Developing the upcoming Vinculum Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
Like many other home-cinema lovers, we are evaluating the first steps of the new UHD-BD format, with its much higher resolution, an expanded color-space, and the high dynamic range. We also follow the evolution and improvements of the projectors and televisions 4K/UHD trying to be adapted for the new standards.
Although we believe that the new format can theoretically offer a higher image quality than the Blu-ray, we see how the first titles published in UHD-BD are generating some confusion and mixed reactions about the extent of the improvements made.
It is clear that many of the appreciable differences with respect to the Blu-ray editions are not due to the technical superiority of UHD-BD format , but to the decisions of the editors concerning the color grading, the contrast, sharpness, noise reduction, etc...
Of course many UHD-BD editions surely will be able to achieve a clear improvement in color quality, specially when compared with non-optimal Blu-ray editions like "Sicario". But some others UHD-BD editions could simply seek a more spectacular look, even at the cost of being less balanced, or moving away from the original intentions of the director of photography.
We have read a lot of praises about the new high eficiency codec (HEVC) used for the UHD-BD . Its greater efficiency rate has been calculated mainly on the basis of subjective tests and S/N ratio, but actually you cannot store more than four times the information of a Blu-ray in the same disk space without a heavy sacrifice of native visual information. It may be dificult to discern the losses with static images but this efficiency is not for free and it can reduce the sharpness and definition during movements in the image.
We would like to see how most UHD-BD are edited on disks of at least 100GB.
About the higher resolution of UHD, it is widely accepted that it is noticeable only with certain viewing conditions and when the viewing material has an exceptional image quality.
In many other circumstances it will not provide a significant improvement in definition, and even less if it comes from upscaling a 2K master, as it is happening in many cases. Rather, it is the HDR what is generating the best rating with respect to bluray, although the TVs and projectors are still under adaptation process.
In short, we trust about the possibilities of the new format, especially when transferring the highest quality movies (such as those filmed in 70mm, for example), but we do not want to fall into the mistake of valuing certain decisions of UHD-BD editors as a real improvement. In fact, many of those perceivable changes in colorimetry or sharpness could be performed in a new Blu-Ray edition.
We are already preparing our modified version of the upcoming OPPO UHD-BD players , which are expected to be a better basis for our modifications that the current players from Samsung and Panasonic.
For sure, the Vinculum modifications will greatly improve the realism, the natural sharpness, the accurate color, the greater transparency, the depth and three-dimensionality of the pictures.It will be necessary for us to devote all our available time to research on the new format and to complete the development of our new chassis, our new power supplies and further enhance our disc reading technology. We are sorry that for the next few months we have to reject any order to modify the current Blu-ray models.
Besides of the UHD/Blu-ray modified players it will be presented an audio-only version with an incredible analog sound quality, a truly High-End product. For the moment we can show only this small picture of one prototype. And also, by the end of this year it will be offered an affordable modification which greatly improve the analog sound quality of any OPPO player.
We will keep you informed in this page about some of our tests and experiences with UHD players and projectors in the next months. Thanks for the inmense patience and trust of the customers and friends who believe in our research work. And of course, have a happy Summer!
More improvements in audio quality.
Although we have always used the best components we could find for our modifications, our extensive research in the power supply quality key factors pushed us to go a step further.
From now our Vinculum PLUS players will include even better toroidal transformers, specially made for us by a leading european manufacturer according to our specific technical requirements.
The new transformer features higher saturation levels and lower hysteresis losses in the core , improved by a recrystallization heat treatment. Eddy currents are practically negligible and magnetostriction induced noise is clearly lower than that of the typical transformers used in High-End audio.
Also, we use even better power supply capacitors, tested and selected one by one.
The Vinculum analog sound quality already had enough transparency, dynamics and lifelike feeling to outperform most High-End digital sources. Now, we believe that it is even more difficult to find something comparable in sound quality.
A new visit to Palma de Mallorca.
We have visited again Palma de Mallorca to personally install a Vinculum 105DPLUS, and Vinculum cables for one of our customers, one of the same people who tested our 103DPLUS during our demo sessions there.
Our friend José Antonio and other attendees were amazed by the extreme analog sound quality, the powerful dynamics, the strong presence feeling of musicians, and the unlimited and enveloping sound scene... In all those aspects and according to him, the Vinculum was better than much more expensive audiophile sources that he has tested before.
This was also an opportunity for us, to learn where we must retouch and adjust our modifications to achieve the better synergy with the largest number of High-End musical installations.
The new OPPO BDT-101CI Blu-ray Player
The new BDT-101CI Blu-ray player from OPPO focuses on its core function of disc playback. The player supports multiple disc formats including Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD, CD and media files on USB drives and home networks.
While the BDT-101CI does not offer Internet streaming apps or HDMI/MHL inputs like the BDP-103D/105D series, it features a versatile modular design with many customised options; one or two HDMI outputs via the additional HDMI output module, optional HDBaseT output module for long cable runs, stereo or optional 7.1ch analogue audio output module, etc...
We hope to test this new player very soon, which has already received very favourable comments from the experts of HDfever magazine.
A new front panel will be available soon as an option.
The stock OPPO blu-ray players have a beautiful aluminium front panel, perhaps the finest in its price-class.
However, to complete the new strong chassis included in our modifications, we wanted to design a new silver-anodized front panel, more massive and thick. It includes our new logo , which tries to symbolize the union of image and sound in a minimalist design.
The new front panel comes to answer a request from some of our customers, who wanted a more high-end look for their new audiophile source. The modifications keeping the standard front panel will be still available.
We have improved also the look of our audiophile cables and the product packaging.
New Vinculum audiophile products
Vinculum offers Blu-Ray/SACD players with innovative modifications which have succeeded in convincing and winning the heart of many demanding audiophiles. Rather than changing a lot of electronic components on the original machine, we have preferred to control the working parameters of the existing ones through critical adjustments which have been very hard to develop.
This study of the physical principles involved on every component design and its performance is known as fundamental research. It is the way that allows us to understand as engineers what we perceive as audiophiles and to explain the real reasons for the apparent contradiction between some laboratory measurements and the subjective experience when we are listening and feeling the music.
One of our longest research projects is related with the audiophile cables. Today the market is already flooded with a myriad of audio brands offering high quality cables for audiophiles. But our experience is that most of the times its sound quality has nothing to do with its beautiful aesthetics and hefty prices.
Even with the most famous and respected brands, we have not found yet on their technical papers a sufficiently reasonable theory which could explain how cables may produce audible changes subjectively perceived by most audiophiles. This seems to remain one of the most misunderstood areas of the audio science.
We have needed many years to understand scientifically the real reasons for the audible effect of the speaker cables, power cables and interconnects, which may alter and damage the musical signals far more than most audiophiles and engineers can imagine. Now, this knowledge allows us to design and produce some of the best audio cables available, which may extract much better dynamics, realism and sweetness from any musical equipment.
Take a look at our range of audiophile cables and accessories here .
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2015 !
New Vinculum dealer in France
In few weeks our products will be available for sale at "Voir& Emouvoir", near Paris. With a long experience as an integrator of Home-cinema, High-End Audio, Domotics and Room acoustics treatment, Laurent Mano is used to dealing with the best of High-End audio and video brands. We hope to organize with him a Vinculum presentation session in the first weeks of 2015.
VINCULUM 105D PLUS audiophile tests. Part I
Thanks to our demonstration sessions we are knowing many great people and we are publishing the commentaries that some of them are writing on forums about the experience.
These tests with different types of speakers, amplifiers, acoustics... and the owners opinions, may help us to refine and improve our designs. Juan Manuel G., has found with the VINCULUM 105D PLUS the ideal source both for music and cinema. In his equipment the Vinculum sounds with the magic, aliveness and sweetness like only the best audiophile sources can do.
VINCULUM 105D SPECIAL EDITION demonstration sessions.
Mr. Miguel Z. Blanco contacted us few weeks ago, interested in the VINCULUM blu-ray modifications. We recently have visited him and tested together the differences in performance between the standard OPPO 105EU and our VINCULUM 105D SE, with a SONY 4k projector. His SONY VW500 is the latest in a long series of high-end projectors he has owned before, including DREAMVISION, JVC DLA-RS60 and SONY VW95 among others.
Attached to the Sony he had a SCHNEIDER anamorphic lens. His home-theater dedicated room includes a STEWART STUDIOTEK CINECURVE screen, B&W 803D and HTM1,SCM1 set of speakers, two REL 528SE Subwoofers, Denon AVP-A1HD preamp, POA-A1HD power amp, A1UD, etc.... and the OPPO bdp-105EU. Miguel has also a large collection of original blu-ray films.
Although the image quality was already awesome with the OPPO 105EU/SONY VW500/ STEWART combination, the VINCULUM 105D SE raised the picture quality with more clean ultra-definition, realism and three-dimensionality.
We tested the VINCULUM in source-direct mode, with all the SONY controls set to zero and absolutely all video processing disengaged (dynamic contrast , reality creation , motion flow , etc...). Without any of these aids the VINCULUM offered much deeper blacks and better intra-image contrast, improved overall image transparency and photographic definition. It has proved to be an ideal partner for the new wave of 4K projectors because its improved 1080p native picture quality extraction from any blu-ray disc provides clearly better 4K upscaling quality.
The other pleasant surprise for him was the sound quality change from the standard OPPO to the VINCULUM, using its optimized HDMI sound output. With the VINCULUM he felt how his REL subwoofers were working with more powerful, tight and perfectly defined bass.The sound in the action scenes was far more spectacular, with uncompressed dynamics and more presence and clarity from all the sound channels.
Our friend Miquel Figuerola collaborates as a luxury musician this June 19, in the amazing Martín Llabrés show "Croissants de Lejos" at the Palma de Mallorca Auditorium.
Singer and musician by profession, Martín Llabrés developed this facet for over three decades and left the musical stage to work as an executive. Now combines his career returning to the stage, this time as well as comedian and performer, on the Palma Auditorium. We send you our warmest support, Martin and Miquel.
Miquel and his friends are very impressed with the Vinculum 103D Special Edition they have received, and eager to test the PLUS version in its new Special Edition also, with an even better analog sound output.
You can read some comments from Miquel about the Vinculum 103D Special Edition in our "Reviews" page.
The Vinculum 105D PLUS experiences a big delay to be released, but we hope that it will be well worth the wait. We will show soon some tests of the 105D PLUS along with the Sony VW500 4K projector, and hope to demonstrate that the Vinculum players provide the best native 1080p signal quality available from which you can obtain the best 4K scaling for your favourite Blu-rays. This is the new back panel of our 105DPLUS, still before the screen printing process.
VINCULUM demonstration sessions in France and Italy
We would like to demonstrate our players one more time and invite people from France or Italy who may be interested in a demonstration session in their own home-theater this summer. If you have a home-cinema set-up with a projector or a hi-end musical equipment don´t loose the opportunity to test a revolutionary player both in audio and video quality.
We have already some requests from people near Paris, so may be we will concentrate our demo sessions there but we could try to visit another cities if possible .
Please contact us if you are looking for a high performance video and audio player and would like to test a Vinculum player, of course without any compromise at all.
VINCULUM CINEPHILE 103D SPECIAL EDITION
The Vinculum Cinephile 105D PLUS should be presented soon , after many hundreds of hours of exhausting research. The good news is that strong advances have been achieved in picture and sound quality over the already unrivaled quality of precedent Vinculums.
We wanted to apply some of these advances to the Vinculum 103D Cinephile units ordered by people who participated in the last demo sessions in Palma and they are calling us, absolutely amazed by the step forward achieved in the video quality. They talk about "Even better detail into even deeper blacks, jaw dropping sharpness with fast moving images, more accurate and richer colour rendition, etc..."The other big surprise for them is the sound quality. With frightening dynamics which force them to lower their usual sound volume, and perfect sound definition for every subwoofer and speaker , they feel that the sound quality through the Cinephile 103D-SE HDMI output is even better than before, with more visceral and powerful bass impacts, but always hyper-controlled, without any trace of distortion. The analog sound quality has been clearly improved also, specially in the lowest frequency octaves. Playing music the Vinculum 103D SE has the body, warmth and harmonics richness which strongly remember us the sound of the best high-end turntables.
This Special Edition of the Vinculum 103D receives linear power supply for analog audio with a top quality toroidal transformer, improved chassis including new multilayer vibration damping for the cover , improved disc transport modifications and shielding , revised star grounding schemes and noise filtering, high quality rca connectors for all channels, etc......
In few days we send them the Vinculum 103D PLUS SPECIAL EDITION also, which receives a lot of improvements derived from our recent research for the 105D PLUS. See the first comments about this edition in this forum , or here in english , french or spanish
VINCULUM players receive serious improvements
All Vinculum players have been very improved over the last months. The chassis is new, stronger , more massive, and receives an specially formulated epoxy matt black paint. It is more vented so the player runs even colder than before . This enlarges the useful life and reliability of every player.
The decoder board is now linked to a detachable small panel, so we can use the same chassis for 103D, 103 and 93 modifications , by only changing this small part.
This is useful also if in the future OPPO presents new models which change only the decoder board (like the 103 to 103D step). So thus we have more options to actualize your VINCULUM for an small cost, without changing all the unit.
The disc transport modification has been redesigned and improved , with many new laser trimmed and CNC parts. Precision is now even better, in the micron range.
We invested also the most important: many more hours of research to improve even more the performance, and this has provided great results. The VINCULUM 103D and 103D PLUS have even better picture and sound quality than any precedent version. Our research is still going on, and we offer an update option to the Vinculum customers if anytime a significant advance is achieved by us in the future.
VINCULUM 103D PLUS demonstration sessions in Palma de Mallorca. Part IV
Mr. Miquel Figuerola is a musician who has worked all his life behind record productions, in collaboration with many other international musicians, directing the recording with half million euros Midas and Solid State mixing consoles, of the real instruments and voices of talented artists .
He has collaborated in productions from, among others, Kevin Ayers, Donovan, Andy Summers (Police), John Cale ( Velvet Underground, Lou Reed) , Jorge Pardo ( Paco de Lucía), Paquito de Rivera, Joan Bibiloni, Juan Carlos Calderón, Mocedades, Antonio Vega, Javier Vargas, Raimundo Amador, Concha Buika, Molly Duncan ( Dire Straits, Average White Band, Tom Petty), Larry Coryell, and many more...
He worked also for Tv and films productions, including some works nominated to the Music Awards and the Goya Award to the best film soundtrack.
M. Figuerola is also a passionate and experienced home-cinema lover and he had contacted me some time ago, being interested in the VINCULUM picture quality . Now, thanks to this demo sessions in Palma we have had an opportunity to test the musical skills of the VINCULUM 103D PLUS edition together, listening some discs recorded by himself ! and perfectly stored on his memory as they sounded live in the recording studios!
I felt very honoured with his reaction listening the VINCULUM 103d PLUS, because he ensured that never before with his equipment was so easy to recognize the special sound quality of a 14.000€ Ramirez guitar, for example, and, above all, to perceive the virtuosity of the guitarist, with the dynamics, soul and realism that he remembers perfectly from the recording session.
We compared also the 103D PLUS picture quality directly with his own unmodified OPPO 103D. He was so impressed with the difference in picture quality that he felt as if we changed his projector, (and with all controls set now to zero, no Darbee, etc...)See the comments from Mr. Figuerola in this forum , or here in english or french or spanish
It was a pleasure to know such an experienced person who lives so closely the musical production, and who knows the equipment and technical work existing behind each musical recording. Sincerely, Thank you.
VINCULUM 103D PLUS demonstration sessions in Palma de Mallorca. Part III
Oscar A. and Roberto G. were interested in the VINCULUM 103D CINEPHILE for their home-cinema set ups, not the PLUS version for the moment, so in both demonstrations we tested the VINCULUM 103D PLUS only through HDMI outputs , connected to a flagship Onkyo AV amp (TX-NR5010 AV) and his Sony HW-50 projector.
In the Oscar´s home-theater , we count no less than EIGHT! big Subwoofers , nine speakers and many associated power amps for a medium size room with some acoustic treatments.
Sincerely, all attendees were deeply shocked by the dramatic change experienced in the sound quality. Imagine all that "fire power" perfectly controlled by the VINCULUM HDMI output, with incredible dynamics and perfect sound definition in all channels and subwoofers.
The achieved sound dynamics were so spectacular and the sound control so stunning that it seemed as if we had much more powerful power amps, according Oscar. Even after lower the volume several times we were impressed always by the next sound effects blast , so extreme was the new dynamic range.
The picture quality was also to die for, with the Vinculum in Source direct mode and all Sony controls and SRC set to zero.
We enjoyed one of the most spectacular sessions i remember . For many hours, they tested the VINCULUM with all kind of sources and films; hard discs, DUNE, 3D ISOS... and even an XBOX 360 !!. I didn´t expected this last test but Roberto, an experienced gamer with an OPTOMA DLP projector , said that the picture definition of his games was clearly better, with plenty more detail and better textures using the XBOX through the VINCULUM. Amazing !
VINCULUM 103D PLUS demonstration sessions in Palma de Mallorca. Part II
The Vinculum 103D-PLUS has been demonstrated in five different high-level installations in Palma.
Most people wanted to see the VINCULUM for its incredible high definition video quality, we believe that without real competition in the market. But what many people didn´t expected is that our PLUS version were so extremely musical beast, a giant-killer that can be compared and in fact sounds better than several times more expensive dedicated Hi-end CD-SACD players.
In this test we compared the VINCULUM 103D PLUS with an ESOTERIC dedicated cd player. ESOTERIC is one of the Hi-End disc player references for many experienced audiophiles.
The VINCULUM 103D PLUS demonstrated one more time to be a cost-effective solution for home-cinema lovers who are demanding audiophiles also, because they may have in one only player the absolute best high definition picture quality available and the sound quality of expensive High End music dedicated players .
I wish to thank the owner of this installation, a lovely and true honest person i am happy to have known, his interest in the VINCULUM PLUS as a clear alternative to Hi-End classic references .
VINCULUM 103D PLUS demonstration sessions in Palma de Mallorca. Part I
We have visited for the first time this beautiful Mediterranean island and loved the unique landscapes, the way of living, its wonderful locations, Sóller, Valldemossa, Deia,.... I enjoyed also the peace and calm in our visit to the Almudaina Palace in Palma.
But perhaps the best was to know new friends who were interested to know the VINCULUM performance both in audio and video, and contacted us some days before to arrange a session in their own homes.
I start this chronicle with our final demo session. With literally thousands of CD and LP records and a finely tuned hi-end musical installation, José Antonio was interested in an Oppo modified version which could be better than his OPPO 93 XTREME NUFORCE edition, his source for home-cinema, so he contacted me for a test of our VINCULUM CINEPHILE 103D PLUS.
But finally he wanted to start comparing the VINCULUM directly with his main digital source for music, a PS-AUDIO PWT TRANSPORT (4.000 €) using the DA CONVERSION stage of his DEVIALET D-PREMIER amplifier (12.000 €).
The VINCULUM PLUS was connected through its own analog outputs to the DEVIALET and José Antonio has compared many of his favourite records including classical, Opera, Jazz...
I want to sincerely thank José Antonio the opportunity to demonstrate in his own installation the extreme musicality of our VINCULUM 103DPLUS , the audiophile version which keeps the stellar video quality of our VINCULUM CINEPHILE editions, but has also a vastly improved analog stereo outputs.
José Antonio published the review in this forum
A VINCULUM review and more demo sessions planned.
We have received a review of a Vinculum Cinephile 103 vs. a standard Oppo bdp-103 comparative ,from one of the attendees to the Canary Islands demonstration session, in last October.
Alejandro Rodríguez, who wrote the review and took most photographs, was one of the nine people who were waiting to see our modified 103 and to compare it with their standard Oppo Bdp-103.
It was a very hard test for us because all people were truly experienced, very critical and the picture quality was already awesome before arriving the Vinculum. In fact they believed that it seemed nearly impossible to improve it. But all attendees were very surprised with the change from the standard 103 to the Vinculum.
I remember that the Vinculum player assembly and adjustment was completed just few hours before we took the flight. There was no time to wait any break-in period. We tested exhaustively the Vinculum vs. the standard Oppo during three nights, using blu-ray discs and full blu-ray back-ups on hard discs. I sincerely thank to Pedro Ruiz, our fantastic host and owner of that dream installation, and of course to Alejandro and all the attendees, now friends, for their warm welcome. I hope Pedro will enjoy the Vinculum for years.See the generous review from Alejandro in this forum , or here in english , french or spanish We have flight tickets for a new demo session in Mallorca, in March. And we hope to visit France in April to know more friends with our mutual passion for home-cinema.
The VINCULUM Cinephile 105D PLUS
As with every new OPPO player release, we take our time to test it thoroughly before touching it an screw, to know its strengths and weaknesses compared with precedent models. After some days of film projections and music listening tests, we have now a good insight about the OPPO bdp-105D capabilities.
The VINCULUM 105D PLUS will receive the same video quality improvement we achieved with preceding versions. You simply will not believe your eyes when watching so big difference with the standard 105D using a good projector. In any case we will try to improve even more the picture quality, specially with incoming video material through the USB inputs.
This same unique picture quality is already achieved by the VINCULUM 103 and 103D so the justification for a 105D-PLUS must come from its analog sound quality.
We agree that the standard 105D has a powerful, bold, weighty analog sound and easily competes with similarly priced Blu-Ray players. But we believe that for now it is giving only a fraction of its full sound quality potential.
We start now to work in the VINCULUM 105D PLUS, and hope to improve dramatically the 105D analog sound quality, not only with your CD/SACD original discs but also with all quality music stored in your hard discs.
A VINCULUM 103PLUS or 103DPLUS already sounds much better than the standard 105D.
With the VINCULUM 105D PLUS our challenge is to improve so much the OPPO flagship player that it could be compared with heavyweight High-End CD/SACD dedicated players, many times more expensive.
In other words, a real wolf in sheep´s clothing.
The new OPPO BDP-105D
OPPO has released the second Darbee equipped Blu-ray Disc player, the BDP-105D.
The OPPO BDP-105D is similar to the current BDP-105 flagship player with the addition of the Darbee Visual Presence, replacing the QDEO processor with a Silicon Image VRS video processing chip,
and an upgraded USB DAC input that can support the DSD audio format.
We will start working in the Vinculum 105D edition as soon as possible.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !
The new VINCULUM Cinephile 103D
We worked hard for years to improve the native picture quality extraction from every blu-ray disc and to preserve its integrity at all cost , avoiding all unnecessary picture adjustments or video processings . Once this objective has been achieved, this purist approach is what really gives to the pictures the crystal-clear sharpness, deep blacks, three-dimensional appearance , true motion clarity and fluidity and rich, natural colours .
But all those picture qualities are very fragile and very sensitive to manipulation.This is why we would recommend always to connect directly the VINCULUM to the projector, even avoiding the video signal to pass through the AV amplifier and using the split option to feed the audio .
For us , there is not such an easy thing like improving the 3D effect with an amazing video processing. On the contrary, in most cases those processings are flattening the picture depth, putting improperly into focus many parts of the picture. Don´t be fooled by all those new pores in the skin, try a natural landscape picture with that processing and cry. The toy may damage also the motion fluidity, the colour gradations and the cinematographic look of the pictures which may become more like an Hd-video record.
The shocking, natural 3·D feeling of the VINCULUM is achieved maximizing the native video quality extraction and minimizing the video signal manipulation. There is no other way to obtain a genuine and credible three-dimensional appearance.
Many people wanted some more sharpness from their original OPPO players and bought a Darbee trying to obtain it. With a VINCULUM modification all testers refused to use it .
Now, we have modified an OPPO 103D, and we are very sure that the VINCULUM 103D users will not activate the Darbee processing anymore after the modification.
However, for people who still want to show the Darbee job and impress to unexperienced guest eyes, the better VINCULUM picture quality extraction allows to double boost the Darbee effect with much lower picture degradation.
Unanimous acclaim for the VINCULUM 103 on several successful demonstration sessions
From the beginning we wanted to share our work with people who really loves the Cinema, and demonstrate in real world installations how our technology really works to enhance the picture and sound quality of any blu-ray player.
And we are very happy and grateful with these first demonstration sessions we are making all over the country , because of the unanimous acclaim and warm congratulations we are receiving.
We hope to make more sessions, even on other countries, as we have received invitations from HDfever France and Avmagazine Italy to test our products.