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Old 08-15-2008   #71
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 68
Default Re: High end pre/pro's. Are they worth it???

Originally Posted by jimmydaves View Post

Great post. Was just curious which model of Oppo are you using and what made you go with that particular model? I think there are currently three different Oppo models now. Thanks!
I am using the Oppo 980 with great results. The 980 ($169) and 981(>$200) will do SACD via DSD (SACD's native form) in HDMI to the pre/pro, where it is converted to PCM, processed and output as analog. The 980 and 981 can optionally also do PCM out. The Oppo 983 (>$300), which has superb video processing, will only output PCM via HDMI. I chose the 980 because it was cheap, and at the time, Oppo thought it was better sounding than the 981, which is better on video. The 983 was not yet available when I bought my 980. I myself have only heard the 980.

Having tried both DSD out and PCM out of the 980, I distinctly prefer DSD out. Kal Rubinson has reviewed all three, plus the Integra DTC 9.8, starting last January in successive Music in the Round columns in Stereophile (available on line). First, he prefers PCM out of all 3. Second, he thinks the 983 sounds very slightly best of the 3, but that the difference is not worth an upgrade.

Kal has also recently reviewed the only other player which will output SACD via HDMI - the Pioneer Elite DV58($500). Kal prefers this with DSD out rather than PCM, and he thinks it is the best sounding of the 4. This machine has become hot since Kal's review. I am awaiting one from my dealer for audition. This might be worth an upgrade, and my 980 can always become a second DVD player.

By the way, Kal is great. He's probably the best multichannel reviewer for music out there. While I quibble with his choice of DSD vs. PCM out, I am in total agreement with his review of the Integra pre/pro. I got mine about a month before his review appeared after listening to a cross section of much more expensive pre/pro's.

We are not likely to see any other players that will output multichannel SACD via HDMI, although there are rumors that Denon will bring one out. It is only a matter of time before SACD is replaced in the marketplace by lossless 7.1 on Blu-Ray, which I expect will be fantastic sounding. I am biding my time on buying a BR player while the makers sort out the technology, and there is currently only one classical (my music preference) release out in this format. I am overwhelmingly a music, rather than a video junkie. I expect Oppo to provide a stunning BR machine by the next CES in January. I do not expect it to handle SACD at all. In the mean time, I will need a legacy SACD player for my growing SACD collection.
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