OPPO 105; how to beat it and at what price?

I am in the process of building my reference system around my new Wilson Alexia’s. I am currently using the OPPO 105. How much would I have to spend to get a significant audible improvement? What would that unit be?
If it were me, I'd keep the 105, but send it to Ric Schultz at EVS. He has an extensive mod program for the 103 and 105. Roughly $2,500 to mod your 105 into an unbalanced, 2-channel player, but you can also get the balanced mods and/or multi-channel mods at additional cost. I have his modded 103 and it's fantastic - light years ahead in sound compared to stock - not even remotely close. Ric recommends the modded 103 for use mainly as a transport and the 105 if you want a world class CDP. Ric tells me his 105 is the best digital playback out there and I'm not inclined to doubt it! Modding does void the Oppo warranty, but he guarantees his own work for life or will repair a non-EVS fault for the cost of parts and $25/hr labor. Or he will sell you his own 2-year, complete warranty for $50. Just Google "EVS Tweak" and that should get you to his site. I've found Ric to be very easy to get to know by phone and he does great work. (EVS = Electronic Visionary Systems)
I guess there are a lot of questions that need to be answered first.

Is it used for a stereo system only or for multichannel?

Is it to be used for music or movies?

What will the Oppo be hooked up to?

What formats do you play? DVDA? SACDs? CDs? BDs?


If you are looking for an all in one system that can play BluRays (PureAudio music), SACDs in multi channels, DVDA in multi channels, movies on Bluray and DVDs, it's going to be hard to replace the Oppo.

You can get it upgraded - I'd consider the Modwright tube based output if you can ship your unit across to Dan.

Or for a sideways step, Electrocompaniet and Cambridge Audio use the same Oppo chipsets but have their own analog/DAC stages. I say sideways because they use different chipsets but some may prefer the Oppo's Sabre32 to these versions.

If you are willing to lose 3D and 4K capability, try to see if you can pick up the Ayre DX5. It is based off the Oppo 83 which is still a very capable Bluray player (and SACD/DVDA) but Ayre has a very very good analog stage and DACs that outclasses the Oppo 105, the CA and the Electrocompaniet. Plus it also works like a USB DAC (like the 105's USB input). There is an upgrade for the DX5 that adds DSD over USB (vs PCM only in the original spec).

If you don't care about Bluray playback or DVDA playback, and only play CDs and SACDs, I would look at something from EMM Labs (XDS1 v2) or Playback Designs (MPS5). Both IMHO outperform the 105 - including the modded ones because the custom built DACs are really really quite special.

If you don't care about BD/SACD/DVDA and only care about PC audio or just use CDs, I'd look at the PS Audio Directstream DAC. Just add a PC (or Mac) music server or a CD transport to play CDs.
How about $800. That is what I charge for my basic mod plus the zero feedback fully balanced fet output stage for the 105 or 105D. Just had a customer get one and he loves it. Another $1000 in other advanced mods (linear power supply, low jitter clock, Audio Magic Pulse Gen ZX and more WA Quantum dots, etc.) brings even more to the table. Serious high end sound.
Thanks for the comments. I will be using as two channel audio only. I spin 2 channel SACD and CD only. I am trying to educate myself on the alternative of a computer based server. Seems like many pros to this approach in sound and convenience. Also seems to be the future. I can say that in my new system SACD has never sounded better vs CD thus high res formats are very appealing.