Oppo UDP-205 – Audio Review

Oppo UDP-205 – Audio Review


This is my review of the Oppo UDP-205 4K Blu Ray disc player as a CD Player and a DAC. So a review of a Blu Ray disc (BDP) player as an audio product, not as a 4K thing. If you are going to take anything away from this review it should be that this is as good a CD player as I have heard in a long time and a DAC that it is surely as good as it can be. Adding in an excellent dedicated DAC chipped headphone output this product represents exceptional value for money for what it does at the quality it does.

Design and Specification

Audio

As an audio product, the 205 can be just a CD player without the need for a TV screen, which is how I have been manly listening to it.   There is a good intuitive App which will very easily control the CD player, play music stored on the phone assuming you’re both WiFi’d up and it will control a USB stick with hires music on it nicely too.  It also allows you to play networked music (NAS drive style) without the need for a TV screen which is great.  This is all very intuitive and excellent.  What it does not do is allow you to stream music from say Tidal, there’s no Bluetooth here either, so to stream audio (or anything else for that matter, see below) you need another box (for example the excellent Oppo Sonica streaming DAC (800 quid), my review to follow).

I did say above that the 205 is just a CD player but it does have a pre-amp that feeds to balanced and unbalanced output.  Meaning you can just connect it to a power amplifier and control the volume.  Similarly you can do this with a pair of headphones.  Indeed the headphone stage is directly connected to the very latest Sabre DAC, delivering power and quality in a single breath.

Speaking of the Sabre DAC, this is the very latest ES9038PRO SABRE DAC that is 32 bit capable.  There are in fact two of these, one for the 7.1 channels and one for the stereo audio stuff, with the headphone output directly connected.  This affords a higher resolution solution for two channel geeks like me and it should keep the AV geeks happy too.  There are two toroidal power supplies in here too, one for the digital stuff and another for the analogue circuitry.  Thus the audio output is clean and robust with its dedicated supply.

4K stuff

The 205, when connected to a TV screen does not have all of the Smart TV stuff the previous 105 had.  For example, networked services like Tidal, YouTube, Netflix etc. have gone.  This is actually not a big deal because most new TVs now are smart and have all that stuff on them, especially if you are going 4K.  So this just means that Oppo have concentrated their efforts on playback quality, be that audio or visual.  The Phone App (mine’s Android but there’s an Apple one) will allow you similarly to control networked films audio and photos.  Potentially excellent.

Here is the full Spec.  It can be seen on the Oppo site.

Disc Types 4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, AVCHD, SACD, CD, Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW, DVD±R DL, BD-R/RE
BD Profile BD-ROM Version 3.1 Profile 6 (also compatible with BD-ROM Version 2.5 Profile 5)

Output

Oppo UDP-205

USB DAC In

Analog Audio: 7.1ch, 5.1ch, stereo.
Dedicated Stereo Analog Audio: XLR balanced, RCA single-ended.
Coaxial/Optical Audio: up to 2ch/192kHz PCM, Dolby Digital, DTS.
HDMI Audio: up to 7.1ch/192kHz PCM, up to 5.1ch DSD, Bitstream.
HDMI Video: UHD/1080p24/1080p/1080i/720p/576p/576i/480p/480i, 3D frame-packing 720p/1080p24.

Input
HDMI Audio: up to 7.1ch/192kHz PCM, up to 5.1ch DSD, Bitstream.
HDMI Video: UHD/1080p24/1080p/1080i/720p/576p/576i/480p/480i, 3D frame-packing 720p/1080p24.
USB Audio: up to 2ch/768kHz PCM, up to 2ch/2.8224MHz/5.6448MHz/11.2896MHz/22.5792 MHz (native mode only) DSD.
Coaxial/Optical Audio: up to 2ch/192kHz PCM, Dolby Digital, DTS, AAC.

Audio Characteristics
(Stereo Audio Output)
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 160kHz (-3dB ˜ +0.05dB)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: > 120dBr
THD+N: < 0.00018% Output Level: (RCA) 2.1±0.2Vrms. (XLR) 4.2±0.4Vrms Dynamic Range: > 120dB
Crosstalk: > 118dB

Analogue Audio Characteristics
(Multi-channel Audio Output)
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 160kHz (-3dB ˜ +0.05dB)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: > 120dBr
THD+N: < 0.00031% Output Level: 2.1±0.2Vrms Dynamic Range: > 120dB
Crosstalk: > 118dB

Headphone Audio Characteristics
Frequency Response: 20Hz – 80kHz (-2dB ˜ +0.05dB) into 32ohm
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: > 105dBr into 32ohm
THD+N: < 0.01% into 32ohm and 50mW Maximum Output Power: 590mW into 32ohm Dynamic Range: > 115dB into 32ohm
Output Impedance: < 0.1ohm

General Specification
Power Supply: 110V – 120V ˜ / 220V – 240V ˜, 50/60Hz
Power Consumption: 65W (Standby: 0.5W in Energy Efficient Mode)
Dimensions: 16.8 x 12.2 x 4.8 inches (430mm x 311mm x 123mm)
Mass: 22lbs (10kg)
Operating Temperature 41°F – 95°F, 5°C – 35°C
Operating Humidity 15% – 75%, no condensation

Included Accessories
User Manual
Power Cord
Certified Premium High Speed 6 Ft HDMI Cable
Remote Control with Size AA Batteries
Shipping Information Shipping Weight: 30 lbs (14kg)
Shipping Dimensions: 22 x 19 x 9.5 inches

Quality

The 205 is very nicely put together and has ‘the right feel’.  It is particularly heavy, reflecting the two power supplies included.  There is a power button on the front with ‘Play’ ‘Stop’ and ‘Forward/Back’ only.  It looks the part.  There is a USB port at the front for audio.  That’s it at the front.  It looks like a CD player to me, but if you look at the back it is clear there’s a whole lot of stuff going on, as the spec above boasts.  I am well impressed with the look of this player.  The remote control is a good one, substantial, clear with nice buttons.  It illuminates when moved which is great in the dark.  There is also a really neat “Pure Audio” button, removing the display for maximum audio performance.

Performance

Test set-up

 Oppo UDP-205

KEF R700

I have had the 205 set-up as an audio product into various amplifiers as discussed below.  Because the player expects you to be hooked up to a TV it is not the easist to navigate but there is an App and frankly, I’m just playing CDs so it is pretty easy generally.  My audio set-up includes using Oppo PM-2s as headphones for the headphones test, with the Atlas Zeno cable upgrade.  I’m using QED balanced cable to a T+A AMP 8 power amplifier to hear the CD as clearly as I can.  This is fed into Atlas Mavros cables to my trusty KEF R700s.  I’m using an Atlas Mains Conditioner.

Streaming Bluesound MQA into the Oppo UDP-205

If you want to stream through the 205 you will need a streamer.  Still going strong and one of the best performers is the Bluesound Node (I have the 1, the 2 is better).  I’ve connected this to the Optical input to listen to MQA’d music.  The throughput is beautiful and clean and of a very high quality.   It is a simple matter to switch inputs if you do not have a TV screen connected, just use the App or the remote control.  The App has a replica of the remote control in it to easily choose.  I’ve streamed  this source separately to the power and integrated amplifiers listed below with very positive outcomes.

Win 10 Laptop into the Oppo UDP-205

Using “Input Select” either on the App or on the remote control I turned the 205 to USB Audio In.   I downloaded the driver from the Oppo site with ease and selected USB output on the laptop.  I have Foobar with a load of 24 bit 96kHz and above files.  The output is beautiful, quite simply beautiful.

Oppo UDP-205 Audio Network Streaming

One of the more satisfying set-ups here is having my bit perfect NAS drive (a Naim Server) streaming into the the room with the 205 in control.  This was a really good sound and represents a multi-room function I was not initially thinking about.

Oppo UDP-205 CD to Balanced output to T+A AMP 8 Power Amplifier

 Oppo UDP-205

205 Balanced Output

The CD player output from this 205 is absolutely fantastic

The CD player output from this 205 is absolutely fantastic.  It is bright, clear, has exceptional high resolution and sounds commanding.  The remote control (or the App) manages the volume and you can use the “Pure Audio” feature to get the best from the output.  It is a real treat, I’ve not spread out a pile of CDs on the floor for a long time.  You do need to make sure that you have gone into the App to select variable output of course, not too difficult to do, and again, you do not need a screen.

Oppo UDP-205 CD to Coax to Integrated Amplifier (Auralic Polaris)

Next up, I plugged the 205 into an integrated amplifier using the Audio Coax cable output.  The output is of an exceptional output quality.  The Auralic Polaris (review to follow) is a very flexible Class D performer and the quality of the CD output glides through to the KEF speakers in a dominant sound stage.  The CD resolution is very impressive indeed.

Oppo UDP-205 to Oppo PM-2 open backed headphones

Using a CD or the network service, the 205 is as good and clear as you would hope it would be.  I just plugged in my very nice (still) Oppo PM-2 headphones and opened the App and streamed music for another ‘lost’ hour of music my life.  The headphones sing with a dedicated output and you hear the quality and the resolution very clearly indeed.

My only minor gripe around the App to do this would be that playlist building is not the best (compared to others, in fact the Oppo Sonica DAC playlist building is much better).   I have also been struggling to draw through networked album art which normally works on other systems.  These are minor issues in truth.

Oppo UDP-205 as 4K UHD BDP to a 4K LG TV

Basically this is just a bloody good Blu-Ray disc player!

As a 4K BDP the 205 is of course sparkling into a 4K LG TV, I am not clear if it is any better than any other 4K players out there as this is not my thing but it looks great to me.  The 205 has outputs everywhere at the back for TV stuff that I will not examine here.  Basically this is just a bloody good Blu-Ray disc player!

Overall

Overall, this is an exceptional CD player, an exceptional DAC and a very tidy headphone amplifier

Overall, this is an exceptional CD player, an exceptional DAC and a very tidy headphone amplifier.  The network streaming feature gives this an additional multi-room element I was not expecting. Over most of this period I have not used a TV screen to navigate the audio features here.   If you are in the market for a CD player at a fifteen hundred pounds or so, you should be thinking about listening to this 205 before you make any decisions.  It is a lot of money but it is well worth it, with the benefit of a Blu-Ray and 4K option when needed.

Love

The App

CD is an audio sensation

Like

Pure Audio feature

Multi-finctional High Spec DAC

Wish

There was more on the display so it could be used as just a CD player

It had a Tidal streamer built in

Bluetooth (I’m not sure I mean this tbh, I rarely use it)

On Amazon the Oppo UDP-205 is retailing near £1,500.

 

 

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