Message started by jeffofarabica on 12/28/16 at 20:11:53

Title: New Oppo
Post by jeffofarabica on 12/28/16 at 20:11:53

For anyone with an Ultra or thinking of how to integrate one into a fully tube-based HT system, Oppo is about to release a new 4K version of their famed Blu-Ray players.  I also use my Oppo to stream all of my content through the Ultra to my Torii Jr., such as Tidal, Netflix, etc.  

It has been awhile since they upgraded their player so I am curious to see what this "audiophile" grade unit has to offer...  and of course the price!

Title: Re: New Oppo
Post by lazb on 10/22/17 at 20:41:24

Jeff, I suppose you are aware by now that, so far, Tidal is not supported by the new OPPO.

Title: Re: New Oppo
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 10/23/17 at 02:14:28

A lot has changed equipment-wise for me since I posted that message.  I did end up purchasing the OPPO UDP-205.  And you are correct, it no longer supports third party apps, so all movie and music streaming functionality ended.  

I eventually got a PS Audio DirectStream DAC which now offers native Tidal Master streaming AND fully unfolded MQA capability.  

For awhile, I was using the 205 for SACD playback, and it did a fantastic job at that, actually - much better than the prior modded BDP-103 I once owned. The 205 is in another league.  But for $1300, it better significantly best its $599 little brother.  

I eventually added the DirectStream Memory Player for disk playback and now only use the 205 for 4K Ultra HD and Blu-Ray movies. I am also routing my AT&T U-Verse TV signal through it (HDMI in) to improve the sound quality.  Had I known I was doing to get the DirectStream combo as soon as I did, I would have opted for the cheaper UDP-203 model which offers the same video playback features, without the "audiophile" 2-channel improvements, which I am no longer using the player for.  At this point, it makes no sense for me to sell it only to purchase the cheaper 203 as I would take a hit on the sale.  Plus, if I eventually separate my HT from 2-Channel, I may again need the audiophile features of the 205.  

All in all, I am really impressed with the improvements they made with the new lineup and for someone using it for optical disk playback (SACD in particular) for 2-channel listening and 4K movies, it's absolutely worth the $1300 price tag.  

Title: Re: New Oppo
Post by Fstnblbs on 07/17/18 at 14:16:03

Hi Guys,
† New member, longtime lurker. I truly enjoy the amazing and varied dialog concerning all things Decware. I am the proud owner of several pieces. Zen Ultra the nerve center of my system. I am at present running all tube amps which I enjoy swapping. Vintage Mcintosh MC 30's, purchased from Vintage Vacuum Audio "fully restored to factory spec." (Ha! nightmare!) then correctly restored by Audio Classics, (Bliss!). Also restored/rebuilt EICO HF 12's and Bogen DB 10-1's. All combos sound amazing with the Zen at the helm. I am a staunchly 2 channel guy but I feel at times that I am not using the Zen to full potential. An instructional DVD would be great! Would love to hear from other Zen owners about their experiences with this gorgeous beast. Thanks and again appreciation for any insight.

Title: Re: New Oppo
Post by Lon on 07/17/18 at 14:40:31

Welcome! Thanks for joining the discussion.

You have some wonderful vintage amps there. . . . You really should consider the modern tube sound of a Decware amplifier connected that that wonderful Ultra! A very different sound from the vintage. . . . I went from the vintage to the Decware and it's been Decware ever since. . . . .

Title: Re: New Oppo
Post by Fstnblbs on 07/17/18 at 16:14:14

Hi Lon,
 Thanks so much for the gracious welcome. I have enjoyed your posts on the Decware and AK forums! I am looking at adding a Zen Torii 2 to the stable later this fall. I recently added a Bob Latino ST as well. No such thing as too much euphoria. Also have a ZROCK2 and Dec switchbox in the chain. Wonderful synergy with all amps. The ST is now powering M Logan SX 16's. The ribbon tweeter is quite a revelation on the small bookshelf units. The MC 30's are powering a pair of Klipsch Heresy 3's. Sublime. Other speakers in rotation are Ohm Walsh talls and Wharfedale Diamond 10.2's.  Before I went to the Zen Ultra I was using the superlative Dec CSP3. wish I had not let that one go! Analog front end includes Steve Frosten modded vintage AR XA and XB. Music Hall Ikura and various other vintage 'tables. Again everything routed through the mighty Zen Ultra. Great hobby eh?
                                                    Best Regards, Mike

Title: Re: New Oppo
Post by Lon on 07/17/18 at 18:26:32

It IS a great hobby! Well, if you ask my wife you may get a different answer, LOL.

You've got a great collection of amps and speakers and will enjoy the ZROCK2 and switch box. Keep us posted, keep posting. . . .

Title: Re: New Oppo
Post by Fstnblbs on 07/17/18 at 18:37:07

The ZROCK2 has been a real eye opener. After a very short break in period it has become an integral addition. The switchbox adds the convenience of volume control as well. Build quality is most impressive (although I did lose one foot off of the Z.) with fabulous execution and engineering. All the folks at Decware are a sweet bunch into the bargain!

Title: Re: New Oppo
Post by neac1976 on 07/18/18 at 04:05:09

Hi Mike and welcome to this forum.
†I do not post here often but I do log on daily and am amazed at the amount of valuable information that is shared here and the good will that is expressed towards seasoned members and new members alike.
I think that you will feel very "at home" here.

I would like to respond to your request for information regarding the Zen Ultra Pre-amp. †

My Ultra is the center of my (mostly) Decware system. †It serves only two channels (always will) and my original reason for purchasing it was because it accepted four sources.
Those sources are, two turntables, fed by two different phono pre-amps, my Teac Reel to Reel deck and my Sound Science Music Vault into which all of my CD's have been stored.
You already know just how wonderful the sound is from The Ultra and the quality of workmanship that The Master builds into each of his products. †I wanted to let you know about the upgrades that Steve installed for me:
1. stepped attenuator
2. upgraded sockets
3. 12 beeswax caps
As good as the unit was before the installation of the beeswax caps, it was that much better after their installation and a very long burn in process. †I actually had visited The Mothership during the time that The Ultra was in for upgrades and saw it on Steve's bench all opened up...very cool!
I have many Decware products, but the Decware amps that I own are:
1. the original SE 34 I Rachael
2. Steve's original (white base) Zen SE 84 C+, I then had him build an exact copy, so they are in mono configuration with all upgrades
3. Torii Mk III also fully upgraded
4. One pair of his 50 WPC Torii Monos, serial numbers 3 and 4

For me, The Ultra is the manifold that ties everything in my system together, both sonically and mechanically. It is just a matter of changing a couple of interconnects and then moving the speaker wires to a different amp (or two) and I can experience the different sounds that Steve's amps produce. †The different voicing of his amps and the different sound that each produces is amazing...again all controlled by The Ultra. †It was interesting for me to read about your experiences with The Ultra also. †

Take care, Mark

Title: Re: New Oppo
Post by Fstnblbs on 07/19/18 at 17:48:53

Hi Mark,
 Thanks so much for the introduction and the great information about your wonderful system. It seems like quite an array of great pieces. I guess that we Ultra owners are rare birds in the Decware pantheon. I hope to talk to other owners as time goes on. I was originally going to opt for the ZTPRE but the Ultra seemed to have just a bit more flex to it. I must confess to at times being nearly overwhelmed by the complexity of the Ultra but as it continues to break in and unfold the sound is truly transporting. We have all had that "3 in the morning" perfect listening moment. You know, the grid is not overstressed and ambient noise is down. The Ultra truly delivers those moments and the Sci Fi cityscape provided by the tubes really adds to the magic. The Ultra has tamed my digital sources as well. My Yamaha CD/streaming and transport and Blu Ray player have never sounded better. There has been a taming of inherent digital hash and a very realistic and accurate bloom of presentation all with no loss of detail. I continue to be very impressed.

Title: Re: New Oppo
Post by Jeff of Arabica on 07/19/18 at 18:25:56

Ive said is before, and Ill continue to say it...  My Decware Ultra is the last piece of equipment I would ever part with.   Itís capabilities are not anything I could every be without.  Hang in there Fstnblbs.  Ive made my share of blunders with the Ultra as I learned how to properly operate and take advantage of its features.  Once you fully understand it, it really is a magically piece of hardware - nothing else like it anywhere.  

Title: Re: New Oppo
Post by Fstnblbs on 07/19/18 at 20:27:09

Hiya Jeff,
 Thanks for the vote of confidence! Some of your posts actually helped steer me to the Ultra. The few times that I chatted with Ubermensch Steve during the construction of my Ultra he mentioned the long break in period. His statement that it would continue to improve over time was right on the money. I was not bowled over immediately the first week or so and was beginning to regret returning my CSP3. The Ultra really began to come on throttle shortly thereafter and has continued to evolve spectacularly. Now, if I could just master all of those mixing and blending pots...  Onward!

Title: Re: New Oppo
Post by neac1976 on 07/20/18 at 17:10:35


Regarding your questions about the operation of The Ultra and the various controls: since we both are using the preamp as only a two channel machine, there is very little that we need to hook up and adjust on it. †( I even have a sub connected also).

If you would like to talk about The Ultra's operation, PM me and we can talk by phone as it would be so much easier than going back and forth in posts. I am located in Naples, Fl.

Take care, Mark

Title: Re: New Oppo
Post by Fstnblbs on 07/22/18 at 02:53:04

Hi Mark,
  Thanks so much! I would love to pick your brain over the Ultra. I am in the middle of a big home project,sadly, not involving audio. Would love to chat next week. I do have a few questions. Best Regards and hope to talk soon. Mike

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