DIrect Stream DAC Jr vs Oppo BDP-105


#1

Hello - has anyone moved from the Oppo BDP-105 to the DS Jr> And if so can you tell me your impressions. Without a transport with the IS interface how much improvement will I see over my current setup?

Seriously considering purchasing the Jr. Thank you


#2

I am probably not a good person to comment because I have so much skin in the game but…

The difference between the analog output of the Oppo vs. using the DSJ as fed from the Oppo’s coax digital output is extraordinary. Not just a little, but a great deal better. It won’t take you but 5 minutes, maybe one track, to hear the improvement. It’s that big.


#3

Thank you Paul. Most of my listening is via ethernet/Jriver so I am assuming that will be outstanding as well since I believe that is your #1 preferred connection method


#4

Quantifying the difference, or the improvement is difficult. One persons “Wow!” Is another persons “meh…” That being said. If you are a person who chases the Holly Grail of better sound quality the improvement is not insignificant.

The 105 is a great value, a great bundle of utility. Reference level blue ray, good dac and CD player (oddly I have been unimpressed by its SACD performance YMMV) but not in the league of the Jr. Or DS, don’t even get me started on the proven upgradeability of the FGPA architecture of the Jr. It is invaluable

impatiently tapping my foot waiting for the 105 based I2S transport.


#5

Thanks Yikes.

I just received the Jr yesterday and in initial listening I am very impressed by the improved soundstage/spatial characteristics. Quite a bit better than the Oppo (which I agree is really good at that price point). I still have not done any experimentation with cables/isolation. And it is just starting it’s burn in.

Of course the software upgradeability makes this a very unique product and I’m looking forward to what Ted/Paul come up with .

I am assuming this unit will benefit more from the PS powerbase (vs the trasnport) as well as my best power cords (AC12/Shunyata Python). Right now the Oppo has those and I’m using a lower level Nordost on the Jr with no isolation. I have to reorg my rack.

I also need to test direct to amp although my system also drives a 2nd power amp for outdoor speakers so I’d like to keep the preamp (although winter is coming). Also need the preamp for the Oppo and SACD’s since I can’t pass that data via coax.

Looking forward to listening more and trying to get the most out of it

Note: Using Jriver via the bridge primarily. For those using Roon is it any better from a sound quality standpoint? What do I gain by moving (other than the data it pulls in for content & Tidal integration)


#6

I’m a brand-new DSJr user (arrives tomorrow). I got it primarily for Roon (through ethernet) but I have an Oppo question: The 105 (which I have) says that DSD is only available through the HDMI and analog outputs, not the coax or optical. So, what’s the best way to hook it up to the DSJr to maximize SACD performance? I’m confused by the fact that SACDs are DSD, and the PSJr converts to DSD…what’s the best option in this case?

Thanks!

Mike (audiophile, non-techie)


#7

Congratulations on the arrival of the DSJ! It’s a great DAC and I hope you let the forum members know what you think of it when it arrives.

The Oppo only produces DSD from the SACD layer into HDMI which must then connect to a Sony authorized D/A converter to keep their copyright agreements secure. Such devices are typically found in receivers and surround processors. This has been a restrictive problem for anyone wishing to play DSD into a great sounding separate DAC for years and probably one of the reasons SACD format never really took off with the high end audio market - and caused Sony to eventually abandon interest in it. Which is a shame, because it’s an amazing technology.

If you stick with the Oppo, you haven’t any choice but to connect the coax output to DSJ and then you’ll only get the RedBook CD layer, not DSD.

The only solution to this is our just released DMP Memory Player. This is the first player to solve this problem and only through the DAC you’re about to receive at home. If you use the DMP’s HDMI connector (which doesn’t send HDMI signals, but instead a special kind of digital signal called I2S), you can then hear what’s truly on the SACD DSD layer.

Hope that helps.


#8
Michael said I have an Oppo question: The 105 (which I have) says that DSD is only available through the HDMI and analog outputs, not the coax or optical. So, what's the best way to hook it up to the DSJr to maximize SACD performance?
Welcome, Mike!

It gets a bit complicated.

As already mentioned, you cannot capture the direct DSD data stream sent via HDMI as it is encrypted.

The S/PDIF of the 105 allows up to 24/192 PCM audio output for DVD-A, DVD Data, DVD Video, USB drive, and Blu-ray data. DSD will also play via S/PDIF but as converted PCM at 24/88.

(The SPDIF datastream is truncated from 24-bit to 16-bit when playing DVD-A copy protected discs, and the sample rate is converted to 48kHz irrespective of the native rate.)

You will see HDMI audio de-embedders. These route HDMI digital audio to a SPDIF output. However, while this allows you to play SACDs via the HDMI output, it works only if you have selected the layer’s DSD-to-PCM bitstream option. Oppos output DSD converted to PCM at 24/88. That is, you are not listening to DSD when you use one of these de-embedders, but rather to the same converted PCM datastream available on S/PDIF.


#9

And some de-embedders don’t send well formed stereo data over the S/PDIF output and the DS won’t recognize it. It’s almost correct, but the XYZ flags are wrong. At least with an Oppo BDP-103 you are definitely better off using the Oppo’s S/PDIF or TOSLink outputs.


#10

Thanks all for your comments. The DSJr is in the house and so far sounds wonderful!

I can confirm on quick initial tests that the Oppo’s S/PDF output, feeding the DSJr with the SACD layer turned off, sounds better than the SACD layer played through the Oppo’s audio outputs. Less digital…more analog-ish. Hmmm…sounds like a DMP might be in my future at some point.

A couple of other preliminary DSJr thoughts:

  1. I’m shocked how great the NuWave Phono Converter (in DSD mode) makes vinyl sound through the DSJr. Really amazing…I was going to trade in the NuWave PC toward the DSJr but now I want to keep both! (I don’t need all the NuWave’s vinyl ripping features, but that sound…).

  2. The Roon integration is basically flawless (my Roon Core is on a Mac Mini). I did notice that, when I play a new track on Roon, I sometimes get a couple of loud clicks before the song starts. But, it doesn’t happen every time. Also, when the DSJr is on “auto” input and I’ve been bouncing around to multiple sources, the Roon sometimes gives me an error message saying that i “changed the input.” But then I hit play again and it starts up.

More comments to come…thanks for a great product!

Mike

PS - The Current System (at the moment): DSJr (and NuWave Phono Converter) feeding a PrimaLuna Dialogue HP amp; Oppo BDP 105; KAB (modified Technics) turntable; REL T7i Sub, Klipsch La Scalas.


#11
Michael said Thanks all for your comments. The DSJr is in the house and so far sounds wonderful!

I can confirm on quick initial tests that the Oppo’s S/PDF output, feeding the DSJr with the SACD layer turned off, sounds better than the SACD layer played through the Oppo’s audio outputs. Less digital…more analog-ish. Hmmm…sounds like a DMP might be in my future at some point.

A couple of other preliminary DSJr thoughts:

  1. I’m shocked how great the NuWave Phono Converter (in DSD mode) makes vinyl sound through the DSJr. Really amazing…I was going to trade in the NuWave PC toward the DSJr but now I want to keep both! (I don’t need all the NuWave’s vinyl ripping features, but that sound…).

  2. The Roon integration is basically flawless (my Roon Core is on a Mac Mini). I did notice that, when I play a new track on Roon, I sometimes get a couple of loud clicks before the song starts. But, it doesn’t happen every time. Also, when the DSJr is on “auto” input and I’ve been bouncing around to multiple sources, the Roon sometimes gives me an error message saying that i “changed the input.” But then I hit play again and it starts up.

More comments to come…thanks for a great product!

Mike

PS - The Current System (at the moment): DSJr (and NuWave Phono Converter) feeding a PrimaLuna Dialogue HP amp; Oppo BDP 105; KAB (modified Technics) turntable; REL T7i Sub, Klipsch La Scalas.


Nice! Thanks Mike!music-078_gif

#12
Paul McGowan said
Michael said Thanks all for your comments. The DSJr is in the house and so far sounds wonderful!

I can confirm on quick initial tests that the Oppo’s S/PDF output, feeding the DSJr with the SACD layer turned off, sounds better than the SACD layer played through the Oppo’s audio outputs. Less digital…more analog-ish. Hmmm…sounds like a DMP might be in my future at some point.

Michael,
I tried playing SACD's in stereo mode and I get no sound out. CD's play fine. I have set every thing I could find in settings to play SACD as stereo. I have set it to CD mode, stereo, PCM and bitstream, nothing works! How do you have yours set. I have the Oppo 105D connected with, and tried, both toslink and S/PDF to the DSjr. Thanks

#13

For me, it worked to set the Oppo 105 to Setup, Playback Setup, SACD Priority, CD Mode. This essentially turns off the SACD player; the DSD says it’s getting a 44.1K PCM signal.

I left Audio Format Setup, SACD Output set to DSD. I connected the Oppo to the DSJr through the optical output/input.

If I wanted to turn the SACD Priority setting back to SACD, I would only hear signal out of the Oppo’s analog plugs, plugged into my amp.

PS Are you using hybrid SACDs? The only SACDs that I still have are hybrids. I assume that SACDs with no CD layer will never send a signal through the Oppo’s toslink or s/pdf output…


#14

Michael,

Thanks, that worked, but wouldn’t you know it, the album I wanted to hear the most, James Taylor’s Hourglass was the only SACD I have that is SACD only even though it had the little seal that said Stereo/Multi-channel on it. Although in the fine print it says SACD only. Rats. All the other SACD’s have a CD layer on them, and they play fine and sound great.

Thanks again!


#15

Hi Paul,

I’m an analog (vinyl) guy considering the purchase of a Directstream to connect to my Oppo 105, I strictly use it for Blu-ray and DVD concerts in my 2 channel system, in reviewing the owners manual I am concerned that the signal exiting the Oppo via coax is being compressed, below is a exert from the Oppo 105 manual shown further below. In doing some additional research I found the following comment from Oppo tech support which now has me wondering if the use of an external DAC is compatible with my intended use, I am not overly knowledgeable about digital technology and DAC’s (but I can set-up a turntable wearing a blindfold :slight_smile: ) I would greatly appreciate your feedback on this… thanks

Oppo Tech
“Digital coaxial and optical can do 24-bit/192kHz, but only from sources like AIFF, ALAC, FLAC and WAV files. For Blu-rays, you are restricted to low resolution 24-bit/48kHz due to [Digital Rights Management].”

Oppo 105 manual
“Due to bandwidth limitations, high resolution audio formats such as Dolby Digital Plus, DolbyTrueHD, DTS-HD High Resolution and DTS-HD Master Audio cannot be sent through the coaxial or optical digital audio output. A reduced resolution version of the same audio track will be output instead. To listen to high resolution audio formats in their best quality, please use the HDMI connection if you have a receiver that handles HDMI audio please use use the multi-channel analog outputs if you do not.”
“Due to copyright restrictions and bandwidth limitations, full resolution audio from DVD-Audio discs cannot be sent through the coaxial or optical digital audio output. To listen to DVD-Audio in full resolution, please use the HDMI or analog audio connections.”


#16

bluepearl,
Rather than “compressed” I would say that the signal coming out to the PS Audio DAC via coaxial or optical from the Oppo is “down sampled.” It’s just the way that the format specs for players are made to prevent hi-res duplication, a “rights management” protocol.

That said, the PS Audio DAC will upsample the incoming signal to DSD and the resulting sound is pretty darned good. For video playback (I’m a 2 channel guy as well) the sound up sampled by the DSD DAC is so good that I am not certain it would be much better at all if the software in the player didn’t down-sample it. . . . I think you would find the sound via coaxial from your 105D to be an upgrade.


#17

Indeed, that’s true they are limited and you don’t get the full magical as you might. That said, the sound quality difference, even in spite of the lower resolution is likely worth at least an audition. The DACs inside the Oppo are only adequate at best.


#18

Hi Paul,

Is there another Blu-ray player that you know of that would enable high res output to the DAC?

I was considering the top model of Directstream, however given the data limitation would a JR be a wiser choice in this instance?


#19

No, because they all have the same DRM limitations by law. You can buy an aftermarket board mentioned in these forums that circumvents the DRM and outputs what you want, but it takes a hack to get inside.

DSJ would be just fine and either Sr. or Jr. will give you a significant improvement in sound quality.


#20

Thanks for the insight… I will do a bit more research into my options here