I've owned other Oppos, and there are so many potential settings, you will at least need a monitor to set it up. After that, I see know reason you can't unplug the monitor and use it for audio.
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OP-Agree with chayro. I used a Oppo 93 as a transport for cd and, itself, for SACD/DVDA. I set it up on screen, first, and then connected to system/disconnected from tv. It works fine for playing discs, and, every several months, connect it to a tv to double-check settings. But, pretty much any functions higher-level than play, stop, pause, etc. will require a tv/monitor or one hell of a memory and steady hand.
@stfoth and @chayro
Thanks a lot for the feedback. I am wondering how you found the sound quality on this unit. I don't have any SACD's at this point but I do have a few HDCD's and having a "universal" player would open up some more possibilities. Were you guys using this unit with an outboard DAC or with the internal electronics? Thanks again!
I never had the 93, but I had one of the older, cheaper models, and it was quite respectable on SACD and HDCD, as well as audio DAD, which is one of my favorite formats. I just used it as a DVD player, but connected it to my audio system just to play SACDs. Never used it with a DAC, but I've always owned good CD players for serious listening. But I think you'll be surprised at how good the Oppos are, especially if you aren't listening side-by-side with something better. As a matter of fact, my DVD player just broke and I was thinking of buying the new Oppo 205.
I initially used the 93 for movies and CD/SACD/DVDA through HT. Was excellent for movies (bought new at the time). After a few years it moved as a CD transport with a DAC. Worked fine. I never compared it side by side, but a dedicated CD transport would probably be better. It was very decent for SACD and DVDA--noticeably better than a cheap Sony and Samsung I had around, but not as good, of course, as say an Esoteric or Cary SACD PV.
But, it didn't keep up with upgrades in two-channel and it now resides in a tertiary system. It did take some $ and work to get an appreciable upgrade and to make it the weak link.
Also got a 95 a few years later. The analog out/internal DAC was noticeably better (bigger and more dynamic). I think it was 2-3x the price of the 93. BUT, if that 93 is in good shape, I don't think there are many better values. Try it out.
I'm with chayro--if I ever go to 4k, will almost certainly go with Oppo for BR. Knock-on-wood----never had a problem with the two Oppos I've had.
I do have one other question about this unit. If you choose to use an external DAC, do you lose the ability to play SACD’s or HDCD’s? In other words, I’m not clear where the circuitry to decode those formats "lives." Right now I have a Musical Fidelity M1 DAC, so I’m trying to figure out if I use that external DAC whether it will mess up the functionality of these other disk formats. Hope that question makes sense. Thank you!
Rebbi--you can play SACD in the Oppo and output through its analog/RCA out and use the Oppo as CD transport through the digital out to your DAC, and switch between the Oppo and your DAC at your preamp. Not sure about HDCD. You will need to set it up, at least initially, through a tv, though. It can get complicated if you want to try to get your SACD out, digitally, which only goes through HDMI. Complicated enough that I haven’t yet bothered with it. If you use it this way, the analog output still runs if you use the digital out--just something to keep in mind, depending you your preamp.
There may be a better way, but above is how I use(d) my 93 and it works/worked well.
rebbi - With HDCD, the decoder is in the DAC. So, if you use the Oppo analog outputs, you will get the full benefit of HDCD encoding. If you use digital out, with an external DAC, you will lose some of the benefits of HDCD encoding, unless your external DAC can decode HDCDs. But most people who know about these things say that even with non-HDCD decoding, HDCDs can sound better than standard Red Book CDs, all else being equal, of course. Something to do with the 20 bit depth of HDCD vs. the 16 bit depth spec of Red Book, IIRC.
One thing to note is that many HDCDs are not labelled as such, but playing them in a player with HDCD decoding and an HDCD indicator lamp, like the Oppo 93, will reveal that.