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Taste the mainstream with OPPO Digital’s Sonica

  • OPPO Digital and OPPO are two distinct companies despite sharing a name and a Guangdong factory.

    OPPO manufacturer smartphones aimed at the man in the street whilst OPPO Digital look after the considerably smaller audiophile market with disc spinners that double as media players, headphones (PM-1, PM-2, PM-3) and headphone amplifiers (HA-1, HA-2).

    News arrives this week via press release of OPPO Digital’s powered, WiFi compatible, hi-res-capable (up to 24bit/192kHz), transportable loudspeaker. The Sonica also features aptX Bluetooth and Airplay compatibility. On the surface at least, the name of this game is convenience.

    However, once again OPPO Digital have retained the audio engineering smarts of PM-x designer, Igor Levitsky.

    For the Sonica speaker, Levitsky has specified the following: four separate amplifiers set up in a 2.1 stereo configuration. Two bridged 15-watt amplifiers drive a single 3.5″ bass woofer and two 3” bass radiators. Two additional 10-watt amplifiers drive a stereo pair of 2.5″ wideband drivers. Combined power output is rated at 30-watts.

    OPPO_Sonica_1

    In real world use, Sonica configuration and control comes via an accompanying smartphone app; iOS and Android versions will be available. In the app’s settings panel, a range of DSP-applied presets for some degree of room optimisation.

    Crucially, as well as handling multi-zone synchronisation, a pair of Sonica can be figured as a stereo pair, one playing each channel. Why is this important? Two words: stereo s e p a r a t i o n.

    For this commentator, membership of the audiophile club doesn’t ride on minimum spend elitism, it’s a state of mind, one that targets “better sound”. The first step toward hitting this moving target begins with properly separating left and right channels. It’s why I’d sooner take ownership of a pair of Sonica than a single Devialet Phantom.

    Sonica’s internal power supply is universal so it can travel internationally – simply connect it to wall power via the supplied Figure-8 cable. [Footnote 1].

    Retail pricing is set at US$299 per unit.

    OPPO_Sonica_3

    That’s the news. But what’s the story here?

    The Sonica seems to echo Mark Cohen’s assertion that Audeze cannot subsist on the proceeds of high-end audio alone. Their more affordable Sine headphone and the Cipher Lightning cable explicitly target a broader market.

    Ditto OPPO Digital’s Sonica, which I first caught sight of at CanJam SoCal back in March, the photos from which feature in this post. Perhaps OPPO Digital have begun to eye their sister company’s successes in the smartphone space and are now seeking a slice of the mainstream pie?

    Further information: OPPO Digital


    Footnote 1: According to OPPO Digital’s Jason Liao, “Since this is a Wi-Fi device and each country has its own regulations, we will have to make a different version (at least different certification labeling) for each territory.”

    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has also contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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