The new Oppo BDP-95 Blu-ray player arrived a couple of weeks ago and I've been planning to take it home and compare it to the Oppo BDP-93 (reviewed here). With rain in the forecast for the weekend, I thought it would be a great chance to put it through its paces.
Oppo is a company specializing in a limited product offering of high performance Blu-ray players. They only have two models, the 93 and 95. The 93 for $499 is an amazing player for the money so I was curious to see the improvements offered in the new 95.
Well, to sum it up, there are a lot! In physically checking out the two units you immediately notice Oppo did not go the route of just putting a few better parts for the 95 in the same chassis as the 93. Externally, the 95 is physically taller than the 93 and has a touch sensitive button layout on the front. The back panel reveals the addition of balanced audio outs for two-channel listening, and a different layout for the 7.1 audio outs (for those of you with an older processor that does not decode the current formats).
When you remove the top, the differences are huge! The 95 has a power transformer made by Rotel (a much beefier and higher end power supply) along with a totally different audio board. The build quality is completely different with the 95 in a very sturdy chassis, with several sections enclosed and isolated. The 93 has a two conductor power cord, while the 95 has a full three conductor cord. The transport does appear to be the same on both units. There is far, far more difference than I expected!
Typically these kinds of improvements provide better audio performance, so I was off to the races to compare the two units. I connected them both to my Classé SSP-800 with identical Transparent HDMI cables. The Classé feeds into a Rotel RB-1080 via Transparent cables. I currently use a pair of PSB Sync 1s as my main speakers. After playing a couple of CDs, the difference was obvious. Bass went deeper and was better defined on the 95. The music felt like it was coming from a much more silent background, allowing me to hear many more subtle emotional qualities. The 95 also had a far more relaxed and effortless feel.
Sometimes audio differences like these can cost you thousands of dollars. Based on the difference in the internal parts, if the 95 were coming from just about any other AV vendor it would not be unreasonable for it to sell for $2000-$3000. However, the 95 is only $995! That's right, this player is under $1000! It seems hard to believe you can get all of this for only $995. Oppo's razor focus allows them to provide such a great value.
I currently use an LED projector which provides a stunning and revealing picture, so I was curious if there would be any differences in video performance. I switched to video and tried out a couple of my favorite concert videos. I heard the same kind of audio improvements in these as well. With video though, I could not see any difference in the 93 and 95. Each looks great, loads fast, and works perfectly.
I think the Oppo BDP-95, just like the BDP-93, is one HECK of a value. My only nitpick is that I prefer the hard buttons on the 93 to the 95. For almost everyone, though, the player’s remote or a smart remote will be used, so that’s no issue.
To sum it up, if you are looking for a real value Blu-ray player, the 93 is impossible to beat. If you can spend the extra $500 and have an interest in better performing audio, get the 95. You will love it!