Oppo 205 and external DAC?

My goal is to utilize the balanced output of the Oppo but the amplifier(PL Dialogue HP) has unbalanced inputs. 

Excluding the modification route.

What external DAC would offer an improvement in SQ over the inboard Oppo DAC? Also with balanced connections, then of course switching to unbalanced from the dac to the PL.


There are 2 ways to go here:

1) get a Final Drive transformer buffer to change from bal to SE:


2) add an external DAC with SE outputs.

This will sound better, PROVIDING that you reclock the Oppo digital output and use a really good coax cable. Here is a jitter plot to show how much jitter before and after the Synchro-Mesh reclocker:


Here is the jitter added by different coax cables:


The only thing that matters when using a CD player as a transport is the jitter.  The Sychro-Mesh and a good BNC cable will cost ~$1025

Most decent DACs will beat the D/A in the Oppo, but you will need to spend $2-3K for new or $1-2K used. The best DAC will still sound mediocre without a low jitter source.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Oppo UDP-205 DACs are indeed very good.  You can use the unbalanced stereo analog output from Oppo 205 to your amp.

What's wrong with the Oppo's unbalanced outs?  If you use an external DAC, you will not use the analog output of the Oppo, balanced or unbalanced. You will use the digital out, likely spdif. You will use the analog output of the DAC. If you have only an unbalanced input in your pre, you will use the unbalanced analog out of the DAC. 

As for the DAC, you’re simply asking what’s the best DAC out there without any price point. There are many that can outperform the DAC in the Oppo. I think my DAC is the best value, but everyone thinks the same about their DAC which is probably why they bought it.
Thanks for the response. Ithought I came across a thread describing measured and anecdotal improvement with the balanced output, regardless of cable length ....I can’t seem to find the link for reference ...anyways  it wouldn’t appear to be cost effective 
I use my Oppo 95 balanced XLR connected to Sennheiser HDVA600 balanced. It is a super combination, super dynamic and balanced tone. Except the Oppo fan, the overall noise is very low.
I'm running my 205 into the Bryston BDA-3.  I bought the Bryston almost purely to test what differences there might be.  The differences are very subtle (as I believe most digital sources to be) but noticeable.  The two DACs are similar enough that I have contemplated selling the Bryston and just using the OPPO.  It's been about 2 months of solid breaking in and extensive A/B'ing with level matched volumes.  The Bryston is a bit more clean, clear, and natural to my ears.  Supposedly the Bryston also re-clocks the signals it's fed, so I wonder if what audioengineer said above about the OPPO needing re-clocking is correct in this case.
Maybe I'm missing something but why would you use the analog out as opposed to the digital output to an external DAC?  Sounds like a formula for degraded performance. 
205 DAC is very good and it has XLR line out. I even think the 105(D) is even better  since it has the Tidal streamer, Netflix, and Berlin philharmonic digital concert hall app build in except the 4K.
Hi Jimmy,

How are you connecting your 205 to the BDA-3? I have the same combination. 

I think you’re totally confused. You “must” use a digital out to make any use of another dac. End of story!
Yes I know. There are multiple outputs on the 205 and multiple inputs on the BDA-3. 
With my Ric Schultz modified 203, I inserted the iFi spdif Purifier, basically a reclocker and galvanic isolator into the end of the run to a DirectStream dac. I've found it to offer substantial improvement over using a Snake River Boomslang spdif cable alone, as if I had purchased a much more expensive cable. With the dac's new firmware, know as Snowmass (to be officially released maybe 11/11), the difference in clarity, size and solidity of imaging and the soundstage coming forward is substantial. It was a surprise, as I thought from reading the reviews that it aimed more at the mobile market. I didn't get the same results though running a toslink cable out of the Purifier, still using the Boomslang, at least with a Silflex optical cable (the 203 mod eliminated the toslink option, so I can't run it all the way with optical cable).
Always use 205 balanced line-out fixed for best sound quality. If your amp doesn't have balanced input, at lease have a balanced pre-amp for best result. I use a sennheiser HDVA 600 earphone amp which not only serve as earphone amp but also pre-amp. very silent and liner.
Get a highly modded Modwright Oppo 205. 
I just added an MHDT Stockholm v2 DAC to the Oppo 203:  Do I need to change any settings on the Oppo to bypass the internal DAC on the Oppo to go through the MHDT DAC?
The 205 has a great DAC. Send the unit to Modwright for the tube mods to improve the output stage and you’re set.
Oppo 205 XLR line out is good enough. if you just need listen  to streaming music using Tidal or Qobuz, get a Mac Mini M1 and Topping D90 DAC. 
ASR compared the analog outputs of the 205 found the differences between RCA and XLR negligible, except for voltage output of course. If using the 205 direct to amp, in most cases (depending on the amp) the RCA outputs might provide greater range of volume control with less potential for bit stripping. The XLR outputs should be less noisier, probably more of a concern if using long interconnects.