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Magnetar UDP800 review: A 4K Blu-ray player with amazing audio and video quality

Magnetar UDP800: review in a minute

The Magnetar UDP800 is a reference 4K Blu-ray player with audiophile features. It offers outstanding picture clarity from Ultra HD discs and is also compatible with legacy music discs SACD and DVD-Audio. The build quality is impressive and includes the unusual provision of balanced XLR stereo outputs, fed by a Burr-Brown PCM 1795 32-bit 192kHz stereo DAC.

The name may be unfamiliar, but the Magnetar UDP800 is a heavy spinning disc that deserves the attention of serious cinephiles. Coming from the same stable as Reavon and Zappiti, this Chinese-made player combines battleship build quality with high-end performance to make absolutely one of the best 4K Blu-ray players, if you’ve got the case to spare.

Streaming may have the upper hand when it comes to home entertainment these days, but the UDP800 may convince you that there is another (tried and tested) way to enjoy it, provided you can afford the asking price. Especially if you’re into audiophile disc formats too, because that’s where it really sets itself apart from the competition.

If you just need something that plays movies to an extremely high standard to show on one of the best TVs and best 4K projectors, the Panasonic DP-UB9000 is perhaps a better option at about a third less price, but for those who want to unlock elite audio and video options, it’s excellent.

Magnetar UDP800 remote control on top of unit

The Magnetar UDP800’s remote is packed with buttons, for a relatively simple device. (Image credit: Future)

Magnetar UDP800 review: price and version

  • Released in December 2022
  • $1,599 / €1,332 (approximately £1,140)

Occupying a price point once dominated by AV royalty, in the US the UDP800 retails for $1,599. In Europe the price is 1,332 euros. There is currently no UK distribution for the UDP800, but UK buyers can order one direct from France, with free shipping.

That’s way higher than what most people will spend on a Blu-ray player, of course, but that just isn’t the case for most people. Its audio components and high-end construction are made for people who want the best performance and are willing to pay for it.

However, it’s priced “only” about 50 percent higher than the Panasonic UB9000, even if it lacks streaming capabilities. It’s definitely one for the audiophile and home theater hardcore, though.

Magnetar UDP800 review: specs

HDR support HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision Row 0 – Cell 2
Sound support Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD Master Audio, DTS-X Row 1 – Cell 2
Music support SACD, DVD-A, DSD64/128, 192kHz/24bit PCM Row 2 – Cell 2
Connectivity 2 x HDMI, optical/coaxial digital out, stereo phono/XLR out Row 3 – Cell 2
Dimensions 430mm x 300mm x 90mm Row 4 – Cell 2
Weight 8kg Row 5 – Cell 2

Magnetar UDP800 audio ports shown up close

With standard XLR and stereo outputs, the Magnetar UDP800 is ready for your hi-fi system and TV. (Image credit: Future)

Magnetar UDP800 review: features

  • Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support
  • Compatible with SACD and DVD-A
  • Audiophile stereo DAC

It’s a good bet that if it’s round and shiny, the Magnetar UDP800 will work. In addition to 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays and regular and 3D Blu-rays, it supports DVD, AVCHD, SACD, CD and a number of recordable formats. The Laserdisc is out though, sorry.

The Magnetar also supports all HDR formats required for recorded media, including dynamic metadata rivals HDR10+ and Dolby Vision.

The deck can function as a standalone content hub, with support for up to 16TB external HDD drives, making for a sizable library by any measure. Connected NAS devices will also stream, using DLNA and SMB.

There is no support for Wi-Fi or Bluetooth though. You will need to wire everything. And apps are conspicuous by their absence: This isn’t a streaming hub. Get an Apple TV 4K (2022) or something like that.

Like many high-end disc players, there’s a big focus on sound here. The components are audiophile grade. Under the lid hides a 32-bit, 192kHz Burr-Brown PCM 1795 stereo DAC. A four layer PCB sports a high quality op amp for the deck’s Pure Audio mode, with a custom 60W high power transformer and Japanese Rubycon electrolytic capacitors.

There’s no shortage of ways to integrate the UDP800 into an audio system: rear connections include a gold-plated XLR balanced stereo output, as well as standard stereo RCA phono. Of course, for convenience, many users will simply stick with HDMI – there are two here, for flexibility.

Magnetar UDP800 menu

Despite the remote’s massive buttons, the Magnetar UDP800’s menu can be relatively simple. (Image credit: Magnetar)

Magnetar UDP800 review: performance

  • Excellent image sharpness
  • High-end audio performance
  • Universal disk support

Disc loading times are relatively fast. A Sherlock Holmes (2009 vintage) UHD Blu-ray went from the tray to the Warner Bros logo in 30 seconds, while a Golden finger Blu-ray went from tray to main menu in 40 seconds.

The UDP800 uses a quad-core system Media Tek MT8581 chipset, boasting enviable audio video decoding.

The rendering of the images is sublime. Guy Ritchie’s aforementioned Sherlock 4K disc opens with a heavily shadowed slow motion action scene featuring Robert Downey Jr. The deck delivers detail down to near black, with no noticeable noise or artifacts being introduced.

A 4K test disc with impeccably polished musical instruments conveys all the sheen and almost three-dimensional texture you’d hope for. Featured instruments reveal subtle fingerprints and tiny patina of use.

Ironically, where premium Blu-ray decks like the UDP800 really shine isn’t so much through video, but through audio. This deck is an absolute joy to listen to.

A 96kHz 24-bit 7.1 (Japanese) recording of The earth the overture, by Kosuke Yamashita, in linear PCM sounds superb, with crystal clarity and extremely dynamic fanfares. It’s like sitting in the middle of the orchestra.

The deck’s stereo performance is equally immersive. SACD Jazz Blacksmith, by Tommy Smith, is a revelation (especially if, like me, you spend too much time listening to smart speakers). This 2.8 MHz two-channel DSD recording displays astonishing depth of tone and clarity.

Of course, the UDP800 does all the immersive audio too, with bitstream support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Movies and music are equally impressive. This will make the most of the best TVs, the best 4K projectors and whatever elite sound system you have at your disposal.

Back of the Magnetar UDP800, showing all of its ports

The Magnetar UDP800 has two HDMI ports in addition to audio connections. (Image credit: Magnetar)

Magnetar UDP800 review: design

  • Formidable build quality
  • Versatile connectivity
  • Remote control full of buttons

The UDP800 can be considered good old fashioned for AV enthusiasts. Weighing in at 8kg, it looks like the kind of rig that will still be going strong in a decade or two.

The player itself features a 1.6mm thick, dual-layer chassis construction with a 3mm steel plate for extra rigidity.

The front fascia has a premium finish, broken only by the center-mounted disc loading tray and LED display. To the left is a hidden USB port, while to the right are the transport and control buttons.

Rear connections include two HDMIs, one of which is audio only, a USB 3.0 port and two digital audio outputs, one coaxial and the other optical digital. The deck also features a stereo analog audio output, with RCA and XLR phono options.

There’s an Ethernet port for networking, but no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Smart home system control is offered via an RS-232C port.

Equally suggestive of yesteryear is the IR remote control, which is decorated with small buttons. Why navigate a menu when you can give virtually every option its own button? Thankfully, usability in practice is less intimidating.

Magnetar UDP800 Review: Value

  • Built to last
  • High-end components
  • Unapologetically expensive

Let’s be clear: the Magnetar UDP800 is a niche product. No one is going to spend this kind of money on a whim, but if you already have a large investment in physical discs, whether they’re Blu-ray, 4K UHD, discs, CDs, or SACD/DVD-A, then its price is staggering. it’s starting to make a lot more sense.

The price is commensurate with the Magnetar’s build and specs—it’s not double or triple the price of the Panasonic UB9000, but it offers a real feast for audiophiles.

On the other hand, it doesn’t have any streaming apps, so it can’t be your all-in-one movie and music hub. While this is technically a major blow to its value, we expect even the target audience to have no problem choosing a high-quality streamer.

Magnetar UDP800 Review: Should I Buy It?

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