Drawing from over a decade’s worth of experience in advanced image processing technology and high fidelity audio performance, the UDP-205 is the perfect choice for discerning enthusiasts. The UDP-205 provides reference level sound quality through the analog outputs, improves the clock precision of the HDMI audio output, and increases the power of the built-in headphone amplifier. For the analog output stages, the UDP-205 utilizes two ES9038PRO DACs, which are the flagship of the ESS Sabre Pro series, delivering best-in-class audio performance.
OPPO UDP-205 is equipped with two ESS Technology ES9038PRO 32-bit HyperStream DACs for both stereo and 7.1 channel analog audio. As the flagship of the ESS SABRE PRO series, the ES9038PRO sets a new benchmark for audio excellence with its best in class 140 dB of dynamic range.
- Reference Quality Video with HDR & Dolby Vision
- Lossless, High-Resolution Audio
- UHD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, SACD, DVD, and CD
- The 9038Pro is an uncommon beast in the market of today, you don’t really see it. The older 9018 still is in the spot light, despite and at least in my opinion, the 9038 is the superior sounding chip. This goes back to my debate on the Burson 1793 vs the Burson 9018 in their conductor series and implementation between the 9018 of the Burson and the 9018 of the older HA-1 DAC from Oppo sounding different. Parts matter.
- I found the HA-1 to be more musical on the low end and more reserved on top than the flat neutral 9018 of the Burson 9018 Conductor. Here, I have almost no reference point for the newer 9038Pro used in the UDP-205. I can say that I think it has more of a shared tonality to the HA-1 of old than anything else. So, in other words, the 9038PRO here in front of me with whatever other parts are in there, sounds more like the HA-1’s 9018 circuits than anything else I can think of.
- This is a good thing. You want a bit of musicality, but not nearly enough to saturate the tone. The UDP-205 proves again it is well thought out. Just a bit of warmth down below to make it a beautiful experience no matter what I am doing with it.
- Unquestionably, there is just a gentle amount of oomph down yonder, but I find it very inviting and satisfying. On a flat EQ, I can feel the extra bump of quantity over the HA-1 using the same file and EQ preset in Foobar2000. After all, this is meant to be a home theater system and not a Hifi neutral DAC/AMP for purists who demand 100% flatness.
- This pairs with speakers and most headphones better, and also covers a small amount of very painfully, terribly recorded audio that most films have these days. Most audiophiles know this already, as we’ve found that movie studio’s give hardly any attention to masterful sound editing these days. Some films have terrible sound quality, others are fantastic.
- The very small amount of boost on the bass end of this unit is enough to make the very bad recordings sound tolerable without relying on distortion caused by EQ functions via a software. I’d rather have just a little stock boost already in the hardware instead, so as to minimize bad, or cheap EQ filters. As for the raw audio quality, it is excellent, pure for the most part and lacking a harsh, dynamic impact. It is moderately impacting, but never blaring or annoyingly wince worthy. Engaging is what I’d call it, which is something we all want more of.
- In my opinion, the midrange is fully neutral and lacks even a hint of nasal tendency. In terms of neutral tone, I can’t tell it apart from the older HA-1’s 9018. As for raw quality, I can hear the superiority in the UDP-205 by a narrow margin.
- I find all vocals to lack a very forward sense on my very forward sounding speaker setup, and after some more testing on other speakers from JBL and AudioEngine, as well as with a huge array of headphones, I’ve found that the UDP-205’s mid-band looms around a moderately forward level without ever sounding overly in your face. Too close is a bad thing, it takes away from the sound field and vastness of the depth of imaging. Too recessed, and well…I for one dislike V-shaped sound signature.
- Thankfully, this isn’t at all an issue. It is just as it should be in terms of placement and locale. I could not ask for more. Quality is, of course, excellent. Doing justice as a source with excellent fidelity rendering on the fly for film sources and other lower tier quality tracks. Nothing sounds bad here, ever.
- If I had a gripe, this would be the area of a low-level complaint. I feel the treble to be overly reserved and very linear with the midrange offered. By that, I mean the treble and midrange do not seem to battle for attention, and due to that, the bassy end feels a little prominent by comparison.
- Quality is not at all the issue here, as it is very good, it is the physical quantity and bite factor. It is moderate to the upper end of low in terms of physical dynamic impact. This is a great thing for home theaters, I get that most might prefer the top end to be enjoyable and not painful.
- On a flat EQ, the treble end through music enjoyment is just a bit too underwhelming. Not much. If you have treble prominent or focused headphones or speakers, this will need a little bit of EQ to make it interesting, at least in my opinion. As mentioned, it isn’t a real problem, it is a subjective gripe there and I merely felt the treble to be a little reserved in quantity. Quality is another story, I find it more than pure enough to be paired with very high-end amplifiers and headphones.
- I can’t at all tell a difference in imaging qualities between the older HA-1’s 9018 and this newer 9038Pro. They feel, at least in a physical sense, the same. Which is still good, as the HA-1 was very nice with imaging. With 2.1 speakers, this isn’t an issue at all, nor it is with most headphones out there. But, the Sennheiser HD800 (known for excellent imaging) probably isn’t best suited here. I’d be opting for a Burson instead.
- All things imaging are into the very nice tier, with nothing lacking. Height, width, depth, and separation rated well only equates to the entire experience rating very well. I lean back and tip my hat at Oppo for it because they’ve adapted every piece of this machine to sound the way it does and in doing so, the imaging factors lack literally nothing.
- If I had to rate each imaging variant (HxWxDxS) then they’d all be 7.5/10s and rated identically the same. Imaging is just good, no doubt about it. I hate to say it, but when we get to the larger sound fields, they tend to sound overly stretched out and thin. Thankfully Oppo knows better and didn’t try to make the sound field overly emphasized.
- This UDP-205 is the top dog on the block for 4K UHD needs…well, for Blu-ray needs in general. I don’t know of any piece of gear better than this. And that is just for 4K video needs. That aside, the audio functions on this beast are very nice! It is very easy to use and the remote control makes life very easy for me. I love being able to hook directly into a receiver for HDMI needs and then immediately swap to whatever else I want to do, all while retaining excellent sound quality from top to bottom and throughout the experience. This is an end all, be all product for audiophiles with a 4K setup. The only feature it missed was Bluetooth.
- The price is right. The function and form factor are just gorgeous to boot. Oppo scores another market wrecker status on this product. They are literally at the top of the food chain right now with a real best buy product here that does almost anything you want it to do. From amazing video quality to WiFi functionality and back to excellent sound quality in a modern setup? I can’t ask for more. Great job, Oppo.
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