Cambridge 840C vs. Oppo BDP-95
Between the Cambridge Audio Azur 840C and Oppo BDP-95, which sound better for music? I know the Oppo can play SACD, but is the difference significant? I have a Sunfire 200Wpc amp and Von Schweikert VR-4 Generation III speakers.
Well, the first thing to be aware of is that the 840C can play only CDs, while the BDP-95 can play CDs, SACDs, DVD-Audio discs, and Blu-rays (including 3D), making it much more flexible. On the other hand, the Cambridge upsamples CD audio to 24-bit/384kHz before converting it to analog, while the Oppo does not upsample CD audio. The only way to determine which sounds better on CDs is to conduct a direct side-by-side comparison, which we haven't done.
I find SACDs to sound significantly better than CDs, but I haven't compared SACD playback with upconverted CD playback, so I don't know if that narrows the difference. (I admit to a philosophical bias against upsampling—I'd rather not have a machine introduce data into the signal that wasn't there to begin with.) I do know that the 840C is almost twice as expensive as the BDP-95 ($1800 vs. $999), and given that the Oppo can play all the other disc formats, I would definitely choose the BDP-95, which has garnered glowing reviews from many audiophile publications.
If you have an A/V question, please send it to email@example.com.