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Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition Blu-ray Player Review Print E-mail
Monday, 20 September 2010
Article Index
Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition Blu-ray Player Review
Testing Music and Conclusion

ImageThe universal player market has long been dominated by a couple different categories.  A good percentage of the universal players are entry level and reside in our home computers.  Then there are the reference players like the Lexicon BD-30 and the Denon DVD-A1UDCI at $3500 and $4500 respectfully. The industry has long needed a high performing intermediate line for those of us that have nice theater systems but find $3500 for a universal player excessive.   For this reason, I was anxious to see if the Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition could fit this bill.

At $899, the Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition is the big brother to the BDP-83 and possesses higher performance features.  Among other features, the Special Edition comes with a completely new analog stage which provides better analog audio performance.  Additionally the Special Edition has a much improved power supply stage for lower distortions, improved color and both white and black limits.  The Special Edition also has improved DAC’s for better quality digital sound.

Control Panel

The Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition will play all of the common media formats including SACD, DVD-Audio, and of course, the high definition Blu-ray format that has captured the imagination of the world with 1080P resolution.   The Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition Universal DVD Player has all the necessary connections including one HDMI 1.3 output, one Toslink, one Coax DigitalAudio output, an Ethernet 10/100 for networking and a RS 232 serial port for Creston remotes and other automation.  

The Movies

Having had referenced many Sony players of the past with varying performances, I was intrigued with what Oppo was doing with this player.  It is atmpting to provide features that address many of our concerns with previous players.  We want a player that is good for our movies with quality DSP and DAC’s, but also addresses the common downside of universal players; poor analog audio performance.  For those like me that value and appreciate analog performance for our music, this is the feature that the intermediately priced market has longed for.  So let’s get this ride started.

I loaded up the Blu-ray version of A Bugs Life (Disney/Pixar) in an attempt to expose any weaknesses in the color saturation and to look for possible noise and motion artifacts.  From the opening scene the colors were a vast improvement over the Blu-ray drive in my Media Center PC.  The Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition provided excellent color details and was surprisingly void of excessive video noise that many sub $1k players often possess.  I was actually surprised that the colors were as rich as they were. Having seen the delicious color detail in the Denon DVD-A1UDCI, I was intrigued that they were reaching a high level of the Denon’s performance at a fraction of the price.  The sound was solid and very involving but did have a degree of grain that the Denon did not. But again, were comparing the Oppo to a player costing five times more - this is getting interesting.

Rear Panel left

The movie Gladiator (Dreamworks) has always served me well as a reference for both video and sound evaluations.  There are plenty of lush and detailed cinematography scenes for me to compare.  Also, having seen this movie in the theater back in 2000 when the movie was originally released, I can evaluate the reproduction of many aspects of the DVD.  In one of the closing scenes where Russell Crowe’s character has just been defeated by Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix, and Maximus’s girlfriend Lucilla is hovering over him with sadness, I focused particularly on the flowing hair of her character as it meets the clear blue sky.  The strands are very thin which yields a very clean delineation between the two contrasting colors.  With the Oppo player, her hair was perfectly defined without the faintest of stair-stepping, even at diagonal angles.  This was particularly impressive for me.  As I toggled back and forth between my reference, the Denon DV-5900, I saw a slightly better detail with the BDP-83.  This was surprising to me as I have long felt that the DV-5900 was my clear leader in the bang-for-the-buck category.  I actually preferred the picture from the Oppo.  When it came to sound, I rifled through this movie, playing varies chapters and felt that the Oppo did an exceptional job.  There were a couple areas where I felt there was sonic congestion at higher volumes that I didn’t hear from the Denon but for overall excitement, the Oppo BDP-83 was my clear favorite.

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