The image quality of UltraHD Blu-ray continues to meet and exceed expectations with every new disc release. Building upon the success of their UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray disc player, OPPO has introduced the UDP-205. Ultra HiDef videophiles can now enjoy the audiophile experience with this heavily-built universal disc player.

Movie studios are making a clear commitment to releasing many new A-titles on Ultra HD Blu-ray disc. More colors, greater bit depth, and higher dynamic range are integral to the format’s success, and it’s a significant upgrade to the already-great HD Blu-ray disc format. OPPO’s UDP-205 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc player is their second entry into the Ultra HD disc player category that is becoming more competitive and populated with player choices. Fortunately for OPPO, this player targets a specific audience: videophiles who want the audiophile experience. Today I’m looking at OPPO’s first generation UDP-205 Ultra HD Audiophile Blu-ray Disc Player. Like the UDP-203, it supports 4K HDR10 BT.2020 discs with an upgrade path for Dolby Vision. But this is a radically different player – it’s an audiophile machine.

OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player - Front View

Highlights

OPPO UDP-205 4K Ultra HD Audiophile Blu-ray Disc Player

  • Ultra HD Blu-ray disc player with 3840x2160p resolution
  • Plays all optical disc formats: Blu-ray (UHD, HD, 3D), DVD, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD
  • Advanced image processing upscales DVDs, Blu-rays, and external sources to Ultra HD
  • Dual HDMI outputs
  • HDMI 1.4 for legacy home theater preamps and receivers
  • HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2
  • Supports HDR10, BT.2020 color
  • Firmware upgrade path for Dolby Vision support
  • Streams from home networks via Wi-Fi and USB
  • Asynchronous USB DAC input
  • High-powered headphone amplifier
  • Differential balanced XLR stereo outputs
Introduction

I’ve spent a lot of time with Ultra HD (UHD) Blu-ray, but I can’t remember feeling this excited over a video format. Perhaps I felt the same when Blu-ray hit the market over 10 years ago with its obviously higher resolution when compared to DVD. But UHD Blu-ray is different. It’s an entirely different level of performance because we’re not just looking at an increase in resolution. There has never been dynamic range in video as large as it is on UHD Blu-ray. We’ve never seen colors matched so closely to movies as they are seen at commercial theaters, because we’ve taken steps away from the restrictive BT.709 color gamut of HDTV. Increased color volume, bit depth, resolution, frame rates, and improved compression all combine to create a new experience in home video. When paired with a capable and calibrated television or projector, it all makes me want to stay at home a little more and enjoy films in a way I never had before.

OPPO BLU-RAY DISC PLAYER REVIEW SPECIFICATIONS
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

VIDEO CODECS:

HEVC, H.264, VP9 4K, Hi10P, MPEG-2

AUDIO CODECS:

DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, AIFF, WAVE, ALAC, APE, FLAC, native DSD64 2.0 & 5.1, DSD128 2.0 & 5.1 converted to PCM

ULTRA HD:

BT.2020, HDR10, Dolby Vision (with firmware upgrade)

UP-CONVERSION TO:

3840×2160

VIDEO OUTPUT:

1x HDMI 2.0 w/HDCP 2.2

SECONDARY OUTPUT:

1x HDMI 1.4a

ADDITIONAL CONNECTIONS:

HDMI input, 2x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, RJ-45 (LAN), RS-232C, trigger in/out, TOSlink, coaxial, 7.1/5.1/stereo RCA analog out, XLR stereo out, USB/coax/TOSlink in

DIMENSIONS:

16.8W x 12.2D x 4.8H inches

WEIGHT:

22lbs

WARRANTY:

2 years

MSRP:

$1299

Company:

OPPO

SECRETS Tags:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Player, Blu-ray Player, Ultra HD, 4K, HDR, BT.2020, OPPO, Blu-ray Player Reviews 2017

Where to Buy

OPPO Digital Website

Just last month I reviewed the OPPO Digital UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray disc player. I thought it was a great player that worked well in my system. OPPO is a company that listens to its clientele and tracks how its players perform in the real world. In our ever-progressing world of digital connectivity, they take user feedback and continue to refine their players through firmware updates. It’s not just the immediate sale of the product that counts – it’s staying in touch with consumers and keeping them satisfied that truly matters. It’s no wonder that OPPO owners become fans for life. There are few companies that strive to achieve this, and therein lies the happiness of its owners.

The OPPO UDP-205 is an Ultra HD audiophile Blu-ray disc player that builds on the success of the UDP-203. It’ll be difficult not to compare these two players throughout this review, but the UDP-205 has an audience of its own. It is for people who know that high resolution two-channel audio is sacred and who demand performance from a universal disc player that is so much more than that alone. How much more? Read on to find out.

Design

OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player - Front View

The UDP-205 is even larger and heavier than the UDP-203. It’s approximately 17” width will fill a full rack or shelf space, but I would advise against stacking any component directly on top of it. If you purchased this player for its audiophile capabilities, then take it seriously as one and give it a dedicated shelf that’s free from vibration. So much has gone into the design of this player, it would be sacrilege not to give the UDP-205 its own space. There are ventilation holes across the top where heat dissipates, and blocking them could affect the long-term performance and operation of the player. The toroidal transformer is on the left, and the capacitors are along the right. Most of the heat comes from this area. There is a lot of space between them, all of which is good design for longevity. You will not find this level of detail and build quality from other major manufacturers.

OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player Internals

The player is taller than the UDP-203 to accommodate a double-layer chassis designed to reduce vibration. It’s got a slick curve on the top and bottom of the faceplate that prevents it from looking like a big block on a shelf. OPPO is thinking about both performance and design, and this player is a simple beauty. The rest of the player’s face has the disc drawer and LCD readout in the center and front panel access with seven essential push buttons to the right. The large, highly functional remote remains my favorite for everything else, since all of the standard and specialty access key like HDR mode and resolution are quickly available. It’s the same remote that comes with the UDP-203, and the keys light up immediately when you touch it. Super cool. The buttons are large and spread apart so there will be little worry of hitting the incorrect one. It’s really easy to memorize their locations once you’ve used it a few times. My common go-to keys are the Top Menu, Pop-up Menu, Options, Return, Set-up, and the arrow/enter keys in the center. Once you have these in memory, the rest is easy.

The back panel is populated with essential videophile and audiophile connectors as well as all of the optional ones, depending on how extensively you’ll use the features. The UDP-203 and UDP-205 both have dual HDMI outputs (v2.0 and v1.4a) and an HDMI 2.0 input for 4K scaling. The MediaTek quad-core OP8591 handles all the advanced image decoding OPPO is famous for and is shared in both players. The video quality should be identical between the units since nothing has changed in this department. They also share a coaxial and Toslink output, one USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 inputs, analog 7.1 outputs, triggers, RS-232, LAN connector, and a grounded power cord which is a bit thicker with the UDP-205. (*Please see my note at the end of this section regarding the HDMI 2.0 and 1.4a outputs as written in the UDP-203 review.)

There are many important features that set the UDP-205 apart from the UDP-203, and it’s a bit difficult to prioritize them here in this review because I find all of them such excellent and useful upgrades. Owners of OPPO BDP-105 players will be familiar with some of these features. So in no particular order of importance, let’s start with the dedicated stereo outputs. OPPO takes great pride to include ESS Sabre Pro DACs, two flagship ES9038PRO DAC chips. This DAC operates for both multi-bit PCM and single-bit DSD for true performance of SACD’s Direct Stream Digital without PCM conversion. Both single-ended and XLR balanced output connectors are on the back panel. The balanced connectors are a true differential design from the ESS Sabre Pro DAC to the XLR connector, and should help improve the sound quality, especially in systems that have the same balanced design goals. Another ES9038PRO is used for the 7.1 channel RCA analog outputs. All the analog audio circuitry is powered by a toroidal power transformer to provide clean and sufficient power (a separate power supply is used for the video). It’s not often you find one of such large size in a component at this price. Read further down for Dr. John E. Johnson, Jr.’s performance measurements on these analog outputs.

OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player - Back Panel

It’s not just analog that gets an overhaul, but HDMI audio benefits from jitter reduction using a special circuit and a high-precision HDMI clock. This will improve PCM, DSD, and compressed bitstreams to deliver accurate transmission from player to preamp or receiver over HDMI. If the connected device doesn’t have its own jitter reduction system, the UDP-205 should provide that additional error-free precision.

If all of this weren’t enough, the OPPO UDP-205 can also be a USB DAC, a stereo/multichannel DAC, and a surround sound decoder for your other sources. The big sell is the asynchronous USB DAC. Many people have moved away from CDs and are using computers as their music source. There are so many outboard USB DACs available, which one shall you choose? OPPO is reeling in people considering outboard USB DACs; with the flagship Sabre PRO DACs, it seems less sensible to add yet another component to the system to do something that OPPO already does well. If you have downloaded music files up to 768kHz PCM and DSD512, they’re accepted on the UDP-205. Its optical and coaxial inputs can accept 2ch/192kHz PCM plus Dolby Digital and DTS streams from cable receivers and streaming boxes. You’ll need to use all the 7.1 surround RCA outputs to the 7.1 analog inputs on a receiver to fully utilize the ESS Sabre PRO DACs for all channels if you plan on surround decoding within the player (although the HDMI input can accept surround signals too). There are so many possible configurations, it would be too exhausting to list them all. You’ll know your own needs, and it’s likely this player can do it.

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* Just a note to those making the transition to Ultra HD/4K: newly-installed systems would only need to use the one HDMI v2.0 connector on the OPPO UDP-205 to pass UHD through an HDMI v2.0 receiver/preamp and that device would pass it to the HDCP 2.2-compliant UHD video display. This connector will also pass audio bitstreams for DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD, and object-based audio DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. But many existing audio/video systems transitioning to 4K, including mine, require the use of two HDMI outputs from this player – one to the video display for UHD and the other to the receiver/preamp for lossless audio. Ultra HD video requires an end-to-end system communication of HDMI v2.0 with HCDP 2.2 copy protection to get an image. Since my Theta Casablanca IV’s HDMI card only has v1.4a, I can’t route UHD video through it to my JVC DLA-X550RB projector which does have HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2. If I want to pass Ultra HD through my preamp, Theta offers a simple solution to upgrade the HDMI video card in my unit. But since all other A/V components don’t offer this sort of upgrade path, everyone else would require a complete replacement of a perfectly good working receiver or preamp, which isn’t practical. This is where the second HDMI output comes in; audio from the OPPO is routed to the HDMI v1.4 receiver/preamp from this secondary HDMI connector, while video is routed from the primary HDMI v2.0 output to the UHD display. There’s nothing required on OPPO’s end to get this working – just connect the two HDMI cables to the right component and then press the appropriate buttons on your audio and video devices. My preference is to get a programmed universal remote control that could do it all with the press of one button. Your local audio/video installer would be more than happy to do that for you.

Setup

Setup of the UDP-205 is the same as the UDP-203. Powering and installing this unit was easy. The home menu is a hub for all your digital media should you use the UDP-205 for more than just playing Ultra HD Blu-rays. It lays out all the options from left to right at the bottom of the screen for your media playback and is viewable as icons in 2.35:1 constant image height applications like mine. The first item listed is the type of disc in the drawer (e.g. Blu-ray, SACD) with music, photos, movies, and network connectivity following. A “favorites” folder exists for commonly accessed items you’ve saved. The setup menu is also in this layout. Most settings are typically done when the player is installed, but this menu can also be brought up during playback via the setup key on the remote. This is convenient for installers, and I don’t know of any other player that does this.

OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player Home Menu

The supplied English user manual is very detailed and includes separate commentary on various settings within the setup menu. Enthusiasts will like reading this level of detail. Most of us know how vague other user manuals are, as features are rarely explained to any degree of usefulness. There’s also pride of ownership when reading a user manual that’s like a book. I feel OPPO cares as much as about everything in their player as I do. As firmware updates happen, the user manual will be updated online to reflect those changes. You can go to www.OPPOdigital.com to read through it, or to read through in fair detail with what each firmware update did to your unit. The player did one update just before this review was submitted.

All of my current UHD Blu-ray content is 2160/24p, so I set the player’s resolution to UHD Auto. Most existing HDMI cables won’t have a problem with this setting, but some content is available at 2160/60p, and depending on the player’s bit depth and color space selection, the HDMI cable may require up to 18Gbps bandwidth. You can manually set resolution, color space, bit depth, and HDR options. I recommend to first test each one with your display device before deciding. A display may perform better with one option over another. Use a test Blu-ray such as Spears & Munsil to confirm. For everyone else, the default Auto modes will likely be the best settings to enjoy Ultra HD Blu-ray right out of the box. Once I set my audio option to bitstream, I was ready to watch some Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.

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My associated gear for this review is JVC’s DLA-X550RB 4K e-shift projector I calibrated with two memories, HD-SDR BT.709 and UHD-HDR BT.2020. The image is thrown onto a 10 foot wide 2.35:1 EluneVision Reference Studio 4K NanoEdge Fixed-Frame screen. The Theta Casablanca IV with four external Theta Generation VIIIs3 DACs handles all lossless audio decoding, volume control, crossovers, and digital to analog conversion. The 5.2 audio is sent via balanced to seven Theta Enterprise monoblocks connected to Dunlavy SC-IV/a mains, HRCC-I center, SC-III surrounds, and dual TSW-VI subwoofers. The OPPO’s XLR analog outputs were compared to my Ayre D-1xe’s XLR analog outputs when connected to the same balanced input on my Theta Generation VIII Series 3 DAC/Preamp. The OPPO was also compared to the internal DAC of the Generation VIIIs3 using the UDP-205 as a transport. All Theta and Ayre equipment has zero-feedback, fully-balanced circuitry, and is connected in this manner.

Using

I spent several evenings watching movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray and HD Blu-ray. But I spent more time listening to this player as a CD, SACD, and Blu-ray Audio disc player and comparing it to my two reference devices. After all, this is touted as an audiophile player so I just had to test that claim.

Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray

OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player - Movies

I’m well aware of the video quality of the UDP-205. It’s on par with the UDP-203, so I spun mostly Ultra HD titles for this review. The new BBC Planet Earth II is everyone’s reference these days. If you want to see some amazing video on your UHD display, you need to run out and pick this one up. The UDP-205 treated all episodes with high accuracy as it displayed phenomenal images on my screen. The Islands shows the incredible capabilities of high dynamic range and color of the UHD platform and displayed depth unlike anything I’ve seen before. The UDP-205 delivered on all that excitement. I love showing friends the opening scene with the sloth because there is such a wide range of colors displayed that just aren’t possible with regular HD video. Many shots make great use of HDR; the sunlight in the background and animals in the foreground create great silhouettes. The results are simply stellar. Planet Earth II has an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and only fills up eight feet of the 2.35:1 EluneVision Reference 4K screen, but it was eight feet of unadulterated, compression artifact-free viewing.

I also checked out the opening sequence of Warner Bros.’ Pacific Rim. This is a great title to have on Blu-ray disc and Warner’s UHD Blu-ray is just awesome. The battle sequence took on a whole new look; the additional highlights made this movie a much better experience than what I saw at the movie theater, adding new life to the Kaiju creatures and the robot Jaegers battling it out in the ocean. Guillermo Navarro’s cinematography just draws you into every scene and the OPPO passes with top grades in the class. The soundtrack is object-based Dolby Atmos which the OPPO passes easily to compatible decoders, and my Theta Casablanca IV processed the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 stream without a hitch. Dialogue was much on par with the video and there was a little less monkeying around with A/V Lip Sync than there was with the UDP-203.

OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player - Movies

A favorite of many, I also picked up San Andreas to check the full movie out. I typically watch snippets of films when calibrating my clients’ video systems, so this was a good chance to watch the whole movie straight through. While the movie is only OK, the UHD presentation is crisp and a bit subdued in color just as the filmmaker intended. Ultimate earthquake destruction kicks up a lot of dust, but again the HDR pass on the film gives it more excitement and depth. The movie is wide enough to fill up the full 2.35:1 EluneVision screen, and every bit of disaster threw me into ultimate destruction. The OPPO UDP-205 delivered the intended suspension of disbelief.

The only Blu-ray I watched was episodes from Fear the Walking Dead since I need to catch up on this spinoff from The Walking Dead series. I don’t find it quite as engaging as The Walking Dead, but the images are much crisper than the 16mm film of the original series, which by comparison is softer and grainier (but that wreaks havoc on the Blu-ray compression system). The UDP-205 continues to deliver that great Blu-ray image quality associated with OPPO.

CD, SACD, BLU-RAY AUDIO

OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player - Audio Selections

Here’s the showdown: just how much of an audiophile player is this? All the music titles I’ve selected come from the original CD releases that have wider dynamic range and not the new dynamically compressed remastered re-releases. So, let’s first focus on the digital. I quickly tested the bitstreams of the UDP-203 and UDP-205 again using my two copies of Tori Amos: Under the Pink – Past the Mission. I used this song for the last review comparison to stay consistent. The UDP-205’s jitter reduction technology could improve sound quality if the HDMI on the receiving end doesn’t have any. My Theta Casablanca IV has Theta’s Jitter Jail II and the Theta Generation VIII series 3 DAC feeding the front channels also uses Jitter Jail technology. My system’s jitter is already so low I couldn’t detect a difference between the two players using bitstream when doing on-the-fly switching. This isn’t to knock the UDP-205 at all since OPPO makes this scenario clear in their literature. It’s great that they put the extra effort into ensuring low jitter for those people without advanced jitter control on the receiving end.

The UDP-205 player revealed major differences using the XLR analog outputs. It’s not subtle – I noticed it immediately. For this part of the review I skipped the connected Theta Casablanca IV and went straight into my Theta Generation VIII series 3 preamp/DAC. The XLR outputs of the OPPO UDP-205 were compared to the XLR outputs of my CD player reference, an Ayre D-1xe that includes over 10-year-old 24/96 Burr Brown PCM1704 DACs. I used the same AudioQuest Red River XLR interconnects into the same XLR inputs on the Theta Generation VIII series 3 preamp with some manual switching between players. I immediately noticed that the OPPO was louder than the Ayre so I had to use a sound level meter to find a close enough volume for comparison.

A favorite track of mine is Creep from Radiohead’s Pablo Honey. Thom Yorke’s voice is placed firmly in the center and slightly to the back, the full drum kit has a decisive air to it that’s refreshing to hear on a pop album, and the electric guitar cuts through the chorus as if his amp is sitting on the floor just right of the vocals. The OPPO had a heavier bottom end and a slightly thicker midrange. The bass guitar and the drums were more punctuated and stood out more in the mix. If you tend to prefer bass, then you’ll love the OPPO. The Ayre sounded like a lightweight by comparison, and after switching back and forth a bit, I started thinking that maybe the Ayre was missing out on something with its older DAC technology.

With Chris Cornell’s recent passing, I had to play Spoonman from Soundgarden’s Superunknown album. I had a chance to see them live on tour with Nine Inch Nails a few years back in Virginia Beach, so I had to crank this tune to take me back in time. The OPPO delivered a live, amphitheater-like feeling as Chris Cornell’s voice broke through the grungy guitars. Again, the same rocking bottom end performance shone on the OPPO which the Ayre did not give. The drum solo just had more impact on the OPPO and gave the alternative rock band their edgy sound.

OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player - Audio Selections

Broken Bells: Holding Onto Life from the After the Disco album is a favorite cut of mine. Highly produced and compressed, the track felt more analytical on the Ayre, more flat, and less musical. I found my foot tapping with the OPPO as I followed the bass line. The rest of the sound blended together a bit more than the Ayre did. The top end was difficult to discern major differences, but I’d give the Ayre’s overall lightness an edge in its soundstage delivery and depth with all the CD tracks I tried. This player retailed for well over $10K when it hit the market, their designs are quite different, and the Ayre can only play Redbook CDs or DVD Video.

The OPPO is the best SACD player I’ve ever tried in my system. I’ve had a few sub-$3000 players pass through, but I cannot remember my SACDs sounding this good. I gave up on the format a few years back – and maybe that’s because the players I was used were substandard – but now the OPPO has given new life to my discs in my collection.

I love blues music, and Jay McShann’s What a Wonderful World is full of good cuts. Piney Brown Blues had me smiling ear to ear when playing this track. I closed my eyes and imagined listening to the band playing in a blues bar while sipping on a good peaty scotch. If I decided to grab a shot of Laphroaig while listening to the OPPO, I wondered if I’d be drinking on the job? All humor aside, I finally figured out why SACD has such a huge following, and now I’m interested in seeking out new tracks to play. I completely enjoyed the fullness of The Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet – Jigsaw Puzzle, but the player also revealed an inconsistent soundstage in the original recording from track to track. I’ve only been listening to the CD layer since I retired my SACD player. I felt that my Theta Generation VIIIs3 did a much better job than my old SACD player. But now I need to rethink how I listen to SACDs. The front panel display and the internal click shows the DSD layer played and output without PCM conversion (which can be done if you wish). There’s something magical going on here, and I really loved it.

OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player - Audio Selections

I finally spun a few Blu-ray Audio 24/96 discs to see how they measured up. Roger Waters’ Amused to Death was produced with Q-Sound, and the CD always sounded great. The PCM 24/96 Blu-ray Audio disc is a good step up from the CD when played on the OPPO. There are so many great tracks; The Ballad of Billy Hubbard, Watching TV… all create a giant soundstage that’s way outside the boundaries of my speakers. This is what audiophiles love to hear. The OPPO’s XLR outs using the Sabre PRO DACs prove that this machine is up to the task of being an audiophile device. Roger Waters’ raspy and wailing voice cuts through the air with bone-tingling realism. Nine Inch Nails’ Ghosts I-V on Blu-ray Audio is a real step up from the CDs. This all-instrumental project features some interesting nameless tracks to create some sort of mood for the listener. Trent Reznor’s intent is for us to close our eyes and imagine what the track is about, knowing that the interpretation will be different for everyone. The music through the OPPO UDP-205 was very resolute on these tracks, which are highly layered with both real and electronic instruments. Ghosts 1 and 2 are my go-to piano tracks on this album just because I love how the piano fills the entire room. The sound of the OPPO in 24/96 puts it a step above the 16/44.1 CD when played by the Ayre.

The OPPO can also be used as a transport using its coaxial and Toslink outputs. Sent to my Theta Generation VIIIs3 preamp/DAC, which uses multiple Burr Brown PCM1792A DACs, the OPPO put up a good fight, but didn’t quite match the speed and articulation of this $14K preamp/DAC. I wish both the UDP-203 and UDP-205 had an XLR digital output to feed to an external DAC like my Generation VIIIs3, but I guess I can’t have everything even though OPPO has pretty much provided it all!

STREAMING

The UDP-205 is also an asynchronous USB DAC but unfortunately I couldn’t give it a try. If you have a Mac you’re good to go, but Windows operating systems will need the appropriate file from OPPO’s website to get it working. My laptop has never behaved correctly since the Windows 10 update, and even after the download, my laptop wouldn’t make the match without problems. Boo to that. This isn’t an OPPO issue, it’s a Samsung laptop issue since Samsung no longer supports their older laptops. The OPPO UDP-205 can stream content from mass storage devices through the dual USB 3.0 inputs, as well as your home network. Unfortunately, there are no built-in apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or YouTube. Since I have a projector and not a SmartTV, I need an external device that’s 4K-HDR capable for these apps. I’d like the OPPO to be the solution, but it isn’t. You’ll need to connect that other device through the OPPO’s HDMI 2.0 input, your AVR, or directly to the display. Streaming quality is a mixed bag though, even from 4K HDR Netflix and Amazon Prime offerings. The high compression just destroys the image. I’d like to have these services within the player to reduce signal path and the number of boxes I have in my system. It’s a bit of a bummer if you use these services, but this is only one shortcoming of an otherwise excellent player.

Benchmark Tests

By John E. Johnson, Jr., Editor-In-Chief

All distortion measurements were performed within an 80 kHz bandwidth.

The first set of tests were at 16/44.1 sampling.

Using a 1 kHz sine wave test tone, at 0 dB, THD+N was 0.002%.

OPPO UDP-205 Benchmark - 1 kHz

At minus 5 dB, distortion was 0.0037%.

OPPO UDP-205 Benchmark - 5 dB

Using 19 kHz and 20 kHz test tones, there were no side peaks, and no visible B-A peak at 1 kHz. Note that the noise floor is at about minus 115 dB.

OPPO UDP-205 Benchmark - 19 kHz and 20 kHz

IMD was 0.005%. There were no visible side peaks next to the 7 kHz sine wave.

OPPO UDP-205 Benchmark - 0.005

Moving to 24/192, and 1 kHz at 0 dB, THD+N was 0.0002%. The noise floor was about minus 125 dB. The distortion spikes at 2 kHz, 3 kHz, and 5 kHz were probably in the 16/44.1 spectra, but were buried in the noise floor.

OPPO UDP-205 Benchmark - 1 kHz at 0 dB

When the 1 kHz test tone was at minus 5 dB, distortion measured 0.00033%. The distortion spikes were actually a bit lower than they were at 0 dB. Digital music rarely gets to 0 dB since that is the edge of clipping, so the measurements at minus 5 dB are more likely to be what happens when you listen to your recordings.

OPPO UDP-205 Benchmark - measured 0.00033%

With the 19 kHz and 20 kHz test tone combination, side peaks were visible at 18 kHz and 21 kHz, but were at minus 115 dB. Again, at 16/44.1, these peaks, if present, were buried in the noise floor. There were also some small peaks in the 37 kHz to 42 kHz range, at minus 120 dB.

OPPO UDP-205 Benchmark - 19 kHz and 20 kHz test tone combination

IMD at 24/192 sampling was 0.00036%. There was a 14 kHz harmonic at minus 118 dB.

OPPO UDP-205 Benchmark - 24/192 sampling

The frequency response for the OPPO UDP-205 is shown below.

For 16/44.1, it was flat to 20 kHz and rolled off sharply at 22 kHz. At 24/96, the response was flat to 40 kHz, and at 24/192, it was flat to 30 kHz and rolled off gently to 90 kHz, where it was down 0.3 dB.

OPPO UDP-205 Benchmark - 16/44.1

All in all, distortion measured in the OPPO UDP-205 was inaudible. It was slightly better than the BDP-105, but the differences not significant.

Conclusions

OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player - Angle View

THE OPPO’S UDP-205 is an Audiophile Player for Audio Discs and Files of All Types. At $1299, It Demonstrates Superb Performance as an Ultra HD Blu-ray Audio and Video Player.

Likes
  • High performance video quality
  • Excellent analog audio quality
  • Dolby Vision support via firmware update
  • Good upscaling of Blu-ray and DVD
  • Can be used as central media hub
  • Heavy, isolated, and solid construction
Would Like To See
  • 4K Streaming apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime
  • Efficient use of Home Menu screen space
  • An XLR AES/EBU digital out

The OPPO UDP-205 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player serves its purpose as an audiophile machine. It’s squarely aimed at those who wish for top performance from all disc and file types, and from PCM and DSD. If you’re looking for one machine to check most of your needs off the list, the UDP-205 needs to be seriously considered. For the rest of the market, OPPO’s entry level UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray disc player should be looked at. It’s not overbuilt as the UDP-205 and doesn’t sound the same, but its image quality is identical and its sound via bit stream should be right on with appropriate jitter reduction. Some serious thought has gone into its design and component selection. After all, it did challenge gear costing eight times as much, and is one of the best SACD players I’ve come across at this price point. I think I’m about to end this review and toss on a few more of my SACDs. What new sonic adventures will be revealed next? I can’t wait to find out and I recommend that you try the same.

Where to Buy: OPPO Digital Website

  • Frans Callebaut

    hello,
    is the new cambridge audio 4k player better in quality than the oppo udp-205 ? i doubt between these two.
    kind regards,
    frans callebaut

  • Mike Osadciw

    Hello Frans – thank you for reading and asking your questions. I haven’t tried the Cambridge Player, but based on its specs its appears to be based on the Oppo UDP-203. The UDP-205 is a superior player to the UDP-203.

  • Frans Callebaut

    hello mike,
    thank you very much for your quick and very useful answer.
    now i know it will be the oppo 205.
    kind regards,
    frans callebaut

  • David Musoke

    Where are the detailed audio test reports like the ones done for the BDP-105 and BDP-95 bluray players?
    All i see is a quick half page summary of the test data.

    I really hope they are forthcoming, as I’ve been waited to see them to compare them with the ones you did for their earlier generation audiophile players mentioned above.

  • Mike Osadciw

    Hello David, keep an eye out on the page for updates!

  • David Musoke

    Not so fast …you may recall that their prior BD player was based off the Oppo 103 but had superior sound quality due to its different audio section using Wolfson DACs. Now this new 4k player, though based off the 203 but using same DACs, could conceivably offer better sound than the stock 203. I would wait for the reviews first, before making a buying decision.

  • Frans Callebaut

    hello david,
    i believe you mean that the new cambridge audio 4k player sounds better than the oppo udp-203, but do you also mean that it will sound better and havae a better picture quality than the oppo udp-205 ?
    kind regards,
    frans callebaut

  • David Musoke

    TBD … It was said (by some) of the prior players, i.e. Cambridge had better video than the Oppo 103, even though they used identical video chipsets. I’d wait for some reviews, since both players are out before buying. I’m assuming you can wait that long…

  • Did you test stereo in PureDirect mode on your Theta? In my Marantz 8802A it makes a significant difference. The Oppo also has a similar function if it’s like the previous generations…

  • Frans Callebaut

    hello david,
    yes of course i can wait that long, but the oppo udp-205 uses different dac’s than the 203, so you think it’s still possible that the cambridge is better than the 205 ?( the cambridge has akm dac, the 205 has ess dac)
    kind regards,
    frans callebaut

  • John Johnson

    I am waiting for some firmware updates before I post spectra of further distortion tests. The problem is that when distortion is near to, or falls below 0.001%, one is dealing with millionths of a volt, and any disturbance on the electric grid can cause the measurements to be inaccurate. My Audio Precision’s residual distortion is about 0.0003%. It has been five years since I tested the 105, and my electrical supply has changed. I may have to wait until I can install a filter. In any case, the distortion of the 205 is inaudible, even without firmware updates. The DAC chipset is much more advanced, and the player is built like a tank. I may have to get the new Audio Precision, which has a residual distortion of 0.0001%. Going from 0.0003% to 0.0001% will cost me $40,000.

  • Chris Benten

    A question (as I am confused) about the HDMI setup for 4K viewing and the need for the 2nd HDMI cable. I have a 4K TV (LG OLED) but sound and music comes through an older 2-channel Linn setup (Majik, 2250, & Keilidhs). Never wanted to upgrade sound system…love British sound. I currently have Oppo 103 but looking to upgrade to 205 for DAC & 4K. I use analog outs to the Majik for sound and have HDMI to the TV. Any problems using this setup with a 205 with regards to 4K?

    Thanks for the review. This is the one site I have kept up with for a long time…15 years? (Re: Editor: adding the Audiophile Vinyl review was brilliant…absolutely brilliant).

  • David Musoke

    Sound quality is more than just dacs. Its the support circuitry around it plus any DSP algorithms used by the circuit designer. Cambridge has its highly regarded ATF2 (Adaptive Time Filtering) upsampling technology, developed in conjunction with Anagram Technologies, Switzerland. It has been used in their prior CD/BD players. You may read up on its impact on the sound. Now, I’m not saying Cambridge definately sounds better than the 205, but you should be fair to yourself evaluate both players for yourself and read their reviews reviews. I’m sure they’ll be quite a few CA vs Oppo 205 shootouts. You can always return the Oppo for a full refund if you find the CA sounds better. The reverse is also true, I hope.

  • David Musoke

    I suspected so but couldn’t be sure. Yes, the ESS dacs have THD compensation circuitry ( I believe resistor networks of some type?) in them so that could take Oppo sometime to fully optimize that aspect of their software, since all other HW parameters (board layout, power supply filtering, BOM) have been fixed for quite a while.

    The APx500 series of testers are excellent but you have been giving Audio Precision free advertising for many many years on this site, so I’m sure they can work out quite a deal for you 🙂

    BTW, did you have these distortion problems when testing the 105 or even the 95?

  • David Musoke

    I was looking at the test review you did for the Benchmark DAC2 DX player and you measured distortion levels of 0.000123% at 1 KHz. So if you can’t do that now, then your setup has changed drastically. A strong power filter is in order. Is your current AP calibrated or out of cal?

  • Forrest

    Deadlines not withstanding, why would you release such an incomplete review of the Oppo 205? Almost anyone considering the Oppo 205 for its audiophile qualities would base a large part of their reason to purchase on the units sound quality as a stereo DAC. Therefore, they would need to know how the it performs as an asynchronous USB DAC. This is especially disappointing considering the fact that the recent Oppo Sonica DAC review in “Secrets” specifically indicated the need to compare the Oppo Sonica DAC to the Oppo 205. Hopefully there will be a follow up with an in depth review of the Oppo 205’s sound quality as a stand alone DAC.

  • John Johnson

    The Audio Precision 2700 series has a residual THD+N of minus 112 dB + 1 microvolt. In the graph you refer to with the Benchmark DAC2 DX, the second harmonic of the 1 kHz sine wave test signal was at minus 95 dB. The measured THD+N for the Benchmark DAC2 DX with this test came out to 0.000123%. The noise floor was about minus 110 dB. For the UDP-205, the THD+N measurement was 0.0003%, with a second harmonic at minus 114 dB, and the noise floor was at minus 125 dB. So, THD+N measurements are not always easy to explain. I did not say I was having trouble with the distortion measurements. I just said I wanted to wait until I did the firmware updates before I posted the spectra of further tests. I am curious as to what the firmware updates will improve. I can still get the low measurements, and my AP is not out of calibration. The UDP-205 is an excellent piece of electronics. However, the measurements that I did up to this point, are without the firmware updates. I will now install the new firmware and post the final set of spectra.

  • David Musoke

    Thanks John!

  • John Johnson

    Yeah, sometimes I just don’t understand how the numbers are calculated when the graphs seem to imply something completely different.

  • Mike Osadciw

    Hi Chris – you will only need to use the one HDMI (Main) out to the LG OLED and send the analogue outputs to your Linn. The 2nd HDMI output on the OPPO is for people with older surround sound receivers or AVPs that can’t pass 4K video through it. Not your scenario so no need to use it!

  • Mike Osadciw

    Hello John – for 2ch listening, the OPPO was sent into the analogue inputs of a 2-ch Theta preamp, not the surround processor. There is no processing of that analogue signal so it’s as direct as direct can be. 🙂

  • Mike Osadciw

    We’ll need to see if Cambridge makes changes. That would be encouraged to differentiate their product from a stock OPPO.

  • David Musoke

    John:

    Would it be possible to plot DSD spectral plots for speeds other than the standard. 2.8224MHz (DSD64)? The reason I ask is this….the standard DSD plot has its noise spectrum outside of the audio range, slowly rising starting at 22kHz and peaking 30 dB above the noise floor to about 40 KHz.
    (I’m using the DSD plots you did for the Oppo 105 as a reference).

    Now, though 40kHz is above audible range, but it is well within the bandwidths of many preamplifiers and power amplifiers (100kHz to 200kHz and beyond). These ultrasonics when amplified could intermodulate with the speaker tweeters, distressing them unnecessarily and possibly aliasing back that non-linear distortion back into the audio range in various ways. Many tweeters from high end speakers have bandwidths up beyond 30kHz and beyond. I use Martin Logan electrostatics speakers whose ESL panels has a bandwidth of 30kHz and above.

    But if you test at 2x data rate (DSD128), this peak is even shifted further out and starts rising from the noise floor at 40 KHz and slowly peaking beyond 100 KHz. And the slope of the noise spectrum is much shallower than the one for DSD64. I wish I could post a plot to show what I’m talking about but I don’t think the site allows me to do.

    I now assume that 4x data rate (DSD256) starts to rise at 60 KHz and peaks maybe at 200 KHz and beyond, with even a much shallower rise of it noise spectrum than for DSD128. Maybe that’s why many audiophiles prefer DSD256 recordings for their ‘clarity’, amongst other things. I believe a noise peak at 200 kHz would not damage a tweeter because the impedance the tweeter itself and its crossover network would be extremely high at that frequency.

    Anyways, are you able to perform DSD testing of the Oppo UHD-205 at its 2x or 4x SACD data speeds?

  • John Johnson

    Well, the whole thing ended up being solved just by downloading the firmware update. Now, all the UDP-205 distortion spectra meet or beat the BDP-105. Not by much, but a tiny measurable difference. I don’t think that any of the distortion is audible for either player. For those who want to upgrade their players though, the UDP-205 is worthy, and you can justify it because it does, indeed, have slightly better audio. And, it is a terrific 4K disc video player. I will post the spectra this week.

  • John Johnson

    No, I can’t test DSD at 2X or 4X. I am waiting for the industry to make test discs using the higher frequency DSD signals. I suspect we will see them in the near future (I hope). I would also like to be able to analyze 24/352.8 and 24/768 signals, but the new Audio Precision can’t do that.

  • David Musoke

    Thanks John…would it be possible to display (or mention in your final article) the spec’d noise floor and minimum distortion specs of your current AP setup? In this way, we know how far or how close the 205 is these limits. Looking forward to your final review. Thanks!

  • Robert Oldale

    Return the oppo for a full refund? That’s a big ask. Especially by the time Cambridge get their 4K player out. But, the Opp 203 sounds more natural than the thin sounding 205. Neither does real justice to CDs that the Cambridge CXU player does, using the optical out. This is a good guide to what the sound is like without unnecessary processing. Oppos sound like the optical out is sent through the DAC first, and provides a processed and unnatural sound. Crisp and clear, certainly, but not natural. One reason there are so many upgrades available for their older players…

  • John Johnson

    AP specifies the residual THD+N as minus 112 dB + 1 microvolt, so that means about 0.0003% to 0.0004%, but it is the minimum guaranteed performance. I have seen 0.0001% on occasion using the Audio Precision 2700. Their new analyzer, the APx555, guarantees 0.0001%, so it may be possible to actually measure a little below that. The range below 0.001% is uncharted territory, and getting data in that range depends on what’s going on in the electric grid that day. In any case, the UDP-205’s distortion is totally inaudible, as is the BDP-105. They are both terrific players with an amazing price for the performance. The 205’s distortion spectra should be up in the next day or so.

  • David Musoke

    Thanks for releasing the plots, John!

  • David Musoke

    No SACD plots this time around?

  • John Johnson

    No SACD plots this time. I am waiting for new test discs that will have test tones at DSD128 and DSD256.

  • David Musoke

    Hi John, I did talk to the folks at AP about this problem and they were stumped as well and asked me for the AP test files. Of Course I didn’t have any to give, but just wanted to let you know that in the future, should you measure a spec that doesn’t seem to make sense, that you may email [email protected] and their App Engineers will help resolve whatever issues you may have observed. Thanks!

  • Robert Oldale

    Unfortunately distortion tests do not indicate how accurately the signal is reproduced. My experience with both 4K Oppos is that they are bit thin and unnatural, the 205 being worse. Crisp, clear, and tight as…, but not natural. Sound feels like it is filtered through the DAC somehow instead of just being accurately guided through the system. Great for movies, but not audiophile in the clearest sense of the term. Subjective? Certainly. So I tested on a couple of systems, and the impression remains.

  • John Johnson

    I speak with AP’s technical support on a regular basis. They helped me design the tests.

  • Robert Oldale

    The cambridge cxu seems to be their only “4k” player, but it does not play 4K discs, as do the Oppo 203 and 205. Sonically, the Cambridge is likely superior to both in retaining original harmonics, though both Opps are great with noise reduction.

  • John Johnson

    THD+N tests are the only methods for bench testing an audio product. Everything that is coming from the analog outputs is shown in the spectra. But, you are partially correct. The spectra don’t tell the whole story. Subjective listening is important too. That, plus the objective measurements on a spectrum analyzer, are all that we can do. After that, the consumer just has to make up his/her mind as to what sounds best to them. I do have to say that a very low distortion product can make the sound seem thin, because harmonics, which sound good if they are mostly low-ordered harmonics, are not as prevalent.

  • Chip Holton

    Hi Mike,
    Good to see that you have found a great home for your reviews!

    I was hoping that you would have made some comment in this review about comparisons with the UB900 that I thought you indicated you would in the UDP-203 review comments. I’m torn on what player to get to go with my new DLA-X970. Dolby Vision isn’t (yet?) a factor with a projector and I am keeping my BDP-93 so audio disc support isn’t a big issue either. Streaming apps and many opinions that the Panasonic has better UHD PQ are pushing me in that direction. Have Oppo fixed the lack of HDR support on the HDMI input?

  • Mike Osadciw

    Hi Chip – great to hear from you! Give me a buzz when you get the chance. A lack of streaming apps on the Oppo is an issue for me as a projector owner so now I’d have to add another device to access them. Otherwise the Oppo has been a solid player next to the Panasonic.