This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

Rewind. When word of Oppo's 105 launch spread, the ModWright forum on AudioCircle took the pulse on mod interest. "Two areas of possible improvement are the stock switch-mode power supply and headphone-out circuit. The SMPS may be replaced by a linear supply of our own design. This will benefit the video and other aspects of the player not fed from the 105's own linear audio power supply. The headphone circuit is another area of potential improvement. It already uses a very good current-feedback amplifier to match headphone impedance. 

"It's however driven by an op-amp circuit of very low gain. According to Oppo there was a firmware conflict that required keeping the gain low on the HP outs. I believe I have a way to replace the op-amps with tube signal and still retain the solid-state impedance matching HP amplifier since that chip is exceptional and uses no negative feedback. I'm looking at both options. If I had a show of hands as to how many people will want these upgrades, it would be helpful!"

When demand for the headphone mod was light, Dan nixed the idea. When asked about USB playback, "the interface and drivers work well and sound very good. I have been using USB via J. River Media to burn in the player and tube circuit. The driver install was easy and I've had no problems at all. This machine allows for switching from coax, Toslink, HDMI out and Blu-Ray player settings via the remote's 'source' button all very seamlessly."

On stock 103 vs 105 sound. "To me the stock 105 is superior to the stock 103 which is good but sounds like a typical SMPS-powered unit with cap-coupled outputs. The 105 stock just on CD is really good. I am honestly surprised by how good. Oppo really stepped up their game by improving the power supply and the bigger more rigid and non-resonant fan-less enclosure for fully passive cooling. They've also added S/PDIF and USB inputs. 

"It's true that they split out the Sabre 9018's 8-channel DACs differently than with the model 95 which stacked four per channel. Now at least one pair goes to the headphone output. The rest are split between balanced and single-ended outputs. Based on Q&A from Oppo this was to give greater separation between SE and XLR outputs. With our tube mod I will experiment with how best to utilize the eight DACs on the chip, the end result being that the XLR and RCA outputs will be fed exclusively from our balanced class A tube circuit. Our Oppo 95 mod benefited from a year's worth of R&D into the Sony XA-5400ES mod. The 105 now benefits from the R&D of the 95 mod so we don't have to reinvent the wheel. Instead we're streamlining and improving the performance of the wheel for the 105 and adapting it to the design changes Oppo made for their latest and best model."

Modified Oppo BDP-95 with outboard 9.0 power supply

On ModWright-modified Oppo 95 vs 105. "Our signal-path tube mods for the 95 and 105 are very similar. We changed critical resistors types and for the 105 biased the circuit differently to voice it properly for the different external supply which added valve regulation over the 95's.  We also used ultra-pure silver wire versus the copper wire in the 95. Lastly we upgraded the power IEC to Furutech and the stereo RCAs to Cardas.

95 mod with PS 9.0 sporting a single rectifier socket to lack the two valve voltage regulators of the 105's supply

"My listening showed that overall the 105 was more open, resolving and produced a more natural presentation with a bigger soundstage, more holographic imaging and a greater sense of air. The 95 by comparison was just a bit warmer and darker with less depth. Both are exceptional however and use the same Sabre DAC. The 105 stock costs $1.200, the 95 is $200 less. And yes, our all-out 105 tri-tube PS 9.9 power supply is backwards compatible with the 95 and available for $600."