Well and securely packaged. Included are standard junk cables, separate power cord and an HDMI cable. Manual is one of the best presented I have ever seen and was obviously written by somebody whose first tongue is English and is not a translation.
Compared to no name equipment this is a high quality piece of kit. Facia plate is faux brushed aluminium (plastic and composite materials). Sensible buttons on front and connectors seem sturdy on rear. Recent prior DVD’s in my set up have included Pioneer and Yamaha. On par if not better than them.
Display is not easy to read, but once you get used to it is OK. Most people would not be concerned with this.
The Oppo980h has every connection known to man for all audio and video outputs.
Manual describes this very well and even a novice could cope based on these instructions.
My setup sees this connected to AVR via HDMI. Followed settings in manual to ensure SACD via DSD and DVD-Audio and video @1080p are output. Very simple and very well explained.
This is identical to the Yamaha DVD (750 & 540) players OSD although image is not as sharp. Might be a little complex for some (especially speaker and bass settings if using analogue outputs) but in the main very straight forward.
Obviously, if I know it’s the same menu layout as Yamaha then I’ve used this interface previously. First time users might not agree.
EASE OF USE AND REMOTE CONTROL
I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many buttons crammed onto one remote in my life. Small buttons and not brilliantly layed out either. Manual provides a good deal of info on the remote and if patient you can work your way through it and it’s not too bad.
Manual also provides details of how to program your main or all-in-one remote including half a dozen brand names that might work with pre-programmed remotes. It seems that the expectation is that you will use an alternate remote. I am.
One of the major features of Oppo DVD player’s is the ability to upscale SD-DVD to 1080p. It does this remarkably well for a $270 DVD player. By way of comparison I tried it out against PS3, Xbox 360 Elite, and Toshiba XE1.
Ran all via HDMI set to output at 1080p through AVR with AVR scaling turned off.
XE1 is arguably better, however it’s RRP on first release was over $1,500 and it’s not a hands down stand out winner. Xbox is third and PS3 fourth. Both of these cost more so if you’re just looking for an up scaling DVD player, go the Oppo.
DVD of choice when doing these comparisons is LOTR 3: Return of the King.
All four are quite good at up scaling. Games consoles struggle with some movement scenes – not an issue for the Oppo. Oppo does very well with colours; opening scenes (on the river on a sunny day, dragged under the water by fish and on the river bank) are handled very well. Not quite on par with BD or HD-DVD, however those not wanting to go down that path now would do well to get the most out of their current SD-DVD collection using this Oppo.
(Apparently the soon to be released 983 does an even better job – for a higher price too no doubt.)
The Oppo plays every sound format known to mankind and even has a USB port on the front panel to cater for your MP3 playlists. Also, this is one of very few (only two I’m aware of) that can output DSD to your AVR.
Audio can be output via stereo or 7.1 analogue, optical or coaxial or HDMI.
I’ve opted for HDMI to process all video and sound.
I’ve tried CD, HDCD, DVD-A and SACD.
In my setup AVR is doing all the decoding and essentially Oppo is basically a transport. And an excellent transport it is too.
CD’s sound very good indeed – better than expected. I recently traded a NAD CD player as I could no longer justify having a stand alone CD deck in my setup. With the Oppo, I’m not disappointed I did. Again, compared Oppo to Xbox, PS3 and XE1. Well the Xbox is good but the worst of this lot. You also need to change settings in Xbox to output stereo. PS3 is not just better (than Xbox) but surprisingly good. Both consoles provide an array of useful info on screen including track details if connected to internet. XE1, for an HD DVD player, is a very good quality CD player. I’d suggest better than many stand alone CD players. I’ve mentioned it elsewhere, but based on original price at release, this probably shouldn’t be surprising (although current street prices are much less – if you can find one). The Oppo, well it’s on par with the XE1 and using Santana’s Eternal Caravan of Reincarnation, Miyano’s Hotel California and Kunzel’s Capriccio Italien and Cossack Dance from Mazeppa (Telarc) I couldn’t split them. Both excellent.
HDCD is not a format I’ve bothered with before and certainly did not do my recent upgrade to take advantage of this. Some of these (Joni Mitchell Blue) sound on par with a less than brilliant SACD. All sound very good. One disc I tried (Dire Straits Greatest Hits) is emblazoned with HDCD logo but neither Oppo nor Denon AVR light up HDCD indicator. AVS Forums indicate that some people have had issues with HDCD between Oppo and Denon AVRs. I suspect disc may be labelled incorrectly.
Recently upgraded AVR (Denon AVR 3808) and added the Oppo into my setup. Main reason for the Oppo was HiRez multi channel music.
DVD-A never sounded so good. Very full bodied with great soundstage and separation. Neil Young’s Harvest – felt like I was in the barn and then relocated to orchestra pit and then concert hall. Truly amazing.
SACD as DSD output to AVR is mind blowing.
Pink Floyd DSOTM (and didn’t I celebrate its 35th anniversary in style) is incredible…like most of us I first heard this in stereo, missed the quad version (no one I knew had the album nor the gear) and then onto CD. Along the way I picked up the Original Master Recording as well as the UHQR LP versions. For many years these have been reference material in my setup and both are certainly better than the CD. In my prior setups, SACD surpasses OMR and compares very favourably to UHQR. With the Oppo, I can safely say SACD now wins out, quite obviously.
Steely Dan’s Gaucho, funnily enough, has never really been considered reference material by me. It is now; this is nothing short of gob smacking. Stand anywhere in the room and you’ll be blown away by the quality of this – that’s how good the soundstage is. Quality or fidelity or whatever you may call it – you know it’s there when your 20 year old son (who can’t stand dad’s music) is wowed. Sat down and played this right through…and was so disappointed…when it finished. You just wish it could go on for ever.
Also tried outputting SACD as PCM from Oppo and from PS3. DSD is definitely a better quality sound (to my ears and with this AVR).
Summary & Recommendation
I purchased the Oppo for multi channel HiRez audio, on that score no disappointments throw in quality of HDCD and CD’s as well as SD-DVD up scaling and (for me) it’s all upside not disappointment.
Downsides & Disappointments
Remote is not brilliant
On some CD’s Oppo misses first nanosecond or so of first track (known fault recorded on AVS forums and Oppo are aware of this)
Disc tray could be described as flimsy
When inserting a disc if not properly seated in tray Oppo will read this as no disc
Little bit left field and perhaps I shouldn’t point to the Oppo for this. Playing a DVD (Region One – US NTSC) and stopped part way through. Left in that mode, probably for over 40 minutes with panel turned off and receiver input changed to Tuner. Upon return fired up panel and changed AVR input back to Oppo; screen on panel had gone green and any input (not just Oppo) through receiver had major green tint to it. Eventually isolated problem to TV – simple reset and all fixed. Not sure what caused it, but the Oppo was in the chain at the time. Of course who leaves DVD in stop/resume mode for that long?
Upsides and Unexpected Bonuses
Multi Channel HiRez audio
SACD output as DSD
More connections than you can poke a stick at
SD-DVD up scaling
Region free out of the box
HDMI cable included
MP3, WMA, DivX (from DVD, CD or USB drive)
If you’re looking for SD-DVD up scaling, you may be better off with the new Oppo 983, although value for money you won’t be disappointed with the 980H.
If you’re after a universal player for SD-DVD up scaling, HiRez (SACD & DVD-A) stereo and multi channel audio, CD, HDCD, MP3, WMA, DivX (well everything bar BluRay and HDDVD) then the Oppo 980H has it in spades and you need look no further.
Edited by blairy, 15 April 2008 - 09:44 AM.