Magnetar UDP800 UHD Blu-ray player review

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posted on Saturday, 29th April 2023 by Steve May

home cinema  Blu-ray  High-end 

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Just when you thought the Blu-ray swan had sung its last song, along comes a player to prove you wrong. The Magnetar UDP800 is a brilliantly specified universal Blu-ray deck that serves as a powerful reminder just how good 4k UHD Blu-rays can look, compared to even the best 4k streaming services.

It combines a superb picture performance with outstanding audio, and will prove a sound investment for anyone who has amassed a large collection of discs - and is still buying.

Magnetar Udp 800 On The Bench

Magnetar UDP800 UHD Blu-ray player: Build Quality and Features

The UDP800 doesn’t offer any streaming apps and uses its Ethernet connection merely to identify compatible NAS devices on its connected network. This shouldn’t be an issue as home cinemas will have plenty of other kit with apps built-in.

It plays 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays, standard and 3D Blu-rays, DVD, plus SACD, CD, DVD-A audio and even AVCHD. If you have media on recordable disc formats, it’ll play those too.

In addition to regular HDR, it also recognises Dolby Vision discs and more unusually HDR10+. The latter isn’t particularly common on BD, but it’s good to know it can manage if asked.

The player will also play files directly from a connected USB HDD, jukebox style. It supports storage up to 16TB, and is compliant with both DLNA and SMB protocols. Audio file support covers DSD64/128, 192kHz/24-bit PCM, AIFF, ALAC, APE, FLAC and WAV. Video files are also listed. I played back TS (video Transport Stream) and MP4 test footage files in 4k without issue. Just select the appropriate Video or Music tab and your USB source will be listed.

Build quality is substantial. Tipping the scales at 8kg, it boasts a double layer chassis with a 3mm steel under plate, giving guaranteed stability. The unit sits on chunky, resonance absorbing feet.

To the rear are two HDMIs (one for audio only), two digital audio outputs, coaxial and optical, and a USB v3.0 port. Stereo audio is delivered via standard RCA phonos and balanced XLR options, so take your choice. Beneath the lid is a 32-bit, 192kHz Burr-Brown PCM 1795 stereo DAC.

If it’s partnered with an amplifier that supports 3-pin XLR connectors, it’s well worth using this input for stereo music playback, as it’s typically less noisy than an unbalanced connection. Of course, for multichannel sound from Super Audio CD, DVD-Audio and Dolby Atmos, you’ll need to listen to an input served by HDMI.

For this review I used heavy duty Chord Shawline stereo interconnects for two channel music listening.

UDP800 Rear Panel

Magnetar UDP800 UHD Blu-ray player: Performance

Typically a Blu-ray will load and be ready for action in around 40 seconds (a little longer than it usually takes my streaming services to dynamically rez-up to meet available broadband speed). It’s worth the wait. Picture quality from native UHD discs is superb.

A run through of the 4k disc release of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes confirms that even the most subtle of shadow detail finds its way to screen.

Regular Blu-ray also looks excellent (in fact, at times I thought BDs looked more detailed than some 4k streams that I’ve watched). There’s a solidness to the image, an unwavering detail to texture, that is very convincing.

The player proves to be a top notch music source. Integrators shouldn’t have any qualms replacing a dedicated CD player with this deck, in an upscale AV system. And of course, regular CD can’t do justice to multichannel Super Audio CDs - you can set the playback default for SACDs in the menu system, to either stereo or multichannel.

The deck’s user interface will be familiar to Blu-ray enthusiasts. The player runs on a MediaTek platform (home to many an Oppo deck), with tabs for tabs for Photo, Music, Video, Settings, and Network.

DVD playback is unlocked out of the box, playing both Region One and Region two discs.

Magnetar UDP800 Screen

Magnetar UDP800 UHD Blu-ray player: Verdict

For Blu-ray enthusiasts with a sizeable investment in CD, DVD and legacy formats, this model is well worth salivating over. Build quality is exemplary, component quality is high, and its performance is top notch. The UDP800 sells for €1,600 in Europe and US$1,599 in the US. There is currently no UK distribution for the player, but UK buyers can order it direct from France, and shipping is free.

The Magnetar UDP800 is available now.
Retail price: €1,600

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology specialist who also writes for T3TechRadarHome Cinema Choice, Trusted Reviews and The Luxe Review.

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