Overall, the Oppo sound is characterized by excellent top-tobottom transparency and detail, tempered by a good measure of high-frequency smoothness. But the big news is that all these qualities are delivered with the sort of polish and panache rarely heard in sub-$1000 players. As a result, the Oppo effortlessly reveals variations in production techniques from album to album, and song to song.
I put on Sheryl Crow’s The Globe Sessions [A&M, multichannel SACD], for example, and noted that the first track, “My Favorite Mistake,” had the clean, tight, well-focused sound of a traditional studio recording. But the second track, “There Goes the Neighborhood,” had an altogether different sound that was huge, slightly raw, diffuse, and drenched in reverberation, creating the effect of hearing Crow and her band performing in a big garage. The point is that the Oppo made child’s play of delineating the various textural and spatial differences between the tracks—something few inexpensive players do well.
Compared to more expensive players such as NAD’s M55, the DV-970HD sounds a bit less smooth in the treble region, a little less full-bodied and threedimensional, and produces bass that sometimes seems too lean. But when you consider that the DV-970HD costs less than one tenth what the NAD does, and that it sounds more like the NAD than not, the Oppo’s minor shortcomings become easy to overlook.