OPPO or Something Else?


I am very ignorant in the latest and greatest in digital audio. My current setup is all analog with the exception of a CD player. Before OPPO announced their cease of production I read a lot of reviews and opinions from what a wonderful product it is. My main interest is in the quality of audio it can produce and not so much with the video capabilities. However, it is probably more capable than my current Blu Ray player (3D is not a concern).
Getting back to audio quality my sources are CD's and SACD's. I know that DAC's are all the rage with digital media. While researching the history of the various OPPO models that came out over the years, and paying close attention to user experiences with audio performance, it seems that with each model the audio quality improved with each release of a new model. Such as.....the 95 over the 93, the 105 over the 103, and the 205 over the 203.
Since the close of OPPO production it makes sense that the price of existing units in good condition would bring a premium price in the used market to those determined to purchase one. There are also many opinions that some of the upgrades to those units elevate them to a supreme product (those upgrades/modifications appear to cost almost as much as the units themselves).
Given that info on what my listening media is, would purchasing a used OPPO whether modded or not offer very good audio performance versus buying a different piece of equipment in the $1k to $1.5 range? I know that there are many OPPO users out there that are satisfied with their purchases. But I am mostly interested in opinions that have strolled down the OPPO path and have been disappointed with the audio performance.

jrpnde
Just to set it straight.
The 93 and 95 were same vintage with 95 having seperates DAC for audio and dedicated audio outputs to accompany it.
Same with 103 and 105 and then 203 and 205.

As a past owner of many OPPO players, 83, 93, 95, 105 and 205 imho the audio playback is a little underwhelming in stock form.
As an allrounder it is hard to beat as it will play just about any format of disc you can think of and its video capability especially on 4k is stunning.
But for pure audio, there are MANY cheaper options that do the job better .
Imho of course.
I am sure you will get lots of opinions.

I still have a 205 and a 93 in use but in ht rigs for their video performance as much as anything.
My main stereo system uses an,old Pioneer dv79 for CD and sacd playback.
But that's just me....

Any old Oppo will do if it has a digital output (coax).  Just add a Sychro-Mesh reclocker and you have a world-class digital source with 8psec of jitter.  No Transport delivers this, at any price:

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=154408.0\

Jitter is ALL that matters in a transport.  30-Day money-back guarantee, less shipping.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Good luck getting it serviced in the future!
Not sure I would worry about servicing too much yet, OPPO did state they would provide 5 years of parts and tech support.
Do not forget OPPO are NOT going out of business, far from it. Just saying goodbye to disc based players.

Steve.
Not sure if OP was looking to just use as a transport, I do not believe he has a DAC so would need to add one of those too if just using as a transport, he states system is analog based,
Something else. Period.
Thanks for the responses. The digital realm (such as a Sychro-Mesh reclocker) doesn't register within my knowledge of digital equipment. However, jitter and other specs does apply to CD players and other audio components.
Having a device that would deliver good audio performance is my utmost goal and having one that also delivers good DVD performance is a secondary preference but also important. Perhaps traveling down this particular road is useless. The quality of the transport is important in any transport and I understand that OPPO excels in that area. For $1K to $1,5K...could I do better?

There are other Universal Players out there that might be worth investigating, especially as transports.  Sony makes one for around $400.  Video performance is supposed to play well but audio (per reviews, I haven’t heard it myself)  supposedly lacking compared with Oppo, but at that price one wouldn’t expect much of a DAC.
It plays all formats, and outs DSD from SACD over HDMI.  Combined with a right DAC it might sound very good, and there are a lot of DAC choices for the OP to try.
Cambridge Audio also makes a player based on the Oppo platform. I wonder if it will continue to be available.  Ditto for the Marantz and Pioneer Universal disc spinners.
personally, i was disappointed with the 103 as a CDP, though it's great for video and streaming. the 205 was much better, though per mahler123 instead of paying a premium for a used oppo i would look at something like the cambridge 840 or a universal player like integra or sony es.
On the audio only side, I didn’t think much changed after the BDP 95, based on reading about how the chips were deployed (you can’t really access the internal DAC itself, something you can do on later models?). I bought one used from someone who I know takes care of his equipment for very little money. It sounded pretty good using the stereo analog outputs. But the transport actually seemed like a choke point-running into an external DAC didn’t make much of an improvement. I bought a much better stand alone Redbook only transport (I know that doesn’t address your SACD) and then I heard a demonstrable difference. I put the Oppo in my small HT system in another room.
I am new to the digital side- i’ve been a vinyl only guy since the late ’60s and have a very good vinyl front end. I’m actually very impressed with how (some) digital sounds- much, like LPs, seems to be down to the source material itself.
Is this a software based solution or an actual box that goes between the OPPO and the coax?

I don’t understand Steve’s comments (@audioengr), but I’ll throw in my 2cents. I think it’s important to distinguish between using the Oppo as just a "transport" (ie, a disc player that outputs a digital stream to the coax or optical output), vs using it as a transport plus DAC (ie, taking the analog output after the Oppo’s DAC has done its work). If you like the Oppo’s analog output (ie, the output from its DAC), you have no need to worry about any additional equipment. I have no doubt that the Oppo is a good transport; the DAC is probably fairly good too, although that is probably more open to debate.

Personally, I have a Cambridge CXU that I use as a transport, because I’m not very happy with its DAC; if you don’t like the Oppo’s analog output, you might want to do something similar. In that case, you could pick up a DAC you like (the price range is all over the place, but you should be able to find something decent for around $500 on the used market; there are also many new entries from China in the $200-300 range that sound like they should do a good job, but I have no experience with them.) – then you can output your Oppo’s digital stream to your external DAC, and see how you like it; my guess is that you’ll think it sounds pretty good.

This is where I don’t understand Steve’s comment; is he saying to use the Oppo’s analog output (ie, the output from the Oppo’s DAC), but improve its timing by adding a Synchro-Mesh reclocker? If so, I think you might be disappointed; my guess is that if you don’t like the Oppo’s analog output alone, you won’t like it that much better with a $699 reclocker added (I think that's about right for a new Syncho-Mesh unit). Alternatively, you could spend an equivalent amount (or less) on an external DAC, and probably get a noticeable improvement in SQ.

On the other hand, if Steve’s comment is intended to say that you should get an external DAC plus a reclocker, I would say that’s fine, but get the DAC first, and see if you like it before buying a reclocker. My (limited) understanding is that most people would not see as much improvement from reclocking the Oppo as they would from using it as a transport with another DAC. However, if you think your system (and/or ear) is good enough to tell the difference, then you can buy the reclocker from Steve or other reputable dealers and get a 30 day trial period so you can see for yourself. Happy listening!

I believe the reclocker won’t do anything if you are using the Oppo analog outputs. I think Steve, who can (and does) speak for himself here, will tell you it improves performance of the transport outputting a digital signal to an external DAC. I can tell you that, based on my experience with the BDP 95, using an external DAC without more didn’t improve things much and I suspect it was a shortcoming in the transport for Redbook, since using a more expensive Redbook only transport (no reclocker) definitely sounded different than the Oppo as a transport.
Since I’m new to digital (though pretty well versed in analog), I had several friends tell me to skip the traditional disc spinner altogether, invest in a DAC and rip CDs or download albums to a computer based software playback system. I have set up one of those and it is pretty impressive, even on a budget; it is far more complicated by wiring, boxes and set up but once I got it working and learned more about how it worked, i’m pretty pleased (there I do use a relatively inexpensive device to covert usb to coax which also reclocks). I did want a conventional transport though I suppose you could eliminate it if you are wiling to do the ripping.
I have used a 105 for several years, purely in a 2 channel stem for music only.  My experience is the polar opposite of @whart .
i used the Oppo as my DAC for other digital sources as well (Bluesound and a MacAir).  After a time I bought the first Generation Mytek Manhatten, which actually uses the same DAC chip as the Oppo, and there is no comparison.  The Mytek is leaps and bounds above the 105, as was a second DAC that I added, the Bryston DAC 3.  
  From a value standpoint, this makes sense.  Both DACs cost several times the Oppo price, and the Oppo isn’t just a DAC.  
  When Oppo announced their termination of players I immediately bought a 203 and replaced the 105 in the 2 channel system and moved the 105 into my HT system.  I eliminated a separate Blue Ray and SACD players from the HT system and am using the 105 as a DAC for the Bluesound Node and Apple TV, and that system is sounding much better, plus I can play my usb drive music collection in that system.
  My biggest regret about Oppo will be the unrealized potential of it’s Networking function.  I am ripping CDs to a NAS, not because I prefer to listen that way but because I may need to move and downsize in a few years and I want to have my CDs backed up and ready to go if that is required.  The Oppo can control the NAS, and using the 203 as a media player it sounds fantastic into either DAC.  The problem is the lack of a useable App to control things and access the music—the Oppo remote is clumsy and a non starter here.  If Oppo had hung in there this where they probably would have focused their attention here.  Perhaps a third party developer will develop a useable app, in the same way that developers have kept Squeezebox going long after Logitech abandoned it
On one hand, you're talking about "latest and greatest" and on the other hand, you're talking about spending 1-2k.  They don't go together.  I have an Oppo 205 and it's good, but IMO, if you're used to all-analog playback, it's going to be tough to buy a cd player that will knock you out.  In your price range, if you have to play SACDs, I think you would be satisfied with a 205.  It's solidly built and sounds decent.  But, IMO, for CD playback, it cannot touch the Naim CD5x that some dealers are blowing out for about $2300 I think.  But I do like the headphone jack on the 205 and I think it's a cool player.  For the money, I really don't think you can do better if you insist on SACD playback.  You can always add a better dac down the road. 
@mahler123--I appreciate your different viewpoint, given my admittedly limited experience on the digital side. I’m trying to understand where we differ.
Are you saying that the Oppo worked fine as a transport, and using other external DACS revealed their potential? (My impression, as mentioned, was that the Oppo transport was a choke point for Redbook).
The 95 doesn’t permit me to access the internal DAC directly as i understand it; i can attach a thumb drive or hard drive, but that is going through the internal player as well as the internal DAC of the Oppo. So, I was not able to assess the sonics of the Oppo DAC standing alone. By contrast, I gather the 105 has inputs to enable you to use its internal DAC directly and use computer based software players, rather than just plugging in external ’memory’ and relying on the Oppo as a player and DAC.
Overall, I thought the sound of the 95 from its analog outputs was pretty good. The product(s) deliver a lot of performance for the money, and are built to a standard far higher than most of the cheapie Blu-Ray players I once had.
I also agree that it is unfortunate that Oppo chose to discontinue making these universal players altogether.
Best your money can buy.
Possibly best your money can buy at OPPO factory price of $1295 IF you want an all rounder.
Definitely not best buy at over inflated prices seen now.
Definitely not best buy if all you want is a CD or SACD player.
Just my opinion.

For SACD and CD playback my old Pioneer dv79 through its analog outputs sounds nicer to my ears than my OPPO205 through its analog outputs.

Again, my ears,my system

Worth doing your research if you only want//need audio playback.
Rdudley2, that model number corresponds to a McIntosh player. What is the model number of the relocker and where is it available? I use my 105 COAX out to my DirectStream DAC. 
@whart 
  I think you nailed the point of our differences.  My intro to Oppo was the 105, which has several digital inputs and therefore be used as a DAC with other digital sources (which is how I used it for a while, in addition to SACD and Red Book CD.  I never investigated the 95, which apparently per your question, does not have the same inputs.  For me, the 105 was upgrade over my previous DAC, but it clearly can be bested as a DAC.  It is an excellent transport 

This is where I don’t understand Steve’s comment; is he saying to use the Oppo’s analog output (ie, the output from the Oppo’s DAC), but improve its timing by adding a Synchro-Mesh reclocker?

The term "transport" means that it is being used as a digital source, not an analog source.

The 105 has both digital output (coax) and digital input (coax), so the Synchro-Mesh can just be inserted in this digital loop using 2 cables.  It's that simple.  Select the coax digital input in the "input source menu" and play the CD and you should get the lower jitter data to the DAC inside.  It's really simple.

For most systems, lowering the jitter of the source is a bigger improvement that upgrading the DAC, and certainly cheaper.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Seems the main aim with the Oppo 205 is the Sabre DAC and its superior analog output so using it as a transport especially at its price seems a bit daft? 
The 105 has both digital output (coax) and digital input (coax), so the Synchro-Mesh can just be inserted in this digital loop using 2 cables. It's that simple. Select the coax digital input in the "input source menu" and play the CD and you should get the lower jitter data to the DAC inside. It's really simple.
Steve,
I assume this can be done with the Oppo 205 too?And does this setup work if I am streaming a Blu-Ray movie from my network and don't play the phisycal disc?
Thanks, Zsolt
I am asking the above question because I am not happy with my Oppo 203 audio quality as a network Blu-Ray streamer.I have compared it in the same system with a Lumin U1 Mini and the difference is really big. Both were set up as a Roon endpoint and streaming stereo Flac and DSD files to a DAC via SPDIF.
But for Blu-Ray music concerts I can't use the Lumin U1 only the Oppo, so I am thinking about un upgrade to a Modwright Oppo 205, which could be used as a DAC too.
But my understanding is that the Oppo 205 has the same streaming quality as an Oppo 203, so both might benefit from a produt like Syncro-Mesh...?
kzs70,

I had at a time owned the Syncro mesh and it actually degraded the sound quality of my Oppo 205. So, I don’t recommend it.

I use my Oppo 205 with my HR 4K Firestick streaming 4K Netflix and such playing through my home theater equipment. And when I really like a movie I purchase the 4K version. The Oppo 205 is awesome for that purpose.

I use a Bryston BDP-2 for streaming Qoboz and with a 8TB external hard drive with all of my music playing through a PS Audio Direct Stream Dac. Awesome for that purpose.

But, it is odd that with Oppo no longer manufacturing the product and as good as the Oppo 205 is and with used units going for 3X the original price, that NO other company has bought the Oppo platform.

ozzy
@jrpnde it may help to know if you're specifically looking for the OPPO sound character and also if you specifically want to use the analog outputs on a CD player instead of an outboard DAC (second box). From your question, I think it's safe to assume you do not want to use the DAC in some existing equipment you own? But you are asking if anyone is unsatisfied with how OPPO sounds.

OPPO used the flagship (at whatever time the product was being designed) ESS Sabre DACs with a design goal towards neutral, accurate and precise sound. I can't think of a CD player with analog outputs that uses ESS and is designed with that goal in mind, off the top of my head. But there are several DACs that do, which you could then pair with a relatively inexpensive but high-quality transport.

As for the sound of OPPO—it's very much a preference. I would characterize the ESS sound as a bit more punchy and exciting than AKM449X-based DACs, for example. You may have read complaints online about ESS sounding a little harsh in the treble—that may or may not apply to you as many other people are obviously very happy.

In any event, I don't think buying a used OPPO would be a bad choice.