Oppo Sonica DAC Expected this fall


The Absolute Sound issue #267 has an ad on page 25 for the Oppo Sonica DAC due this fall. The DAC uses the ES038PRO 32-bit DAC chip and has many other features.  Control is via the Sonia App for iOS and Android.   The projected list price is $799.  Please see this link:

https://www.oppodigital.com/sonica-dac/

Does anyone have any additional information?
hgeifman
Good looking gear. Oppo always deserves an investigation/audition. Seems like their stuff is a good value.
Hummm, in addition to being a DAC, their website says it is also a high-resolution digital music player, playing from USB, NAS or network. Will be interesting to see what formats it supports. At $799, it could be a great low/mid priced option for a wide audience.
I only heard the Oppo HA-1 driven by a Macbook air. The top end was brittle and glaring.

Not the same type, but the Fiio portables I have listened to have been consistently good, if sometimes a little weak, performers. I needed to add an external amp to my X5.

Best,

Erik
@erik_squires 

I only heard the Oppo HA-1 driven by a Macbook air. The top end was brittle and glaring.

Good to know. Was it via headphone or HiFi?
I took my AKG 7... 12? 721.... damnit.  My orange AKG K headphones. :)

I heard them at the last California Audio Show in SF. The little UFO sold by Blue Coast was MUCH MUCH better, as is the X5. I invited some audiophile friends to come listen, and one happened to have owned the HA-1 and said the same thing.

To your own ears be true!

By the way, love my 103 BD player for features, convenience, cost. When I have my HT setup it's my "processor" and feeds my Halo P7 preamp. It's still hard, relatively, to my Brooklyn DAC, but not nearly as objectionable as the HA-1.  If I could spring the money for a Vanity digital output board and 2 more Brooklyn's I would be in some sort of nirvana.

Best,


Erik
@erik_squires 

If I could spring the money for a...

That is one phrase most audiophiles would agree on.

Is your listening on the Brooklyn headphone or hifi?

I have been narrowing my DAC choices and really would like to get a multifunction unit. Headphone/DAC/Pre. But since most of my listening is done HiFi, I am most concerned about how the units tradeoff each function.
Most of my listening has been via my speakers. I did listen quite carefully with headphones while trying to evaluate the alleged benefits of MQA which I could not find.

I’m very very happy with the Brooklyn in both senses as a DAC and headphone amplifier. I am very curious to try it as a preamp, bypassing my P7. The main reason for the P7 is to be able to do movies and music.

I have not tried the Brooklyn as a phonograph preamp but it and the Manhattan get pretty good reviews. As I wrote elsewhere, Mytek has been very thoughtful in the power supply design. In addition to the standard AC / IEC connector they also provide a 12V input for those who can afford to get an outboard ultra-quiet linear supply. I’ve not tried it.

Erik

I emailed OPPO to get a few questions answered now that the RMAF is over.

"Our upcoming products are still, unfortunately, deep in development, which is why we have not updated the Sonica Grand, Sonica DAC, and UDP-203 websites. Once we are closer to release, we will be updating our website to contain all the features and specifications of these products.

- Availability date and price?
1. The Sonica DAC will be released ideally in December. The price should be $799.00.

- Will it indeed stream DSD files gapless over ethernet from a networked PC/NAS?
2. The Sonic DAC will not support gapless playback out of box. This is something that we hope we can add in a future firmware release in the future.

- Capability with Tidal, Pandora, MQA, other?
3. The unit will support Tidal through the Sonica application and Airplay for any other streaming services. Additional services will be added to the Sonica application in the future. MQA may be added to future firmware, but we are only in the discussion phase with Meridian at the moment.

- Will it be Roon ready?
4. Roon may be added in the future but is not a part of the product at launch.

- Is the volume control mechanical (pot) or digital?
5. The control is purely digital.

- Will the balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs work simultaneously?
6. Yes, just like the HA-1, all outputs are available simultaneously.

- Is the internal power supply switching or linear?
7. The internal power supply is switching.

Best Regards,

Customer Service
OPPO Digital, Inc."


@cordobaman...thanks for sharing the info!  You got answers to a few of the questions I had too.
It'd have been nice if they said the price will be $400...
@erik_squires 

Eric, have you ever tried the BDP - 103 through the Brooklyn? 
On a related note, the oppo "store" http://oppodigital.com/products.asp really leaves something to be desired. Not that I'm in the market for it, but why should only the 103 model blue ray players be listed and even then are out-of-stock? Where is the 105? Where is their inventory? 
Just received my Sonica Dac today.... Must say I'm very happy. I was using the Oppo 105 as a music streamer dac and always enjoyed it. This is a major step above. The first song I listened to was  Fool in the Rain by Led Zepplin. Thought I'd go with a little through back and even my wife commented on how much better it sounded. I've been listening for a couple of hours now and I'm glad I made the purchase. All aspects of the music have improved. Instruments are more separated with more detail. Everything is more precise, crisp and clean is how I can describe it. A vail has been removed without being harsh or edgy. Bass is punchier, again more precise. Initial setup was easy. I did have to try and connect to my IPad twice, but after the second attempt I was listening to music. Streaming Tidal without any hiccups. Dire Straits has never sounded better. 
thanks, drewportland.  Please keep us posted.  I am eyeing the Sonica as a one-box upgrade to both my Squeezebox Touch and DAC (a Beresford DAC highly modded by a local modder).  I am especially interested in how it works with a music server over a home wifi network.  The price, for what you get, seems very reasonable, especially if it sounds as good as you suggest.
Wonder why Oppo did not include MQA decoding?

Dave
bonbmanp..... I need to setup my computer as a DNLA server before I can stream from my computer, which I plan on doing tomorrow. Tonight I'm listening to HiRes music downloaded from HDTracks and playing off of an external drive via USB. All I can say is- incredible, this dac is truly is in another league vs the 105. I'm listening to Tracker by Mark Knopfler. I've listened to this many times (the high res version) and I'm very familiar with it. I'm hearing so much more detail than ever before, as well as a larger more 3 dimensional soundstage. I've read about terms like prat, and musicality and many more. I can honestly say installing this dac has made vast improvements in all aspects of the music. My system is very revealing and my front end is no longer holding my system back. The dac now has about 20 hours on it and it's sounding beautiful. My system consists of a Coffman Labs G1-A preamp with upgraded tubes, Einstein Light in the Dark power amp, Magnepan 3.7, Rel T9, Jenna Labs Synphony I/Cs, Anticable P/Cs, I've been putting this system together for many years and I've never been this pleased with it. I wish I could say I can compare to other high end dacs, but the 105 is the best I can compare it to. I wouldn't be surprised if reviews don't come back stating that this unit surpasses dacs costing many thousands is dollars. 
Why is gapless so difficult in 2017?
@aberyclark 

Are you referring to media players in general? According to Oppo the UDP203 and 205 do support gapless. By memory I believe the function is on the remote, but I don't recall reading it in the manual. And I'm speaking of flac and wav files. I'm not sure about other formats.
Going to work up mods on this baby.  Will have mods from a about $250 dollars on up.  First person that sends me one to mod will get the mod at cost of parts plus $100.  Even a simple mod will make it sound way, way better.  I do lots of different things to improve the sound.
http://www.themanual.com/music/oppo-sonica-dac-network-streamer-announced/
Thanks for your comments above regarding the Oppo Sonica DAC.  I appreciate the additional information that was posted.

After I posted my Oppo Sonica question above, I did some additional research on the Ayre Codex DAC and like it very much.  The Ayre Codex DAC is an amazing small 3 pound box that helps my system sound much better.  My Ayre Codex DAC is laying on its side with 3 Ayre Myrtle wooden blocks ($15 for 3) holding it up.  I saw it this way at my retailer and they they recommended it be used in the laying down position.  My Codex DAC is connected, using a James Romeyn Pure Balanced POWer Fully Balanced Interconnect cable with Cardas Rhodium XLR Connectors, to my Ayre AX-7e integrated amplifier and, after break in time, the Ayre Codex DAC is highly recommended.  The sound quality is much improved with the Codex DAC.  

The Cardas Rhodium XLR Connectors also take a while to break in but really help to improve the sound quality after several weeks.  
I'm into the Sonica about 5 days now, leaving it on the whole time, and it sounds very natural.  I've been playing it back and forth for a while and at first only thought it was marginally better than my OPPO 105.  However, after playing a variety of music...most of which I thought poorly recorded in digital...it seems this DAC does offer some improvements that make it worth consideration of keeping.  For instance, I have a lot of Rolling Stones on SACD and ripped to DSD (Exile/Let it Bleed)...never thought it sounded right, too forward and lots of glare and harshness.  Most of these characteristics are now gone on the Sonica DAC.  I admit I've rearranged my room in ways that optimize my power cords but I can A/B relatively easy via wireless DNLA between the 105 and the Sonica...there is an improvement in depth, detail and naturalness.  I'll give it a full 30 days before making up my mind, but the jury is still out...I wish it was super obvious but at this point my audition needs more music to really decide. 
Thanks, hikmer. Your comments are really helpful. The Sonica sounds promissing in terms of its sound quality. If you leave it on all the time, does the display time out and go dark? I’d be worried about burning it out if it was always lit up. Have you had a chance to see if the Sonica does gapless playback? I’d like to see if Oppo upgraded the software yet. I find listening to players without gapless really annoying.
hikmer,

Do you feel the glare and harshness are gone because Sonica is warmer, more laid back or maybe a bit less extended in Hf?
The display is always on but I think there is a setting to change it, for me its not a real issue.  I don't think it plays gapless but when I listen to my DSD albums I don't notice lag between songs...I'll play Dark Side to find out for sure.

I don't think the Sonica is "warmer" at all, it is more natural and detailed.  Not more laid back or less extended, in fact I notice more depth and separation with the Sonica.  I hear the most improvements with DSD files, I hear very little improvement with lower quality movies and television.  However I have really analyzed or been critical of these recordings. 

The biggest improvements have been the ability to put all my networking audio gear in a more concealed location and thus reduce the digital interference I was getting through my speakers.   However I have found that my OPPO 105 surprisingly is now playing DSD via DNLA without dropouts...this may be due to a NAS upgrade I recently acquired but previously I could not stream DSD to my OPPO 105 without significant dropouts. 
Many thanks Hikmer for the description!

Seems like Sonica is a great Dac for playing DSD.

Sadly there are not much DSD selection for mortals.
Can you please try some PCM vs your 105 (or maybe some other player)?
Hi plutos... To answer your question about the HF for the Sonica DAC. I don't know if I would describe it as warmer. It is definetly not rolled-off. I would describe it as more defined. Comparing it to the 105, it has more detail, instead of simply hearing a cymbal in the music, I hear the strike of the cymbal and more decay. This is not only evident in the HF, but thought the hole bandwidth. I enjoyed listening to the 105, but I did find it a little fatiguing, definetly not the case with the Sonica. Hope this helps.

Thanks drewportland!

Seems that the new ES9038 chip has justified itself.
Have you ever tried it with TV (opt
out) as a source?
I just ordered mine.  Been waiting for this little guy.  Hope it sounds as good as promised...

mofi - congrats!  Please post your impressions here when you have a chance.  I have blown my 2017 hifi budget already, so this is a 2018 purchase at the earliest for me. 


Without getting into a flame war, I need the gapless playback abaility.  That's just my personal preference.  My Squeezebox Touch does gapless with no issues.  I borrowed my mom's car for a while and the CD changer in it wasn't gapless.  It drove me nuts.  Hopefully, by the time I can afford the Sonica DAC, it will do gapless playback.