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New Company Reavon Promises High-End UHD Blu-ray Players

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Reavon UHD Blu-ray Players

Reavon UHD Blu-ray Players

Summary

  • Product Name: UBR-X100 and UBR-X200
  • Manufacturer: Reavon
  • Review Date: May 16, 2021 02:15
  • MSRP: $T.B.D.
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool
  • Buy Now

Executive Overview

In April of 2018, AV enthusiasts around the world were disappointed to read the news that Oppo Digital, the highly-regarded maker of high-end Blu-ray players, was calling it quits. The California-based company, which also produced some very fine audio electronics and planar-magnetic headphones, could see the writing on the wall: streaming video was the future, and disc-spinning was the past. Oppo’s Chinese parent company must have concluded (correctly, we must admit) that there was more money to be made selling mainstream consumer electronics, such as the Oppo-branded smartphones and smart watches that are still being built, mostly for the Asian market. In early 2019, Samsung followed suit, exiting the disc-player market. At that time, high-end players were still being offered by Panasonic, Pioneer, and Sony, but none could match the discontinued Oppo players’ combination of high performance, excellent build-quality, extensive features, and overall value. In the last couple of years, most of the large electronics companies have chosen not to refresh their lineups of disc-players at all, focusing instead on TVs, gaming consoles, and mobile devices. For the average Joe, the quality of picture and sound available via streaming is more than good enough. And indeed, streaming quality has improved significantly in the last several years. But AV enthusiasts know that the very best home-theater experiences are still encoded in the microscopic pits and lands of the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc. And it is with these enthusiasts in mind that a new company called Reavon has entered the scene with its first two products, the UBR-X100 and UBR-X200, both of which are UHD Blu-ray players boasting high-end performance and a noticeably Oppo-like appearance. Is there a new Oppo in town?

Aesthetic similarities aside, there are reasons for the references to Oppo. Like Oppo Digital, Reavon is a small company owned by a larger organization (in this case, it’s the French consumer electronics company Groupe Archisoft), seemingly founded with one goal in mind: to build the best disc-spinners for discerning enthusiast customers. And while Oppo invested millions to co-develop a custom SoC (System on Chip) with chip manufacturer MediaTek, the Reavon players use MediaTek’s most advanced “off-the-shelf” SoC, the MTK8581. This chip is a highly integrated multi-media SoC that handles 4K-UHD playback and upscaling. Like Oppo’s customized SoC, the 8581 utilizes a quad-core, 64-bit processor — an ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cluster, running at 1.3GHz — along with an ARM Mali-T860 MP2 graphics processor. (If I remember correctly, the MTK8581 also can be found in Pioneer’s $1,100 UDP-LX500 player, which is an excellent performer.) Oppo fans will recall that the company offered a two-player lineup with identical video capabilities in both units. The pricier UDP-205 produced exactly the same images as the more affordable UDP-203, but it offered audiophile-quality DACs and a custom analog output stage. The two new players from Reavon follow a similar model. If you need analog outputs, the UBR-X200 will be for you. But if you only plan to connect your player via HDMI, the UBR-X100 is just as good a digital transport as its more expensive sibling. It simply lacks DACs and analog audio circuity altogether. Speaking of prices, surely you must be wondering how much these new players will cost. Well, so am I. When I reached out to Reavon for some answers, I was told that the products are still under development, and that more information would become available at an unspecified later date. Will the players even be sold in the US? And if so, how much will they cost? We simply don’t know yet. But the UBR-X100 and UBR-X200 are both slated to launch this summer in Europe, where they will sell for €800 and €1600, respectively. (That comes to about $945 for the UBR-X100, and about $1,890 for the UBR-X200, though it’s worth pointing out that retail prices don’t always translate proportionally from one market to another). For the sake of comparison, Oppo’s UDP-203 sold for $550 in 2018, while the flagship UDP-205 would set you back $1,300.

 Reavon rear

We do know that both players will support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, along with HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR. No mention is made of HDR10+ support. Both offer dual HDMI outputs; one delivers the standard audio/video combo, while the other is an audio-only path that reportedly carries a higher-quality audio signal. Like the Oppo players, the Reavons are “universal disc players,” meaning they will also play CDs and SACDs, along with DVDs, standard Blu-rays, and UHD Blu-ray discs. Users can play back multimedia files from external USB drives, or from DLNA/Samba local network storage. But Reavon users may have to rely on an Ethernet cable for network connectivity; WiFi is not yet on the features list. (The Oppo players featured built-in WiFi, for those keeping score at home.) Of the two Reavon players, only the more expensive UBR-X200 includes an RS-232C terminal for custom AV integration. It also offers 7.1-channel analog outputs, along with both balanced and unbalanced stereo analog outs. Both Reavon players promise ultra-robust construction. The 1.6-mm-thick chassis base is attached to a 3-mm-thick steel plate, which provides mechanical reinforcement and a low center of gravity. This stiffer and more stable chassis structure minimizes the potentially deleterious effects of mechanical movement coming from the disc drive, according to Reavon. (Interestingly, when I was double-checking the retail price of Pioneer’s UDP-LX500, I noticed mention of the same 1.6-mm-thick chassis base and 3-mm-thick steel plate.) Weighing in at 15 lbs, the Reavon UBR-X200 is no featherweight for a disc-spinner, and some of that heft can be attributed to the “military engineering class” toroidal transformer that sits at the heart of the unit’s power supply. Still, Oppo’s UDP-205 was even chunkier, at 22 lbs. The Reavon’s other main audiophile consideration is the use of Burr-Brown Audio PCM1690 DACs. Built by Texas Instruments, these 24-bit Delta-Sigma chips offer differential outputs, and can process 8-channels of audio each, with an advertised signal-to-noise ratio of 113dB. The UBR-X200 also employs “custom audiophile capacitors,” a “jitter-free clock,” and a high-quality main circuit board, according to Reavon.

Reavon - Oppo 203 for comparison

Oppo 203 left and new Reavon UBR-X100 right

Did OPPO Set the Bar Too High for Others To Follow?

OPPO $6k UHDThere are still many questions surrounding Reavon and its new UHD players. The comparisons with Oppo are perhaps inevitable, and it’s no secret that many enthusiasts who never got around to buying a UDP-205 have been kicking themselves since 2018. (Don’t believe me? Try to find a used one selling for less than $3K. I’ll wait.) But Oppo left some very big shoes to fill. While Reavon might succeed in producing well-built, high-performance players, the company hasn’t yet promised a feature-set on par with what Oppo offered. In addition to the aforementioned built-in WiFi, the Oppo players eventually became Roon-ready. Roon users could painlessly and wirelessly send music from their favorite streaming services — or from their own music libraries — directly to their Oppo players, allowing them to take advantage of the dual ESS 9038PRO Sabre DACs in all their glory. Or, thanks to the USB input, the UDP-205 could be used as a USB DAC, complete with MQA certification. Coaxial and optical digital inputs meant that smart TVs or legacy audio products could benefit from an Oppo’s superior DACs as well. Meanwhile, an HDMI 2.0 input allowed the user to connect another video source, such as a cable box or streaming device, and take advantage of Oppo’s superb video processing. And if you wanted to watch a movie or listen to music late at night, the UDP-205’s built-in headphone jack was surprisingly capable of powering many high-end headphones to a satisfying level. The Reavon players do not have a headphone jack, an HDMI input, a USB input, a coax input, nor an optical input. As of now, they seem to offer no audio streaming capabilities whatsoever, which seems like a waste when you consider how much money and engineering must have gone toward the audio performance of the step-up UBR-X200 model. Some might argue that these features aren’t necessary in a high-end Blu-ray player, and it’s certainly true that a product needn’t be all things to all people in order to be successful. Many high-end audio products seem to benefit from stripping away unneeded features in order to focus on performance. (Compare, for example, the features list of a typical AVR to that of a high-end 2-channel integrated amp.) But the fact remains that the Oppo players did offer all of these features, along with superb performance, excellent build-quality, and (in my experience) great customer service. And on top of that, they were less expensive than these new Reavon players, at least based on the European launch prices. Now, I don’t mean to suggest that AV enthusiasts shouldn’t be excited about Reavon’s arrival. I am thrilled to see a new company dedicated to physical media, especially at a time when most of the major brands have either backed out completely or allowed their players from a few years ago to “mature” on store shelves. I just think that Oppo set the bar very high in the niche market of high-end Blu-ray players, and that Reavon — or anyone else — will need a heck of a running start in order to reach it. 

About the author:

Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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Recent Forum Posts:

}Fear_Inoculum{ posts on June 01, 2021 00:05
Verdinut, post: 1486252, member: 80194
Are you implying that all Sony and Panasonic players are not reliable? I have a Sony x800 and I find it reliable. You just have to make sure that there is air circulation around it. IMO, it just performs as well as my OPPO UDP-203 and possibly better with ADD remastered CDs. We have to keep in mind that the CD format was invented by Sony.

As for Panasonic, I believe in the quality and reliability of their products, although I don't have one of their BD players. But I have a 10 year old plasma Panny which still functions flawlessly.

I've got a 2009 Panasonic 46" Plasma that is undoubtedly the best TV I've ever owned. 12 years old, and though it's not a daily user anymore, it sure was for the first ~8 years. Not a single issue with it ever.
sterling shoote posts on May 28, 2021 19:18
tn001d, post: 1486245, member: 24922
That’s nice


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
It's not just nice, it's the whole point of buying an OPPO: multi-channel SACD play via internal DACs for analog output. OPPO was the last manufacturer to offer this sought after feature for folks who have pre HDMI AVRs or Pre-Pros.
lovinthehd posts on May 28, 2021 03:05
Verdinut, post: 1486283, member: 80194
It's true as most products are warranted for only one year. Then, there's definitely no incentive for a manufacturer to put any accent on reliability.

In a way the changing tech somewhat is disouraging let alone the wishy-washy typical consumer who barely knows what they “need”…..
Verdinut posts on May 28, 2021 03:03
lovinthehd, post: 1486256, member: 61636
Then again its what the overall market defines as reliable….seems most consumer electronics brands don't particularly advertise their this way…assumed disposability is part of that I'd think.

It's true as most products are warranted for only one year. Then, there's definitely no incentive for a manufacturer to put any accent on reliability.
lovinthehd posts on May 27, 2021 22:27
Verdinut, post: 1486252, member: 80194
Are you implying that all Sony and Panasonic players are not reliable? I have a Sony x800 and I find it reliable. You just have to make sure that there is air circulation around it. IMO, it just performs as well as my OPPO UDP-203 and possibly better with ADD remastered CDs. We have to keep in mind that the CD format was invented by Sony.

As for Panasonic, I believe in the quality and reliability of their products, although I don't have one of their BD players. But I have a 10 year old plasma Panny which still functions flawlessly.

Then again its what the overall market defines as reliable….seems most consumer electronics brands don't particularly advertise their this way…assumed disposability is part of that I'd think.
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