"Best" multichannel universal player right now?

"Best" as in what's the best at the "knee of the curve" at the moment? Looking for 1080p, excellent video processing (no artifacts, excellent scaling) and as importantly excellent 2 channel and multichannel SACD and DVD-A. HDMI 1.3 a definite asset, as is digital out.
Ummm. What outputs are you planning to use?

Using HDMI for video. Currently would use the analog outs to a highly modified EAD multichannel controller.
Pioneer DV-58 if you can accept HDMI 1.2

The Oppo Blu-ray is now officially released. May not be the best money can buy, but Oppo continually re-defines the "knee of the curve". $499.
Thanks Kal. Would you consider the Pioneer to be better than the Marantz DV9600?

Johnny, I haven't heard the BDP-83, I think it is, but I've had friends bring two other Oppo players over to my house in the past year. Amazing quality for the price, but I thought the audio quality was only okay.
Not but they are separated by the knee of the curve and the Marantz is HDMI 1.1, so no SACD via HDMI.

Thanks again Kal. Which of the two (Pioneer, Marantz) would you say has better sound across all three formats from the analog outs?
Cannot say. Never compared in same system.

I vote for the new Oppo BDP-83 player. Fast load time (like my PS3), stunning video, decent audio, nice build quality, and only $499.
I believe the Esoteric UX-3Pi has everything on your list: 1080p, excellent video processing, excellent 2 channel and multichannel SACD and DVD-A, HDMI 1.3, and a digital out.
Yikes! I would hope so for that price, Tvad. I might consider that beyond the "knee" of the curve. :-0

Audiolui, yes everybody seems to love the BDP-83. Like I said the earlier models I'd seen were truly a great bang for the buck. If you've heard the 83 I'd like to know if you were able to get a sense of its sound compared to other mainstream or upper end alternatives.
oppo blue ray it is
07-01-09: Tonyptony
I might consider that beyond the "knee" of the curve. :-0

Is "knee of the curve" a business/financial term? I'm not familiar with it. Is it synonymous with "value"?
Pretty much. In this case best performance for what might be called "high end" at a price which is just at the point of rapidly diminishing returns if exceeded.
Of course, knee of the curve is a general term that refers to a break in a plotted function. In the case of a cost/value function, it's usually the point where cost rises faster than value, often much faster. I think the argument in these posts is that that knee is likely to be at a fairly low cost point.


There is only so much you can do with $500. Oppo did what they can to maximize the BDP-83's performance. They sell direct; that is why it is so inexpensive bypassing wholesale and retail.

Video quality is top notch. It makes my DVD (I mean good DVD)look closer to Blue Ray. The sound is decent, but not compared to top tier players. I haven't been and will not be able to compare everything out there, but for a HT system, the Oppo is awesome and good for occasional two-channel listening. For ultimate two-channel, I go to my reference system.
Audiolui: Video quality is top notch. It makes my DVD (I mean good DVD)look closer to Blue Ray. The sound is decent, but not compared to top tier players.

Can we assume you mean via the analog outputs? I ask because the sound via HDMI is fully competitive.

I have the Oppo BP83, I was in the second group that got them, so I have had mine a few months, with no firmware issues I might add. It is a STELLAR player, in all respects.

Is it an Esoteric or Cary 306 Professional?? Uh, no. But it is a great universal player. I am really reaching here since I really don't listen to disc's much, almost all vinyl now and some digital through a DAC, but I think it sounds, on SACD and DVD-Audio about as good as my Denon 5910ci did. Redbook CD is not great through analog, but as a transport to a DAC it's very nice, very good in fact.

I am not a long term believer in BluRay and really got this as a hedge for my SACD's/DVD-A and DVD's in the future, and I think it's hard to beat. In about 5 yrs when no more discs are produced, and it's all digital (and vinyl bizzar-ly enough) you will love having this thing to play anything that comes your way.
I use HDMI all the way through. To me ears, it is decent sounding. I don't think it is in Esoteric's territory either. Two channel is fine, but I think its surround sound is quite good. Its video quality is really up there. Be realistic, for $500, it can take almost any kind of disc format available on the planet and has great picture. I can't complain. As a bonus, Oppo's customer service and easy firmware update are great. Just so you know, I don't work for them.
If you have one of the modders replace the stock op amps and caps of the Oppo player you will have an incredible machine. Great video and audio.
When you use the HDMI, the sound VERY MUCH depends on what you connect it to. Running the 83 into the Meridian HD621/861 is quite superb. In the Esoteric class, imho.

Oppo 83... Strereophiles A list to boot!
Kal. I too have an hd621. I run most music through it via an aple tv. I have a ps-3 I use for disks having recently sold a modded 5910. Have you ever compared one of these with an oppo? Seems pretty inexpensive if there is any noticeable difference with any format disk--audio or video.
Never used any game console and have no plans to change that.

I bought one for a driving simulator and tried it for movies and music after selling the denon. It is not bad. How does the oppo compare to the Sony with hdmi you recenty auditioned?
It is in the review.

Thanks. Moved and misses a copy. I'll check it on line.
i read a review that the oppo 83 can't fast forward on dvds--i.e. it does so incredibly slowly.

is this true?
Kal, Just checked the last 4 issues.

I found short mentions of the Sony in the July issue and again in the "Best of" in October. Did I miss something more in-depth?

May issue. Further brief 'mentions' in later columns.

Ahh, as I recall that was pre HD621. In one of those later columns you raved about the OPPO via HDMI, better or on-par with the Sony? Not clear. The Oppo certainly has a price advantage. Plus, it can play BRD's. hmmm
True. The HD621 was part of the more revealing DAC/processor/system compared to the Integra/Bryston/Paradigm system I originally used.

From what I can garner the Sony may have an edge with some pre-pro's/receivers but for HD621 guys...
Kal, I re-read the latest issue and it seems more clear now. Never is a strong word.