Oppo 103 and PWD II - coax worth it?

In my basic 2.0 TV setup, I’m using a PWD II dac, a USB media player for PCM files and an old Phillips DVD player, along with Quad powered speakers and a good Samsung LED TV. In looking at upgrading the DVD player and thinking about an Oppo 103 as a way of combining media into one unit, I’m aware that the PWD won’t take the Oppo’s HDMI audio line. Is coax for audio a reasonable alternative? With coax and the Oppo, one loses the Dolby and DTS HD audio, but I can’t say I’ve ever had either on when given the opportunity. Thanks,

I’m using an older Oppo BDP-83SE along with my DirectSteam.

I think you’ll hear an improvement using the coax into the PWD for CDs, DVDs, and DVD-As. As most BDs will limit the signal over the coax to 16/48 (and the coax output is muted for SACDs) you’ll probably want to listen to them over the 103’s analog outputs. For this reason, you might want to consider the 105 over the 103 as it has an upgraded analog output section. Either way, the video quality will make you wonder why you kept your old DVD player so long.

I 2nd PB’s thoughts. The OPPO is a great player and does really great video. I can get 24/96 and 24/192 via the OPPO’s coax out with some formats, which can be sent to your PWD 2.

I have a new 103 and agree the audio is very good (using coax), much better than the 83 or 95 I had but my dealer told me the audio was the same on 103 and 105, was he wrong ?

It’s different on the analog output.

Thanks. What do you mean it’s different on the analog output?

So if I god ahead, what I need is an SPDIF cable with RCA connectors? Any suggestions for specific cables? I’ve read that coax cables are best 1.5m or longer. Anyone know about that? I certainly don’t need a long run between shelves. Btw, I did try a 105 some months ago and wasnt blown away by the sound or impressed with some aspects of its functionality as a switching device between components (it doesn’t have the right chip).

I just moved my PWD II to my home theater system after I got a Directstream for my 2 channel system. I am using an OPPO 103 to stream music to the PWD II over a coaxial digital cable. Using an Acoustic Zen MC2 1.5 m cable and it works well. Not quite as good sounding as when used with the bridge (which is now in the Directstream), but still sounds great and you do not have to reboot like you do with the bridge.

Good to hear I’m not going out on a limb with this. I’ll probably start with a cable on the cheaper end, like that Canare digital gold one that the guy at Stereophile likes.

Since I’ve got the attention of 103 owners, did anyone consider or try the Darbee version? I’m not big on extra processing for audio or video, but the 103D seems to be garnering a following, even among most reviewers who’ve taken a look.

I queried OPPO on the audio diff 103 vs 105, here’s their reply which confirms what woot said.

‘The only difference is the analog audio outputs and the ability to take a digital audio signal. Otherwise, if you are using the digital audio outputs, the performance of the two players are identical’.

not sure what they mean by ‘ability to talk a digital signal’.

That means the 105 has a dac. One of the problems I encountered had to do with switching between TV and separate media player and the 105’s disc player. What I was (and still am) used to is, for example, if I pause (or stop) a USB file playing on the media player and switch over to the TV, and then come back, the media player picks up where it left off (pause) or asks me if I want to (stop). Same with my DVD player, at least on pause. OTHO, the 105 starts from the beginning no matter what, although after sending it back I heard of some kind of partial complicated workaround. When I asked about why not, Oppo said it requires a chip that isn’t in the 105. Surprised me, because I figured that was standard in most dacs, certainly one costing an extra $700. Even the tiny Filo dac I got off Amazon for $14 can handle the switching (only the Audioengine D1 had a lot of problem with it). I would like to use the 103 as one-piece medial player, so I hope it’s better. To be seen.

My interest now is in any experience with the 103D, the Darbee version.

I have the 103 Darbee but my projector is old and being replaced so can’t speak to the video quality but my dealer says it’s a really big upgrade. Of course he also told me the audio was the same… so…but in this case I’m guessing he’s right, he’s big time into video.

For anyone who is using the Oppo for TV processing, i.e., running the cable TV box through the Oppo (and coax to the PS Audio dac), how did or would you hook up the 103 or 103D? Doing it this way makes the Oppo’s Input selector the source selector for the player and TV, instead of the TV’s remote, or at least so it seems so far. The downside of that is whatever is playing on the Oppo is lost and has to be found and started over again, vs. it being paused or even continuing to play while watching TV. That’s a big compromise for someone like me who sometimes likes to go back and forth a bit. I’m wondering if another way to set up the Oppo to use Darbee with the cable box that doesn’t lose what’s playing?

I am a little confused what you’re doing here. I have the same Oppo in my HT setup. I am using a Tivo as the cable box and that goes into my AV preamp via HDMI, which covers both the video and the audio. The Oppo I do the same. This makes sense and works well because most of what you want in this system is 5.1 sound. If you wanted to use the PWD as a separate two-channel DAC for music (or perhaps your TV setup is stereo), that would complicate things as you’d then have to go coax out of the Oppo and into the PWD (as you are doing) but then the cable TV wouldn’t work as a two channel. I don’t know of any way to run the cable TV into the Oppo using it as a switching center.

My setup is stereo: LED TV, PWD II, 2 Quad powered speakers and now an Oppo 103D replacing media player and DVD separates. All direct wiring. With the Oppo, I was having trouble with getting coax sound (vs. HDMI) until until I switched the PWD to coax input (!).

The functionality issue I’m running into has nothing to do with the PWD, so I probably shouldn’t have posted again here. It is that to take advantage of the Darbee processing on the TV, as well as with media playing, requires running the cable box through the Oppo (instead of directly to the TV), and then switching inputs from Oppo’s remote instead of the cable’s remote. The downside of that arrangement is if I’m playing video (or music) through the Oppo and want to pause and switch over to watching TV, the paused piece is lost because Oppo’s firmware (or hardware) can’t hold the place when inputs are switched. That is, coming back to the Oppo, one gets the home menu and has to choose the video or music all over again. The only mitigator is that in starting a video again the user is asked if they want to pick up from where they stopped. So failing another way to get the same result, the question is which compromise I’m willing to live with - darbee on everything or only with media playing. Then depending on the answer, is the Darbee worth it. Hope that’s clear now.

Yup, sorry, I get it. No worries posting here as we handle a lot of questions unrelated to our equipment on a regular basis. Good luck with all that, I haven’t much helpful to add.