to be required. Ed Meitner stuck a CD player right in front of a speaker and demonstarted at least one of these jitter effects about 15 years ago.
Obviously before getting too worried - these effects are extremely small and most people are happy with an ordinary CDP - so many transports do not exhibit any of these problems - such as the extremely popular line of Cambridge CDP's, which sound great at a reasonable price. However there is probably a better than 50/50 chance that you find one of these problems in most low end CDP players.
On another note - it is good to see you are happy with your new toy.