We Need a New OPPO…NOW!
That’s not really anything new, I get annoyed with a great many things on a seemingly more regular basis. But to you know-it-alls and naysayers out there that insist physical media is dead and streaming is king, you can just stuff it as far as I’m concerned. I like and continue to buy physical media and I demand someone make a high-quality device to play it all, properly and with excellent results. The last company to make a player that came close to doing it all was OPPO.
Now, this does not mean I am against streaming or having a copy of what I own, available digitally, to play on a portable device. Not in the slightest! What it does mean is, if I am going to go through the effort of putting together an audio or video system that affords me a superior experience, then I am ultimately going to want to physically own the content I find meaningful and wish to enjoy. And I want that physical copy to be available to me in the best quality format that I can afford. Currently, physically, for audio, that means a CD or SACD or Blu-ray-Audio, and yes, I’ll even throw the old DVD-Audio format in there. For video, it physically has to be 4K UHD Blu-ray with all the HDR flavors available to exploit.
And before you say, “Hey, who let the conspiracy nut in the room?” just go back and relook at how the HDMI AV interface got put together and approved as a de-facto standard.
The almost 4-year-old Panasonic DP-UB9000 is another option. Built well and with solid audio and video performance but SACD playback is not supported. The little Sony UBP-X800M2 is a solid entry-level player but has no high-quality analog audio output to speak of and the Dolby Vision feature doesn’t work automatically, needing to be constantly switched on via the menu. Then there are companies like Zidoo and HiFiRose that make beautiful and compelling 4K-capable media players with all the bells and whistles. All they need is a built-in 4K drive that can handle SACD and DVD-Audio and we’d have some real contenders. But as it stands, we have no one. Just incomplete or half-baked choices. Where is Sony ES? Or Pioneer Elite? Integra? Denon? Marantz? Even some of the bigger Chinese brands, who oftentimes can make unexpected products that we don’t see coming? Where are they? Topping could do this, among others. I could see the Canadian hometown crowd at Bryston, Axiom or Anthem pull this off too.
Just so we are crystal clear, this is what I want:
- Universal Disc playback capabilities including 4K Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, SACD, and DVD-Audio (both stereo and Multi-channel).
- Top-shelf video processing that recognizes and works with HDR10, HDR10+ AND Dolby Vision.
- Audio codec support for everything up to and including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
- Dual HDMI outputs, at least one being the latest version while the other can handle separate multi-channel audio if desired. Both should be designed for low jitter.
- Top shelf stereo analog outputs, preferably with a separate DAC section, including balanced XLR stereo outputs.
- Should have superior measured performance.
- PC-USB input so the player can be utilized as a DAC.
- USB inputs for thumb and hard drives allowing DSD256 and DSD512 stereo and multi-channel digital file playback.
- Built-like-a-tank construction.
- A snappy and user-friendly UI with reliable smartphone app control.
- A quality backlit remote control.
- Optional real wood side panels, because…. why not?
This is what we are missing in the A/V world at this time. This is what we need. So, who is going to step up and be the new OPPO?
Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?