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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
27" iMac with 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 16GB 1.333MHz RAM, 2TB hard disc, 256GB SSD drive, ADM Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, OSX 10.8.2 Mountain Lion, PureMusic 1.89g in hybrid memory play with pre-allocated RAM and AIFF files up to 24/192; Audirvana 1.4.6; Metrum Hex with 1588 transformers; NuForce Edition SE Oppo 93; SOtM dX-USB HD with super clock option & mBPS-d2s; AURALiC Vega [on loan]
Preamp/Integrated: Nagra Jazz, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X,
TruLife Audio Athena
: First Watt SIT1, FirstWatt SIT2, ModWright KWA 100SE, Bakoon AMP-11R
Speakers: Aries Cerat Gladius, AudioSolutions Rhapsody 200, Zu Audio Druid V, Zu Audio Submission, Aries Cerat Stentor [on review]
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Audio Event, KingRex uArt USB cable, VdH AES/EBU Pro digital 110-ohm cable, Tombo Trøn BNC/BNC S/PDIF cable
Artesania Exoteryc twin 3-tier with optional glass table, Rajasthani hardwood amp rack
Powerline conditioning: GigaWatt PF2 on power amps,
GigaWatt PC3-SE Evo on front end components
Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: 5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review modification price: $2.295 for the mod., $1.200 for the stock player

Early December snow was falling, Dan Wright's email arrived. "We're doing an all-out tube mod for the new $1.200 Oppo 105 BluRay deck. This includes a new external all-tube power supply with 5AR4 tube rectifier (GZ34, 5U4 or 5V4) and two 13EM7 tube regulators (12EM7 may be rolled). The latter are 12V versions of the same family as the 6-volt 6EM7VR used in our $10.000 flagship preamp's power supply. This family resemblance is no accident. Our mod supply is not fully dual mono but does use dual-mono voltage regulation. It also improves video by providing better cleaner power to all video-processing chips including all HDMI, video circuits and digital audio outputs. The player uses class A 6SN7 drivers for the fully balanced and single-ended outputs both as player and DAC via the coaxial and USB digital inputs. The driver tubes stick through the player's lid as both our trademark design and by necessity to dissipate heat. Meanwhile the three tubes in our custom external power supply are enclosed though by request we can make holes to accommodate the giant EML 5U4G rectifiers. In addition to the new power supply design we have further improved our existing signal-path mod for Oppo players as follows:

• New bias point for 6SN7 tube stage optimized for the new power supply
• All pure silver cryo-treated solid-core signal wiring from Cardas metals
• Cardas GRFA stereo RCA outputs
• Furutech cryo-treated IEC power inlet connector
• The very best resistors in key signal path applications.
• ModWright Instruments capacitors in all critical areas.

"This is a fantastic universal player which redefines the notion of a desert island machine as a DAC/player for all audio and video formats including the very latest in video technology. I like to think of the 105 as Oppo's third 'Ring' - The One to Rule Them All. I would love to have you review it. I am quite confident you would really like it." Given my happy ownership of ModWright's 6SN7-based LS-100 preamp and Mosfet-based KWA-100SE, that seemed likely.

Op-position trumps Oppo-sition. Oppo decks have attracted the perhaps highest-ever mod support. This includes being harvested for rebranding by boutique makers. Rather than offense, team Oppo have taken the position of spotting opportunity. They've studied various outsider mods and over subsequent model iterations incorporated those changes which made sense within their high-value price structure. This attitude is a prime example for a new type of 'open-source' cooperation. As a result and despite being presumably universal video machines first, Oppo stock players do reflect keen awareness of audiophile concerns. It's why I've steered reader inquiries about CD players towards Oppo, either stock or tweaked up by one of the many aftermarket houses. To me it's more sensible than pursuing overpriced legacy CD-only machines. That's particularly apt when a deck like the 105 includes optical, coaxial and async USB inputs to operate as a standalone DAC plus does SACD/DVD-A natively. For a rundown of the BDP 105's specs and features, click here.