Pioneer KRP9000FD D-ILA Projector Review

AVForums takes a look at Pioneer’s high end projector and finds a familiar friend.

by Phil Hinton
Home AV Review

3

Highly Recommended
Pioneer KRP9000FD D-ILA Projector Review
SRP: £5,500.00

Introduction

Pioneer is certainly serious about their aims to reach out to the custom installation market, and provide high end products for that use. We have already seen the KRP screens in both media box and monitor guises, and we can now add to that a Kuro projector. This model will be very hard to come by in most dealerships; they will be used exclusively by the best to provide a full Pioneer solution for clients who specify such equipment. For example, the company can now offer a Kuro solution to every room in the home, from LCD screens in the kitchen, to a KRP in the living room and now a projector in the dedicated cinema room. These displays when coupled to the new range of BD decks and networked AV amplifiers from the company, certainly fulfils the aim to provide a complete Pioneer solution.

However, the eagle eyed amongst our readers will have noticed a passing resemblance between the KRP9000 and the reference winning JVC HD100, and you wouldn’t be wrong. What Pioneer appear to have done here is take an off the shelf chassis that offers Kuro levels of black and branded it with the Pioneer name, and there is nothing wrong with that. Someone interested in a complete Pioneer solution from a custom installer is certainly going to get a high quality product in the KRP9000.

The JVC HD100 when tested last year offered reference quality performance for the market at that time, and the KRP9000 certainly follows that lead. Things are changing all the time in the front projection market and recently the bar has been raised from last years HD100 high point. But that doesn’t mean the market for this KRP will shrink - I don’t really think it was that huge to begin with - and Pioneer would certainly admit to that. They are aiming this squarely at a small number of end users, and bringing in very few units. So the consumer market will have little effect on this projectors sales. What it does do is offer a solution for those customers who just have to have a full Pioneer installation, and in that regard it will do quite well.

So is everything the same here as on the JVC HD100? Well, yes it is. There is no performance difference that we can see between the models and apart from some renamed options within the menus, there is very little to separate them. In terms of control the remote is identical and the connections for sources are also present and correct at the rear of the unit. There are no differences seen with the connections such as two HDMI v1.3, one component, s-video and composite connections and an RS232 port. However for a model aimed at the custom install market, the lack of any 12volt trigger switches is a bit of an oversight.

Pioneer KRP-9000FD

The lens set up is still a manual affair with the two wheels under the front of the projector, but this does allow a higher (or lower) adjustment of 80 percent vertical and 30 percent horizontal. This presents a greater degree of adjustment for the projector to allow a higher or lower final placement above or below the centre of the screen.

Pioneer KRP-9000FD

The remote zoom and focus are accessed through the test patterns offered on the projector. The feature uses the green crosshair on black background pattern, and allows you to stand next to the screen to get the focus as sharp as possible. The lens system used is identical to the HD100 so the KRP9000 offers sharp and detailed images on screen. Convergence is also very good with a full menu option to correct any slight issues that may appear.

The menu system is intuitive to use and offers all the set up and picture settings required to get the best from the projector. You have the usual picture adjustments, a selection of colour temperatures (low, middle, high and two memories), Gamma (Theatre 1&2, dynamic and custom), RGB offset and pixel adjust. Also available in the sub menus are component selections, screen aspect (anamorphic stretch), film mode, image profiles (cinema, dynamic, natural and user settings), HDMI adjustment as well as a wealth of other fine set up controls such as Horizontal/vertical flip. One area missing again from the set up menus are RGBYMC colour management and full RGB temperature settings to allow a full calibration to standards such as REC709. The colour presets are said to align with the standards however as you will see in the calibration area of the review the KRP9000 follows its cousin the HD100 with an over saturated gamut.

Out the box and calibrated

The best settings out of the box are similar to the HD100 and offer an identical performance level. The gamut is oversaturated as it was on the donor machine with a lack of CMS to correct this. The greyscale however is very good out of the box and will require little adjustment due to it tracking so well. This is a welcome point as the projector only has one set of greyscale controls, and will require a calibration at just one point (50ire). Once calibrated, the KRP9000 offers very good greyscale tracking, and gamma that reaches the desired 2.2 point. Colours are still not quite right and wide, however during actual on screen viewing you would be hard pushed to really notice this unless the material has strong primaries, like Moulin Rouge.

Pioneer KRP-9000FD
Colour temperature before Colour temperature after
Pioneer KRP-9000FD
Pioneer KRP-9000FD
RGB levels before RGB levels after
Pioneer KRP-9000FD
Pioneer KRP-9000FD
Gamma curve before Gamma curve after
Pioneer KRP-9000FD
Pioneer KRP-9000FD

As you can see the results, when compared to the HD100, it is almost identical out of the box and can also be improved with a full ISF calibration. The greyscale really does track well with errors under 1 deltaE across the range. I used the colour saturation control to a degree to calm the over saturation, this is a trade off between luminance of the colour points and accuracy, but on screen it does look better. In terms of comparison to the HD350 for contrast in our set up (all projectors are measured the same way), the KRP9000 managed 5517:1 in the best calibrated settings.

Picture performance

With identical results in our tests you will not be surprised to find that the KRP9000 offers superb performance to match its cousin. Whilst the market has certainly moved on since the HD100 was launched, and the introduction of this Pioneer version, actual performance is still first class.

Obviously we would have liked a more accurate colour gamut to match the very best projectors out there, but the dynamic range and sheer black levels on offer are still some of the best on the market. Both standard definition and HD material is represented well with deep blacks, great shadow detail and good overall performance. Using difficult material with strong reds or greens will show up the slight draw backs of colour inaccuracy, and this point can also be seen on the latest JVC HD350 we reviewed recently. But with the majority of material, you will be more impressed with the actual depth of image, and I would suggest most could live with the colours, like they are with the HD350. In comparison with the new kid on the block, the actual performance between the KRP9000 and the HD350 is very similar. Both would appear to have the same contrast levels, with the HD350 arguably offering slightly better processing and a slightly smoother look. Both offer the same performance parameters and indeed the testing just proves this point when you compare the data.

Picture processing is also up to scratch here on the KRP9000 and overall I couldn’t find much fault to be honest. Anyone wanting a complete Pioneer solution to go with their Kuro screen in the living room, will be happy enough with this D-ILA machine.

Conclusions

It may seem like I have written a shorter than normal review here, but in all honesty there is not much else I can say about the Pioneer KRP9000. It is identical to the JVC HD100, which it is a rebadged version of, and it offers the same excellent performance. It is designed to sell in small numbers, to those who want a full Pioneer solution in their home, and there is nothing wrong with that. It will not appeal to everyone and the company are fully aware of this accepting that there are other options for enthusiasts to follow. Indeed with the new JVC models now hitting the dealerships, it begins to move the market on from the high spot that this Pioneer and HD100 are currently in. I am waiting on the JVC HD750 to arrive this week and barring any massive problems, we will probably see the new king of the block with that model.

But for the time being the Pioneer KRP9000 has its place in the small niche that Pioneer has allocated it to, and knowing the CI world, it is likely to sell very well in small numbers. It offers great performance with the known and accepted issues of the colour gamut.
A few months ago this projector would most likely have gained a reference badge, but as the market is moving fast and this is aimed at a very small niche, it may be that it has already seen its window of opportunity pass. As it is, if you want a full Pioneer solution in your home and are a fan of the brand, you can have your cake and eat it with the KRP9000, it’s a highly recommended projector.

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black levels

10

Colour Accuracy

.
.
.
.
.
5

Greyscale Accuracy

.
9

Image Uniformity

.
.
8

Video Processing

10

2D Picture Quality

.
9

Features

.
.
.
7

Ease Of Use

.
.
.
7

Build Quality

.
.
8

Value For Money

.
.
.
.
.
5

Verdict

.
9
9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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