Ever since Oppo introduced the BDP-83, I've thought it to be among the best Blu-ray players money can buyand at $500, it doesn't even cost all that much, especially compared with, say, the Denon DVD-A1UDCI, another universal player that lists for $4500. Now, Oppo has introduced an upgraded version, calling it the BDP-83 Special Edition, for a list price of $900.
What justifies the extra $400? An enhanced audio board and power supply, that's what. The new audio section uses an 8-channel Sabre Premier digital-to-analog converter (DAC) from ESS Technologies at the multichannel analog output stage and a separate 8-channel Sabre Ultra for the L/R analog output, dedicating four DACs to each output channel to achieve even greater audio performance.
Clearly, the BDP-83SE is aimed at audiophiles who prefer to use analog outputs, and I have little doubt that it improves on the original in this regard. Personally, I prefer my Blu-ray audio via HDMI because it's far more convenient, and I suspect the difference in quality compared with the new enhanced analog outputs is not great enough for me to spend the extra dough, so I'm glad that the original BDP-83 remains available.