Anyone using their Oppo 205 as a pre amp processor? if so, what are the pros and cons? I am looking into replacing my NAD 758 receiver with separates for my HT and secondary system. I'm thinking i can save myself some money by purchasing the Oppo instead of a pre amp processor but, not sure if the Oppo was designed to be used like that without issue. I know the Oppo doesn't have room correction and was told by magnolia, the volume control is fixed only no variable? Unfortunately, no dealers in my area have one on display to audition. Any feed back is much appreciated. My current set up: Primaluna HP integrated, Sony HAP1ZES, Cambridge BD 752 player, Klispch Heresy 111 70th anniversary edition speakers, cables Tellurium Q ultra black SC and jumpers, FMS microwave IC's, and a Wadi 171i transport that i use with my iphone/ipad.
I do use the 5.1 HT capabilities of the 205. I also like to listen to 2 channel music so this is a great combo for such use. I did get the Modwright mods to the 2 channel section so I end up turning on music for a little while and the sound is so good I forget to watch TV. No preamp needed, I go direct to the amp, the 205 does it all.
willemj, Thanks for your feed back. I do plan on consolidating HT & Stereo and was thinking about either trading or selling my Primaluna and NAD for a multi channel amp. Possible the Parsound A51 or the new A52 plus. I thought the Oppo had variable outputs.
lancelock Thanks for your feed back. Going direct into the amp is what i want to do. Doing the Modwright mods to the 2 channel section would be something i would probably do.
willemj, Thanks for your feed back. I do plan on consolidating HT & Stereo and was thinking about either trading or selling my Primaluna and NAD for a multi channel amp. Possible the Parsound A51 or the new A52 plus. I thought the Oppo had variable outputs.
lancelock Thanks for your feed back. Going direct into the amp is what i want to do. Doing the Modwright mods to the 2 channel section would be something i would probably do.
I have also integrated HT and stereo, but into a stereo HT system. HT is not important enough for me, and my main speakers (Quad 2805 electrostats) are bulky enough as a pair. The sound is great even if I am missing out on some of the surround effects. I did add a subwoofer (B&W PV1d) tamed by an Antimode 8033 room eq unit.
Very good idea. I've been doing just what you want to do with an Oppo 105 for a few years now and know you can do the same with an Oppo 205. The only issue you'll run into doing this is that there are limited inputs using the 105/205 as a preamp. If you play mainly disks and computer audio it works great but if you have numerous sources, you may need to buy a separate switch box for ease of operation. I use the 105 as the core of my combo 5.4 surround ht and 2-ch music system Here's how mine is setup:
I run an HDMI cable from my XFinity cable box to the HDMI input on the back of the Oppo. You have a choice of either rca or XLR main L+R outputs for your front main speakers. I connect the Oppo's audio outputs (up to 7 plus a sub output on my 105 but I only use 5 of these plus the sub) directly to multiple separate amps: The main stereo L+R outputs via a pair of XLR cables to mono-blocks. The center channel via a single rca cable to a bridged stereo amp. The rear L+R surround channel outputs via a pair of rca cables to a stereo amp. The LFE/sub output via a single rca cable to a sub amp. Of course, it's your choice if you want to use a single multiple channel amp or use separate amps. My 105, and I believe the 205, does not have room correction like many modern A/V receivers but I really don't miss it since the Oppos do have an Audio Setup menu you can access through its remote and fine tune the sound either by ear or using a sound level meter while seated at your main listening position. The setup consists of the following:
1. Each surround speaker (front left, front right, center, rear left and rear right but not the LFE/sub) is individually set as either "Large" or "Small". Full range speakers you don't want the bass augmented by the sub(s) should be set to "Large" and speakers you want the bass augmented by the sub(s) should be set to "Small". 2. The crossover frequency is set from 40-250 Hz in 10 Hz increments. This setting instructs the Oppo to redirect any signals at or below this setting to the sub(s) for all speakers set to "Small". 3. The last step is to set the relative volume of each channel, including the LFE/sub, to your specific preference. Sitting at your listening position, you step through each surround channel and adjust the volume of each channel up or down individually until you're satisfied with the overall sound balance. Not exactly room correction with mics and automated parametric equalization but it has worked very well in my 23 x 16 foot room. The audio performance of the 105 is so good in fact that, after thorough comparison to my previous system using a separate VTL preamp (with expensive NOS Mullard tubes and a 'ht pass thru' switch) and a separate Parasound AV-2500 5.1 surround processor, I decided to streamline my system and removed and sold my preamp and processor. The Oppos both have the added benefit of being able to be used as a high quality music file streaming device and DAC, which means you can use it for computer audio, too. This is what I did with the money I got from selling my former preamp and processor. I bought a Synology NAS (network area server) that has a 2 TB hard drive and JRiver Media Center software program for my laptop. I then copied my entire cd collection to the hard drive and bought and downloaded several hi-res 24 bit/96 Khz music files to the hard drive, too. This allows me to select a cd or hi-res file to play on my laptop. The Synology then streams the file from its hard drive to the Oppo either wirelessly or via a hard wired connection. The Oppo then converts the digital signal to analog via very high quality ESS Saber dac chips (ES9018 chips on the 105 and the latest chips on the 205) and passes the analog signals to the amps. The result is a very convenient and great sounding method for music playback that you could venture into in the future if you wanted to. In summary, the answer to your question is that using an Oppo 205 as an alternative to an A/V receiver is a great solution that also gives you a high quality 4K Bluray player with HDR10 that has a built-in surround processor, streamer and DAC, to boot.
Look I love the OPPO 105/205 just as much as most, but now saying that its a awesome pre-amp is stepping a little beyond its true capabilities. The variable volume is for driving a pair of headphones you plug into the 1/4 inch jack. Thats why Oppo put it there, period. This is a source component and If you want to use it direct to amp you can.....is that making the most of your system? I say "not even close". A proper pre amp and analog volume control will really "bring the system home", not to mention inputs you need for other equipment.
Even if I had a pair of self powered KEF LS50's I would connect the Oppo fixed and use the KEF's volume control!
I understand your skepticism. I took a look at your system and it seems like a high quality system designed to play vinyl through a precision turntable, classic tubed electronics and premium speakers; always a good recipe for pleasurable music listening. I watched the linked YouTube video you made on my laptop with a usb dac, class A headphone amp and headphones, too. I don't know how you recorded that video but the sound was actually very good on the Eric Clapton Unplugged blues song you played. I don't just mean good for a You Tube video but very good,period. Some deep bass and the smooth, organic sound of tubed playback managed to be conveyed on that video. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I'm not a total stranger to the sound of good quality playback equipment and sound. Previous to using my 105 as a preamp, I used a VTL 2.5L preamp with NOS Mullard tubes paired with various mid-level ss amps (McCormack and Aragon) with the 105 used as a CD/SACD and DVD-A disc player for 2-ch music. I loved the smooth, organic, textured and realistic sound stage I thought the VTL and tubes was imparting on my music. I thought it would be the last component I'd ever remove from my system. However, with the separate VTL preamp just for music and separate Parasound AV-2500 surround processor/preamp just for 5.1 ht surround sound, I found the hookup to be a pain due to the extra cabling required and the operation being a bit complex for my wife to use. So, I spent a Saturday comparing the sound of my system with the VTL to the sound without it, going direct from the 105 to my amp. I was very surprised to discover just how good my familiar music sounded connected to my class D mono-blocks I used by this time. With the Oppo connected directly to my class D monos, I noticed I could much more easily determine the quality of the recordings on my familiar music than I could with the VTL in the chain. All my music sounded at least good thru the VTL. Through the Oppo, poor recordings didn't but good recordings sounded extremely good. I actually surprised myself by preferring the much more neutral and transparent quality of the sound of the Oppo connected directly to the monos, although I think the accurate and neutral class D monos contributed, too. I had always thought I preferred the euphonic quality of tubes, with their added emphasis on even ordered harmonics, but I had to be honest and trust my ears. I agree with you, it is hard to believe an under $1,500 Bluray player also has a very high quality audio section but, once you realize that was a primary Oppo design goal for the 105 and 205 and learn of the high quality internal parts used in pursuit of this goal, it's much easier to understand why they performs so well. Of course, I wouldn't suggest the Oppo for you since you have a music only system and prefer a vinyl source with tube electronics. But the Oppo for brian27b's combo ht and music system is ideal since it's an excellent 4K and HDR10 Bluray player, very good CD/SACD/DVD-A disc player, has a very good built-in surround processor music and streamer/DAC along with its ability to function well as a limited input high quality preamp. I suggest you may want to check out the sound performance of one in this configuration before dismissing the 105/205 audio sections' competence.
Hi alkaloid, I completely agree with you, Oppo is quality and a bargain, too.
It's odd but there seems to be a bias against Oppo by some here on Audiogon and some other A/V forums.. These individuals typically attempt to convince others that Oppo players don't perform as great as so many owners testify that they do. I can only assume their motive is to sway the opinions of those considering purchasing an Oppo since we all know they'd have absolutely no chance of swaying the opinions of actual Oppo owners. However, I have discovered a very interesting trait that all of these anti-Oppo posters rather predictably have in common: they all have zero experience with actually using any Oppo model in their systems. This was a real eye opener for me. Unfortunately, their eyes, ears and mind seem to be firmly shut. Now one of these Oppo detractors, randy-11, has abandoned trying to find any hint of a fault with the performance of any Oppo model. Instead he has stooped to an approach of vaguely implying that Oppos should not be purchased because they're designed in the U.S. but manufactured in China just like thousands of other products. Or because they dare to offer an affordable entry level Blu-ray player model (with very good audio and state of the art video performance) and, for a reasonable bit more $, a top of the line Blu-ray player model (with state of the art audio and video performance) that is an incredible bargain.
Well, I'm sure we're both very glad randy-11 was there to expose the truth about Oppo's nefarious and shameful practices. The nerve of Oppo! Not even trying to hide the fact their products are manufactured in China so that they can do what??? Offer products that are outstanding in quality and performance at an incredibly affordable price??? What are they thinking??? Hrumph!! I just wish I had known about these vague implications before I ignorantly plopped down $1,200 on my Oppo 105, the best single upgrade I have made to my system, ever. Later, Tim
I am not sure Randy's post implied criticism of the business model. He uses an Oppo, even if he - to me - surprisingly combines it with a unit to alter the neutral sound to make it more 'euphonic'. That would not be my idea of high end audio, but I guess my preference for neutrality is a personal one. The Oppo certainly produces that neutrality.
Randy has a tendency to post vague and cryptic comments, that he may believe are making some sort of statement or point, that I often have difficulty deciphering. He also has a tendency to not respond when asked to clarify his posts. The combination of making vague, cryptic comments and not responding to requests for clarification, is a very poor method of communicating, especially on an internet forum. I couldn't make heads or tails from his post, requested he clarify and I'm still waiting for a clarifying response. You were kind enough to step in and clarify the matter to a degree. You may be right, he may not be criticizing Oppo's business model. I really have no problem with him criticizing Oppo's business model or criticizing anything he deems as deserving of criticism. In this most recent case, my issue is his very poor written communication skills evidenced by the fact that we are both currently left wondering what thoughts he was trying to convey with his comments and why he brought Oppo's business practices into this thread's discussion in the first place. I either forgot or never knew Randy uses an Oppo in his system. Given his efforts to jerry-rig his system in an effort to achieve a more 'euphonic' sound from his naturally very neutral Oppo as you described, I'm thinking it may be best to leave Randy alone with his tinkering and just ignore his vague and cryptic postings going forward. I'm beginning my ignoring of Randy's posts beginning......NOW. Thanks, Tim
He wouldn’t be the only inarticulate poster here (although I sometimes rather enjoy his posts). There are times when I think some here do not only know nothing about science, but know no grammar either. A little bit of extra effort goes a long way.
I wish I could enjoy Randy's posts. I'm usually just left confused and frustrated.
I know I probably shouldn't be so hard on poor inarticulate Randy but I think you're right about a little extra effort going a long way. For example, if he'd just proofread and edit his posts to ensure his posts will be easily understood, I'd stop messing with him. If he reads this, I hope he takes this as constructive criticism the way it's intended. I've been justifiably criticized for being a bit too verbose on some of my posts. I wasn't offended, took it as constructive criticism and have been trying to keep my posts more succinct.
willemj He wouldn’t be the only inarticulate poster here (although I sometimes rather enjoy his posts). There are times when I think some here do not only know nothing about science, but know no grammar either. A little bit of extra effort goes a long way.
TIM, Thank you for the kind words about my system and the video my daughter made, she used a HQ external digital audio recorder with fixed stereo mics (no wonder..right). I have a few different systems in my family, and one of them is a Aurender XL100 (6tb) music server connected via USB 2.0 to a OPPO BDP105 through a complete McIntosh stereo system. So, yes I do love analogue, but I know great digital as well. I used a Mac CD player (these were made to drive amps directly) direct via XLR’s to drive my amp for a number of years before I switched back to vinyl. One thing I will say is that I know what sounds great and what dosent and I was just trying to point out how much a proper pre amp will effect the sound of the system and in many cases can inject a real beauty and warmth that many of these digital systems need.
Tell your daughter she did an excellent job on that video. I was listening via some good headphones through a JDS Labs DAC and a class A headphone amp and I was actually stunned by the quality of the audio and the video was also quite good. I don't know how old she is, but she's obviously very good at this stuff. I wish she was the recording engineer on some of my favorite musical tracks. Well done!
"One thing I will say is that I know what sounds great and what doesn't and I was just trying to point out how much a proper preamp will affect the sound of the system and in many cases can inject a real beauty and warmth that many of these digital systems need. "
I completely agree with your comment. I have no doubt a good quality active preamp 'injects a real beauty and warmth that many of these digital systems need' because I experienced exactly what you describe in my own system using my former VTL 2.5L preamp with NOS Mullard tubes. I really enjoyed the qualities that this preamp imparted on my system for over 5 years and truly thought the VTL would be the last component I'd ever be removing from my system. But I realized my system was becoming overly complex with 2 preamps; the VTL for 2-channel music and with a flip of the HT Pass Thru lever a Parasound AV-2500 preamp/processor for ht surround. I had this complexity along with the operational and hookup complexities in mind when the idea of streamlining my system, by removing both components and all the associated interconnect cables, and just using the Oppo 105 as a preamp/processor instead first struck me. Before I compared system performance of each configuration, I knew I was heavily biased toward keeping the VTL not only because I thought my system would sound better with it, but also because I had recently bought and installed an expensive set of 4 replacement NOS tubes. As soon as I decided music on my system sounded just as sweet, dimensional, textured and beautiful using my Oppo 105 as the sole preamp and reported on my findings, I realized many who hadn't heard the comparison first hand would question my decision.
"The variable volume is for driving a pair of headphones you plug into the 1/4 inch jack. That's why Oppo put it there, period."
The volume control for the BDP-105 is, as previously stated, selectable as either fixed or variable. But it's used both for the analog and headphone outputs and actually controls volume inside the 32-bit ESS DACs themselves. It has plenty of dynamic range to preserve all 16 -24 bits of data. I think it's very encouraging and impressive that you're able to achieve system sounds you enjoy through both vinyl and digital based systems. Thanks, Tim
An Oppo 105 or 205 is indeed a perfect preamplifier - you do not need an extra pre amp in the chain. All it will do is potentially degrade the sound (and cost you money that could be spent better elsewhere).
Thank you all for your help and opinions and Tim, appreciate the detail breakdown on how you use your Oppo. Now i have to choose a multi channel amp and figure out how i would connect my Sony HAP1ZES."
I guess that means you've decided to buy an Oppo 205? What amplifiers to use could probably be a separate thread but I'm okay with offering some suggestions if you don't want to start another thread. Either of the Parasound
multi-channel amps you mentioned (A51 andAa52 plus) earlier would work well and easily drive your very efficient Klipsch Heresy speakers. Having owned a pair of the original Klipsch Heresy speakers when I was in college, I know the A52 plus with 125 watts/ch into 8 ohms is more than enough power to drive your speakers to ear-splitting levels. I think any of the Parasounds will provide very good clean power that has a smooth mid-range and treble but may leave you wanting a bit better bass response. I can give you alternative amp solutions but would like some more information from you before I do so to better tailor them to your preferences and needs. Please answer these questions:
1. What's your room size? 2. What's your budget? 3. What type of home theater setup do you want? 5.1, 7.1? Atmos? Sub(s)? 4. Do you have any size, weight or heat constraints for the amp location? 5. Are you set only a single multi-channel amp for all channels or are you open to some combination of amps to cover all channels?
I have decided to buy the Oppo 205. It offers a lot for the money. Based on everything i've read from users, i don't think i will be disappointed with sound quality. I am still not sure how i am going to connect my Sony HAP1ZES whitout having a preamp, any thoughts? Here are my answers to your questions. Appreciate the feedback Tim.
1. Room size 11x15 2. Budget is $4500.00 to $5000.00 3.Type of HT set up is 5.1 only no Atmos & 1 sub 4. Size and weight, i do have some constraints. I have a Billy Bags AV rack that i have had for years and the bottom shelf is 9 inch's high, so i am somewhat limited 5. I am leaning towards a single multi channel amp to cover all channels but, open to options. My budget is limited to what i indicated.
Excellent choice. I think you'll love it. Do you have a 4K hdtv?
Can't you just hook-up both the Sony HAP1ZES and Oppo 205 via ethernet cables to your router? Sorry, I'm not very familiar with the Sony.
For a single chassis 5 channel amp, you can either go with a big heavy class AB type like the Parasounds or go with a much smaller, lighter class D or H amp. They're just as powerful as the class AB amps but use significantly less electricity to operate and run much cooler.
In my opinion, the class D amps I now use in my combo music and ht system equal or outperform my former class AB amps in every category I care about; better bass response, quieter, more dynamic, more detailed with a similar smooth and natural mid-range and treble. They use so little electricity, in fact, that I just leave them on 24/7 so they're always warmed up. I decided to go with mono-block amps for my main l+r speakers and separate amps for my center and rear surrounds rather than a single 5 channel amp. I did this mainly for the ease of making any possible amp changes I may want to make in the future. You never know if an amazing new technology may be developed or you just get the urge to try something new or different. I paid a bit more overall but consider it worth it. I thought you might appreciate this added flexibility.
If you prefer class AB and are okay with the less than optimum bass response noted by some reviewers, I think the Parasound A52 Plus is a good choice. If you want to try class D or H, they're often sold internet direct and offer free in-home trial periods. Most offer mono-block, stereo and multi-channel models. Here are some high quality companies/options:
Thanks for your feed back. I do have a 4K HDTV. It is a Sony XBR 55 850C. The Sony HAP1ZES has line outs and needs to be connected to a preamp or amp. I did not know if there was alternative hook up that i was not aware of. The ethernet connection is for transfering music from a computer. I had a chance to briefly listen to the NAD M27. I thought it sounded pretty good but, need more time with it. My dealer carry's both NAD and Parasound, so i am going to compare Parasound A51 and the new A52 plus with the NAD M27. The other brands you recommeded i will look into too. I am familiar with DSoinc and Wyred4Sound but, not Red Dragon Audio. Thanks again.
If you're going to definitely buy the 205, I suggest you call Oppo Support at
650-961-1118 and ask them the best method to connect your
HAP1ZES to the 205 with the 205 acting as the preamp. Their product support is excellent; they really helped me out hooking up my NAS, laptop and JRiver software with the 105 for my computer audio setup. Which, by the way, you could also setup with the 205 in the future if you'd like. My guess is they'll suggest a usb connection between the two components but I'm not certain.
My dealer carry's both NAD and Parasound, so i am going to compare Parasound A51 and the new A52 plus with the NAD M27."
That sounds ideal if they'll let you audition them in-home on your system. Once you have the 205 and it's properly connected to the Sony, you'll be all set to compare the 3 amps. I think you'll discover that all 3 amps are very good performers. In my experience with comparing the performance of good class AB and good class D amps, the most obvious differences I noticed were in the bass response, noise floor level and dynamic range. I noticed other differences, such as detail levels and degree of neutrality, but these were not as obvious. I'd also suggest playing your best engineered recordings because a good recording will sound exceptionally good but a bad recording will definitely be noticed as such through a good class D amp. Please keep us posted on your impressions.
Hi all, In resent times I had invested in high quality seperate components in an attempt to jag that which is most sort after of all..... high fidelity sound Except for the brand spanking new Oppo 205, the rest of the system ranges back to 2000 or so. For those considering aging equipment based on the reputation of their greatness from back in the day, let me say: consider with both amps and prepros that after 10 years you may be up for re capping multi channel amps and processors. Also compatibility issues with modern codecs are an issue for older prepros. I got caught out here! My gear: Meridian 558 5ch amp, meridian g68 AVD, 621hdmi switch, Dynaudio and now the Oppo 205. My g68 is currently being fixed as it has developed an issue with the digital to anolg conversion.
The g68 has room correction and can connect up to hdmi v1.4, But can’t process DD+ etc, Question: so do I... leave the g68 in the system and use the oppo to LPCM into the Meridian via 621 switcher with hdmi or RCA unbalance from oppo into the 5 chanel in of the meridian g68 then 5 chanel out to the 558. Either of the above give the advantage of room correction and preamp conectivity. Or remove the g68, get stuff all for it selling it, or use it in a 2 chanel music listening system in another room. If I just use the oppo as the prepro, I could use the xlr balanced for 2 front chanels direct to my 558 and hook up the rears and centre direct to the 558 via the rca unbalanced. Naturaly the picture would go direct to my tv via hdmi. Side note: I have some solid silver 3 core conductor rca interconnects, would just need a pair of xlrs.
I would suggest you just use the 205 as the prepro and use a good pair of XLRs to hookup the stereo l+r/front l+r Oppo outputs direct to your Meridian 568 5ch amp. Then hookup the rears and center direct to the 568 via rca unbalanced cables. The result is simple, direct and streamlined connections between prepro and amp that I'm almost certain would sound very good.
This is the hookup I use on my Oppo 105 and I know for certain that it sounds very good for both 2-ch stereo and 5.1 surround. Including your g68 AVD and HDMI switcher in the chain seems redundant and unnecessary to me. The 205 uses multiple excellent and expensive Saber dacs with volume adjustments communicated digitally to, and actually performed on, each channel's dac chip so there's no dropped bits and missing information. There's also also an audio setup menu that allows you to set the relative volume of each channel and whether or not you want bass assistance from your sub. But there's no actual room correction with a mic, software and parametric equalization. It's completely sufficient for my needs but may not be for yours. I'm really not familiar with the performance level of your g68 and whether you consider room correction a requirement but, of course, you could always audition and compare your system performance with and without the g68 and just choose the one you like best.
I am unfortunate not to have access to modwright's modifications to the Oppo (105 &205) to make them sonically better if that can be detected. Different, but better? I can't offer an opinion but many subscribers expound on the improvement.
I have eventually split my system into 2. One for stereo, one for HT and the equipment to suit. Its understandable that most cannot do this but I am just retired and got sick of trying to get quality stereo from my HT system, despite going straight through to the front speakers.
I learnt that HT speakers are not audiophile and vica versa. So I split them so that the only connection is AC and /Ethernet. I have only retired so am able to have access to funds accumulated over a working lifetime (despite my wonderful better half wanting to divert available $ to travel).
So I have for HT: MK300 in an Atmos setup with Anthem AV60, 1 x 525 and 2 x 325s, Oppo 205 and Bluesound Node2 and a 65" HDTV not purchased yet.
The stereo is dCS DAC, Bridge and Clock, an Oppo 105 or Pioneer BDP-52 (wonderful rich sound), Ayre K3x, Kuzma Stabi Reference + Stogi Reference
Tonearm, J Allaerts MC1Boron, Clearaudio cartridge and some beautiful speakers being hand built in Colorado by a most experienced engineer. Not telling what or who yet, but these will be a livelong promise. Also having 2xEqui=Core 1800's and 2xDeep Core's shipped in.
I figure with some ailments I have, music is one thing I will not give up, and I enjoy HT when I get the time with family. They enjoy it too!
I haven't the funds for a theatre, or dedicated music room so they share duty. Music is bliss, HT is pretty good too. :)
I am looking to do something similar, but just for Home Theater, not so much for music. So I purchased an Oppo-UDP-203 and have it currently connected to my Marrantz AV7005. However the Marrantz does not support 4K UHD, but then neither does my TV. I am looking at getting a new Sony 65" 4K TV, and then at the point should I: 1. connect Oppo (HDMI 2.0) directly to TV 2. Eliminate Marrantz and go analog direct to my Parrasound 5 channel amp.
Problem is I have two other devices (Apple TV and Telus box for TV) and only one HDMI input on Oppo. I could get rid of the Apple as Telus device is pretty much doing everything Apple does (movies, Netflix Youtube etc), but my whole house and phones are Apple so displaying pics and other music streaming via Apple is easy and convenient at times, though I must say I don;t do that often.
I am thinking all those devices should go directly to the TV, and have the TV do the switching and then ARC or digital out from TV back to the Oppo. What do you think??
Or are there any preamp/sourround processors only (no video processing) that I should be looking at. Anthem AV60 is one option as I believe the Video is basically pass through, but is spending $3k for HDMI switching and room correction really worth it?
Might add that the HT is in the basement, my Music is a separate system upstairs. Mac Mini/Audioquest USB/DacMagic plus/Quad 34 pre/Quad 405 amp/B&W CM6S2 book shelf speakers. With Oracle Alexandria turntable. I have recapped the QUAD 405 and added dual PSU. I enjoy the sound very much and really not looking to spend any more money here, other than possible room acoustic panels.
One of the other reasons for Oppo was it is Roon ready and I have a wired ethernet connection to it. So should I go Roon on my Mac Mini and thus can play my music easily on either system. My music library consists of newly rippled CD's (AIFF) and some high res files I obtained from other sources. Anyone have much experience with Roon?
Noble, I have been considering a setup similar to yours, but was concerned about the difference in the Oppo’s outputs on XLR vs RCA. Doesn’t that create a mismatch? My plan due to limited funds right now is to use the 205 as the pre. The old AVR I have has 7.1 audio inputs so I can use that as the ‘multichannel amp’ for H/T, and my existing Odyssey amp for the mains. My only sources are CD, streaming, and DirecTV. I’ve never used XLR, but my local dealer says the Odyssey would be ideal to use them, but I didn’t know how the balance would work with the RCA into the AVR.
I don’t have any issues using the XLR cables for the stereo/l+r mains and the unbalanced rca for the surround outputs. I doubt you will either. By ear, I can tell the XLR seem to have a slightly higher gain than the rca so the XLR sounds slightly louder.but not dramatically louder. Even if the XLR does sound significantly louder to you, the audio configuration section of the Set Up menu allows you to adjust the relative volume levels of both the stereo/l+r mains and all of the surround channels to match the output volumes either by ear or with the assistance of a sound level meter. So, you can relax. You should have no issues with mismatches using the XLR outputs to your Odyssey amp and rca outputs to your AVR.
If I were to get a used 105D, would it work in this configuration --
HDMI from PC to Oppo for future 4K passthrough (I don't have a 4K projector yet) and 7.1 audio decoding USB from PC to Oppo for higher resolution stereo audio (advantage?) HDMI out to my Benq W1070 projector XLR out to my Levinson 333 dual mono amp/B&W N801 speakers RCA outs for side and rear speakers through a 4-channel amp I have lying around. I have a pair of CDM2 Signatures and I could easily get another pair. RCA out to an old sub I have "lying around." (might just make my awesome bass muddy but I'd like to try it) Can I use it without a center channel speaker? I'd hate to have to try to get a good enough amp/center channel speaker to match the quality of what I have, but I'm really interested in experimenting with surround. I guess I could get a Nautilus HTM2 used for around $600 and ponder what to do about a good amplifier for it.
I just bought a PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC and I like it, but now I'm wondering if I should have gotten a 7.1 system instead. If the 2-channel implementation in this is really good, it has balanced outputs, and I gain the ability to play Bluray discs directly. It seems like this might be a better choice. I can still return the GCD if I decided this was better.
To be perfectly fair, I watch more TV than I listen to music. And although 2-channel of this caliber is pretty awesome for watching television, I wonder what I am missing in side and rear speakers.
I'm afraid that it would just be one big coherence nightmare and sound terrible. I've been looking for an inexpensive way to experiment and haven't found one.
It took me more than 30 minutes to read the OPPO 105D manual I found online. Therefore, I can't edit my previous post and I answered some of my own questions.
It appears I can set the center channel speaker to "off." Can someone confirm that this "phantom" center channel option sounds right/good?
It doesn't appear that the Oppo will pass through 4K, but it does look like I could put it in "audio only" mode, use one of the HDMI outputs from my PC for audio, a different one (maybe Displayport) for 4K in the future, and get sound and video that way.
USB seems like it may or may not be an advantage for 2-channel audio. Anyone have opinions on this? The manual says USB is 2-channel only.
The manual isn't really very clear on whether the XLR outputs are the same as the RCA surround outputs. Can someone explain how this works, exactly?
Now I'm considering a 103D and just running the left and right outputs through the PS Audio piece. That lets me use the PS Audio DAC for music and the Oppo for movies/multichannel. And the price point on eBay seems to be super low which is perfect for my experiment.
Correct, the 105D does not support 4K. You would have to get the 205 to support 4K.
In my opinion, the center channel is probably the most important speaker for tv/movie content. About 80% of the audio is targeted for the center channel. I think you should discard the idea of "rear surrounds" and use one of those speakers for a center channel. Even though the Oppo will decode and distribute audio without a center channel, you will have significant improvement in movie dialogue if you actually use a center channel speaker. I think the "rear surrounds" are a lot less important. You will still have "side surrounds" which gives you most of the surround effect anyways.
The XLR left/right outputs will send the same audio signal as the FR and FL RCA channels in the 7.1 surround output section. The XLR left/right is generated from a much better audio board, so it is better to use those for the front left/right speakers.
As far as the Stellar Gain, it is an excellent DAC and preamp, hugely better than the Oppo. You can actually connect it in between the Oppo and Levinson amp to make a "hybrid" system. Just connect the XLR outputs of the Oppo to the XLR inputs of the Steller Gain. Then connect XLR outputs of Stellar Gain to Levinson amp. You can actually configure the XLR inputs of the Steller Gain to be a HT input. This means that the input will be played at a fixed volume regardless of the volume knob on the Stellar Gain. This allows you to continue to use the digital volume in the Oppo for overall tv/movie sound.
At this point, I would connect digital coax output from the Oppo to a digital coax input on the Stellar Gain so that you can use the Oppo to play 2-channel CD or streaming such as Pandora, etc.
Then connect your PC to Stellar Gain using USB for other 2-channel audio.
You will not be able to get a 7.1 HT processor that will do 2-channel audio as good as the Stellar Gain. It's just not possible because the Stellar Gain has digital clocks that sync to exact audio formats (such as 44.1, 48, 96, etc.). A HT processor will also have a clock centered around 48khz, which is the primary format movie audio is produced in. Also, the audio stages in HT processors will not be as good as STellar Gain, unless you spend many thousands.
If movies are priority, you could go for a HT processor, but it will suffer in 2-channel audio. It would be better 7.1 sound than the Oppo, if you spend enough (Marantz 8802a, Krell Foundation, etc.).
As far as the sub, I would not even try to hook it up. The huge Levinson 333 and the B&W 801 will have enormous amount of bass strength. The sub will just "muddy the water".
You could try a 103D if you wanted to experiment, but keep in mind that the audio quality will not be as good as the 105D. The 103 and 105 both use the same digital platform for playing discs and decoding digital audio. However, the 105 has much better DAC and audio output stages for both the XLR and the 7.1 surround outputs.
Right now I stream TIDAL from my PC or use Foobar for high-res music. I do maybe 60% of my computing on my projector with my keyboard in my lap and my mouse on my little table to the right of my chair. Quite the computer speakers...
I think I'm going to have to experiment before I can decide what's right for me. 80% of the audio coming from the center channel is fine, but I'm in a dedicated, sound absorbed, very precisely set up room. If the processor can put the center channel back into the mains and image it well then I suspect it would sound better than having different speakers and amplifiers across the front.
@brian27b I have the 205 and Halo A51 in the configuration you speak of, Brian. Its been a while since you began this thread, so I hope input is still of use to you. Having read the other responses, I don’t see this info out here yet, and some of what I have to offer is directly contrary to what others have replied with.
- Contrary to what one responder posted, Paul McGowan, owner of the legendary PS Audio, has maintained thru his career of auditioning, testing, designing, building & selling hi-end audiophile equipment, that a Pre-Amp diminishes the sound quality of your system over a source direct to amp, unless 1 of two things are occurring: (1) A very hi end and expensive pre-amp of great design is being used, likely Tubed, or (2) it is improving the sound to the way you prefer your sound to be, but in fact, it is messing with the signal purity to do so, and therefore not better,,,its actually worse,,,its just better for you. Thus the expression, "get out of the way".... the most accurate sound of the source recording is on the source disc or digital media/usb/etc, and is diminished each time it goes through another piece of electronics. Now,,why would a guy (Paul McGowan) that designs, builds, and sells hi end audio equipment and pre-amplifiers over the $10k mark, openly throughout his life damage potential sales, by publicly telling others that they are diminishing the true quality of the sound by using a pre-amp 99+% of the time? In my own comparisons I have come to agree with Mr McGowan.
- You can hook up your Sony with the Oppo in one of two ways: - by putting its HDMI out to the OPPO HDMI in, or any other of the digital out to digital in you like. If you believe that would be a downgrade of your Sony's digital sound processing, then there is option 2, below. I currently feed a Sony DVP-995V 400 disc player into my Oppo with HDMI, letting the Oppo do the decoding of the SACDs, CDs and DVD movies the Sony 400 disc player is spinning. - you can either install an RCA input switch (I don't recommend, as it will be made of junk inside for the audio switching connections), or, at the amp, insert a set of dual RCA inputs, into each of the amps single RCA inputs. In this scenario, while the Halo amps should be fine if you accidentally had both sources go at the same time, as the total voltage would still be well below the 9.6 max volt input rating of the Halo. But, it still probably wouldn't be the wisest thing to have both sources accidentally go at the same time.
- The variable output of the 205 is NOT for headphone only, as one responder posted. Using it does not turn the gain up with the 1, very small, toroidal transformer the Oppo possesses, or headphone amp. When it is set at 100, that also happens to be the normal "fixed" playback volume setting of the Oppo. When you put it to 80, or 32, or whatever, all you are doing is stepping down the gain that it is normally providing to an amp or preamp if you were not in the variable output setting.
- The NAD is a GREAT Amp. I also compared it to the Halo A-51. Not going to get into all the details of my feelings, as you've probably done this at this point, and made your decisions based on your own preferences/needs or budget. But I did come to believe the A-51 was superior in more ways than the NAD was superior. I have since that time, added JC-1s for the front, and made the A-51 my surround only.
- The Halo A-_1 line has varying voltage input adaptability built into it. Most audiophile amps prefer higher voltage and want 4.8-9.6 dvolts to sound their best. The minimum input voltage they advertise or publish in the users manual is the minimum they are rated to accept without overstraining the amp, but they all prefer and operate better with more. A-51, A-21, etc, while still in the boat of performing best with higher voltage input up to 9.6V, is designed to adapt itself to incoming voltage and voltage changes, to maintain its quality sound balance as close to one point, in a way other amps do not.
I do find that while the A-51 is a lightning fast amp, that the rise-time of its sound curve could be better. Combined with the lightning fast audio info provided by the 205, it can, on poor recordings, sound too tinnie. Your speakers will determine if this is the case. But if you find it to be so, the resolution I created by accident, was to run a direct power feed to the audio in my home. The A-51 Needs unfettered feed power to perform right. Prior to doing that, I adjusted with cabling, which also worked well, but made me miss the step up incredible resolution that was present on everything but the poor recordings.
Hope you, or others, find some use in this & Happy Listening!