Amps with built-in scalers, which one is best??

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by darron027, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. darron027

    darron027
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    Hi all,

    Very new to this scaling technology so please bare with my question -

    Looking for advise on an amp/receiver with a built in scaler for the following set up -

    436xde (waiting for delivery)
    denon 2910 dvd player
    sky+
    speakers: monitor RS6 front left & right / RS LCR center / RS-FX rears + rel stampede sub (received delivery of these yesterday)

    Current amp is Denon AVR 2105, which will be potentially replaced after all your welcomed feedback and advice. My thought is that a better amp would give my nice new speakers better justice and if at the same time it included a scaler of some description my picture quality would improve at the same time (although you guys may tell me that Im wrong).

    My question - knowing my equipment set-up above would I benifit from an amp with built in scaler?
    If yes - What makes and models do you advise I go look at?
    Current budget - ''As much as it takes''

    Many thanks for your advice in advance. :)
     
  2. darron027

    darron027
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    Sorry folks - think Ive posted the thread in the wrong area.
    Just been informed, that I should be thinking of 'upconversion' within a receiver not scaling.

    So probably what I should be asking within this forum is -

    If I replaced my current amp anyway with a better make/model that supports upconversion say to component (think hdmi upconversion may cost mega bucks). Would I still benifit from a designated scaling unit??
     
  3. katana100

    katana100
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    Check out the new Halcro - not cheap though.

    I think Denon do something similar.
     
  4. darron027

    darron027
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    Thanks - Will look into this.
    Heard of denon - but not the halcro

    Is the halcro a designated scaler?
     
  5. katana100

    katana100
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  6. darron027

    darron027
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    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The halcro ssp100 looks a monster.

    Anyone know where these are supplied or approx costs?
     
  7. NonPayingMember

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    If you want it done properley you need to look at getting a dedicated video processor, and a seperate AV amp. Asides from the several thousand pound solutions, all AV amps with integrated deinterlacing are not any better than the deinterlacing found in a progressive scan DVD player, the Denon amps for example are just the same circuits as found in your 2910!!

    You could keep your 2015 for now and just run a dedicated scaler.
     
  8. darron027

    darron027
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    Hi Liam,
    After reading further threads, i think you are right.

    From a picture quality point of view alone - what type of video processor should I look out for?
    As a retailer is this something that you guys could help with?

    Ive got quite a bit to spend and would want the best for my 436xde and something thats as 'future proof' as poss.
     
  9. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello darron027

    That's the ideal budget your working with :)

    Personally I'd be looking to get the best sounding AV Receiver/Amp I can afford and if it has any pretensions as a Video Processor I'd tend to ignore them or look on it as a bonus to simplify signal switching if you have lots of Component, Composite and S-Video sources you want to integrate into your set-up.

    Once you have the sound side of things sorted you might want to investigate an External Video Processor which will enhance your video images.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  10. NonPayingMember

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    Lumagen VisionHDP or VisionProHDP.

    The HDP models from Lumagen have superior HD processing over other products in or around the price range (the future proofing bit), and unless you are thinking of spending several thousand pounds on just the scaler itself they give the better picture.

    I would advise getting the lot fitted properley, and then calibrated by an ISF engineer who will ensure you are getting the most from the system.

    If the budget is "as much as it takes" then I would consider a more suitable DVD player. Arcam DV79 and DV29 both allow an interlaced output through the HDMi socket, this is a much better signal for the processor to work its magic with as all deinterlacing and scaling is left to the lumagen. The matching Arcam audio setup would then make a lot of sense.
     
  11. Welwynnick

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    Darron, I think all the integrated scaling solutions in AV amps never work well. What a video processor does is de-interlace the native interlaced video to progressive, then scale it up (or up-convert) to the resolution of the display. De-interlacing is the difficult and expensive bit to get right, and good stand-alone processors are almos t always the best solution with high definition displays. (A few high-end projectors are the possible exception). The AV amps don't even make good video switches, either. There is always some sort of limitation. Even the Denon A1XV is pretty useless in that respect.

    With regard to chosing the video processor, the first thing you have to decide is whether you want it to work with standard or high definition inputs?

    Nick
     
  12. darron027

    darron027
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    Hi All.
    Firstly many thanks to all of you for all your detailed advise.

    Think I will have to give you retailers a call in the very near future regarding the video processing.

    The more I think about it, the more I now want to go down this route.

    Yes definately agree that I would need the entire system set up correctly to give the best possible performance.

    Think my best option right now is to firstly move house and get the main peices of my new kit set up. Its actually going to be quite a big job initially as the fireplace etc is going to get ripped out in week one in prep for wall mounting the plasma in the most ideal location. Not to mention all the routing of speaker and electrical cables etc within the walls.
    Also having a very nice purpose built wooden cabinet made by my dad whos great at things like that.
    Its all systems go at the moment.

    Im guessing that from all your detaled replies to me and reading other threads that a vid processor isnt going to mean a major job in DIY (but if im wrong please let me know soonest).

    Thus my plan is to get all current equipment and DIY jobs complete and installed. Then add the vid processor and amp (and poss now a new dvd player) after the dust settles in a couple of weeks.

    Any more thoughts always welcome and appreciated.

    Cheers all.

    Darron
     
  13. darron027

    darron027
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    One more thing Ive forgot.

    As nick kindly mentioned Ive now also got to think about standard or high def inputs to scaler.

    Its all very complicated and Im a complete novice to this vid processor lark.
     
  14. VirusKiller

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    If you need to ask, you can't afford it :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :D

    Halcro kit is seriously expensive.
     
  15. Joe Fernand

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    Hello darron027

    The Video Processor your likely to be recommend on these Threads will all handle Standard and High Definition sources - and all be HDCP compliant to cope with the encrypted output from HDMI and (some) DVI equipped sources.

    It would be 'calculated' madness at this time to not have the provision for HD source material - some folk choose not to worry about HD for now as possibly the Display/Projector they use is not HD compliant and can see cost savings in purchasing a non HD compatible Video Processor.

    Installing a Video Processor in your system will necessitate a couple of new cables between your Sources and the Video Processor plus a DVI to HDMI cable between the Video Processor and your PlasmaTV Media Box - after that its best to call in the Pro's; your dealer will quote you for Supply Only or Supply and Fit/Configure/Calibrate; think of the Video Processor as a mini computer with dedicated software that relies on external measuring tools and a skilled technician to get it up and running.

    Best regards

    Joe

    PS Ensure you tell your cabinet maker that your kit is going to produce a lot of heat and requires adequate ventilation.

    PPS The remote for the Halcro is likely to be more expensive than the Lumagen VisionHDP Video Processor!!! If your keen I'm sure a Halcro can be sourced/supplied!
     
  16. darron027

    darron027
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    Hi Joe and all you other kind people whom are offering great advice & info,

    Many thanks for your very detailed reply. Will take all your comments on board.

    After soom serious thought to all of this in bed last night :confused: .My new plan is as follows:

    1. Forget about the halcro (and any other amps with built in scalers/up-converters etc) and defo go down the track of a designated all singing & dancing video processor.

    2. Sort out and order an adequate dvd player and receiver (thinking along the lines of an arcam dv79 player to be able to output the best type of signal that you all advise and a yammy rx-v4600 amp/receiver to give my new rs6 speaker system a boost). This will meen initially disposing of the current denon player and amp I have (prob will try and do a part ex deal with the local seven oaks guys).

    3. Move house at the end of this week and begin/complete living room DIY.

    4. My full system would/could then be (would like to get all below up and running firstly):
    436xde plasma (wall mounted) (already on order and paid for)
    arcam dv79 player (not ordered yet)
    yammy rx-v4600 amp/receiver (not ordered yet)
    Monitor RS6 speaker system + rel stampede sub (already received)
    Sky+ (to be ordered and installed after house move)
    PS2 (already got)
    Nice new cabinet which measures 180 x 60 x 60cm (with large vent holes at back and plenty of breathing gaps between equipment)

    5. QUESTIONS REGARDING SUITABLE VP:
    a) Any comments on the above setup welcome with the view of adding an sd + hd compliant video processor? i.e. will all this kit be a good building block for the addition of a vp? or are there better alternatives? (I must say though that Im sure that the pros will tell me that the tv is not good after reading other threads, but sorry guys as I must now keep it).

    b) By adding an appropriate VP to the above equip will there be a marked improvement in picture quality? (please note on this one, I would defo require a pro to come out and do all the necessary calibrations and set ups etc). So any of you pro-retailers out there send me PM/email (Im based just north of nottingham)

    c) VP's recommended - I like the looks of the one you guys are recommending (Vision PRO HDP) Will this give me the best possible performance with the above equip? or would you recommend another?

    d) Ive calculated an overall budget I want to work to for all the new equip Im looking to get sorted in the nearest future.
    Items required:
    DVD player £1K
    Amp/ Receiver £1K
    VP + all calibrations / cables etc 2K
    Total £4K
    Is this about right?

    Think I'll stop now as this is getting very low and I dont want to bore any of you.

    Look forward to your inputs and thoughts.

    Cheers,
    Darron
     
  17. katana100

    katana100
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    I would spend less on the DVD player and more on the Video Processor. You should be able to buy a very high quality DVD player second hand for around £500. Some of them will have transferable warranties.

    FYI, an ex-dem Halcro was offered to me at a little over £6k. In the end, went for an ex-dem Lexicon RV8 and will try and pick up and ex-dem Crystalio II next year.
     
  18. NonPayingMember

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    katana the ex-dem King eh?!!?! I'm just the same, picked up my Philips 963 SDI 2nd hand, and my VCR and speakers. But for this job it's gotta be a DV79/29, possibly a Pio 868, or a.n.other even pricer deck (SDI?). Nothing else is really gonna do it justice and these are quite hard things to find 2nd hand or ex-dem when you need them all for a specific date for install. Easier if you are willing to wait, but then you've gotta put up with substandard quality in the meantime. Would love to see who the first to sell an ex-demo Crystalio II will be!! EX-demo Crystalio I's only just started popping up on the market now, a year after launch!!

    Darron I've replied to your PM mate.
     
  19. katana100

    katana100
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    Yeah, I quickly realised that Hi Fi and good AV is like a luxury car - massive depreciation as soon as it leavers the store. The only thing I probably would't buy ex-dem is a display. Also, I wouldn't buy second hand unless there was a transferable warrany - not going to gamble a few thousand an end up with a lemon. Am currently trying to work out what speakers would suit the Lexicon.........

    BTW, I've seen at least three SDI modded DVD players come up for sale second hand in the past month.
     
  20. NonPayingMember

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    Yeah I've been following classifieds too. But SDI philips were bundled in with an iScan - who wants one of those?!?!! Lumagen is much better lol! Am not a fan of SDI Panasonic, prefer audio of a Philips. But there's rarely 2nd hand DV79s (well unless someone is upgrading to DV29) as they are all satisfied owners!
     
  21. katana100

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    How important is the source for video, if the output is SDI? I though the bulk of the work would be done by the scaler? Appreciate that the audio source remains critical.....
     
  22. NonPayingMember

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    MPEG decoder boards vary quite a bit, plus you have to take into account the audio output of the deck. SDI will always look good as much of the processing is off-board, but better built players will still be providing the better signal. The better decoder is able to extract and output more detail from the source, and the better built deck will be cleaner from jitter etc in the pickup process. Plus there is always consideration for ease-of-use (navigation, layer-change etc), other features (SACD, DVD-A), and for those here that are bothered by looks - how well it goes with everything else in the rack!!
     
  23. Welwynnick

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    Liam, what about an SDI Panasonic that puts CD, DVD, DVD-A and SACD audio out over iLink to something that will accept it?

    Nick
     
  24. NonPayingMember

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    Was thinking specifically the RP-82 and 91 which had that grand daddy MPEG decoder (but no iLink etc), not so sure if any current Panasonics mod as well as those did. Stuck with the Philips up until now, but now it's out of stock, and it's looking more and more likely that its gone for good :(
     
  25. andrewkay

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    I am looking at the specs of the yet to be released in UK Yamaha RX-V2600 which claims to do upscaling, deinterlacing and so on.

    http://www.yamaha.com/yec/products/receivers/RXV2600.htm#
    See also Yamaha DSP-Z9 but this is much more costly.

    I presume the advice (in this forum at least) would be "forget it and get a dedicated scaler... but I do wonder if this if a sign of things to come. What is quite certain, in my mind at least, is that these big manufacturers could easily integrate both audio and video into a single box, and do it well, if they wanted to.

    Any thoughts
    Andy
     
  26. Welwynnick

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    It would be very convenient, but AVR manufacturers have a LONG way to go before it becomes worthwhile. There's a very long list of reasons of why, but I'll give you a for instance. Where an amp accepts digital video for switching or processing, it will generally only accept standard definition. That applies even to expensive amps, though perhaps not to one or two VERY expensive ones..........

    Nick
     
  27. darron027

    darron027
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    Hi guys - Yes Im now also convinced from the pros on this forum that the way to go is for a dedicated vid processor. When I first posted this thread earlier in Nov, I didnt fully understand the difference. Moreover, early 2006 I'll be contacting one of the retailers (Liam etc) to order and install for me a suitable vid processor, plus at the same time to do ISF.
    Recently got my new 436xde and I want to give it the 150-200hours run in first.

    Cheers all ,
    Darron
     
  28. darron027

    darron027
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    Hi All,

    thought Id take the time to continue to update this thread, and hopefully share my experience with other VP novices out there.

    Firstly wish to say a very big thank you to Liam and Gordon whom have sorted me out with a nice shiny new Lumagen pro hdp + cables (VP arrived as promised yesterday). The service from this pair to date has been excellent :thumbsup:

    Definately would recomend to anyone the service of both their companies.

    A few weeks back; decided to go for the Lumagen PRO HDP as realised and finally understood that amps with built in scalers would not perform anywhere as well. Its been a steady learning curve to date and Im still learning a little more as the days go by. For instance I probably should have not purchased the 436xde if I was also going to purchase a VP. Dont worry 436xde owners, I think this TV is still the best plasma TV out there for its size and cost catagories. Without even adding the lumagen I thought the pic quality was fantastic :thumbsup:
    Further to the above also have now added the Arcam DV79 (absolutely brilliant!!!)

    The Lumagen arrived yesterday and (being a complete VP novice) thought it would be a pretty simple case of 'plug & play'; flick a few swithges etc and Id be immediately wowd! and be amazed!. How wrong was I. Its a 'very' complicated piece of equipment for most of us VP novices out there to understand. Spent most of last night flicking through the manual, but in the end decided to put it down as I simply found it very difficult/impossible to comprehend (its not the manuals fault, thats just my VP inexperience). It was late though and Im sure over time I'll get to understand all the jargon.

    However this said, I had the good/lucky judgment to pre-book a visit from Gordon to do an ISF and set the lumagen etc up for me (he arrives to my place tomorrow morning :) ) Cant wait to meet the famous Gordon and watch him 'perfect' my system.

    Tonight Ive spent just around an hour playing with a few of the lumagen settings (dont know exactly what Im doing our the settings are doing though) and I can definately notice gradual improvements in the PQ on the display.

    Although I will definately post again after Gordons visit etc, The main point I would like to stress thus far to other VP novices whom are looking to go down the VP route, is definately get an AV professinal whom knows what they are doing to set it up. Im sure I would get close eventually, but what would take me probably many months would probably take someone like Gordon a number of hours. Moreover Im positive his end result in PQ quality tomorrow will be far superior to anything I would ever get.

    Cheers all.........
     
  29. darron027

    darron027
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    I'll keep this final update on this thread short, as I'll post else where via new thread more details.

    In a nut shell, I highly recommend to get your system ISF'd and if funds allow add a VP. My pic quality is now absolutely 10/10 :thumbsup:

    Many thanks to all.
     

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