Q&A – Flash Drive Music: What Source Component Options?

I have an analog tube preamp with no digital in’s or outs. My sources are an Oppo BDP-83 and a Marantz changer. My problem is that I have a lot of music on flash drives and use my Oppo’s usb to play them. The Oppo does not play hi-rez files, only mp3’s. What are my options as far as a source component that will give me great sound from rca connections and handles flash drives.
– Steve S
Southfield, MI

Upgrading to the Oppo BDP-105 was the first thing that came to mind when reading this question. There are very few home audio devices available that have both an interface for selecting files and high quality internal DAC’s that are capable of playing hi-rez audio files from a USB drive. The industry has instead focused on DAC’s and Blu-ray players that are network capable which is something you may want to consider as your music collection grows.

A less expensive option from Oppo would be the BDP-103 although you would be sacrificing the BDP-105’s higher quality analog audio output. Used Oppo BDP-93’s or 95’s are options as well if you are comfortable with the used market.

Another option might be some of the network music players that have USB inputs. There are not many and you would have to look at the detailed specs for each to ensure it would play the file types that you have. Network music players are really geared toward playing music from a network but some have USB inputs. The Musical Fidelity M1 CliC is one that might meet your requirements although it is somewhat more expensive.

If cost is not a concern you may want to investigate the Lumin Network Music Player, at the time of its release the Lumin could not support USB playback but there was a suggestion that it may get new firmware that will support it.

Regardless of your choice, consider investing in a different type of storage. External, USB-interface hard disk drives are readily available and at very reasonable prices. All of your music could be stored on a single one to three terabyte drive that could permanently reside beside your playback device. As an added bonus, if you decided to get a newer Oppo you could also use the free Android or Apple IOS “Oppo Media Control” app with a smart phone or tablet as your interface. This would avoid having to use a wired display to select music.

In summary, you can’t go wrong with the Oppo BDP-105. It is an extremely versatile device that will play your music regardless of the storage media. John E. Johnson’s audio review will give you a great look into the incredible capabilities of this unit. It is highly regarded for not only the quality of its sound but also its versatility.

Travis Allanson and Glenn Young