The net result is outstanding, almost regardless of how you choose to play your music. Starting with CD, the overall sound is dynamic, possessed of powerful bass, very clean through the midband, and expressive in the treble. It’s only when you begin to focus on how dynamic, how good that bass is, how clean that midrange, and how expressive that treble that you begin to see just what Audiocom has on its hands. Traditionally, the CD replay of OPPO players has been on a par with good dedicated models in the £1,000-£1,500 mark. Audiocom uprates that by an order of magnitude, and suddenly it’s going toe-to-toe with £10k-£15k players. The reason for the improvement is that where standard OPPO players seem to have the ‘texture’ of high-end players but not the resolution, this now has both in good measure. The plain-wrapper OPPO makes a sound that is exquisite and entertaining, but not the last word in analysis: this is often better than the more common detail hound player that sounds musically bereft. But thanks to Audiocom’s hot-rod skills, it shifts up a gear or three in the detail stakes too. That puts it in among the big boys of digital audio. And best of all, the further up the digital resolution scale you go, you just get more of the same.
Good SACDs and DVD-Audio discs (remember them?) sound better than CD versions of the same (although this meant having to dig out old Randy Newman, Yes, Pink Floyd and Rolling Stones albums for comparison purposes), but there is no great shift in tone, texture or detail between the formats. Interestingly though, arguably the most fascinating sound from the whole player came from playing .WAV versions of Red Book CD tracks ripped to a USB stick. Comparing .WAV vs. CD versions of Nick Cave on ‘Higgs Boson Blues’ [Push The Sky Away CD, Bad Seed Ltd] showed the USB input to offer a temporal correctness and precision that spinning disc lacked. In fairness, you need to go very far up the CD transport ladder to find anything better.
There are specific places where other players score higher points. The Audiocom OPPO is going to sound a touch insipid compared to a good Naim CD player in an all-Naim system, for example. Moreover, if you are trying to find a cheap version of a dCS Vivaldi stack, there isn’t one. Instead, the breathed-upon OPPO just adds another fine voice in the £10,000-£15,000 player market. Someone just forgot to multiply the price by about five, and we get the benefit.
The problem for a magazine like Hi-Fi+ is that many of Audiocom’s improvements to the OPPO are on the video side. Which means we need to cross the audiophile Rubicon and discuss picture quality. Fortunately, that can be expressed in short order, because what it does to audio, it also does to video. There’s greater depth and detail to the picture, presenting strongly saturated colours when called upon to do so and more muted shades with equal aplomb. It’s not fazed by fast moving action sequences and the bête noir of any digital player (a field of grass blowing in the wind can turn into a field of green squares moving around a screen) is handled as if there is processing to spare. In truth, the performance of the base OPPO exceeds the picture quality scope of my Sony Bravia (we are talking upscaling to 4K with ease, and my screen is not a 4K screen), but even here the improvements over ordinary Blu-ray players was easy to spot. Upscaling DVD was particular strong, as it is in the base model.
Audiocom has nowhere to hide. It supplies standard-issue OPPO BDP-105D models, and provides performance-enhancement kits to bring existing OPPO owners products up to Signature standard, as well as supplying the Signature as a complete package. If the improvements weren’t both audible and visible on a fairly deep level, Audiocom’s customer base would rumble this quickly. Fortunately, the Signature improvements take that already good OPPO platform and transform it into a truly world-class player. In a good system, the Audiocom Signature version of the OPPO BDP-105D offers picture and sound quality on a par with a very lofty peer group. Highly recommended.
Type: Solid-state universal/Blu-ray disc player and DAC.
Disc Types: BD-Video and Blu-ray 3D (BD Profile BD-ROM version 2.5), DVD- Video, DVD-Audio, AVCHD, SACD, CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD, CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW, DVD±R DL, BD-R/RE
Internal Storage: 1GB
Digital Inputs: Two S/PDIF inputs (one coaxial, one optical), three USB 2.0 inputs, two HDMI inputs, three dedicated DAC inputs (one coaxial, one optical, and one asynchronous USB), one Ethernet port (RJ-45), one Wi-Fi port (via USB dongle).
Analogue Outputs: One 7.1-channel analogue audio output (via RCA jacks), two stereo analogue audio outputs (one set balanced via XLRs, one set single-ended via RCA jacks), one headphone output (via 6.35mm headphone jack).
Digital Outputs: Two digital audio outputs (one coaxial, one optical), two HDMI outputs.
DAC Resolution: (USB Audio) two channels @ DSD 26/128 (5.6448MHz)
Frequency response: 26Hz – 30kHz
Distortion: <0.0003% (1kHz at 48k/24b, 0dBFS, 20kHz LPF), <0.0017% (1kHz at 44.1k/16b, 0dBFS, 20kHz LPF, <0.01% into 600 Ohms (1kHz at 48k/24b, 0dBFS, 20kHz LPF, Headphone Amplifier)
Signal to Noise Ratio: >115dB
Dimensions (HxWxD): 123 x 430 x 311mm
Price: £1,099 (std), £3,399 (modified)
Original Manufacturer/UK Distributor: Oppo BD UK, Ltd.
Modifiers: Audiocom International Ltd
Tel: +44(0)1646 650046