By Todd Anderson on Jun 14, 2017 at 10:42 AM
  1. Todd Anderson

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    OPPO Digital UDP-205 Ultra HD Audiophile Blu-ray Player Review

    Manufacturer & Model:
    OPPO Digital UDP-205 Ultra HD Audiophile Blu-ray Player
    MSRP:
    $1,299
    Link:
    https://www.oppodigital.com
    Highlights:
    OPPO’s latest flagship 4K UHD Blu-ray player, amazing music playback capabilities powered by ESS Technology’s top reference DACs, Dolby Vision capable, high-end build quality, top-notch performance.
    Summary:
    The UDP-205 is OPPO’s newest flagship universal disc player. It’s loaded with high-end technologies to enable stunning 4K UHD Blu-ray playback, in addition to true audiophile grade analog music output. It also can serve as a headphone amplifier. The player delivered quite a performance during demo sessions, matching the kind of performance we’ve come to expect from OPPO products. Fit and finish are perfect, rounding out a package that should be top of the list for enthusiasts looking to enter the world of 4K UHD Blu-ray.
    [​IMG]


    With the release of its UDP-205 4K Ultra HD Audiophile Blu-ray Player, OPPO Digital finalized its transition from the world of standard High Def by going all in on 4K UHD. The UDP-205 is the company’s new flagship product and a true do-it-all Swiss Army knife of the disc playing world. This player, however, isn’t the nondescript pocketknife your parents gave you when you were seven.

    Nope.

    This is the one the shopkeeper would proudly display on a rotating platter in his storefront window, with a bevy of tantalizing tools opened for all to see (and a price tag your allowance simply couldn’t touch).

    Yes, folks, this is that pocketknife.


    Meet the UDP-205
    [​IMG]

    (OPPO Digital)

    OPPO’s 2017 4K Blu-ray player class consists of two models: the UDP-203 ($549) and the subject of this review (UDP-205), a $1,299 version that’s been supercharged for hardcore audiophiles. The $750 price gap between the two models is fairly sizable, which is a fairly good indicator that the 205 has a few tricks up its sleeve.

    Before we dig into the UDP-205’s improvements, let’s quickly review some topline features that both of OPPO’s 2017 players have in common: 4K UHD Blu-ray, standard Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, DVD, DVD-audio, SACD, and Audio CD playback; a specialized MediaTek quad-core OP8591 Blu-ray decoder SoC; HDR10 and (newly unlocked) Dolby Vision compatibility; HDR to SDR conversion and UHD upconversion; dual HDMI outputs (HDMI 2.0 for UHD video and HDMI 1.4 for discrete audio output to older receivers); 7.1 analog outputs; a single HDMI 2.0 input; Built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet; front (one) and rear (two) USB ports; and a custom designed disc loader.

    Both players carry the same technologies needed to deliver a high-quality video experience in the 4K realm, and possess well rounded backwards compatibility with legacy formats. The video department is also bolstered by the inclusion of Dolby Vision (which is expected to be the biggest impact video tech of 2017). If you’re an owner of one of OPPO’s last-gen players, you might have noted the absence of onboard video streaming apps (such as Netflix or Vudu). The company opted to nix that kind of functionality on its new players, however the existence of USB ports more than opens the door for external media sticks and the like (which are far more common now than they were several years ago).

    [​IMG]
    (OPPO Digital) The impressive guts of the UDP-205.

    The UDP-205 separates itself from its little brother (not to mention OPPO’s previous flagship, BDP-105) in the audio realm by offering cutting-edge audiophile features. To start, the 205 carries dual ESS Technology ES9038PRO Sabre Pro digital-to-analog converters (DACs), which hail from the top of that company’s acclaimed EES PRO series of converters. One DAC is dedicated to power XLR balanced and RCA stereo outputs (with true differential signal pathways to the XLRs for noise rejection), while the other is assigned to its 7.1-channel analog outputs (which can be configured to serve as a Zone 2 stereo audio source). It has a new high-precision HDMI clock with audio jitter reduction circuitry to eliminate timing errors and improve overall audio accuracy, and an asynchronous USB DAC input (rates up to 768 kHz PCM / 512 DSD) allowing external sources to attach and make use of the ES9038PRO DAC. It also possesses dual USB 3.0 ports (back) and a single USB 2.0 port (front) for digital audio access, along with wireless access to network servers. Digital audio prowess is bolstered by onboard decoding of commonly found Hi-Res audio file types, legacy movie codecs, and bitstream output of immersive sound audio.

    OPPO has also integrated a custom-built toroidal transformer that’s designed to supply ultra-clean power to the analog audio circuitry. In order to keep things squeaky clean and quiet, the company’s engineers designed a fanless cooling system, allowing you to enjoy extreme power without the added sound of a fan.

    The UDP-205 can also serve as a high-performance headphone amp with direct access to an ESS Sabre Pro DAC. Simply plug into the front headphone jack and tap the power of the player’s dedicated headphone amplifier (which OPPO says offers more power than previous generation players).

    The complete package ties together as a high-end performer, primed to act as a universal disc player, a pre-amp, a headphone amp, and an audiophile grade digital audio device.


    Unboxing and Set Up
    [​IMG]

    If you’ve read my previous reviews of OPPO products, then you’ll know I’m a fan of the company’s unboxing experience. Not surprisingly, the UDP-205 doesn’t disappoint, making great use of high-quality packaging and marketing materials. You can view an array of unboxing photos by clicking here.

    Aside from the player, owners will find an extensive manual, a familiar looking motion activated backlit remote (with batteries), an HDMI cable, a power cord, and a protective cloth bag.

    The player, itself, has some heft, which is immediately noticeable when lifting it from the box. The UDP-205 weighs 12.5 pounds more than the UDP-203 and stands 1.7 inches taller (total weight = 22 lbs; dimensions = 16.8” W x 12.2” D x 4.8” H). Its front side is identical to the legacy BDP-105, featuring a slightly concave brushed metal faceplate with slanted edges, a centrally mounted LED display, and a smattering of simple input controls. The backside is loaded with RCA/XLR stereo and 7.1 multichannel outputs, Optical and Coaxial inputs/outputs, a USB DAC input, Ethernet, dual HDMI outputs, a single HDMI input, RS232C, a single 12-volt trigger, an IR connection, ground, and an AC voltage switch.

    Overall build quality is top-notch, with perfect lines and assembly.

    Setting up the UDP-205 was a snap. The player’s onscreen menu interface is identical to the one found on the UDP-203, which is to say that it’s clean and user friendly. Boot time (from Off to On) is quick, and instantly leads to an attractive startup screen that features various eye-pleasing Hi-Res images and a menu bar highlighting Disc, Music, Photos, Movies, Network, Setup, and Favorites options.

    [​IMG]
    The UDP-205's menu system is easy to navigate.

    For purposes of this review, I evaluated video performance using an LG B6 OLED television and a JVC RS520 4K e-shift projector. Audio performance equipment included HDMI and RCA outputs to a Yamaha RX-A3050 with “Pure Direct” mode (which conveniently bypasses DSP circuitry) and an alternative setup using an RCA connection direct to an Emotiva XPA-5 amplifier. Aside from attaching basic cables, the UDP-205 was connected to a wireless network (a process that proved to be quick and painless).

    Much like the UDP-203, the 205’s settings menu presents a dizzying array of AV performance adjustments. Default settings were ultimately used for purposes of this review, and most owners will most likely never navigate through or alter the available advanced settings. If you find yourself curious and want to take a peek at the various menu options, you can find a complete copy of the UDP-205’s manual by clicking here.


    Format Compatibility
    [​IMG]

    The UDP-205 is a true universal player.

    Earlier, I touched on the UDP-205’s rich format compatibility. It truly stands as a “universal disc player,” with the ability to handle everything from 4K UHD Blu-rays down through the ranks of common legacy disc media. It can also handle BD-Live and Blu-ray Bonus View content, in addition to BD-R/RE single layer and dual layer discs, Kodak Picture discs, and DVD +/- R/RW media.

    The UDP-205 can decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA codecs internally, with bitstream output of Auro-3D, Atmos, DTS:X, DTS-HD Hi Resolution, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Digital Plus. It can also playback a wide range of movie file types including AVI, MP4, MOV, 3GP, FLV, MP4, and MKV. I was able to playback several samples of those file types contained on a memory stick without issue. Similar to my experience with the UDP-203, image quality for iPhone captured MOV files was surprisingly crisp and detailed when viewed on both display technologies.

    On the audio front, the UDP-205 handles the typical disc based media (SACDs, DVD Audio, and CDs), in addition to AIFF, WAV, APE, ALAC, FLAC and DSD file types. You can also stream digital content from a server that supports DLNA, a digital media renderer (requires a digital media controller), or a SMB/CIFS/NFS client.


    Movies
    [​IMG]

    (20th Century Fox)

    Video performance delivered by the UDP-205 is identical to that of the well-reviewed UDP-203, which is to say it’s spectacular. I ran the UDP-205 through numerous lengthy demo sessions with both Blu-ray (Hanna, The Great Wall, and San Andreas), 4K UHD Blu-ray (The Shallows, Logan, and Deadpool), and DVD (Die Hard) material. The UDP-205 performed as expected, offering gorgeous visuals devoid of blemishes or artifacts, loaded with natural colors, excellent shadow details, and a buttery smooth picture quality. HDR10 material was quite stunning (especially when viewed on the LG B6 OLED display), and upconversion of standard High Def material was excellent. Dolby Vision (which was activated after this review was completed) was not tested, however I’ll supply a Dolby Vision performance update once content is procured and viewed.

    All-in-all, my impressions of the UDP-205’s video capabilities matched the extensive video testing aced by the UDP-203 during a full evaluation earlier this year. That included successful passthrough of HD video sourced from an Xfinity X1 cable box.

    OPPO’s smooth high-precision disc loader delivered reasonable performance. The tray opened in roughly four seconds once operated by a remote, and UHD Blu-ray discs took between 25 and 35 seconds to load (both standard Blu-ray and DVD discs routinely loaded faster). The only true hiccup in the video department was an occasional HDMI handshake issue between the UDP-205 and my Yamaha RX-A3050 (this issue arose if the RX-A3050 was powered On first, and was resolved by power cycling the receiver); handshake issues when connecting the UDP-205 direct to a display were not experienced. Oppo says it’s testing a wide array of new HDMI products and is actively working with other manufacturers to address compatibility issues. Fixes could involve firmware updates to the UDP-205 or associated equipment (so keep tabs on what your other chosen manufacturers are releasing). OPPO’s strong history of support suggests the company will resolve any issues that arise as 4K continues to evolve, leaving little doubt that any hiccups in the 205’s performance will be appropriately remedied.


    Music
    [​IMG]

    (LCD Soundsystem, DFA/Captial/EMI)

    The UDP-205’s audio prowess is undeniable and its performance was spectacular. Disc loading times for various formats fell in the three to four second range, while recognition of attached USB sticks and a networked DLNA server were practically instantaneous. Interestingly, I found a similar difference when skipping tracks (CDs presented a slight lag in response time while USB and network media files responded lightning fast). In fact, the lag I experienced skipping through tracks on CDs is my only notable audio complaint, and a nit-pick at that.

    I began the audio evaluation by assessing the player’s headphone output capabilities. For several weeks, the UDP-205 sat deskside serving as a standalone headphone amp, feeding a pair of OPPO PM-3 and Grado Labs SR80 cans with deliciously vibrant tunes. Demo discs included LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver (CD), Billy Joel’s Piano Man (SACD), Mutemath’s Vitals (CD), and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (SACD).

    The resulting sound quality was smooth, refined, and uncolored, while top volume levels were reasonably loud and perfectly controlled. I was amazed by the player’s clean presentation and found myself mesmerized by its precision of playback punctuated by crisp dynamics. To note, the player is easy to operate in the blind (without the aid of menus or prompts you might otherwise see on a television screen).

    Moving on, I paired the UDP-205 with both a Yamaha RX-A3050 AVR and an Emotiva XPA-5 using connections discussed earlier in this review. The convenience of the RX-A3050’s Pure Direct mode allowed for removal of the receiver’s DSP circuitry for easy comparison switching between RCA and HDMI connections. To double back and confirm the 205’s analog performance, I also employed a direct RCA connection to the XPA-5 amp.

    My stereo listening session was kicked off by tapping the USB DAC connection and listening to The Persuasions Sing U2, a stellar AIFF (96k/24Hz) recording. Sourcing direct to the XPA-5 amp, the OPPO’s analog outputs produced a squeaky-clean canvas for The Persuasions to paint their magical sound. Beautifully crisp and revealing with subtle details on full display, songs such as “Angel of Harlem,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” and “Stuck in a Moment,” graced the soundstage with an airy spatial presentation full of the softest of echoes, whispers, breaths, and lip smacks. I had a similar ear-pleasing experience listening to John Mayer’s Wildfire (FLAC) album, and accessing various music files on my Mac’s Plex Media server.

    Next, I began dropping discs into the player, starting with LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver (CD) and Mutemath’s Vitals (CD), and ending with Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms (SACD). Disc operation was simple and easily controlled via the onscreen menu. All three albums were punctuated by crisp dynamics and a precision of sound. Songs with a strong electronics vibe were powerfully sharp, while instruments shined with natural tones.

    I spent hours comparing the UDP-205’s analog capability to its digital (HDMI) feed to the RX-A3050, employing various techniques such as quickly switching inputs during playback and comparing “A-B” segments using the 205’s looping feature. Audio quality – across the board – was maxed for my reference system. Perhaps this will stir some conversation, but my ears had a difficult time identifying unmistakable differences. The player’s analog output had a tendency to sound slightly more open, but it’s tough to say definitively. I don’t believe that statement should be taken as a slight against the UDP-205 (far from it); the 205’s native analog output was perfection to these ears. Demo music was richly loaded with the tiniest of details, an extraordinarily quiet backdrop, and a true spaciousness of sound, making the UDP-205 an undeniable reference source.


    Conclusion
    [​IMG]

    The UDP-205 has versatility that’s second to none. Harkening back to my Swiss Army knife analogy, this player truly can do it all, serving as a hub for a massively wide range of AV media. Its flexibility allows it to be integrate neatly into a system, or become the brains of a system…it’s completely your choice! And that’s truly the player’s beauty, as it can be just about anything you need it to be without sacrificing one iota of quality. Both music and movie playback are given the royal treatment, bleeding perfection. The UDP-203 was an easy “Must Buy” recommendation, and the UDP-205 gets my same vote of confidence. If you’re looking for a player that can ace both audio and video playback with utter class, then the UDP-205 is a no-brainer pick up.

    Highly Recommended.


    [​IMG]




    Specifications
    Disc Types

    • Formats: 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
    • 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.
    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
    • (Multi-channel Audio Output) Frequency Response: 20Hz – 160kHz (-3dB ˜ +0.05dB)
    Analog Audio
    • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: > 120dBr
    • THD+N: < 0.00031%
    • Output Level: 2.1±0.2Vrms
    • Dynamic Range: > 120dB
    • Crosstalk: > 118dB
    Headphone Audio
    • 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
    • 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
    • Shipping Dimensions: 22 x 19 x 9.5 inches



     
    #1 Todd Anderson, Jun 14, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017

Comments

Discussion in 'AV Equipment Reviews' started by Todd Anderson, Jun 14, 2017.

    1. Robert Zohn

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      Just set-up the 205 in our showroom. We connected the stereo XLR outputs to our Krell Foundation processor, powered by Krell's 2-channel amp and Sony's AR2 ES floor standing speakers. We played several SACD titles and enjoyed this very high-end 2-channel reference quality audio performance for most of the afternoon. :)
       
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    2. Jon Liu

      Jon Liu Active Member

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      Thanks for the review! I would love to own the 205. The 203 is serving its purpose famously in my setup, however I do a lot of listening via headphone and having a high quality, direct headphone amp and jack directly built into the machine would be perfect for me. The XLR outputs are very enticing as well, but much more of my critical music listening is done with my headphones these days.
       
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    3. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      I'm sure that sound was glorious ;-). Robert, have you experienced any handshake issues?
       
    4. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Thanks Jon, it's definitely a luxury item for the average movie watcher... but a total win-win for someone that's interested in headphone listening, especially considering the high-end performance offered by the dual DACs OPPO chose for this machine.
       
    5. Sonnie

      Sonnie Senior Admin
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      Awesome review Todd... very professional and well written. I know OPPO has to be tickled with this review... and I would not be surprised if it's not the best they will get from any review source.

      I have been super impressed with my 205 thus far. I have not had the first issue with it in any way whatsoever. It just does it's job... perfect in every way. OPPO had a real winner here, no doubt about it.
       
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    6. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Thanks for the kind words!

      I have four OPPO players in possession... two Blu-ray: BDP-93 and BDP-103... and two 4K: UDP-203 and UDP-205. They are all rock solid and well supported players. It's a real treat to purchase a product and have a company legitimately honor their end of the bargain (purchase through firmware upkeep). It should be mentioned that customer service is also top-notch!

      The BDP-93 still runs as perfectly as the day it came out of the box, and while it's not integrated into any system at the moment, it does get used for CD duty on occasion.
       
    7. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Just uploaded the UDP-205 Spotlight review to YouTube:

       
    8. Asere

      Asere Senior Member

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      Thank you Todd for the review. One day when I upgrade I will be getting the 203 since that is all I would need but the 205 does seem tempting. I really like Oppo's customer service and I am still enjoying my 103D.
       
    9. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Most definitely! The 203 is also a sure shot buy, and definitely the one to get if you aren't in need of the 205's audio processing / headphone feature. I reviewed the 203 six months ago (on its initial firmware) and found its performance to be top notch. Both are fantastic products.

      I know that OPPO is working with Darbee on a potential 4K solution... not necessarily saying we'll see a 203/205 Darbee model (but the potential is there)!
       
    10. Asere

      Asere Senior Member

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      That would really be nice!
       
    11. DMX

      DMX New Member

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      Just read your review and noticed that you had a tough time telling apart audio from Oppo's 205's RCA/XLR and HDMI outputs fed into the Yamaha receiver. This means you telling apart Oppo's dacs and Yamaha's dacs was a tough one for you. Well, it should... Yamaha RX-A3050 uses the ESS9016 dacs for main channels and ESS9006 for the presence channels. I've read that all ESS dacs have a signature sound that is similar across the board, so no wonder you had a tough time, telling the ESS 9038PRO dac in the Oppo from the ESS9016 dac sound from the Yamaha receiver.
       
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    12. Sonnie

      Sonnie Senior Admin
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      Same here... using the Yamaha CX-A5100 and I have not been able to identify a difference either.

      Welcome to AV NIRVANA DMX!
       
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    13. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Hey DMX -

      Thanks for the comments. You're correct. Perhaps incredibly sensitive/ expensive speaker systems in the most ideal of conditions would reveal a difference? Possibly.

      The good news is that OPPO affords you the luxury of knowing that you're getting top flight performance. :-)

      Curious, have you tried an ESS A/B comparison?
       
      #14 Todd Anderson, Jul 10, 2017
      Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
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    14. DMX

      DMX New Member

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      No, I don't have the new 205 but have the older BDP-105 player with the ESS9018 dacs. The lack of streaming apps in the 205 is still a stumbling block for me since I rely on them heavily. And besides, I'm still a 1080p guy with my Pioneer Kuro plasma. I have an Anthem D2v processor and Sunfire/Bob Carver TGA 7400 MCH amp and his dual Cherry 360 tube amps with Martin Logan Xstats (Spires) and with dual SVS SB16 subs. I tried to compare my 105 analogs to my Anthems analogs using Analog direct mode. I could heard a difference, in preference to the Oppo but the room distortions forced me to use Anthems room ARC to make my sound more palatable.
       
    15. Todd Anderson

      Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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      Ah,the Kuro. Still an awesome choice if you're riding 1080p (which, in itself, is still a solid option). :T

      Your rig sounds nice...definitely go under AV Showcase and set up a thread to show it off. I'm sure others would like to see it!

      Interesting comment about your comparison between Oppo and your Anthem...
       
    16. Sonnie

      Sonnie Senior Admin
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      No doubt you have good taste with the Spires and the SB16's... a valid combo for sure.
       

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