Keep in mind that bass management on the Oppo is pretty crude and that going direct means depriving yourself of decent bass management and roomEQ.
I'd suggest you wait a bit to get more feedback on the performance of the Oppo 83SE. I'm a 2 channel guy, and in general I would suspect that for 2 channel, most DACs in the $500-$1000 range would perform as well, or better than something like the Anthem.
I'm not a big fan of using HT processors for 2 channel. IMO, A separate preamp and DAC will give much better 2 channel performance at a lower cost.
As for me, I'm waiting to hear how the new Wyred 4 Sound DAC with the Sabre32 chipset turns out.
Well, the D1 has fairly decent DAC's in it to begin with, that's why you paid the extra money over the AVM40 for to begin with. I've tried about a half dozen or so DAC's with my D2, including the DacMagic, Bel Conto DAC3, MHTD Labs Havana, MHTD Labs Paradesia, Benchmarkd DAC1 and the Musical Fidelity XDAC. The only way that you're going to know for sure is to listen for yourself.
Prpixel, would you sat the Anthem DAC's held their own against the DAC's you mention? I'm not as concerned about Movie sound as I am with 2-channel. However, the Anthem offers some options for room correction which might be an added value for 2 channel, in which case I could get a standard Oppo and use the HDMI for sound to an Anthem. I still have my Audible Illusions L1 tube pre, and I am interested in how the Oppo SE edition would sound analog out to that.
The Havana and Bel Canto DAC's were better. Not a big jump but still audible. Anthems Room Correction can cure a lot of ill's. If your room is not setup correctly then it can be a big help. I had Rives Audio tune my room, so ARC in two channel wasn't a big jump. However, in surround it has made the dialog much better and has really help with the overall surround experience.
I've never heard the Oppo.
I appreciate the responses. I may just spring for the SE and see what happens. Might be an interesting comparison to see if 2-channel out of the SE to my current pre sounds any different than if it were processed through an Anthem. Either way I can work the room acoustics a bit since it is a dedicated listening area. The real question will be which Processor at that point.
Bob, I mostly listen to music and not movie soundtracks. Nor do I listen to multi-channel SACD. I appreciate where you're coming from, but I've found many HT preamps are too much of a compromise for me.
In general, IMO, a $3K stereo preamp will typically have better sonics than the stereo preamp section of a $3K HT unit (for 2 CH). I also prefer tubed preamps and there are not many available in HT units.
My speakers are dipolar, including the active crossed subwoofers, and I have little room interaction The performance on 2CH movie soundtracks I get with my system is good enough to suit me.
Thats just my view and opinion. I respect that many people enjoy their HT systems, and I am happy that they do so.
The Oppo looks very nice, but I believe it uses op amps in the output stage. Id rather go with a DAC unit that has a discrete analog stage. Im waiting to see how the new Wyred 4 Sound DAC featuring the Sabre32 turns out. Hi-rez 2 CH music via USB looks promising to me.
I just wanted to add an update to this thread if anyone is interested. I received my Oppo 83SE on New Years Eve so I've had a few weeks to do some listening with my Anthem D1. I set them both up so that one input on the Anthem was straight analog 2-channel from the Oppo (no anthem processing) and the other was the digital coax into the Anthem using just standard stereo. I level matched the inputs and have been going back and fourth for some time with lots of different music. I even had the girlfriend do a blind switch back and forth for me and I have to say, I cannot hear any difference which in some ways shows how amazing the Oppo really is for the money. I keep coming back to try and hear a difference and it just doesn't seem to exist. My mains are Alon Lotus Elites hooked up to a Rogue Stereo 90 which I would say are fairly main stream mid-fi to semi hi-end. I switched out the Alon's for some home-grown speakers the other day and again, could not pick out any difference between the two. So there it is... at least my experience.
If I understand you correctly - you r taking 2-ch stereo ANALOG OUTS from Oppo BD83SE via a set of Analog interconnects to an (Unprocessed) 2-ch stereo input on the Anthem D1 - which (I assume) in turn feeds (internally) to a 2-ch stereo ANALOG OUT from the Anthem D1 - using an additional set of Analog interconnects from the Anthem D1 to your pre-amp (or Receiver) in order to feed your main stereo speakers - is that correct? If so, I am curious what interconnects you r using for each run (& how long they are?)
If I have described this correctly - in this setup, you are listening with the SE upgrades to the ANALOG outputs, which SHOULD vastly improve the sound, as compared with the digital outputs, which are unchanged from the original BD83.
As to the 2nd part of your "test" - you say "and the other was the digital coax into the Anthem using just standard stereo" -
I'm unsure what that means? Do you mean the digital coax is running out from the Oppo to a digital input on the Anthem?
If so, what does "using just standard stereo" mean?
The digital out carries (up to) 7.1 channels - so do you mean you are listening only to the Front Left & Right channels ("Stereo")?
If so, I find it hard to believe that the sound is identical? I hope you understand that the SE mods on the Oppo have ZERO affect of the sound quality through the DIGITAL outputs (Only the Analog is improved)! So how could they be the same sound??
Wolfiem, sorry but let me try to make it clearer. I am using the Oppo's Analog out so that I can listen to it's on-board DACs, and the Oppo's digital out so I can hear the DACs on the D1. The D1 is doing all the switching and is feeding my amp directly. I can assign an analog direct (yes unprocessed in that the D1 is passing it without using it's own DACs) for listening to the Oppo's DACs and then switch between the two. I am comparing using 16-bit stereo CD's since that is the majority of what I have and listen to. I have not done a comparison with movie content. Also, I have not compared with any DTS-HD material, in that case I would believe the Oppo has the advantage. And yes, I do understand the SE has no advantaged in the digital out. To clarify again, this is a 2-channel comparison with CD's, not DVD-A/SACD/Blu-Ray sources.
Interconnects are Audio Quest for the Analog, Straightwire for the digital coax.