If our tests were won purely on packaging, then you’d be staring at the winner.
The Oppo BDP-95EU comes snugly secured in its very own ‘bag for life’, for heaven’s sake, while accessories such as the power cable, wi-fi dongle and chunky remote control come in stylish black box baring the Oppo logo.
In fact once you’ve got it out of the box, you have serious trouble getting it back in.
Not that you’d want to. If any Blu-ray player looks the money’s worth, it’s the Oppo. The player’s chunky, no-nonsense front panel combines elegance and intent to fine effect, and a the touch-sensitive buttons provide the icing on the aesthetic cake.
Similarities to Cambridge Audio 751BDIt’s round the back that things get even more interesting. Why? The positioning of some of the sockets (such as the twin HDMI outputs and component video, USB, and ethernet sockets) appears to mirror those on the rear of the Cambridge Audio 751BD.
More after the break
Delve a little deeper into the manual and spec sheet and you’ll also find that both players use the same combination of QDEO and Mediatek chipsets for video processing. The arrangement of the audio sockets is markedly different though. In addition to the dedicated stereo output and a multichannel analogue output, the Oppo includes XLR outputs for use with a compatible amp.
It also uses Sabre DACs as opposed to the Wolfson variety found in the Cambridge Audio.
Switch the player on, bring up the on-screen menus and, once again, they’re eerily similar to the Cambridge player, offering you nigh-on identical options for audio, video playback, network settings and the like.
Don’t get us, wrong, though – this is no bad thing, as they’re simply laid out and extremely straightforward to follow using the chunky, backlit remote control (which differs markedly from the slimline Cambridge wand).Detailed, even-handed soundUnlike on the Cambridge Audio machine, there are no adjustable audio filters when it comes to playing music through the Oppo’s analogue outputs.
Both machines do, however, make use of a Pure Audio function for music. The effect is similar, in terms of presenting music in a slightly cleaner light, but the overall sonic balance of these two machines is completely different.
The Oppo delivers tunes with an even-handed approach. Where the Cambridge is meaty and crisp, the Oppo’s detailed high and low frequencies bookend its expressive and informative midrange.
Timing is good and its ability to track complex rhythms is more than acceptable by Blu-ray player standards.
Given the two players’ similarities, it probably comes as no surprise that their picture performance is in the same ball-park too.
The Oppo shows plenty of talent upscaling a DVD from 576i to 1080p resolution; use the picture processing power of the QDEO scaler sparingly and you can produce a strikingly well-defined image.
Both 2D and 3D Blu-ray images are hugely gratifying too, as the deck matches Cambridge Audio blow for blow.
The Oppo is built like a £900 Blu-ray player, and performs like one, too.