•IR & RS-232: The BDP-93 provides IR and RS-232 ports to support custom installations.
Although the two NuForce upgrade boards come from the same designer, they do not sound identical. NuForce claims the NE board is “more tube-like,” but I did not find this to be the whole story. In my systems the NE board delivered less frequency extension, which might be considered “tube like” compared to the NXE’s more far-reaching frequency response. The NE board also has a bit less definition and low-level detail overall than the NXE board. Finally the NE board has a bright zone in its upper midrange that highlights the textures of certain instruments.
Both NuForce boards deliver clean three-dimensional soundstages that expand upon the imaging capabilities of a stock Oppo BDP-93. Both boards also offer better low-level detail than the BDP-93, with their images emerging from a quieter background. Nuforce’s designs demonstrate that improvements to an analog circuit (the digital parts are all the same as a stock Oppo) can make a noticeable change for the better to the Oppo BDP-93’s sonics.
I recently purchased the Firefly TV series on Blu-Ray. With plenty of music and bombastic explosions it served as an excellent example of how well the NuForce board handles high-quality multi-channel sources. One of my favorite episodes, “The Train Robbery,” has plenty challenge it, from the opening theme song replete with slide guitar, fiddles, and a full drum kit, to the requisite explosions and rocket ship engines screaming upon take off. The NuForce boards handled all of this audio mayhem without any signs of distress or strain.
I was especially impressed with the NXE board’s ability to handle low frequency signals without complaint. Even the quiet nearly subsonic rumblings hear while the transport ship Serenity is in space come through cleanly with no issues. At the other frequency extreme, the NuForce NXE preserved all the whistling wind sounds of desolate outlying planets with ease.
Dialog definition is also exemplary through the Nuforce NXE board. Even with some of the almost whispered throwaway lines uttered during takeoffs and landings (when there’s plenty of other aural activity going on, some at much higher SPLs than the dialog), the locational precision and detail of the dialog never suffered.