Oppo 203 into legacy Naim 52/135/Isobarik system

I'd like to use the stereo outputs of an Oppo 203 into my Naim 52 pre-amplifier running a pair of 135 amps out to Linn Isobarik's.

Anyone thoughts on how to make this work without killing my Naim gear?

Configuring the volume settings on the OPPO so as not to harm the 52 is my main concern.

Also would there be any benefit to taking the 52 out of the equation and running the 203 directly into the pre-amps?

Will be using this with an LG OLED 65" B7P and probably a Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar (when it is finally released later this year) connected via HDMI, both to run simultaneously.




Original Post

Don't know what the output level of your Oppo, but seriously doubt that it is higher than that from a  CD player.

Can't see any reason why you couldn't just hook up the Oppo to a line input your 52 using an appropriate RCA>DIN lead, and try initially with 52's volume set low.  Just be sensible about it if you have any doubts.

I remember the early days of CD, when I had to drastically alter the volume setting of my NAC32 when playing CD as compared to LP or Tuner.  Worked fine with a variety of CD players I had on load before purchasing my CDS.

As with all things Oppo there are a cornucopia of options available in the Audio Processing setup window. I'm hoping there's OPPO owners on the forum who can chime in with regards to their experiences with following settings.

Output Volume: Variable and Fixed. Variable is default. Fixed sets the volume control to 100 sending the full dynamic range Analog signal. I'm thinking this is the way to go. The only downside to this approach is that the Oppo remote will no longer control the  volume and I'd need to use the Naim remote to control volume.

Maximum Volume: Default value is 100. Allows setting the maximum volume level. If there's any harshness or clipping this is the setting that requires adjustment. Anyone with experience using this setting?

Dynamic Range Control: Auto (default): Plays at the dynamic range specified by the blu-ray disc which has the DRC encoded into the Dolby TrueHD tracks. Sounds like the best option. There's also ON/OFF where On enables DRC for all Dolby and DTS audio formats.

There's more, to say the least, but that covers the main items.



Just use the Oppo's line-level fixed output into the 52 and use the latter to control the volume. The potentiometer in the 52 is likely to be better quality than the Oppo's. By all means try the 52 set for unity gain and use the Oppo on variable output, but it won't sound quite as good.

Tony, we don't know if Strad's 52 has had a unity gain modification.  As a long-time 52 owner (now passed on to my son-in-law), I know my (very early) 52/52PS didn't.

I agree with your recommendation, BTW.  Setting unity gain by playing with the 52's volume control would be a complete nightmare.

Hi Dungassin, my memory's not as sound as it used to be...but my 52/52PS was an early one too, & had unity gain implemented when I bought it new, so chances are, Strad's one has this also. Can't quite remember if this was an option I requested at the time though.

Hi TonyM,

No unity gain mod on my 52.

As I suspected, Oppo's fixed output into the 52 and control volume using the latter's remote looks like the best option.

Thanks for confirming that TonyM.

I'll try Maximum Volume at the default 100 and reduce if necessary and leave DRC in default mode as well.

Which model would you choose, the Oppo 205 or the 203? As revealing a system as this one is I'm leaning towards getting the 205. Front end rules as it were. 


Hi Strad, I'd get the 205 if you can, it's got a better digital/analogue section than the 203. I have the latter, but I almost exclusively use the HDMI output into a Denon sound processor for surround sound duties. The HDMI output audio and video quality is identical to the 205, so no advantage for me.

Richard Dane posted:

IIRC the NAC52 didn't come with a unity gain option but could be modified by the factory so that one of the tape loop IN/OUTs was permanently set to Unity Gain.

As I learned, at the Service Department's cost, NO unity gain mods available for NAC 52s prior to S/N 79143 (thank heaven for my, sadly, retained Naim Bible).

I booked an early one in and it had to have the entire control board replaced - all at the cost to the customer of the relatively simple modification applied to later units.

One lives - and ....

Good choice! I started out with a 203 but moved to a 205 for its superior audio performance. It's also build like a proverbial tank. I started out a few years back with a 105 and was deliggted with that too. Streaming on the 205 also sounds good but I always revert to the NDS for these duties

Hi Adam,

Sounds like from what you're saying the Unity upgrade can only be applied to the 52 by Naim themselves w/out regard to serial #?

No other service centers are able to perform this upgrade like a recap for instance?

My 52 is from 1986 if I'm not mistaken as that's the first two digits of the serial #. 

strad posted:

Hi Adam,

Sounds like from what you're saying the Unity upgrade can only be applied to the 52 by Naim themselves w/out regard to serial #?

No other service centers are able to perform this upgrade like a recap for instance?

My 52 is from 1986 if I'm not mistaken as that's the first two digits of the serial #. 

Possibly I mumbled -

NO-ONE can perform the unity gain mod on NAC 52s prior to S/N 79143.

Your S/N will be - the serial number written on the back of your NAC 52. In this, things are remarkably simple.

Additional information - https://www.naimaudio.com/serial-numbers 

Only just spotted this topic.

Oppo L&R outputs have a signal level on par with that of a regular CD player. Just take an RCA > DIN interconnect and presto - all is connected.

That is how I used to run my Oppo 105, untill I realised I get a much better sound quality if I use it as a digital transport.

Hi Adam,

Took a while to get back to you as I was waiting to pickup my serviced Naim gear. It's now home and connected and as you advised I had no problem with straight RCA>DIN.  It works like a charm.

The OPPO 205 is an amazing piece of gear. Thanks TonyM, for convincing me to pull the trigger and purchase one.

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