OPPO 83 and Benchmark DAC 1

Anyone has used Benchmark DAC 1 with OPPO Bluray 83? Kindly share your opinions if they are good match on audio. thanks!
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Awhile back I had the DAC1 mated with aa Oppo 970. I felt it was a match made in heaven. The Oppo makes a good transport, but you will only have 2 channel audio w/ the external dac. The Oppo/DAC1 was an outstanding combination for music. The Oppo will do the sound processing for movies so it was also great for movies in 2 channel.

The Oppo's soundstage was flat and lacking inner detail. I would loose interest in music after a short time and would have to force my self to concentrate. But with the Benchmark I could easily get lost in the music and listen for hours. With the DAC1 the soundstage was deep and wide, had excellent inner detail and pitch definition which kept me looking into the recording for all the things to listen for. It was also the first time in my experience I didn't hear a hint of digital harshness. It was really cool and I think that may be why I could hear deep in the recording.

The DAC1 makes a darn good preamp too, and that is how I used it.
Sorry, the Oppos are ok transports but nothing more. I tried a 970 (or 980?) a year or so ago with my Benchmark DAC1 and it basically matched an older Sony NS 500 sacd/cd/dvd player ($225) I also use. But, no way did either the OPPO or Sony produce as good a sound with the Benchmark as my Mark Levinson no.37 transport. Not as good bass, transparency, drive/rhythm, etc. -- the difference was quite noticeable.

Regardless of what Benchmark says and others believe, there is a difference in sound when using different transports. Others have found the same thing - do a search on AudioAsylum. BTW, power cable quality matters too.

That said, the DAC1 still sounds excellent with cheaper transports.
I believe the posting is if the Oppo and DAC1 are a good combo. Hell yes.
Regardless of what Benchmark says and others believe, there is a difference in sound when using different transports.
I "think" there are other factors that can make these differences be different with different setups. (Way to much use of the word "different"!) Whereby one hears differences in transports where another in their setup doesn't experience this, hence disagreements and confusion.


In response, I think this forum is to provide additional information, experience and insight, and not simply provide one word or two word replies such as "good", "not good", etc. Hence my reply, which also included the comment that the DAC1 sounds excellent with cheaper transports, which is what the Oppo is. So, my reply did address the original post.

For Brianmrgrarcom, agreed that different systems may produce different results, and that factors other than the transports themselves may account for this difference. In my case, and in my set up, there were no factors other than the transports that were changed. And, no way did the Oppo, Sony, and also a Teac, sound anywhere near as good as the Mark Levinson. Many others have reported similar experience. Sorry if no one likes to hear that, but it doesn't detract from the Oppo being a good unit for the price.
Sorry if no one likes to hear that...
I have no problem hearing this, what I am alluding to is that the differences you heard "may" not have been heard using a different DAC or the like.
Oppo 83 is only a $500 player, I would not expect it to perform anything above that. Its video is excellent, for that price, esp. bluray. Its SACD is very good, but its CD is below average (again, within that price expectation). My question is whether Benchmark DAC 1 can do some good to the CD audio of Oppo 83? Or, there is another DAC near the price range of DAC 1 that will work better with Oppo 83? thanks for all your comments, esp. those who have auditioned Oppo with other DACs.
Al the DACs are generaly similar at this price and w/ this transort so I'd pick the one with the features you need, and stop chasing the carrot at the end of the stick. You will be happy with the upgrade with anything by a Benchmark, Lavry, PS Audio, etc.
Ykk, I have not used the pieces you are inquiring about, but the performance of the Oppo and DAC1 should definately be better than the Oppo alone. (I am assuming the Oppo player in question has a COAX or Toslink output.)

As for there being better DAC's, this will always be subjective, but the DAC1 is well thought of by many. When looking into a DAC, just be sure the DAC reclocks the signal.
I have a few comments on the Oppo BDP-83 which have been on my mind as I've been on the lookout for a play-all disc player that won't break the bank.

Given: The Oppo BP-83 is a bargain considering its disc playing capabilities. Capacity for firmware updates is a plus.

However: At first glance this player with its ability to play CD/SACD/HDCD/Blu-Ray discs seemed great, and the chip sets employed in the BDP-83 appear quite good at this price point, but delving a little deeper I found some issues that may make the BDP-83 a deal breaker for me:

1. As audiophiles, obviously sound is of utmost importance, and the Oppo is reported to have lackluster regular CD performance. Many report CD playback well below redbook quality. BDP-83 is a $500 unit, so not knocking Oppo for their stellar efforts.

2. Most audiophiles acknowledge that a disc player (and transports too) are often prone to "wearing-out" far sooner than their other audio components. Not a problem so much with an affordable $500 disc player, but what about BDP-83 buyers who send it out for mods to improve the audio quality/CD playback? Who is comfortable paying as much, to several times the cost of the unit to upgrade when the disc transport is that of a $500 unit (that's retail - think of the wholesale cost of that disc transport). Makes you wonder about the wisdom of upgrading - no?

3. SACD cannot be sent through the coaxial or optical digital output with the BDP-83 due to copyright laws which Oppo must obey (Oppo BDF-83 owners manual page 15). Why a problem? Because it prevents the better connection(s) through an outboard DAC to improve the audio quality (for those who see more wisdom in using an external DAC than paying for modifications on a unit that retails for $500 with a transport that must be in the ballpark of a unit retailing for $500).

Note: I understand some audiophiles see no place for a Blu-ray disc player in a dedicated audio system (although I hold no such prejudices).

Thoughts? Corrections?
I don't believe SACD can go thru most machines COAX or Optical... Its not a PCM or whatever format, meaning it would have to be converted out of its proprietary format DSD anyway. Not many stand alone DACS do SACD, nor does it matter, because from my understanding the only way to get true SACD output from a transport is thru an HDMI cable which of course limits you to having a Video capable DVD player anyway not a CD or SACD transport but simply for the convienence of the Multi channel Concert crowds with standardized HDMI capable surround sound receivers mainly running Multi channel SACD's not even the standard Stereo versions.

I could be wrong but I doubt you will find many if any SACD machines with a digital output that actually puts out SACD as it stays in the machine and has to be hooked up via the machines Analog outputs, and then Redbook can go out to a DAC of your choice for Redbook playback which in turn could beat your SACD's sound now being processed in the machine...

I am interested to see any standalone DACS besides multi channel processors capable of SACD anyway.

So if thats the deal breaker, possibly for you it may not be a deal in the first place. Which by the way is a possibility I believe why so many put a lot of stock into these machines as "upgraded" for large sums of money to keep the full fledge SACD capabilitys in a solid SACD platformed machine, as its not so simple to just pick up and go using it as a universal transport into any dac of your choice, especially if your trying to hold onto the SACD.
Thanks undertow for clearing a few things up. For the price the Oppo seems great to play my CD's, HDCD's, SACD's, DVD's, and BR DVD's from one box. I know I can use my Dac1 Pre through the Oppo to improve the standard CD play. I may be able to use the Dac1 Pre with the Oppo for HDCD coded CD's (or not), but for my SACD discs I'll just listen to them sans the Dac1. I've read the Oppo's playback with SACD discs is very good by itself. My only concern is that the transport mechanism may not be up to the build of even a Rotel RCD-1072 CDP, but for $499 I have to lower my expectations a little and appreciate how much bang you get for a budget player.
My only concern is that the transport mechanism may not be up to the build of even a Rotel RCD-1072 CDP...
I tend to think you are more concerned about this than need be.

First off a 10 dollar transport today could be as good as one that was 300 10 years ago.. they all are mechanical mechanisms and could fail. Lasers in older units are far worse than todays as well in most cases. But back to your SACD dilema truth is what you do is take your DAC 1 hooked via Coax, run your DAC's analog outputs to an input on your Preamp, this input will now be designated as your Hi end Redbook input.. Now you take another pair of interconnects directly from the Oppos ANalog 2 channel outputs and pick another Open input on your preamp as long as you have an extra auxilary input open you can use…

Then you can still get the full benefits using the machine in its SACD format, and get the benefit of your DAC for standard CD and even standard DVD's if you choose that the sound is better.. Interestingly as long as you can acutally hook up this way being you have the extra input on your preamp to use for dual duty on digital source, you can put in a Hybrid SACD and start listening on SACD thru your designated preamp input, and then on the Fly switch over to your DAC's input in the Preamp via Remote control and see what you hear!!! Could be shocked, maybe the oppo sounds better, maybe redbook thru your DAC sounds better… For the money we are talking about here its not a big risk to go this route for you, accept the cost of one extra pair of interconnects and you would probably want at least equal quality from SACD and Redbook so not sure what you have invested into this with cables, but you would just need one more set along with the player itself.

Good Luck
Thanks again undertow. I think my LFD integrated amplifier is pretty limited on inputs, but I'll check it out.
That is how I used my DAC1 w/ an Oppo.
Coax to DAC1 for CD and movies.
L&R analogue out (better than the stereo out) to preamp for everything else.

Interesting. Are you saying that the L&R multi-channel analog outputs sound better than the dedicated stereo output? I thought the stereo output was supposed to be higher quality than the multichannel outputs. I'll have to check this out when I get home.
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The L&R is definitely higher quality from everything I have read. You will have to go into the audio menu section and turn off center and rears to devert all info to L&R (if you have no multichannel amplification for your audio). There has been some excellent tests over the years talking about getting the best sound from Oppo's and all have concluded that the stereo outputs are not as good on 2 channel analogue sound. I now have a Denon and apply the same techqniue on it as well.
Mjcmt , This is interesting but hard to believe.

To test this, I have the new Blu Ray of Steve Winwood / Eric Clapton Live.
I have already copied it to a CDR using the 2 channel out from the OPPO 83.
So, I will copy it again using the L/R and see which is better.
I think I will get Benchmark DAC1. What is the best way to connect Oppo 83 to DAC1 to my MFA Magus (stereo preamp with RCA inputs only)? Mjcmt: what kind of cables and namebrand would you recommend?

Secondly, does it mean that my SACD playing on Oppo 83 will not go through the Benchmark DAC1, and therefore I need to have another RCA inputs from Oppo 83 to MFA Magus?
I'm no cable expert and haven't experimented much.

I've used Kimber Kable for ever. I like its punchy bass and articulate nature and its lean and clear midrange. I've used Audioquest and Linn for periods of time but keep returning to Kimber.

My digital cable was by XLO for no perticular reason. Tests have revealed that a digital cable be at lest 1.5 meets long (not 1/2 or 1 meter). I can't remember the details of this finding, but it is common knowledge. You will need to set the Oppo's digital output to PCM for it to be converted.

I can say the DAC1 made CDs and movies sound amazing as opposed to its analogue outputs.
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Mjcmt, Well I made another CDR of a Blu Ray concert with using this time the L/R analog outputs. (I changed the settings on the Oppo 83 to L/R and no subwoofer).

Comparing this CDR to the other CDR that was recorded earlier using the Oppo 83 Stereo analog outputs , I've got to tell you the recordings are virtually the same.

So your statement that the L/R outputs are better than the stereo outputs is just not true.

Perhaps the Oppo 83 has improved upon the stereo outputs over your previous Oppo players.
I couldn't find the articles on getting the best sound from an Oppo.

The 970HD is considered the best of the Oppo's for redbook cd playback, but with a limited video section, so maybe its focus on audio allowed such a connection to produce better results.

The BluRay Oppos are a different animal and is an underperformer with redbook cd playback so maybe the L&R analogue connetions don't produce the better effect.
Mjcmt, To add more information. I copied the music to the CDR's using a Tascam professional recorder.
And once the CDR's were created they were played back through my 2 channel system.
Below is that system.

Consisting of Cary 306 Pro CD player, Pass Labs XP-10 Preamp and Pass Labs X350.5 Amp.
Speakers used Eggleston Works Andra 2.
All the cables were Synergistic top of the line.
Dedicated AC outlet using a Synergistic Powerecell 10SE.

The Oppo 83 plays SACD, DVD-A ,DVD and Blu Ray discs beautifully. In video and audio.
I agree however, that the redbook CD on the OPPO is not as good as say my Cary CD player playback and could be improved with the utilzation of an external Dac.

But, the stereo outputs and the L/R outputs on the Oppo 83 are the same so there is no need for all that additional
fooling around to go around it.
My Sony XA-7E.S., and Benchmark Dac-1 combo, delivers "The Complete
Music Experience!"
Using the Audio Alchemy Data Stream BNC /XLR connections are Superior delivering 100% of the Recorded
Straight Wire Maestro II coaxial cables, to the pre-amp.
S.I.D. Disc under the puck.
Plus the largest AA power supply,PS Audio SC Power cord.
The Dac-1 IMHO, DOES sound better, with a Superior Transport. I have 4 Transports, none sound like the XA-7E.S.
I will hasten to say that NO Oppo player, will come close
to the XA-7E.S. Sony Period.

I had a Benchmark DAC1 (w/PCX XLR Mod) and Oppo DV-981HD and they worked well together. All my software has been ripped to an external USB drive for years now and my primary listening is via SB due to convenience, sound quality, hi-res ... 24/96 (now with MW Transporter) ...

If anyone owns a DAC1, get the PCX XLR or RCA MOD. It's a great ROI and the improvement is overwhelming from stock.

Currently using a latest MW Transporter. Just bought a Oppo 83 mainly for BluRay and some SACDs. It's currently at MW for the MOD. My HOPE is after the MOD, it will be a good enough standalone universal player so no need to output the signal to the MW Transporter for audiophile level sound quality.
Couple of comments here.

1) "Perhaps the Oppo 83 has improved upon the stereo outputs over your previous Oppo players."

This is true. The -83 has completely separate DACS for the MCH vs stereo outputs. I own both the -83 and the 970. From an analog perspective there is no comparison. The 970 is dull an boring, the -83 is a joy to listen to for hours on end.

2) SACD sound great but Redbook sounds just OK.

This is absolutely not the case in my system. All audio formats sounds great. I compared the -83 to my MF Nu-Vista 3DCD and it compares very favorably. Can't say I prefer one over the other.

IMO the weak link in the -83 is not the DACs, it's the OP amps. This can be circumvented by either using digital outs, or upgrading the OP amps. I'm taking the later route as I'm other wise happy with my analog system.
Hi Knghifi,
How does your Oppo 83 with MW mod sound?

thanks for your review.

Everyone (except knghifi and danmyers) is assuming that the problem with Oppo's BDP83 is the DAC but I actually talked to Dan Modwright and he thinks the chip sets for both video and audio conversion are top notch. The achilles heel as Danmyers put it is the analog output stage. MW, among other mod outfits, currently has a solid state modification for both 2-ch and 5-ch analog output stages. Modwright is out with the solid state mod first for the BDP83 but has plans for a tube modification for the analog output stage which I am waiting for before taking the plunge. I actually think that the Oppo's CD, SACD, and DVD-A/V playback is respectable (and I am comparing that to my ARC Ref CD7, at least on red book CD playback, which clearly outperforms the Oppo unit by a country mile and it had better do so at the price differential).Yes SACD sounds better on the BDP83 than CD but I think that is a function of the higher resolution format. By beefing up the analog output stage, one ought to convert what is a very decent universal player into an audiophile quality player. Would love to hear knghifi and danmyers' experience with the MW mods.
so would i. this player if it can be modded to a decent level ie better or equal to benchmark dac on redbook can be a unique one player solution.
May I chime in without bringing everyones wrath on me. I don't understand the value in modding a DVD/BluRay player. Yes you can improve the CD playback, but as video improves then you want to sell your machine. Why not mod a cd player or older sacd player and not a bluray player.

Years back I was going to mod my Oppo 970 when it was king. After soul searching I chose a Benchmark dac and know I made the correct decision. After 2 years I sold the Oppo as video improved.

I now own an older unmodded used Sony 9000es and it music playback sound (from memory recollection) is as good as the Oppo/Benchmark combo. If you want analogue redbook playback I'd stay away from costly modds to a bluray player with a changing video playback format.
"If you want analogue redbook playback I'd stay away from costly modds to a bluray player with a changing video playback format."


Nor would I ever mod a CDP these days.

I'm thinking that as boomers abandon their expensive CD players for hard drive setups, there will be a plethora of them selling for pennies on the dollar. It's already happening and the down economy hasn't hurt either. Many of the younger audiophiles have long since made this move.
"By beefing up the analog output stage, one ought to convert what is a very decent universal player into an audiophile quality player."

It's still a budget built disc player no matter the electronics inside. $1000 + mod on top of the retail $499 for "one box solution?" Ask OPPO what they think about pricey mods to their 83.
Mjcmt...i see your logic but the alternative way to look at it is that many audiophiles will look at the Oppo BDP83 as a universal player with much of the audio formats (not only CD, but SACD and DVD-A)in high use. If you are going to use the BDP83 primarily as a video/Bluray player than you are right, there is no point modding the Oppo. But if you are going to use it as an audio universal player (with video/Bluray as a bonus feature)than the justification of spending the extra dollars makes sense. As the thread above chronicles, if you are in the camp that thinks the Oppo BDP83's weak link is its DAC chip set, than you can keep it as is, and use it as a universal transport running thru your DAC of choice. If, like me, you think that the issue is not in its audio/video conversion chip sets but in its 2- and 5-channel analog output stage, than you spend ~$1K to mod the output stage and for $1500 you have an audiophile universal standalone player. Either way, for not much much money (by audiophile standards :-)), i think the Oppo BDP83 delivers a lot of value for the $s spent and that is a nice thing in this expensive hobby of ours.
If 2 channel sacd/cd performance is your goal why not get a used Sony 9000es for pannies on the dollar and mod this unit. You will spend less and have one of the best players regardless of cost. Stock it already has a fantastic transport, killer power supply w/ dual r-core transformers, and superior chassis.

Ron, Cmalak ...

It's still at MW for ~1.5 months now so can't tell you yet. I'll post a review once I get it back.

Luckily he is behind ... Last wknd Dan start offering a XLR mod where he replaces the stereo RCA with XLR. All I have is XLR IC ... so I contacted him in adding the XLR option.

It's tough to run a small business so I understand the delay.
In my system, I feel redbook on the OPPO 981 DAC OUT's are somewhat flat and lackluster compared to the other optional OUTS. I have it connected to a Proceed AVP2+6 and matching AMP5. It's connected by L/R analog outs, one large coax digital out, optical out, and multi-channel out. Speakers are set for a very flat reproduction.

To evaluate redbook CD's, the front CD button of the Proceed can change from the 981's DAC's only, or coax or optical out like A/B/C ing components together. For redbook CD's, transport duty with the single coax digital out sounds best using the Procced DAC's alone. Rarely, the optical out or analog DAC's out sound better. These were mostly poorer quality redbooks that became muffled by the OPPO DAC's or optical OUT and possibly covered up some recording quality errors.

The 981's SACD sounds very clear and balanced through multi-channel connections. All digital recordings through coax sound sound great except the worst digital recordings and their associated noises. HDCD's, DVD-A, and DTS all sound great.

To test the OPPO's analog DAC's, the Proceed was set to "analog-through" mode - sub and all crossovers deactivated.

The sound quality from 5.1 multi-channel, HDCD, DVD-A and DTS is exceptional.

HDMI video out directly to a 60" Sony 1080i LCD is great.

As a multi-format digital audio player, it's very exceptional for the price. The newer BR player looks promising - for now, I believe I may be limited with a 1080i display.